2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Bill returned from the Senate without request.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether he has any objection to lay on the table of the House, with a view to having it printed and circulated, the memorandum recently prepared by Captain Creswell on Naval Defence?
– I . shall discuss the matter with the Minister of Defence, who, I am sure, will be glad, if possible, to meet the views of honorable members.
– I shouldlike to know whether, in the event of the report referred to being laid on the table, it will be accompanied by any comments made upon it by the expert advisers of the Commonwealth Government.
– I shall suggest to the Minister of Defence that all information that would be of advantage to honorable members, and that it. would be wise to place before them, should be made available.
– I wish to direct the attention of the Prime Minister to a cablegram which appears in this, morning’s newspapers, which reads as follows: -
A strong assertion of the claims of the French to the New Hebrides is made by M. Gervais, who is the reporter to the Chamber of Deputies on the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
Referring to the New Hebrides, M. Cervais, in his report, remarks that “ considering the excellent relations between London and Paris, it was to be hoped that ourneighbours would be able to bring the Australian States to an equitable appreciation of our rights, in order to secure us a confirmation in the New Caledoninn archipelago of the situation due to us owing to our pecuniary sacrifices, and the moral and material efforts of our subjects, and because it is incontestable that the geographical facts of the New Hebrides constitute them a dependencyofa French colony.”
I wish to know whether,in view of the significance of the cable, the Prime Minister will impress upon the British authorities the importance of the New Hebrides
Islands to British and Australian trading interests, and the necessity that exists for preventing the control of those islands from passing into the hands of any foreign Power.
– It is indisputable that, so far as we are informed, the most excellent relations exist at the present time between our own nation and the French Republic. Of that we are happy to hear. But I am not aware that relations of the most intimate character would justify the sacrifice of established rights by either Power. The Imperial authorities are well aware, and have recently been reminded at length, of the strong views we hold upon this question. I am sure that they would not, in the name of amity, ask the French Republic to sacrifice its rights, and I am equally confident that the French Republic would not make any such request to us because our nations are united by the entente cordiale. On the contrary, we trust that the relationship which existsbetween Great Britain and France will lead to an early consideration of the reciprocal rights of each party, and result in a just settlement. In our view a just settlement cannot but be beneficial to Australia.
– I should like to know whether the resolution recently passed by this House upon the subject of the New Hebrides has been transmitted to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and whether an acknowledgment has been received ?
– Speaking from memory, I believe that our communication has been acknowledged, but that no expression of opinion has been forwarded.
– In reference to a reply given by me on Tuesday to a question asked by the honorable member for Southern Melbourne, with reference to the importation of harvesters, I have been furnished with a memorandum, which states that three or four words were inadvertently omitted from one of the sentences. The reply, which should have been given, states that the records of the last two years show that the heaviest importations of agricultural machinery, which includes harvesters, are in the months of November, December. January, and February. The words “of agricultural machinery, which includes harvesters,” were inadvertently omitted from the sentence. The House has already been informed - Hansard, page 5279 - that no separate record of the imports of harvesters was kept prior to 1st January, 1905. Hence the necessity for giving this reply in a general form.
– In case my silence may be taken as consent, I desire, by way of personal explanation, to say that at the proper time, and at the proper place, I shall deal with the statements contained in the leading article published in this morning’s Argus. In an article which extends over nineteen inches, there are sixteen lies, five misleading statements, some half truths - which an eminent authority has declared to be worse than actual lies - one illogical conclusion, and one grammatical error. In this anaylsis, which has been somewhat hurriedly made, I have not taken into account the usual headline which precedes the leading article, “I am in the place where I am demanded of conscience to speak the truth,” &c.
asked the Treasurer,” upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Whether he has taken any action in regard to placing underground telegraph and telephone wires in the principal streets of Adelaide?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
Action is being taken. The matter is being treated as one of urgent necessity.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 29th November, vide page 6023) :
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - 73. (1.) No person shall -
falsely apply to any goods for the purpose of trade or sale; or
knowingly sell or expose for sale, or have in his possession for sale or for any purpose of trade or manufacture any goods to which there is falsely applied ; or
import into Australia any goods not produced in Australia to which there is applied a mark which is a distinctive device, design, symbol, or label registered by any individual Australian worker or association of Australian workers corporate or unincorporate for the purpose of indicating that articles to which it is applied are the exclusive production of the worker or of members of the association (and which mark is hereby declared to be a workers’ trade mark), or any mark substantially identical with a registered workers’ trade mark, or so nearly resembling it as to be likely to deceive.
The workers’ trade mark is falsely applied unless in truth -
the goods to which it is applied are exclusively the production of the worker or of members of the association ; or
the goods to which it is applied are in part but not exclusively the production of the worker or of members of the association, and the mark is applied in such manner as clearly to indicate that its application does not refer to, describe, or designate the parts of the goods not being the production of the worker or of members of the association ; and
the mark is applied to the goods (being goods produced in Australia) by the employer for whom they are produced, or, with the authority of the employer, by the worker or a member of the association registering the mark.
In this section - “ Association “ includes any number of associations acting together, and in such case the members of the “association” shall be the members of the associations which are acting together; “ Production “ means production, manufacture, workmanship, preparation, or product of labour; “ Produced “ has a meaning corresponding with” production.”
Penalty : Fifty pounds, in addition to any liability to forfeiture provided by law.
For a very long time, in fact, ever since the question of what we may fairly and properly call workers’ trade marks has been before the country, practically one side only has been presented to the public ; and I desire now, as briefly as , I can, to put forward the views that have impressed themselves upon the Government, and have led them to believe that the proposals now made by them are justifiable, and ought to be adopted. Although the views that have been presented in some quarters in opposition to our ideas have been scarcely due to ignorance, I believe that in many instances they have been due to misconception - misconception not only as to the tenor of the proposals placed before the House, but misconception also as to the history of the subject and the way in which it has been dealt with in a far larger community than ours, and one in which mercantile interests of huge proportions are involved.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral referring to the United States?
– Yes. I should like, in the first place, to read the clause, which presents no difference in principle or substance from the series of amendments for which it has been substituted. I have, I believe, in the clause now before us put into more concise form the series of amendments which were issued under date 15th September. Those amendments related both to union trade marks, and to individual workers’ trade marks, under the combined heading of “ workers’ trade mark.” I shall read the clause, because I believe that the language into which I have put these proposals correctly represents what those in favour of them have always maintained is the root principle of the proposed legislation, that is to say, the prevention of fraud. I shall endeavour to the best of my ability, to put before the Committee the facts and circumstances which I think justify the proposal. I shall also endeavour - fairly, I hope - to examine some of the objections that have been raised very often and very ably, if I may presume to say so, by several honorable. members. The proposed clause 73 reads in this way -
No person shall -
So far, there is a prohibition against false application. Then follows a definition of what false application means -
The workers’ trade mark is falsely applied unless in truth -
the goods to which it is applied are exclusively the production of the worker or of members of the association ; or
the goods to which it is applied are in part but not exclusively the production of the worker or of members of the association, and the mark is applied in such manner as clearly to indicate that its application does not refer to, describe; or designate the parts of the goods not being the production of the worker or of members of the association ; and
the mark is applied to the goods (being goods produced in Australia) by the employer for whom they are produced, or, with the authority of the employer, by the worker or a member of the association registering the mark.
Then there is an inclusive definition of “ association,” declaring that it means any number of associations acting together, in which case the members of the combined associations will be the members, of each separate association. The clause further provides - “ Production “ means production, manufacture, workmanship, preparation, or product of labour ; “ Produced “ has ameaning corresponding with “ production. “
Penalty : Fifty pounds, in addition to any liability to forfeiture provided by law.
That, of course, relates to cases in which goods are imported, and may be liable to forfeiture for a breach of the Customs law. It is merely inserted to guard against accident, and the belief that the only penalty provided is a monetary one. Assuming this Trade Marks Bill to be constitutional - and I shall deal with that aspect of the matter hereafter - my viewis that these clauses only confer upon workers the same advantages that are extended to capitalists in the remainder of the measure. Before I resume my seat, I shall offer to the Committee the testimony of Judges who have expressed the opinion that it only places the efforts of the labourer in the same category as the tangible property of the employer or ordinary tradesman is put by other sections of the trade marks law. That is the foundation of the morality, if I may call it such, of giving to the worker the power to register his trade mark, irrespective of whether he is a single worker, whether he is a unionist, or whether he is combined with other workers who are not members of a union at all. He can registera trade mark without anybody’s consent; but in no case can he affix it to any goods. It is quite clear that it is improper that it should be falsely applied. Under this clause, if a worker applies that mark to any goods of his employer without his employer’s authority, he is liable to a penalty of£50. A trade mark cannot lawfully be attached to any goods, except by the employer himself, or bysome member of an association - if it be an association mark - or by the worker himself - if it be a worker’s mark - with the authority of the employer. In short, I take it that when we are passing a Trade Marks Bill our aim should be to make no discrimination between various classes of the community. I believe that I am right in saying - and I hope I shall be able to prove it to the satisfaction of honorable members - that this Bill represents an effort to place workers and proprietors of goods - “ capitalists,” or whatever we may term them - upon an equality before the trade marks law. At the present time the whole contention of honorable members upon the other side of the Chamber is that a worker has no right to register a trademark. I intend to examine that argument, and to discuss why he should have that right. If it be lawful, and if it is a right thing to do from a moral stand-point, I do not see why weshould not allow him to register a trade mark.If it be a wrong thing to do morally, it is certainly not proper for us to permit him to register it. But I take it that there can scarcely be any difference of opinion upon the question that it is right to say that in respect of any mark, which a worker may adopt to distinguish the product of his labour, or which an association of workers - whether it be a trades union or not - may adopt to distinguish the product of the labour of its members, it is a moral offence, and ought, if possible, to be made a legal offence to forge that mark. That is all that the clause to which I refer provides. As honorable members will notice, it imposes a prohibition upon a person falsely applying a trade mark to any goods for the purposes of trade or sale. It also imposes a prohibition against knowingly selling or exposing for sale, or having in possession for sale, or for any purpose of trade or manufacture, any goods to which such a mark is falsely applied. Then there is a further prohibition upon the importation of goods into Australia bearing an Australian mark, when those goods have not been produced in Australia.
– The Attorney-General has omitted the word “ knowingly “ in that connexion. He regards it as impossible to introduce such goods into Australia unknowingly.
– It is absolutely impossible to honestly import into Australia goods bearing a mark to the effect that they have been made in Australia, but which have not been ‘produced here. That is the position. The remainder of the clauses must, I believe, be recognised - if this principle be once adopted - as purely machinery provisions. The registration of a mark is nothing more or less in this case than it is in the case of an ordinary trade mark. In ordinary business circles, a man may have a trade mark. It may be the representation of a horse, as applied to salt. If that is the trade mark of one business man, and another person invades it by selling salt with the representation of a horse upon it. the owner of the trade mark can appeal to the Court, independently of any Trade Marks Act, and restrain the thief. The Trade Marks Act was introduced to allow registration for the purpose of more effectively providing evidence and remedies. Therefore, registration, in every case, is simply for the purpose of allowing the public to see what trade marks are protected, and to establish - after the lapse of a certain time, at all events - Beyond all doubt who is the owner of a specific trade mark, to provide remedies of a comparatively simple nature, and, in some cases - if the right to the trade mark is contested and withstood - to have the trade mark taken off the register. In short, it is to allow the public to know to whom the registered trade mark belongs, and to give the owner greater facilities for protecting his property. If we admit that the workers have the right to some symbol designating the product of their labour, there can be no objection to allowing them to put it on the register, because by so doing the public will be protected in every way. If we do not allow that, the result might be that a worker, a union, or an association which is not a union, might by advertisement or in some other way, notify the public that a certain mark belonged to them, and the employer who wished to apply it might be caused great confusion, because he might have grave doubt as to whether he was correctly applying it by acting upon the consent of one person when he ought properly to get the consent of another. Without this Bill at all, any trade union, or any worker - I will take the case of a trade union, for the purpose of my argument, because that is the organization which is uppermost in the minds of honorable members - can at the present time pass a resolution adopting a certain label. It can advertise it in all the newspapers-
– The’ Typographical Union at Broken Hill has a label of that sort.
– The fact that it is being done strengthens my argument that it may be done.
– The Tailors’ and Tailoresses’ Society upon the gold-fields of Western’ Australia also have a label.
– Yes, I have seen their label. It was exhibited by a deputation which waited upon the previous Government.
– Then why does the AttorneyGeneral desire the introduction of. these clauses?
– To block the pirate.
– At the present moment, independently of this Bill, a union may adopt a label, and an employer, if he chooses, may attach that label to goods which answer its description. In other words, if the goods are the product of union labour, an employer would be doing no wrong to the public if he put that label upon the goods so manufactured. But supposing - as is often the case in connexion with trade marks - the public recognise that label, and wish voluntarily to promote the welfare of that union by purchasing goods to which it is affixed ; what would be the inevitable course of proceeding amongst those who do not observe union conditions? Undoubtedly there would be a few - sufficient in number to break down the guard that the public had, and so to deceive and injure them - who would put that mark upon goods which were not truthfully described. There would not be a ready - if any - means of restraining the man who was undoubtedly a rascal.
– Cannot such men be punished under the present Act?
– They cannot. Let me tell honorable members what happened in America, because it will serve to point what I am now saying. In 1874, the union label was first introduced in the United States. In that year the state of affairs existing in California, and particularly in San Francisco, was very bad indeed. In the cigar trade, white persons who were working at a proper wage found that there were shopkeepers and manufacturers employing others - some white and some Chinese operatives - at what would be starvation wages from a union worker’s point of view. They found that these persons were employing coolies, and also women and children in what were called small rat tenements, in manufacturing cigars, which were circulated among the people, and were, in some cases, dangerous to human life.They were certainly made under conditions of labour which tended to greatly depress the conditions of living.
– Were the cigars considered dangerous because some of the makers were suffering from leprosy ?
– There may have been such a danger, but that is not the point. What happened? The unionists met together, and, just as we desire to have a White Australia, determined to stand out for a White California. They therefore adopted a white label, and decided that it should be affixed, with the consent of the employers and the unions concerned, to the products of those who gave reasonable wages and made cigars under proper conditions. The public supported the unions. They set their faces entirely against the sweating, improper, and dirty conditions that had obtained, and the white label achieved popularity. But unscrupulous persons, who were not adhering to reasonable conditions of labour, affixed the whitelabel to their products, with the result that: the unions sought protection in the CourtsDecisions were then given, which,in some cases, have been cited in opposition to our proposal. The Court said to the unions, “ We cannot say much for the morality of the action of which complaint is made, but, viewing the matter from a strictly legal stand-point, we see no ground for protecting the unions. The white label is not at common law, apart from statute law, a trade mark in the strict sense of the term. The unions are not carrying on a business of their own, and we cannot consistently, with precedent, give them the protection they seek.” What did the unions do? Finding themselves thrust aside in this way, they determined to appeal to the public to support them. They advertised in the newspapers that A, B, and C, whoever they might be, were the only persons authorized to affix the white label to their goods, and they asked the people to support them. That has been described as boycotting. It was. an intimation to the public as to who were justly and truly affixing the white label, to their goods. When the public found from experience that this was a proper system to support, the Legislature stepped in and passed a law dealing with the subject. A provision was passed similarto that which was agreed to by the. Senate, but which I thought too drastic, and not necessary in this country. I have entirely altered that provision, which was passed in the United States of America for reasonswhich will be obvious to honorable members, nowthat I have related a portion of the history of the matter, and which are certainly inapplicable here. I altered it because, as it stood, it would have given the unions here the same power as is enjoyed by unions in every State where the union label has been adopted - the power to give or! refuse permission to place the union label on all goods. What happened in America? The question was dealtwith in various Courts. The hatters and clothiers took up thematter, and issued a union labelin the same way as other unions had done. But in each case, unscrupulous persons applied it to goods which did not deserve in truth to bear the label. Time after time the unions went into Court, and weretold that, from a strictly legal point of view, they could not. act as they desired. But gradually the sense of the people of the United States so manifested itself that in a few years Legislature after Legislature adopted the union label law. 1 wish to emphasize the . point that such a law was not passed by a chance vote in one Legislature. It was not the result of one rapid panic vote. Year after year the Legislatures of forty large, medium-sized, and small States and territories, having a. population of about 68,000,000, adopted that law. Is not that a strong manifestation of public opinion in favour of some such provision? There is another point which I wish to put to honorable members as a fair subject for consideration.We know that the American Legislatures, if controlled at all, are controlled not by the poor, but by the rich. We know that for some reason or other American Legislatures are, to a large extent, favorable to the large and wealthy corporations. If that be so, we may judge of the strength and the volume of publicopinion which has forced upon those Legislatures the enactment of such a law.
– I think that this label will have a destructive effect as regards the workers.
– The honorable and learned member is anticipating me. I should like to deal with that matter presently. I wish to put before the Committee an extract from the Bulletin of the Bureau of Labour of the United States of America, No. 54, issued in September, 1904.
– That is an official organ ?
– Yes, it is the official organ of the United States. At page 1479 of this Bulletin, we find the following : -
Forty States and Territories have adopted laws allowing trade unions, federations, and other labour organizations to adopt labels or trade marks, to be used to designate the products of the labour of their members, and prohibiting the counterfeiting or the use of such labels or trade marks by unauthorized persons.
The names of the States and territories are given in alphabetical order; but I propose to put them before the Committee in the order in which I have secured them from another source, and to show the population of each Statein which such a law as this has been adopted. The following table gives the names of the various States which have adopted union label laws, and their population in 1900 - the latest statistics that I have been able to secure -
Thus a vast proportion of the people of the United States have united in passing such a law. As Legislature after Legislature - Legislatures that are not controlled by the workers - have taken this action, should we not reasonably consider whether there is not something of a moral claim beneath all this? As many objurgations have been addressed to me in respect of my action in this connexion, I should like to remind honorable members, as I did to a certain extent a few minutes ago, that the original of this proposal emanated from the Senate. The Watson Government introduced the original Trade Marks Bill, and as many honorable members have correctly asserted, it then contained no provision for union labels.
– They were then acting on their own responsibility.
– We acce’pted it as drafted by the first Deakin Government.
– The Bill as introduced by the Watson Government was drawn by the first Deakin Government.
– That is an important point. The Watson Government were only a short time in office, and had not very long to consider the matter. Whilst the Bill was before the Senate, what took place ? It was read a first time at the instance of Senator McGregor, a member of the Watson Government, on 14th July, 1904. It. was read a second time on the 27 th July, 1904, and on 10th August of that year, while the Watson Government were in office, the part relating to trade union marks was introduced as an amendment by Senator Pearce. On the following clay, the first clause in that part was agreed to without a division. The remaining; clauses” of the same part were proceeded with, and the next one was also agreed to without a division. Then Senator Drake moved the insertion of a clause forbidding trade unions to refuse to authorize a manufacturer or employer who adopted the rate of wages and the hours of employment fixed in reference to the trade of such unions to apply the union trade mark to his products. That clause was rejected by a majority of ten. The remaining clauses were agreed to without division, and the Bill was reported to the Senate with amendments. On the 18th August, the Reid Government came into power, but the Bill did not leave the Senate until 30th November, some three and a half months later. During that time it was under the charge of the Attorney-General in that Administration, Senator ‘Symon, but there was no intimation that his Government were opposed to these clauses. On one or two occasions, Senator Symon gave expression to his own individual opinion, . and I would call attention to what he said. On the 7th September, 1904 - the proceedings are reported on pages 4335 of Vol. XXI. of Hansard - the honorable gentleman moved that the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clauses 15, 72, and 93. Clause 72 was one of the trade union label provisions, and it was proposed to recommit it to enable Senator Pearce to move an amendment which would strengthen it.
– That must have been part of a wicked bargain between the ReidMcLean Ministry and the Labour Party.
– I am merely stating the facts. Senator Pearce desired, as I read the debate, to amend the clause so that “ union “ would cover, not only an individual union, but an association of unions, and Senator Sir Josiah Symon moved the recommittal of the Bill to enable that to be done. That he was not hostile to the amendment is shown bv the fact that in Committee he suggested words which would better carry out Senator Pearce’s purpose, and, his suggestion having been accepted, the clause was amended accordingly. It is only fair to add that he said that he thought it a mistake to insert these provisions in the Bill. He remarked, speaking of Senator Pearce -
I am not saying one word adversely or otherwise with regard to the principle he lias in view, but I think that from his own stand-point it is worth consideration whether he should ask us to insert these provisions in a Bill relating to what is an entirely distinct matter - trade marks - and whether it would not be better to have a separate piece of legislation dealing with this particular subject.
– The present Opposition would be opposed to these provisions even if they were contained in a separate Bill.
– Senator Sir Josiah Symon expressed the opinion that he would be opposed to them, even if they were embodied in a separate measure. I do not think that he left himself open to misunderstanding on that point. But he said - T wish honorable members to remember these words when the constitutional question is raised -
I know that in America - and that is the pattern which mv honorable friend has followed - some enactments for this purpose have been passed : but it is noticeable that these are not Federal enactments. Our Constitution enables us to deal with “ trade marks,” and it is a moot question as to what is meant by that term.
There is there no expression of the opinion that it is outside the cowers of this Parliament to enact this legislation. He continued -
I am aware that the question was raised and debated here, and has been left to the determination of the High Court.
Senator Sir Josiah Symon then put it to Senator Pearce whether it was worth while. to deal with the subject in this Bill, instead of in a separate measure. He said -
I merely throw that out as a suggestion, but if he desires to retain the clauses, the words which I have suggested will meet his view, instead of the word “ association.”
The honorable and learned” senator, who, at the time, represented the Government, did not express any opinion on his own behalf, or on behalf of the Administration, hostile to these clauses. The clause was amended as I have stated, without division. Then, on the 23rd November, when the Reid Government had been in power for a long time - my authority is the report contained on page 7282 of Vol. XXIII. of Hansard - Senator Sir Josiah Symon, in compliance with a promise made to Senator Pearce, moved the recommittal of the Bill for the reconsideration of a proposed new clause, 8a, but he did not seek the reconsideration, of the .trade union label clauses, although Senator Lt. -Col. Gould wished to have those clauses reconsidered.
– Surely the expressions of an individual Minister are not to be taken as the opinions of the Ministry? If that test were applied to the present Ministers, what would be the result?
– In this case Senator Sir Josiah Symon spoke as the representative of the Government.
– Does the honorable and learned member for Angas refer to expressions of opinion made by an honorable member when a member of a Government, and representing the Government? That was the position of Senator Sir Josiah Symon at the time.
– Senator Sir Josiah Symon and the Ministry of the day were opposed to these clauses.
– A vote was taken on the question that the Bill be recommitted, and Senator Sir Josiah Symon expressed himself as personally opposed to the clause, but added -
There can be no harm in reconsidering the matter, and if any honorable senator desires that we should reconsider other clauses, I shall be equally ready to assist him.
So far as I’ can discover, the Government attitude was not declared to be hostile to the clauses, but they were not recommitted’, because, on a division being taken on the question, the voting was equal. I think that that ite the occasion to which the honorable and learned member for Corinella has already referred. Then, on the 30th November - as witness the report on page 7594 of Vol. XXIV. of Hansard- Senator LtCol. Gould again moved the recommittal of the Bill for the reconsideration of the trade union label clauses, an. the motion that the Bill be read a third time. He expressed himself against the principle of the clauses, but the chief reason which he urged for the recommittal was that under the clauses as they stood, a manufacturer, although paying union rates of wages, and observing union hours and conditions, could not use the union trade mark unless a union saw fit to allow him to do so. That defect has now been cured. The honorable senator, however, was against the principle of the clauses altogether. Senator Sir Josiah Symon, as the representative of the Government, would not agree to the proposed recommittal, and asked Senator Lt. -Col. Gould not to press his motion to a division. He said -
I do not think I ought to sacrifice a Bill because of some provision in it which I do not like.
He added that, if necessary, the measure would come before the Senate again after it had been dealt with by the House of Representatives. But if this House had accepted the union label provisions, they could not have been again considered by the Senate. There is no indication, so far as ,1 can discover - other honorable members may be more fortunate - that the members of the Reid-McLean Administration, as a Government, were opposed to these provisions during the three and a half months which elapsed between the 18th August, when they came into office, and the 30th November, when the Bill was sent from the Senate to this House.
– The last Administration did not introduce the Bill.
– No; but they had an opportunity to express their views as a Government in regard to its provisions, through their representative in the Senate. I have referred to these matters because it has been said in some not very well:informed quarters - I do not remember that it has been said by honorable members in this Chamber - that the present Government introduced the trade union label provisions. What we have done has been, not to introduce those provisions, but to make them as fair as possible, and great credit is due to the Labour Party for having honorably agreed to take a much less degree of protection for the trade union label than, is given in any State of the American Union. I have in- formed honorable members of the nature of the trade union label, and have given its history, so far as I can ; let me now consider the objections to it. The chief objection which has been raised is that, in America, it has resulted in boycotting. I think that what has happened in America has been greatly exaggerated, and that, if the American reports are consulted, it will be found that the boycott, whenever its existence has been proved, has been repressed. I use the word “ boycott “ in the sense of intimidation, or coercion, by an unlawful act of some kind. If honorable members say that it is boycotting for a union to openly and frankly appeal to the public to support it, they attach to the term a signification which I cannot accept. It is no more boycotting for a union to ask the public in a peaceable way to support it than for a candidate for office to ask his electors to vote for him in preference to his rival. But if there is intimidation, coercion, or oppression by any unlawful act, that is wrong, and, so far as I know, such proceedings have been universally and uniformly repressed in America, in England, and in this country. When the subject was first discussed, we heard a good deal about the American decisions. It Avas said that in America it has been decided that the trade union label is not a trade mark, that its use has been discountenanced by the Court, and held up to obloquy by the Judges. Case after case has been quoted from the American newspapers, and repeated ad nauseam, to show that the trade union label has been used in America as a,n instrument for boycotting. I have found no case, however, in which a decision has been given against the validity of the union label on the ground that it was being used for boycotting. What I have found is that unions have been prevented from boycotting, although, in one or two cases, the use of the union label was part of the facts stated. The instances to which I refer are of this kind : No employer can lawfully use a trade union label without the consent of the union, and agreements have been made whereby, in consideration of being allowed to use a union label, an employer has agreed to observe union conditions. Unions have been accused of boy.cotting by refusing to allow the use of their label to those who would not adopt such conditions. But the decision of the Court would have been the same if, without the withholding of the label, coercion had been used against a manufacturer, because he did not employ union men or observe union conditions. Then we were told that there were a number of cases after the Acts had come into force, and we were also frequently informed-though not lately, because that idea has been utterly exploded - that the American Courts had pronounced the Union Label Acts ss unconstitutional, and contrary to the United States fourteenth amendment, and also to the Constitutions of the States. I can say confidently that, in no case that I have looked at has there been one single decision impugning the constitutionality of these Acts. I challenge any honorable member to produce a decision showing that one of these Acts was Unconstitutional. If it had been opposed to the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States, no State would have had power to pass such an Act under any circumstances. And, therefore, we may rest perfectly assured that all that we have heard about the Acts having impaired the liberty of the citizens of the United States, and being contrary to the United States Constitution, is all moonshine.
– The New York Court of Appeals stated that although it was indicated to them that the Act was passed with a view to permit of bovcotting, they could not allow the decision to rest on that ground.
– That does not affect what I say one bit. I maintain that every one of these Acts is in operation, and is unchallenged to-day. In case after case the Acts have been enforced, and have ever since their enactment been held to be valid, constitutional, and binding. I have a list here of some fifteen cases which have been tried - some before the Act, and some after it - and I wish to direct attention to the fact, which’ is very instructive, that every one of these cases has arisen through unscrupulous persons counterfeiting the label. Before the Act was brought into operation, these offenders were able to go away, triumphing in the fact that in spite of their dishonesty the law was not strong enough to convict them - thev were honorably acquitted on a point of law. These people have now been repressed, and in case after case convictions have been upheld. In the case of Colin v. People, Illinois, 1894, 41 American S.R., 304, the conviction was upheld. In the case of the People v. -Fisher, New York, 1894, 50 Hunt, 552, the conviction was upheld.
In the case of the State v. ‘Bishop, Missouri, 1895, 49 American S.R., 569, the conviction was set aside, but the Court held that the Act was perfectly good, and the only reason the conviction was set aside was because a guilty knowledge had not been proved. In the same year, in the case of the State v. Bernsheimer, Missouri, 62, Miss. Appeals, 165, it was held, because there was no Act, that the label was not a trade mark. In the case of Hetterman v. Powers, kentucky, 1897, 80 Am. S.R., 637, the bill was filed in 1890, before the Act was passed, but the Court gave its judgment on the morality of the case, and although the label was not a technical trade mark, thev accorded it protection. In the case of Schmals v. Woolley, 1898, New York, 73 Am. S.R., 637 1 the Equity Court of Appeal in New Jersey upheld the right’ of injunction, and decided that the Act was correct. In 1899, in the New York case of Perkin v. Hcert, 70 Am. S.R., 483, the right of injunction was upheld. I should like to read at this juncture what the Court of Appeal in Equity had to say on the subject. They had to consider the constitutionality of the union trade mark, and they made some observations as to the right of a workman to have a mark Indicating his workmanship. This was the judgment of the final Court of Appeal of the State - the highest Court of Appeal for such a subject -
The case was on behalf of the Union Hatmakers’ Association for an injunction against the defendants to restrain them from using a counterfeit Trade Mark and Label. On page 643, the Court asks - Why should the specific personal element of ownership of merchandise at the time it is put upon the market be deemed important?
Then the Court proceeded to say -
The public object sought in the protection of trade marks is to bring upon the market a better class of commodities, and the means for attaining that object is by securing to those who are instrumental in supplying the market, whatever reputation they gain by their efforts toward that end. The workman by whose handicraft the commodity is made is one of these instruments, just .is his employer, who furnishes the raw material, and owns and sells the finished product; and if the former is permitted by the owner to place upon the commodity a mark to indicate whose workmanship it is, and thereby commend his workmanship to other employers, this license from the owner should be deemed a right- against everybody else. His aptitude in his trade is his property, and if by a mark he can have it identified as his in the market, he may enhance *its saleable value, and thus secure the same sort of advantage as his employer by similar means. No reason exists why this advantage should not be protected by the Courts in the same manner and to the same extent as is the like advantage of the employer. The mere fact that one rather than the other of these persons has placed the product upon the market has no rational bearing upon the matter, for both alike have had the market in view in the efforts they have made, and through those efforts the market is supplied.
– That is all right, as applied to a picture, but is nothing as applied to a pair of boots.
– A good many persons readily subscribe to any moral precept, but when it is applied find it inopportune to comply with it. I am reminded of the New York legislator who was asked his opinion in regard to a liquor prohibition law. He said that he was strongly in favour of the law being passed, but against its coming into operation.
– This Bill would prevent the possibility of granting the protection spoken of in the judgment quoted.
– I differ entirely from the honorable member.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral state that there is not a single instance of a Union Label Act having been held to be unconstitutional?
– I do not know of one.
– Does the honorable gentleman know of a case in which it has been held that a union label is not a trade mark?
-The honorable and learned member has only just come into the Chamber. I have already traversed that ground. At page 644, the decision to which I have referred continues in reference to the union of the journeymen hatters -
We understand from the bill that the members of the association represented by the complainant are connected together as journeymen hatters; that their skill in this trade, and their mutual assistance in profiting by its practice, form the motive and chief aim of- their association. The connexion is as clearly one for business purposes as is that of members in a partnership, or of stock-holders in a corporation. Although it is a comparatively novel species of relationship, it has become an established one, and therefore calls for the application of those general principles of law and equity which are applied to other species of business associations. According to these principles, we think a workman or a number of workmen engaged in the same branch of industry, and banded together for their mutual profit in the pursuit of their common vocation, may acquire a right of property in a trade mark designed to distinguish their workmanship from that of other persons, and that a trade mark so owned is entitled to the same protection as other trade marks.
In that case it was held that -
A number of workmen engaged in the same branch of industry may band together for their mutual profit, in the pursuit of their common industry, and acquire a right of property in a trade mark designed to distinguish their workmanship from that of other persons, and such trade mark is entitled to protection.
Then, in the case to which I previously referred - that of Hetterman v. Powers, in Kentucky, the Court, amongst other things, said -
In order to get the benefit of the superior reputation of cigars made by them, the appellees select and apply the label as a distinguishing brand or mark. And it would be strange if this thing of value, thiscertificate of good workmanship, and which makes the goods made by them sell, and thus increases demand for their work, be entitled to no protection, because those making the selection and application are not business men, engaged in selling cigars of their own. 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.
– Why does the AttorneyGeneral address all this to members in the Labour corner?
– Is there any use in addressing it to the honorable member?
– Plenty ; because I am still open to conviction.
– In the case of Strasser V. Mooneliss, which was a case of boycott, the Court held that there was no competent evidence of boycott, but they 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 subjects of trade law rules as well as tangible property.
– Is there any instance of a Union Label Act having been repealed by a State?
– Not entirely repealed, except with the object of substituting a better Act. So far as I have been able to trace the matter, the States have gone on, clown to 1903 and 1904, passing these union trade mark laws, and in no case can I discover that they have receded. May I point out, for the information of honorable members, that in 1898 only twenty -eight of the States territories had union trade mark laws; but during the six years that have elapsed, the number has been increased to forty.Then it has been stated that the conditions in the United States are different from ours ; that in America they have no labour laws. I have heard it stated that there are no laws which in any way re semble our factory, anti-sweating, or industrial conciliation laws, and so on. In one sense, and to a limited extent, that is true. That is to say, I do not think there is any Act which, from the beginning, compels arbitration and conciliation. I am clear, from what I have seen, that with a very few exceptions there is no law fixing wages generally. But there is a huge body of labour legislation which in all other respects is quite as stringent as ours for meeting sanitary and humane conditions, giving protection to wages and to the labourer, and in some few cases fixing the wages, more particularly for work done for the State or for municipalities. I intend to briefly indicate the nature of these laws. There are laws in twenty-seven States providing for the appointment of inspectors of factories and work-shops, whose duties consist in visiting and inspecting factories, work-shops, mills, and, in some cases, mercantile establishments, sweat-shops, bakeries, laundries, and building construction work, and enforcing the laws concerning the same. In regard to mining labour, a very extensive set of statutes has been passed in the mining States. I can give honorable members the details if they desire them. Then the statutes relating to hours of labour which have been enacted in various States must be considered in five groups, namely - (1) General laws, which merely fix what may be regarded as a day’s labour in- the absence of contract ; (2) laws defining what shall constitute a day’s work on public roads ; (3) laws limiting the hours of labour per day on public works generally ; (4) laws which limit the hours of labour in certain occupations ; (5) laws which specify the hours per day or per week during which women and children maybe employed. The statutes considered in the first four groups relate to employes regardless of age or sex. Then laws exist as to the payment of wages - that is, the times and mode of payment - certainprivi leges and special protection in relation to wages, such as freedom from attachment of wages, preference given- to wages, prohibition of deductions from or fines upon wages. In some States notice has to be given - in some cases thirty days’ notice - before reducing wages. Four States have statutes in force fixing the minimum wage rate for labour on public works. In California and Nebraska the minimum rate is fixed at 2 dol. per day, the law in Nebraska requiring the work to be performed by union labour. Nebraska has a population very nearly, if not quite, as large as that of Victoria. A Delaware statute provides that the daily wages paid for a legal day’s work to labourers,- workmen, or mechanics in the employ of the municipal corporation of the city) of Wilmington, or of any contractor or sub-contractor for public works for that city, shall not be less than the prevailing rate for a day’s work in the same trade or occupation in the locality where the work is done. Then there are laws as to employers’ liability, coercive boycotting, black-listing on the part of employers, and intimidation of employes and employers. A Federal trade union law, which was passed on 29th June, 1886, provides for the incorporation of international trades unions. “ National trade unions,” within the meaning of the Act, signify associations of working people having two or more branches in the States or territories of the United States for the purpose of aiding their members to become more skilled and efficient workers, for the regulation of their wages and hours, and for securing conditions of labour, or benefits such as obtain in friendly societies, or such other objects for which working people may lawfully combine.
– Under what power was that legislation enacted?
– Under the Inter-State commerce sections of the Constitution, I think. That shows the extent to which Congress has gone. Whether its action is constitutional, I am not prepared to say. But the fact remains that in America the Federation has done what we are told it is improper to do - it has extended Federal recognition to trade unions. Then laws have been passed creating Boards of Conciliation and Arbitration. These bodies differ very much in many of the States, as well as under the Congressional law. Thev are appointed - in some cases temporarily, and in others permanently - and an opportunity is given to the unions to appear before them, f they do so appear, the decisions of the Boards are binding, and can be enforced. In my opinion it is not a valid argument to say that no labour laws have been enacted in America. As a matter of fact, very extensive labour laws have been passed there. I should like to ask honorable members who urge that in Australia we have industrial and factory legislation. and that, therefore, no necessity exists for the introduction of the union label, “ What is the constant cry that we hear in regard to that legislation from those whom they represent “ ? Are we not frequently told that such laws are injurious, that they are not effective, and that they ought to be repealed? Do we not hear that they do not prevent sweating, and that they only make matters worse? “ Are we not constantly assured from those honorable members, and the section of the community whose views they so ably represent, that that sort of legislation ought to be repealed as quickly as possible? In the view which I am now presenting, the question at issue is not union as against nonunion labour. It is a question of the workers, as a great body, asking that the same recognition in trade marks law should be extended to them as is extended to those who are not workers. They say, “ It is true that in. many cases litigation has to be resorted to to get our rights. It is true that in too many instances it is difficult to get exact justice without friction, and without irritation,’ by means of arbitration. Tt is difficult to secure exact justice in many cases by means of wages boards. We desire an opportunity - but only with the employers’ consent - to ask the people of Australia whether they are willing to support us. We wish to appeal to them peaceably, and apart from any restrictive enactments.” That is a fair and strong argument. The unionscannot possibly succeed unless public opinion is with them. If my honorable friends opposite are right, and if the public are against them, the very worst thing they can do is to put a union label upon their goods. If public opinion is in favour of supporting union labour, is it not a fair thing to give it a chance of doing so? If the people are opposed to union labour, is it not a very good thing - from the standpoint of those who oppose this Bill - that the unions should have an opportunity to attach a distinctive label to their goods at the earliest opportunity ? If the public want goods to which a particular mark is affixed, why should not they have them? When we are told that only a minority of unionists desire the adoption of the union label, is not that a cogent argument that they will not boycott the rest of the people ? The unionists of Australia number only about 7 per cent, or 8 per cent, of the population.
– But they make it very uncomfortable when they start out for scalps.
– I am putting this argument apart from any feeling, because I wish it to be discussed upon its merits. If public opinion is opposed to the unions, the adoption of the union label will be fatal to those organizations. When we are told that there is no demand for a law of this character, except by a minority, is not that a strange argument to emanate from those who always stand up for the rights of the minority ? If we are to judge by minorities, how many people in this country desire to take advantage of the trade marks law ? Comparatively few. Only the large manufacturers, the importers, and the large dealers. We do not find the small shopkeepers and the country dealers rushingfor trade marks. It is not a fair argument to say that it is only a minority of the workers who desire this legislation. I am not so sure that throughout the Commonwealth it is only a minority. But even if it be a minority, that minority will be perfectly helpless unless the great majority of the people support them. What would be the use of an ordinary trader putting a mark upon his goods if he did not expect a large number of people to favour those goods? To my mind, this Is a peaceful way of asking the public whether they will support the unions or not. The decision is entirely in the hands of the people. Then we have been told that the union label is a weapon of boycott. In the multitude of words warning this country against the danger of boycott, there is one little incident to which I should like to direct attention. I do not know who represent labour in this country. I have always understood that every honorable member in this House, more or less, represents labour together with other interests. But I think it will be conceded that if there is one section of this Chamber which distinctively represents labour, it is the labour members. When we are told by the opponents of this proposal that it will be used to injure the non-unionists, is it not a remarkable thing that there has not been a single petition presented to this House by them in opposition to it, and that not one word of expostulation by a non-unionist worker has appeared in the press? Not a single individual worker has stood up and denounced it. It seems to meonly fair to say that labour members represent labour in all its forms far more distinctively than do any other honorable members in this House.
– Not at all.
– I used the word “distinctively.” I hope that all of us have the interests of labour at heart, but I say that the Labour Party has a mission in this country. They are returned representing distinctively the rights of labour.
– Of organized labour.
– That is the trouble.
– I must ask honorable members to refrain from carrying on conversations across the Chamber, and to extend to the Attorney-General that courtesy to which he is entitled.
– He has had a very good hearing.
– I recognise that. I recognise also that there is a strong feeling in regard to this matter, and I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to eliminate all,but the bare arguments, and to put them as strongly as I can. I do not think that the statement that the Labour Party represent only organizedlabour is a fair one.
– To begin with, it is not true.
– If we look the matter fairly and fully in the face, we must recognise that, until it organized, labour did not have any fair rights accorded it. Capital is always self -organized, but labour is not. It has been said over and over again that “ capital speaks every language,” can transfer itself instantly from one country to another, can pass from one business to another, and is, in short, cosmopolitan. But labour is in a different position. It is not only native of the country - it is not only as a rule tied down to one country - but is nearly always tied down to the one place andto the one occupation. Until labour has organized it cannot hope to fight a fair battle with capital. I do not wish to do anything more than hold the scales, as far as lies in my power, fairly and evenly between the two. But it is a remarkable and noteworthy fact that from no quarter whatever has any objection beer, offered to this proposal, during the twelve months or more that it has been before the Parliament, by a single worker who is not a member of a union.
– Not even from the Machine Shearers’ Union.
– I do not wish to say anything as to that. I propose to call the attention of honorable members to a remarkable incident. We have been told that the passing of these provisions will lead to a boycott by labour, and the word “ boycott “ is used in a derogatory sense. I wish to direct attention to a memorandum on the union label clauses which was addressed to the Commonwealth Government by the president, executive officers, and council of the ‘Central Council of Employers of Australia.
– Is that Knox’s “ push “ ?
– I am not going to allude to personal matters. I cannot give the exact date of the memorandum, but I find in it a reference to 24th January, though it bears the date of 23rd August, 1905. It is signed by Mr. Walpole, as secretary, and I think that it is amongst the papers laid on the table of the House. It is a warning against these clauses.
– We all have copies.
– I think that we have. In this memorandum the following statement is made: -
Another danger may crop up speedily. If the employer gives way to union pressure, and for the sake of the union label accepts union conditions in their entirety, those people in the community who object to the union label goods may refuse to buy them. In extreme cases pressure might also be brought to bear upon the unfortunate manufacturer through his trade creditors or his banker, if he accepts union conditions.
– That is a boycott.
– What does it mean, coming as it does from Mr. Walpole, who represents the Central Council of Employers? Is it a threatened boycott, or is it not? Is it not a statement by Mr. Walpole that if we desire to do this the great banking institutions and1 trade creditors will put pressure upon the smaller traders, and prevent them from doing that which they might otherwise do? This is the first and only real threat of a boycott thai: I have known to be made during the whole of these proceedings. I accept this statement, coming,1 as it does, fromMr. Walpole, as emanating from a source which is supposed to be aware of it. but I will say that I “do not believe Mr. Walpole on all occasions thoroughly and properly represents the Employers’ Council.
– I will say. on behalf of the Banks, that the statement in question is not accurate.
– I am glad to hear it. I fully and frankly accept the assurance of my honorable friend. My acquaintance with the employers, and the courteous, frank, fair, and outspoken way in which they have always met me, leads me to believe that they would not lend themselves to anything of the kind ; but I wish to warn the country against accepting the statements of Mr. Walpole on all occasions. I do not think that on all occasions he properly represents the employers, and in many respects he may do their cause great injury. As this statement has been put before the country by Mr. Walpole, who may be taken by the people to properly represent the Employers’ Council, I think that the latter would do well to see that such memoranda are properly scanned before they are sent out. I wish now to deal with the constitutional aspect of the matter. If these clauses, from a moral and political standpoint, ought to be enacted, then we should enact them-, unless, as I take it, we can clearly see that they are beyond the range of our power. Are they clearly beyond the range of our power? I should like to remind honorable members that, under subsection xviii., section 51, of the Constitution, power is given to the Parliament to make laws with respect to copyright, . patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks. It has been contended for a very long time by those who hold that the provisions now before us are unconstitutional, that the power of the Parliament in this respect is restricted to the passing of laws relating to marks which are used by the seller of goods to denote that they are sold by him. I have referred to some American cases which very considerably shake that view. One of the clauses which we passed last night distinctly departs from it.
– And it forms part of English legislation..
– Quite so. When honorable members look at the section of the Constitution to which I have referred, they will see that it gives us power to legislate with regard to trade marks. There are two separate words. It is possible to take a broad view ; it is possible to take a restricted one. Even if we take the restricted view, I am not sure that the contention that it isoutside our power to deal with such a matter as this is correct. I should like to call the attention of honorable members to a point which does not seem to have occurred to some of the critics of this power. I refer to the fact that all we propose to say inregard to this matter is that a trader, a man who has goods to sell, is not to put upon those goods a mark for the purposes of trade or sale - which is practically the same thing in that regard - unless it is a true one.
– Hear, hear; I am with the Attorney-General up to the hilt.
– That has been done. We have not said that the unions are to be able to apply the mark to goods which do not belong to them. We have not given them power to apply a mark to goods ; but we have said that a man in trade, having a right to .sell his goods, may apply to them a particular mark, if it be true. I should think it would take a lot of argument to show that such is not a trade mark. It is a trade mark used for the purposes of trade.
If we take a broader view of the matter– if we remember that ours is a Constitution for all time - it seems somewhat remarkable to assume that for all time as a Commonwealth we are to be restricted to legislation in respect of just such trade marks as were used and known in commerce when the Constitution Act was passed. I think that the honorable and learned member for Angas wished to limit the power to common law trade marks.
– I understood the honorable and learned member to ask “ Could it be that if a man owned a- trade mark in one of the States of Australia when it was passed, that that would be a trade mark, under the Constitution, of all Australia ? “
– No. I said that the statutes had also to be taken into account. I know that the honorable and learned member at first misunderstood me, but I corrected him.
– When the Constitution was passed, trade union marks formed the subject of legislation in the United States. They were therefore in existence prior to the passing of the Constitution.
– We have had placed before us the opinion of eminent counsel that it is not within our power to legislate in this way. We all know my learned friend, Mr. Cussen, and all respect his opinion. But I do not think that a statement which he makes at the outset of his opinion has received the prominence it deserves. He says -
The 0’iestion whether the Commonwealth Parliament has power to legislate in respect oof what may be shortly called “ union labels “ is to my mind one of extreme difficulty.
He does not say, “I am perfectly clear.”
– No one could.
– That is so. Mr. Cussen says the question is one of extreme difficulty. Senator Sir Jos’iah Symon said that it-was a moot question. When we have twodistinguished lawyers, one saying that it isa question of extreme difficulty, and another, when in a position of responsibility,declaring that it is a moot question, arewe, as a Federal Parliament, at oncegoing to admit for all time that we have no power to pass these provisions? Surely it is right to consider the question on its merits. Surely it is right to deal with it from the stand-point of political justice ; and, if we come to the conclusion that it is proper, to place these provisions on the statute-book, leaving the only tribunal of which the Constitution knows to say whether or not we have the necessary power. We are told, forsooth, that this must mean costly litigation. It has been said in some quarters, and I think we find the statement in this morning’s issues of both the Melbourne dailies, that the Employers’ Federation object that the proposal will be costly to test in the Courts, though if is one that will affect the welfare of thousands and tens of thousands of the workers of Australia now and to come. That being so, how could we justify the exclusion of these provisions from our legislation, on the ground that it may cost £50 or £100 to test our power in this regard ?
– One case will settle the lot.
– Of course, one case will settle the lot. Speaking for myself, I think that a very trivial argument.’ Cases of much less importance, and questions of far less magnitude, are argued in the Law Courts every day at much greater expense, and as we have a tribunal constituted for the purpose of determining these matters, why should we hold our hand, if we come to the conclusion that a thing is the right thing to do, because an eminent counsel, who admits that the question. is one of extreme difficulty, thinks that certain action is not within the power of the Federal Parliament?
– The Prime Minister took another course with regard to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
– I took then the course which I am taking’ now. When it was proposed to bring the public servants of the States within the scope of that measure, i said that it was doubtful whether we could do so, but that I would not determine the question against the Parliament. I went on to consider the proposal again on its merits, and voted against the inclusion.
– The Prime Minister refused to vote against his convictions on that occasion.
– The Prime Minister is able to justify all that he has done.
– ls he?
– On the nth August, of last year, Senator Keating, who is a lawyer, when speaking in the Senate, said, as reported at page 4128 of Vol. XXI. of H Hansard -
At that time the amendments were not circulated, but simply read to us; and now, after more careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the term “ trade mark “ in the Constitution is a term to receive an interpretation according to the varying conditions and requirements of the- time .as we progress. If we were bound by the interpretation put on the term by ordinary common law - that is, by the common law of to-day - we should need a new Constitution every few years. I think the marks referred to in the proposed clause come within the term “trade mark” in the Constitution, and that it is perfectly competent to insert those clauses in the Bill.
If we were compelled to confine ourselves to dealing with matters as they existed at the time of the Constitution, we should be very much fettered.
– No one presents that argument.
– I am not so sure of that. The Constitution gives us power to deal with telegraphs, but it might be said by some that we have no power to legislate in respect of wireless telegraphy, because it was necessary, in connexion with telegraphy as known under the Constitution, that there should be a wire connecting the sender and receiver of messages.
– Both English and American decisions show that the Constitution must be interpreted according to the circumstances of the day.’
– We are in accord on that point. I am supporting the view that it will lie competent for the Court to say that trade marks are marks used in trade, and that, rs time goes on. it will be competent for this Parliament to legislate in respect of trade marks in the larger and broader meaning of the term, bv enacting what shall be registrable and what shall not, or what shall be excluded and what shall be included.
– That is begging the whole question.
– It is absurd to say that we cannot define a trade mark by extending or limiting the meaning of the term.
– Certainly we can, so long as the mark is used for the purposes of trade, and answers a general description. In that view I am supported to a large extent by English legislation. I find, by reference to Sebastian on Trade Marks, that as far back as 1423, in the reign of Henry VI., it’ was provided thai no. harness of silver should be offered for sale in the city of London “ until touched with the touch of the leopard’s head,” and also with the workman’s mark, under penalty of forfeiture or payment of double value.
– I do not think that that is the law at the present day.
– Similar laws were passed in the reigns of Henry VII., Elizabeth, James 1., and George III. Then, by an Act of 41, George 111’., it was provided that a free man of the Cutlers’ Company might give his mark by will, and in default of a will, the mark should pass as personalty, subject to the widow’s life estate. Therefore, the worker’s mark was treated as absolute property, and passed to his representatives, lt also provided that gold or silver plate should not be sold or exported unless marked with the worker’s mark. Even at the present day, the Sheffield marks and the goldsmiths’ marks, which are purely workers’ marks, are similarly protected by legislation ; so that there is nothing new in the idea.
– The name is not new ; but it possesses a different significance now from what it did then. The worker’s mark was protected as the mark of the producer and seller of the goods to which it was applied.
– It has been argued by some learned gentlemen that there cannot be a trade mark apart from exclusive property in the article to which it is applied’; but in this connexion I should like honorable members to read a case - Somerville v. Schembri - decided bv the Privy Council in 1887 - 12 Appeal Cases, 453. Lord Watson, who is’ a very accurate lawyer, in delivering judgment, made some observations which are well worthy of consideration. They appear on pages 456 and 457 -
In Malta there is no law or. statute establishing the registration of trade marks, and no authority exists from whom an exclusive right to a particular trade mark can be obtained. The rights of the parties to this cause are therefore dependent upon the general principles of the commercial law, some of which are referred to in the judgment of the Court of Commerce. These principles have been very fully illustrated and explained by the House of Lords in the Leather Cloth Coy. Ltd. v. American Leather Cloth Coy. Ltd.; Wotherspoon v. Currie; Johnston and Co. v. Orr, Ewing, and Co.; all of which were cases which arose before the passing of the first British Trades Mark Registration Act in the year 1875. In the first of these cases, the interest which a merchant or manufacturer has in the trade mark which he uses was thus defined by Lord Cranworth : - “ The right which a manufacturer has in his trade mark is the exclusive right to use it for the purpose of indicating where, or by whom, or at what manufactory the article to which it is affixed was manufactured.” As soon, therefore, as a trade mark has been so employed in the market as to indicate to purchasers that the goods to which it is attached are the manufacture of a particular firm, it becomes to that extent, the exclusive property of the firm ; and no one else has a right to copy it, or even to appropriate any part of it, if by such appropriation unwary purchasers may be induced to believe that they are getting goods which were made by the firm to whom the trade mark belongs.
It seems to me that his Lordship admitted that a trade mark may exist without being the exclusive property of anybody, and that when by any circumstance, as by some of the traders using, it, if it were common to the trade, dropping out, or parting with their interest, or from any other cause, it became publicly known as indicating the good’s of a particular person, then that particular person had an exclusive right to it. But the judgment assumes that there may be a trade mark, that is, a mark used for the purposes of trade, even though no exclusive right in it is enjoyed by anybody.
– Is that a necessary assumption from the decision?
– No one is more accurate in his language than is Lord Watson, and he says -
As soon, therefore, as a trade mark has been so employed in the market as to indicate to purchasers that the goods to which it is attached are the manufacture of a particular firm, it becomes to that extent the exclusive property of the firm.
– Is that assumption necessary to the judgment, or even to the dictum ?
– I think that those words necessarily carry that meaning. I should not be justified in occupying the attention of the Committee at any greater length. I have stated, as fast as I can, the various considerations which I thought necessary to present to honorable members. The provisions which I wish to insert are an honest attempt to accord to the workers of Australia the same recognition of their trade marks as is enjoyed by the capitalists of the Commonwealth, be they large or small. But there is something further - and I press this view as a final consideration upon the attention of honorable members who desire to promote Australian manufactures. As I said to the deputation from the Chamber of Commerce which waited on me, it is a great thing to enlist the manhood and the womanhood of this great Commonwealth in the cause of Australian manufacture. No goods can honestly bear the union trade mark unless produced in Australia. If we desire to promote Australian manufactures, to give work to Australians, and to provide a. larger home market for our producers, we may combine this consideration with the justice of extending equality before the law - including the trade marks law - to those who are rightly termed the workers of the Commonwealth.
– The AttorneyGeneral presented his case very ably, and I trust that those who present the opposite point of view will be listened to with the attention and respect given to him. He spent a great deal of time in telling us about the union label and its use in America ; but he gave us very few reasons why it should be introduced into Australia at the present time. I am sorry that he appeared to cast a reflection upon honorable members on this side of the Chamber bv stating that there is a demand abroad for the repeal of the industrial legislation of Victoria and some of the other States.
– I did not mean that as a reflection on honorable members.
– He asked whether there had not been a constant cry for the repeal of these laws on the part of the opponents of the union label provisions. I have not heard of any cry of that kind, and the remarks of the Attorney-General should not have been directed to men who from the very beginning have supported legislation intended to confer ‘benefits upon the workers. Some honorable members on this side of the Chamber have taken a great interest in factory legislation and other enactments designed to confer advantages on the working classes. I have had occasion to defend factory and similar legislation when it has been cavilled at during my travels through other countries. I have represented that it is desirable that our workers should carry on their operations under fair and favorable conditions, even though we may have to pay a little more for what they produce. The Attorney-General stated that from no quarter had any objections been received to the proposals now before us, and that no public meetings had been held in opposition to them. That would not have been at all strange, in view of the fact that the Bill has been buried for the last four months, and was only resurrected on the 14th instant. The public had almost forgotten about it until it was brought prominently under their attention about a fortnight ago. Since then, however, I venture to say that scores of objections have been expressed all through the country.
– From the workers?
– From those who represent the workers.
– From farmers only.
– From shire councillors who are placed in their positions by the workers. Protests have been made by residents in all parts of the country against the adoption of the union label proposals, and we find that the great newspapers of the Commonwealth are almost unanimously opposed to them. Attempts have been made to associate some honorable members who are opposing the union label provisions with the statements made by Mr. Walpole, the secretary of the Employers’ Federation. I feel sure that honorable members in the Labour corner would not care to shoulder the responsibility for all the utterances of Tom Mann, and other persons of a similar character, and therefore it is scarcely fair to expect honorable members who are opposed to the union label provisions to accept the responsibility for all the statements made by Mr. Walpole. I had hoped that at this stage of the session the Government would have divorced the union label provisions from the others in the Bill, and have held them over until next session, with a view to introducing them in a separatemeasure. No stronger reason could be urged for the adoption of such a course than that furnishedby the speech of the Attorney-General. He has given us a great deal of information which we have had no opportunity of checking; nor have wehadany chance to ascertain what can besaidon the other side. Unfortunately, all the literature on thesubjectinour Library was borrowedby one of the Ministers,and was therefore not available to honorable memberson this side of the Chamber. The trade union label provi sions have not been shown to benecessary. They will certainly prove irritating,and possibly may turn out to be useless. Therefore, there is no reason why, at this stage of the session, we should block more important work in order that we may devote our time to passing a measure of doubtful utility. Ministers now stand in a false position, and would do better to postpone the consideration of the whole question until next session, when, honorable members could approach the subject with the fullest information at their disposal. These provisions have been to some extent sprung upon us.
– The Bill has been on the notice-paper for two years.
– The history of the Bill is an extraordinary one. As the honorable member says, it has been on the notice-paper for two years, and yet we have not been asked to deal with it until the fag-end of this session, when important work still remains to be done. It first appeared on the notice-paper this session on 28th July, and gradually dropped down to the bottom of the list of “Government measures, where it remained for four months. On 8th November last, when the Prime Minister made an announcement as to the measureswhich the Government desired to pass before the session closed, he placed the Trade Marks Bill third from the last on the list. Honorable members did not expect that it would be brought forward with such a rush, or that the Government would have pushed matters to such extremes as they have done. Some marked changes have been made in the provisions of the Bill since it was first received from the Senate. I have no doubt that the Attorney-General has found it difficult to submit to honorable members just as much as he thought they would stand, and at the same time to satisfy his friends of the Labour Party. He has done his best to disguise the dangerous features of the provisions, and thus disarmsuspicion, both in and out. of the House. The term “ trade union mark “ has been converted into “ workers’ trade marks.” The term “trade union,” which was used in the Bill when first received here, hasbeen supersededby the word “ union.” Now a further change has been brought about, the term “ union “ having been altogether superseded by the word “association.” Whilst the” form and verbiage of the clauses last submitted to us are different from those first proposed, the policy is the same, and in dealing with the clauses we have to treat them as if thev were purely and simply trade union label clauses, in the form in which they were received from the Senate. Not only have the provisions been altered in the way I have indicated, but as was ably pointed out by the honorable and learned member for Angas, and the honorable and learned member for Corinella, amendments had been made in other clauses - apparently in the hope that they would escape notice - in order that the powers desired to be conferred in the first place should be granted. Our thanks are due to the honorable and learned members referred to, for the ability with which they have indicated the true meaning of the provisions to which I refer. The readiness with which alterations were accepted by the Attorney-General last night caused me to suspect that he knew all about the defects sought to be remedied, and made them good, only when he was found out. Verylittle has been said by members on the Government side in support of these provisions. The honorable member for Bland has spoken, but not a word has been heard from any Minister, except the AttorneyGeneral. The public ave entitled to know why certain Ministers have changed their views since last session. The proposals now submitted for our consideration, although they were drafted before the Prime Minister announced his policy two years’ ago, have not been embodied in any policy submitted to the country. No Government has seen fit to take the responsibility of bringing them forward. It was left to a private member of the Senate to introduce them. Since they have reached this House they have been nursed by the Attorney-General, and the honorable member for Bland has acted as medical adviser, and has careful I v watched over them to see that no harm befell them. We have a right to know why the whole of the business of the country is being turned upside down, in order that certain new conditions, the operation of which no one can foretell, may be introduced into our industrial life. I can only conceive of one reason for all this hurry, namely, that the members of the Labour Party are determined, before the session closes, that the principle of preference to unionists shall in some form or other be embodied in cur Statutes. Honorable, members must have a vivid recollection of the struggle that took place over the question of preference to unionists in connexion with the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The Government of the day, rather than accept a modification of the provisions contained in the Bill, elected to leave office, and now they have succeeded in bringing to heel those who formerly opposed them. If these provisions are passed, the Labour Party will claim that they have achieved a triumph, and no doubt they will have done so. They will say that they compelled a recognition of their principles. Of course, the Attorney-General, the Minister of Trade and Customs, and the Minister of Home Affairs are perfectly consistent, inasmuch as they supported the proposed provision in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. But it is only fair to the country that the other members of the Ministry, who, upon that occasion, told us that to grant a preference to unionists was -wrong, should rise and explain why they have changed their minds, and why a proposal which was then so baneful has suddenly become so salutary.
– They have not changed their minds; they have merely changed their seats.
– It is due to the Committeee and to honorable members who followed those gentlemen at that time that they should state their reasons for their changed convictions. If they still believe that preference to unionists is a bad thing, it is only fair that they should not make a party question of this proposal. It should be an open question with them, and they should be at liberty to vote in accordance with their convictions, If that were done, honorable members upon this side of the House would be quite content. It is not fair, however, that members of the Ministry should be compelled to vote under duress. The Attorney-General did not tell us that these provisions would prove of great benefit to those in whose special interests they are submitted. Only the other night the honorable member for Bland distinctly stated that he did not think any very great benefit would be derived from them by members of trade unions. His support of these proposals, he declared, was based rather upon the benefit which the public would derive. He said that the adoption of the union label would determine the quality of goods, and would protect the worker bv insuring that thev were manufactured under fair conditions. How.
I ask, can it determine the quality of goods? The worker, as we all know, has to take the materials which are placed in his hands. Although he may put the best of work into those materials, the goods which he produces may not be of high quality. Indeed, it is probable that these union labels will shelter very inferior articles. If, for example, it were found that a union label was a popular mark, manufacturers, who were no better than other people, would take advantage of it, and use materials of inferior quality, thus deceiving the public. When the honorable member for Bland declares that the adoption- of the union label will insure that goods are made under fair conditions, I would ask him who prescribes those conditions? In Victoria they are prescribed by the Wages Boards, and in the other States by Arbitration Courts. The introduction of the union label will mean the application of Trades Hall conditions to the production of goods, and thus we shall have two conflicting sets of conditions established in this country. If these provisions are enacted, they may actually ruin all those who are working under State laws under good. conditions, and who are doing the best for their employers. We must not forget that upon more than one occasion the honorable member for Bland has expressed approval of the boycott. That fact, however, was carefully kept in the background by the AttorneyGeneral. The fear entertained by the public is that the introduction of the union label in Australia will mean a boycott, the extent of which we cannot foresee. It has been said that all the States have not established Wages Boards or Arbitration Courts; but as this is essentially a State matter, it is the duty of those States which have not created those tribunals to come into line with the other States. It seems to me that the proposals under consideration will absolutely destroy the ‘beneficent laws- under which labour is working at the present time. What conditions are Taid down by the Trades Hall ? In this connexion, it is interesting to read the debates which take place there every week. Only three or four weeks ago, I find that a motion was submitted byMr. Stephen Barker, in favour of the adoption of a six-hours’ day. It was discussed at three or four meetings, and finally carried.
– Has that fact anything to do with this Bill?
– I am merely pointing out the conditions that will probably, be laid down if these clauses are brought into operation.
– Did not that motion apply only to deep mines?
– No; in many of the deep mines in Victoria at the present time, the men are working six-hour shifts, and in some cases only four-hour shifts have been worked. But that has nothing whatever to’ do with the union label. If the Trades Hall leaders declare that a union label shall only be applied in connexion with a six-hours’ day, what chance will employers have of competing with the labour outside of this country ? Unfortunately, in Australia the same evil practice which has obtained in Great Britain for a long time past is being introduced - the practice of giving less work for more wages, in order that work may not be made too plentiful, lt is well known that in many trades in Great Britain the unions insist upon only a certain quantity of work being done per day, irrespective of whether or not that work represents a fair return for the wages paid. Even in this country, the unions insist that only a certain amount of work shall be done. That is an actual fact of which I have been informed by those engaged in industry. If our workmen are not to do the best that they can for their employers, how can the latter compete with the rest of the world? Then we shall find that those who do not work under Trades Hall conditions will be boycotted. If these provisions are not to be used in that way, it is idle to D]ace them on our statute-book. The inevitable result will be that .we shall get “clear goods of no better quality. What will happen then? The people will not purchase them. The ordinary purchaser will not pay a higher price for goods to which a certain label is affixed merely from sentimental considerations. He cannot afford to do it. The wives of the workers have to husband every sixpence that they get.
– If the honorable member is a protectionist, why does he argue in that way ?
– I recognise that there are in this Chamber some of those extraordinary beings who are known as free-trade labour members. I cannot understand them.
– The honorable member understood us when the Tariff was under consideration.
– The consequence will be that the union label will be used to deceive the workersthemselves, and possibly the public. Then I find that the Trades Hall is opposed to piece-work.
– Who is the honorable member’s authority for that assertion ?
– 1 have no special authority for it, but 1know that workers generally are opposed to piece-work.
– I was always anxious to get it.
– Certain unions are in favour of piece-work.
– The result of this legislation will be that those who are opposed to the union label will boycott the goods on which it appears. The boycott will be due, not merely to considerations of economy. I may be wrong. I do not claim to be infallible, but I feel assured that the majority of the people are so strongly opposed to the principle of the union label that they will boycott goods to which it is affixed, and so bring ruin to the workers.
– Why should the honorable member complain?
– Because we do not wish a wrong to be perpetrated. We do not think that those who claim to represent the workers in this House have a monopoly of wisdom. The Attorney-General, in defending the introduction of the union label legislation in America, showed that it was intended to cope with a set of conditions entirely different from those prevailing in Australia. Powerful trusts were grinding the workers down as low as possible, and they had to band themselves together, and resort to the use of the union label to protect themselves against, not only these trusts, but the enormous influx of coloured and other cheap labour, which was then pouring into the United States. We have no such conditions here, and why should we throw in this bone of contention ? Why should we pass provisions which will set individual against individual, and class against class, without conferring a benefit upon even one section of the community ? The people of America are between the upper and nether mill-stones. They are ground down between the trusts on the one hand, and the trade unions on the other. Had I known that this matter was to come up for consideration, I should have taken care, when in the United States recently, to collect full information, both for and against the proposal ; butI had other work to do, and, therefore, did not give special attention to it. I did not hear much about the union label, but was certainly informed that wherever it had been introduced the cost of living had been enormously increased. Within the last fifteen years the cost of living in districts where trade union label legislation prevails has increased from 20 to 25 per cent.
– How does the honorable member account for that?
– The explanation is simple. The trusts, which must make their profits - and make perhaps more than they ought to do - have control on the one hand, whilst the unions have control on the other. Wages are exceptionally high, and every demand on the part of the trusts for increased profits, and on the part of the unions for higher wages, results in an increase in the price of goods to the general consumer. That is one reason why, without any desire whatever to block this measure, I would strongly urge upon the Government to withdraw these provisions. Let us pass those relating to trade marks, and thus bring a most useful measure into operation ; but let us refrain from dealing with the question of the union label until next session. By that time we shall have had full opportunity to consider it, and will be able to approach it with open minds, and possessing full information on the subject. We can point to only one country where these provisions have been in operation, and they were brought into force there because the situation required something of the kind. But such legislation has never been adopted in any other great industrial country. Having regard to the infancy of our industries, why should we rush these provisions on to the statutebook when we do not know what their effect will be? Theymay prove beneficial, whilst, on the other hand, they may prove a curse ; but oncethey are placed on the statute-book, it may be very difficult to repeal them. In our desire to promote the welfareof our industrial life, we must have regard to two considerations. We must remember the manwho has to find the money as well as the worker. This class of legislation will deter investment ;indeed, I may say that it is alarming capitalists, and causing them to refrain from investing their money in Australia. We require settled conditions. Whatever our conditions may be, let them be settled, at least, for a time, and then the people will know exactly what their position is. As it is, they never know what special legislation may be passed that will have the effect of making, or marring, the industries in which they are engaged. We desire to have large manufactories, but who is going to start fresh undertakings? Under present conditions, no one will feel disposed to do so. Industries that should be forging ahead are languishing. We have not that industrial spirit, that desire to establish new industries, and that common agreement between employers and employe’s that prevailed before the Labour Partv came into existence.
– The Labour Party ! That is the trouble.
– It is a fact.
– The honorable member would like to see every member of the Labour Party out of the House.
– Not at all.
– If we are ruining the country, why should the honorable member haveany personal consideration for us?
– I do not think that the Labour Party are doing much good for the country. Their aim is to discourage private enterprise, in order that they may carry our their desire to nationalize all industry. In the meantime, whilst this state of affairs prevails, who are the sufferers? Not the Labour Party, who come here to represent the workers,’ but the workers themselves. The cry of the unemployed which we hear from week to week, for food and work, is , evidence of this. We must have some consideration for the men who embark in different industries. If we are going to play into the hands of the faddists who wish to nationalize all industries,Australia will never rise.
– If we had many “boodlers” like the honorable member in the House it would not.
– The honorable member has no right to insult me by applying such an epithet to me.
– I withdraw the remark.
– Like the honorable member. I am only a worker. It seems to me that the trend of legislation in the Commonwealth is more and more to set individual against individual, class against class, and State against State. Five years ago, when the union was consummated, we fondly hoped that we were going to be one people. But although we have a political union, a union of heart and of feeling is further off than it was. Who are responsible for this state of affairs? The responsibility rests with those who control the affairs of the Commonwealth. It appears to suit some people to maintain this unsatisfactory position. I do not propose to say anything about the constitutional aspect of the situation. That is a matter which must be threshed out by the AttorneyGeneral and the other lawyers in the House. But we have some three or four leading barristers in the Government who are constitutional authorities, and I should like to hear them indorse the opinion expressed by the Attorney-General.
Mr.McCay. - He did not express a definite opinion.
– Quite so. We find that the position taken up to-day by several members of the Government is very different from that which they took up a year or two ago. We knowthat the Prime Minister preferred to leave office rather than agreeto the passing of a law which he considered would constitute an attack upon States rights. He was not prepared to allow the High Court to settle the question then at issue. Is he going to allow the High Court to settle the moot point now before us ? Surely there is no reason why we should attempt to deal with certain matters when our power to legislate in regard to them isin question. If the present policy of the Prime Minister isthat which he advocated a year or two ago, he should allow this legislation to stand over just as he urged should be done in regard to the application of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill to the railway employes of the States. Mr. Cussen, a leading member of the Victorian Bar, has expressed the following opinion : -
In my opinion, the Commonwealth Parliament has not power to legislate in respect of what I have called for shortness “ Union Labels.”
Because they do not indicatebywhat persons the articles were made, but only membership of a certain association.
Their use is not enjoyed as incidentto any business, and theright to use cannot be transferred with the transfer of a business.
There is no exclusive use, as many per sons not connected in business and unknown to each other have the rightto use, the right to use being acquired by becoming a member of an association, and being lost by ceasing to be a member.”
If the union label be such a good thing, how is it that all efforts to force it upon Canada during the last ten years have been in vain? How is it that it has not been adopted in England?
– I think that the Canadian House of Commons passed it in an amended form, but the Senate rejected it.
– I believe it was shown that they could not constitutionally pass such legislation. Is the Prime Minister prepared to chance the enactment of these clauses, or will he follow the wise course that he laid down some time ago in connexion with the Conciliation” and Arbitration Bill ? Those who are opposed to these provisions feel that they will bring discredit upon the Commonwealth, and that they will force men to join unions against their will. We feel that the union label will bring into vogue a system of espionage, which will be degrading to those who take part in it. When we look the whole matter fairly in the face, we cannot refrain from asking, “What good will it confer upon any one?” If its value be so problematical, why should we waste our time, and cause trouble and confusion, by endeavouring to pass such legislation? We have so far only touched upon the fringe of the work that the Commonwealth should take over from the States. We have powers under section 51 of the Constitution that remain untouched - powers that should be exercised for the benefit of this great Commonwealth. But we are shelving great and important questions, and wasting time in the consideration of such miserable matters as those now before us. Judging by the opinions expressed in the press, the workers’ label is not popular. It will be an instrument of coercion and boycott. It will force. non-unionists to join unions, and in a little time may lead to the introduction of the walking delegate. The benefits to flow from such legislation are so unreal and shadowy that I feel compelled to opDose it, and trust that the majority of honorable members will consider it their dutv to reject these proposals.
– In view of the very elaborate discussion which took place on the second reading of the Bill, and which has also occurred in Committee, we should, as far as possible, place a reasonable limitation upon our speeches. I do not consider that the Attorney-General consumed an unreasonable amount of time in his clear exposition of the reasons which induce him to move the insertion of these provisions. He put his case with good temper and ability, and with the usual clearness as to his meaning. I agree with him that, on some points, there may be a fair difference of opinion. One should not be too confident as to what is the law on any subject, and constitutional law is so broad, and, with respect to our Constitution, in such a probationary stage, if I may use the term, that only a juvenile in legal matters would be cock-sure in any expression of opinion in regard to it. But one may be permitted to express his convictions with emphasis without being dogmatic. I understand the prefatory apology of Mr. Cussen, a lawyer whose mature judgment we respect. There are few lawyers, no matter how eminent, who have not learned bv experience to be humble in judgment, and who, when their opinions are sought by solicitors or others, will not indicate that there may be some doubt on the point in regard to which they have been consulted. Indeed, it is not unusual for an opinion to end with the suggestion that the matter might well be referred to the determination of the Court. Therefore, I do not pay too much attention to the modesty of Mr. Cussen’s prefatory observations. Nor do I place much stress on the fact that Senator Sir Josiah Symon assisted a member of the Labour Party to perfect some clauses which were inserted in the Bill in the Senate. Senator Sir Josiah. Symon, as well as an able, is a tactful man; and if he’ sees that the suaviter in ,odo will soften opposition, is capable of employing it. But his opinion in regard to the proposals which the Labour Party are now supporting are clearly indicated by the remarks read by the Attorney-General, who I do not think would contend that the action of Senator Sir Josiah Symon, in suggesting that the wording of certain clauses might be susceptible of improvement, was an adoption of the trade union label principle. It is the primary duty of members of an Opposition to criticise proposals with a view to the discovery of the truth underlying them; but when a principle has been approved, honorable members are justified in seeing that clear expression is given to the will of toe Legislature. Therefore the action of Senator Sir Josiah Symon, in endeavouring to perfect the wording of a clause with the spirit of which he was in disagreement, is quite understandable.
– I think that we should have a quorum. Those who are supporting the trade union label clauses, “having listened to the Attorney-General, will not wait to hear what is to be said on the other side. (Quorum formed.’]
– The time which I have determined, with the permission of honorable members - I have to make that qualification now that the new standing order has been passed - to devote to this subject will not permit me to reply to ali the arguments with which the Attorney-General endeavoured to buttress his case. Like all politicians, he appealed to the sentimentality of his hearers, and especially of a certain section. He enunciated several moral ‘propositions and truisms which we cannot controvert any more than we can say that they have the slightest applicability to the subject under discussion. In this connexion I would remind honorable members of Burke’s warning against the “delusive plausibilities of the moral politicians.” The Attorney-General asked, at the beginning of his remarks, why, if a thing is morally right, we should not do it? But I have yet to learn that it is the duty of Parliament to express and sanction in its legislation every moral action. We must not prevent men from doing what is morally right, but we cannot enjoin by Act of Parliament the performance of every act to which no moral reprobation attaches. It would be morally right for me to walk to Adelaide, but it would be absurd for Parliament to legislate to require me to do so. Then, at the conclusion, of his speech, the honorable gentleman assumed that the electors who were opposed to the adoption of the nonunion label are in a minority, and asked if the principle that the minority shall rule is to be applied in the present case. The action of the Opposition to which he referred when he asked that question was taken wilh a view to emphasize the rights of a minority, not to rule, but to express its opinions. Correlative with that right of a minority is the right of a majority to rule until the opinion of the minority, if a sound one, has been adopted by the majority. But these moral propositions and truisms, like the “ flowers that bloom in the spring,” have “ nothing to do with the case.” So far as our powers ‘to legislate on this subject are concerned, I think the matter has been fairly discussed, and I do not wish to go over ground which has been well trodden. But I do not think that it has been controverted that there cannot be a trade mark - except in one instance - divorced from proprietorship in the goods to which it is applied.
– The English law goes further than that in regard to examining.
– The Attorney-General stated that we, on this side, have attempted to persuade the Committee that there cannot be a trade mark without proprietorship in the goods to which it applied, as though we had omitted to mention the one exception - under legal decisions prior to, and now prescribed by, the English Trade Marks Act - which recognises the trade mark of a professional examiner, adopted to show that the goods to which it is applied, have passed his scrutiny and received his approval.
– That instance destroys the contention as to proprietorship.
– Does one exception disprove a rule ?
– The rule has never been advanced so widely as to exclude that exception.
– There is the exception of the Cutlers’ trade mark as well.
– The Cutlers’ trade mark is not an exception to the principle that there must be a proprietary right in the goods to which a trade mark is applied. The Attorney-General told us that, as far back as the reign of Henry VI., workers’ marks were recognised : but they were the marks placed upon goods produced and sold by the man who applied them - the craftsman whose disappearance has been so much lamented by Ruskin, and who will not be brought back again to compete with the factory operatives of modern, industry while Parliament places legislation of this kind on the statute-book. As used by the guilds, trade marks, or workers’ marks, indicated quality and finish in the goods to which they were applied. The exception which I have mentioned does not weaken the principle of the Trade Marks Act of 1905, that there must be proprietorship in the goods to which trade marks are applied. Proprietorship does not mean direct ownership ; but the Act declares that the manufacturer of goods who applies his trade mark to them has a proprietary interest in them by virtue of their manufacture, even after he has parted with the legal ownership of them to the retailer. We must be careful not to accept the statements of honorable members on this subject without the qualification attached by the trade marks law. I might refer briefly to some of the decisions mentioned by the Attorney-General, as having been given in America, as to the validity of union labels. I would point out that all these decisions have been given under States laws,” they are States decisions, and as such they are incontrovertible. Under the Trade and Commerce section of the American Constitution, the Federal Parliament has assumed power with, regard to trade marks, and, I think, copyright, but that power, being connected with the trade and commerce clause, can only be exercised in relation to goods - and this is significant - that are intended for trade and commerce between the States, or “for export to foreign countries. The balance of the trade marks Dower remains with the States, and is, I believe, exclusive. Therefore,^ the States, wherever they have passed laws to allow of the registration of union labels, so as to protect them against piracy, have been acting perfectly within their constitutional powers. Congress could not have assumed such power under the trade and commerce clause. Upon the question of the Federal power, I wish to quote the opinion of one of the labour leaders of America, Mr. Samuel Gompers, who was examined before the Industrial Commission on the conditions of capital and labour, in 1901. At page 629, of one of the volumes of that Commission’s report, Mr. Gompers - who was the President of the Federation of Labour, but not a lawyer - said -
We realize that under the conditions of the United States a trade mark or label cannot be protected unless the party owns the proprietary right in the article covered by the label, transacts business with foreign nations, or with a tribe of Indians, and that makes it exceedingly difficult to overcome, so that we have not made any real, serious attempt to secure national legislation on that subject.
That statement of a representative workman., who desires to obtain Federal protection for these labels, is certainly very significant. It indicates that no serious attempt has been made to secure such protection, because it is recognised that the Constitution bars the way. Again., the Federal power has been assumed, whether rightly or not, under the trade and commerce clause, which deals with goods which pass from one State to another or to or from foreign countries. Therefore, the trade marks power has arisen in connexion with goods, and the label divorced from the goods would not be recognised under the Constitution. That strengthens my opinion that the High Court may hold the provisions now before us to be ultra vires of our power. At the same time, I admit that if the Attorney-General believes in the policy of placing such legislation as that now proposed upon our statute-book, he ought not to hesitate to go forward with it because there is a reasonable doubt as to whether our powers exend to sanctioning the use of trade-union labels. We ought not to commit constitutional suicide by refraining under a doubt with, regard to our powers. The AttorneyGeneral appears to have abandoned all pretence that a union label may be used as a registered trade mark, but he intends to penalize any man who uses a label in defiance of its ownership by some one else. He could not, however, adopt these penal clauses, and give them efficacy, unless the Bill had been so framed as to cover union labels. The point of our observations at a previous stage was, that the variations from the English Act, whether they had been made deliberately or otherwise, although making no express provision for union labels, were of such a character (hat union labels would be brought within the scope of the Bill. Emphasis has been given to this view by the fact that the clauses now before us assume that union labels are covered by the Bill, and merely provide that penalties shall be inflicted’ upon any persons who pirate such labels. It seems to me that it would have been far tetter if we had followed the Canadian and American precedents. In Canada, a Bill was introduced, for six or seven years in succession, dealing specially with union labels, because it was recognised that thev did not come within the description of trade marks. That measure was called “ A Bill to deal with Labour Union Labels.” They stated in clear and unpharisaical language what they meant to do. Clause 2 of that measure provided -
Every labour union which, before the passing of this Act, has adopted or used, or which hereafter adopts or uses a label to designate, make known, or distinguish any goods, wares, or merchandise, or other product of labour, as having been made, manufactured, produced, prepared, packed, handled, or put on sale by such labour union, or a member thereof, may register.
That is clear, straight, and genuine; and there can be no mistake as to what it meant ; whereas we are being asked to make provision in a much less direct form, by merely providing for the imposition of penalties upon those who improperly use such labels. The first series of amendments introduced by the Attorney-General were a little more definite upon this point, because they defined a union trade mark. But now all definitions have disappeared, and all we have is a workers’ trade mark. But, as if there were some unfortunate association attached to the word “ union,” it has now been dropped altogether, and the word “ association “ has been substituted for it.
– That was in order that it might not be confined to the unions.
– The Attorney-General professed to regard any interference with the proposed union label as an interference with trade, and he altogether ignored the association between “ trade “ and “ mark.” I should like to turn for a few minutes to the circumstances connected with the introduction of the union label into America, and the assumption that the conditions which might have justified its introduction there at a certain stage, exist here to an extent that will warrant us in following in the footsteps of the United States. I conceive that, at certain stages of the agitation between labour and capital, justification may have existed for resorting to the label as an expedient to tone down the oppressive action of capital. I mentioned, when speaking on’ this question before, that Acts had had to be passed in America to prevent capitalists from excluding non-union labour from their employment. Therefore, the union label, as a -weapon of offence, might have had a sort of quasi- justification that could not be urged to-day under the conditions of labour and capital in Australia. We have been told that” the union label was first introduced in 1874 in connexion with the cigar-making industry. In 1868, between 11,000 and 12,000 Chinese were landed on the Pacific Coast, and many of them found their way into the cigar-making industry of California. The result was that a great, many white people were thrown out of employment, and great distress resulted. The condition of affairs at that time has been referred to by’ Miss Helen Campbell, in her Prisoners of
Poverty. She shows that the most appalling results followed from the competition of Chinese labour with the white workers in the cigar industry. She tells us that, upon going round among the tenements of the cigar-workers, she found a family of seven, three of them being under ten years of age, and all the children being girls, in a room measuring 12 ft. by 14 ft. The tobacco lay in heaps in the room; the place was filthy dirty, and was pervaded by a rank smell ; and it was almost inconceivable that human life could exist under such conditions.
– White girls may be found working for Afghans and Assyrians in Australia, in making up wearing apparel.
– I am now dealing with America, and I am saying that I could understand that there might have been some justification at certain stages for the introduction of the union label in connexion with labour agitations in America. Miss Campbell tells us -
Two of the children sat on the floor stripping leaves, and another on a small stool. A girl of twenty sat near them, and all alike had sores on lips and cheeks and on the hands. Children from five or six years up can be taught to strip, and thus add to the week’s income.
That was in. connexion with the cigarmakers’ strikes excited by the competition of coloured labour. Also, in connexion with this matter, President Roosevelt said -
I have visited these pest-holes personally^ and can assure you if smokers only saw how these cigars are made, we should not need any legislative action against this system.
Under these circumstances, it is not to be wondered at that the labour conditions became so bad that at times the men became desperate, and resorted to desperate expedients. For years there were continual struggles in the cigar trade. There was a very big strike in 1887, when 10,000 workers went out, and there was also a strike in 1883 in Cincinnati, which lasted for thirteen months. But, as the result of the better organization of labour, and the greater resulting power, strikes have gradually diminished. We are told by John Graham Brooks, one of the advocates of the union label, who admits some of the unfortunate results of its operation, that -
The attempt to understand the American trade union is incomparably more perplexing because of the racial effects. The constant pressure through immigration, of a great multitude of half-skilled labourers, representing far lower standards of life, and at the same time introduc- ing race antagonisms, has driven the trade union in this country to catch at every weapon of defence. The label is one of these weapons.
It was adopted under conditions that had a quasi-justification, in the case of the cigar-makers of California. Gradually its application was extended until it now applies to an immense number of industries in the different States. But I ask honorable members whether the conditions upon this side of the world are similar to those which obtain in America? Notwithstanding the list of Statutes quoted by the Attorney-General, have the workers there the same protection that is extended to them by Australian legislation? Certainly not. They have not a Federal Arbitration Act, the eight hours’ system has not been proclaimed by law-
– Neither has it been proclaimed by law in Australia, except in isolated instances.
– I thank the honorable member ‘for his interjection, because it might have been assumed that my statement implied that it had been proclaimed by law here. What I had in my mind was that the eight hours’ day was the rule in Australia.
– The honorable and learned member was referring to the factory laws only, and in that connexion he was right.
– I was referring to the factory laws. However, I am not going to enter into a detailed exposition of our factory legislation. I am endeavouring to summarize from a dispassionate authority the impression which was left on his mind. As in one case, I have quoted extracts from the evidence of a labour representative in connexion with the Federal jurisdiction, I will now quote the opinion of ai friend of labour. This is the view of Mr. Maurice Low upon the conditions which obtain in the “United States -
Viewing the present condition of trades unionism in the United States in the light of the history of the movement in Great Britain, the men whose opinions are here presented believe that in the United States trades unionism has not yet advanced to the high level it now occupies in Great Britain.
That is the admission of a friend of labour as to the comparative ineffectiveness of the American Statutes to protect, and give the desired status to labour. I think it is not without some reason that I allege that the conditions which prevail in America are not reproduced here. We ought not, upon the theory of moral right, to ex periment in a direction, the development of which appears to have been somewhat unfortunate. At the same time, I wish to say that if the conditions in Australia were similar to those which obtained in California in -1874, I should hesitate before I opposed the adoption of the union label. Apart from the constitutionality of the matter - that is the word that we use in connexion with Federal and States powers - apart from the fact that the label does not come within the trade marks law, there is no broad opposition from the point of view of mere naked rights that can be urged against the adoption of this proposal. If it be true - as is stated in the evidence of some of the labour leaders in America - that their intention was not so much to perfect the conditions of manufacture as to strengthen unionism, and if their efforts in that direction have led to such extraordinary developments, I hold that with certain Qualifications rendered necessary bv the different conditions which obtain in the two countries, we may reasonably assume that similar results will be brought about here. It has been alleged that in America the use of the label leads to better workmanship, and improved conditions, from the point of view of the consumer. In this connexion, Mr. Brooks says -
It is hardly open to doubt that such action upon the part of municipalities would greatly strengthen the use of the label, at least until such time as the experiment was found to fail. Upon its theoretic side, the label stands, primarily, for “ better pay and for improved conditions of labour.”
Quoting from some of the leaflets circulated in America on behalf of the unions, for the purpose of inducing the consumers to purchase only union goods, the writer mentions that in some cases - for instance, in that of the Prospect Union, in Massachusetts - it does stand for excellence of workmanship. In this connexion he says -
The aim is, moreover, to make the label 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. It has been usual to claim for the label that it represented merely that the work was done under strictly union conditions. So far as these conditions - wages, hours, sanitations, &c. - stand for higher excellence (as in many cases they do) it may be claimed that the label also represents a better quality of work. Further than this very indefinite claim, the label cannot be said to stand for excellence of workmanship or of product. The cigarmakers usually admit this, although they have an organization of extraordinary completeness and efficiency. . . . In the case of 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 quality 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.
Subsequently he acknowledges the unfortunate developments which have characterized the use of the label, without at the same time denying that there have been gross abuses of power by the capitalistic classes as well. I should like to refer to one case which was mentioned by the AttorneyGeneral. He sought to lead the Committee to- believe that some of the English Judges’ had considered that there might be trade marks in use which were necessarily connected with the proprietorship of goods. The case to which he referred was that of Somerville v. Schembri, which is reported in XIV. Appeal Cases, page 453. In that case it was held that the mere fact that the label used by cigarette manufacturers had also been used by other trades did not affect its exclusive use by the cigarette manufacturers for the purpose of cigarettes. It waslaid down that “exclusive use” did not mean that the label must be used only by one firm, but that it must be used only by that firm in connexion with the manufacture of a particular article, which is quite a different matter. In this connexion Lord Cranworth, page 457, says - “ The right which a manufacturer has in his trade mark is the exclusive right to use it for the purpose of indicating where, or by whom, or at what manufactory the article to which it is affixed was manufactured.” As soon, therefore, as a trade mark has been so employed in the market as to indicate to purchasers that the goods to which it is attached are the manufacture of a particular firm, it becomes to that extent, the exclusive property of the firm ; and no one else has a right to copy it, or even to appropriate any part of it, if by such appropriation unwary purchasers may be induced to believe that they are getting goods which were made by the firm to whom the trade mark belongs. Had it not been for the views expressed by the court of appeal in giving judgment, it would hardly have been necessary for their lordships to observe that the acquisition of an exclusive right to a mark or name in connexion with a particular article of commerce cannot entitle the owner of that right to prohibit the use by others of such mark or name in connexion with goods of a totally different character ; and that such use by others can as little interfere with his acquisition of the right.
I have no desire to trespass any longer upon the patience of honorable members. I think I ‘have clearly shown that the in troduction of this label is not warranted by the social conditions of the people.
– I listened very attentively to the greater portion of the speech delivered by the AttorneyGeneral, and I think that the weakness of his case was shown by thelength of his utterance. When he has a good cause he puts it very pithily, and occupies only about half the time that he occupied to-day. I regret that he scarcely touched upon the points in these proposals to which I take exception, and I may say at once that my objection to them has no reference whatever to unionism. I object to them upon general principles. The Attorney-General has said that these proposals will place workers and capitalists upon the same footing. I join issue with him upon that statement. It is impossible to put the two classes upon the same footing, because there is no analogy between their positions. The enterprise of the capitalist is based upon ascertainable facts and business principles. It is of general benefit to the community.
– Is not a man’s labour of general benefit to the community?
– I trust that the honorable member will allow me to develop my argument in my own way. The advantage of a trade mark is that it acts as a guide to qualitv. Having tested goods bearing a certain mark, the consumer knowsfor what he has to ask in order to secure the same quality. But a workers’ label would be used for a different purpose. It would simply indicate the peculiar political tenets of a particular section of workers.
– Where has the honorable member heard of that being done?
– It would be done here.
– It has never yet been done.
– We have had no experience of the workers’ label in Australia. It would certainly give no guarantee of quality. Under the system adopted by mediaeval guilds, membership indicated skill. Men were allowed to join such guilds only when they possessed special training. But the workers’ labels would not be an indication of the skill of those engaged in producing the goods to which they were affixed. I remember my father telling me, years ago, of a guild of wharf labourers in Aberdeen,the members of which wore a large bonnet with a red tassel, and were largely employed for general work. Each of the men, on applying for admission to the guild, had to undergo a certain test. If he could carry 5 cwt., on his back, up a flight of stairs. Tie was admitted. And so it was with the ancient guilds. A certain test was applied to determine the skill of intending members. They had to pass through an apprenticeship, so to speak, and that was a guarantee that those belonging to the guilds were specially skilled, and, therefore, entitled to some special consideration. But those who use these labels will not be required to pass any lest. The use of the label will divide the workers into two hostile camps. It will assist the partisans on either side to more effectually use their strength. The Attorney-General this afternoon read an extract from a document issued by the Employers’ Federation, and signed by Mr. Walpole. In doing so, he unconsciously supported one of my arguments against the workers’ label”, because I hold that such a label will lead to the establishment of a boycott on both sides. I believe that the result will be “war to the knife.” When this proposal was first introduced, it consisted simply of one clause, to provide a particular weapon, the union label. But now unionists and non-unionists are to be put on an equal footing. As the AttorneyGeneral has said, there is to be no discrimination of class. I do not think that the situation will be improved in this way. The only outcome will be the supplying of both parties with more improved methods of injuring each other. I have no hesitation in saying that both parties will use it as an instrument of boycott. There would be at least a silent boycott; there would be a determination on the part of each party to avoid purchasing the goods of the other. The possibility is that in that respect the unions might be worsted ; it would depend largely upon the purchasing power of the partisans on either side. Apart from any consideration as to who might be worsted, my desire is that there shall be no clashing. Without offering one word against unionism, I would say to my honorable friends of the Labour Party that I think they make a mistake in rushing towards extremes. Every set-back which unionism has received in this State so far as I know, has been due to that. The honorable and learned member for Corinella last night anticipated something I had intended to say in regard to the Wages Boards. I heartily concur with his - suggestion that there should be a mark indicating whether or not goods have been manufac tured under Wages Boards conditions. That would give us a clear-cut line on a national rather than a sectional basis, and no one could cavil at it. If the proposal were to provide for a label showing whether or not the goods to which, it was applied had been made under Wages Board’s conditions, I should be distinctly in favour of it. But to go further than that is, to my mind, to set aside the elements of political economy. As the honorable member for Echuca has said to-night, the proposal is to bring in all sorts of devices to shorten the hours and to reduce the standard of labour. I have seen rules, in which it is laid down that men should walk to their work as slowly as possible in the employers’ lime. That is the sort of device that would be resorted to as the result of this system.
– Has the honorable member any proof that such a rule is in practice?
– If the honorable member looks at Wages, a book written by Professor Walker, he will find tHe rules I have mentioned. They are laid down as union rules, and they not only set forth that men are not to walk too fast to their work, but that they are not to go beyond a certain standard.
– Can the honorable member name any union in Australia that has such a rule?
– No; but these rules are laid down for the guidance of unionists.
– I have been associated with unions for twenty-five years-, and have never heard of such a rule.
– The book to which I refer may be found in the Library.
– Does the honorable member say that those rules are given for the guidance of unions in Australia?
– No, but they have been laid down for the guidance of certain trade unions. There are many rules which are even worse.
– Surely that is an argument against unions per sc.
– What I wish to impress upon honorable members is that if, as suggested by the honorable and learned member for Corinella, we draw a clear and distinct line between goods made under Wages Boards conditions and those which are not, we shall go as far as we ought to go.
– Would it not lead1 to a similar boycott as that which the honorable member has suggested?
– No. I do not know that a label would be necessary in that case. I imagine that, with the exception of rural labourers, to whom it would be difficult to apply the decisions of Wages Boards, most of the workers in Victoria are subject to Wages Boards conditions.
– Then if honorable members please, let them all be brought under such conditions. I do not wish to encourage goods made bv men receiving only a sweated wage.
– There is not one man in South Australia working under the decision of a Wages Board. The Legislative Council always rejects a proposition in that direction.
– I have been told by a representative of one of the States that he regards the Wages Boards of Victoria as better than Arbitration Courts.
– That is generally admitted.
– I think that it is.
– I can remember when it was not.
– There may still be many people who do not take that view.’ If the suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for Corinella were adopted, what justification would there be for going further? If we do go further, we shall simply pander to the idiosyncracies of certain people. The workers’ label will not be an indication of superior skill. The abandonment of the original clause, which confined the mark to goods produced by unionists, is an acknowledgment of that. The label will not be a mark of quality.
– Is a trade mark always an indication of quality?
– One tests the quality of an article bearing a trade mark, and on finding that it is good, asks again for the same article. Briefly stated, my objection is that the label will not be worth anything to the worker, but will be simply a badge to provoke strife. It will be something worse than the orange and green. It will be of no value to the community, but will help the opposing factions to disturb the peace. I think it should be deprecated by every law-abiding citizen. If I had! my wray, I should legislate against any attempt to set class against class in connexion with such matters. With the passing of these provisions’, the supporters of the nonunionists would, in my opinion, exercise a greater boycott than would the others. There, would be, as I have sa’id. a silent boycott. It would be a case of “ Take only the goods of the side you espouse,” and1 the whole matter would be setled in that way by the two opposing sections. That would not be for the benefit of anybody. It only aggravates the position to require the consent of the employe. As the honorable member for Echuca has pointed out, employers, if their men are squeezing out of them higher rates of wages than leave a certain amount of profit, might enter into collusion with their employes to increase prices. That has been done in California, under the voluntary application of the trade union label ; but it is now being, proposed here that we shall pass a law which will compel employers to obtain the consent of their employes to use these labels, and the two will have to work together against the interests of the consumer, who must always suffer if rates of wages are too high. I was impressed by an article by Mr. Graham Brooks, which I read the other day, upon the co-operative method adopted in Belgium. There they have introduced the minimum wage, but have coupled with it the condition of a minimum product. They do not believe, to use the old Scotch woman’s phrase, in a “ muckle wage and wee work,” and require a minimum production for the minimum wage.
– That is done in Australia.
– Yes; there is not a factory where a minimum task is not insisted on.
– In Belgium, the workers themselves have found it necessary to provide that if a minimum wage is paid there shall be a minimum product. Short hours and high wages mean, from the point of view of political economy, small values for the consumers, who are not only the idle rich but also the workers themselves.
– Not only the idle rich, but also the suffering poor.
– The poor will suffer still more under the conditions which are sought to be imposed. Although a worker who is being paid abnormally high wages may gain in one direction, he will lose in ten other directions, and if through ill-health or some other cause he loses his job, he will find that he must pay very dearly for everything he needs.
– How will the legalization of the trade union label affect the price of commodities?
– If employers and employes enter into collusion to enable wages to be forced beyond a reasonable standard
– Everything is “if” with the honorable member. If the sky were to fall, the whole thing would be settled.
– I am showing what obtains in Belgium. It is notorious, as the honorable member for Echuca has told us, that in California the cost of living has been increased 25 per cent, by the collusion between employers and employes, arising out of the use of the trade union label.
– No one will swallow that.
– The honorable member will not swallow anything which does not coincide with his own opinions. We are too prone to adopt laws because they are in force in other parts of the world. It is very easy to make a quotation from one and another authority in support of any such proposal ; but I recollect that in 1874, when the Californian law was brought forward, leading writers were of opinion that it was a great advantage that the trade union label could be legalized only by the laws of the States, and not by a Federal law, because if one State chooses to go to extremes, others, later on, seeing the mistake that has been made, will avoid following her example. What is now proposed, however, is to legislate in regard to the trade union label for the whole Commonwealth before we have had an opportunity to test the usefulness of Wages Boards and Arbitration Acts in each of the States. The unions, having failed to obtain a preference under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, put forward these proposals as another means of bringing all the workers under their control ; but, fortunately, the clauses have been altered, so that that danger may be avoided, and, instead of every one being made the mental and moral slave of a certain section, we shall have two parties competing one against the other. I do not see how the trade union label can be made to serve any useful purpose. . Its application to goods will not show that the workmanship in their manufacture is better than, the workmanship in goods not similarly labelled, and, as I think that conditions will be infinitely worse for’ the working classes if we adopt these proposals than they are now, I shall strongly oppose it.
– The honorable and learned member for Grampians has shown that, although there may be many shades of. opinion on this side of the Chamber, we are one in our opposition to the broad principle underlying these provisions.
– The question is, Are honorable members in favour of punishing pirates ?
– I am. I followed the address of the Attorney-General pretty closely, and made notes, so as to lose none of his points, of which there were two to which he gave especial prominence. According to him, the crux of the whole matter is : How shall we legislate against the pirate? Under the law as it stands, apparently, any organization may register a label, but cannot prevent the use of that label without its permission. There was no meed for the Attorney-General to elaborate the statement of fact that the label is not now used because it is of no value.
– It is used. Several unions have labels.
– I am aware that in Kalgoorlie - a very intelligent and enterprising community, but one far removed from other centres of civilization - the union label is in use, and the storekeepers there, who have not to fear the competition of similar tradesmen in Perth, encourage its use to secure the trade of the miners. Selfishness is at the bottom of the encouragement given to the system at Kalgoorlie, so that I do not think that what is done there should be advanced in support of the proposal to legalize the use of the union label. I wish to look at these proposals fairly, because, like other honorable members, I represent all classes of the community. I desire that the non-unionist shall not be hardly dealt with simply because he is not a member of a union.
– The non-unionists could register a label.
– I am afraid the goods marked with the union label would be in demand, while those not so labelled would be tabooed by unionists. While we are prepared to deal with the complaint of the Attorney-General that labels may be pirated, I ask the leader of the Labour Party if he and his followers are in favour of inserting in the Bill provisions which will prevent non-unionists from being badly treated by unionists. The Attorney-General said that the legalization of the trade union label would promote the purchase and consumption of Australian goods, and in his peroration waxed warm in advocacy of the encouragement of Australian manufactures. But while we, on this side, wish to entourage local manufacture, we say that it is in the interest of the workers, both unionist and non-unionist, that there shall be competition. If the union label is to be used to bring about the exclusive consumption of Australian-made goods, it will put an end to that competition.
– It is a species of protection.
– No doubt it can be so employed as to prevent the use of goods made abroad ; but I am- not afraid of what will happen if the unionist, who, as a rule, is a fair-minded man, is not coerced and led away by the firebrands.
– Such as Mr. Walpole.
– Agitators of any kind are of very little use to the community, unless, perhaps, in causing people to think ; they are, however, prone to recommend force. The Attorney-General asked why the unionists should not be organized, but he had not a word! to say for the nonunionist, who, I am afraid, will_ suffer if the unionists are given, the right to register labels for use only on their own terms.
– I have never known a concession to unionists which did not benefit non-unionists.
– The AttorneyGeneral told us that it was quite possible under the existing law for a union to register a label.
– No, not to register, but to adopt a label.
– He said that a union could adopt a label, but that as the label might be pirated, the proposed legislation is necessary. I see no reason whatever for objecting to the registration of union labels, provided that the registration will operate for the good of the general community, as well as of the workers. But what is the special object of the provision before us? Is it not designed to enable unionists to insist upon the use of the label by manufacturers, and to compel them to employ union workmen? Is it not intended, further, to enable unionists to expel non-unionists from employment, or compel them to join the union? The ultimate effect, will be that manufacturers would be prevented from employing any but union workmen, and the members of the unions would be precluded from purchasing any goods other than those manufactured by employers of union labour. I understand that this state of affairs exists at Kalgoorlie to-day. It seems to me that a manifest injustice would be inflicted upon non-unionists if they were subjected to coercion of the kind I have indicated. I am a thorough believer in the fullest liberty of action, and I think that a workman should be free to join a union or not, as he may think fit. We are told that non-unionists would still be free to refuse to join the union. That may be so, but they would have to face very serious consequences if they proved contumacious. Men might be compelled to join unions which partake of a political character, and might have to support candidates who hold views quite opposite to their own. The proposals now before us are distinctly of a class character, and are intended to be used for political purposes. The unions at present nominate candidates for Parliament, and actively organize in order to secure their election, and it is well known that unionists vote en bloc for their own nominees.
– What nonsense ! There are more trade unionists in my . electorate than in any other in Victoria, and yet the labour candidate was not returned at the last election.
– If the honorable member is anything, he is a labour candidate. He votes in favour of all legislation approved of by the caucus, and although he did not receive the labour nomination at the last election, he will probably be. the approved candidate upon the next occasion. As a matter of fact, I think the honorable member ought to join the caucus and become a straight-out labour man, because he is acting in the same manner as if he had signed the labour pledge.. Under the proposed legislation; the use of union labels will be forced1 upon manufacturers.
– Who- will force it upon them ?
– The unionists.. They will not purchase goods except they bear the union label.
Mir. Wilkinson. - If they are so few in* number as the honorable member’ has represented, what would that matter?
– I contend that they are comparatively few in number at present, and that, owing to that fact,they are all the more anxious to acquire powers which will enable them to increase their membership. The object of labour leaders all over the world is to force men into the unions. Tom Mann has openly stated that the objects of the unions in England and upon the Continent is to obtain power to force non-unionists into their organizations, by intimidation and coercion. It is for such a purpose that it is proposed to use the union label. The unions are aiming at the achievement of the highest form of political power.
– How could the small minority achieve all these results?
Mr.HENRY WILLIS.- Every organization has to start with a small membership.
-The unions do not increase their membership by coercion.
– The unions are endeavouring to gain strength by coercive measures, but they cannot establish themselves upon a sound basis unless they rely solely upon moral suasion. Why should the union label provisions be required, except as a means of forcing men into the unions ?
– We want to make it worth the while of the manufacturers to use the label.
– It will be worth the while of the manufacturer to use the label, because his existence without it will be almost unbearable. The manufacturers will not be permitted to employ any but unionists.
– There are thousands of workmen in Australia who are in sympathy with unions, but cannot join them.
– I believe in unions, because I think that it is better for the men, for the employers, and for the whole community that the workmen should be organized ; but I do not believe in coercion. Tom Mann has stated that the labour organizations wish to compel men to join them, in order that they may achieve greater political power.
– He has never used the word “ compel.”
– He has used & variety of expressions, which all convey the same idea. The Labour Party have decided to send a representative to Europe to attend the International Labour Con gress next year, so that the aspirations of the unions here may be brought into accord with those of the British and European organizations, which are in the direction I have indicated. Is it not obvious that it is intended to force men into trade unions? Is it not equally obvious that if all men belonged to those organizations, no particular advantage wouldaccrue to the employer who used a union label ?
– We have put a label upon the individual, and it is only right that we should place a label upon his goods.
– Certainly not. Man is not a chattel. Another objection to this proposal is, that if it be adopted, a skilled workman who is not a member of a trade union will not be permitted to act as foreman upon any undertaking. Only the other day a gentleman died in Adelaide, who was quite as well able to take charge of a thousand men upon a work as most individuals are to control a dozen. I refer to the late Mr.Puddy. who built most of the railways in that State. He was particularly well qualified to handle men, but he wasnota unionist, and did not belong to a trade union. Yet, amongst the working classes he has been very highly respected during the past forty years. Under this Bill such an organizer would not be permitted to manage large undertakings. In olden times a foreman was expected to look after the interests of his employer more than of those who were subordinate to him. That, however, is not “the case here. The honorable and learned member for Angas dealt very fully and ably with the speech delivered by the Attorney-General, and I hope that the latter will read his address in Hansard.
– I heard the most of it, and I appreciate it very much.
– I merely desire to put in. a plea for the non-unionist. I say, in justice to those men who have conscientious scruples against joining a union, that this provision should be amended in thedirectionofallowing employers freedom to employ whomsoever they may please. I suggest that a workers’ trade mark shall not be registered if a trade association prevents, or attempts to prevent, its members from exercising freedom of choice in the purchase of goods, either of union or non-union manufacture. I ask the Attorney- General if that is not a fair proviso to insert ? I am perfectly satisfied that if no coercion is exercised, the introduction of the union label will not have so bad an effect
– Why does the honorable member want to worry himself about the unionists?
– Does the honorable member imagine that I am not concerned alike with the interests of unionists and non-unionists? Does he think that I come here simply for the purpose of talking? If I cannot accomplish some good for my race, I have no desire to occupy a seat in this House. I wish to see justice done all round. Therefore, I say that the unionist ought not to be intimidated by his union. Let us provide that he shall be allowed to spend his money wherever he may please. Let us insure that he shall obtain full value for his expenditure., If we do that, very little harm can result from the adoption of these proposals. It is not a good thing for the country to be dominated by a small committee of an organization. It is notorious all over the world that the ablest men seldom come fo the front. It is the “ pushing “ individual who gets there. The able, thoughtful, studious man, who sits back and thinks, is compelled to wait a long time for the call of “ Friend, come up higher.” Similarly, in the unions, we do not findthe ablest men on top, but the extremists. We have only to read the labour publicationsto see that.
– We see it in Parliament.
– It is the same everywhere. I hold that legislation of the character proposed is destructive of business enterprise. The Attorney-General said that the capitalists are organized, and asked why the workers should not be organized. I do not object to the organization of artisans, but I am certainlyopposed to the capitalists being organized. The Attorney-General, however, put the matter fairly when he stated that their interests brought them together. They wish to gain something through the power of their capital, and they are organized to that extent. The worker is at liberty to join a trade union, and I do not object to every man joining an organization of that kind if he chooses to do so. But are we going to starve the women and children becausethe bread-winners cannot see that it is to their advantage to become members of a trade union? I ask the AttorneyGeneral to accept an amendment upon the lines I have suggested, so that the evil effects of this proposal may be removed.
– I had hoped that my honorable friends in the Labour corner would have undertaken some defence of this proposal. Upon “the second reading of the Bill very few of them addressed themselves to the question of the introduction of the union label. Upon that occasion we were assured that in Committee their views would be placed before us, and their justification of these proposals would be made. So far, however, we have heard very little in the nature of any such justification. I must congratulate the AttorneyGeneral upon the excellent speech which he has delivered this afternoon. When the honorable member speaks after preparation, his remarks - whether one agrees withhis conclusions or not- are always worthy of the closest attention. If one thing more than another struck me during the delivery of his speech, it was the rapt attention with which it was followed by his colleagues, the Treasurer and the VicePresident of the Executive Council. Those honorable gentlemen were evidently looking for some justification for their action in swallowing life-long principles, and, doubtless, hoped that the Attorney-General’s speech would enable them to turn a double somersault without attracting public attention.
– Then the honorable and learned member would argue that there is no justificationfor a change of opinion?
– No. I think that there is; and whan the Treasurer and the Vice-P resident of the Executive Council give their reasons for changing their opinion I shall be the first to tender them my respectful congratulations.
– The Reid Government, when in office, did not say that they were opposed to the union label.
– I do not know what they said in this regard ; but I am aware of the views expressed by the two honorable gentlemen whom I have mentioned. I well remember the heroic periods indulged in by the Treasurer when, speaking in a hall not far from this House, he denounced any proposal to differentiate between working men. I am hopeful that he will yet unburden his soul of his reasons for supporting the proposals now before us. I am waiting to hear him unburden his mind in answer to the very strong protests that have reached him from Western Australia.
In dealing with a political measure of this kind, we are entitled to ask, first of all, what is its object? It is not my purpose to deal with the legal aspect of the question. I do not think that much is to be gained by doing so. The matter should be left in the hands of as few as possible, and with the Attorney-General on the one side, and the honorable and learned member for Angas and the honorable and learned member for Corinella on the other, I think that it will be sufficiently debated. I wish to ask why these proposals have been put before us - why we are asked to support what is known as the union label. I invite honorable members to cast back their minds to the events of last year, and to recollect the fierce struggle which took place in this House in connexion with various provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. Honorable members will remember that there was a fierce conflict over the proposal to grant preference to unionists. We who opposed it said that its object was to force men into unions, so that those organizations might be built up numerically and financially, and that as they were largely political machines, used by one section of the people, they should not be strengthened at the expense of all other sections. That was the objection winch” was frequently voiced, and with- the assistance of the present Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and the PostmasterGeneral, we succeeded in almost annihilating preference to unionists. I think honorable members will admit that it was practically killed.
– I do, and said so at the time.
– Honorable members will recollect that preference to the members of a union having political objects was also prohibited. A proposal in that direction was scotched by us, with the assistance of the members of the Ministry to whom I have referred. Being free agents, and not having, as far as I am aware, covetous eyes on the Treasury benches, they voted for amendments which had the effect of practically annihilating the principle. It was at that time that we heard so much of what is known as the caucus, and of the dangers of machine government. Reference was made to them in eloquent speeches in this House, and in still more brilliant utterances at Ballarat. We were told that my honorable friends of the
Labour Party were rushing the people over a precipice - that bit by bit they were undermining the independence of representatives, and turning them into mere pawns. But all this has been changed. If I may use a well-worn, simile, “Barbarossa has had to do penance.” Those who helped us to annihilate preference to unionists are now supporting a proposal that will have the same effect, but will be devoid of the safeguards attached to that principle in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Preference to unionists under that Act cannot be awarded except by an order of the Court. Therefore a Judge must, in the first place, hear the -pros and cons of the question before application for such preference can be granted. There is no such safeguard offered in connexion with the provisions which we have before us. There is some justification for the demand for preference to unionists under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, because the organizations which bring disputes ‘before the Court have to bear the cost of presenting their case, and their funds are liable to attachment if any of their members fail to observe the award of the Court.
– The honorable and learned member forgot that argument! when the . question was before the House.
– The honorable member scarcely does me justice. I did not forget it, but thought that it was outweighed by arguments on the other side. I do say, however, that that argument deserves consideration, and it was certainly advocated with all the fervour that my honorable friends in the Ministerial corner possess. But it does not apply in the present case. There is no question of an organization or union incurring large expenditure in bringing a claim before the Court to apply a union label, nor is there any question of its funds being attached in the effort to do nob only its own members, but other persons, good service. So far as these provisions are concerned, we have therefore a complete change of front on the part of the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Postmaster-General, and_ the Vice-President of the Executive Council. They are eating the leek. Indeed, the Treasurer and the Vice-President of the Executive .Council are swallowing it whole, and are endeavouring to hide from the public the wry faces they are making in the attempt’. The proposal to legalize the union label seems to. me to be one to legalize the boycott. I have given careful and exhaustive study to the multitude of pamphlets, papers, reports, and so forth that have been written and printed upon this question, and I say, unhesitatingly, that the inference must be drawn from thorn that a boycott or an attempted boycott is necessary to the effective use of the union label. Wherever the attempt has been made in the United States, a boycott has inevitably followed. The means adopted by the unions to establish the union label, and so to strengthen their ranks, are in essence and in fact a boycott. The first method adopted is to persuade all unionists to buy only those goods which bear the union label. The next attempt is to force them, if need be, not to buy from a retailer who sells articles that do not- bear the label. By every means in their power they seek to extend the feeling that those who make, sell, or handle goods made by non-unionists should not be patronized. The action of the hatters’, the cigar-makers’, and other unions, to which reference has been made, shows that the usual forms of address issued by the various trade unions and federations of labour are, “ Do not purchase such and such goods,” “Do not purchase articles made by such-and-such a firm.” “ Do not purchase articles unless they bear the union label.” By direct and indirect means the boycott is set up in respect of all good’s that do not bear the union label. This has just the same effect as has preference to unionists, except that the boycott takes a more drastic and deadly shape. Unlike preference to unionists, it has not the sanction of a Court.
– It has the sanction of public opinion.
– I invite the honorable member to consider the case, say, of the Bootmakers’ Union. Let us assume that it applies the union label to goods manufactured by its members. Then bootmakers generally are urged to buy only union-made boots bearing the union label, and every other union issues the same request to its members. That is the first step, and it is iri itself a kind of boycott. The next step is to urge unionists not to buv from any retailer who handles good’s which do not bear the union label. Forty or fifty unions comprise a goodly section of consumers in certa’in portions of this State, and if their members determine to buy only union-made goods, and to boycott any individual who has invested in a business which handles non-union articles, the position becomes serious.
– The honorable and learned member does not advise the public to patronize a non-union lawyer.
– 1 leave them to make their own selection. But a man who employs a non-union lawyer usually comes back in the end, and in order to get on the right path, has to spend twice as much as he would have been called upon to do had he patronized the union man at the outset.
– Then the honorable and learned member admits that intelligence is in the union.
– I think that, my honorable friend, and others, know that the word “union,” in its ordinary sense, is totally inapplicable to a profession which is open to every one who passes the necessary examinations.. The Bulletin of the National Metal Trades Association, of October, 1903 - an American protectionist magazine, published in Cincinnati, Ohio, contains the following report from San Francisco: -
In the case of Michael Hallanan against William Storey, et al., members of the Journeymen Horseshoers’ Union, Local No. 25, Judge Beatty, of the United States Circuit Court, rendered judgment for the plaintiff this morning, continuing the injunction and restraining order on the grounds that Ohe boycott which the plaintiff alleged was being placed on his goods’ tended to materially injure his trade. Hallanan is the manufacturer of a patent rubber horseshoe pad, which he alleges was in common use in this city until the commencement of the boycott. He became involved in a dispute with the Horseshoers Union of New York over the placing of the union label on the output of his factory. On his refusal to comply with the demands of the union a boycott was declared against his goods, and all the horseshoers in this city are alleged to have refused to handle the rubber pads made in his factory. Hallanan made an application to the United States Circuit Court for an injunction and restraining order, which was granted by the court, and an order was, issued directing the defendants to appear in court to show cause why a permanent injunction should not be granted.
After hearing the evidence in the case, Judge Beatty ordered that the restraining order be continued, holding that the testimony had borne on the allegations of the plainiff, and that the boycott on the article which he manufacured and put on the market as a commodity was unlawful, inasmuch as it tended to injure his business.
These facts show that the union label is used to prevent men from buying and dealing in goods which are not manufactured by union workmen. The same magazine, iri its issue of August, 1904, contains this statement -
The latest demand of the union labellers appears in the form of a circular letter addressed to all publishers and engravers and printers of music,requesting them to put the union label on all music and all musical advertising matter. If this request is not complied with, an attempt will be made by the union musicians to inforce the demand, by instructing all union bands and’ orchestras to refuse, after a given time, to play any music which does not bear the union label.
That seems to me to be carrying the thing as far as it can be carried. Last year the Musicians’ Union of New South Wales wished to obtain preference for unionists from the New South Wales Arbitration Court, because Mr. J. C. Williamson was employing an unfortunate Victorian who was not a member of the union. In making that application they seem to have been acting on an idea borrowed from America.
– Is a Victorian barrister allowed to plead in the New South Wales Courts?
– Negotiations which will allow that to be clone are practically complete. American Industries, another newspaper whose statements should appeal to the staunch protectionists in the Government corner, becauseit sets itself to boost up local industries, contains a circular issued by the Bakery and Confectionery Workers’ International Union of America, in which the following appeal is made : -
We ask all to refuse to purchase any Bakery goods - that is, bread, crackers, cake, pies, or candies made in non-union shops or factories, and particularly those manufactured by the National Biscuit Company (the Trust).
Buy Crackers and Pretzels only when the box or package bears this label “ Union made goods.”
Buy bread only which bears this label, “ Union made.”
Buy Candies only when this label is on the pail, package, or box, “ Union made candies.”
When in hotels, or patronizing restaurants, boarding houses, or grocery stores, insist that the product of the National Biscuit Company (the Trust) shall be discontinued, and union-labelled goods exclusively purchased.
Not only are people urged to buy unionmade goods, but they are told to boycott goods which do not bear the union label. There are other instances which I might give, as. for example, the attempt which was made to boycott a well-known manufacturer because he advertised in newspapers which did not bear the union label, but I will not further illustrate what has been done by by the unions in that direction. Another use to which the label is put by unionists is as a means for keeping men “good” on their books. When this matter was being discussed some time ago, I quoted a case in which it was shown that one of the obligations of an employer was to see that his employes kept up their subscriptions. A similar case is mentioned in a magazine called The Op en Shop -
The following is a copy of a letter which was mailed to anemploye by one of Chicago’s prominent manufacturers : -
Chicago, III., Dec. 10, 1904.
Mr……… 4th Floor Factory. “ Dear Sir. , We are notified by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that you are owing the Local Union dues, and that you are suspended, and we are requested to discharge you until you pay up. You cannot work with us unless you show a receipt from the union next Monday morning. Our doorkeeper will have instructions at that time not to permit you to go to work unless you can show him a receipt to that effect.”
Mr. Brooks, the author of a well known article on the subject, also shows how the union label is used for the purpose of keeping men “ good “ on the union books, and building up the funds of the unions. We must recollect that, in Victoria at least, the unions have political as well as industrial objects. The effect of the legalization of the union label will be that men will be forced to join unions whether they wish to do so or not. Thus the unions will be strengthened, both numerically and financially, and the political organizations of one section of the community will be built up at the expense of all other sections. The Attorney-General, in his exhaustive speech, endeavoured to make the question at issue fair wages or unfair wages, by assuming that goods made by unionists are always made by men getting fair wages, while goods made by non-unionists are, in like manner, made by men who are not getting fair wages. All through the discussion, the supporters of these proposals have assumed that those who are not members of unions do not receive fair wages. While that may be true in some parts of the world, it cannot be true of industries which are under Wages Boards or Arbitration Courts. In Victoria there are forty trades under Wages Boards, while in New South Wales all industries are subject to the awards of the Arbitration Court.
– How far do the decisions of the Wages Boards of Victoria extend?
– The vast bulk of the men in forty trades under the Wages
Boards of Victoria have benefited by the decisions of those boards.
– Although the tanning industry is funder a Wages Board, there is a large tannery at Broadford which is not affected by the decisions of the board, and the men there get miserable wages.
– It cannot be said that the union label is necessary to distinguish sweated from unsweated labour in the productions pf industries which are under Wages Boards or an Arbitration Act, because sweating cannot take place in those industries. If the desire were to legalize the union label merely to distinguish between sweated and non -sweated labour, no doubt the proposals would be accompanied by a clause providing that they are not to apply to industries under Wages Boards or Arbitration Acts. But there is no such clause, and honorable members opposite are not likely to vote for such a provision, because their intention is not, primarily, to improve the conditions of labour, but to strengthen the political labour organizations. For that reason they will doubtless prevent the Government from accepting any amendment in the direction I speak of. The speech of the Attorney-General is more ingenious than ingenuous. It was based on the assumption that the union label is being brought forward to distinguish between goods the product of sweated and goods the product of non-sweated labour. Whereas in truth and in fact the label will do nothing of the kind. He is distinguishing between men who belong to unions, and those who do not, to the prejudice of those who, for various reasons, do not care to associate themselves with the labour organizations. It is making the lot of those outside the fence harder than it is at present. If the union label be brought into operation, it will tend to force men out of employment, or into the unions. A remark of the secretary of one of the unions is recorded, to the effect that all the men employed in the industry with which he was connected, were in the unions. No non-unionists were working, because such of them as were left were in the hospitals.r I do not suppose that any such state of affairs will be brought about in Australia, but that apparently expresses the spirit which actuates some of those who - desire to impose upon us the union label provisions. Thev aim at forcing off the earth all those who, for reasons satisfactory to themselves, refrain from joining unions. All our Australian legislation is based upon the assumption that it is desired to treat all classes of the community alike. That is why we call ourselves a democratic community. But proposals of this kind make class distinctions, and are designed to place in the hands of unionists a means of oppressing those who do not belong to their own organization, and of making their position in life more difficult than it is. It is because I do not believe in these differentiations, or in creating any privileged class, that I regard these proposals as specially dangerous. Experience in the United States shows us that the concomitant of the union label is not only a boycott of workmen, but a boycott of retailers. The system creates the greatest ill-feeling, and the greatest mischief wherever it is introduced, and once provision is made for it upon our statute1book, it will be difficult to remove it. I do not profess to deplore the fact that it may be necessary to bring this , matter before the Courts, nor am I going to predict what will be the result. I have great faith in the opinion of Mr. Cussen, who has been mentioned by the AttorneyGeneral, and I think that his view ought to receive the fullest consideration. I do not base my opposition to this proposal upon that opinion. We should be inflicting a great wrong if we brought about any class distinction by making it more difficult for certain men to earn their living. I voted consistently against the union preference provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill last year. I then found myself sitting side by side with half of the members of the present Ministry. At present those gentlemen are eating the leek, but I believe in sticking to my principles, at all costs, and I shall do my best to defeat these proposals.
– I have listened in vain for anything approaching an adequate reply to the verv able speech of the Attorney-General. The honorable and learned member for Angas indulged in some very fair criticism, but he had to admit the force of the AttorneyGeneral’s arguments. Other honorable members have taken flights into the regions of romance. Whilst listening to the honorable member for Robertson, I began to doubt whether I knew anything whatever about trade unions. I certain! v have never experienced anything of .the kind that he has described. I have never heard of any of that coercion of employers to which he has referred. All such talk is sheer nonsense. If the unions are so influential as the honorable member represents them to be, and can exercise so much coercion, why are their members working for wages, instead of running the country? If every member of a union were coerced into joining it. the organizations would soon fall asunder, because the units would be mutually repellent. Pressure, which may, in some instances, be called coercion, has been brought to bear upon individuals, but it is absurd to say that that would apply generally. We are not here to deal- with extreme cases that no one would attempt to justify. No attempt has been made to controvert the fact that the public opinion of the United States, as expressed in the laws of that country, shows that the majority of the people regard the trade union label as an excellent institution. Honorable members have been hunting round for some time past for cases that could be quoted against it. The honorable and learned member for Wannon has mentioned some vague decision with regard to a case of boycotting, but that is a poor reply to the mass of evidence that has been adduced by the AttorneyGeneral. Experience gained in the United States affords the fullest support to the proposals now before us. No mention is made in the clauses under consideration of the trade union label. The AttorneyGeneral has evidently been endeavouring to please the Federated Employers’ Union and the members of the Opposition, whom it is impossible to satisfy.
– If he withdraws the clause, we will be satisfied.
– The honorable member would never be satisfied. If these proposals had been introduced by the Reid Government, the honorable member would have supported them.
– I certainly, should not have done so.
– Then the honorable member would no longer have had the Ministerial majority within his control.
– Will the honorable member show us the real necessity for these provisions ?
– I am just about to do so. Unfortunately, the clause before us does not deal with union labels, but I shall assume, for the sake of argument, that it provides for the use of union labels similar to those adopted in America. In the event of a union adopting a label, the employer who believed that his business would be extended by the use of such label would apply for the right to affix it to his goods. What actuates the employer is his own selfinterest, and no force is brought to bear upon him. He looks upon the label as a means of securing additional business. As the result of friendly negotiations, in most cases the employer’s application would be granted after an understanding had been arrived at with regard to wages, hours of work, and labour conditions generally. It has been stated that the union label provisions would operate detrimentally to nonunionists. That term has been improperly applied to all men who are outside of the unions. Those who are referred to in harsh terms by the members of labour organizations are the non-unionists who work alongside unionists, and who take advantage of all the benefits secured by their organized fellow employes. There are a number of men outside unions who are not necessarily non-unionists. They may be thorough unionists in spirit, but they may not find it to their interests to form themselves into organizations, or possibly the conditions may be unfavorable to their doing so. I would point out that after the passing of the Conciliation -and Arbitration Act in New South Wales, a great number of men, who had formerly been unorganized, formed themselves into unions, not as the result of coercion, but because they found it would be of advantage to them to do so.
– They knew that they would get no preference unless they joined the unions.
– I am speaking of in dustries in which there were no organizations among the employes. No question of coercion or preference or anything of the kind was involved. They formed themselves into unions in order that they might represent their case to the Arbitration Court and obtain redress of their grievances. I have no sympathy whatever with the individual who is opposed to unionism, but I admit that we are entitled to consider those who are not members of trade organizations. Under these proposals what will happen? An employer will put a union label upon his goods, because he knows that by so doing he will secure an increased business. The fair employer will gain that additional measure of business at the expense of the “sweater.” The moment his sales are increased he will have room for additional hands. Where will he get them? Obviously from the ranks of the nonunionists of whom the honorable member for New England speaks.
– How can there be “ sweating “ employers when we have an Arbitration Court in existence?
– I desire to deal with one subject at a time. I say that the adoption of the union label will secure an additional business to the fair employer, and will decrease the evils of sweating. What has been the experience in Australia ? For years past a preference has been given by many individuals to union employers. When a union is first established, it usually requires certain printing to be done. In that instance a preference is naturally given to the union printer. So it is in other branches of industry. When I started housekeeping in Sydney, before the Arbitration Act came into force, one of the first things that I did was to find out a union baker. I knew that there were union employers in the baking trade, who were paying their employes £2 12s. per week for forty-eight hours, whilst non-union employers were paying their workmen only 36s. per week for ninety hours.
– Some of the men in Adelaide are getting less than that to-day.
– I had to make inquiries from the secretary of the Bakers’ Union before I could procure a list of bakers, so that I could patronize a fair employer. I do not object to the honorable member for Wentworth and others- dealing with unfair employers, who bake their bread! under insanitary conditions, but, personally, I wish to see the union label upon the bakers’ carts, so that I may be spared the trouble of hunting up a union baker. There are thousands who follow the same rule as myself. Before they deal with any tradesman, thev wish to know that he is a fair employer! That is what every honest man ought to do.
– Suppose that everybody were compelled by Act of Parliament to belong to a union?
– I am not going to suppose anything of .the sort. I intend to deal with absolute facts. We have had too much supposition here. Let me supply another illustration from my own experience. When the employes of Messrs. Bur.gon and Ball desired to form a’ union, that firm, which was engaged in the manufacture of sheep shears, locked them out. I wrote to the employes, advising them to form a co-operative union, and to manufacture the shears themselves, promising that if they produced a good article they should have our trade. They acted on my suggestion, and soon captured the Australian market.
– Nobody objects to that sort of thing.
– I am very glad that the honorable and learned member has discovered one statement of mine with which he can agree. The union in question has also secured a good deal of the trade with the Argentine, with the result that the establishment of Messrs. Burgon and Ball has been closed. As the institution is a cooperative one, the profits, instead of being divided amongst a couple of individual’s, are distributed amongst the workmen.
– What is the name of that union ?
– The Trades Union Sheep Shears Co-operative Society Limited. It is located at Sheffield, England. During the course of this debate, the statement has been made, without .any justification whatever, that if these proposals are adopted, coercion will be exercised by the trades unions. It has been urged that the trades unions will pass rules compelling their members to purchase their wares from employers who use the union label. In the case which I have cited, no such compulsion was exercised. But the loyalty of the men naturally induced them to give a preference to the particular article produced by the society in question. That sort of thing is done every day. We select the best tradesman available, and1 give him a “preference.” That is the correct term to apply, and the word “ boycott “ in this connexion is a misnomer. Why should a union be prevented from registering a trade mark if it desires to do so ? Why should not an employer have a right! to place a union label on his goods? There will be no coercion used.
– Are employers keen after it?
– I am satisfied that they will be just as ready as are employers in the United States to use the union label. In this connexion I would give the employers a hint. Let us take, for instance, the jam industry. The first jam manufacturer who applies a union label to his goods will double his business during the first season. The members of the Shearers’’ Union, for instance, would buy such a jam in preference to any other. I “mention this com:modity because it is one of those articles that are largely used in the back-blocks. Employers will find that it pays to use the union label. There are thousands who, like myself, wish to know where the goods which they consume are made, and how they are made. A friend of mine the other day was speaking to a gentleman who was denouncing the union label proposals now before us, and, after listening to him for a time, he said, “ Where were your boots made ?” The gentleman replied, “ In America.’’ “Then,” said my friend, “if you examine ‘them, you will find that they bear a union label.” He did so, and my friend’s prediction was verified.
– Hear, hear. That happened in Collins-street, and I made a convert of the man.
– Many shire councillors and others who denounce these provisions are wearing boots bearing the union label. Mr. Walpole sends out circulars to municipal and other organizations, and, because half-a-dozen of them support his views, we are told that public opinion is against this proposal. The Argus attacks the union label; and that in itself is said to show that public opinion is opposed to it. We have been asked. What will be the position in the States where arbitration laws prevail ? We have an Arbitration Act in force in New South Wales, and factory laws are in operation in Victoria. Manufacturers in those States export largely to other parts of the Commonwealth, and those who are among the first to place a union label on their goods will secure a big business throughout Australia. We should leave the question an open one. Those who desire to use the union label should have a right to use it. I have heard nothing to justify the suggestion that we should prevent the use of such a mark. As; one who is within the inner circle of trade unionism., let me mY at once that there is absolutely no ground for the doleful predictions which have been made. There is no foundation for the suggestion as to boycotting. An illegal boycott is practised by employers, and has been practised by them for manyyears, but I have never heard those who oppose these proposals denounce it. True, when we refer to it, they reply that they do .not approve of it, but they have never taken any decisive action to emphasize their disapproval. I fail to see how it would be possible, as the result of the passing of these clauses, to bring into play a system of boycott which would inflict injury on the people. We aire told that a man who prefers to use goods bearing the union label boycotts nonunion goods. It might just as well be said that the sentiment so freely expressed today in favour of Australian goods for Australian people amounts to a boycott. In various places public meetings, have been held, urging the people to buy Australian goods ; and now when one orders a suit of clothes, one takes care to ask : “ Is this Australianmade tweed,” or “Australian-made serge,” as the case may be. What is that but a boycott, if such a term is to be employed. But I hold that it is a misnomer. The proper word to use is “ preference.” Probably our State Legislatures will compel manufacturers to so stamp their goods as to show by whom’ they have been made. There are thousands in Australia who, if they could, would give a preference to Australian-made articles. They need something to assure them that they are buying locally-made goods, and we say that anything that prevents deception in this respect serves a useful purpose.
– Chinese furniture has now to be stamped in Victoria.
– Quite so. Prior to the passing of the law requiring that to be done, one had to accept the word of the shopkeeper. But if a registered mark be placed on goods, we shall secure certainty in this regard. I propose to quote an extract from a sermon delivered by a clergyman, in Baltimore. A clergyman is one who is not usually regarded as taking sides. Indeed, I hold it is wrong to speak of sides in this connexion. Instead of seeking to drive capital and labour further apart, we should endeavour to secure mutual agreement between, them. In the United States an employer is allowed to use the union label because he observes fair conditions of labour. Does not that in itself suggest that the system tends to bring about harmonious relations between the two parties? Instead of driving employer and employe apart, -the union label legislation of the United States has caused a better feeling to prevail. It certainly must extend unionism, but every honorable member of the Opposition has expressed himself in favour of unionism.
An Honorable Member. - Voluntary unionism.
– Unionism can only be voluntary. How would it be possible to keep a body of men together by coercion. If some honorable members of the Opposition had had experience of these matters, they would know that it is unnecessary to talk of coercion. The honorable member for Parramatta said that he Avas opposed to these clauses, because he did not think they would tend to swell the ranks of unionism.
– I did not say that. I said that I did not think they would do unionism a bit of good.
– That is only another way of putting it. The union label will certainly tend to increase unionism, because the employers who avail themselves of it will increase their business, and so add to the Avork to be carried out in their factories. I know that, in connexion with some trade union movements, attempts have been made to coerce men, but I challenge any one to disprove my statement that the movement generally is a voluntary one, and that, in a free country, it can exist only because it is voluntary. Those of whom we speak as non-unionists are men who consent to be hired to displace others who are on strike. There is no difficulty in inducing the great mass of the workers in a trade to join a union organized in connexion with it,
– There is coercion amongst employers.
– Certainly. The most notable feature of the trade union movement in America to-day is the decrease that has taken place in the number of strikes. A large federation has been formed to mediate in disputes between employers and employes ; the profit-sharing system has also been introduced, and, whilst the union label has admittedly strengthened the membership of unions, it has led to a more harmonious state of affairs as between capital and labour. Some few years ago those who follow up the trade union movement closely were alarmed at the outlook in the United States. A social upheaval seemed imminent. Many strikes were taking place, and in connexion with those disputes arms were used and blood was shed. But during the last year or two the outlook has become more hopeful. I contend that trade unionism has been largely responsible for the change.
– And that good feeling to which the honorable member refers has solidified the position of the capitalists.
– The building up of big trusts is going on quite apart from trade unionism. The union label will prove beneficial to employers, for there are many who, like myself, wish to avoid sweaters just as we should avoid any bad character. It will (enable the employer to secure the market, and thus assist him in paying fair wages. At the present time the man who pays fair wages suffers from the competition of the man who pays unfair wages.
– What is to become of the non-unionist?
– He will eventually be employed in a union shop, under union conditions, and will get better wages than he gets now. If there were a dozen firms supplying a town, and the trade were taken from half of them, and went to the other half, all the hands employed originally by the twelve firms would, in the end, be employed by the half-dozen firms which remained in business.
– But six of the employers would be ruined.
– That could not be helped. I am not a believer in the competitive system, but honorable members who support individualism and competition should not cry out when men are crushed. Are not working men thrown out of employment whenever new machinery is introduced ?
– The honorable member is getting away from the subject.
– I was led aside by the interjections of the honorable member. To show the respect in which the union label is held in America to-day, I should like to read the following passage from a sermon recently preached by a Baltimore clergyman : -
What can be more sacred or more deserving of the reverence of men than the Union Label, which signifies that human life has been more highly valued in the production of commodities than the mere profits sought for by greed?
The label is an emblem of justice, of fraternity, of humanity. When you find a label on a garment, or a plug of tobacco, or a box of cigars, or a loaf of bread, or a piece of printing, you can be sure that none of them was made in a sweat-shop, that no little children’s fingers were compelled to sew, or to sort tobacco, in the hours of the night intended for childish sleep. When you see the Union Label on any commodity you can buy it with a clear conscience, knowing that in so doing you are not becoming partner to any institution that degrades humanity for private profit. You can sleep soundly also, and not be worried with thoughts of typhus fever, smallpox, or leprosy, which are so often . scattered broadcast from Chinese opium dens, convicts’ cells, and tenement sweat-shops, where the most degraded specimens of humanity put their life’s blood into marketable goods, from which the poor unsuspecting public suffers all manner of foul and loathsome diseases.
The Union Label is a religious emblem. It is a religious act to buy goods to which a label is attached, an act blessed on earth and honoured in Heaven, while it is a sin to buy a plug of tobacco, a cigar, a piece of clothing, a pair of boots, or a loaf of bread without a label, for then you do not know but what you are building up the business of some heartless tyrant, who is extracting a fortune from the drudgery and degradation of his fellows, at the risk of public health.
God bless the label ! And I hope that all of - you will carry indelibly impressed upon your minds the pictures of the Union Label, and that you will always know that the favorite banner in Heaven represents justice to Labour, freshair and sunshine and healthful conditions to those who toil, and the truth that human life is of greater moment than gain of gold.
I leave it to honorable members to justify their opposition to the label which is so highly spoken of in that passage - and the opinions there expressed represent the opinions of the general public of the United States, because of the good which has been seen to result from the use of the union label.
– What about those who are prevented from joining a union becausethey cannot afford the £5 entrance fee?
– The honorable and learned member for Werriwa hears of one case in which things are not as they should be, and argues as if all unions acted in the same way. That is not logical reasoning. Most of us would prefer to patronize the best if we could recognise it, to help the fair employer, and to stamp out the sweater, by purchasing the goods of the one and refusing those of the other, until all1 are compelled to act as decent men. and to comply with fair and reasonable conditions.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).I have always stood firmly for the equal rights of all men, whether they are unionists or non-unionists. If thatisnot not true and perfect democracy I do not know what is. I do not wish to prevent men from joining unions if they desire to do so, but I feel that they should not be forced to join unions if they desire to keep out of them. Men should not be compelled, by means of the union label, preference to unionists, or any action of that kind, to join unions against their will. If the honorable member for Darling says that my position is a wrong one, he stamps himself as a Tory, instead of as the pure-hearted democrat which he claims to be, and I brand him and his party as Tories. Why is it sought to legalize the union label? The object is to secure special privileges for a certain section of the community; not to. give equal rights to all, but to give, by the operation of law, a preference to the smallest class in the community. The Legislature will be doing wrong if it agrees to anything of the kind. The honorable member for Darling assumed that, because goods bear a union label, they will be of good quality. But there are thousands of men who are not. unionists who are as good and as capable workmen as are the members of unions. A union label does not indicate quality. All that it means is that the goods to which it is attached have been made by unionists, and it is used to compel the public to buy only such goodsby boycotting those who use any others. This Legislature has no right to countenance such action. Not only the honorable member for Darling, but the Attorney-General - about whom I shall say a few words presently - made the assumption that the union label stands for quality. The honorable member for Wide Bay, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, in a speech made at Hurstville, New South Wales, on Saturday last, said -
Adulteration permeated the whole range of food and diet, and the persons who thus defrauded the public were murderers in effect, as the little ones were starved and killed by false foods. The Argus said that these were trade customs, but this was no palliation of the slaughter of the innocents, to which Herod’s was as nothing. They had been engaged for the past two weeks in the Commonwealth Parliamenton an endeavour to remedy this in some degree by the union label.
A voice : “ The gag.”
That was more like it. The two weeks were spent in trying to. adopt means to prevent honorable members on this side of the Chamber from speaking the truth about these union label provisions. The honorable member replied -
Yes, if they liked to so call it, but the right of the majority to enable the consumer to find out at least who manufactured what they ate, drank, or wore.
The union label gives no guarantee of quality. If honorable members wish to prevent the use of goods which are not of the best quality, let them vote for the. following amendment, which I intend to move, but which I feel sure they will oppose: -
No person shall apply to any goods for the ‘purposes of trade or sale, or knowingly sell or exhibit for sale, or have in his possession for sale, or for any purpose of trade or manufacture, any goods to which there is applied any mark, distinctive device, design, symbol, or label which falsely represents the quality of such goods, the country where, or the conditions of labour under which, such goods were produced.
That is not what honorable members opposite desire. What they want is to legalize the union label, so that men who do ‘not wish to do so shall be compelled to join unions. That- is their one and only object. If they wish to secure that all goods used shall be of good ‘quality they will vote for my amendment. But, to secure the support of the public outside, they make, state.ments which they know are not correct. We on this side of the Chamber wish to protect the public, and to prevent any but goods of the best quality from being used. But honorable members opposite wish only to do everything possible to drive into unions men .who do not wish to enter them.
– Manufacturers will not be able to keep their trade unless they make wares of good quality.
– If honorable members wish to make certain that all articles sold shall -be of good quality, let them vote for my amendment. If they will not vote’ for it, let us have no more of this hypocritical pretence that it isi the quality “of goods about which they are concerned. Every man who enters this House should be perfectly frank, and should state openly what his intention is in connexion with any , proposal . that he makes. No honorable member should, attempt to deceive the House in any way. An attempt is being made to mislead the House. The Attorney-General this after: noon endeavoured to make it clear . that Senator Symon had made some remarks in favour of these proposals.
– No, I did not. The honorable “member is’ not reporting me correctly.
– The impression the Attorney-General intended to convey, after having quoted ‘ certain statements made by Senator Symon, was that he favoured the trades union label.
– No. I said that Senator Symon stated that he was personally opposed to. the trade, union label, but that he did not propose to recommit the clause relating to it, for the purpose of opposing it on behalf of the Government. There was no statement that the Government were opposed to it.
– I now understand the Attorney-General to say that there was no declaration on the part of the Reid Ministry that, as a Government, they were not opposed to the trade union label proposals. What is the evidence on that point? The Attorney-General read a certain statement made by Senator Symon, with a view to indicate that the Reid Government were not opposed to the trade union label. Would any Court assume that the other members of the Government were in favour of the union label, because Senator Symon, the only Minister who had expressed any opinion on the subject, had stated that he was opposed to it?
– If they did not oppose it, they must have been in favour of it.
– They had no chance to oppose it. Senator Symon stated distinctly that’ he was opposed to it personally. But he did not say that his colleagues were in favour of it. None of the other Ministers “said that thev were advocates of. the trade union label, and yet the Attorney-General attempted to mislead the House in that direction.
– The honorable member must not say that.
– I stated that Senator Symon moved to recommit the clause for the. purpose of strengthening the union label provision, and made a suggestion that was accepted bv Senator” Pearce.
– That shows that my original statement was true. Senator Symon said -
My honorable friend will forgive me for taking advantage of this opportunity to say that it is a mistake to insert these provisions in this Bill. I thoroughly understand his object in desiring to legislate in this way, and I am not saying one word adversely or otherwise with regard to the principle he has in view, but I think that from his own stand-point, it is worth consideration whether he should ask us to’ insert these provisions in a Bil I relating to what is entirely distinct matter - trade - marks - and whether it would not be better to have a separate piece of legislation dealing with this particular subject. .1 know that in America - and that is the pattern which my honorable friend has followed - some enactments for this purpose have been passed ; but it is noticeable that these are-not Federal enactments. Our Constitution enables us to deal with “ trade marks,” and it is a moot question as to what is meant by that term.
– I read that.
– He moved for the recommittal of the Bill for the purpose of improving the clause, but later on he put himself right by stating that he was absolutely opposed to it.
– I pointed that out.
– The Attorney General did not read the whole of the statement.
– Certainly not; I did not read the whole of the speech.
– I want to put the matter quite plainly. Later on, Senator Symon was asked to again recommit the clause, and I think that on that occasion he refused. He said -
When, on the last occasion, there was a recommittal of this Bill, in order to effect some alterations where one or more unions are acting together, I indicated that in my opinion these clauses were in the wrong place. I do not think they should be included in this Bill. I tried on that occasion to persuade my honorable friends opposite that it would be very much better to eliminate them from this Bill, and legislate independently in respect of what is sought to be dealt with here, as was done in New York, I think, where the State Legislature passed legislation of this character.
Senator Pearce. The honorable and learned senator also said that he would oppose that legislation as vehemently as he opposed these clauses.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON. I did. The honorable senator is right in stating that my persuasion would be equally applied to secure the rejection of such provisions if introduced by separate legislation. I wish it to be distinctly understood that I am not in favour of the introduction of these clauses in this Bill.
That is a distinct declaration of hisopposition to the union label provisions, and merely because his colleagues said nothing, the Attorney-General tried to induce honorable members to believe that they must have been in favour of the union label.
– Did the honorable member read the reply of the late Minister of Trade and Customs to the deputation that watted upon him on the question?
– If the honorable member has anything to say he can address the Committee later on. I am merely replying to the statement of the Attorney-General, who insinuated that the Reid Government were in favour of the union label proposals. When Senator Gould asked for a recommittal of the Bill, Senator Symon said -
Iask Senator Gould, in view of reasons I propose to give, not to press his motion to a division. It will still be open to him to discuss thesubject on the third reading, and the views putby Senator Pearce in that regard are perfectly fair. Let me state the rea sons which influence me. Of course, my honorable friends know - Senator Pearce has twitted me more than once - that I am very strongly opposed to those provisions, first so far as place is concerned as being in this Bill, and secondly on principle.
Nothing could be clearer than that.
Senator Mulcahy. Is the honorable and learned senator going’ to vote for them remaining in?
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON. No. But I am not going to move a motion for recommittal every week, and I am sure that Senator Gould would not desire me to do so, especially at a period of the session when every moment of our time is extremely valuable. My honorable friend moved a motion to recommit last week. With two exceptions, every member of the Senate was accounted for in the division as to recommittal. There was an equality of voting, with the result that, according to the Constitution, the question passed in the negative.I voted with my honorable and learned friend in support of the recommittal. But I am not prepared again to support the motion to recommit. I do not take the view that because an amendment is made in a Bill with which I do not agree, I ought, therefore, to vote against the third reading. I do not think I ought to sacrifice a Bill because of some provision in it which I do not like. This measure is intended for the regulation and registration of trade marks. I do not think that a trade union mark is strictly within the meaning of the measure at all. But the question has been fought out, and an amendment has been carried. Now the Bill is ready to be sent on to another place. There is very little hope of it being passed this session., But whether that is so or not, the other Chamber’ will be able to deal with the whole subject. “ If the trade union mark provisions are retained by a majority, they will form part of the Bill ; if they are rejected by a majority, they will come back to the Senate for reconsideration.
– That shows that the Reid Government were not opposed to the union label provisions.
– It does not show anything of the kind. Any honorable member who can make such a statement is apparently prepared to support the contention of the Attorney -General. Senator Symon was distinctly opposed to the union label provisions, and seeing that he spoke as the representative of the Reid Government, we may fairly assume that his colleagues shared his views. The Attorney-General undoubtedly attempted to convey the impression that the members of the Reid Ministry were in favour of the trade union label proposals, and yet we find that all the evidence tends to show that the contrary was the case. The honorable gentleman told us that some 500 years ago something equivalent to the union label was in usein England. He knowsvery well that no trade union label was in existence at the time.
– No one said that there was.
– No; but the honorable gentleman attempted to persuade the Committee that something of the same kind was in operation then.
– I said there was a workers’ mark in existence.
– Yes; but it was not of the same character as the union label. The Attorney-General, however, mentioned that fact with a view to support his arguments in support of the present pro. posal. If that was not his intention, the fact referred to was not worth mentioning, The workers’ mark of the time referred to was used by individuals. Nearly all the goods were manufactured in those days solely by individual workers. There was no such division of labour as we now see in our factories. Every man who produced an article and sold it for himself was entitled to use a worker’s mark, and it would be open for him to do the same thing to-day. The Attorney-General knew this very well, but he wished honorable members to infer that because there was a workers’ mark in existence 500 years ago, we should make provision for tradeunion labels to-day. Even if a trade union label had been in existence 500 years ago, it would not follow that we should make similar provision to-day. In view of the development which has since taken place, and of the improved methods of production, I say that the legislation which fitted 500 years ago is not applicable to-day. The argument of the Attorney-General was an absolutely foolish’ one.
– Then why does the honorable member use it?
– I am not using it. I am merely replying to the statement of the Attorney-General. I endeavour to argue upon fair lines, and I would not use an argument which did not fit the circumstances of to-day in the way that he did. The honorable and learned gentleman also stated that in ancient times marks were given to the members of various guilds. That statement is perfectly true. But I would point out that members of the guilds were required to serve a long apprenticeship to their trade, and were only allowed to “mark!’ their goods after they had satisfied those whorn^ they had served that they were competent workmen.
But do the members of trade unions serve any long apprenticeship to their trades, and are they required to establish the fact that they are good workmen ? No ! They undergo no examination of any kind. None of the safeguards as to quality of workmanship, which used to be insisted upon in connexion with the old guilds, are imposed in their case.
– Did the honorable member ever join a union?
– No. I am afraid that if I did, I should not remain in it ten minutes.
– The honorable member would “boss” the union.
– I am afraid that the union would attempt to “boss” me, and, as a result, I should be fired out very quickly.
– The honorable member knows nothing whatever about unions.
-Although I know very little in regard to their internal working, I have seen enough from the outside to prevent me from joining them. The honorable member for Darling made some reference to the encouragement which he offered to certain employes in England to establish a co-operative society for the manufacture of sheep-shears. I commend him for his action in that connexion. Many years ago a strike occurred in the district which I have the honour to represent, and I was asked to speak at a meeting in Armidale. “Upon that occasion I recommended the workers to do exactly what the honorable member for Darling advised the employes of Messrs. Burgon and Ball to do. I counselled them to start a co-operative factory, and to sell their own goods, and I offered - I was a member of the State Parliament at the time - to undertake the travelling for them - so far as the adjoining towns were concerned - without fee or reward. If a union can sell its goods voluntarily, it should have perfect liberty to doso. Nobody objects to that. But I contend that men should not be coerced intousing a union label. Such a label is not required for the purpose of guaranteeing the quality of goods, but merely for the purpose of enabling unionists to boycott those firms which do not exclusively employ union labour. The honorable member for Darling has admitted that. We have no right to enact legislation which will create strife between any sections of the community. How can a union label be applied to goods which are the product of a minute division of labour? The great bulk of the work to-day is done by machinery. What right has an employer to attach a union label to goods thus produced, and how can any such label be a guarantee of quality ? Take the manufacture of oatmeal as an example. Under this provision, I suppose that the oats would have to be ground by union labour; the building in which the oatmeal was manufactured would have to be erected by union labour ; indeed, the whole of the processes connected with its production would require to be carried out under union conditions. I say that it is utterly impossible to insure that. These provisions will merely provide the necessary machinery to enable unionists to boycott non-unionists. The honorable member for Darling has assured us that their adoption will result in everybody being employed, and at a higher rate of wages. If that were so, I would vote for these proposals. I have as much sympathy with the working classes as those who stand up and “mouth” it so much. I desire that men should have the fullest employment. But the adoption of the union label will not provide them with work. All these artificial methods for employing them will fail. In Victoria the Wages Boards merely help the man in employment - they are of no assistance to the individual who is unemployed. In New South Wales, the Arbitration Court does not even help the man who is in employment. What we need to do is to bring natural opportunities within the reach of the working man. Then he would be able to find work for himself, and would not need the assistance which it is alleged the adoption of the union label will afford him. The honorable member for Darling has said that every machine which was used pressed men out of employment. How will the union label help them in that case? I say at once that every machine invented would advantage the working classes if proper conditions obtained. The reason why machinery is apparently injuring the worker is that he is not free to take his natural place upon the lands of the country. The Labour Party profess to be the great friends of the people. They are in power in several of the States to-day. Let them enact legislation which will open up avenues of employment for the people upon the land. In Queensland and South Australia at the present time they are in power. Why do they not act in the way that I suggest ?
– Because we have a Legislative Council in those States.
– The Labour Party talk outside of what they will do ; but when they are in power they do nothing. I do not wish to further discuss this question. I do not believe that the position of the workers can be much improved by means of legislation. Legislation of this kind will fail to accomplish its objects. I have the strongest desire to help the masses, but I have always voted against legislation of this character, because I believe that it can have no good effect. If the union label be legalized in Australia, the working, classes will find that th’ey have been fooled, and that it is of very little service to them. Under present conditions, all who are seeking employment cannot find it, and if we give this power to the unions, non-unionists will find it impossible to obtain work. We know thata wharf labourers’ union in New South Wales demanded a fee of from a man who wished to join its ranks, and I have been told that in some of the States’ there is an aristocracy of labour which carefully shuts out others who would join it. The Arbitration Court in New South Wales has compelledthe unions to open up their books to every one. Labour unions have tyrannized over their own class wherever they have had an opportunity to do so.
– That is a gross slander.
– It is not. We know, for example, that in New South Wales the Court compelled the Shearers’ Union to expunge fromitsrules a regulation imposing a fine of on every member who voted against a candidate it put up. That was an attempt to take away from the members of the union liberty of speech and freedom of thought ;it was an attempt to make the union one great political machine in the hands of those who controlled it. There can be no defence for such conduct, and since the unions have not hitherto used their power wisely, it would be absolutely foolish to pass these provisibns, and so place in their hands a greater power than that which Thev now possess.
– After the fervid speeches of the two honorable mem- bers who havejust preceded me, I feel at considerable disadvantage in addressing, the Committee; but whilst unable to emulate their eloquence, I desire to give my reasons as fairly as I can for opposing the union label clauses. Before doing so, I wish to refer to a statement made by the honorable member for Darling. In the course of his speech, he argued that firms which attached the union label to their goods would secure an increased trade, and when I inquired what would become of those engaged in producing the same class of goods, who did not use the label, he replied: “They would lose their trade ; the others would undoubtedly gain it.” I interjected that they would be ruined, and in this connexion I should like to read a short extract from a decision given a shorttimeagobyJudgeHunt,ina boycott case in California. In American Industries, for 15th September, 1904, it is stated that -
His decision is based on the rights of property. He holds that it is theduty of the Courts under the laws to protect the property of anemployer, and also the non-union workman’s right to labour. “Therighttolabour,” he says, “isarightof property, and the duty to protect it is the highest officeofourlaws. No syndicate of employes or union of employes can bar one of theright to labour, for the right to labour is the right to live.”
If the right to live is taken from those who do not employ union. labour, we shall strike a blow at the highest privilege that man can enjoy. Presuming that all employers fell into line and employed unionists, the result would be an increase in the prices of their products. I understand that my honorable friends opposite are opposed to sweating ; but if the price of a commodity be increased by those producing it, who must suffer? The rest of the community.
– They get abetter article for the increased price.
– That is not assured. After carefully examining these provisions it appears to me that their primary object is not to benefit unionists particularly, but to force non-unionists into the unions, and so add to their political power. We know perfectly well that majority rule prevails amongst the unions. Theydecide in caucus what they propose to do, and the minority are bound by the will of the majority. If a large body of men throughout Australia be forced into a union, they will have no freedom of action ; they will have to do as they are told, or suffer ejectment. Such being the case, what must be the object of these clause.;? Is it not to enable the unions to acquire increased political power for the benefit at the present moment of a comparatively small section of the community ?
– No ; it is to acquire justice forthe mass of the people.
– If that be so, it is curious that so many of the workers of Australia remain outside the unions. We hear a great deal about affording employment for the workers; but surely they know what is best for themselves. If the benefits of unionism be so patent as our friends in the union ranks declare, why is if that non-unionists do not voluntarily join such organizations? As a matter of fact, I believe that at least considerably more than half of the workers of Australia do not belong to the. unions.
– During the last few years 30,000 non-unionists have joined the unions in New South Wales.
– Possibly that is so. If they resort to the system of boycott which has prevailed in America-
– There is no boycott in New South Wales.
– I am. not sufficiently well acquainted with the conditions of New South Wales to be able to say whether boycotting does or does not take place there, but I remember to have read that, during the shearing troubles of a fewyearsago, picketting, which ispractically the same thing, was effectively adopted by the unionists, and non-union men were taken away from theplaces where they were sleeping to the camps of the unionists on strike.
– Why use such extreme cases by way of illustration?
– Extreme cases indicate the lengths to which men will go under extraordinary circumstances. I shall oppose the clauses which the Attorney-General wishes to insert in theBill, in order to prevent legal authority being given to extreme action. There is another way of looking at this question. There is a large number of unions in Australia, and if they are given the power which the Government seek to give them, it will be possible for them to ruin the primary industries of the country. I ask honorable members to consider what the position would be if unionists refused to handle the wheat, grain, wool, or other productions sent down from the country, because non-union labour had been employed in connexion with them ? Our prosperity depends notso much on what we sell in Australia as on what we sell abroad. I may be told that such action as I anticipate would never be taken. But if it were taken the prosperity of Australia would be ruined. At the present time a small section of the community is trying to force through Parliament, by fair means or foul, certain provisions which they think will be of advantage to them.
– The majority must rule.
– I unhesitatingly affirm that the majprity, outside is against the legalization pf the union label.
– The honorable memberwould not give us a chance to appeal to the people.
– I have heard that statement before. At the time to which the honorable member refers a Labour Government was in power, and that Government
– The honorable mem- ber is now going beyond the proposed new clause.
– I bow to your ruling, sir, but if you allow certain interjections to be made -
– I have several times, called order, because I feel that the honorable member . is not being fairly treated. He should be allowed to make his speech as he thinks best, and I therefore ask honorable members not to continue to interrupt him.
– In Tasmania there is a very strong feeling against this proposed legislation. The people hold that it is being sprung upon them before they have been given an opportunity to express their opinion in regard to it. Nearly every person with whom I have conversed is of opinion that the legalization of the union label will not benefit the State. Therefore, apart from my personal views, I am bound to endeavour to voice the opinions of those who sent me here, who view this proposed legislation with extreme disfavour. There is no objection to the Trade Marks Bill as it now stands. Similar legislation was adopted in Tasmania some years ago, and any person desirous of doing so may, on payment of a small fee, register a trade mark, and thereafter prevent any one else from using it. That is a fair and reasonable arrangement. Trade marks do not guarantee quality or purity, but they show that the goods to which they are attached were madebya certain man or a certain firm. The honorable member for Darling says that he wishes to legalize the union label in order to raise wages, and for the purpose of driving the sweater out of existence by handing over his business to the man who pays fair rates Of wages; But our people can do only a certain amount of trade’ amongst themselves. When the local demand is met, we have to find a market for our surplus produce abroad, and we can either export our raw material, or sendaway manufactured goods. . In either case, the price thatwe receive is governed, not by the conditions of labourand rates of wages prevailing here, but by the prices ruling in the markets of theworld. It does not matter to people abroad what our millers have paid in wages, they will give for the flour which we export only the rates ruling in the markets of the world. . Therefore, if our millers have to sell their surplus abrpad. at a loss, they must make it up by charging higher prices to the local consumers. They and their employes mav benefit by this state of affairs, but those who have to pay more for their flour, without receiving ‘ any corresponding advantage, are injured. This proposal is merely protection run mad. In my opinion, we shall do well to allow wages to find their natural level, giving a certain amount of artificial assistance to encourage the establishment of industries within the Commonwealth. I feel it my duty to oppose the proposed new clauses, which are being brought forward by the Government, not to benefit the people of Australia, but. to benefit a small section whose representatives here are bringing pressure to bear upon them.
– I do not know if the Government is disposed to adjourn the debate at this hour.
– It is a little early vet.
– Then I shallrenew my request for an. adjournment a little later on. I am opposed to the insertion of these clauses in the Bill, because I think thatthey should form the subject of special legislation.
– Would the honorable member vote for them if they were in a separate measure ?
-No; but I am opposed to their introduction into a Trade Marks Bill, since their subiect-matter is quite foreign to the subject-matter of the Bill. A trade mark, as has been pointed out bv eminent legal authorities, is really a traders’ mark. Trade unions, or asso- ciations, and individual workers are not traders, and therefore cannot properly use a trade mark. The union label is not a trade mark in the sense in which the term is employed5 to signify marks placed upon goods for the purpose of indicating the place of manufacture, or the persons by whom they were manufactured. The union label is not accompanied by a proprietary interest in the article to which it is attached, which is one of the essential and basic principles of the trade mark. I think it ought to be referred to a Select Committee, so that evidence might be taken and we might ascertain what justification there is for putting the clauses in the Bill, and whether the title of the measure should not be altered to “ A Bill for the Legalization of the Boycott, Intimidation,, and Minority Rule.” For, after all, those are the purposes for which the union label is to be called into existence. It is intended to distinguish goods made by trade union labour from goods made by non-union labour. Power is sought by those who are responsible for these clauses to put into the hands of trade unions the right to coerce the majority of workers into joining such organizations against their will. Not only so, but it is intended to give the right to trade unions to coerce employers into discharging non-union labour. It is intended to limit the freedom of citizens to act on their own judgment in buying or selling. They are to be confined to goods which are marked with the union label.
– Could not any set of workers other than trade unionists register a mark under this Bill?
– Perhaps they could. It is not probable that they would, but, in any case, it would not give them any proprietary right In the goods they produced. It is the very essence of a trade mark, as ordinarily understood in trading circles, and as laid down by the most eminent legal authorities, that the user of the mark must have a proprietary interest in the goods to which it is applied. The union label is in no respect a trade mark in the proper sense of the term. An eminent legal authority in Victoria has pointed this out. It has also been pointed out by the courts of the United States. Several judgments have been given in America, in which it has been stated -
The courts could protect organized, labour from any interference with their proprietary or quasiproprietary right in their union label as affixed to goods, and such labels were held not to be trade marks for several reasons : (i) Because they do not indicate by what person the articles were made, but only membership of a certain association ; (2) their use is not enjoyed as incident to any business, and the right to use cannot be transferred with the transfer of a business; (3) there is no exclusive use, as many persons not connected in business and unknown to each other have the right to use, the right to use being acquired by becoming a member of an association, and being lost by ceasing to be a member.
The judgments of the United States courts show that the union label is not recognised by them as a trade mark in the ordinary acceptation of the term.
– In the United States the only opponents of the union label are the rings of boodlers.
– I do not know what authority the honorable member has for saying that. An eminent legal authority in Victoria indorses the view which I have expressed. After carefully examining the law on the subject, he has arrived at the conclusion that -
In my opinion, the Commonwealth Parliament has not power to legislate in respect of what I have called for shortness “ Union Labels,” on the ground - [a) Because they do not ‘indicate by what persons the articles were made, but only membership of a certain association.
Their use is not enjoyed as incident to any business, and the right to use cannot be transferred with the transfer of a business.
There is no exclusive use, as many persons not connected in business, and unknown to each other, have the right to use, the right to use being acquired by becoming a member of an association, and being lost by ceasing to be a member.
So that the grounds of objection which this eminent legal authority takes, are identical with the grounds of objection laid down by the Courts of the United States. But perhaps the most serious objection to this union label proposal is that it will condemn thousands of honest working men in this country to the loss of their employment.’ That, I think, is absolutely a certainty. If we are to judge from the operation of similar measures in the United States, it will have the effect of coercing employers into giving employment only to those who are members of trade unions. In fact, every one who knows the origin of this proposal is aware that the experience of the United States has guided the authors of these clauses. They have seen what a powerful engine for tyranny and coercion the union label has been in
America, and they see that by’ getting it legalized here they can use the’ forms of law to deprive the citizens of the Commonwealth of their equal rights under the law and to secure to themselves the leg,al power to coerce and intimidate non-union workers. I have no objection whatever to trade unions. I believe in the right of workers to combine together in a lawful manner for the purpose of bettering the conditions of labour and securing the best terms they can get.’ But action of that “kind should be purely voluntary. I do not believe in coercion. I believe that’ every inducement should be held out to wage-earners to join trade unions. But the element of compulsion should be entirely absent; because as soon as compulsion or coercion steps in, the equal rights of individuals are destroyed. I have noticed that some members of the Labour Party, when speaking on public platforms, have been very loud in the declaration: of their belief in the principle of recognising equal opportunities for all. Whilst they are so loud in proclaiming this principle outside on the public platform, their legislative acts in this Chamber- always tend in the direction of denying the right- of equal opportunity for all, and setting up a system of class privilege. The result of this sort of legislation is not to set one class against another, but to confer special privileges on a section of one class - a section which they come here specially to represent. At one time, we are told by labour members that they are here to equally represent unionists and non-unionists - that they know no distinction, and that they would not be here but for the votes of both sections of workers. That is an. argument which they use when it suits their purpose, but when it does not, they fall back on another argument, which is a flat contradiction to that I have just indicated. They say that they are not here to represent nonunionists, but only unionists.
– Who has said that? ‘
– The honorable member for Darling for one,’ and there are other members of the Labour Party who have expressed the same opinion. I could refer to Hansard to show that those honorable members have described nonunionists as “ scabs “ and “ blacklegs,” and as men of criminal type, who are not entitled, to consideration.
– I have explained that matter over and over again.
– That is the kind of hypocrisy which characterizes the arguments of those who come here to represent labour.
– Is the honorable member in order in accusing honorable members of this House of being double.dyed hypocrites ?
– I did not ‘understand the honorable- member for Lang to make an assertion of that character. I ask the honorable member whether he used that expression?
– I made use of no such expression, but I did describe the use of antithetical arguments such as we are accustomed to hear from’ the labour section of the House as hypocrisy. The argument has been used that the union label is necessary as a guarantee of quality. But every honorable member knows that the provisions of this Bill do not pretend to guarantee quality, and that the shoddiest possible article might, with this union label, be foisted on the public. Honorable members who use the argument are perfectly well aware that the union label would not afford the public any such guarantee, but that the public are left absolutely at the mercy of the union shops regarding the character of the goods they purchase. The Bill seeks to compel the public to purchase goods which bear the union label, even if those goods be of the most inferior quality.
– How are the public compelled to purchase the goods?
– There are various methods of .exercising compulsion, with very many of which I have no doubt the honorable member for Yarra is perfectly familiar. At any rate, that is the central idea underlying the union label, and it is the cause of so much opposition to this legislation. If the union label were designed to insure the public against fraud, it would not meet with opposition from this side of the House. It is because there is a sinister purpose in this proposal, aiming at interference with the liberty of every section of the community, that such strenuous opposition is shown.-. One of the first duties of a Legislature is to conserve the equal rights of all citizens, and afford equal protection under the law; and Parliament has to see that those equal rights are not infringed by any individuals or sections of the community. This union label, however, has for its object that very interference which it is for the law to prevent. The honorable member for Darling, in one of those specious, sophistical processes of reasoning, which so often do duty with him as argument, contended that we all give preference in one form or another- in the everyday transactions of life. That statement is true, so far as it goes ; but the honorable member did not point out that that preference is totally different in kind from the preference sought under cover of the union label. It is true that everybody, in their every-day transactions, exercises the rights of preference to a greater or lesser, extent; but that is a purely voluntary exercise of preference.
– So is the other.
– There is an essential difference, one being purely voluntary, and the other compulsory.
– How is it compulsory?
– Because of- the coercive tactics and intimidation that are resorted to, in order to force, people to do something they do not want to do.
– That is slightly involved.
– It is perfectly true. The honorable member for Darling’ stated that men could not be coerced into joining trade unions. But many men have told me that they have -been compelled to become unionists, because otherwise they would not have a chance of getting a living. They were so tyrannized over and intimidated that they were compelled to become unionists. Working men in my own constituency are now members of unions which they were forced to join’ through the pressure of circumstances. I contend that sooner or ‘later this very process of compulsion must lead to disintegration, and to the ultimate downfall of the unions.
– -Does the honorable member contend that every member of a union has been coerced into joining it?
– No. The honorable member has’ no right to distort my words in that way. It must be perfectly evident that the honorable member is a voluntary unionist. Whilst many men are perfectly willing to join unions, a greater number do not care to do so. All we claim is that the rights’ of each individual shall be respected - that those who desire to join unions shall be perfectly free to ‘ do so, and that no compulsion shall be brought to bear upon others who do not wish to become unionists.
– Not one man in 500 is coerced into joining a union.
– I have no objection to any man joining a union; but perfect freedom of action must be enjoyed. No doubt the main purpose of the union label- is to bring direct or indirect pressure to bear upon non-unionists to induce them to join unions, and that is the chief danger, of the proposal now before us. -The honorable member for Darling stated that the first employer who adopted the union label would .make a lot of money out of it. Perhaps he will - it is hard to say - perhaps he will not. At any rate. if the label, is such a good thing for employers, it is remarkable that the Chamber of Manufactures - an association of employers - and the Chamber of Commerce, also largely representative of employers, should have been fighting tooth and nail against the adoption, of the union label. The members of the farming community and of the trading community have expressed theV strong opposition to the proposed legislation, which has met with universal condemnation. The union label is regarded, and properly so, as steeped in iniquity.
– Will the honorable member tell us who sent out the resolutions that were adopted by the farmers ?
– Provided that the resolutions are based on truth, right, and justice, it matters not who sent them out. I do not hold a brief for the Employers’ Association, or; any other body of men; but I do hold a brief for truth, right, and justice, and equal freedom to all; and, those are the principles by which I intend to stand. . I think the position has been put. very clearly by Judge Hunt, of California, in the case of Pearce v. The Stablemen’ s Union Local, 8760, decided in 1904. In his judgment’ he says -
The property which every m.m has in his own labour, as it is the ‘original foundation of all other property, so. it is the most sacred and inviolate. Hence no syndicate of employers, or unions of employes, can bar one of the right to labour, for .the right to labour is the right to live. In Billings v. Hall the Supreme Court of California refers to the constitutional question on this point as one of the fundamental principles of en1 lightened government, without a rigorous observance of which there can be neither liberty nor safety to the citizen. The right to labour is a right of property, and the duty to protect is the highest office of our laws.
That is a sound principle to lay down, and, coming from such authority, should command respect, even from members of the Labour Party. It lays down the principle that every individual is entitled to the full rights of property in his own labour. It is also pointed out that the right to live is involved in the right to labour, and that every man should be permitted to dispose of his labour as he chooses, without interference ‘from outsiders. Canada has been profiting by the experience which has been gained from the abuse of the union label in America. During the last ten years repeated attempts have been made to legalize the use of the union label in Canada. The latest effort was made in the early part of this year, but after a five-months’ struggle it was defeated.
– I suppose that the honorable member knows that the Trade Union Marks Bill has passed the Lower House in Canada no less than seven times?
– I know that it has never been passed into law in Canada yet. It was never a Government measure. I believe that it originated in the Upper House. It. is essentially a Tory measure, and provisions similar to those contained in it are being advocated at the present time by the Labour Party, which is the Tory Partypar excellence in this House. Now let us turn to Victoria. In September, 1903, the Full Court adjudicated upon the case of Martell v. the Victorian Coal Miners’ Association, Victorian Law Reports, volume 29, page 475. This is laid down -
Where a combination or an individual does any act with intent to harm another, without lawful excuse, and harm, in fact, results to him, an action lies for damages by the person injured. Where unlawful means are adopted to effect the purpose of such combination, there can be no lawful excuse. A combination of persons with intent to coerce their employer by means of a threat into dismissing from his employment, or refusing to employ another person, is actionable at the suit of that person, where the threat used is that of an unlawful strike. Such a combination can in no case be lawful. Where the dominant purpose and intention of a combination of persons is to harm another, and harm, in fact, results to him, it is no lawful excuse that they are pursuing their own business, or advancing their own interests, as, e.g., that they are upholding the principle of trades unionism or are punishing the person so harmed for a violation of such principle.
– But it is lawful for that same coal company to make it a condition precedent to the employment of men that they must be non-unionists.
– I am just as much opposed to that sort of thing as I am to the other -
The person who procures the act of another is legally responsible for its consequence’s, even though the act induced is within the right of the immediate actor, if it be to the detriment of a third person, and if he can be shown to have procured his object by the use of illegal means directed against that third party.
It will be seen, therefore; that at the present time the use of the boycott is illegal. It is because it is actionable at law that an attempt is being made in this Bill to legalise it in order to permit of its application under the guise of the union label.
– The honorable member knows that there is a provision in this Bill which expressly provides against that.
– Some amendments have been outlined which honorable members opposite - if they desire to protect the rights of non-unionists and of the public - will support.
– Let us get on to the amendments.
– The honorable member for Gwydir has been absent from the Chamber for a couple of hours enjoying himself, and upon his return heat once desires to take charge of the House. I certainly resent his action. If he is anxious to air his opinions,hecan do so at the proper time, but I will not tolerate his impertinences. Chief Justice Knowlton, of Massachusetts, United States, in giving judgment in the case of Berry versus Donovan, in which the plaintiff, a non-union shoemaker, sued an officer of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union for damages for procuring his discharge from employment by Messrs. Goodrich and Company, boot manufacturers, of Haverhill, because he was not a member of the union, said-
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 have 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.
There is only one other point to which I desire to refer. It has been said that the employers themselves will be great gainers by the introduction of the union label. In opposition to that view, I wish to point out the effect of its adoption on the commercial value of trade marks, as instanced in the cigar trade in Canada. The cigar manufacturers there, ‘controlling 85 per cent, of the cigar production, of that country, recently made strong representations to the Dominion Parliament in opposition to the Bill which was rejected early during the present year. They thus stated their case - .
All cigars are marketed to the consumer under labels or brands, and as certain lines grow in public favour, the Trade Marks, as covered by the various label designs, become very valuable assets of the manufacturer, and are saleable for large sums. If labour organizations are also permitted to register their particular emblem as a trade mark, and can then through the strength of their organization compel the manufacturer (as they oft-times do) to affix this label on each box of cigars, the value of the Trade Mark becomes practically ruined as a saleable asset. All the labels on a package of cigars are equally part of the Trade Mark with the brand name, and except they can be delivered complete, their sale is ruined. The manufacturer cannot sell the Union Label Trade Mark on his package with the rest of his Trade Mark, nor can he give any guarantee that the privilege of its use will be extended to the purchaser of his brand. Instances have occurred within the past few years where the presence of the Union Label has prevented the sale of a brand at a large figure.
Any effort to discard this emblem of Union Labour has invariably been followed by the most strenuous and persistent boycott. The use of the Union Label is not optional, at least this is the experience of cigar manufacturers. Factories’ have employed union labour, and complied with all union conditions except that they would not affix the Union Label on their brands. Strikes have been precipitated to enforce this ruling. On certain high-grade brands of cigars the Union Label is a serious drawback in the sale of the product, and to give this emblem the status of a registered Tirade Mark is but the first step to its compulsory use wherever the union issuing same has sufficient powers.
The registration of the Union Label is necessarily illegal. It is not, nor can it ever be, made a Trade Mark by process of law. This opinion has been laid down by the Trade Mark Branch of the Department of Agriculture, and by several eminent trade mark authorities in Canada. A trade mark is essentially a mark placed on a piece of merchandise to indicate its ownership. To register the Union Label would be to accord the unions part proprietorship in every piece of merchandise to which their label was affixed. According to the legal advice of the Dominion Cigar Manufacturers’ Association, such an act could not be sanctioned by law.
The registration of the Union Label would be simply disastrous to cigar manufacturing interests in Canada, and would eventually ruin the immensely valuable assets owned by cigar manufacturers in their popular labels and brands.
Here we have evidence that a large association controlling 85 per cent, of the total cigar production of Canada has issued a memorial to the Government of the Dominion, in which they positively state that the use of the union label has the effect of injuring the value of their trade mark, that the union label itself is not a trade mark, cannot in its nature, or by any process of law, be converted into a trade mark,, and that its enforced use, even upon goods; which have all been made by union labour, brings about the ruination of trade in many instances, and certainly depreciates1 the value of the trade mark of those engaged in the production and sale of cigar* in that country. There are several decisions in the American Courts to the effect that a union label is not a trade mark, and also that trade unions are not tradingcorporations, and, therefore, cannot be entitled to the use of a trade mark. Here is one, which was given by Judge Williams in the case of M’Vey v. Brendel, in 1891, in Pennsylvania -
I conclude that the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America is neither a trader within the meaning of the common law, nor within the.,purview of the Act of Congress. Not being a trader in any sense, it can have no distinctive trade mark. Registration under such circumstances isnot authorized by the Act of Congress, and if made, confers no title, and gives no standing ground in a court of law or equity.
Then, in the case of State v. Bishop, in 1895, Judge Burgess said -
It may be conceded that the label is not what is generally understood by law-writers to be a> technical trade mark, because it does not pretend or intimate that the cigars are owned, prepared, or manufactured by the union as an organization, or that as such union, it has any interest or property therein, nor by what particular firm or persons the cigars to which it may be attached were manufactured.
Then, in the case of Hetterman Brothers and Company v. Powers, in 1897, Judge Hazel rigg said -
First we may admit that the label of the Cigarmakers’ National Union is not used as a trade mark in the ordinary sense of the word. It is not a brand put on goods by an owner to separate or distinguish them from the goods of others.
Similar decisions given in other cases could be quoted, and all the authorities agree that a union label and a trade mark are essen.tially different things, and that one cannot serve the purpose of the other. It cannot be argued for a moment that workers, whether working in their individual capacity or in association as unions could, by the use of a label upon the goods they produce, acquire a proprietary right in those goods; nor can it be urged that they could be classed as traders in those goods. The very essential purpose of a trade mark is absent from the union label. The purpose of a trade mark is to protect the owner, seller, or trader in goods from the piracy of others engaged ‘in the manufacture or sale of similar goods. It is to protect individual rights, or the rights of corporations trading ‘in goods or manufacturing them, that the trade mark is granted. These conditions cannot possibly apply to all the workers engaged in the production of goods, and they cannot have the same proprietary rights as the owners or sellers of the goods. On these grounds I think that these clauses ought to be referred to the investigation of a Select Committee. I am, assured that very many persons in this community are willing to come forward and give valuable evidence before such a Committee, which at a later stage might be used for the information of honorable members, and perhaps to convert those who are now opposed to. the union label to a different way of thinking. In, the absence of any investigation of the kind, and of such evidence as might thus be obtained, the Opposition are perfectly justified, on principle, in opposing these clauses, and in resisting the attempt to engraft such provisions on a measure dealing with trade marks. I wish it to be distinctly understood that, in opposing these clauses, I am not opposing trade unionism., or speaking against it in any way. Though some honorable members may laugh at that statement, I have always been an upholder of the principle of trade unionism. I have always held that it is a good thing for workers to combine for lawful purposes.
– The honorable member refers to voluntary combination.
– Yes. I believe that it is a good thing that they should form, themselves into voluntary societies or unions for the purpose of securing better conditions and terms for their labour.
– Only the honorable member objects to help them.
– No._ I would help them on right lines; but’ I have .always contended that the principle of liberty should be steadily kept in view in the formation of these associations, and that the element of compulsion, should never be per mitted to enter into them. As soon as it does, the free right of choice is lost to the individual, and that is a thing which should always be guarded against by every marr who professes any regard for liberty or correct principle. It is because of the compulsion which underlies the whole of these proposals, and because of that element of compulsion which has suggested their inclusion in this measure, that we are opposed to them. We object to the will of the minority being forced upon the majority, and to coercive measures being brought to bear to compel free men to sacrifice their freedom and to become members of organizations which they have no desire to join. At the same time, I would heartily recommend all workers to voluntarily join unions, and especially those who believe in freedom, so that, by their influence and reasoning, they may be able to convert those who are opposed to the principles of freedom from the error of their devious ways. If the unions form themselves into voluntary trading corporations, there is mo reason why .they should not have trade marks. I could see no objection to that. If trade unionists desire to secure the reasonable benefits of the provisions of a Trade Marks Act, let them form themselves into trading associations. Let them form themselves into voluntary co-operative institutions, and engage in the manufacture and sale of goods, and then they will be’ equally entitled, with other manufacturers and sellers of goods, to the protection of their wares, but they cannot claim a protection for wares which they do not own. Therefore, it seems to me that to attempt to confuse a union label with a trade mark is one which can only impose upon those who are either wilfully deficient in understanding, or are willing to be imposed upon.
– I rise to make an appeal to” the AttorneyGeneral to consent to progress being reported. It is nearly half-past 11 o’clock., and there has been no unreasonably long speech- “delivered to-day. I have listened very attentively to the debate, and in my opinion we have done a good day’s work. The Attorney-General commenced with a two-hours’ speech), and I am’ sure that noone begrudged him a moment of that time. He delivered/ a speech, replete with research’, such as we might expect from him after he had carefully prepared himself-
Since then there has been a series of speeches, and the longest one, I think, was that made by the honorable member for Darling.
– No; the last speech was longer in delivery.
– I spoke for less than an hour.
– It was seven minutes longer than the honorable member for Darling.
-That is neither here nor there. The rest of the speeches have occupied from thirty to forty minutes. This question of the union label is of the greatest possible importance to the people of this country. If we are to put our arguments, pro and con, in such a way that they can be read and weighed by the people they should be delivered at reasonable hours, and therefore I make an appeal to the Attorney-General to consent to an adjournment.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi- Attorney-General). -There is no personal desire on the part of the Government to sit for long hours, but none of us can overlook the fact that the Vear is no longer young, and that there is a good deal of work yet before us. This question has occupied the attention of the House for a very long period, and although I did take up considerable time to-day it was only due to the members of the Opposition who had previously advanced their arguments that I should endeavour to reply to them. I feel that possibly we can arrange now that the consideration of this question shall be finished to-morrow.
– Not to-morrow.
– This question has been thoroughly threshed out and perfectly considered. For a considerable period we have had put in the best possible way the arguments of our honorable friends opposite.
– I suppose that my honorable friend has read the various amendments ?
– I have read the amendments, and I believe that pretty well every honorable member has made up his mind in regard to them.
– I believe it took more than five months to complete a similar debate in Canada.
– I shall not express any view upon what Canada ought to do. The Prime Minister made a very explicit declaration the other night, and I think it will be impossible to get through the work in anything like reasonable time if we do not make a strong effort to finish this Bill this week. I think that the Bill must be finished this week, and I make that statement, having regard to the state of public business, and not from any desire to press it. through the Chamber.
– Assuming that the Government try to do that, that is no reason why we should not adjourn to-night.
– If we can come to an understanding that the Bill shall be completed this week-
– No compact !
– When my honorable friend says “ no compact, “ he cannot expect the Government to adjourn now. It isvery near the end of the week; there is a good deal to do; and if there cannot be an understanding to that effect-
– The Bill is against sweating, why sweatus?
– I am against sweating too, but at the same time, the work must be done. I think it will be acknowledged that the views of the Opposition have been very well expressed!, and that there is no room left as to any misunderstanding as to what they are.
– I am prepared to discuss the question of the union label now, if the Government wish to go straight ahead. Excellent feeling has been displayed on all sides of the Chamber this week. We have passed through a long”stone wall.” I do not suppose that a “stone wall” had ever been previously conducted with such good feeling on all sides. If it had not been for that unfortunate occurrence, we should have got rid of this Bill at least a week ago. The only reason why I would suggest to the AttorneyGeneral the propriety of not proceeding further to-night, and not trying to force the Opposition into the position which he has laid down, is that there are at least ten amendments to be moved, each of which involves a separate principle. I recognise the force of what he said about concluding the debate on this question, but I cannot see how he can propose to compress ten hours’ work - for I presume that any amendment i’s worthy of an hour’s discussion - into a six-hours’ day. However, if he does not see the force of that, I shall proceed with my speech.
– The time is getting so short.
– I can assure my honorable and learned friend that we, on this side, do not wish to stay any longer than he does. We are just as anxious to get home as any honorable member can be. We recognise that a measure of this character, which has not been before the country, deserves educative debate in the House. That is only fair to the constituencies.
– I think it would be betterfor the honorable member to proceed now with his speech.
– In the course of the debate several honorable members have referred to the silence of the members of the Labour Party. I do not see any reason why the members of that party should address themselves particularly to this question, because their views are fairly well known. For that reason, I do not think that we. can rightly object to the silence which has been observed by honorable members, with the. exception of the honorable member for Darling.
– We spoke long ago on this question.
– I amspeaking of what has happened to-day. The leader of the Labour Party spoke to this question some few weeks ago.
– I have spoken twice.
– The honorable member has addressed himself to it, but I do not think that the party generally can claim that they have done so. I do not blame them ; it is fair for the Labour Party to adopt this attitude, in so much as they have thrown down the gauntlet on this question. But honorable members who until quite recently have been opposed to any such principles as are incorporated in these clauses should mostcertainly have addressed themselves to the question: There are three honorable, members - Ministers - who are always mentioned in this connexion, but there is one who so far has escaped mention. This is only another indicationof the truth of the saying “Least ‘said, soonest mended.” Three of these honorable gentlemen have statements in coldprint showing their principles, the fourth hasshown his principles byvotes, but, I think, has rarely expressed himself in the same forcible way as have his colleagues in opposition to the principles he is now prepared silently to espouse. It is for this reason that the Post master-General is in a much better position than are his colleagues, the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council. These honorable gentlemen should without doubt try to explain the reasons which have prompted their change of front. If they do not, the country must come to the conclusion that it is because of sordid reasons which they cannot express.
– That is not fair.
– I refer simply to the sordid desire for power. I should not demean myself by inferring that they wish to cling to office because of any other consideration. Their seeking for power, or, should I say, “place without power,” has necessarilybeen regarded by the country as the only reason for their change of front and for their being ashamed to give expression to the opinions that have prompted that change. The Attorney-General this afternoon made a speech upon which we can all congratulate him, because his arguments were clear, even if his deductions were not so patent. He told us that the case for this proposal has not hitherto been put. I do not know whether he remembered at the time the two able addresses which I understand the leader of the Labour Party has made on this subject. If he did, I agree with him.
– I think that I said that the case for the Government had notbeen put.
– I am not seeking topin down the Attorney-General to any disrespectful utterance in reference to the honorable member for Bland ; I should not like to place any supporter of the honorable member in such an awkward position. But I shall pass from that subject. I take it that this is the first exposition that has come from the Government of its corporate view with regard to these provisions: We are told in, this official pronouncement that the various sets of amendments which have been circulated are the same in principle, the only difference being an improvement in drafting and in verbiage, due mainly to the more concise form in which they now appear. That is a straightforward statement, for which I honour the AttorneyGeneral. It shows us that; so far as these different proposals are concerned, we have only to consider the same fact, and so we shall not waste time in looking up former amendments to see what they meant. But after putting our minds at rest in regard to this fact, the Attorney-General went on to put into flowery language the bald terms of his proposal ; and after two hours of rhetoric and able argument, we have still as vague a comprehension of the ground meaning of these proposals as we had before the honorable and learned gentleman rose to address the Committee. I may say, in passing, that each section. of his speech was truly able and clear, but the natural sequence between each progressive argument was not equally clear, at all events to myself. It is for that reason only that I say that we knew as little after the honorable and learned gentleman had concluded his address as we knew before. We were told, however, that at the present time any union or association of employes could use the union label ; at the present time they have absolute liberty to apply the union label to any goods, subject, of course, to the consent of the manufacturer. If that be the case, what is the reason for these provisions? The honorable gentleman will naturally say that the proposal is one to prevent the pirating of union labels. I hold that, if the unions can already use union labels, and that the only thing which necessitates this part of the Bill is piracy, the Attorney-General ought first to show that there has been piracy of union labels in Australia. If he cannot show that, his whole case falls to the ground. I challenge him1 to prove a single instance of piracy of a union label in the Commonwealth. Never has a union label been, of sufficient importance in Australia to cause any dealer or manufacturer to pirate it ; such a thing has never been done, and until it has, the AttorneyGeneral’s case must, perforce, fall to the ground. It must be clear to all honorable members that in Australia, where the sense of fair play is so inherent amongst the people, piracy of a union label would be almost impossible, for the label, we are told, relies for its efficacy on the good-will and sympathy of the people generally, and that sympathy would be doubled if any employers resorted to piracy. According to my honorable and learned friend’s own showing, if a manufacturer were to resort to the despicable practice of pirating a union label, he would at once have all his goods boycotted. I use the word “ boycott “ in the venial sense - that is, the individual refusal to buy. That manufacturer’s or dealer’s goods would be refused by every sympathizer with unionism, and there are many sympathizers with bona fide unionism in the Commonwealth to-day. I suppose that every one in the community is such a sympathizer. If that be the case, it is clear that under present conditions any piracy of a union label which had not been improperly used would react on those who were guilty of it. What, then, is the position? Do honorable members urge that we should guard against piracy in order to secure the unions from the natural consequences of any folly or malpractice in regard to the use of the union label? So long as it is properly used, piracy will be impossible, but if it is employed to promote such boycotting as has taken place in the United States ever since its institution there, should the unions be shielded from the natural consequences of such action? At the present time, if such practices were indulged in in the Commonwealth, the unions would lose the sympathy and support of the public, and that alone would make it possible for any manufacturer or dealer to pirate the union label. So long as the unions enjoy the sympathy and support of the public, no manufacturer or dealer will dare to pirate their label. Why. then, should we legalize the registration of the union label, and allow the unions to use it as they choose?
– The union label cannot be used except with the consent of the manufacturers.
– Granting that, I ask if a conspiracy between employers and employes is not more serious than a conspiracy on the part of employes alone? The consumers are infinitely more important to us than are either the manufacturers or those who work for them.
– The consumer need not buy goods to which the union label is applied, unless he wishes to do so.
– The Attorney-General told us that the union label can be applied to goods at the present time, and he asked the House to prevent labels from being pirated ; but I am showing that piracy is impossible, so long as the unions have the sympathy and support of the public.
– By the same reasoning the honorable member could show that our criminal laws are unnecessary, because the people, as a whole, are honest and lawabiding, and have no sympathy with crime.
– I do not wish to labour the point. The Attorney-General has told us that the provisions inserted in the Bill by the Senate were too far-reaching and stringent, and that those which he is now proposing to insert are a considerable modification of them. I do not challenge that statement, but the expression of the Labour members when he was making it indicates how they regard the proposed modification. They showed unmistakably how pleased they were with it, and I leave it to honorable members to judge therefrom the nature of the modification. The honorable gentleman made a point by stating that Senator Sir Josiah Symon did not strenuously oppose the introduction of the clauses originally inserted in the Bill in the Senate.
– He assisted to strengthen those provisions.
– Did he say that the action which he took was to strengthen them?
– I do not think that he used’ those words.
– That is the whole point. I have not a report of the proceedings at hand, so that I cannot say that there may not have been some technical reason for what he did, and there may be grounds for difference of opinion as to the effect of his action. No doubt he naturally looked forward to the provisions being opposed in this Chamber. Will any honorable member say that they would have been agreed to, had they been brought forward here last session? They would have been defeated by three or four votes at least. The late AttorneyGeneral looked at the matter from the point of view of al public man and a politician. He recognised that it was of no use to waste the time of the Senate in fighting the question there, especially as when the Bill came to this House he could rely upon the present Prime Minister, the present Postmaster-General, the present Treasurer, and the present Vice-President of the Executive Council as supporters of his Government. That is what the late AttorneyGeneral recognised, and that is why he did not undertake a useless fight in the Senate.
– I do not think that he would acknowledge that that is the way in which he treated the Senate.
– The Attorney-General, although’ he has not perhaps actually misstated the facts, has put them in such a sequence that honorable members have been led to believe that the late AttorneyGeneral viewed with sympathy these trade union label proposals.
– I did not say that.
– I merely wish to disabuse the minds of honorable members of the impression which they may have formed that the late Attorney-General supported these proposals.
– I made it clear that his personal view was against them.
– But the honorable and learned gentleman also made it clear that the late Attorney-General recommitted the Bill with the express object of strengthening the provisions. That was the comment that stuck in the minds of most honorable members.
– There could not have been very strong Governmental objections to the proposal.
– What did it matter to the late Attorney-General that the clauses were carried in the Senate, when he knew that he would have the support of the present Prime Minister and other members of this Government to reject them when they came to this House ? We are all politicians here, although we are saints before our constituents, and we know what would be in the mind of any reasonable leader when put in such a position. The Attorney-General in his speech to-day went on to explain that in the United States the union label was not prominent in any boycotting case. I have already given the Committee numerous instances where undoubtedly the label has been used in that country to further the boycott. I do not wish to pursue the matter, as I have already dealt with it sufficiently. But the Attorney-General went on to ask whether there was any boycott in union sympathizers voluntarily purchasing only union-labelled goods. Of course, one would not describe that as boycotting. We hare no wish to prevent free agents from buying any goods thev wish to buy.
– That is all that has ever been done in America.
– That is not so. Suppose, for instance, that a union is formed especially for the purpose of using the union label. A union of that description would not come under the Arbitration Act, and consequently would not be hedged round with those safeguards that apply to unions working under that Act. It would make it one of its first rules that ,no article should be purchased by any of its members to which the union label was not attached. Then that union would appoint walking . delegates to go round and see that, not only its mem- bers, but also their wives and families, wore no articles except such as had the union label attached to them. That, I say, would be boycotting. The action of the members of that union would not be voluntary. It would not be the action of free agents. And such unions would be the inevitable consequence of passing these union label provisions ! I can, quite understand that members of unions should be governed by a. majority of their fellow-members; and if the majority of the members of a union choose to pass a rule of the character I have described, it is only a fair thing that the whole of the members should be bound by it; for, if they do not care to be bound by it they can, of course, leave the union. But, in such a case as I have instanced, not only the members of unions, but also their wives and families, would be bound. In this country we have not only manhood suffrage, but adult suffrage. The rights of women have to be considered, as well as those of men. A woman has to make the pounds, shillings, and pence of ihe household go as far as possible. I .am afraid that in many families there are only shillings and pence to spend. The woman has to make the money go as far as it will. She purchases the stock to keep the household going. Is not such a woman to be a free agent? Can she not buy her goods in the market where she can get the best value for the money she has to spend? Is she to be affected by the tyranny of the union label? Certainly she should not; but that is a consideration which obviously has not struck the Attorney-General. That is one form of boycott that naturally results from the adoption of this legislation. Honorable members have asked what is a boycott. I will tell them : If a walking delegate, upon entering a shop, and finding that 10 per cent, of the stock did not bear the union mark, afterwards hired a couple of sandwich men - of course, at the union rate of wages - to parade up and down outside) and announce that the shop should not be patronized - that would be a boycott. There are other forms of boycott to which I could refer, but to which I shall not allude, for fear that I may unduly lengthen the debate. The opponents of these proposals have been accused of antagonism to trade unionism. Personally, I deny the charge. I regard unionism as one of the best and most hopeful institutions in our industrial life.
I also regard the voluntary co-operation of its members as constituting the very life-blood of unionism. What has made unionism a living force to-day ? Not compulsion, but the voluntary co-operation and mutual enthusiasm of the unionists. These elements alone have enabled the unions to tide over their most serious difficulties. If any system of compulsion were adopted, the involuntary recruits gained thereby would prove a source of weakness, and would eventually lead to the downfall of the institution. For this reason alone, the advocates of true unionism should range themselves alongside the opponents of this proposal. The AttorneyGeneral has laid considerable stress upon American precedents. He has told us of the States that have adopted union, label laws, and has given us particulars as to their population, which I presume, in the case of the southern States, would include the negro element. He told us further that some of the States had passed restrictive measures, in order to prevent blackmailing and boycotting by means of the union label. Honorable members seem to forget that in a number of the States union labels have been deliberately introduced, with the object, by levy upon the trusts, of raising funds with which to fight proposals for the enactment of restrictive measures.
– What is the honorable member’s authority for that statement?
– There are a number of authorities. My statement is absolutely correct. America is the home of political corruption, and the system to which I have referred has been deliberately resorted to by the political parties in the States Legislatures. I do not think that the AttorneyGeneral was wise in asking us to follow American precedents. The United States is the home of Tammany, and also the home of “place without power,” .and “power without place.” We have already had experience in this country as to what is meant by “ place without power,” and “ power without place,” and we have had a sufficiency of American precedents for the present. The Attorney-General and the honorable member for Darling talked all round this subject, without touching its real crux. Neither of them attempted to explain the true reason for the anxiety of the Labour Party, to get these proposals adopted. We have been assured that the object of the introduction of the union label is to insure that goods shall be manufactured under proper conditions. But we know that in Australia we have already established Courts for that special purpose. What, then, is the object of these proposals? Undoubtedly it is a political one. As a proof of that, I would remind honorable members of the extreme anxiety exhibited bymembers of the Labour corner to dispose of this Bill during the current session. In order that this may be done, we are being detained here unduly long hours.
– It is cruelty to animals.
– And the .animals are on the other side.
– I know upon which side the “ cads “ are.
– The Minister’s interjection shows on which side they are !
– That is a mean remark for a man in the Minister’s position to make.
– I beg to draw attention to the remark of the Minister of Trade .and Customs. It was a most improper one.
– He was speaking for himself.
– As the remark of the Minister is offensive to the honorable member for Grampians, I ask him to withdraw it.
– I did not say upon, which side the “cads” were. I merely said that I knew upon which side they were. My remark did not apply to the honorable member for Grampians.
– Under those circumstances, I think that the honorable member for Grampians will be satisfied.
– The Minister has not half the spirit of a man.
– I would point out that all interjections are disorderly. But, as I understand that the remark of the Minister of Trade and Customs was not applied to any member of the Committee, I do not see how I can ask him to withdraw it.
– You are very obtuse, Mr. Chairman; that is all I can say.
– The Minister merely said that he knew upon which side of the Chamber the “cads” were. His interjection would seem to settle the matter !
– I am afraid that the honorable member is getting away from the question, and is discussing a matter which is not before the Chair. I would point out that certain expressions have been used which should not have been employed. For instance, honorable members were referred to as “ animals.” That was not a proper remark, ,and it provoked another interjection which was not in order. I am afraid that I heard still another remark which was not strictly in order. I think, however, that if we allow the matter to remain where it is, no great harm will be done.
– The Labour Party desire this Bill to be passed, in order that their political organizations outside may become conversant with the details of administering the union label, so as to make it effective at the next election. The moment they have secured their object they will throw over the present Government, and assume the reins of office themselves. Ever since the -inception of the Commonwealth Parliament, the Labour Party have been endeavouring to increase the strength of their political unions. When the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was under consideration, they desired a preference to be extended to unionists. They were defeated upon, that, proposal, with the aid of several of the present Ministers. They did not get their undiluted preference, nor did they get political preference. They had then to consider a new method, or a new form of the old method, to increase their political organization ; and they devised the union label. If there is one thing on which I can congratulate the Labour Party it is on the possession of a Machiavelian trait, which no other political party in Australia can equal. There is no party in this country so far-seeing, if so selfish, as is the Labour Party. The moment thev were beaten in their endeavour to utilize this House as a recruiting agency for their own political strength they began to reach out for the union label. I shall show how they will use the union label to improve their political position. Under these clauses it can be used by any association, and not merely by a union registered under the Arbitration Act. I appeal to honorable members opposite to say, before this debate closes, whether they are prepared, to restrict the use df the union label to unions registered under that Act.
– Would the honorable member vote for the clauses if they agreed” to do so?
– I should be prepared very, seriously to consider the advisability of doing so, should they be made innocuous in that way. If these clauses are passed in their present form, the result will be that new unions will be formed -to use the union label. They will be unions having political objects, finding funds for the Labour Tarty and voting for Labour candidates. Union label boycotts will be fostered in order to compel men to enter these political unions at the peril of their livelihood, because the products of workers who are not members of these unions will not be purchased. Honorable members are prepared to compel men, at the peril of their livelihood, to enter unions formed to vote for themselves, and to pay funds into the party chest that supports them. These are the objects of these provisions. If honorable members opposite were in a Court of Law they could not deny that, and I hope they will not have the temerity to deny it in this .House. This accounts for their anxiety to have these provisions -passed this session - that they may be used as a means of organization for the next Federal elections. In these Clrcumstances. the Attorney-General cannot complain that the Opposition, feeling that this is the case, and knowing that these proposals have not been before the country, should desire that a reasonable time should he devoted to their discuission. If I were in order in saying so, I should be prepared to say that the Opposition hold the view that one of the grossest conspiracies ever known in the history of Australia is at present being, carried on in this Chamber.
– The honorable member would not be in order in saying so.
– -Then I shall not say so ; but, though I am unable to express certain opinions in an orderly way, I still must hold them, and when, in common with other honorable members, I hold such strong views in connexion with this matter, I claim that we are entitled to ask for a. reasonable time to permit the debates in this House to operate as an educative medium throughout the Commonwealth. The associations who will take advantage of these proposals are associations which will be paying subscriptions to the Labour Party and voting for Labour candidates. As a proof that I am in no way extreme in holding these views, I should like to mention one of the reasons which induces me to hold them. One of the most important unions in the Commonwealth, ably and subtly presided over by the honorable member for Darling, a year ago had rules which compelled its mem bers to vote in a certain direction. I refer to the Australian Workers’ Union, which took a part in politics and ran a newspaper, circulating strongly partisan views, and which issued a levy upon its members of is. per annum. Under the Commonwealth Arbitration Act that union was compelled, if it3 wished to register under the Act, to give up its political objects. Now there is nothing so certain as this : The moment the Trade Marks Bill is passed into law, with its union label provisions complete, the Australian Workers’ Union will register a trade mark ; and, under its old rules and its political objects, start on a general propaganda under new auspices. Apart from the merits of these provisions, we certainly have the right to consider the inadvisability of bringing one Act of this Parliament into direct conflict with- another. If we pass this Bill with these clauses, it will be found to be a direct inducement to one of the greatest unions in the Commonwealth to sever its association with the Arbitration Court in order that it may try to gain its object in another way. Is not that a condition of things which the Committee should regard with the utmost seriousness?
– Is the honorable member aware that there are some members of the Labour Party who do not belong to any trade union ?
– I am aware of that. I have already expressed my complete sympathy with trade unionism. What I object to is that political unionism should, in this House, be encouraged to the detriment of persons outside them. I do not object even to political unionism, so long as it is voluntary, but I do object to giving political unionism power over its competitors by Act of Parliament. I do not object to the Australian Workers’ Union having political rules. All I say is that if, for any reason, it wishes to compel persons by Act of Parliament to join its ranks, it must so frame its rules that every member will have absolute liberty of action.
– It does that.
– I know that it has completely changed its rules, but my fear is that the change has not been voluntarily made by the majority of the members, and that, when it gets an engine which will enable it to proceed without the help of the Arbitration Court in. the settlement of disputes, it will revert to its old political rules and register a union, label in order to increase its membership. That is a point which I submit the Committee must take into serious consideration when it is considering these proposals. This danger could be guarded against in two ways. In the first place, political unionism should be guarded against so far as it affects the liberties of outside persons. I have no quarrel with political unionism, or any other form of unionism, when it is voluntary. But, in view of the fact that to express a predilection in favour of any goods made by any union necessarily means to drive persons, willingly or unwillingly, into the union, since they can get no sale otherwise for the product of their labour, I submit that it is really another form of preference to unionists. We must guard against political unionism by seeing that no union which devotes itself to political objects shall get any of the advantages of the union label proposals. If they are absolutely free and open, if any recruit is not compelled to vote for any political party-
-There is no such compulsion in any union that I know of.
– It was done in the case of the Australian, Workers’ Union.
– There are no societies which interfere with the voting of their members.
– I shall take one fact out of the rules of the Australian Workers’ Union.
– There is no rule of that kind in any union.
– I accept the assurance of the honorable member that : no member ofhis union has ever been coerced in “the exercise of his vote. But is it not a fact that until quite recently it had a rule, which was registered with the Arbitration Court in New South Wales, which permitted of a levy of1s a year upon, its members?
– That is not correct.
– For election purposes, but not for part? election purposes.
– We know the party on whose behalf this levy has been used. The honorable member for Darling will not deny that the Australian Workers’ Union supports a large newspaper, which has lately moved into more commodious offices, and which is, perhaps, as strongly partisan as any paper in the Commonwealth. Suppose that a recruit to his union were strongly opposed to the platform of the Labour Party, and the policy of the Sydney Worker.
Would it be equitable to compel that man to contribute to the up-keep of a newspaper in whose views he did not believe? A union or association must give up its politics, or else not take advantage of this measure.
– The Australian Workers’ Union could not come under the measure, because they have nothing on which to put a union label.
– Six months hence will it not be quite possible for the Australian Workers’ Union, to affix its label to bales of wool, which have been shorn by union labour ?
– No. The employers would not agree to that, or ask for it, because it would not help the sale of the wool.
– Suppose that the union wished to increase its membership, it could affix a union label to bales of wool, showing that it had been shorn by Australian Workers’ Union labour; and it could then arrange with the honorable and learned member for West Sydney to see that his union - the Wharf Labourers’ Union - refused to handle any wool which did not bear that label. There ia not a union which could not, by co-operation with other unions, use the union ‘abel in that. way.
– The suggestion is. utterly ridiculous.
– I am satisfied that within six months it will be acted upon by the honorable member’s union.
– Mr. W. E. Abbott is more unlikely to use the union label than are even the members of the Opposition. The union would have to get his consent before the label could be applied to the bales.
– The description of an association reads as follows : - “ Association “ includes any number of associations acting together, and in such case the members of the “ association “ shall be the members of the associations which are acting together;
If I understood the honorable member for Darling aright, that proposal does not go as far as he would be prepared to go. It will enable associations to come together - for what object? According to the honorable member, the object is to enable consumers to know whether or not the goods they buy Have been made under proper sanitary ‘and’ labour conditions. I take that statement on the part of the honorable member as being the only reason that prompts him to support the proposal. He will recognise that if it be essential that consumers should have a true indication in that regard, there must be as few union labels as possible in any one line of trade. The union hatters of the United States furnish a case in point. They have one label for all the hatters of America.
– Because there is only one union. Before the label was introduced there was only one.
– But, according to the arguments of my honorable friends of the Labour Party, it is to the advantage of the consumer that there should be only one union associated with an industry.
– We are for letting them do as they please.
– I am not suggesting that there should be any compulsion. I am simply pointing out that, according to the argument of my honorable friends opposite, it is to the advantage of the consumer that there should be only one union of employes associated with any industry, because he has then to” make a bald choice between the product of good sanitary and labour conditions, and that of “ sweat “ shops and tenement houses. That being so, it is clear that in. this Bill we should, as far as possible, encourage the practice of having only one Union ofemployes connected with an industry. As that is the object of my honorable friends in the Ministerial corner, I hold that every labourer whose conditions of labour are vouched for by either of the States Courts as being sound should be allowed to use a label in his trade. I think that is clear, and I propose to test it when we proceed to deal with the amendments. I wish to test the bonafides of the opinions put forward by honorable members of the Labour Party.
– Is it not correct that under this Bill an employe working for less than union rates will be able to register a mark ?
– Yes ; but I think that the provision to which the honorable member refers is a most misleading one. No article manufactured in Australia is the product of one man’s toil. In the present state of our industrial life, an article, before it becomes a finished product, has to pass through dozens, perhaps hundreds, of hands, and therefore every article to which an individual worker attempted to attach his brand would necessarily bear the marks of hundreds of men. Therefore the provision to which my honorable friend alludes will be absolutely inoperative ; and I regret that it has been inserted. Honorable members have argued, in the course of this debate, that if the union label proposal be unpopular, it will meet its own reward - that people who have no unionistic ideals will combine and refuse to buy politically-union-made articles. That is begging the question. These proposals will not be flung broadcast over the country. I have too much respect for the Machiavelian tactics of my honorable friends in the Ministerial corner to suggest that they would make such a serious blunder. The union label will be brought into use, first of all. In those districts which sympathize with militant unionism, to force storekeepers and others to sell none but union-made goods; and from those districts it will spread outward, until the whole Commonwealth comes within its noxious embrace.If it were put into general use at once, Ft would be scouted; but those who control the unions are too clever and far-seeing to let that happen. The boycott will grow by the boycott. In conclusion, I wish to show that the principle of preference to unionists is diametrically) opposed to the objective which the Labour Party have announced on every platform in Australia. We have been told that they desire the equalization of opportunity for every man, woman, and child in the Commonwealth”. Does preference to unionists mean equalization of opportunity ? Will not its adoption make it more difficult for those who are worst off to earn an honest livelihood ? Who is it deserves our sympathy and aid - the man who belongs to a strong and powerful corporation, who will be succoured in his darkest hour by its funds, or the man who has no settled occupation, and wanders from job to job, never knowing what the morrow will bring ? I oppose the trade unionlabel provisions, because I believe in absolute liberty. I believe that every man in the community should have absolute liberty to live as he will, and to work as he will.
– Would the . honorable member give a man leave to starve?
– If, in the city of Sydney, a man dropped on evil days, and tried to get a job on the public wharfs, he would be asked to pay an entrance fee of10s., and, in advance an annual subscription of 10s., to the Wharf Labourers’ Union be- fore he could get a job. A wretched man, who had not the means to buy a meal, would’ be asked to pay £1 to this rich organization for the privilege of working! I oppose these proposals because they are opposed to liberty, and designed to foster the organization of a party which, while being particularly clever in manoeuvring to increase its own political organization, does not necessarily deserve our support in doing so.
– I wish to read to the Committee several resolutions that have been sent to me, with requests that I should submit them to honorable members as indicating the feeling which is spreading throughout the country in regard to the question. The first resolution which I desire to read is from the Storekeepers and Traders’ Association of Victoria.
– I rise to order. Can the honorable member assure the Committee that he will lay the resolutions in question on the table, in order that they may be available for other honorable members ?
– I will do whatever I am directed to do by the Chairman. These are not private communications. They are official. There is nothing in them of which I have cause to be afraid, nor .need I hesitate to lay them on the table of the House. I am using them as part of my speech, as showing the opposition to this “proposal on the part of very influential people throughout the country.
– Is the honorable member in order in quoting from documents which apparently he is not prepared to make available for the use of other honorable members ?
– The honorable member for ‘ Corangamite has said that he will take a direction from me as to whether he shall lay the documents on the table. I have been looking up the parliamentary practice in this matter, and I find that it is not imperative for an honorable member to lay private letters or memoranda on the table of the House ; but all public documents quoted by a Minister must be* laid on the table. Before the honorable member concludes, I’ shall be able to give a definite ruling.
– It is a well-understood rule that documents which are quoted must be made available, so that other honorable members may have an opportunity of dissecting them and finding whether they bear the construction placed upon them by the honorable member who has used them. I do not press for a ruling just now, but I suggest that the honorable member might desist from reading these documents until a definite ruling can be given.
– The honorable member for Corangamite has offered to obey whatever direction is given to him by the Temporary Chairman. It is almost impossible to determine whether the documents which he desires to quote ought to be laid upon the table until the honorable member has quoted them. So far, we have had nothing to indicate their character.
– I have already indicated that I intend to ascertain from the honorable member’s quotations whether it is necessary for him to lay the documents on the table. It really depends to some extent upon whether or not the extracts are partial.
– I wish to know whether it is competent for a private member to place public documents on the table ? Is not that privilege reserved to Ministers of the . Crown ?
– If an honorable member quotes from a public document it must be laid on the table.
– The letter to which I have referred was- written bv the President of the Store-keepers’ and Traders’ Association of Victoria, which is an important organization, comprising not only large store-keepers, but also small shop-keepers, who have voluntarily combined in order to protect their interests. The honorable member for Bland, and those who follow him, are believers in voluntary unionism. I believe in it myself.
– The honorable member does not support it.
– For various reasons I have thought it wise to withdraw from the unions and associations with which I was formerly connected. To that extent. I am a non-unionist.
– Some people would call the honorable member a black-leg.
– I am not a black-leg, although I may be a non-unionist. I have never clone anything that would justify any one in stating that I was a black-leg or a “scab.” I would not care to be called such names, and I would suggest to members of the Labour Party that it is unwise to apply to their fellow-men. such opprobrious terms. The letter to which I have referred is one of some importance, in view of the fact that the Store-keepers’ and Traders’ Association is a union just in the same sense that a workman’s organization is a union. The letter states -
Re the union label clauses. Having considered the matter fully, your Committee is convinced that such legislation would be detrimental and extremely harassing to the trader who would be called upon to discriminate between individuals as unionists and non-unionists by the stocks he kept, although both are df equal value to him ; in all ways it would make for coercion, dissatisfaction, and loss. I trust that you, in common with all well-wishers of the Commonwealth, will use every effort to have these obnoxious and mischievous clauses expunged from the contemplated legislation.
Now, I propose to read a letter which has been forwarded to me by the secretary of the Shire of Warrnambool, which is one of the most important in the State of Victoria. The letter is as follows: -
At a large and representative public meeting held in the Town Hall, Warrnambool, on the 29th inst., with- a view to discussing the Trade Marks Bill now being debated in the Federal Parliament, the following resolution was adopted, and I was instructed to forward the same to you, namely, “ That this meeting strongly protests against Part VII. of the proposed Bill, known as the union label clause, firstly, as to its being antagonistic to the liberty of the people, secondly as to its being detrimental to the producing and trading interests of the community, and thirdly, as to its discrimination between union and all other labour.”
I have also received a letter from the Town Clerk of Warrnambool, who says - -
I have the honour by direction of the Warrnambool Town Council to inform you that at a public meeting held here on the 20th ultimo the resolution as under was carred by a large majority, and for the very grave reasons stated therein I am to request your valuable influence and support thereto.
Then follows the resolution previously quoted. I have received another communication from the Farmers’, Property-owners’, and Producers’ Association - a body which works throughout the whole of the country districts of Victoria. It is an antisocialistic organization, but, nevertheless, it wields a very great influence. The letter is dated Geelong, 18th November, and reads as follows : -
I am directed by the Executive Committee of the Farmers’, Property Owners’, and Producers’ Association to notify you that the following resolution has been agreed to by all the branches of this Association in Victoria, namely, - “ That the members of this Association protest against the union label on the ground that it will interfere with industrial liberty, and give to unions - controlled for political purposes - the power to boycott those who have an equal right with unionists to freely dispose of the produceof their labour.” .
My Executive Committee trusts that you will give consideration to the above resolution, which has been carried unanimously by 130 branches of this Association, which exist throughout theState of Victoria.
J. D’Helin, Secretary.
– I think that we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed].
– The next letter that I have to read is from the Colac branch of the Australian. Women’s National League. It is dated 16th November, and reads -
Sir, - I beg to inform you that a meeting of theabove branch, which was largely attended, was held on 16th November. The secretary referred fully to the union label clauses of the Trade Marks Bill, and the following resolution was carried unanimously : - “ That in the opinion of this meeting, the union, label clauses of the Trade Marks Bill now before the Federal House, will if passed be a direct interference with the liberty of the subject, and a discrimination of persons, and that in favour of a minority as against a majority. It will hamper storekeepers in their operations, and penalizethe purchasing public, of which so large a classare women.” ,
I am, Yours faithfully,
Emma Greig, Secretary.
I have also received a telegram from Inverleigh >
– Where is that?
– It is a town eight miles from Bannockburn, and Bannockburn isfourteen miles from Geelong. It is in the electorate of Corangamite, but under the redistribution of seats scheme it will be included within the electorate of Corio. Thetelegram reads : -
Inverleigh branch Farmers’ League unanimously approves your action opposing union label clause, and strongly condemns such clause.
I now propose to read an extract from the
Agc, of 23rd September last, setting forth a resolution which was carried by the New South Wales Employers’ Federation. The resolution is -
Federation strongly opposed to AttorneyGeneral’s proposed amendments in connexion with union label provisions, Trade Marks Bill, and1 consider the label, together with the amendments, as calculated to introduce new and irritating relations between employers and employed. They are also opposed to common law rights, as they strainthe Constitution, and are likely to promote antipathy in the States to the Commonwealth.
That expresses the feeling of a large body of men in New South Wales with regard to> these clauses. That strong feeling against these clauses exists also in Queensland will be seen from the following resolution of the Federated Employers’ Executive in that State : -
Federated Employers’ Executive strongly averse to proposed amendments, Trade Marks Bill, being in nature of express class legislation, and subversive of good relations between employers and workers, interfering with individual common law rights, and calculated to embarrass and embitter all employing classes. The Commonwealth trade mark invidiously affects and injures some States, and will certainly deepen distrust of Federal Parliament, and increase disaffection in such States to the Commonwealth system.
That is, if anything,, a stronger protest than that which I have quoted from New South Wales, and Queensland is a State which is not supposed to be hostile to labour legislation. I have here another resolution from South Australia-
– Is the honorable member in order in reading newspaper extracts commenting upon a matter before the House?
– The honorable member doubtless refers to standing order 268, and I am of opinion that the honorable member for Corangamite is not contravening that standing order by the quotations he is making in reference to the matter before the Committee.
– This is the opinion of the Federated Employers of South Australia on this question: -
Meeting of this Council held to-day, unanimous support acceded Central Council in opposing Trade Marks Bill.
Though the Trade Marks Bill is referred to, their objection is really to the union label clauses embodied in that Bill by the present Government at the instigation of honorable members in the Labour comer, who so entirely control them. Feeling on the subject is also strong in Tasmania, where the following resolution was passed by the Launceston Chamber of Commerce : -
Executive committee of chamber, after careful perusual of Attorney-General’s .amendments, and the remarks thereon, passed following resolution : - “ That we confirm the resolution of the chamber of the 8th ult., and equally condemn the amendments as not- in any way removing objectionable f eatures of the Bill.
This question is really the great question’ of preference to unionists, which was threshed out last session when we were considering the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. According to Coghlan, there are 150,000 unionists in Australia, and by means of these provisions they are en- deavouring to secure preference over 1,102,000 adult males in this Commonwealth. At page 61 of Hansard for this session, it will be found that the Prime Minister, at the beginning of this session, in speaking to the Address-in-Reply, told the right honorable member for East Sydney that he had parted with his_ opportunity to put this great question of preference to unionists before the country in a concrete form. On page 62, he repeated the statement in another form. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat has now an. opportunity of putting the issue before the people in a concrete form, because the union label embodies the principle of preference to unionists in a worse shape than has ever been submitted to the country. It is only because the AttorneyGeneral wishes to placate the corner party that these clauses have been accepted by the Ministry. If we are to judge by the opinions which have been expressed, I should say that there is a very narrow majority here in favour of their enactment. If the Prime Minister is true to the words which he spoke on the Address-in-Reply, he will seek a dissolution of the House, and take the verdict of the people. I can assure him that the members of the Opposition will be ready to respond to a challenge in that direction. I am satisfied that there is a strong feeling throughout the country districts in Victoria, and, I believe, throughout the rest of Australia, against the insertion of these clauses in the Bill. Practically, the only desire of the members of the Labour Party in seeking the enactment of this class legislation, is not to suppress piracy or sweating, but to increase the membership of their unions for political purposes. They intend to use the union label as a means of boycotting manufacturers and compelling workmen to join the unions. In supporting the union label, the Attorney-General is preparing a sword which will eventually be the means of politically slaying himself. The union, label can be of no value to the Labour Party unless it is to be used as a means of boycotting. According to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the word “ boycott “ means “to combine against a landlord, tradesman, employer, or other person; to withhold social or business relations from him, or to deter others from holding such relations.” It has been urged by honorable members that some individuals themselves apply the boycott ; but according to this definition it can only be applied by an association of persons. It is desired to put the power of the boycott into the hands of the unions. The honorable member for Bland has gloried in the fact that he has indulged in boycotting, and he has admitted that employers have the right to do so. If it were not for the power which the union label will give the unions, they would not have asked their chief assistant, the AttorneyGeneral, to bring forward these clauses and to after them so many times. The word “ boycott “ as a noun is defined in Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary to mean “ social and business interdiction for the purpose of coercion.” So that these clauses are designed to introduce not only a system of boycotting, but a system of coercion between employers and employes, between tradesmen and their customers. In my opinion,, the Attorney-General and his colleagues should have left the positions which they now occupy rather than have been drawn by any means into bringing forward such proposals. The honorable and learned gentleman must know, from what he has read on the subject, .that in America the labels have been used almost entirely for the purpose of boycotting tradesmen who would, not submit to the dictation of unionists.
– Can the honorable member give us any evidence that they have been so used? ‘
– Have we not the evidence of the honorable member for Bland that in Australia he has assisted in boycotting?
– The honorable member knows that in America employers have black-listed employes in regard to their businesses. Would he. abolish the businesses ?
– I would abolish the black-listing. I do not glorify black-listing any more than I glorify boycotting. I detest both.
– The honorable member boycotts every tradesman with whom he does not deal.
– I have already shown that a boycott is a combination of persons for coercive purposes. One man cannot boycott another. In Palgrave’s Dictionary of Political Economy, it is pointed out that-
A boycotted person is cut off from all intercourse with his neighbours; nobody is allowed to take his land, to work for him, to supply him with goods, or to help or assist him in any way.
Should we allow ourselves to be induced by the Ministry or any other section of the House to introduce this system into Australia? It is generally acknowledged that practically the object of the unions in seeking to legalize the union label is to apply this pernicious system to all the relations existing between employers and employes in the Commonwealth. No one takes exception to voluntary trade unionism, but the coercive unionists who recognise as their leader the honorable member for Bland are aiming at the introduction of such a system as that which exists in connexion with the Flint Glass Workers’ Union of America.
– I think that we should have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– Palgrave points out that this union, by means of the union label, is endeavouring to cause all workmen to be forced into the unions -
Disturbed by the competition of what the union claims are half -trained apprentices, non-union men, and immigrants, the umm refuses to work with any non-union men or boys, and refuses toadmit to its membership any foreigner, save on payment of $50 (£10).
Over and over again we have unionists in Australia refusing to work with half-trained apprentices; and in wool-sheds and other places we have had unionists refusing absolutely to work with non-unionists.
– We have had union doctors refusing to work with non-union doctors.
– I thank the honorable member for the interjection, which is perfectly true, and quite pertinent to the issue. I am not suggesting that the evil has been or is only on the one side. The AttorneyGeneral knows that it is customary for the members of the learned profession to which he belongs not to work with those who are outside the union. But the custom obtaining throughout the learned professions is due to reasons quite different from those which actuate members of coercive trade unions intaking the course I have indicated. The effect of these clauses will be to introduce into Australia the system that now obtains in the United States. During the grea’t shearing strike of a few years ago, one of the chief points at issue was as to whether or not non-unionists should be allowed to work side by side with unionists.
– That was not the causeof the shearer’s call-out.
– Has it not been one of the burning questions at issue ? The AttorneyGeneral has argued that the boycott to which reference has been made is a matter that affects only the United States; but I am showing that the system is not unknown in Australia. Another point having an important bearing on this question is that the workers’1 label clauses are designed,.not to indicate the sweater, but chiefly to force all workmen throughout Australia into unions. Dealing with the position in the United States, Palgrave points out that -
When the non-union man, denominated a “ scab “ by the union, tries to take the place of strikers, violence is often visited upon him by the union, as some years ago in England ; but the majority of the unions do not countenance violence.
I know that the majority of trade unionists do not countenance violence, but this is an indication of the treatment which will be meted out to those who object to the union label by the coercive unions which .are represented chiefly, if not wholly, by honorable members in the Ministerial corner. The members of labour organizations and the general public will be urged to buy no goods except those -to which the union label is attached. All other goods will be boycotted, and as it will not be possible for manufacturers to use the union label unless the whole of the workmanship in their wares is that of unionists, the logical result will be that none but unionists will be able to get employment. What is aimed at is to force all the labour of the community into unions, and I do not envy the name which the Attorney-General will leave to posterity if he is successful in getting these clauses placed on the statutebook. The secretary to the American Federation of Labour reported, at the Convention of 1896, that a large -number of trades, of which he read a list, had adopted the union label ; and spoke of the growth of the label as sure. He added, “It is the backbone of some of our unions.” Most of the unions in Australia are at the present time without a backbone, and that, I suppose, is why they are so anxious to adopt what is said to be the backbone of the American unions. As honorable members know, the union label was used in the first instance to distinguish cigars made by white labour from those made by Chinese labour. If the union label is adopted in the cigar trade of Australia, and there are many union propagandists as energetic as is the honorable member for D ar I. ing, its use will be pushed to an extreme, which will mean that the label cannot be attached to cigars unless none but unionists have been employed in connexion with their manufacture in all its processes. As in this country the tobacco leaf from which the local cigars are made is grown chiefly by Chinamen, that, I think, will present a difficulty in the way of applying the label to cigars made from local leaf. If the shoemakers adopt a label, and the principle is again pushed to an extreme in their business, it will be necessary not only that the boots and shoes to which the label is applied shall have been made by unionists, but that the leather shall have been prepared by unionist tanners, and the hide flayed by unionist butchers. Perhaps they may even go so far as to require that only the hides of cattle reared on properties worked by union labour shall be used. The honorable member for Yarra has shown me the design of the label u.sed by the Hatters Union of America. Hats are made of various materials. I do not think that many straw hats are made in Australia, but many of the hats worn here are manufactured from rabbits’ fur.
– I do not think that the honorable .member is in order in going into the details of manufacture.
– This is a most important matter.
– The question is one of relevancy. I do not think that the honorable gentleman should deal in full with the details of manufacture in all the Jong list of trades to which a union label might be applied.
– In Australia scarcely any trades have adopted the union label.
– Quite a number of them are using it.
– If, however, the stamp of legality is given to the label it will be extended to the whole of the trades :n the Commonwealth. In America label leagues are being established in many places. They are simply attempting to coerce the people into using no goods but such as are marked with the union label. We shall soon have the same sort of thing prevailing in Australia.
– There is nothing to prevent a trade union, using a label to-day.
– I will deal with thai point.
– The question of registration does not arise in connexion with the clause we are discussing.
– I suggest that as the AttorneyGeneral has referred at length to the question of registration the honorable member for Corangamite should be permitted to refer to it.
– The Attorney-General only alluded to it incidentally.
– The incidental reference extended over a considerable time.
– Even if the honorable member for Wentworth were correct - and I do not think that he is - the fact that one honorable member has transgressed would not warrant me in allowing another honorable member to do the same when my attention has been called to the matter.
– I understood that there was to be a general debate. The Attorney-General was allowed throughout his speech to transgress the rule just laid down.
– I hope the honorable member will not say that.
– The AttorneyGeneral discussed every phase of the question - boycotting, the constitutional aspect, registration, the American cases, and1 everything else.
– I cannot allow the honorable member to dispute my ruling. My recollection is that the AttorneyGeneral referred only incidentally to the question of registration, and I have asked the honorable member for Corangamite to refrain from discussing that matter in detail.
– I point out that the clause which we are now discussing refers to a mark registered by any “ individual Australian worker.” Three lines lower down there is also a reference to registration.
– I do not think that that has anything to do with it. The mere mention of the word does not permit a debate to take place at this stage upon a subsequent clause. I am sorry to intervene, but I do not think that the honorable member for Corangamite can complain that latitude has not been given to him.
– I think the question is of such grave importance that it should be fully discussed. It has so many ramifications that its branches can hardly be dealt with succinctly. Allegations have been made that Australian manufacturers have been in the habit of stating that goods were modeby union labour when, as a matter of fact, they have been made by non-union workmen. The Chambers of Commerce state that those allegations are without foundation.
– If there are no piracies, there will be no punishment.
– It is undesirable that this class of legislation should be placed on the statute-book in the early history of Federation. Its tendency is to create bitterness between employers and their workmen.Manufacturers have good ground for fearing that the clauses will be used for boycotting purposes. A letter which has been sent to me points out that the honorable member for Bland admitted that they would be used as a weapon for boycotting.
– What lie is this?
– It is not a lie at all.
– It is a lie !
– Is the honorable member for Bland in order in stating what the honorable member for Corangamite said was a lie?
– I did not accuse the honorable member of lying, but I said that the statement in the letter to which he alluded was a lie.
– I did not understand the honorable member for Bland to say that anything stated by the honorable member for Corangamite was a lie ; but the honorable member is quite within his rights in stigmatizing any untrue statement made by some person not a member of this House in a letter as a fie. I suggest to the honorable member for Corangamite that he should not quote a statement which may be considered to be offensive by an honorable member.
– The statement in this letter that I have said that these clauses would be used as a weapon for boycotting is an absolute lie.
– Under these circumstances, I trust that the honorable member for Corangamite will withdraw the statement.
– Certainly ; I have no wish to make any statement concerning the honorable member for Bland to which he takes exception. I have here a statement written by a baker, which shows the difficulty of applying the union label to bread-. How is a housewife to distinguish between bread which is marked with agenuine union label and bread which is fradulently marked? I am of opinion that the union label will have a serious effect upon local industries. No protectionist ought to vote for such provisions, and most of the manufacturers who are interested in the protected industries are crying out against them. Their effect will be to take the ownership and directorship of the industry out of the hands of the men who have put their brains and capital into it, and place them in the hands of the caucus and the Trades Hall. Furthermore, the union label will be no guarantee of the quality of goods. . In fact, goods tearing a fraudulent label might actually be better in quality than goods which bore the genuine union label. This is a form of class legislation which is not intended to benefit the mass of the people of Australia. It would be no guarantee that proper wages were paid to the workmen who had manufactured an article. The greater part of the manufactures of Australia are made in States where there is stringent factory legislation, and where, consequently, there is no need for this new system of coercion.
– I think I have heard this argument, used pretty frequently before.
– It is nothing but tedious repetition. It is a lot of “tommy-rot.”
– If it is tedious repetition, why was the Attorney-General permitted to use the same arguments?
– Is the leader of the Labour Party in order in referring to the excellent speech of the honorable member for Corangamite as “ tommy-rot “ ? It is an insult not only to the honorable member, but to the Committee.
– I would point out to the honorable member for Wentworth that on rising to a point of order he should not express an opinion as to the remark of which he complains. It is quite sufficient for him to state his point of order. I ask the honorable member for Bland to withdraw the statement which is considered to be offensive.
– Will the honorable member for Wentworth repeat what I said that was offensive to him ?
– The remark of which I complain was made concerning the speech of the honorable member for Corangamite.
– I ask the honorable member for Bland to withdraw “tommy rot.”
– Certainly, I do.
– The AttorneyGeneral used numbers of arguments which had been previously used.
– With regard to the interjection of the deputy leader of the Opposition, I should like to say that the Attorney-General opened the debate on this question, and consequently cannot be said to have used arguments previously used in the same debate.
– Another point is that without these clauses it is quite competent for any Trade union to use a mark. Common law rights pertain to any union that chooses to do so. It is therefore unnecessary for us to pass these clauses. Their legality as part of this Bill has been challenged, and it is exceedingly probable that: the question will be argued later on before the High Court. Their adoption simply means that the Commonwealth will become a recruiting agent for trade unions who want to increase their political strength and get completely in their hands the reins of industry - to drive the business coach. When that happens, the power thus conferred upon the unions will convert them into a veritable Juggernaut car, crushing the industries of Australia to dust.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).As we have been sitting for about thirteen hours, will the Attorney-General tell us what the intentions of the Government are?
– If we can have an assurance from the honorable member that this debate will finish any time to-day (Friday), there is no objection to adjourn now. We require to finish the Bill.
– Does the honorable gentleman think that that is a reasonable proposal ? This is one of the most important measures that has ever been discussed in this Parliament.
– All these matters have been discussed for weeks.
– We have not been permitted to discuss them. We have only been allowed to allude to them in the most incidental way, as Hansard will show. There has been very little debate on the subject. I suggest that we should discuss it at reasonable hours, and conclude the debate on Tuesday, or as early as possible next week.
– The honorable member knows that, with the press of business, we could not hope to do any reasonable work be- fore the close of the year if we assented to hat course. This matter has been constantly before the public for months past, and every shred of argument has been used.
– Then why did the Attorney-General speak for two hours to-day ?
– Because, hitherto, the debate has been confined to the honorable member’s side.
– Do I understand that this Bill is to be completed before we rise?
– Yes; we do not wish to restrict honorable members unduly, but we must finish this business.
– Public business ought not to be conducted in this way. We have to submit to the views of tlie Government and their supporters, but I do not think that their tactics are reasonable. We made a reasonable offer to the Government which they might verv well have accepted. The point that struck me most forcibly in the Attorney-General’s speech was that all his references were to America. He had nothing to say regarding the union label in Canada. “ He did not tell us that this subject was discussed for five months ‘ in the” Dominion Parliament, and’ that, notwithstanding that, the Bill did not succeed in passing.
– It passed the popular House, but the nominee House threw it out.
– The country is in a state of alarm about the Bill. As a rule people engaged in commercial pursuits do not take alarm for nothing. They are hard-headed business men. They see in this measure a menace to their industrial occupations, and to the ramifications of business, and their alarm seems to be based upon the experience of this kind of legislation elsewhere. The Attorney-General told us of benefits which would accrue to the community from the adoption of the union label. He referred to its successful operation in America, and pointed’ lout that from the highest moral stand-point there was every reason for adopting such legislation in Australia. If it be true that in the interests of morality these proposals should be passed - if they are necessary in the interests of the higher development of our industrial relationships - why has the Government been so careful to drop from the Bill any direct reference to trade unions? Judging from the way in which the Attorney-General has shorn down his amendments, one would think that he was ashamed of trade unions. Why has he eliminated every reference to trade unions, and at the same time preserved to them every privilege? If the union label has operated in the direction of increasing the morale of the workers as a whole, and of preventing sweating, why has every reference to trade unionism been omitted from the Bill ?
– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– We are told that one of the main purposes of these provisions is to prevent fraud and piracy - to prevent other people from taking advantage of the labels which will be owned by the trade organizations of Australia. Surely we do not play at legislation in this Parliament. We do not reel off so many Acts without some objective in view, other than to make the people outside believe that we are a grand lot of fellows, and that we are doing them- a lot of good by our statutes. I challenge the Attorney-General to show the necessity for legislation of this kind in Australia, to show that piracy is proceeding, or that fraud is taking place in regard to the sale oE union-made goods. I challenged the honorable member for Darling this afternoon on the same point, and he mentioned an incident which had occurred in his own expedience. He stated that he was setting up house, and was anxious to buy his furniture at a union shop, and he wanted to be saved the small trouble of making inquiries at the Trades Hall as to the place at which he could get what he required. Are we to pass a Bill of this kind in order to facilitate the honorable member’s purchase of his furniture? Dees he pretend that a little incident of that kind affecting his likings and his pleasure is to furnish a basis for legislation of this kind? I ask honorable members to show the need for preventing piracy of union trade marks, or for preventing fraud in connexion with them.
– Does the honorable member mean to contend that no association of workers should adopt a label?
– Not at all.
– If they do adopt a label, how will they be protected, except in the same way that the proprietors of ordinary trade marks are protected?
– These provisions are being introduced ostensibly to meet a pressing need, and the arguments used by the Attorney-General, and by the honorable member for Bland, and the honorable member for Darling, is that they are necessary to prevent fraud and piracy. I call upon them to show that fraud is being perpetrated, and that piracy exists, before we are called upon to pass these provisions. If they can show me that fraud is taking place, I shall do my best to assist them in preventing it, and punishing the tricksters.
– If there is no chance of fraud, these provisions will do no harm.
– Is that a reason for introducing legislation of this kind ?
– No; but it is an answer to the honorable member.
– It is an answer to the Attorney-General. Is that the sole ground upon which he bases his proposals ?
– I venture to say that a great proportion of. the legislation that has been introduced by the present Government, and by some of its predecessors, is not capable of being justified on any other ground than that it will not hurt.
– So long as the honorable member admits that the provisions will do no harmthey must be good.
– I am not admitting it.
– The honorable member is admitting it now.
– I am doing nothing of the kind. I am showing how hard up the Attorney-General must be for arguments when he asks if his proposals will do any harm. I am heartily in agreement with all the excellent moral precepts to which the Attorney-General gave utterance this afternoon. His statements would have done credit to a professor of moral philosophy at one of our universities. I agree with him that fraud ought to be punished wherever it may be found. I concur with him. also, that it is one of the meanest of acts for one man to perpetrate a fraud upon another by appropriating his life’s work, and that we should severely punish such offences. I do not believe, however, that we should legislate upon the off chance that something of that kind may occur at some time or other. We should not go to the trouble of introducing drastic legislation merely because fraud has occurred somewhere else under conditions which are entirely different from ours. If all that is desired is that goods shall be described truly to name, and that the individuals who produce the goods shall derive the full benefit of the conditions under which they are manufactured, those ends can be achieved by adopting the amendments proposed by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. The AttorneyGeneral will be met at every point, so far as his high moral view of the question is concerned.
– I call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– If all that the Attorney-General desires to do is to apply a high moral standard to the industrial concerns of the Commonwealth, we shall all be with him to the fullest possible extent. I am afraid, however, that that is not all that is being sought for in the Bill. . I challenge the honorable member for Bland to show that fraud and piracy in connexion with union labels exist to any great extent in Australia.
– Does that apply to other trade marks as well ?
– The honorable member is begging the question.
– Will the honorable member point out the necessity for the Bill at all?
MrJOSEPH COOK. - I say that the union label is not a trade mark.
– Now the honorable member is begging the question. According to his reasoning, the whole Bill is unnecessary.
– Not at all. In connexion with trade marks there is plenty of evidence that fraud could take place; but no testimony has been adduced to show that any fraudor piracy is carried on in connexion with the improper use of union labels. . The only case that could be cited was that mentioned by the honorable member for Darling, who told us that he had to go to the Trades Hall to find out where he could buy union-made furniture.
– I didnot say anything about furniture.
– I asked the honorable member whether he would refuse to give the unions the right to mark goods made bythem with a label.
– I said “No.”
– I then asked the honorable member how else he would prevent fraud than 6y making provision such as that now proposed.
– I say there is nothing to prevent the unions from using labels now ; in fact, we are told that some of them do use them.
– I could cite cases in which union labels are being pirated.
– That is what I have been asking for. If it can be shown that there is any general system of piracy going on, I shall be one of the first to assist honorable members in stamping it out.
– Can these provisions do any harm?
– That is precisely the question that is asked by the Attorney-General. It is apparently being proposed to legislate in anticipation of evil.
– All that is now proposed is to punish persons who falsely use a trade union label. If there is no fraud, the provision will not apply
– But there is no reason why we should pass a measure of this kind in anticipation of fraud.
– All our criminal laws are passed for the purpose of preventing fraud and crime.
– But our criminal laws are intended to meet an urgent condition of affairs.
– Our criminal laws are all of a preventive character.
– And also punitive.
– So are the provisions now under discussion.
– Some of the unions now use labels, which are not the subject of any grave frauds. There may be incidental cases of that character, but I deny that any urgent need exists fbr preventive legislation. The AttorneyGeneral said that if persons wished to purchase union-made goods, they should not be subject to being deceived by pirates. That is pretty strong language to use.
– That is the whole point.
-I want the honorable member to point out the pirates, to show that the public are being deceived to any great extent when they wish to purchase union goods.
– If the public are being deceived to any extent, surely the honorable member would put down the fraud?
-I say that we have no right to introduce legislation of this kind, unless there is pressing need for it. We ought to occupy our time with) matters which are vital to the interests of the country. I did not quite follow the AttorneyGeneral when he was discussing the question of trade union legislation in, America. He told us that trade union label Acts were in operation in forty States and territories, but I was not clear as to whether the union label provisions were in every case attached to a Trade Marks Bill, or embodied in a separate measure.
– I think that they are separate Acts, but I do not think that is material. Unless union labels are trade marks, we have no power to deal with them.
-I am quite prepared to believe that the Attorney-General is acting in perfect good faith, and that he believes that we have power under the Constitution to legislate in regard to union labels. It is a curious fact that in America, where they have a Federal Constitution very similar to our own, the trade union label provisions have been embodied in separate Acts, instead of being bundled up in a Trade Marks Bill, as is proposed here. I’ believe that in the Canadian case the head of the Trade Marks Department declared that union label provisions could not be incorporated in a Trade Marks Bill, and declined on, that ground to register them. That was the reason why the Parliament rejected the union label provisions in the first instance. All the expert evidence was to the effect tha£ the union labels were foreign to the object of a Trade Marks Bill, and could not be incorporated in it. The same view was taken by the Commissioner of Patents at Washington, who said that union labels were not trade marks, because they did not include ownership. Shall we not accept the dictum of an expert who has devoted his lifelong attention to trade marks matters. rather than that of a Judge versed merely in the dry technicalities of the law ? I do not think that it was ever contemplated that we should meddle with legislation of this kind. The drafting of the Bill now before us makes it. very clear that the union label is foreign to the purposes of a Trade Marks Bill. If a union label is a trade mark, why should parts iii., iv., v., and vi. of the measure have to be made non-applicable to it? Why could not the whole of the machinery of the Bill be made to apply? The answer is that there is an immense difference between a union label and an ordinarytrade mark. That difference arises, first of all, with regard to the ownership of the label. The anomaly in connexion with this Bill is that while the worker is given a proprietary interest in the label, he cannot use it at all himself. He cannot attach it to any goods, Does that indicate ownership? The only person who can use the union label is the employer, who cannot own it. The employer cannot own it; but is allowed to use it, whereas the worker is permitted to own it, but cannot use it. If there were any tangible- marketable ownership which could be transferred, surely a man would have a right to its use without the interference of an outside person. Yet that cannot be done with a union label. Therefore the workman cannot own a union label in the sense that a man owns a trade mark, and provisions such as those now before us must necessarily be foreign to the genius and purpose of a Trade Marks Bill. I do not think we have any right to interfere in industrial matters, which- are expressly, placed beyond the range of our powers. Eminent counsel tell us that we shall lay up a heavy crop of constitutional difficulties by acting in the manner now proposed. The Attorney-General quoted the statement of one of the American Judges to the effect that a man had a right to have his special skill labelled as such ora the market; but the Bill does not propose to give a working man that right. He cannot use the label. That is left to another man, in whom the proprietorship of the label w not vested. Without the intervention of the employer, all the workman’s efforts to put an indication of his special skill on the market must be futile. The Attorney-General has so tied the workman up in this Bill that he cannot move hand or Toot without the employer.
– Is it not a fact that the arrangement must be a mutual one, and that neither can do anything without the other’s consent ?
– I contend that there is no actual ownership in the union label. The Attorney-General went to America for all his illustrations, and I think it would have been better if he had selected some from British communities. I have no wish to set up in Australia industrial conditions such as those which exist in America, and I shall do my best to prevent anything of that kind occurring. Yet all the illustrations used by the At torney-General have been taken from that country-.
– Only in reply to the statements of the Opposition.
– Has the honorable member ever gone to any other place but America for his illustrations ?
– I did not say anything about America until members of the Opposition had quoted some of the experience gained there. If we had not replied to the statements of the Opposition with regard to America, we should have been told that we were not game to say anything about them.
– I hope we shall hear nothing more from members of the Opposition about the boycotting experiences inAmerica.
– In the United States, such conditions exist between employers and employes as I hope will never be seen in Australia. If these be the result of ‘the successful working of the union label provisions, there is every reason why we. should not introduce them into our legislation. The Attorney-General quoted the case of the cigar- makers of America, and stated ‘that they were working under conditions which were conducive to disease and dirt. I doubt, however, whether the same thing could be said with regard to the cigarmakers of Australia. Unless the AttorneyGeneral can show that similar conditions exist here, there seems to be no point in his use of the American illustration.
– I think we ought to have a quorum. (Quorum formed..]
– I challenge the Attorney-General to show a parallel in Australia to the instance he has quoted from America of cigar-makers sweltering in disease, living in rookeries, and under conditions of moral and social degradation. If he cannot do so, it is idle for him to quote such illustrations as indicating the necessity for union label legislation in Australia. Our cigar-makers have tribunals operating all over Australia, to which they can represent their grievances.
– It is not correct to say that they have tribunals all over Australia ?
– We have set up a Court to -which they can resort if they choose.
– Some lawyers think it very doubtful whether that Court could be invoked, unless a dispute had already extended over more than one State in the form of a strike.
– They have means to hand for availing themselves of that Court.
– I hope that that is true, but I think it is very doubtful.
– Then the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is nothing more than a piece of idle machinery. I repeat that we have established Courts to accomplish the very purpose which the introduction of the union label is intended to achieve. I believe that in New South Wales recently the clothiers have had their grievances redressed.
– And one of the biggest clothing manufacturers in that State is persistently evading the award of the Court.
– That has nothing whatever to do with my point. I apprehend that when this law is passed it will be evaded. My point is that we have already established a special tribunal to look after the cigar-makers, the hatters, and the clothiers, and in that respect those trades differ entirely from similar trades in America. We were assured by the AttorneyGeneral that so popular is this legislation in America that forty States and Territories, representing 68,000,000 people, have adopted it. But what are the relations between labour and capital which obtain in those States.
– America is a country where there is great competition, which is the honorable member’s ideal.
-I do not think that it is. The honorable member for Bland and the honorable and learned member for West Sydney are constantly telling the people that in America trusts prevent competition. They declare that these forty States are under the thumb of the trusts, whereas the honorable member for Wide Bay, affirms, in effect, that they are free. Had not these honorable members better settle the form of their shibboleth, before they begin to proclaim it?
– We cannot furnish the honorable member with brains.
– The honorable member has not been endowed with too much brains himself, and, judging by the speech which was recently delivered by his lieutenant at Hurstville, that honorable member has none to spare. Anybody can “ mouth “ about people putting children to dry breasts. I advise my honorable friend to omit all reference to brains.
– The honorable member is always offensive without’ being aware of it.
– The honorable member would provoke a saint to-night. He is jumping up and down like a Jackinthebox. All I ask is, that he and his deputy should settle between them whether America is the home of the free.
– Free competition leads to the formation of trusts and combines. The honorable member ought to know that.
– But if trusts destroy free competition, an honorable member must be wrong when he declares that the United States is the home of that competition. My point is that in the forty States to which I have referred, the relations which exist between capital and labour are infinitely worse than they are in Australia. That is the only test of the value of this legislation which we can apply. This afternoon, the honorable member for Darling told us that these provisions would pave the way to the establishment of peace and goodwill between employers and employes. Have they done so in. America?
– The big strikes which have occurred there are not due to the use of the union label. They had no connexion with it.-
– My point is that the introduction of the union label there has done nothing to prevent the existence of bitter relations between capital and labour. As a matter of fact,, in some of the forty States to which reference was made by the Attorney-General, those relations are infinitely worse than they are in Australia.
– That fact only proves that the people in America are more educated than they are in Australia, and that they insist upon demanding their rights.
-I am inclined to think that that is the proper view to take from the labour stand-point. The honorable member is quite consistent in urging that this class war should be made as keen as possible. That is the true socialistic view.
– Did not the honorable member himself advocate that when he was the leader of the Labour Party?
-I did not. I challenge the honorable member to show that I did. If he will look up my record - of which he is always talking - he will find that I consistently advocated the adoption of conciliatory measures. I believe in the worker getting a fair share of his product. The honorable member says that the true view is to make this class war as keen as possible, in order to force the workers to insist upon their rights. If I could see any chance of improving the relations which exist in Australia between capital and labour by means of the union label, I would hold up both hands for it to-morrow. It is because I recognise that to bring it into operation will only intensify that class bitterness, which the honorable member for Barrier so earnestly seeks, that I am opposed to it, root and branch. I believe that it will accentuate that bitterness, and increase that friction. It has done so everywhere else, and it will do so here. Its compensating advantages are small indeed when weighed alongside that bitter class feeling which it has begotten in other portions of the globe. It has always been my strong desire to bring capital and labour closer together. When I had something to do with the coal miners and coal proprietors in the place where I was. brought up, I had access to every manager’s office, and I settled all disputes which arose over the office table, and I left the miners with better wages and conditions than they have since enjoyed.
– That was in the good old days.
– I stand precisely where I always stood. I never did believe in this later movement, and I do not understand why the honorable member for Barrier should so constantly jibe me about it. He knows very well that twelve years ago he and the honorable member for Bland chased me around my electorate because I would not subscribe to the labour pledge, which is the basis of the solidarity movement.
– That has nothing whatever to do with the programme of the party.
– It has everything to do with it. All these later developments, of which the trade union label forms a part, can have no result other than to further embitter the relations which exist between the worker and his employer. For that reason I am very much opposed to them ever taking root in Australian soil. Whatever objects trades organizations in America may hope to achieve by means of the union label, we have other means of securing them in Australia. There is no need for this mischievous, meddlesome legislation. We have been .led to believe by some honorable members that the States Legislatures in America are all more or less under the thumb of corrupt persons - that they are invariably subject to corrupt influences. I think we may fairly be suspicious of the laws which are enacted by those Legislatures to which we hear such constant reference in terms of opprobrium and reproach. Whilst honorable members have nothing but evil to say of them in respect of other matters, they single out their action in connexion with the adoption of the union label as a pattern for Australia. Is it not just possible that these labels are manipulated for trust purposes?
– That suggestion is quite inconsistent with the literature upon the Subject.
– Everything in those States is supposed to be under the thumb of trusts. Is it unreasonable to suppose that in some way the trusts have prompted this legislation for their own advantage? To-day the Attorney-General ranged1 over the whole of those forty States, and he could not find in any one of them such a tribunal as a compulsory Arbitration Court. He could not point to one in which Wages Boards had been established by statutory authority. I see no reason why we should adopt this Yankee idea here. In my opinion, if this legislation be passed the unionists will suffer in another way. Honorable members, I presume, do not imagine that there will not be retaliation on the part of the capitalists. Before today we have seen labour circumvented by the machinations of capitalists. We have known this sort of legislation to turn out nothing but dead sea apples, as the result of the pressure that is applied from without. Do honorable members imagine that there will not be retaliation upon the other side? Judging by the feeling which exists outside this House, I am of opinion that class bitterness will be intensified by these proposals to a very great degree. The final result will certainly not be to the advantage of those who are most earnestly seeking to place this legislation upon, the statute-book. That is the view which I hold very strongly. Time alone will show whether my fears in that respect are well founded. During the course of this debate frequent reference has been made to boycotting. I maintain that there will be boycotting upon both sides. Two can always play at that game, and it. is a bad business at the best. I was more than surprised to hear the honorable member for Bland deliberately defend the boycotting of capitalists the other night. I have never made any pretence of defending boycotting by the capitalists, and I never shall.
– The honorable member does not buy from a “ sweater, ‘ if he knows it.
-I do not.
– If the honorable member had been engaged in my trade instead of in the coal mining industry, he would have been a “boycotter” too.
-I have always been ready to boycott the “ sweater,” and I would do so to-morrow. When the honorable member for Bland made the statement to which I have alluded he was referring to the practice of black-listing byemployers. He said -
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….. A boycott is often justifiable.
The result of a boycott is always to stir up further strife In my opinion, when it comes to boycotting, the capitalist in every case gains an advantage, because he has the means of carrying on the war, whereas the worker has not. In another portion of his argument, the AttorneyGeneral said that this was not a case of union as against non-union labour, and could not be argued in that way. He said it was the case of a great body of workers who were asking that the same rights should be extended to them as were given to other trade-mark owners. If that be so, there must have been a strange modification of feeling amongst members of the Labour Party since this matter was introduced into the Senate. I recollect Senator Drake moving the insertion of the following new clause: -
Notwitstanding anything contained in this Part, no trade union shall refuse to authorize a manufacturer or .employer who adopts the rate of wages and the hours of employment fixed in reference to the trade of such trade union under any law of the Commonwealth or of a State to apply if he so desires its union trade mark to the products of the labour of the( members thereof employed by him or to the same kind of products of the labour of any employes not members of such union employed by him.
I am sure that I could’ draft a better clause than that myself. However, its meaning can, with a little trouble, be discerned. It is intended to apply the benefits of the union label to non-union shops which have observed good conditions as to employment and wages.
– Was it not intended to permit the union label to be attached to non-union goods if the conditions governing their manufacture were the same ?
– Yes. I take it that the main purpose of the union label is to insure good conditions so far as the employes are concerned. Senator Pearce drew a very sharp distinction between unionists and non-unionists. In that respect, he differed entirely from the position taken up by the Attorney-General this afternoon. Of course, that is a minor point, and I do not press it. One of my main contentions against this legislation is1 that it is a further attempt to “ political ize “ the trade unions of Australia. I am a strong believer in the value of voluntary trade unionism, and I hold that all the good which is being derived by trade unions to-day is due to their organization as such, quite apart from their political aims. I would further point out that in America the workers will not hear of such a tribunal as a Compulsory Arbitration Court. They will not allow the State to interfere” in the settlement of their disputes. Neither will the great body of British unionists. The great body of unionists in Great Britain and America would reprobate a man if he dared to stand up for this tinkering with politics, as we know it in Australia. But here a man who does not subscribe to the full extent to the political influence which is exercised by unionists is branded as a traitor, a renegade, and a “rat.” That’ is the great distinction between myself and members of the Labour corner.
– Only lately.
– It is not “only lately.”
– The honorable member once believed in the unions taking political action.
-I tell the honorable member that there is as much difference between the political unionism of the time of which he speaks and that of the present day as there is between daylight and darkness.
– Did not the miners take political action when they returned the honorable member to Parliament?
– I received the support of the miners, but the body which selected me in the first instance was a body of townspeople. Itwas certainly not a Labour league.
– The miners were behind the first movement.
– I received their support, and I get it still. I do not think that the honorable member can take it from me, although I know that he would like to do so.
– I certainly would.
– The honorable member has tried to do so. The miners are the best judges of my conduct, and I advise him to allow them to settle the matter.
– They are not included in the honorable member’s electorate under the new distribution of seats scheme.
– Oh, yes, they are. I had intended to make some further remarks-
– Is the next man ready?
– He is. The Government will not allow us to go to our homes.
– Yes, we will.
– Then I will test their sincerity by moving -
That the Chairman report progress.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 22
Question so resolved in the negative.
– It is very, regrettable that we should be still discussing these clauses at this hour. The first question we have to ask is whether there is anything in the circumstances existing in Australia to-day to warrant the introduction of this legislation. The operation of union label provisions in the United States of America has not been so successful as to lead us to introduce them in Australia. The AttorneyGeneral in his very able speech pointed out that union label legislation had been adopted in some forty of the States of the American Union, but I have heard no argument to show that there is any necessity for the introduction of such legislation in Australia at the present time. Since the inauguration of the Commonwealth the various Federal Governments, instead of dealing with, the important matters for which the Federal Parliament was created, have introduced legislation which has caused dissension and dissatisfaction throughout Australia. This is class legislation, and, as such, is sure to cause further dissension. All the precedents quoted by the Attorney-General were American precedents, and the state of affairs existing between employers and employes in that country is not such as to induce us to place our people in a similar position. This is really an attempt to establish trade unions of a political character, and we are justified in opposing it on that ground. I should like to ‘hear the Attorney-General on. the constitutionality of the proposal now made, because I have heard very strong opinions expressed, not only by lawyers in this House, but bv lawyers occupying prominent positions in New South Wales, to the effect that these union labour provisions are unconstitutional. I do not know whether the Attorney-General expressed any views in regard to that matter.
– Yes, I went into it rather fully.
– -Then I regret that I missed that part of the honorable and learned gentleman’s speech, but I can assume that he looks upon these provisions as constitutional, or he would not be proceeding with them. In my opinion, it is very doubtful whether, under the powers conferred on this Parliament by the Constitution, we have any right to interfere with the industrial legislation of Australia. In dealing with “the American legislation on this subject, it should be borne in mind that it is a matter of common report that bribery and corruption goes on in American Legislatures, and the mere fact that this legislation has been passed bv the Legislatures of forty States of the American Union is not a sufficient reason for adopting it here. It has resulted in America in the introduction and establish ment of a regular system of boycott in trade.
– That is not so. The honorable member might, with just as much force, contend that we should abolish trades unions because of the boycotting in America.
– I say that the adoption of the union label in. America has led, in many instances, to the establishment of boycotting.
– I do not know of one case where that has been caused.
– I am sorry that 1 have mislaid a reference to such a case; but I shall bring it under the notice of the AttorneyGeneral. The honorable and learned gentleman made the point that there has not been one non-unionist in Australia who has raised his voice in opposition to these proposals. That is easily understood when we remember that although non-unionists form by far the largest proportion of the workers of Australia, they are not organized. But if the voice of the individual non-unionist is not heard in opposition to these proposals, many members of this Committee, who represent large bodies of non-unionists, raise their voices in opposition to these clauses on their behalf.
– Labour members represent non-unionists in the same way.
– I am aware that they do, and it is strange that the Government should be forcing this Bill through under the whip of the Labour Party, who are keeping them in power. The AttorneyGeneral has said that in these clauses he is trying to hold the scales evenly between unionists and non-unionists, but I think that the honorable and learned gentleman has failed to do so. It is to my mind a matter for extreme regret that members of the Ministry, who are notoriously in opposition to legislation of this character, should be prepared to sink their strong convictions and assist the Attorney-General in carrying it. How they can. reconcile their consciences in this matter, I am unable to say. If I thought that legislation of this character was necessary, that industrial conditions in Australia warranted its introduction, that it would benefit the workers, that it would not set class against class, would not establish an industrial boycott in Australia- and would insure the manufacture of goods under proper conditions, I should be disposed to support it. But I believe that it will not do what is claimed for it, and that it will bring about the evils which have been suggested. These union label clauses are an excrescence upon a Trade Marks Bill; they should never havebeen introduced into such a measure. They have been so introduced under pressure, and the Government are resorting to pressure to have them passed. The Prime Minister said al few days ago, “The task must be done,” and it appears that this is part of the task to which the honorable and learned gentleman referred. I need only add that I shall be prepared to resist the passing of the clauses proposed by the Attorney-General as strongly as I possibly can.
– Before continuing my speech I should like to appeal to the Government to permit those who are in attendance upon honorable members to secure some rest, even though we should ourselves be compelled by tyrannical action on the part of the Government to remain here. When speaking before, I regarded a remark made by the VicePresident of the Executive Council as a promise that we should adjourn at about 11 o’clock, but had I known that there would be an all-night sitting, I should not have condensed my. remarks as I did. I was dealing with some decisions given in American Courts bearing on the union label. I showed that this legislation in America had led to such abuses that frequent appeals had to be made to the Courts for protection against the tyranny, coercion and intimidation of the boycott,, which had assumed such alarming proportions in the United States as to institute virtually a reign of terror in that country. I quoted American judgments to show that these boycotte were considered illegal, and that the union label was illegal.
– All the cases quoted by the honorable member were cases against rascals and counterfeiters.
– The decisions showed that the Courts did not hold the union label to be a legal instrument.
– Not until the Act was passed to put down rascality.
– The honorable and’ learned gentleman, is aware that the legalization of the union label is not. universal in the United States even now. I quoted the decisions in some cases, and I now propose to quote others.
The following dicta from American Judges will be read with interest: -
– What is the reference?
– I need not give the honorable and learned gentleman the reference. I shall quote the cases, and he will then be able to look them up for himself.
– The honorable member is ashamed of his authority.
– If the AttorneyGeneral desires a reference to opinions on the union label, I can refer him to a lead ing article which appeared in the Age of the 17th of this month. I find that in the case of the Cigar-makers’ Protective Union v. Canham, in 1889, Judge Gilfillan, of Minnesota said -
The device is wanting in the essential characterization of the legal trade mark.
All these authorities, so far as I am able to discover, are in absolute agreement that a union label and a trade mark are two entirely distinct things, and that one cannot take the place of the other. A union label is merely a mark to indicate the goods made by the members of a certain union, and has absolutely no commercial value, such as is inherent “in a trade mark. In the case, Carson v. Wry, in 1889, Justice Thayer, of the Federal Judiciary, said -
The union label does not answer to the definition ordinarily given of a technical trade mark The Court may not interfere in this instance as in ordinary trade mark cases.
Here, again, we have an absolute distinct tion made, and the right to interfere in the case of a trade mark is recognised. The protection of the Court could not be extended in the case of a union label, which signifies merely membership of an association. In the case Werner v. Brayton, in 1890, Judge Devens, of Massachusetts, said -
We are of opinion that the label alleged by the Bill in the case at bar to have been counterfeited cannot be treated as a trade mark…… It wants every essential element of such a mark.
– They are all counterfeit cases.
– I think not. I think that the case, Carson v. Wry, was not a counterfeit case, and in that case the Judge made a clear distinction between a union label and a trade mark.
– That case is wrongly named. It was the case of Carson v. Ury. It was in the Federal Court, and the Judge restrained the counterfeiter because the plaintiff was a manufacturer, and not a union, and the Judge drew that distinction.
– He said-
The union label does not answer to the definition ordinarily given of 1 technical trade mark.
– I know the case. It is 39 of the Federal Reports. The Federal Judge did restrain in that case, because the plaintiff was a manufacturer, and not a union.
– Then how does the honorable and learned gentleman account for the Judge saying this -
The Court may not interfere in this instance as in ordinary trade mark cases.
– That quotation is a patchwork quotation. If the full report of the case is looked at it will be found that the Judge decided that he could on equitable grounds do it, and he did. I can assure the honorable member that these quotations, from whatever source they come, are garbled. I do not say that the words are not correctly set down, but if the honorable member read the cases throughout he would form a different idea of the decisions from that which he has gained from these garbled reports.
-Even admitting that it may be a garbled account of the judgment, the Attorney-General admits that the words are correct. Here is a sentence which contains a complete statement -
The Court may not interfere in this instance as in an ordinary trade mark case.
By that observation, it seems to me the Judge laid down a very definite distinction between a union label and a trade mark in the ordinary acceptation of the term.
– That is in the absence of a measure like that which we are considering, and that makes all the difference.
– I do not know whether the Attorney-General has read an opinion which was given to a certain association Here, by learned counsel, who, if
I remember aright, lays it down that the union label cannot be legalized, and calls’ in question the legality of this legislation.
– The honorable member is getting his information from the same source, and it is right, so far as it goes ; but they have carefully omitted that the learned counsel said that it is a matter of extreme difficulty.
– I shall quote from the opinion directly. I repeat that in the United States the judicial authorities seem to recognise a distinction in character between a union label and a trade mark.
– Only in the absence of legislation.
– I do not see how even legislation can change the essential character of the union label. From House
Documents, volume 88, for the session of 1 900- 1, I propose toquote a section from the labour laws of California. It appears on page 1005, under the head of “ Trade Marks, &c, of Trade Unions,” and reads as follows: -
Any person engaged in the production, manufacture, or sale of any article of merchandise made in whole or in part in this State, who, by any imprint, label, trade mark, tag, stamp, or other inscription or device, placed or impressed upon such article or upon the cask, box, case,or package containing the same, misrepresents or falsely states the kind, character, or nature of the labour employed or used, or the extent of the labour employed or used, or the number or kind of persons exclusively employed or used, or that a particular or distinctive class or character of labourers was wholly and exclusively used or employed when in fact another class or character or distinction of labourers was used or employed either jointly or in any wise supplementary to such exclusive class, character, or distinction of labourers, in the production or manufacture of the article to which such imprint, label, trade mark, tag, stamp, or other inscription or device is affixed, or upon the cask, box, case, or package containing the same, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and punishable by a fine of not less than Fifty nor more than Five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county gaol for not less than twenty nor more than nfnety days, or both.
This legislation was approved on the 16th March,1901.It will be seen that although it is headed “ Trade Marks, &c, of Trades Unions,” it deals not with union labels, but with any person engaged in the production, manufacture, or sale of any article of merchandise.
– If the honorable member will refer to House Documents, volume 105, for the session 1903-4, he will find, at page 130, this section under the head of “Trade Marks of Trade Unions, &c.” : -
Any trade union, labour association, or labour organization, organized and existing in this State, whether incorporated or not, may adopt and use a trade mark and affix thesame to any goods made, produced, or manufactured by the members of such trade union, labour association, or labour organization, or to the box, cask, case, or package containing such goods, and may record such trade mark by filing or causing to be filed with the Secretary of State its claim to the same, and a copy or description of such trade mark with the affidavit of the president of such trade union, labour association, or labour organization, certified to by any officer authorized to take acknowledgments of conveyances setting forth that the trade union, labour association, or labour organization of which he is the president is the exclusive owner, or agent of the owner, of such trade mark.
– The honorable and learned gentleman has a later volume than the one in my hand. Even if it is referred to as a trade mark, the union label cannot be dealt with or treated as a trade mark in the same way as an ordinary merchandise trade mark is treated. What gives value to a trade mark is the fact that there is ownership, and the right to dispose of the article to which it is applied. But that right does not extend to a union of employes who are simply engaged in the production of the article, and have no proprietary rights therein. Although a manufacturer puts the union label on the article, it does not as a commercial asset have any value. On the contrary, it has the effect of depreciating the value of a trade mark. In one case, although the cigar manufacturers were willing to, and did employ, all union labour in the production of their cigars, still they did not wish to use the union label, because they found that if depreciated the value of their trade mark, and’ their goods. The honorable member for Bland has frequently suggested by interjection that the union label is required for the purpose of putting a stop to the depredations of pirates or piracy ; that the work of the trades unionists in Australia was being continually pirated. But when honorable members on the other side are asked to state any case of piracy they are silent. I do not believe that there is any piracy of that kind going on here. Nor do I think that there is any possibility of its taking place.
– I think we shouldhave a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– Recentiy the deputy leader of the Labour Party paid a. visit to my electorate, and in the course of a speech he justified this legislation on the score that it was needed to secure for the people pure food and sound clothing. One of my constituents informed me that after listening to the speech he thought that the union label must be all right, because he had been told that it was intended to protect the people against being supplied with improper food and clothing. There is no provision in this Bill to warrant such a statement being made.
– Will the honorable member read the quotation on which he founds his statement?
– I am basing my remarks upon a report which appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, and which is not available just at the moment. The Bill does not pretend to secure to the people pure food or sound clothing. As a matter of fact, the worst possible food and clothing may bear the union label. For instance, boots have been manufactured in Melbourne with leather, which chemical analysis has shown to be loaded with a poisonous substance.
– I think that they were imported boots.
– The barium was found, not in imported boots, but in locally made leather. If the union label is intended to insure that the people shall get sound goods, I submit that it will not attain that end. It will be utterly powerless to protect the public against cases of imposition, and when honorable members say that it will, they are only misleading their constituents. Speaking on Saturday night at Hurstville, the honorable member for Wide Bay is reported to have said -
There had been a struggle in the Federal Parliament as to whether manufacturers should be allowed to falsely state that their goods were made under union conditions. The union label was to be used solely and wholly to show the purchaser whetherhe goods were made under proper conditions or not, and thus allow him or her to decide whether to purchase the articles. It was true, and he did not wish to deny it-
– The honorable member is not in order in reading an extract relating to a debate in the House.
– Privately I shall point out to the honorable member for Wide Bay the passages in which he referred to the Trade Marks Bill, and the reason for its introduction. The real object of the union label ‘is to secure preference to unionists by another method than that which was adopted in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I should like to know how some honorable members who have most trenchantly denounced that principle are now to be found in a Government which is not only supporting, but putting forward, proposals for its enactment. I refer to the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and the Postmaster-General.
– That has been said halfadozen times.
– Is the honorable member in order in repeating statements which have been made by the honorable and learned member for Illawarra and others in this regard ?
– I would ask the honorable member to refrain from repeating any statements which may have been previously made.
– I assure you, sir, that I have made the statement only once. Whilst the enactment of the union label may be justified in countries which do not possess industrial legislation, such as these States possess, for the special protection of workers in various ways, there is no justification for its enactment in Australia. Our Wages Boards, Arbitration Courts, and factories laws are designed expressly to insure to the workers those very conditions, which it is urged the enactment of the union label will secure. It will introduce what are known in the United States as “closed shops.” On that subject, I propose to read a short extract from an article which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, of October, j 904. It is from the pen of Mr. Charles J. Bullock, and is entitled “ The Closed Shop.” The concluding paragraph reads as follows: -
A little reflection should convince any one that the conditions under which a man shall dispose of his labour are of such exceeding importance to society that, if freedom is to be denied, the restrictions imposed should be determined by the. Government, and not by any other agency. Such regulations should be just, uniform, and certain ; they should not be subject to the possible caprice, selfishness, or special exigencies of a labour organization. Here, as elsewhere, we should apply the principle that when it is necessary to restrict the freedom of labour or. capital to enter any industry, the matter becomes the subject of public concern and public regulation. If membership in a labour organization is to be a condition precedent to the right of securing employment, it will be necessary for the Government to control the constitution, policy, and management of such associations, so far as may be requisite for the purpose in view. Only upon these terms would the compulsory unionization of industry be con- ceivable. Of course, before such legislation could be enacted, a change in the organic law of the States and the nation would need to be effected, for we now have numerous constitutional guarantees of the right of property in labour. These guarantees include the right to make lawful contracts, and the individual freedom so ordained can be restricted by the Legislature only when the restraint can be justified as a proper exercise of the police power. Time and effort might be required for securing such constitutional amendments; but ov.r instruments of Government provide a lawful and reasonable method of accomplishing this result.
Coming to the question of the repeated rejection of the union label in Canada, I propose to read some extracts : -
A Bill to legalize the union label was first introduced in 1895, and has been reintroduced almost every year since. It does not appear at any time to have been a Government measure, but was in the hands of private members, its latest sponsor being Mr. Ralph Smith, M.F.
In Canada, as in Australia, the union label cannot be registered as a trade mark under the existing law. Therefore, special legislation is required to legalize it. Up to and including 1903 the Bill to effect this purpose was introduced as an amendment of the Trade Marks and Designs Act. When the Bill of that year was discussed in the Upper House (where it was first brought in), the principle involved in’ recognising the label as a trade mark was declared to be unsafe and undesirable, and the measure was thrown out.
In this year’s Bill all reference to the Trade Marks Act was dropped, and it was styled “ The Union Label Bill.” It was introduced in the Canadian House of Commons on 30th January, 1905.
The Case for the Label.
The Bill seemed harmless, and the reasons urged for its adoption looked specious enough on the surface and at a first glance. Its promoters claimed that its intention was to prevent the use of bogus labels, and to protect’ the community from the products of prison labour and the sweat-shop, and to legalize a guarantee that all goods bearing the label represent fair wages, reasonable working hours, and good sanitary conditions.
The Case against the Label. .
The case against the label was presented to members by the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association. While offering numerous and weighty argument’s against the label and its use, as shown, in the United States and in Canada, the employers really rested their case on the principle involved. They claimed that the questions for the Dominion Parliament to settle were - 1
– Who signed the document from which’ the honorable member has quoted ?
– The document is circulated by the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures, and is not signed.
– It is very important to know whose language the honorable member is quoting. He will recollect that on behalf of a number of persons, Mr. Walpole signed some statements which were repudiated.
– The Victorian Chamber of Manufactures has not yet repudiated this document ; therefore, it may be assumed that it is authentic. I should like the Bill to be referred to a Select Committee, in order to get sworn evidence as to what is a union label, and the effect of similar legislation in other countries. I hope that before the Bill is accepted, some such action will be taken with a view to the recommendations of the Select Committee being embodied in a separate Bill.
– The AttorneyGeneral has told us that the series of amendments before the Committee are the same in substance and effect as previous amendments which he had circulated. But upon close examination, I find that the divergences are considerable and well worthy of the attention of serious-minded men. The first proposition with which we had to deal was one for trade union marks ; the next was for union trade marks, whilst the third and last is a proposal to provide for workers’ trade marks. What is the difference between a trade union mark and a union trade mark if it be not a mere juggle in terms ?
– The honorable member will observe that, the note at the head of the latest list of amendments sets forth that they embody the principle and substance of the amendments contained in the list first circulated Bv me.
– There is a considerable difference between the definition of the two ^propositions put before the Committee bv the Attorney-General, but. in the series of amendments now before the Chair, unfor tunately no definition is given of the term “ workers’ trade mark.”
– The definition appears in sub-clause 1 of clause 73.
– Then I should say that the giving of the definition in the clause itself is an evidence of bad drafting.
– That is not a question foi consideration, at this stage.
– I have dealt with the proposition in order that we may gauge the accuracy of the Attorney-General’s judgment that there is no material difference between the first and second list of amendments circulated by him. Honorable members have framed their judgment on the original proposition made bv him, and the moment I begin to show that there is a vital difference between the two, the AttorneyGeneral would stifle discussion. I am surprised at that omission of a definition of a vital provision, since simple words like “production” and “produced” are defined at length. We can only regard those definitions as padding designed to cover up the deficiency to which I have referred. There is also a difference between the original proposition as to registration and that now under consideration. This appears to indicate that the AttorneyGeneral’s first proposal was loosely-drafted, because it did not protect the unions. In his second proposal he has corrected a number of his errors of omission. Another point is that in the original proposition there was a proper differentiation made between individual workers’ marks and association workers’ marks. That difference was a very real one. I think that there is a flaw in the present proposition, and that the two proposals ought to be properly separated. Although there is a pretence of similarity between the two, they have really nothing in common. The one deals with associations registering labels for definite purposes, and the other with individual workers’ marks which can be of no value to the individual, since no article is the product pf one man. This is an indication of the need for further consideration of these matters on the part of the Attorney-General. Some days ago I quoted a statement from an American journal that the union label was typical of American industrial conditions - conditions which did not exist outside that country. But I heard last night that an honorable member of this House was instrumental in introducing the principle of the union label in one of the greatest unions in the mother country. We know what has been the effect of the union label in the United States and the honorable member in question ought certainly to tell us what has been the experience in England in this regard. We can only assume, in the absence of any explanation, that it has been still more unfortunate than has been that of the United States. The honorable member for Darling said that these provisions would be exceptionally beneficial to non-unionists. He proceeds on the assumption that whenever the union label is used, higher wages will prevail. I contest that assumption. It is clear that, so far as the majority of the workers in the Commonwealth are concerned one tribunal settles all questions of wages. But if the honorable member’s original assumption be right - and we know that it is not - he is still wrong when, he proceeds further with his line of argument. He says that if non-unionists are forced to join unions because of the union label, they are forced into improved conditions. In that respect he is egregiously wrong. There is only a certain yearly amount of national production. All wages, whether of capital or of labour, have to be paid out of that yearly production, and if all men have to be driven into unions, does it not necessarily follow that there will be a levelling down as well as a levelling up of wages. The amount of wages to be paid practically remains stationary within narrow limits. If men are forced into unions the result will be, not to bring all wages up to union rates,, but to. draw a mean between the lower wages which the honorable member claims are paid outside the unions, and the higher wages that are paid inside. I trust that the Attorney-General will seriously consider the points that I have endeavoured to put before him.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang). - I wish to make a personal explanation. During the course of my speech this morning I referred to the fact that the honorable member for Wide Bay - the deputy leader of the Labour Party - had paid a visit to my electorate, and in the course of a speech had referred to the adulteration of food and clothing in. a way that suggested that these proposals were designed to remedy that evil. When asked to quote the authority for my statement, I referred honorable members to the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph, but was not able at the moment to put my hand on the report which I had in mind. I have now before me the Daily Telegraph of the 27th ult., which reports that in the course of the speech in question the honorable member for Wide Bay said -
Adulteration permeated the whole range of food and diet, and the persons who thus defrauded the public were murderers in effect, as the little ones were starved and lulled by false foods. . . . They had been engaged for the past two weeks in the Commonwealth Parliament on an endeavour to remedy this in some degree by the union label.
A Voice.-“ The gag.”
Yes, continued Mr. Fisher, if they liked to so call it, but the right of the majority to enable the consumer to find out at least who manufactured what they ate, drank, or wore.
It will thus be seen that my statement was absolutely correct.
– It is an incorrect report.
– As the truth of my statement was called in question, I take this opportunity of showing that it was not, as has been suggested, a deliberate misrepresentation.
Sitting suspended al 8.30 a.m., Friday, until) 0.30 a.m.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).In the course of an able speech, the honorable member for Parramatta has dealt with this question from the unionist standpoint, and has shown that to pass the proposals now before us would be to make a serious mistake. The honorable member for Wide Bay recently visited the electorate of Lang and sought to show that the union label was designed to protect the people from adulterated goods. That was an unfair position to take up. I hold that the Labour Party should be ready to deal with this matter without any attempt to introduce considerations that must tend to confuse the public mind. The union label was introduced in America to meet special conditions. The- people there had no such industrial legislation as we have in Australia to enable the workers to secure fair treatment, and it is because we do not desire an injustice to be inflicted upon any section of the community that we feel it our dutv to point out that these provisions will not confer upon the workers the benefits which some honorable members claim will flow from them. The Labour Party, when in power, failed to pass any law designed to improve the position of the workers. All the great reforms that have led to the improvement of their conditions were brought about by the very men whom the Labour Party declare to be their enemies. No one can say that I have not the interests of the workers at heart. In the United States labour has greater difficulty in securing the recognition of its rights than it has in any other part of the world. The union label laws of that country have not prevented the formation of huge trusts, and we know that the workers have complained again and again that these trusts exercise a serious influence upon them. The United States is the home of trusts, and it has not been shown that the union label has helped the workers there. It was introduced because of the absence of factories and arbitration laws, such as have been enacted in Australia. When compulsory arbitration was first proposed in New South Wales, the Labour members were among its strongest opponents; and yet, because the Opposition point out that, in their opinion, the proposals now before the Committee will be injurious to the workers,we are said to be enemies of labour.
– And so the Opoosition are.
– The great bulk of our constituents are workers, and it is because we honestly believe that the majority of the workers of Australia will not be benefited by the passing of these provisions that we object to them. Has the union label prevented the occurrence of strikes in America ?
– Why are all the employers’ unions against this proposal?
– I do not know ; but even if they are, there is no more reason for saying that the Opposition are the enemies of labour than there is for the statement of the Age that all free-traders are Conservatives. Last session a great fight took place on the question of preference to unionists, and the present Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and the VicePresident of the Executive Council, supported our contention that preference should not be granted unless the Court were satisfied that the applicants represented a majority of those affected by the award. They urged then that all worker’s should be treated alike. Why have they changed their views? I do not think that any one would accuse the Treasurer of being a great friend of the workers.
– I have done more for them than the honorable member has.
– The right honorable member for Swan is now being strongly supported by the Labour Party, and may be regarded practically as the Labour representative of Western Aus tralia. Why has he changed his views? The Prime Minister, too, has gone back on the opinions which he once expressed. We should knew the reason for these changes. Perhaps the next we shall hear will be that they have both joined the caucus parry. Honorable members on this side of the Chamber have always shown a readiness tosupport legislation which will benefit the worker. We have passed an arbitration law, which, in my opinion, will do more for labour than the adoption of the proposed trade union label provisions. Of course, every honorable member would like to put an end to all fraudulent dealings with goods.
– But unless some such provisions as those now before the Committee are passed into law, persons who fraudulently use trade union labels cannot be punished.
– Such practices could be prevented without the enactment of theseprovisions. I have always been in favour of unionism, but the action of men in joining unions should be purely voluntary, and the unions, instead of being political organizations, should devote their energies to the improvement of industrial conditions. The clauses which the AttorneyGeneral wishes to insert in the Bill wilt do injustice to the hundreds of thousands of non-unionists in Australia. Why should a factory in which fair rates of wages are paid, and proper conditions of labour observed, be boycotted because it employs others than unionists? It may, be that many of the non-unionists in such a factory have not joined unions because of their political convictions. Such men have been referred to as “ blacklegs “ ; but no honest worker should be so stigmatized.
– The term is not applied to honest workers.
– I have heard it so applied in this Chamber, and have deplored its use. I have heard those who will not join unions described as the enemies of labour.
– Is it right, where there are two unionists and one non-unionist in a factory, that the non-unionist should reap all the benefits of unionism without paying anything for them?
– Would the honorable member term enemies of labour the 19,500 non-unionists in a constituency of 20,000 returning a Labour representative? If it were not for the non- unionists, Labour would not enjoy the parliamentary representation which it now has.
– We recognise that.
– It is not properly recognised. The clauses which honorable members opposite are supporting will work injustice to the thousands of nonunionists in Australia to whom, largely, they owe their positions. While giving credit to the unions for the work they have accomplished, I contend that the concessions they have won could not have been secured had it not been for the support of the non-unionists. My great desire is that class shall not be set against class, but that capital and labour shall work amicably together. Therefore, I am opposed to any class distinctions of the nature created by the proposals of the Attorney-General. We know what has been the effect of the union label in America, though I shall not occupy time in reading the voluminous evidence with which I could support the statement that that effect has been very bad. In conclusion. I would point out to the Ministry that they would have gained more by showing a little tact last night, and consenting to an adjournment at a reasonable hour, on the promise that the measure would be dealt with before the dinner adjournment on Tuesday next, than they have gained by forcing honorable members to sit all night. I would only remind them of the fortnight’s loss of time which ensued from a similar want of fact only recently, when the consideration of the Bill in Committee began.
– I think that we should have a quorum to hear the next speaker. [Quorum formed.”]
– I trust that in the few remarks which I am about to make honorable members will give me credit for the desire to honestly represent, not only my own opinions, but the views which have been expressed by important public bodies throughout Australia, as the result of long and thoughtful consultations in regard to the proposals now under discussion.
– I hope that the honorable member will also give us credit for hon.esty
– I do, and I feel that our discussions would proceed much more smoothly if there were a more general recognition of the desire to achieve only the public good, which actuates honorable members in every part of the Chamber. But each of us must endeavour to mould the laws of the country as we think will best serve the interests, not of our individual constituents only, but of the whole Commonwealth, and it seems to me, and to those whom I represent, that the provisions which it is proposed to place in the Bill will be detrimental to the interests of the people as a whole, and will recoil upon those who are bringing them forward. I took very full notes of the clear and lucid exposition of his position delivered by the Attorney-General last night, though I entirely dissent from many of his conclusions. But before proceeding to deal with them at length, I should like to express regret at the practice of some honorable member in removing from the Library books of common reference. There are several books in the catalogue - blue-books of the States, and the records of the Philadelphia Bureau of Labour, together with other works dealing with the labour conditions of the United States, which should be available to every honorable member who wishes to refer to them, but which, having been taken from the custody of the Librarian, cannot be consulted. The AttorneyGeneral told us that the opposition which has been shown to the principle underlying the clauses which he seeks to have inserted in the Bill is due to a misconception of their intention and probable effect, but as I shall show, it is based on the results of the careful and thoughtful consideration which it has received, not only from honorable members, but from various public bodies outside. The honorable gentleman claimed that the whole object of these provisions is to prevent fraud. We must all agree that that is an eminently proper object; but his subsequent statements showed that he is introducing a new principle in connexion with trade marks law. I shall not presume to express an opinion about the constitutionality of these proposals, because I know that even the most distinguished lawyers are at variance on the subject, and the question can be determined only by the High Court ; but I think I shall be able to show that it is undesirable to introduce this new principle into our trade marks law. The AttorneyGeneral supported his proposals on the ground that thev would give to the workers advantages which are now enjoyed only by the capitalists. But do honorable members opposite imagine - and there are many of them who are owners of property and employers of labour - that it is possible to place on all-fours those who are responsible for the control and management of property, and the men who come to them for a day’s, or a week’s, or a month’s work?
– The Attorney-General did not argue that it is possible.
– I am basing my remarks on his exact words, and I say that it is impossible to place employers and employes in exactly the same position. I admit that the proposals of the Government are a considerable modification of the provisions which were first inserted in the Bill at the instance of Senator Pearce, and the Government deserve credit for recognising the possibility that the trade union label may be improperly used, and for thus curtailing the aspirations of the Labour Party. But, although the Attorney-General contends tHat no discrimination must be made between the various sections of the community, he forgot to point out that men are not all possessed of the same mental and physical capacity, and it is impossible to disregard the social difference created by this inequality. Uniformity is absolutely impossible under present conditions, though many Labour members seem to cherish the idea that all grades of society can be levelled up or levelled down, until there is no inequality.
– Will any one have two places reserved to him in Heaven because of his superior abilities?
– If the honorable member will read his Milton, or even a higher authority, he will find that in Heaven there are gradations of rank - that there are angels and arch-angels there. It was not proposed by Senator Pearce that the trade union label should be affixed to goods only with the consent of the manufacturer. That is a modification of the original proposal, for which the Government are responsible. But we are justified in fearing that the Labour Party have agreed to it only to secure an instalment of what they desire, and that, later on, they will press for more. Of course, the law must be no respecter of persons ; every man must have the same legal rights and responsibilities. But it is impossible, as I have said, to remove all social inequalities. There could be no objection -per se to the attachment to goods of a label indicating that they have been made by certain associations of men, but we know that such labels have been very improperly used. They have provided the
Labour organizations with a tremendous weapon for offensive action.
– All that we ask is that men shall be liable to punishment for pirating union labels.
– Would my honorable friend agree to the insertion in Part VII. of the Bill of a clause which would limit the purposes and use of the union label in such a way as to prevent any abuse? If that could be done, all opposition to the proposals of the Government- would vanish. If all that the Labour Party desire is to prevent the improper use of the union label by persons who are not entitled to use it, they are seeking to gain, what they already possess.
– It is the Opposition who have made a mountain of the matter.
– The Labour Party have made this question the live one of the session.
– The honorable member himself said that the gloves were off.
– But honorable members opposite, who have obtained so much because of the freedom of debate which they have enjoyed in the Legislatures of the States, have supported the Government in imposing the gag on the Opposition.
– The whole trouble is the existence of the Labour Party !
– The people of Australia might not be fully and properly represented in the absence of the Labour Party ; but the members of that party make a grave mistake in assuming that they alone are concerned with the interests of the workers. The representative bodies which have deliberated in regard to the proposals of the Government do not object to equal rights being given to all.
– They objected to the factories legislation, to the arbitration legislation, and to all legislation that has been proposed for the good of the workers.
– I think that they - recognise that the social organization falls out of gear when all men are denied the equal rights of citizenship ; and the great aim of those who enjoy the honour of acting as Ministers of the Crown should be to see that all are permitted to enjoy the same rights and privileges.
– I never heard the honorable member’s class object to receive anything from the Government.
– The class to which the honorable member refers has not asked for anything from this Parliament. The assimilation of the trade marks laws of the States by means of a Commonwealth Act is a necessity of our industrial conditions ; and the whole community is interested in having the Bill made as perfect as possible.
– Yet the Opposition are supporting those who pirate union labels.
– I have heard nothing said which justifies that statement. No honorable member in the Chamber would countenance piracy or fraud. But the AttorneyGeneral has admitted that a new principle is being introduced into our industrial law.
– It is about time.
– When the proposal has received the consideration which such an important departure demands, the country, will judge whether we have done right or wrong. Up to the present time the electors have had no opportunity to express an opinion on this proposal.
– If they do not approve of what we do, they will throw us out at the next election.
– The honorable member is the greatest “ blowhard “ in the Chamber.
– I object to that blackguardedly expression. The honorable member is the “ boodlers’ “ messenger boy.
– Both honorable members must withdraw those expressions.
– I withdraw what I have said about the honorable member for Darwin, but he is continually interjecting in the most inconsequential way, and considers that his day’s work is done when he has made what he thinks to be an effective interjection.
– I withdraw what I have said, but I should like to draw your attention, Mr. Mauger to the fact that this is a deliberate and definite stonewall which is now taking place. The way in which the representatives of capital are running our affairs is a disgrace to the country.
– I think that it will be generally admitted that I have no capacity for “ stone-walling.” It is an art in which I do not excel. Reference has been made to the introduction of the union label in the cigar trade of the United States. Every well-thinking person should be in accord with honorable members opposite in endeavouring to secure the abolition of conditions of labour and ofmanufacture such as originated theunion label in America. I happened’ to be in San Francisco when the subject was inflaming the public mind there. Some years later, strange to say, I happened to be in Chicago when the union label was the cause of an active agitation, and’ was able to see its effects upon industry. In two or three instances which came under my personal notice, the unionists had absolutely sold themselves to employers, who had no consideration for human life, and the label was being used purely for capitalistic and monopolistic purposes.
– That could not be done under this Bill.
– It could have been done under the union label clauses as they came from the Senate. If we were satisfied that the label would only be used for the purpose of securing humane conditions for the workers, there would be no reasonable objection to it. But that is not the object. I should say God-speed to the honorable members opposite if it were. The object is to use the label as a means of coercion.
– The honorable member is totally mistaken.
– Honorable members can have no objection to the amendment which I have circulated, if their purpose is genuine.
– The honorable member could make no more serious charge than he has made by imputing such motives to the supporters of the Bill.
– I have no desire to impute motives to any one.
– We are seeking justice and protection for the unions, just as the employers secure justice and protection by means of trade marks.
– If that is the sole object, honorable members can have no objection to the suggestions which I shall afterwards invite them to consider. Let me point out that proper conditions with regard to sanitation, hours of labour, and wages are already secured by factories legislation. In Victoria we have wages boards, which safeguard the interests of the workers in that respect. Why should the people of Victoria have to submit to Commonwealth legislation over-riding the State legislation ?
– Why should not the con sumer be protected as well as the producer ?
– But the consumer will have to pay more for his goods under these provisions. Each fresh restriction on manufacture must necessarily increase the cost of goods to the consumer.
– Not necessarily; the profits of the merchants may be reduced.
– If capital cannot secure a fair profit it will leave the country; and the supporters of the Labour Party cannot exist without capital. The AttorneyGeneral has argued that this is not a question of union as against non-union labour, but merely a recognition of the rights of workers. Let me point out that the workers are to be divided into three classes. There are the unionists, and there are those who are indifferent to unionism. But there is a third class of workers who are opposed to trade unionism altogether, and object to its methods. I have always held that there is some strength in the contention of the unionists that they are struggling for. the benefit of their class, and have secured advantages for it at the cost of personal sacrifice. There is, on their part, a feeling of resentment against workers who will not join them. But while one can sympathize with that feeling, it is quite another matter to use coercive measures with the object of compelling non-unionists to join the labour organizations.
– You have been plundering the workers long enough, you robbers !
– The employers have de: voted capital, experience, and enterprise to the businesses which they have built up, and the workers have participated in their success.
– If they had their way they would squeeze the last drop of blood out of the workers.
– The honorable member makes a statement which is absolutely unworthy of him.
– I do not mean the honorable member personally, but his class.
– The honorable member for Maranoa must cease these interjections.
– I must ask the honorable member to withdraw his statement, which is both offensive and untrue.
– I did not for a moment intend to apply my remark to the honorable member for Kooyong, and, as far as he is concerned, I withdraw it. I was referring to the class for which he holds a brief.
– The Attorney-General has said that our legislation cannot be ahead of public opinion, and that, if these proposals are ahead of public opinion, so much the worse for their supporters. Therefore,, we come back to the point that so important a question as this ought to have been dealt with by means of a separate Bill, and formed the subject of an inquiry by a Select Committee or a Royal Commission..
– We are willing to take all the risks, and the honorable member and his party can “biff” us out at the next election if they can.
– Honorable members opposite are not the persons who will suffer most from a dislocation of industrial conditions. It is the employes who willi suffer. If any part of our industrial legislation is injuriously affected, the workers must suffer proportionately. If there had been a sincere desire on the part of the Government to ascertain public opinion on these proposals, they might have allowed them to be the subject of reference to the electors on a proper occasion. The Legislatures of the United States and Great Britain do not permit; (new principles to be introduced without careful and thoughtful consideration by Committees. It has been my privilege to meet Mr. John Burns, the honorable member for Battersea, in the Imperial Parliament, and other trade union leaders in Great Britain. I honestly believe that Mr. Burns would never have countenanced the passage of such a measure as this with out inquiry by a Committee or Commission. There is no more considerate man than he is in reference to the proper investigation of great public questions. His success islargely owing to the fact that he has never forgotten that legislation must not be ahead of public opinion. The unfortunate fact is that many honorable members who will vote for this proposal are really opposed to its principle.
– There is no value in an argument of that sort. The honorable member is not dealing with the merits of the question.
– I say that the vote of this Committee will be no indication of public opinion, because some of those who will support the clauses were returned on different views.
– They have their masters, to deal with.
– I recognise that their present masters have given them their directions, and that the honorable members ir>- question areobeying them. I desire to read some protests which have been made by important public bodies against the trade union label clauses. The representations of the Employers’ Federation justify the fullest consideration, as being the result of practical experience and careful thought. Certainly an assertion made with reference to the action, of banks upon their creditors is not warranted, but the worst construction has been put upon it. I have been an employe of a bank, and am now a bank director. I am associated with several banks in the city of Melbourne. The statement used by the AttorneyGeneral that any bank would interfere in such a question as this for the purpose of putting the screw on any customer, as one which I am sure that honorable members, on both sides of the House, will characterize as ridiculous. I am entitled to say, speaking on behalf of the banks, that such a statement is without justification.
– It is contained in an official document from the Employers Federation.
– There are several bank directors in this House, and every one, I am convinced, will support the statement I am making. I have before me the document to which the Attorney-General alluded. He urges that it contains the statement that in extreme cases pressure might be brought to bear upon a manufacturer through his creditors or his bank. I do not know what individual creditors might do, but ordinary business people look to legitimate methods of increasing their trade, rather than to methods of coercion or obstruction. It is absolutely wrong to say that any banker would use coercive methods, such as have been suggested. I intend to submit the objections to this Bill made by representative bodies in various parts of the Commonwealth. I ask the indulgence of the Committee while I read these documents, because I happen to hold a position of honour which I appreciate very highly as the representative of the Chambers of Commerce of Australia, and other important associations which have asked me to express their views.
– Tell us who compose these bodies ?
– They are bodies of employers, and very representative employers, too.
– Then the. honorable member is simply voicing the opinions of the employers ?
– I am. I am not professing to voice the opinions of labour, but of those who provide the capital, energy, and enterprise by which industries are carried on. The following letter has been sent to me by the Chamber of Commerce, Melbourne : -
Chamber of Commerce, Melbourne. 60 Market-street,
Melbourne, 25th November, 1905.
I have the honour, by direction of the council of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, to ask if you will be good enough to use your influence on behalf of the members of this Chamber, to oppose the union label clauses in the Trade Marks Bill. The Bill has recently received most careful consideration by my Council, and it thinks the measure should be thrown out, and for the following reasons- : -
– I say now, as I stated last night, when a similar assertion was quoted by the honorable member for Corangamite, that that statement is absolutely untrue.
– The letter proceeds: -
The provision to enable an individual free workman to register a label, the Council considers, is of no value whatever under modern conditions of manufactures, and the proposed Commonwealth label is also regarded by this Chamber as worthless, either to the workmen themselves or to the manufacturers and producers.
I am also desired to inform you that the above reasons were forwarded to the Hon. the AttorneyGeneral, and for your information am to enclose copy of the correspondence which has since passed between Mr. Isaacs and this Chamber on the subject.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
The President of the General Council of Chambers of Commerce of the Commonwealth of Australia, Melbourne.
The Attorney-General, in reply to these reasons, wrote a letter, through Mr. R. R. Garran, as follows: -
Commonwealth of Australia.
Melbourne, 20th November, 1905.
I am directed by the Attorney-General to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th instant with reference to the union label clauses in the Trade Marks Bill, and to inform you that the Attorney-General would be glad to be informed at your earliest convenience -
I have the honour to be,
Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) R. R. Garran,
Chamber of Commerce, 60 Market-street, Melbourne.
The following reply was sent to the AttorneyGeneral’s letter: -
Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, 60 Market-street,
Melbourne, 23rd November, 1905.
Sir, I have the honour to acknowlege the receipt of your letter of the 20th instant, and am directed to reply to the questions contained therein, in their regular order -
Again, Mr. Tudor, M.P., is reported to have stated at Prahran on the11th October (see Age, 12/10/05), that the object of the Trades Union Label was “ to prevent goods made by union labour being pirated.”
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
– There is an evasion contained in that reply.
– Honorable members opposite have said more than once, while I have been speaking, that they do not desireto secure advantage by means of coercion. I frankly accept their assurances. I am glad that an opportunity will be given to them to show their bona fides. I have also a letter from the Farmers’, Property Owners’, and Producers’ Association Geelong, dated 18th November, 1905, whichI will read -
I am directed by the Executive Committee of the Farmers’, Property Owners’ and Producers* Association to notify you that the following resolution has been agreed to by all the branches of this Association in Victoria, viz. : -
That the members of this Association protest against the union label on the ground that it will interfere with industrial liberty and give to unions - controlled for political purposes - the power to boycott those who have an equal right’ with unionists to freely dispose of the produce of their labours.
My Executive Committee trusts that you will give consideration to the above resolution, which has been carried unanimously by 130 branches of this Association, which exist throughout the electorates in the State of Victoria.
– By permission of the honorable member for Kooyong, I wish to take the opportunity of directing attention to a few of the statements contained in the letter from the Chamber of Commerce, which he has quoted. I want to say straight away that the statement in the letter concerning myself is absolutely untrue. The third paragraph in the letter states that -
The Bill if passed will, by the admission of the labour leader in the House of Representatives, be made a weapon of boycott to the serious detriment of the free workman, of the manufacturers and producers, and of the community generally.
That is a direct statement that I said in the House that this Bill, if passed, would be made a weapon of boycott. I was not aware of this correspondence until the present moment ; but I gather from it that the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce was asked by the Attorney-General where the statement alleged to have been made by me was made. The Attorney-General had never heard of such a statement. In reply to that question, Mr. Hallett relies upon a statement published in a leading article in the Age newspaper, to the following effect : -
The case for the union label clauses, from the workers point of view, was practically given away by Mr. Watson when he remarked, in the Federal Parliament last Wednesday evening, that he would glory in a boycott undertaken to prevent some of the conditions which prevailed before the institution of Wages Boards and Arbitration Acts.
There is not a word even in that quotation to justify the statement contained in the first letter from the Chamber of Commerce which the honorable member for Kooyong quoted. The statement there is that I had admitted that the trade union label would be made a weapon of boycott. I made no such statement.
– What the honorable member said was that he had taken part in boycotts, and had gloried in them.
– Just so. I shall quote exactly what I said; and I may add that I have not touched one word of the Hansard report. The statement is published exactly as it was taken down by the Hansard reporters. I said, speaking on the 15th November -
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.
– Wesaythat he is.
– “We,” in this instance, does not mean a great deal. A boycott is often justi- fiable. 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 be ashamed 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 of remedying the evils to which I have alluded.
What I said on that occasion bears out my contention that I was alluding to a boycott in the absence of union label provisions altogether - a boycott undertaken as an ordinary weapon of trade unionism with the view of remedying a condition of things which every fair-minded person in the community has admitted to be improper.
– And in the absence of factories and similar legislation.
– Quite so. The main point of my contention is that there is no word in the quotation from the Age newspaper which would justify the statement that I had admitted that these union label clauses would be used as a weapon for a boycott. I say that that is a gross and palpable piece of misrepresentation on the part of the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. It is, however, on a par with the whole campaign of mendacity that has been entered upon with regard to these proposals. It appears to me as being the most unfair thing possible that people who are opposed to this policy should endeavour to bolster up their case in the fashion that they have done, and that I have exposed.
– I should at all times be the last man in the House to justify an unfair construction being placed on the statement of any honorable member.
– I think that the honorable member for Bland himself will admit in his calm moments that his language was very loose.
– Not a word that I used justifies the statement made.
– I shall take care that the Chamber of Commerce is made aware of this explanation. It will be communicated to that body. If the honorable member will allow me to have a few proof-slips of the speech which he hasjust made, I shall be happy to see that the Chambers of Commerce in Australia are made aware of his contradiction. If a wrong has been done to him he should have an opportunity of making a correction. I am surprised to learn that some of the protests against the trades union labour clauses, which I desire to read, were read during the night by the honorable member for Corangamite. I understand that he quoted them from newspapers. I have here only the original documents. I need not weary, the Committee by going through the various telegrams and letters that have come to me on the question; but I wish to put on record a digest of the objections urged by the various Chambers of Commerce -
Geelong. - Protests against the union label clauses in the Trade Marks Bill.
Adelaide. - An unjust and unwarrantable interference with freedom of traders framed to promote a system of boycotting and consequent growth of industrial terrorism and strife. If clauses passed suggests an amendment prohibiting boycotting or any form of interference with the lawful business of others and providing a penalty for such an offence.
Hobart. - Protests against any provisions by which other persons than the manufacturers or merchants (the owners of the goods) may dictate as to what mark or label shall be placed on such” goods.
Launceston. - Still strongly protests against the adoption of the trades union label, which may be used, not only to coerce workmen into unions, but also to coerce employers into industrial agreements which may be against the public interest.
Fremantle. - Strongly protests against union label clauses in Trade Marks Bill; if passed support new clauses by Knox and Johnson.
Perth. - Protests against any provisions by which other persons than manufacturers or merchants (the owners of the goods) may dictate as to what mark or label shall be placed on such goods.
Newcastle. - Oppose the Attorney-General’s proposed amendments, consider they would not mitigate in any way the evils apparent in the Bill, the main part of which would completely revolutionise the principles that have hitherto obtained with regard to trade marks, both statutory enactments and common law. Those proposing the change have the duty cast upon them of showing that the welfare of the Commonwealth and the exigencies of commerce call for legislation of such a pronounced character.
Rockhampton. - Protests against the passing of the Union Label.
Brisbane. - Again protests against the Union Label, industrial workers’ label, and the Commonwealth Label.
Sydney. - Opposes the union label’ as introducing quite a new principle resulting probably in class warfare and coercion.
I have also received a resolution of protest from the Victorian Reform League in the following terms : -
That the Council of the Reform League regards the Union Label clauses of the Trade Marks Bill as designed to give a minority of the workers a tyrannical power over their fellows, with the intention of enforcing compulsory unionism upon the large majority holding the just principle of freedom of contract. That such unjust and injurious legislation is intended to afford the means of boycotting the workers and distributers outside the unions, and the wares they may produce, is demonstrated by the text of the proposed clauses. This council protests against legislation at once dangerous and unjust as subversive of liberty and the well-being and peace of the community. It is also resolved that this council heartily approves of the Opposition members’ energetic and patriotic efforts to prevent the inclusion of the Trades Union Label provisions in the Trades Marks Bill, and hopes that those efforts will be continued unflinchingly until successful.
I have received the following communications from various representative bodies bearing upon the same point; -
Copy of resolution adopted by the Launceston Chamber of Commerce - “ That this Chamber strongly protests against the passing of the Trades Marks Bill, which would afford facilities for the registration of Trade Union Marks, which may be used not only to coerce workmen into unions, but also to coerce employes into industrial agreements, which may be against the public interests. This we contend has been the effect of similar legislation elsewhere.”
Adelaide Chamber of Commerce, Incorporated. 23 Waymouth-street,
Adelaide,9th August, 1905.
Trade Marks Bill.
I have the honour to inform you that at a special meeting of the above Chamber, held yesterday, the above Bill was discussed at length, and the following resolution was unanimously carried : - “ That the union label clauses in the Trade Marks Bill are calculated to promote and assist a system of boycotting whereby those engaged in commerce would be subjected to coercion and intimidation in the carrying on of their businesses. That such legislation cannot fail to bring about an improper and unjustifiable invasion of the rights of the individual, whether he be an employer or an employe. That such legislation is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution. That if, unfortunately, the clauses referred to should be passed, steps should be taken to introduce an amendment into the Bill prohibiting boycotting or any form of interference with the lawful business of others, and providing a penalty for such an offence.”
I have the honour to be, sir, Your obedient servant,
John Creswell. 23 Waymouth-street,
Adelaide, 3rd October, 1905.
I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 14th September, enclosing copy of proposed amendments to Trade Marks Bill, and in reply beg to state that same have had the consideration of the Committee of this Chamber, who can add nothing to their former protest of the 9th August with reference to the adoption of the trade union clauses.
They are of opinion that such legislation is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution, and they consider the constitutional question should be pressed home as much as possible. They also think it may be desirable for your Council to fortify Mr. Cussen’s opinions by the very best legal opinion to be obtained, so as to strengthen the hands of Mr. Knox’s party from a legal stand-point.
John Creswell, Secretary.
The Launceston Chamber of Commerce. On the 8th ult. my Chamber adopted the following resolution : - “ That this Chamber strongly protests against the passing of the Trades Marks Bill, which would afford facilities for the registration of Trades Union Marks, which may be used not only to coerce workmen into unions, but also to coerce employers into industrial agreements which may be against the public interests. This we contend has been the effect of similar legislation elsewhere.” A copy of this resolution was forwarded to each representative for this State.
Brisbane Chamber of Commerce,
Brisbane, 5th October, 1905.
Copy of a resolution adopted by the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce on the 5th October, 1905 - “ This Chamber again protests against Part VII. of the Trade Marks Bill, and also against the amendments proposed by the Attorney-General dealing with the Union Label, Individual Workers’ Label, and Commonwealth Label, in fact, we consider the whole Act is quite unnecessary, and will be injurious to trade.
Copy of resolution adopted by the Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce : - “That in the opinion of this Chamber the new clauses relating to the Union Label in the Trade Marks Bill now before the Federal Parliament are a serious infringement of the rights and liberties of the people of the Commonwealth,” and this Chamber strongly protests against the passing of these clauses.”
Adopted11th October, 1905.
Thomas Parker, Secretary.
Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce, 11th October, 1905.
Inform president general council that Rockhampton Chamber Commerce strongly protests against new clauses relating to the union label in Trades Marks Bill.
Kalgoorlie Chamber of Commerce, 15th November, 1905.
Telegram in following terms sent yesterday by president to Sir John Forrest : - At meeting to-day resolution unanimously passed to request you use your influence in opposition to Union Label clauses in Trade Marks Bill,on the ground that it is pronounced class legislation, calculated to give an undue advantage to a small minority of workers. It infringes the principle of freedom of contract, and is fraught with great possible danger in the future.
Maughan, Chamber Mines.
Perth Chamber of Commerce, 22nd November, 1905.
Meeting merchants, manufacturers, traders, yesternight, passed following resolution : - This meeting records best thanks to Members House Representatives who are opposing union label clauses Trade Marks Bill as protest against legislation which will have ruinous effect trade commerce, and seriously interfere operations commercial men, no demand been made for such class legislation except by small section of community, and’ meeting trusts Bill will be rejected or withdrawn until constituencies have had opportunity expressing opinions upon it.
Conigrave, Secretary, Perth Chamber Commerce.
Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, 23rd November, 1905.
This Chamber strongly protests against union label clause Trade Marks Bill, if passed rely your supporting new clauses by Knox and Johnston.
I earnestly ask honorable members to consider these documents. I claim to speak on. behalf of the bodies from which they emanate. I do not pretend to be the mouthpiece of labour organizations. I do say in all sincerity that the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, the other members of the Government, and those honorable members who are supporting them, will be accepting a very heavy responsibility indeed if they do not lend a thoughtful ear to protests that have come from every part of Australia voicing the wishes of persons who speak with authority on commercial questions. Those of us who are opposed to these clauses have done our utmost to protest against them. Probably we shall not be able to resist much longer. The weight of numbers may be against us, owing to the unfortunate combination in favour of the provisions. There are honorable members who intend to vote for the trade union label’ clauses who do not sincerely believe in them. Surely that is a serious position.
– Is it a fact?
– I make the statement from what I know of their opinions. They are taking a veryheavy responsibility. The division, probably, will be taken to-day. The clauses will be carried, but I believe by a very narrow majority indeed. The responsibility will rest on two or three honorable members, who, to-day, are probably going to record a vote against their own sincere and deliberate convictions. Having urged the protests which I have read, I feel that I can do no more, except to ask the country to acknowledge the efforts made to prevent this legislation. Honorable members opposite have taken practically no part in the discussion.
– We cannot.
– The Opposition have not given us a “ show.”
– We give honorable members opposite a “show” now?
– What a wretched position for a man of the standing of the honorable member for Kooyong to take up after wasting a month !
– I am afraid the honorable member for Wide Bay allows himself to say what he does not mean. The discussion on a similar question in Canada occupied five months.
– This question has been two years before Parliament.
– That, of course, is a mis-, representation.
– The Bill has been over twelve months before this House.
– This is the House of the people’s representatives, as distinguished from the Senate, which has to consider and protect the rights of the States.
– And the Senate does so.
– It is in this Chamber that the protest should be made on behalf of employers and those who regard this legislation as against the interests of the community. I thank honorable members for their courtesy in extending attention and consideration to the statements I have had to make, some of which, I know, are a little more lengthy than. I should desire under ordinary circumstances. I have entered a protest on behalf of large bodies of men who. after deliberate consideration, have arrived at the conclusion that this legislation is against the public interest, and will inflict harm on the very persons it is presumed to help.
– I regret that the discussion is not taking place under more favorable conditions. I also regret that honorable members - even the honorable member for “Kooyong - have thought fit to impute motives to other representatives in this House from whom they may happen to differ. When we have that c condition of affairs within Parliament, it is not surprising that misconceptions should prevail amongst the general public, ‘who have not the same opportunity as ourselves to obtain accurate information, and thus become fully seized of the import of the particular provisions with which we are dealing. As to the charges of “bludgeoning,” “sand-bagging,” and so forth, i’t is pleasing to know that up to the present time there has been applied no “gag” or restriction, but that, on the contrary, those who are opposed to the measure have had ample opportunity 4o express their opinions. Those who sup port the Bill will have every facility to make their defence when they go to their masters - the electors. I therefore see no justification whatever for the imputation of improper motives.
– The honorable member says that he regrets the circumstances under which we are discussing the Bill?
– I deeply regret the circumstances and conditions under which the Bill is being discussed. My little experience in business and in the affairs of the world, teaches me that men can generally deal with matters of material concern to themselves, without incurring any undue physical or mental strain. Honorable members have now been out of their beds for the last twenty-eight or thirty hours, engaged, under abnormal circumstances, in discussing a question of grave importance. I am inclined to believe that there is a great deal of misconception and misrepresentation in regard to the proposal now before the Committee. Within this Chamber we hear these clauses described as union label clauses, whereas in the Bill itself there is no restriction whatever as to the persons who may desire to use this label. I may be permitted to give an illustration of the misconception which prevails outside this Chamber. In a remote part of the country a public meeting was convened in order to obtain an expression of opinion on the merits of the proposal. When the meeting assembled a gentleman present, who had not seen the measure, asked the chairman the exact nature of the provisions. After inquiry amongst those present, it was found that no one was in a position to give any definite information. A little common sense was brought to bear, and a member of this House was written to, and asked to supply a copy of the Bill, and the meeting was adjourned until that should be received. That illustration does not convey an extreme idea of the condition of affairs prevailing throughout some of the rural districts of Victoria. Some few months ago a deputation interviewed me in regard to my attitude towards what are designated as the union label provisions of the Bill. As I stated when speaking on the second reading, I was prepared to approach the question with an open mind ; and I told the deputation that I would be delighted to hear what they had to say. Thev submitted their view of the case, and then I asked them ito state clearly and distinctly to which statements they were opposed - whether they were opposed to the proposal which was sent on from the Senate to this House, or to the proposal which was first formulated by the Attorney-General and submitted to us, or to the last proposal of the Attorney-General. Strange to say, not one of the deputation was in a position to distinguish between these different proposals. When we hear this label continually referred to in this Chamber as a union trade mark proposal, designed to carry with it preference to unionists, it is not to be wondered at that misconception should prevail in the minds of the public, who have not the same opportunity to inform themselves as have the members of this Parliament.
– The Employers’ Federation is still sending out the original circular, containing misrepresentation.
– I am not going to speak at length, because I do not think there is any necessity to do so. I desire, however, to clearly state my position, and to show what my attitude has been on the general question. I have been amongst the workers all my life, and I am rather proud of the fact that I ama worker today. I may not at all times have seen eye to eye with those who worked beside me as manual labourers many years ago. I have been an advocate of unionism, but there has been no stronger critic than myself of many of the actions taken by unionism. In my opinion, unionists have been as wrong and as extreme on many occasions as have the capitalists or employers, whom unionists are prone to denounce at all times.
– Mistakes are made by all people.
– Human nature is the same in all classes and conditions of society. There may be a little more veneer and polish in one section of society than another, but that veneer has only to be rubbed to show that nature is the same in ail men. Environment may alter views, but, at bottom, we are all alike. However, let me return to the principles which have always governed my actions in matters of this sort. Whenever an enactment, legislative or otherwise, will tend tothe peaceful adjustment of disputes between employer and employed, I shall be prepared to give it my support, no matter how far that enactment may go. But if any proposed enactment will, to my mind, cause friction in matters industrial, as between employer and employee,then my support must be withheld. I have had no experience of industrial troubles beyond Australia, but I have been an eye-witness of much that has happened in Australia in this connexion. The advice tendered, more particularly by employers and capitalists, has always been to adopt peaceful means of settling these industrial disputes - to set aside the old barbarous methods of brute force, such as the boycott, and to get on speaking terms one side with the other. Twenty years ago it was within the reach of the most vivid imagination that industrial disputes would be submitted to a judicial tribunal? That, however, has been brought about ; and still we have capitalists and the employers to-day expressing a dread of something whichthe industrial population propose to do. I do not in the least share that dread; but I do say that a legislative body cannot be too careful about placing in the Hands of any section of thecommunity a power that may prove a source of friction in the future. This is where I join issue with those who are advocating the label proposal, even in its present form.
– The honorable member a month or two ago describedthis as a very equitable proposal. He believed in it then.
– If the honorable member will show me anything that I have said expressing approval of the principle of the provisionI shall be preparedto go back onmy present words.
– I shall show the honorable member.
Mr. KENNEDY. I am not so hidebound as to be afraid to change my mind if I am shown to be wrong. I remember clearly and distinctly what I did say when speaking on the second reading. I then directed my attention particularly to the remarks of the honorable member for Corangamite, when I expressed the opinion that I did not think it at all necessary to go to the United States for illustrations of the effects of this particular class of legislation. I added that I intended to approach the question with an open mind ; and no further commitment Bid I make then, nor have I made up to the present’ time. To return to the merits of the proposal, what do we find? It is of no use talking about this as a trade union mark : that is done with. The original proposal which emanated from the Senate, was for a trade union mark pure and simple, and it was provided that none but trade unionists, or trade union organizations, should obtain registration. Under the present proposal, however, there is no restriction in the slightest degree. Even the honorable member for Kooyong, who is regarded as an extreme opponent of the measure, stated this morning thai: the present proposal of the Attorney-General, with the modifications which have been formulated, would be acceptable to him. Consequently there is not that great divergence of opinion to-day amongst membersof thisHouse that there appears to be amongst the public outside. The first question that occurs to my mind is whether there is any necessity at the present time in Australia for the workers to have the right to register trade marks? Then, if there is a necessity, is the Federal Parliament the proper authority to confer that right?
– The workers have the rightnow ; there is nothing to prevent them from registering a mark to-day.
– But are they protected under that mark?
– They cannot be protected against infringement.
– That isthe whole position - that is the object of the Bill.
– Will the honorable member agree to wipe out all the pirates?
– Assuming that the right is conferred by Parliament, the next question is whether there is any danger to any, section of the workers by reason of the powers given by the Bill.
– All the lawyers say that the power exists to-day, but that no protection is given.
– Then what is the use of the power?
– That is the point.
Mr.KENNEDY.- The right to use a label gives practically no advantage; and that is the whole difficulty. The workers of the United States have been chiefly cited in illustration; and some honorable members have gone so far as to say there are no industrial enactments there. In that, however, I think those honorable members are wrong, because there are a considerable number of industrial enactments in the United States to the advantage of the workers.
– As to the opinions previously expressed by the honorable member,
I may say that on the 8th August last, when dealing with this question, he is reported in Hansard as saying, in reply to a question by Mr. Reid as to whetherhe advocated the application of the principle to both parties -
Yes; and that is why, in a spirit of equality and fairness, I wish trade unions to have the right to register a union label just as an individual or corporation is given the right under this Bill.
– Admittedly, I said that. I have also said that I am not so hide-bound as to be afraid to change my mind if shown to be wrong. The honorable member has not quoted the whole of what I said.
– I could quote more to the same effect.
– I shall be delighted to hear the whole. However, I was referring to the United States ; and I wish to say that, in my opinion, the industrial conditions there, and the industrial conditions in Australia, are not at all analogous.
– Amongst the last words of the honorable member, when speaking on the second reading, were -
Consequently I approach the question with an open mind.
– Having already committed himself to the principle. I do not object to a man changing his mind if he likes.
– It is a comfort at times to have a mind to change. I was saying that the conditions in America and the conditions in Australia are not at all analogous. In Australia, the tendency - although, unfortunately, it does not apply throughout - is to legislate with a view to hold the balance fairly between employer and employed. Apart from New Zealand; I venture to say that, in this respect, Australia is in the forefront of all industrial, communities. We have laid aside the old barbarous methods ; and the tendency is to work on improved lines. In Victoria there are Wages Boards, and in some of the other States, Courts of Conciliation and Arbitration. Will the proposal before us supersede or come into conflict with this States legislation ?
– States legislation will not be affected, so far as I can see.
– I think that the States legislation will be most seriouslyaffected. Will the Bill before us give to independent workers, or associations of workers outside trade unions, the right to register a trade mark? Will there be a separate and distinctive trade mark for trade unionists, as distinguished from others engaged in precisely the same industries? I should also like to know whether apart from factories laws and the Arbitration Courts, those who work in factories where there is no competent authority to prescribe the conditions of labour, will be prevented from obtaining a registered trade mark? So far as I can see, there is nothing in the Bill to that effect. There is not a line or word in the clause under discussion, to prevent any employe, under a Factories Act, or otherwise, from registering a trade mark. Is that so., or is it not?
– Most lawyers are of opinion that unless a provision of the kind is made such employes cannot register.
– There is no special provision, so far as I can see. to prevent those who are not working under factories laws from registering a trade mark.
– Hear, hear. Certainly.
– What means will the public have to distinguish between goods produced . or manufactured under fair conditions of labour, and those produced under unfair conditions, unless- and this is what caused the doubt in my mind - registration is to be restricted entirely to those whose conditions of labour are prescribed by some authority ?
– There are numbers of people working under fair conditions, who do not come within the factories laws, or the jurisdiction of Arbitration Courts.
– I do not think that since I have been in public life I have found it necessary to give so much attention to any question as I have given to this before deciding how to vote. I recognise this to be a matter of most serious importance, and if the proposal is to attain all that its advocates claim, surely it is not the intention to give the right of registration to those who work under unfair conditions.
– It would not be true, if goods, manufactured by such people, were labelled as having been produced under fair conditions.
– Such people could call themselves an association, and register a label, and the public would have to go behind the label in order to ascertain whether the conditions of manufacture were, fair or otherwise.
– Why should they not?
– That is the first difficulty that presents itself to my mind ; and throughout the discussion I have not heard the question raised or answered.
– Oh, yes.
– I want to be shown what advantage those who work under fair conditions will obtain, if workers who may be compelled to work under unfair conditions have the right of registration, and the right to exhibit the label ?
– Not the same label.
– If the label indicated that Wages Board conditions had been complied with, would that not meet the case?
– There is no such provision as that in the Bill. I say without hesitation that if any provision could be devised by which a mark might be applied to goods. made under fair conditions - under factories laws, or arbitration laws - and so distinguish goods made under sweated conditions, I should be prepared to support it. The proposal before us does not, in my humble judgment, attain that end.
– Will not each association have the opportunity to design its own label ?
– Hear. hear.
– Then, assuming that a trade mark is granted, of what value will it be to the purchaser, as a guide to the intrinsic value of the goods?
– Absolutely no value.
– None whatever. The only value that a trade mark of the kind could have to the purchaser, would be to show that the goods had been manufactured under fair conditions. So far as I can understand, however, the proposal gives neither the worker nor the purchaser any such protection ; and that in my mind is a sufficient reason for opposing the clause. As I have already said, if some provision could be made by which the purchaser would be enabled to distinguish between the two classes of goods, I should be prepared to consider it on its merits. I do not think it necessary to argue the proposal from the point of view of preference to unionists. On this score, I am not alarmed in the slightest degree, seeing that the proposal does not give any preference to unionists. I desire, however, to put the position as it presents itself to my mind. It is admitted. I think, by those who make special claim to represent labour, that in large centres of population there are greater advantages arising from the membership of trades union and similar organizations, than there are in sparsely-populated centres throughout the rural districts. Iron-workers engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements furnish a typical illustration. In the largest centres there is greater stability in reference to employment than, for instance, in the small towns of the Murray districts. In the latter, the employes change to a greater extent than in the city, and, for the reason I have just given, they are not unionists to the same extent as in the cities. But, so far as my inquiries go, the rate of pay is generally better in the country, while the conditions are equally good, if not better, than in the city
– Infinitely superior.
– I do not go as far as to say that the conditions are infinitely superior in the country ; but I think that in regard to ventilation, and so forth, the country workshops are much the better provided.
– The wages in the country are often not so high as in the towns.
– I am speaking now of instances in regard to which I have made specific inquiries ; and I have in mv mind workshops in Shepparton, Numurkah, and similar towns. Assuming that effect were given to the proposal before us, the city workmen would naturally register their mark, and apply it to their goods; but in the country districts, for the reason I have already stated, the men would not, perhaps, take advantage of the Bill. Consequently, if, prompted by any motive whatever, a desire arose on the part of the public for goods marked with a label which was regarded as a guarantee of fair conditions of labour, the country workers would be placed at a disadvantage. The onus of proof would -lie upon them to show that their goods were also manufactured under fair conditions.
– That could be arranged between the workmen and the employer under this clause.
– Is the position I have described, a fair one in which to place a section of the workmen? The fear uppermost’ in my mind is that unwittingly a grave in justice may be done by one section of workers as compared with another in the same trade. The reasons I have advanced are, in my opinion, fair and legitimate for opposing this proposal. But apart from these considerations - apart from the active use of such a label as a weapon of coercion - there is another phase of the question which deserves serious consideration. When I spoke on the second reading, I said that I did not think it necessary for the honorable member for Corangamite, or the honorable and learned member for Wannon to go to America for illustrations as to how the boycott may be used. Illustrations may be found in Australia, where, in circles in which the social veneer is most conspicuous, and in which the highest ethics might be expected, we find the boycott made an effective weapon of coercion. I refer to the learned professions - the very class who so strongly denounce the proposal now under discussion. There is 3 law on the statute-book of Victoria which is set at defiance by the union which exists in the learned profession of the law.
– Hear, hear. I am a boycotted person because I obey the law.
– We are not dealing with personalities, but with broad principles. When we see such action, on the part of those who are gentlemen by law, what is to be expected from others who are always regarded as belonging to the masses ?
– lt is from this learned profession that our Judges are” selected.
– Is it not reasonable to assume that the masses will ape those who are designated as their betters, and use similar weapons for similar purposes ? I refer to the action of the legal profession, because it has been prominently brought under notice during the last few days. It is not generally known to honorable members from outside Victoria that in. this State there is an Act which amalgamates the two branches of the legal profession, and confers on solicitors the right to a]> pear in Court as counsel. That law has been rendered inoperative by the action of a section of the legal fraternity. The rules of the barristers’ union have been used as a means to boycott any member of that branch of the profession who acts as a solicitor, or appears as a solicitor. At the annual meeting of the Law Institute of Victoria, held recently, the President said -
The institution known as counsel on the roll perpetuated the two different branches of the profession in opposition to the policy of the law -
We, therefore, have the learned gentlemen of the law, not in active opposition to the law, but, by passive resistance, rendering a law inoperative in Victoria.
– It is not passive resistance, but an active rule.
– It is by a rule within their own union. The quotation from the speech of the President of the Law Institute continues - to keep in existence an exclusive ling or union, whose members shall practise solely as barristers, and shall not appear in conjunction with those who practise as solicitors.
We have here proof positive that, in a circle where we should naturally look for respect for the law, we have one particular law, if not violated, at any rate rendered inoperative.
– The law is rendered inoperative because of its inexpediency.
– And the question of expediency arises in connexion with the proposal before us. Is that proposal expedient or otherwise? Similar conditions to those I have described prevail in the medical profession. A person might die of the toothache if he happened to call upon two members of the profession who were not members of the same union. Yet, strange to say, the two classes whom I have just mentioned are those who continuously denounce the labour and industrial sections of the community if they take any steps towards using their organizations as a means of coercion. The two instances mentioned are sufficient to justify me in exercising great caution about arming any section of the community with a weapon which may be used detrimentally towards another section.
– The honorable member’s argument is that, if a voluntary power of the kind is abused, a legal power is much more likely to be abused.
– Another consideration is that the internal industrial laws are, up to the present, under the control of the States Legislatures, and the tendency in all directions is to promote the welfare of the whole community by the abolition of the old method of violence. In my opinion, it is more incumbent on the States Legislatures to deal with a matter of this sort than on the Federal Parliament. What is the burden of the song of the advocates of this proposal, including even the AttorneyGeneral ? We are told on all hands that in every instance in America in which legislation of this kind exists it has’ been enacted and is administered by the States.
– That is because Congress has not the power to pass such legislation.
– Such legislation is a State right in the United States.
– I was under the impression that trade marks were under Federal control in the United States.
– In the United States there is Federal control, so far as regards outside trade, and trade between the States - much like the control conferred by our own Commerce Bill.
– I am not prepared to argue that point. In Australia, internal industrial legislation is, up to the present, a matter for the States; and the whole movement is, as I say, towards the promotion of the welfare of the whole community. Is it desirable or expedient for the Federal Parliament to introduce legislation which may cause friction,, and, to some extent, supersede or contravene the legislation of the States? Broadly speaking, the grounds I have stated are those on which I intend to vote against the proposal before us. It is not for honorable members to say that I have committed myself in this, that, or the other direction. When I spoke . on the second reading, I stated distinctly that I would approach the question with an open mind ; and I have already told honorable members that never since I entered public life have I given such attention to a question as I have given to this. As a worker myself, I differ from those who regard this as class legislation. No legislation is, to my mind, class legislation, more particularly legislation dealing with industrial matters. The relations of life are so interwoven and inter-dependent that not a single cog can be stopped withoutaffecting the whole industrial machine. This has been proved times out of number, particularly in the maritime strike of 1890,, the shearers’ strike, and the Victorian railways strike. If a section of industrial workers were specially dealt with in an Act, that might be called’ class legislation; bue in the ultimate it would affect every section of the community. It has been said in this Chamber that in times of industrial trouble the unionists are the only persons who suffer. In my opinion, that statement is made unthinkingly. Who suffered when the shearers were called out? As I have stated previously here, in many cases the employers were supporting the unionists; and then it was the employers who were the “black- legs.” If a section of workers, for reasons of their own, saw fit to offer, not active, but passive resistance, to another section, and cease work, within a week the result of that action would permeate the whole industrial community.
– It would depend entirely on what section of workers it was who took action.
– The number of workers would have to be very limited, and their product not much in demand, if the result of their ceasing work was not felt throughout the industrial community within a very short time. For instance, if the agricultural implement workers were to cease work at a particular time of the year, what would be the effect? Our time might be better spent than in providing for a trade mark on goods in the manufacture of which our working men cannot find employment. A great many workers are not fully employed in Australia to-day, and it would be more to the purpose if we could do something to help them in this connexion. When they were fully employed, we might be fairly asked to legislate to assist them in marking the goods which they manufacture. I have no desire to take up further time, except to say. that, for the reasons I have stated, I shall vote against the proposal.
– With the honorable member for Moira, I regret the conditions under which this important question is being discussed. The importance which the Government attach to the matter is quite evident from the fact that, with the object of limiting discussion, they have introduced some of the most drastic rules to be found in any Parliament in the world, and that on the very day the proposal is introduced recourse is had to an all-night sitting.
– The first day it is introduced ! There have been months of discussion on the question already.
– I know that on a former occasion I attempted to discuss this question, but was ruled out of order. This is the first time an opportunity has been presented to discuss the proposal on its merits.
– That is not correct.
– Of most of the legislation introduced by the Government I can approve ; but the question before us is one which divides the whole community, and excites a deep and absorbing interest. Under the circumstances, the Committee ought to be allowed time for discussion, and I do not think that a couple of sittings, or even three, would be an unreasonable period to occupy. I do not go as far as the honorable member for Moira in the assumption that there is any serious misunderstanding in the country as to the intention and meaning of this clause ; I believe the object and effect are very generally known. I do not attach the slightest importance to the alterations that have been made in the verbiage or form of the proposal. The AttorneyGeneral himself, in the paper he has issued to honorable members, draws special attention to the fact that the intention of the original clause is not in any way affected by the recent alterations. To call this a workers’ label is, in my opinion, simply ridiculous. Can any one conceive a commodity produced without work? Of course we know that the intention and effect will be to limit this label strictly to the organized unions. I am sorry the AttorneyGeneral is not present, because it is impossible to avoid direct references to the arguments he used in that powerful speech to which we listened yesterday. However, I may say at once that I listened with great pleasure to that speech, which was one of the cleverest of the many clever speeches I have heard the honorable and learned member deliver. And yet, with all my long knowledge of the Attorney-General’s’ great ability, and of his manner of dealing with cases, I must say that, if I had no previous knowledge of the question, I should not require anything further than that speech to utterly condemn the proposal in my mind. When the Attorney-General has a good case, he throws aside trivialities, and all that is not thoroughly pertinent to the issue. Yesterday, however, he contrived to avoid all the salient issues, and to labour the minor issues almost to straining point. The honorable and learned member even succeeded in using the same set of facts to prove two absolutely contrary contentions. He did not attempt to urge any necessity for this legislation in Australia, but referred us to some distant State in America, where the labour conditions were so bad that, in the absence of any effective industrial laws, it was absolutely necessary to devise some measure of protection, which took the form of a union label. It has been pointed out over and over again by public bodies, and at public meetings, that there is no necessity for legislation of this kind in Australia, seeing that we already have effective industrial legislation.
– Only in some parts of Australia.
– There is a Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– That applies only to InterState disputes.
– It applies to the whole of Australia.
– Only to State internal affairs.
– The Attorney-General, although he had previously pointed out that .the utter absence of any effective industrial laws in the American States had rendered a union label necessary, quoted every Statute that had the remotest bearing upon the question to prove that in America there are such industrial laws. To prove this point the honorable and learned member used the same set of facts that he had used to show that there was no effective industrial law in operation. The Statutes quoted by the Attorney-General referred to sanitation and everything under the sun, except to the vital principles of the Bill before us. As an example of the cleverness of the speech, I mention the fact that the heartiest cheers from the labour comer were elicited by the Attorney-General’s contention that the late Government were not unfriendly to this proposal. But, as a matter of fact, all that ‘the Attorney-General succeeded inshowing was that only one member of :thelate Government, namely, the late AttorneyGeneral, had referred to the proposal, and that he had expressed his intention to oppose it, either as part of the Trade Marks Bill or as separate legislation.
– The late AttorneyGeneral never attempted to recommit the Bill in order to strike out the clause.
– That was because the late Government decided not to introduce the Bill. The honorable member for Grey need not be under any misapprehension as to the attitude of the late Government. The Trade Marks Bill and the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill were both intrusted to me as a member of that Government, and the latter measure was carried to the Committee stage before Parliament prorogued. But, knowing the interminable discussion that would ensue on the union label provisions of the Trade Marks Bill, I did not introduce the. latter, and therefore it was not necessary for any member of- the late Government to refer to it. Moreover, it was my intention to embody the most essential clauses of the Trade Marks Bill in another measure which is now known as the Commerce Bill, so as to enable us to dispense with a Trade Marks Bill until the matter could be referred to the country. The Attorney-General strained every trivial argument to strengthen his case. If he had bad a good case he would have put the most salient and important features in the forefront, and would have represented them with all the clearness and -force of which he is capable. Yesterday, however, he dwelt altogether upon minor matters, and used the same set of facts to support two absolutely contrary conclusions. He asserted, among other things, that the late Government were not unfriendly to the union label, but in support of his statement could quote the utterances of only one member of that Administration who had announced his intention to oppose it. In combating the contention that the trade union label would be used for the purpose of boycotting nonunionists, he denied that it would have any effect of that kind, but he admitted - and thus gave away his whole case - that in America the unions appealed to the public to support them, and that the same results would ensue in Australia. The only thing he denied was that compulsion would be used. He claimed that any influence brought to bear to induce the public to refrain from buying certain goods would not amount to a boycott, unless force was used. If the Attorney-General were a non-unionist worker, he would regard any attempt to rob him of his employment as a boycott. He would certainly look upon the matter in that light, if 150,000 men constituted themselves canvassers with the object of inducing the public not to purchase the produce of his labour. The boycott would be equally effective, whether coercion or persuasion were used. TheAttorneyGeneral stated that no serious objection had been raised to these proposals. If his experience has been anything like my own, he must have received a large number of protests. I have received some very strong ones.
– From the employers’ associations.
– Yes; and from shirecouncils, and public meetings. The last protest which’ reached me took the form of a resolution passed at a public meeting called by advertisement by the president of the shire of Maffra, to consider the question of the proposed union label. I forwarded the resolution to the Prime Minister, and presumably the AttorneyGeneral was aware of it. That meeting, which was free of access to every one, was held at Maffra, where there is a large number of non-union workmen. Throughout the country districts nearly all the workers are non-unionists. The resolution strongly condemned the proposed legislation, and, so far as I have been able to ascertain, not a single voice was raised in favour of the trade union label. That took place at one of a number of similar meetings throughout the country.
– Maffra is the honorable member’s stronghold.
– But I knew nothing about the meeting. I can tell the honorable member that I have no stronger supporters than the workers. They have given me their confidence from the beginning, and I should be false to them if I did anything which I thought would prove pre.judical to them. The Attorney-General also urged, as a proof that non-unionists were in favour of the proposed legislation, that their representatives in this House were the strongest advocates of it. Surely my honorable friends in the Labour corner do not profess to represent non-union labour.
– I do.
– I know that my honorable friends have succeeded hitherto in obtaining their votes.
– It is most unfair to insinuate that we get their votes and do not represent them.
– I can only judge by my honorable friend’s action.
– We shall challenge the honorable member’s action in respect of those who vote for him.
– Will the honorable member deny that his party were the most bitter opponents of the non-unionists, in connexion with the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill?
– I say that that is absolutely incorrect.
– Did not the honorable member propose to deprive non-unionists of their means of livelihood ?
– No : that is a foul libel.
– What would preference to unionists mean? If unionists were to have the first choice of work, where would the non-unionists come in ?
– Did we not open the unions to any one who wanted to join them?
– That is at the bottom of the whole thing,. It is proposed to constitute the Parliament a recruiting agent for the unions. That is my honorable friend’s object. He desires to make it impossible for non-unionists to earn a living.
– That is incorrect.
– That is the only conclusion I can draw from the action of the members of the Labour Party. I was one of those who voted against the Government led by the honorable member for Bland, upon the occasion that they decided to quit the Treasury bench. Why did they adopt that course? I voted for the same principle that I shall support in this case. I was always opposed to creating distinctions between unionists and non-unionists. The honorable member for Bland left office because we insisted that where nonunionists were not in a majority in any particular industry They should be placed upon the same footing as non-unionists. The Watson Government objected to that condition. Was that an act of friendliness to the non-unionists? They discarded the principle of majority rule, and insisted that whether unionists were in the majority or in the minority they should have the preference in all cases.
– They desired that the question should be left to the Court to decide.
– If this were a proposal to benefit The workers generally I should, on this occasion, as on every other, be found supporting it. If it were a proposal to benefit unionists alone, without inflicting any material injury on other sections of the community I should still support it, because, although I have beer compelled on this and one or two points in connexion with the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to oppose unionists, I am very strongly in favour of unionism. I believe that the unions have done a great deal to improve the conditions of labour, both for unionists and non-unionists, and to that extent they deserve every reasonable recognition.
– Are not wages general Iv regulated bv unionists?
– I think so. I would be the last to deny that’ great benefits have been conferred upon labour by unionists, but when they go so far as to ask Parliament to constitute itself a partisan body, and to enter with them upon an industrial war against their fellow-workers, who have no fault beyond that they have elected to remain outside the unions, I cannot go with them.
– Do they ask that?
– They merely ask to be placed upon a fair basis as compared with other people in the country.
– I do not know what the honorable member regards as a fair basis. If our industrial laws are not sufficient to insure fair conditions of labour, they should be amended ; but what I object to is the attempt to sneak in clauses which are altogether foreign to the purpose of the Bill. I contend that the union label proposals are not only unnecessary,, but would be most mischievous in their operation. They are not intended to effect the legitimate purpose of a trade mark. It is not proposed to guarantee the quality or ownership of the goods, but merely to indicate that union labour has been employed in their production. At the . outset of his speech yesterday, the Attorney-General laid it down very clearly that it was the duty of Parliament to legislate in the interests, not of any particular class or section, but of the whole of the people. That is a sound doctrine, but I should be prepared to go a little further. I should be willing to legislate in the interests of a class if it could be shown that no material injury would be inflicted on other sections of the community. My objection to the trade union label proposals is that their obvious intention is to benefit the union worker at the expense of the non-unionists. They can only benefit the union workers to the extent to which they deprive non.unionists of employment or reasonable wages.
– If every non-unionist becomes a unionist, no harm can be done.
– No doubt that is the object of these provisions. The trade union, labels will not indicate the ownership of the goods, but merely the particular class of labour that has been employed in their production. The object of the union.ists is, by persuasion or coercion, or both, to boycott the products of non-union labour. I do not regard it as any part of the duty of Parliament to take sides in a matter of this kind, or to assist unionists to prevent non-unionists from earning an honest living. According to Coghlan, the total number of bread-winners in the Commonwealth is 1,642,000. There are only about 100,000 registered unionists, but I understand that Coghlan estimates that the total number of unionists, registered and unregistered, is about 150,000.
– -Many of them are registered in two unions.
– Even giving the unionists credit for the full number, they represent less than one-tenth of the workers of Australia.
– Then what is the honorable member afraid of?
– I am anxious about the welfare of my honorable friends. It might be a matter of wonder that the members of the Labour Party - seeing the comparatively small number of workers in the unions - should venture to advocate the cause of the unionists against the nonunionist’s to the extent of preventing the latter from earning a living unless they join the unions.
– That is not correct - that is a continuous misrepresentation.
– That would be the undoubted effect of the legislation for which my honorable friend has been contending in the past, and of the provisions now before us. If you prevent people from buying the products of non-union labour, surely you will reduce the earnings of the men who are outside the unions.
– We do not propose to prevent the public from buying goods made by non-unionists.
– But the intention is to use all possible influence in. that direction. If that object cannot be achieved, no benefit whatever will be conferred upon unionists under these proposals. There is only one way of making the union label effective, and that is by using the boycott against the product of non-union labour.
– The honorable member seems to forget that nine-tenths of the bread-winners who are non-unionists could buy the products of the labour of their own class, as against the goods produced by unionists.
– The members of the Labour Party are heartland soul with the unionists, owing to the influence which they, through their perfect organization, can exercise on the legislation of the
Commonwealth. We know perfectly well that the unionists, by means of 150,000 canvassers throughout the Commonwealth, can exercise an influence on legislation altogether out of proportion to their numbers.
– Whose fault isthat?
– I am not sayang that it is any one’s fault; but I am pointing out the fact. That is the. reason why my honorable friends are now assisting the unions to take the further step contemplated. They have already induced usto go so far as to give preference to unionists wherever they are in “a majority . in any trade or industry, and to provide that, where they are in a minority, they shall occupy the same footing as others. That is of material advantage’ to unionists ; “but . honorable members want to go further. They want Parliament to assist them to reduce the value of the earnings of non-unionists in the limited fields of employment they now have open to them.
– The honorable member talked differently when he was advocating the cause of the unionists in the Victorian Parliament.
– I have always held the same views. I have supported legislation in the interests of the whole of the workers and of the masses ; but I have always opposed legislation, in favour of one class, which I thought would have the effect of injuring other sections of the community. The propertied classes who were asking for undue political power never went so far as to propose measures that would inflict direct injury upon other classes. I have been consistent in opposing class legislation that would be inimical to the interests of the community. There is another phase of this matter “which, so far, has not been referred to. Hitherto we have agreed to limit the operation of out industrial legislation to those areas in which strikes and locks-out have occurred in the past. We have excluded from the scope of such measures rural industries which have never been marked by industrial strife. It is now proposed to do away with all such distinctions. I believe that the operation ot the proposals now before us would be extended to the rural industries as well as to others. To my mind it is conceivable, and I think even probable, that the warehouse employes, the members of the Carriers’ Union, and of the water-side unions, would refuse to handle a bale of wool, a bag of wheat, or a box of butter, unless the union label were attached to it.
– What nonsense !
– I believe that if they did so, the honorable member would be found assisting them.
– I am not quite a lunatic yet.
– If they had recourse to such extreme measures the honorable member would help them, and I very much fear that the Government which is placing this weapon in their hands would also be ranged on their side. It is difficult to foresee what would happen under these proposals ; they might lead to the creation of antiunion leagues. But whether they did or not, they must create strife and dissension between unionists and nonunionists which would extend to the whole community. I think we have already done quite enough harm in that direction, without’ conferring benefits upon any class. We have passed some very useful legislation, but a few of the provisions embodied init. will prove most mischievous.
– Why did not the honorable member repeal them when he was in office?
– I had intended to submit the whole question to the country - that was part of my programme. When I first denounced the provisions to which I refer, my remarks were received with jeers, but no one will deny that they have done more mischief to Australia than all the beneficial legislation we may pass will ever atone for.
– Friends and relatives of mine who have been living in England for some years told me that when the Federal Parliament first met, Australia stood high in the estimation of the old world, and if a man announced that he was an Australian he was assured of a hearty welcome. I am now told that the name of Australia is scarcely ever mentioned except with a sneer. I believe that the proposed legislation will do a great deal of injury, and that our reputation will suffer more than ever it has done. If, with a full knowledge of the intention underlying them, and of their probable effects, I supported these proposals, I should betray the interests of those who sent me here. I should be abusing the power which they had conferred upon me if, when I knew that it was our undoubted duty to’ do the best we could to promote peace, harmony, and good feeling, I assisted in placing upon the statute-book provisions which I believed would have the effect of creating strife, discord, and dissension amongst the people, of Australia.
– I do not wish to detain the Committee at any undue length, but, in view of some of the statements made within the last hour or so, it seems necessary to make a few remarks. I may say, first of all, in regard to the contention that sufficient time has not been allowed for the discussion of this proposal, that the honorable member for Gippsland seems to have forgotten that this measure has been under discussion for a considerable time. It is true that the Committee stage was not entered upon until about three weeks ago, but prior to that at least a week had been devoted to the debate on the motion for the second reading. Therefore the Bill has been under discussion for about four weeks. During the whole of that time, the debate has turned practically upon the union label provisions. When the second reading debate was proceeding nothing but the union label was talked about The leader of the Opposition spoke solely on that subject, and every other honorable member practically confined his remarks to that issue. When we reached the stage at which the closure resolutions were submitted, almost every remark made bv Opposition members was addressed to the question of the union label. From first to last we have debated these provisions, and no others - that is, if the term debate can be appropriately applied to a great deal of the talk that we have heard on. the subject.
– Including the honorable member’s talk.
– I do not claim any greater merit than any other honorable members ; but whilst my remarks have been directed to elucidating the matter under discussion, it has been frankly admitted by some honorable members opposite that they were “ stone-walling,” even during last evening.
– That is entirely incorrect. I think that all the speeches delivered last night were closely devoted to the discussion of the question before the Chair.
– The honorable member must be possessed of a high degree of temerity when he says that. Surely suffi cient time has been devoted to the discussion of this subject. The principle is a simple one, namely, whether trade unionists or any other workers shall be protected in the use and enjoyment of something which is their own property, or whether they shall be exposed to the roguery and thievery of pirates. I adopt the words of one of the Kentucky Judges, who stated that the object of the union label provisions was to protect the worker from piracy.. The honorable member for Gippsland traced a resemblance between this proposal, and preference to unionists. It seems to me that there is a material difference. The union label provisions do not pretend to give unionists a preference over others. It is left open to every worker - and so far as I am concerned, I am prepared to follow the spirit of the ‘amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for Corio, and include employers and every one else - to take advantage of them. The principle involved in this matter is that of affording every man protection - no matter whether he be a unionist, a nonunionist, or an employer. I want to put all on the same footing before the law, and to give them equal protection against those who seek to rob them of the fruits of their labour. The statement of the honorable member for Gippsland that the Government of which I was the head, were prepared to deprive non-unionists of employment was an absolute misrepresentation. It was all of a piece with the kind of treatment to which we have been subjected in this Parliament.
– What would be the effect of turning non-unionists out of their employment, in order to make way for unionists ?
– We did not propose to do that. The honorable member exhibits an ingenious mind when he resorts to arguments of that kind, and ignores the facts. What were the facts? We proposed to allow the Court to specify that preference should be given to unionists, if it saw fit to do so, after having heard the evidence, and having considered the surroundings of the case. If was purely a matter of authorizing a tribunal equal to the highest in the land, to say whether the circumstances would justify it in giving preference to unionists. It was not proposed to confine the work to unionists. We contended from first to last that the matter was one for the Court to decide.
To argue that, because we are prepared to allow a high tribunal to decide whether preference shall be granted, we are insisting upon preference is to grossly misrepresent the facts.
– Would the preference be of any advantage if it did not deprive non-unionists of their work, in order that it might be given to unionists ?
– I say the Court must be the judge. I do not propose at this stage to argue whether or not preference is justifiable, because that would be foreign to this discussion. I am merely stating the facts. I contend that no proposal was made by the Government of which I was the head to prevent nonunionists from obtaining employment. I owe my place in this Parliament to the votes of non-unionists as much as, if not more than, to those of any other persons. I do not suppose that there are 1,000 unionists among the 20,000 electors in my constituency.
– But 1,000 canvassers can do a lot.
– My opponents can always find canvassers as energetic as those who are working in ray interests. The honorable member for Gippsland, in common with a number of others, seems to confuse non-unionists with those who are antiunionists. In the great majority of cases, those who are outside the unions honestly sympathize with every legitimate effort made by unionists to advance their status, and to improve their material conditions. The great majority of non-unionists are fully sympathetic with the work of the unions, and I trust that honorable members will always draw a clear distinction between those who are merely non-unionists and those who, like the honorable member for Gippsland, are anti-unionists, and who manifest their ill-will on every occasion that presents itself. The honorable member was also good enough to say that throughout his political life he had been a consistent opponent of class legislation. I have no means of judging whether or not that statement is correct. Assuming it to be correct, however, a strange falling away from grace is shown on the present occasion. It has always been claimed by the antagonists of the Labour Party that they are opposing class interests.
– The earlier representatives of labour in Victoria were thorough, broad-minded Liberals.
– I claim that we are broad-minded also, but we are not Liberals in the sense in- which the honorable member uses that term. There is strange irony in the situation, when those who have always protested against class legislation - although our efforts have been mainly directed to the repeal of class legislation, or to remedying the conditions that class legislation has brought into existence - are found to be banded together, and using ‘every persuasion, and every artifice that parliamentary rules will permit, for the purpose of insisting upon a class distinction. The honorable member for Gippsland is prepared to devote the whole of the machinery of the State to the assistance and protection of employers who have trade marks. If a man forges or colourably imitates the trade mark of an ordinary manufacturer, the honorable member says that the wrong-doer must be punished ; but when another man, who is not an employer, arranges to put a certain mark on the goods produced bv his labour, the honorable member says : “ We shall not give him any protection for his trade mark. He shall be exposed to all the wiles of the forger and the defrauder. The pirate shall have a free run, so far as the union label is concerned.’‘1 This is a fine example of the opposition which is being, directed by some honorable members,, to class legislation. This Parliament should extend equal privileges to all classes of the community. And I claim protection for those who are not fortunate enough to be employers, and who are condemned by their circumstances to remain wage-slaves. I ask that they shall receive the same protection at the hands of the Government acting for the people that is extended freely to-day without let or hindrance, and without objection so far as we are concerned, to every manufacturer or trader who cares to take’ advantage of it.
– Would the goods to which union labels are affixed be the property of the unions?
– The honorable member has referred to an argument that has been abandoned by all his friends, because it has been discovered that the great English Act upon which they were relying contains provisions which depart from the principle of insisting that only the owner of the goods shall be allowed to apply a trade mark. That has been abandoned.
– It has not been abandoned.
– I know that the honorable member is antedeluvian in his ideas, but all those honorable members who first advanced that theory have since abandoned it. Thev have admitted that the important exception provided for in the English Act, with regard to the ownership or proprietorship of the goods to which the trade mark is to be applied, compels them to abandon their contention that the goods must belong to the person who owns the trade mark.
– I stated during the secondreading debate that I thought that the English decisions were in favour of the contention which the honorable member says has been abandoned.
– Those decisions have been overruled by the last English Act - Mr. Moulton’sBill, upon which’ the honorable and learned member set so much store until he found that it was operating against him-
– That is not correct.
– What does the honorable member care whether it is correct 01 not?
– The honorable member for Parramatta should be the last to insinuate anything of that kind. He has been one of the most unfair opponents of the Bill.
– The Honorable member knows that he was unfair.
– I take serious exception to the remark of the honorable member, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– I must ask the honorable member to withdraw his remark.
– I withdraw it; but, of course, I can think it all the same.
– The honorable member must withdraw it unreservedly.
– I withdraw my remark unreservedly, but I cannot be asked to withdraw what I think.
– The honorable member for Gippsland referred to the possibility of the union label being applied to the products of rural industries. I doubt very much whether that is likely to occur.
– I think it is.
– The honorable member is, of course, entitled to his opinion. So far as my researches have gone, I have not come across a single instance in which the union label has been applied to rural in dustries in the United States; although the label has been in use there for thirty years, and has been recognised by law for about twenty years.
– Not directly applied.
– Nor indirectly, except, of course, the honorable member pursues his argument to its absolute conclusion, and contends that everything produced originally comes from the land. I have not read of any case in which a primary industry has been brought under the operation of the union label. As a matter of fact, although no restriction is placed on the use of thelabel in America, its operation has been confined to a very few lines of manufacture. Therefore, I do not believe that there will be the slightest chance of its being applied to the rural industries in this country. It would be manifestly impossible to affix a union label to some classes of goods.’. For instance, a coal cargo could not have a union label attached to it.
– They do it in America.
– I have never heard of that being done.
– They affix the union label to egg-boxes.
– Egg-boxes are not coal. I do not think that there is the slightest chance of the union label being affixed to such commodities as wool or wheat. The squatter, or the farmer, do not sell their produce to the ordinary retail buyer, but dispose of it wholesale to people who are not concerned as to whether or not itbears a union label.
– Yes ; but the produce has to be handled by unionists.
– In some cases : but, as a rule, the question of the union label would not enter into consideration, because the goods are intended for consumption abroad. I now desire to refer to some of the remarks of the honorable member for Moira. I must say that, after having listened to what he stated in August last. I was very much surprised when I heard the speech of the honorable member. The honorable member stated to-day that’ he saw grave danger in adopting the proposals now before the House. In the previous case he informed the House that he possessed anopen mind, and I wish to read a few extracts from his utterances, which seem to me to indicate that he approved of the principle of the Bill. He said -
The position which I take up is that there is nothing obligatory upon any employer or upon any manufacturer, even if the whole of his employes are union men, to use the union label. No trader, commercial man, or manufacturer will use a trade mark unless there is some advantage from so doing.
– What is the advantage of using the union label?
– What is the advantage of any trade mark? There is this advantage, from the industrial worker’s stand-point - that the union label puts him on an equality with any corporation or individual manufacturer in the community, who has a right to register a trade mark. It gives to the industrial worker through his organization a right to register a trade mark showing that the goods which he makes are produced entirely by union labour.
– What is the advantage to the manufacturer ?
– It is another incentive to the honest employer -
That is ore of the main points upon which we rest our case.
What has been the object of the whole of our industrial legislation ? It is not restrictive on any fair employer; it is restrictive on the employer who resorts to illegitimate means in competition with the honest employer.
In reply to the right honorable member for East Sydney, who remarked that a fairminded employer, who had ninety unionists and ten non-unionists, could not use the label unless he dispensed with the ten non-unionists, the honorable member for Moira said -
If the whole of his employes are unionists, they can put no coercion upon him to use the label.
Later on the honorable member said -
I intend to propose an amendment to the effect that any individual or corporation who becomes the proprietor of a registered trade mark, and who does anything whatever in restraint of trade in the article to which that trade mark is applied, shall have the registration cancelled forthwith.
That is a very proper suggestion, and seems to have been the only one put forward by the honorable member in criticism of the measure. In reply to a question by the right “honorable member for East Sydney as to whether he would apply the principle to both parties, the honorable member said -
Yes ; and that is why in a spirit of equality and fairness I wish trade unions to have the right to register a union label, just as an individual or corporation is given the right under this Bill.
Just before the conclusion of his speech the honorable member said -
So far as I can understand the situation, it was admitted by all that the efforts of trade unions have been directed towards the uplifting of the industrial elements in Australia, and to placing them on an equality with other classes. That is the sole object of this trade union proposal. Consequently I approach the question with an open mind. Up to the present, however, I have nol heard of anything to prevent me from supporting the Bill. I trust that when we get into Committee if any provision is found to be necessary to safeguard the interests of all, we shall be found perfectly willing to insert it in the Bill.
In view of that speech, the address delivered by the honorable member for Moira to-day is inexplicable.
– What about the votes of the Treasurer and the Vice-President of the Executive Council?
– Their votes, I understand, will be given in accordance with their views. I now wish to deal with one or two of the arguments presented by the honorable member for Moira as a reason why he has arrived at the conclusion which he announced to-day. He stated that there is nothing in this Bill to prevent any organization working at rates or under conditions opposed to the award of a Wages Board from adopting a label that would be likely to mislead the public into believing that fair conditions were being observed. If that were so, it would be a perfectly legitimate objection to urge against the measure ; but I contend that it is not so. and for this reason : although, under this clause, a union or an association, can adopt a trade mark, it cannot adopt a trade mark that has been registered by some other association. Therefore if a union or other body, working under conditions recognised by the public to be fair, registered a label, the people, if they were in favour of assisting it, would naturally ask for goods bearing that! particular trade mark, and anv attempt by an organization which was not observing those conditions to imitate that mark in such a way as to mislead the public would be punishable according to law.
– That offence can be punished even now under State laws.
-Ido not know that it can. I want the honorable and leairned member to be candid enough to inform the House in what way he can provide against that being done, other than by adopting this particular clause. If there is any other way in which it can be accomplished, it is a matter for serious consideration.
– Let us make them register their own label, and use no other.
– Thatis exactly what the Bill proposes. I do not want to extend any special privileges to unionists. Let us punish the wrongdoer, and allow the union label to work its own way. The hon- orable member for Moira also alluded to the probability of country men being placed at a disadvantage, as compared with city nien, because they were not members of a union, and therefore would not use a label. But I would point out to him that country men are just as free to join an association as are city men. They are just as free to register a label of their own - if they decide to work independently - and to advertise it to the public as conveying a certain certificate of quality in respect of their goods, or of the conditions governing their production, and to reap any benefit that may flow from such registration or advertisement. The man in the country district is placed upon -an absolute equality with the city worker, and surely he cannot ask for a preference. Perhaps1 the most important objection put forward by the Honorable member, and a number of others, in opposition to these clauses, has reference to the boycott. As, however, an amendment is to be submited by the honorable member for Kooyong, which will give us an opportunity of discussing that question in detail, I do not propose to debate it at length now. The honorable member for Moira was at least fair In placing before the Committee the fact that boycotting was not confined to any one section of the community. It is indulged in bv all sections at various times, and under different conditions. I do not say that it is always justifiable, but I have known cases in which it has been absolutely justifiable. What most honorable members who have spoken in opposition to this proposal appear to overlook is that boycotting has been indulged in by trade unions in America independently of any question of the union label. All the great labour struggles which have led to boycotting there have been quite apart from any question connected with the use of the union label. All the boycotts which have occurred in Australiaand there have been a great number of them - have occurred in the absence of a clause of this description and of the union label. Consequently,, it must be admitted that boycotting will continue in some instances irrespective of whether we have a union label or not. No boycott can be successful unless public sympathy is behind it. In Ireland, where the term originated, we know that the boycott was successful because “the people in the locality where it was enforced sympathized with its object. Wherever it has been attempted it has been successful only temporarily - that is, when public sympathy has been behind it. As a safeguard against the possible developments of boycotting, which some honorable members seem to fear under this proposal, I am content to accept the fact that, fortunately for our civilization, the public can always be relied upon to take the side of justice. For a time a wrong may be tolerated by the community, but it will never be for long. The latent instinct df justice in the breasts of the people is easily appealed “to when once they know the facts, and in Australia, the press, which is almost invariably found upon the side of the big battalions., can be relied upon to place the facts before the public if they are adverse to any labour agitation. I do not think that our friends opposite can complain that their views have not been given every publicity in this controversy. But whilst that is so, exactly the reverse has been the position of those who have argued in favour of the measure.
– Does the honorable member suggest that he has not received fair play in the daily newspapers?
- I do.
– The honorable member gets fairer play than myself, or any other member in this House.
– Let us test the value of that statement.
– I am speaking more particularly of the Sydney newspapers.
– So far as the Svdney newspapers are concerned, I get reasonably fair play, and in some cases very fair play. But in connexion with this particular matter, an instance occurred only a few days ago. The honorable member for Parramatta spoke upon this very question of the union label. I followed him. I spoke for an hour and eleven minutes. How much of my remarks was recorded in either of the Melbourne morning papers?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order ! Does the honorable member think that his remarks have anything to do with the question before the Chair?
– I do. The Argus specially invited those who were in favour of this proposal to justify their position. It declared that there was a case for them to answer. But when I attempted to answer it, that journal reported practically none of the reasons I advanced in favour of the proposal.
-It is very little better than the Age.
– Both newspapers have treated this question in a most unfair way. Day after day they have loaded their columns with statements in opposition to this proposal - statements which were largely composed of misrepresentation. They have endeavoured to prove to the public, who are eventually the arbiters in this matter, that the union label has been responsible for this bit of boycotting, for that decision of the Supreme Court of a State, and for the other injunction by the Supreme Court of the United States, when upon analysis it will be found that not one of the cases which they have cited, rests upon the union label at all. That is the kind of matter which has been put before the public as argument. However, I do not wish to deal with that aspect of the question any further.
– I should think not. I am very much surprised to hear the honorable member complaining of the press so far as he is concerned.
– So far as I am personally concerned, I have nothing to complain of.
– The honorable member is putting in a word for us now.
– I am putting in a word for this particular proposal, and I say it is a matter of vital importance that if there are reasons in favour of it they should be placed before the public-
– The Melbourne newspapers contained a verv good report of the Attorney-General’s speech.
– That is so. But I spoke upon this measure about a fortnight ago, and from that time until to-day there has teen practically no report of any speech in favour of the union label in either of the morning newspapers.
– And very little against it.
– The Honorable member may be speaking of his own speeches, but I can assure him that they have been filled with columns of so-called arguments against the proposal1. There is only one other point to which I desire to refer. It has been urged that there is no need for any label which will be a guarantee to the public of the quality of goods or of the conditions under which they are produced. It is said that we have factory legislation and arbitration laws for that purpose. I say that honorable members should know that in only some of the States are there any laws of that description, and that in a number of them evasions of the awards given by both Arbitration Courts and Wages Boards are so common as to provoke comment from every person who takes an interest in the subject. Innumerable cases of these evasions have occurred. In New South Wales one manufacturer who was supposed to be working under an award of the Arbitration Court was proved upon evidence taken before a Royal Commission to have paid 30 per cent. less in wages thanthe award specified. In Victoria it is the commonest thing possible to hear of persons being fined for evasions of the Act, and to learn of its non-observance in factories in shires to which it does not apply. I say that that kind of thing shows that it is necessary to have something supplementary to these laws if they are to be absolutely effective. To my mind, the surest way to make them effective in the interests of the fair employer, as well as of the workmen, is to have a strong union which will report any attempt at evasion, and sheet it home to the offender. I now wish to quote one or two lines from the reports of some of the inspectors of factories in Adelaide. In South Australia there is no legislation of this description. A few days ago the deputy leader of the Opposition pointed out that a Labour Government was in power in that State. Need I remind him that only two out of every seven adult electors there possess a vote for the second Chamber, which is the dominant House, and which is in a position to snap its fingers at the people?
– Surely that can be cured.
– It will be a long and tedious process. It will require the sanction of the Imperial Government, and also of the House whose franchise will have to be altered. The report of one of the inspectors of factories there reveals a most appalling state of things. It is really heart-breaking to read that document, and to realize the horrifying conditionsunder which’ some people work for wages which are barely sufficient to keep body and soul together. Amongst other things, it relates the case of a woman whomakesshirts for 2s. 6d. a dozen, at which rate she earns 9s. per week.
– Look at Messrs. Beath, Schiess, and Company, in Adelaide. They pay only 9d. per dozen .for aprons.
– That is a high price compared with some of the rates mentioned in this report. For example, I find that butcher’s aprons are made at Jd. each, and sold for 3s. 6d. That is sweating with a vengeance. Trousers are made for 6d. a piece. Some of the rates paid are as follow : - Trousers, 6d. ; vests, 7d. ; sac coats, is. 9d. : beaufort coats, 2s. 9d. ; chesterfield coats, 3s. 4d. ; working shirts, 1 3/4d.; flannel undershirts, 2 1/2d. ; women’s underskirts, aid. ; flannellette underskirts, fd. ; aprons, £d. I do not deny that some establishments pay higher rates. Those which I have quoted are the lowest. One of the inspectors instances a case in which women are working under the most insanitary conditions for Afghans, Assyrians, and other aliens in the suburbs of Adelaide. Frequently there are eight or ten of them crowded in a single room. The writer asks, “ Are not cases like the above enough to make the very stones of our streets cry, ‘ Oh, God, that bread should be so dear, and flesh and blood so cheap !’ “ ?
– Does the honorable member think the introduction of the union label will alter that?
– I am replying to those who urge that there is no need for a union label in Australia, because we have legislative machinery” which prevents the sweating evil, and so guarantees to the public that the goods which they purchase are produced under fair conditions.
– -Nobody has said that. That is a little bogy of the honorable member’s own.
– I am sorry if I have overstated the case. I certainly understood that a number of honorable members, including the honorable member for Gippsland, had advanced that argument.
– I have said that if our industrial laws were not sufficient to insure proper conditions we should amend them.
– But what power is there to amend them in a State like South Australia, where there is an immovable Legislative Council ? Surely the conditions which I have outlined show that there is need for some kind of guarantee to the public other than that which present legislation affords. In conclusion. I trust that honorable members upon the other side of the Chamber will see- that this case has a number of aspects other than those to which we have already given our attention. I particularly appeal to the honorable member for Gippsland, who boasts of his consistency in opposing class legislation, not to turn back after so many years of political life, and put the seal of class legislation upon his action at the present time in the Parliament of the Commonwealth. Those who have all along denounced class legislation should be the first to rally to the support of those who are pressing these provisions forward. I am quite prepared to admit that some modifications may be found to be necessary to give effect to the principle, but this Parliament should insist that every man shall be protected in the enjoyment of what he has created.
– I think that everybody is in accord with the desire of the honorable member for Bland, to see poverty abolished, and the conditions of the great mass of mankind bettered. But can we accomplish that by legislation? In my opinion, any step in the direction of freedom is of assistance to the great mass of the community. One point that particularly struck me in the address of the honorable member was his statement that he only desired to insure that men who have registered a certain label’ or mark shall have the right to prevent anybody else from using it. Not a single individual in this House objects to that. I can further assure the honorable member that at the present time it is open to any individual to register a mark of his own and to get from the user- .
– If it is open for an individual to do so, why should it not be open to an association ?
– I have not the slightest objection to an association, or a dozen associations, doing the same thing. If that were all that the honorable member aimed at, I should be very willing to give him my cordial support. Upon the second reading of this Bill I pointed out that I did not care If 150 associations had a right to register their particular marks. Just as any corporation can do so, any assembly of citizens banding themselves together ought to be able to register their label or mark. Unfortunately, however, the whole argument turns upon the question, “To what use will this label be put?” If a mark may be used for the purpose of establishing a boycott, it is clear that we
– Is not that the law at present ?
– It is the common law, but I should like to put it under statute law.
– If I say to a friend of mine, “ Don’t you buy Jones’ pickles, because I do not think thev are good,” would the honorable and learned member call that a boycott?
– If I say to Jones, “ Don’t you buy any goods that have not a particular label upon them,” am I not entitled to do ro?
-The honorable and learned member is not entitled to say, “ Don’t von buy so-and-so’s goods ; I intend to ruin his business, because there is a quarrel between us.” We are now asked to support the introduction of the union label to enable members of unions to refuse to purchase the goods of anybody else. It has been represented that this i’s the first step towards elevating the great mass of the people. So far from that being the case, the proposal is almost the oldest of old laws. In The First of Empires it is shown that over 5,000 years ago a law was passed providing that a man should follow only one trade, and each particular product should have a certain mark upon it. That condition of affairs obtained in the time of the Roman Empire. In England in the eighth and ninth centuries, after a family had developed into the frith guild, and from that into . the merchant guild, we find its members putting their marks upon their products. These guilds were merely the forerunners of trade unions. No one could earn his living unless he belonged to one of them. But did that law tend to elevate the great mass of the people? It is very clear that it did not. I say, therefore, that all this wild talk on the part of the members of the Labour corner is entirely beside the mark. This legislation is opposed by me because it has already been tried and found wanting. Honorable members of the Labour Party do not appear to be aware that the power of the guilds was so strong in the time of Edward
– Is it not a fair thing that we should try it?
– It was tried 5,000 years ago and failed. That is what led to the great castes which exist in Egypt today. There, men born in a trade cannot get out of it.
– Do not very much the same conditions obtain to-day ?
– Does the honorable member mean fo suggest that the conditions of life are not very much better now than they were half a century ago? If so, I cannot debate with him, because he will first require to study the children’s history books. I find that an Act passed during the reign of Edward III. decreed “ That all artificers and people of mysteries shall each choose his own mystery before the next Candlemass ; and that, having so chosen it, he shall henceforth use no other.” In Parliament after Parliament, some of the little unions in England were so strong that they secured an absolute control of these matters. As evidencing how my illustration tells against the pet belief of honorable members in the Labour corner, I have only to draw attention to the fact that they have nearly deserted the Chamber. The same condition of affairs existed up till the seventeenth century. The reason why these laws have been abandoned is that they were found to injure the very class whom they were designed to benefit. If we were asked to allow goods to be labelled “ Made only by Protestants,” or “ Made only by Catholics,” does not every honorable member see that it would be our duty to step in and prevent such a thing? So far from such a practice promoting, peace among the community, it would be a source of injury to its members. We ought not to allow any body to use a label practically for the purpose of boycotting their fellow citizens. So much was ‘it recognised that men ought to belong to one guild only that I find in Brentano, on Guilds and Trades Unions, the following, in reference to a period as late as 1434: -
Will you bear, however, what is ordained by Imperial law. Our forefathers have not been fools. The crafts have been devised for this purpose, that everybody by them should earn his daily bread, and nobody shall interfere with the craft of the other. By this the world gets rid of its misery, and every one may find his livelihood.
I repeat that this kind of legislation has been tried in the past and has utterly failed. It has been abandoned because it has been proved to be injurious to the community. A reversion to it must result in greater evil to the class whom it is designed to benefit than to any other. I have no hesitation, therefore, in voting against this clause. If, however, it isaccepted, I shall at least give my assent to the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Cori- nella. If the honorable member for Bland is sincere in his desire to limit its application to the cases which he has indicated he will support that proposal.
-Iamsorry that the honorable member for Bland is not in the Chamber, because there are one or two matters upon which he dwelt to which I desire to refer. In the first place, I have to congratulate the honorable member for Moira and the honorable member for Gippsland upon at last having secured a breach in the obstinate silence that prevailed upon the opposite side of the House. After twenty-four hours of close debate, that silence was broken, not by a Minister, but by the present champion,guide, protector, and friend of the Ministry - the leader of the Labour Party. I have heard most of the debate which has taken place during the past twenty-four hours, and I think it was due to those who have criticised the Government proposal that some reply to their representations should have been made earlier. However, that is a matter for the determination of honorable members concerned, although it is open to criticismby others. The honorable member for Moira and the honorable member for Gippsland have at last succeeded in forcing one honorable member opposite to attempt some defence of the position which is taken up by those who sit upon the right of Mr. Speaker. Isay “attempt” some defence, because I regret that the honorable member for Bland avoided the real questions at issue in connexion with this amendment, just asdid the speech which he delivered a week or two back. Unfor tunately, too,hefell into some serious errors of fact.Early in his speech he stated that the Trade Marks’ Bill had been debated for something like four weeks, and that most of the discussion upon it had been directed against its union label provisions. As a matter of fact, up till the present moment the Bill has been debated just eight and a half days, and out of that time two days were spent in discussing the other portions of the measure.
– There was some debate upon the second reading before that.
– Inclusive of the debate upon the second reading, only six and a half days have been devoted to the consideration of this very important question. As I understand that honorable members would be enabled to catch their trains if I ceased speaking, I ask leave to continue my remarks on Tuesday next.
– Perhaps the honorable member for Macquarie will make a statement.
– The Minister can announce what has been done.
– What is the arrangement?
– An arrangement has been arrived at that this debate shall be adjourned now-
– This is a backdown on the part of the Government.
– Honorable members may take any view of the matter that they think fit. The arrangement is that the consideration of this Bill must be completed on Tuesday night, so that the Senate may be able to take it up on Wednesday. At the present time the other Chamber has no work before it. I am empowered by the Prime Minister to make this statement.
– I am perfectly willing to consent to the arrangement which has been announced by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I think that the arrangement made is as fair as we could expect, having in. view the attitude of the Government throughout the whole of the proceedings on this Bill.
– Who made the arrangement ?
– The Prime Minister.
– I am against it.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - I understand that some arrangement has been arrived at to adjourn after the long sitting we have had, and to meet again on Tuesday. If that be the case, I am prepared to promise two things : the first is to stop now, and the second to be brief on Tuesday. I understand that the deputy leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister wish to make some further announcement to the Committee, and I give way to enable them to do so.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- The result of recent cogitations, as I understand it. is that it has been arranged that we are to leave now to catch our trains, on the understanding that on Tuesday, not only shall the debate on this stage of the Bill be finished1, but that the third reading shall also be carried through this House.
– That is a fair thing.
– I do not know; I am not particular about it. I have no wish to adhere to the arrangement if the Government wish to withdraw from it. It is quite open to them to do so, if they so desire. We on this side are not suppliants in any sense of the word. But it occurred to me that the arrangement made was a reasonable one, having in view the action of the Government throughout the whole of the debate on this measure. I gave it my support as a fair proposal in all the circumstances of the case. That is all I have to Say.
– It appears to hie that the proposal made is fair, and that it offers a reasonable method for a final determination upon this measure. But, unfortunately, under a misapprehension, so far as we are_ concerned, the announcement was made -a-t the wrong tin-ie-and in the wrong way. That is not a matter for which honorable members opposite are responsible. I was approached suddenly, gave a hastyanswer, and before any time for the consideration I expected was allowed the announcement was prematurely made to the Committee. The proposal is a fair one, and, so far as the Government are concerned, we are willing to accept it. I am sure that honorable members will realize the great difference it makes in the progress of the measure. If “The proposition submitted last night had been accepted, we should have closed” this debate on Tuesday, and after that there would have followed the other stages of the Bill, which would require to be taken in order, and so as the amendments promised by the AttorneyGeneral could be made. In ordinary circumstances it would be a sanguine anticipation to expect that they could all have been dealt with before Wednesday.
At all events, we have gained at least one day, and consequently I consider that a satisfactory arrangement has been made.
Bill returned from the Senate with a message stating that it insisted upon its amendment In clause 3, to which the House of Representatives had disagreed, and agreed to the amendments of the House of Representatives on the Senate’s amendments in clause 16.
That the Senate’s message be considered forthwith.
– The ‘Senate amended clause 3 of this Bill by including in the definition of “ dwelling “ “ any ship or vessel registered in Australia on a passage between any two Commonwealth ports.” We disagreed with that amendment, and, in the absence of the Minister in charge, I suppose it is necessary that we should insist on that disagreement. The question involved is whether people on board ship shall be counted at the time of the census. The Senate has claimed that people on board ship at sea shall be counted, but whether in the State which the ship has left, or in the State to which it is going, is not determined. The Statisticians, agree that the Senate’s proposal will create difficulty in the compilation of the statistics. To save time, I, therefore, venture to move -
That the House insists upon its disagree, ment with the Senate’s amendment.
– If the amendment is lost, the result will be that a very large number of sea-faring persons will be disfranchised. Under present arrangements, a Customs officer goes on board a ship, and ascertains how many persons are on board, but no schedules are filled up, we are not even able to- ascertain the nationality of those persons, and they have no means of getting their names on the rolls, unless when they arrive at their destination, they make special application. The same facilities should be afforded to people on board ships to secure the inclusion of their names on the electoral rolls as are afforded to others. I think that the amendment made by the Senate proposes only what is fair. I point out that our statistics cannot possibly be accurately compiled, unless we can ascertain the nationality of every person on board ships. I hope that the House will not insist on its disagreement with the amendment.
– This is not a vital matter, as the census is not likely to be taken for some five or six years. The report made to me showed that the Senate’s amendment would involve administrative difficulties, and that the object sought to be accomplished by it might possibly have been achieved under another clause of the Bill. For these reasons we asked the Senate to reconsider the matter. I do not know whether we shall be able to accomplish what the honorable member for Hindmarsh desires, but on making further inquiries, I think that the amendment might be agreed to- When the Statistician is appointed under the Bill, he will go through its provisions, and will probably be. able to offer suggestions for the taking of a complete census of Australia. In the meantime, T would ask the House not to insist on its disagreement with the Senate’s amendment.
– I ask leave to withdraw my motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion (by Mr. Groom) agreed to -
That the House do not insist upon its disagreement with the Senate’s amendment.
House adjourned at 4.10 p.m. (Friday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 November 1905, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1905/19051130_reps_2_29/>.