6th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Motion (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That leave of absence for- the remainder of the session be given to the honorable members for Adelaide and Cook.
– Since the Parliaments of the States have all thepowers needed for passing laws to deal with persons committing certain offences, -what is the object of the- Government in introducing a Bill relating to unlawful associations, and mem- bers thereof, and to those who commit certain offences?
– The question will be answered when the Bill is under, discussion.
-.- I did. not hear the question, but as I understand it related to a measure on the business-paper, I point out that under no circumstances are, such questions permitted.
– What steps are. the Government taking to carry out the agreement on trade, questions arrived at during the Paris Conference?
– The Government has nothing whatever to do- with what took place at the Paris Conference., which was a Conference between- representatives of the Allied Powers,. I being one. of the representatives of the Imperial Government. The Conference decided to recommend its respective Governments to do certain things, and. made its recommendations accordingly. This, is not one of the Governments which was represented at the Conference.
– Did.not the presence of the Prime Minister’ and Sir George Foster, of Canada, imply that Australia and. Canada agreed to the; resolutions passed at the Conference?
-The honorable member completely misunderstands the purport and’ scope of the Conference-. If he will put his- question in- writing.,. I shall endeavour toanswer it ‘more, fully.
– Does the Department of. Trade, and Customs exercise any supervision over the introduction of picture films into Australia?
– In some respects, but not in all.
– In what respects?
– The honorable member had better give notice of the- question.
– Will the Minister for Home Affairs lay on the table of the Library all the papers connected with the appointment of Professor ‘Manes, a German, as publicity agent of Australia in Germany ?
– There is no objection to laying the papers on the table.
– What is the approximate date on which the Treasurer proposes to introduce the Income Tax Bill for 1916- 17 ?;
– The Bill will, be introduced: as soon, as the business of the House- will permit.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Supply(Works and Buildings). Bill (No. 3) 1916-17.
Supply Bill (No. 3) d916-17 (No. 2).
– Has the Prime Minister yet determined whether country traders shall be allowed to continue to buy small lots of wool and skins ?
– I saw the Chairman of- the Board on Friday last, and discussed with him, the various questions that had been, raised- here. I told him that the policy of the Government was to interfere- as little as was absolutely necessary withthe ordinary transaction of business, and he said that that would be attended to. I’ am. unable to answer the honorable member’s question at the present moment.
– Many persons will have to dismiss their staffs before Christmas unless a decision is come to immediately. . “
– Is it true that arrangements have been made through the Department for Defence for the purchase, for the British and French Governments, of Australian copper at a price not exceeding £100 a ton?
– I am not aware. The question should he addressed to the Prime Minister.
– Have the restrictions on the coal supply to Tasmanian mail steamers been removed 1
– Has the Minister noticed that the price of coal is likely to be increased, and has the Government power to prevent an increa’se in the price of coal raised before any alteration of wages and conditions was ‘agreed to?
– I am not well versed in this matter, but there will be no increase in the price of the coal that was put at grass for the Government.
– Is it not a fact fihat any award that may be given can apply only to the coal produced after the resumption of work following upon the recent trouble?
– I understand that that is so.
– Last week the honorable member for Moreton asked -
Is it a fact that the7 Commonwealth Price
Fixing Commissioners in the State are fixing prices for f.o.b. sales of export produce, butter, for instance?
I promised to make inquiries, and have been supplied with the following information : -
Under the present scheme, which provides for every butter factory to contribute its quota of butter to local requirements at a fixed price no action is taken in regard to disposal of the balance for export.
Before the scheme was formulated, the Commissioners, in order to prevent export speculators depleting the local market, applied. the prices order to all butler. The following list shows the prices of butter in London and in Melbourne during December: -
Sales in Melbourne for Export to London.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer whether, in view of the consequent loss- of revenue that will occur possibly through neglect to introduce the Income Tax Bill, he does not think it would be wise, to introduce the measure before we go into recess?
– I shall do what I can; but, coming from the honorable gentleman, who had a much more extended opportunity to introduce the measure than I have had, I am rather surprised at the question.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
When will the results of the war census be completed?
– The Commonwealth Statistician reports that it is anticipated that the war census will be completed by the end of February next. The work has, of course, been greatly delayed by the assistance which the war census staff was required to give to the recruiting scheme.
asked tha Assistant Minister, representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Are there any funds still in hand that were originally collected for the benefit of Austra- lian soldiers (or their dependants) who returned from the South African war; and, if so, what is the amount?
– There is no information available in the Defence Department on the subject.
asked the . Minister representing the Assistant Minister, Senator Russell, upon notice -
If he will cause instructions to be issued to place notices on all post-offices showing -
the local prices of flour, bread over the counter, butter, sugar, and all other foods whose prices are fixed;
the name and the address of the officer to whom complaints should be sent by any citizen who has been charged higher prices than those fixed by the Government?
– This matter is receiving consideration.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 15th December, vide page 10024) : Clause 4 -
The rates of the Entertainments Tax shall be as follows, namely : -
Payment for Admission (excluding the amount of tax), Bate of Tax.
Not less than fivepence and not exceeding sixpence -1/2d.
Exceeding sixpence and not exceeding one shilling -1d.
Exceeding one shilling -1d. for the first shilling, and one1/2d. for every sixpence or part of sixpence by which the payment exceeds one shilling.
.- Has the Treasurer anything to say with respect to the proposed tax upon 6d. tickets ?
– I wish to state that the Government have decided to exempt 6d. tickets. We do not propose to make the measure apply to any section of the community. The exemption proposed will apply to all 6d. tickets. It will be necessary to recommit the Bill to make the alteration.
.- We had an exhibition last week of the humiliations which the Government are prepared to put up with. . Now we have a further illustration of what Government with a minority means. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer can count upon the support of twenty-four members at most out of this Parliament of’ 111 mem bers. Their action this morning in agreeing to place 6d. tickets beyond the reach of taxation shows to what a plane they are prepared to descend. Have the Government any taxation policy at all? They come here with a policy which they are prepared, apparently, to have distorted and altered in accordance with opposition on the part of any half-dozen members of the House.
– The Government may as well make the alteration, in this House as have to do it in the Senate. It is just as democratic to do it here.
– There is an admission. The strong man, Napoleon Hughes, said to the people of Australia, “Follow me; I will lead, you.” Has the right honorable gentleman given up leading the Government in the matter of taxation?
– Order ! The honorable member is not now discussing the clause.
– In my opinion, the Government are showing that they are prepared to back down upon anything. I should like to warn the Treasurer that, unless he is satisfied that the finances should get into a deplorable mess later on, he must obtain revenue from some source or other. I believe that there are not 1,000 people in the Commonwealth who would object to pay a war tax of1/2d. on a 6d. ticket for admission to a picture theatre.
– The States will step in.
– Have the States any right ‘ to step in in matters of this kind ? The purpose of all this taxation is to meet war expenditure. Prior to the war, I believe that scarcely any one would have proposed to levy a tax upon amusements, although they are a very legitimate source of taxation. There is no agitation on the part of the public against the proposed tax of1/2d. on 6d. theatre tickets.
– Is the honorable gentleman in order in discussing a clause which has already been dealt with by the Committee ?
– The honorable member is quite in order. The clause is still before the Committee.
– The bovine attempts of the honorable member for Moreton are a failure, as usual.
– Is that in order?
– Order !
– Them the honorable, member must not interrupt me in so undignified a. manner. ‘
– Free Trade England, can’ afford to pay this taxation, and apparently Protectionist. Australia cannot afford to-pay it.
– The’ honorable member for Barrier is: of : opinion that a Free Trade country can afford to pay this, taxation, and consequently a Protectionist country ought to. be. able: to pay it.. If that be so,. I expect the honorable member to vote with; me when I oppose the last expressed intention of the Government to. exempt 6d. ticketsfrom. the proposed tax of1/2d. I’ am sure that the picture-show proprietors are under, a misapprehension when they think that they will be called upon to bear the tax. The people generally would, not object to pay it. I believe- that it would be paid more- freely in- Australia than it is paid in the Old Country. I am informed that the people in England put down the money for the ticket, and the war- tax-, with the greatest good will regarding it as something in the nature of a reason why they should attend the theatre.
– Are you aware that 1,000. picture shows have closed down in the Old Country?.
-.- In the Old Country there are various seasons; and automatically,. I believe, the theatres close down during certain months, of the year, but blossom forth at other times. In this fortunate country of ours the theatre proprietor can carry on his business all the year round.
– Not the open-air theatres.
– M’ost- of the theatres can be carried, on all the year round. This is another instance of the fact that we have in office a Government which does not,, and cannot, govern^ and, therefore, a Government which should cease to exist;
– (Parramatta) [11.0]. - It is very interesting to hear this political ethic laid down by the honorable member for Capricornia.
– On. behalf of his party.
– On behalf of his party?’ I was just about to remark that the honorable member for Capricornia is voicing his own opinion,, and that of no one else. He talks about this
Government, with. a whole thirteen behind it, being able to do nothing because of the fewness of their numbers. What, can honorable members do, when, on a test being taken on Friday- or Saturday, the honorable member was the one “black sheep “ of the Corner who voted with the Government in favour of the 6d impost? Evidently he dees- not believe in majority rule ; and his diatribe- against the Government is because they will not support him. in preference to- the’ whole of the. honorable members who sit behind him in the corner.
– The honorable member voted with the Government.
– Of course he did, but everyone of the honorable members beside him voted against the Government and against the honorable member. What sort of Treasurer had we who introduced £1,500,000 of his taxation in direct opposition to all the honorable members with whom he was then associated? He was evidently acting Napoleon in those days.
– Why this attack?-
– When I come to think of it - why?
.- The Postmaster-General, interjected that the honorable member for Capricornia was speaking for- his party. I wish to say at once. that, so far. as I am concerned, the honorable member does not speak for this’ party.
– Another Napoleon gone !
– In my opinion, the Prime Minister has met the wishes of the Committee in regard to picture shows. I venture to say that it was an inequitable form, of taxation that was. presented to- us last week,, inasmuch-, as it provided that the people in the capital cities, and big. centres of population, would get their picture show amusements, for 3d., without paying any tax, while ther people in the country, where 6d. is the lowest charge) would have to. pay a tax of Id. As one who urged the Government to make the amendment, I am perfectly satisfied, with what has been done, and I think, it will meet’ with the approval of the Committee.
.. - I am sorry that the Treasurer has taken, the step he has. This matter was discussed very thoroughly at the last sitting, and a distinct majority decided that the tax proposed ‘was a fair and legitimate one. There was, it is true, some little division amongst members, the honorable member for Capricornia voting with the Government and the majority, “and some five or six members of the Liberal party, voting with the Labour (party. However, a distinct and decisive majority decided that the tax proposed was fair and legitimate. Now, for no reason at all, the ‘Treasurer announces that the proposal is to be withdrawn. I do not regard the argument of the honorable member for Barrier as a good one, for I do not believe that it represents the motive which is actuating the Government. What may be decided in another place should not affect this Chamber, in doing what it believes to be right. The Senate has very decided’ powers, much larger than the majority here seem to think ; but when we are framing our taxation proposals, and a majority distinctly approves of a tax, it is not treating us fairly to withdraw it without some reason being given.
– I remind the honorable member that -the proposal before the Committee is not to withdraw the tax, but to -affirm it. At a later stage the Treasurer may possibly take another step.
– The Treasurer announced that it was -the intention of the -Government to abandon the 6d. tax, and on that announcement I understand the present discussion to have arisen.
– The announcement of the Treasurer was that, at a later stage, he would abandon the 6d. tax; but the proposal before us now is the - adoption of the clause in which the tax is included.
– I thought the discussion had arisen on the Treasurer’s statement, but I accept your ruling, sir, and will take a later opportunity to discuss the matter.
– In addition to what the Treasurer has said, I should like to -add, by way of explanation, that a statement Imade on Friday was to the effect that -the amendment of the . Bill ; as originally drawn . was made owing to a deputation having pointed out:-
– Iask the Prime Minister to deferthose remarks until ‘the questionof . the recommittaloftheclause is bef ore us. Thequestion beforeus now isthe adoption . ofthe clause:; andIhave already : askedthehonorable member for Franklin ; not . to ‘discuss thematter referred to by the Prime Minister.
Mr.FENTON (Maribyrnong) [11.10]. -ishould liketo know where we , are. For the last fifteen minutes I have been listening to a discussion on certain lines; and it seems to me peculiar that certain members may indulge in a discussion on a certain item, when others, who disagree with them, are ruled out of order when they seek to reply.
– That is what will happen to you, directly !
– Quite so ; but the position is a peculiar one. I did not hear the statement from the Chair, and I should like to know what is the question before us.
– The question before the Chair is that the clause as originally printed be agreed to. A statement was made by the Treasurer that when the clause has been agreed to he will move the recommittal of the Bill with a view to making certain eliminations from the clause. At the present time, however, the question is that the clause be agreed to.
– That may be very well as a matter of convenience, but I think ‘that we have a right to discuss the clause that is before the Committee.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Motion (by Mr. Poynton) proposed -
That the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of reconsidering clause 4.
.- I am sorry the Treasurer did not see his way clear to give some of the reasons which prompt him. to move for the reconsideration of this clause. This taxation proposal, modified as it has been by the Government-
– I cannot allow the honorable member to enter into a general discussion. He will have an opportunity to dothat later.
– I am objecting to the recommittal of a clause which has been unanimously passed by the Committee. I believe that -the desire is to recommit this clause for the purpose of removing or reducingthe . tax ; and in casesome honorable . members may be disposed to leave the chamber, and not take part in -the proceedings, I . warn ‘them of what isproposedby the Government.
– The honorable member cannot anticipate what may be done by the Government.
– May I not offer a few objections to the recommittal of the Bill for the purpose of dealing with this clause ?
– If the motion is carried to recommit the Bill, the honorable member will have ample opportunity to discuss the matter.
– Unhappily the Treasurer has not seen fit to tell the House why he desires a recommittal. My long parliamentary experience induces me to believe that it is better to take “ half a loaf “ than nothing, but I am afraid that, if the Bill gets back into Committee, we may get only a “ quarter of a loaf.” My proposal was for a “ whole loaf “ in this taxation measure, but it has been cut down one-half, and I apprehend there may be an attempt to cut it down still further. I submit that it would be unwise to recommit the Bill ; that we ought to take it as it is rather than run any risks, in view of the necessity to obtain money from various sources. We shall have to find £100,000,000 this year, and will, of course, have- to borrow much of that. It cannot all be raised by taxation ; and we ought to shoulder a portion of our current burden, and not place the whole on posterity. As I have said, sound principles of government indicate that the larger portion of this money will have to be borrowed at as low a rate of interest as possible, although I am inclined to think, from the state of the money market, that we shall not be able to get much more at 41/2 per centum. The conditionsof the money market is very serious from the point of view of those who wish to borrow, as I dare say any of us would find if we endeavoured to get an overdraft on the insufficient security which most of us could offer. That is a point which must surely appeal to the Treasurer. He must recognise that it would be extremely difficult to borrow money at 41/2 per cent. At the present time, the Imperial Government is paying 6 per cent, interest on Exchequer bonds, in addition to exempting those bonds from taxation in the case of persons who are not ordinarily resident in the UnitedKingdom. Seeing that, in the future, we may have . to pay a higher rate o’f interest on our borrowed money, we must obtain revenue from some source.
The Treasurer is very backward in coming forward with his income tax proposals.
– I am anxious to know the cause of the honorable member’s anxiety in respect to the income tax.
– If I may mention that tax as a possible source of revenue-
– Order! The honorable member must confine himself to the question, “ That the Bill be recommitted.”
– Very well. Then I will advance reasons why the measure should not be recommitted. If that course be adopted, I venture to say that there will not be as much money collected from the entertainments tax as there will be if we refuse to recommit the Bill. There has been no agitation on the part of the public to avoid the payment of . this war tax of 1/2d. on every 6d., and, in my opinion, the theatrical proprietors, and others who provide amusement for the general public, will not be called upon to pay the impost. If the tax be levied, the public will pay it most readily. Consequently, I object to the recommittal of the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
InCommittee (Recommittal) :
Clause 4 -
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) proposed -
The rates of the Entertainments Tax shall be as follows, namely : -
Payment for Admission (excluding the amount of tax), Rate of Tax.
Not less than fivepence and not exceeding sixpence-1/2d.
Exceeding sixpenceand not exceeding one shilling -1d.
Exceeding one shilling -1d. for the first shilling, and one1/2d. for every sixpence or part of sixpence by which the payment exceeds one shilling.
That the words “Not less than fivepence, and not exceeding sixpence,1/2d.” be left out.
.- I very much regret that the Government have submitted a proposal to abolish the tax of a1/2d. on 6d. tickets. By agreeing to that proposal, we shall probably sacrifice £100,000 revenue per annum which will have to be made up in some other way. Personally, I have not heard one complaint from the public in regard to this proposed tax. It is true that we have received wires from the various pictureshow proprietors who object to it, but the general public has not raised its voice against it in any part of Australia. I quite agree with the view that has been expressed by the honorable member for
Capricornia, and if members of the party to which I belong are going to stick to the Government, the latter should certainly stand by their financial policy. The time has arrived when Australia should be led by strong men who are prepared to nail their colours to the mast. To bend simply because somebody has suggested that the Senate will reject this tax is a lamentable exhibition of weakness on the part of the Government.
– Who said that?
– I heard the honorable member for Brisbane say it.
– The honorable member did not.
– I said it. The Government are afraid of the Senate.
– It strikes me that they are, and if thehonorable member for Capricornia presses this matter to a division, I shall be found voting with him.
.- The original amendment in the draft Bill was made as the result of representations by the deputation about which I spoke on Friday. I stated then that if that deputation was not representative of the industry, I had been assured that it was, and that I was prepared to listen most carefully to any deputation which was truly representative of it. On Saturday, a deputation waited on me, which represented the whole of the picture shows of Australia that are in associations, with the exception of those that were represented at the former deputation. The point which the different speakers made was the one which had weighed with the Government at the original deputation, namely, that there is a certain definite amount which the public are prepared , to spend on amusements. If we diminish that by means of taxation, we shall not get what is spent now plus the amount of the tax. In other words, only thesameamount will be spent under ‘ the new system as under the old. I am unable to say whether that is so or not, but the view was pressed with considerable force, and there is this much to be said in support of itthat in England, where the tax was very heavy, the experience of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been that the number of shows which have been forced to close has been very numerous indeed. As a result, he has now been compelled to revise his schedule. As we wish toget revenue, I submit that it is undesirable to impose a tax unless it will produce revenue. On the whole, I am inclined to think that we shall get as much revenue under the schedule as it is proposed to amend it as we would get under the original schedule, and for that reason I urge the Committee to accept it.
.- The argument put forward by the Prime Minister, if it applies to revenue to . be derived from 6d. tickets, must also apply to all tickets in excess of 6d. Consequently the depreciation which will take place in the . lower-priced tickets will also take place in the higher-priced ones. Personally, I share the view that has been expressed by the honorable member for Capricornia. In this discussion it is very evident that honorable members are expressing their own individual views untrammelled by party considerations. That is as it should be in connexion with every matter which comes before this Chamber. I thoroughly agree with, the honorable member for Capricornia that the man who pays 6d. to visit a picture show will not object to a 1/2d. tax being levied upon his ticket, knowing full well that the impost is for war purposes. What is the position today ? We have three States in the Commonwealth taxing amusements. If we exempt the 6d. tickets from taxation, the State Parliaments will probably impose a tax on them, and will thus raise a portion of the additional revenue which they require so badly. They will argue that as this Parliament has put a tax on amusements, it is perfectly legitimate for them to levy an impost on what has been left untouched. Thus, instead of amusements escaping taxation, the revenue will find its way into the coffers of the State Treasuries, to be used, not for war purposes, but for entirely different purposes. Seeing the position that we occupy today, and recognising the increasing difficulty of raising money by means of loans, I am strongly of opinion that, wherever there is a legitimate source of taxation which can be exploited without oppression, we should take advantage of it. The opposition to this tax does not proceed from the public. It comes from the proprietors of picture shows, who fear’ to pass the tax on to their clientele. If it be made mandatory that they shall do so, the Government will derive a large revenue from the tax, which otherwise it will sacrifice. I trust that the Committee will not agree to the proposal of, the Treasurer thereby sacrificing £100,000 of revenue without a fight.
.- I am opposed to the taxation of amusements, especially of 6d. tickets, because I think it is a miserable form of raising revenue. Nevertheless I am astonished to find the Government, who declare that the½d. charge on 6d. tickets means £100,000 in revenue, should coolly propose to abandon the tax. I understood that they were imposing a tax which the people would be asked to pay as a means of raising revenue for the war.
– Will you vote to retain the tax on 6d. tickets ?
– I will not. But I am surprised that the Government, who, according to the Conservativepress, represent the brains of the party which they have left, and who have a majority in this House, should run away from the position they took up. I believe the reason for their action is that they fear another knock from the Senate. It is pitiable and degrading that the business of the country should be conducted in this fashion.
.- I rise to express my appreciation of the Government’s action. The lighter we can make taxation the happier the people will be. The only reason for the recent Conference of Premiers was that the States might make overtures to the Federal Government in regard to the raising of additional money. We have been told by some honorable members that it will be necessary for the States to impose taxation in whatever field is left open to them by the Federal Parliament: We have a splendid opportunity to advocate Unification in order to prevent a duplication of taxation. Other honorable members view the position as I do, but they are not so ready to state their opinions. It issatisfactory to know that the Government will not impose this tax on the poorer classes of the people, who already bear the greater portion of theburden of taxation. To impose direct taxation on the amusements of the poor, would not be a creditable action onthe part of this Parliament.Therefore, I am pleased that theGovernment have taken a liberal view, or havebeencompelledto recognise that the majorityofmembers areopposedto thetaxationof6d.tickets.
Mr.FENTON (Maribyrnong)[11.35]. - I am pleasedthat theGovernment have acceded to the request to abandon the tax on the masses of the people. The honorable member for Franklin said that he could hardly conceive of a Government who had already obtained amajority vote on this question asking for a recommittal of theclause in order to reverse the decision of the Committee. One of the strongest requests made for the reconsideration of this matter was preferred by honorable memberswho previously had voted with the Government on this matter. The Leader of the Liberal party strongly urged the Government to refrain from taxing 6d. tickets, and it is in response to the request of those who supported the Government, as well as those who opposed them, that the Treasurer has reconsidered the matter. Mymain reason for opposing the taxation of 6d. tickets is that the great masses of the people already pay practically all thetaxes. Taxation is always passed on until it filters down to the masses.
– The honorable member knew that when he supported the imposition of all the existing taxation.
– We must have some form of taxation, but I amopposed to a direct tax upon the poor people being added to that which they already have to pay.
– I join with those who have expressed regret that the Government should, without the slightest explanation, have abandoned this tax. The question was fought out on its merits on Friday, and by twenty-five votes to eighteen the Committee deliberately adopted the tax as fair and proper. What reason is given for the abandonment of the tax? Is it because it is not fair, or because therehas been complaint from the people? No. The Prime Minister givesas his reason the fact that certain proprietors of picture shows have complained to him. The tax will not be paid by both the. proprietors; and the patrons. Every member has received correspondence from proprietors in which they prove that theyalone will be called upon to pay this levy. If they areto pay, how can it be said that the tax is an unfairimpost on the poorer classes of thecommunity? Atthistimethe Commonwealthrequiresallthe revenue obtainable.TheTreasurer,when defendingthetax, saidthatits abandonment would; mean the surrender. ©fi at least £100,000 per- annum.. Is the financial position such, that we can- afford to lose that money ? In ordinary circumstances’ this is a tax which should not be imposed by a. Federal. Parliament, but we know that in three States, already an amusements tax has been imposed, and other States will: certainly soon put it into operation. I know that some of them have based their taxation proposals on the understanding that the Federal - Parliament would impose certain taxes. As soon- as it is known that we have abandoned, certain, taxes, the States will impose not only their- original taxes, but also those taxes which the Federal Government had intended to impose. Thus the people will, still have to pay the taxation,, but the proceeds will go to the States instead of to the. Commonwealth. I do not think the people of this Parliament thoroughly realize the. enormous financial responsibilities resting, upon us in connexion with this war. We are in this fight for keeps, and Australia must provide’ - and I believe the people are prepared to provide - the enormous amount of money necessary to carry on the war. ‘ The ex-Treasurer introduced an amusements tax, which would have yielded more than double the amount of the tax introduced by the present Trea-surer. The honorable member for Capricornia showed conclusively that the amount of revenue he estimated ought to be obtained from ‘this source. The present Treasurer reduced the proposals of “his. predecessor by more than. half. Now, after the Committee, by twenty-five votes to- eighteen, have supported the Govern* mentis proposals, it is not fair to. honorable members, nor is it in the best interests of the community,, that, simply because- picture show proprietors have interviewed, the. Prime Minister, the Government should ask us- to completely alter the system of taxation. If the Treasurer wishes to get his taxation proposals through Parliament,, he will require to show more- backbone than he. has shown in regard to. this- matter- He. cannot expect honorable members to; help.- him; to. fight his proposals, through the. House, if,, at the first opposition fr,om outside Parliament, he abandons the measures.
– Have we to swallow- his- taxation proposals whether we believe them just- or not?
– Those honorable members who-, like the honorable member for- Lang’, did not consider- the- tax- was necessary, were perfectly justified in voting against it. It is not treating the Committee fairly, after they have thrashed the matter out thoroughly and indorsed the policy of the Government by twenty-five to eighteen, to ask us, for no reason except that two or three picture show proprietors have interviewed the Prime Minister, to throw all our principles overboard. The honorable member for M’aranoa laughs, but I hope that whenever the House deliberately passes taxation proposals it is acting on some principle. There is no. sounder principle in taxation in time* of war than to tax the amusements and pleasures of the people rather than their necessities. If a division is taken, I shall vote for retaining the tax which the Committee agreed to on Friday.
.- The Treasurer has placed a number of his supporters in somewhat of a difficulty by the back-down of the Government. The Government fell into an initial error in agreeing to accept, at the hands of the amusement proprietors, a schedule upon which taxation governing their industry should be based. If you are going to make an inquiry, it should be made on some fuller and better ground than the mere ipse dixit of the man who is gong in the first place, to be taxed. We hear a lot about the people having to pay the tax, but it is quite possible that the intense anxiety of the proprietors reflects their fear that they will have to bear the increase, and not be able to pass it on to the people. But, the Government having accepted a schedule based on the representations of the proprietors, that schedule is carried through Committee with the assistance of. those who are supporters of the Government in a particularly difficult situation. Then we are told that the picture-show proprietors were not represented on. the first deputation, and. the Prime Minister says, “ if that is so, ‘we shall reconsider our position.” I say, “If that is so you have to reconsider the whole position, andi not a portion, of it.” If the-, ground has, been pirated by the theatrical companies, representing themselves as: holding: the complete authority of the picture houses,, and so getting theatrical entertainments taxed* lighter as the result of the common movement, the whole thing is open to review. Otherwise the Government have shown themselves to be the most easily cajoled body of persons one could imagine in a responsible position. I wish the Treasurer well in his very difficult task, and am putting the case as mildly as I can, and without offence. If two sides of an industry are represented as coming together and agreeing upon a common basis of taxation, and you find you have been defrauded into believing that that is so, you are surely not bound to stand by your arrangement with the people who have deceived you. I was assured on Saturday by a gentleman connected with picture theatres that the people who told the Prime Minister that they represented the picture theatres were speaking absolutely without any authority whatever, and for their own ends. Having got their ends, they do not care now whether you exempt the picture theatres or not. Their tax has been halved. Is. the arrangement the Government came to on their false representation to stand so far as they* are concerned, and be wiped out entirely as far as all other proprietors are concerned? The thing is absurd.
– Who were the deputation ?
– Proprietors purporting to represent theatrical interests and picture interests.
– Was that the deputation on Saturday?
– No; the one on which the whole schedule was based. The whole schedule is in the nature of a compromise.
– From which the pictures have evidently been left out. The proposal to-day is an attempt to put the pictures on the same footing as the others.
– By no means. The original proposal was to start on a basis of 3d. on picture-show tickets, and increase by Id. for every 6d. right through the schedule. Owing to the representations of the theatrical managers, the tax was wholly taken off the 3d. tickets.
– That is hardly correct. The reason it was altered was because of its effect with six different States operating. Our position is very different from England, where the one tax applies.
– I am only paraphrasing what the Prime Minister told us on Friday night, that he saw the deputation and it agreed to the common rate, as shown in the schedule.
I am going to tell the Committeeand I say it in sadness - the reasons which L think have actuated this particular backdown. I do not think anybody in the Committee believes that the people will be any the worse off for having to pay this tax, but I believe that every man in the Committee knows full well that the picture theatre is a very fine means of propaganda work, and may possibly be used against persons who vote in favour of the imposition of the tax. In the past history of this Parliament, whenever an interest has been powerful, politically and electorally, that interest has avoided Commonwealth taxation. For many years in this Parliament newspapers got all their materials of industry free through the Tariff. Now, apparently, in time of war we are going to exempt an industry, not because the people patronising it will object to pay, but because it is feared that the anger of the proprietors who really have to pay will bear hardly upon the men whose sense of duty to their country has been higher than their fear of consequences.
We have heard a great deal about the poor people having to pay the tax, and we have heard the common complaint that all taxation whereever imposed filters down until the whole community has to bear it. That is a fundamental truth. Then do the Committee want to impose taxation upon necessaries, taxation .that will ultimately filter down until all have to bear it, or a direct tax upon people exercising the ordinary pleasures qf life? There can be no comparison between the fairness of such a tax as this, and the unfairness of taxing those carrying on legitimate reproductive industry to secure the means of waging this war into which we are all plunged. The only argument in the minds of honorable members against this tax is the fear of the influences that they may have to face if they do not prostitute their positions.
I take great interest in picture productions, and enjoy them more than I enjoy the theatre, so that I am in no way prejudiced against the picture industry, but it is, so far as money making is concerned, almost primarily and solely American. The films are almost all produced in America, where the topics are chosen. They are sent to us, and our people part up their spare cash, which- largely, in some way or other, goes back to the United States of America. The industry in Australia, unless watched - I do not mean unfairly watched, . because as a patron of the pictures I should object to anything in the nature of unfair restriction of their activities - will have a tendency to Americanize the place. We find American weaknesses portrayed, but nothing of British strength. The whole place is becoming Americanized in its symbols and ideals.
This means of propaganda has since the war started been used by our enemies through American agencies operating by means of picture theatres in this country. I- became a little suspicious a considerable time ago of what German money might buy from the film producers in the United States of America, and spoke to the authorities. They introduced a war censorship over films. This has already disclosed that films have been imported here which by their nature could not fail, and no doubt were intended, to have the effect of causing disturbance and mutual jealousy between the Allies, and undermining our faith in our common cause. Films have also been imported apparently for the sole purpose of conveying the impression that the German is a much-maligned person, and in reality the only honest, straightforward, and Christian being on the face of the globe. I do not say that all Germans are bad, but I ‘recently saw an American film which passed the censor, because there was nothing offensive to the Allies in it, but whose subtle purpose was undiscovered. Every character in it was either shallow or cheap, with the exception of an old German photographer, and he was the finest and most benevolent old character that I have ever seen on a film. The character was treated by a truly sympathetic hand, and the production was magnificent. Every other character was shallow, cheap, and contemptible. And we have had films brought here from America that have been produced in order to cause trouble with the most loyal of our Allies. Men may be afraid of their places in this House, but they must stand to the country to which they belong, and see that this agency is not used through America for the sapping of the faith of our people, or the sapping of our belief in our Allies. There are other sides of this matter that would get no sympathy from honorable members. The picture theatre isa big opportunity for propaganda, and for that reason, the country is to give up revenue to the extent of £100,000. The Government might have treated their friends more fairly. By standing to what the House had decided, they would have treated the country more fairly. I shall vote as I voted on Friday last, in sup-, port of the proposition originally put forward.
.- Last week I voted with the Government on this question, and the reasons which actuated my doing so induce me to vote against them to-day. I am a frequent attendant at picture shows. Many of the subjects shown are instructive and educational, while some of the dramas depicted are of high moral value to the people who see them.- At the same time, we all know that picture shows are a form of amusement. If we were asked to tax the necessaries of life, I should be the last to vote in favour of the proposition, but this is a proposal to tax amusements, and I think that it should be retained as originally submitted. Some of the arguments brought forward in opposition to the imposition to the tax of1/2d. on 6d. tickets verge on the ridiculous. The honorable member for Maranoa sought to make out that it would interfere detrimentally with recruiting. I refuse to believe that if the tax were imposed it would affect recruiting, either detrimentally or beneficially. I should be sorry indeed to think that it would influence recruiting in any way. An amusements tax has been in operation in South Australia for a considerable time past - if I am not mistaken, the tax is even imposed on 3d. tickets - and I have not obser ved any diminution of the attendances at theatres and picture shows there. I believe that the public has not raised the slightest objection to the tax. I shall vote for the retention of the tax on 6d. tickets.
.- I had not the opportunity of voting on Friday. If I had been here, I would have voted against the Government. There are large numbers of people in country districts to whom picture shows are the only medium of entertainment. It is all very well to look at this matter from the point of view of Sydney, Melbourne, or
Brisbane,, where the picture- shows are running- all day, and practically all. night. If it were a question of taxing them, I believe that they could- well afford’ to pay the taix. In outside districts, however, where- the population; is very scattered, and people are hundreds- of miles from any large entertainments, pictures are exhibited at night only. The proprietors of” the shows provide the very best entertainment they possibly can for a verysmall return.- It is hardly fair that they should have to face the hardship of being further taxed-, or of having to increase their rates, which would prevent many people from attending, thus causing the shows to be closed down altogether, depriving thepeople in small country districts of any means of entertainment. I shall support the amendment providing for the removal of the tax on sixpenny and lower-priced tickets.
– - I congratulate the Ministry. Their only supporter has declared against the Government. If there is to be a wrecking at the very -first chance that comes along, honorable members of our party have great hopes indeed. I cannot understand why so- many honorable members who support this reduction of. the tax are flogging the Treasurer for acceding to their request. They put me in mind of an. Irish woman who used to be on the central railway many years ago. One of her children was a bit of a rebel. Whenever she called the children this was usuallythe dialogue: “Terry!” “Yes, mother; what is it?” “Come in here.” “I won’t.” Then the mother would come to the- door of the tent and let go - “-You won’t? Whatever you do now, you come in and I’ll bate you; an’ if you stop out I’ll bate you; whatever you do I’ll bate you.” That is the position of many honorable members. They are anxious to see the Government, bring: about this reduction, and yet they flog: them for doing the right thing. I. was very pleased to hear the dissertation given’ by the honorable member for Boothby as to. the art of the pictures shown, because my experience as whip was that I had the “ devil’s own” job to keep him- away from the picture shows when the House was in session.
– That is not playing the game..
– I can understand that the honorable, member.- is an authority on these pictures, but I cannot for the life of me see why he should oppose the Go vernment when it proposes to- do somer thing for the wives and families- of- those who sent him here to represent them, in Parliament. Even though he knows that his knocker has been wrenched off the door, the least he can do is to be faithful to them in his last act, and relieve them of some of the taxation that honorable members in- this. House would- impose on them no matter how heavily or hardly it might fall on them. I have told the Treasurer that there are ways and means of. getting, over the difficulty. He could impose a direct tax on unimproved land’ values,, which would bring in. a great deal more than the £100,000 that he proposed to take from the youngsters attending picture shows. I have no doubt that honorable members on going to picture shows in country towns have seen numbers of youngsters outside who would have liked to go inside, but had not the means of doing so. I have often . given four or five of them 2s. or 2s. 6d. so that they might go in and get a little enjoyment which I, as a youngster, never got. That is one- of the reasons- that make me stand up for these youngsters. I never had a game of cricket, a game of football, or even a game of marbles, when I was a youngster, and I do not wish to see- any child s life in Australia any less bright than it is possible for it to be.
– Some pretty old children attend the picture shows.
– I can understand the honorable member for. Wannon talking as he does, because the picture shows are nothing to him; he looks for something bigger; he would, perhaps, rather go across to the Palace Theatre every night and see the leg show. Perhaps it would suit’ him better. If he only got the enjoyment out of life that the sound of the rippling laughter of children gives to me, he would not seek to put an extra tax on their mirth. I support the amendment.
– I am not in the position of most of the honorable members who have spoken to-day, because I was not in the chamber- when the vote was taken on Friday. I was on the road to my constituency. I look at the proposal and the intention to modify the tax from the point of view of its application to. the Government’s proposal’s to raise money to finance the war-. I must say that the attitude taken by the honorable member for Capricornia - I do not know anything - about the motives that prompted him - was in the. right- direction.
-Then why . question it ?
-Thehonorable member’s attitude of “friendliness” towards the ‘.Government lately has made me almost doubt . him. Had I been here on Friday, I would have voted with the Government, but I cannot support a Treasurer who is prepared to back and fill withinaday or two without giving . a better reason . than . he. has given. He has not told us . how -much -money ; he is: going to lose, or by how. much his Estimates for the year will be reduced. . It. is all “bunkum “ onthe part, of the . honorable member for Maranoa to tell ‘us that picture shows are attended by children only. . As to the -.class of . entertainment that he suggests I might attend, I. select my own form of entertainment, and my own time for attending. But I wish to say that it might be well for the -House to review the whole question of picture shows. There is a side of them that is unclean. On the whole, I believe many of the pictures are instructive, but I would not let my kiddies go to them until I knew what they were going to see. In regard to the merits of the tax itself, it is not a. tax on the poor or the rich, as far as necessaries are concerned; it is a tax on the surplus money of the household. If, during the war time, all the picture shows in- Australia were closed down, no one would be poorer, except, perhaps, the few who are running them, or have shares in them.
– Would the honorable member close everything - racecourses, football grounds, and so on?
– I am not proposing it, but I do say that honorable members in the Corner, who are so anxious about the welfare of picture-show proprietors are not moved by the same motives that influence me in this matter. The proposal is not a tax only upon the people whom the honorable member for Maranoa represents; it is a tax upon practically every householder. I should like to know from the Treasurer how much he is prepared to yield to the request from proprietors of picture shows.
– There appears to be some amount of misapprehension with regard to the course adopted bythe Government. The -Prime . Minister told us on Friday that the original proposal of ‘the ‘Treasurer was the result of a consultation which he had had with those interested in this form . of entertainment, but it was pointed : out during a discussion that the proprietors of certain picture shows were not representedat that conference, and he then agreed to place the matter before their representatives. In the meantime, he asked this House to pass the measure and send it on to the Senate, where any necessary alteration could be made. I intervened at the time, and asked the Government to make any alterations desired in this House, and not in another place He consented to that proposal.
– That was with regard to the exemption of expenditure.
– No ; it was on the question of exempting the 6d. tickets, and that is the question we are dealing with now. I take it that we have “authority for assuming that, as the result of the conference with those intimately and personally concerned, it is thought desirable that the exemption should be agreed to.
– The Government have beenpretty reticent regarding members onthis side.
– If the honorable member had been present on Friday he would have heard the explanation. I do not think the Government are to be blamed for adopting their present attitude, because they had not received certain information which they now have,, and I also wish to express my hearty approval of the action of the Government in altering the Bill in this House instead of another place.
– There is this point to remember : This amendment gives no advantages to the city, whereas the original ‘ proposals gave an advantage to the city as against the country.
– That is too weak.
Dr.CARTY SALMON. - I agree with the action of the Government, and of those honorable members who, on the information which the Government then had,supported the previous proposal. On the further information now available they will have just as much reason to support the Government in this amendment.
. -I am. much disappointed thatthe . Governmenthave reversedtheir original . decision. When this matter , was lastbefore the House, an amendment was . moved to exempt from taxation all 6d’. tickets, including tickets of admission to football matches and every other form of amusement, but that amendment was defeated, as was also a further amendment to exempt 6d, tickets of admission to picture shows. It appears to me that the Government are now attempting to flout a deliberate- decision of this Committee, given on two distinct occasions. Members declared that the tax should be imposed, and by their vote r.hey indicated that they considered it a just tax. The proposed tax should not be withdrawn unless the Government can furnish unanswerable evidence that it is an unjust one. The proposals of the last Government were supposed to bring in £1,000,000, but they were reduced by two-thirds by the present Treasurer, who declared, however, that the money was required to help carry on the war. With that assurance to guide us, and believing the tax to be a just one, the Committee voted in favour of its imposition, and now the Government are recommitting the whole clause, with a view to the remission of the taxation on the 6d. tickets.
– The Prime Ministerthinks that a -Jd. tax will decide whether a person will or will not go to a picture show.
– So far as my recollection goes, this question of the entertainment tax was, prior to the war, regarded as a fair measure of taxation, as a very large amount of money changes hands in Australia in connexion with outdoor and indoor entertainments; and, so far, we have escaped this form of taxation. In the press and on the public platform, we have been urged to make some form of sacrifice - in accordance with the means of every individual person - to carry on the war. The proposed tax of Jd. on a 6d. entertainment ticket appears to me to be a very modest one, and I am not quite sure that the Government were right in exempting the 3d.- tickets, though I think that in the case of parents with families the children should be admitted at halfprice and be exempted from the tax. If the exemption were not made, it is possible, of course, that the proprietors of entertainments would make a uniform charge of 4d. - striking out all 3d. tickets - and thus escape the tax altogether. In common with every other member of Parliament, I received a number of telegrams from the management of various picture shows dealing with this matter. It ap pears we are expected, on such ex parte statements, to arrive at a proper decision without regard to the national exigencies. During the discussion of the Tariff, there were the same complaints about the practice of lobbying, and the presentation of ex parte statements to members of Parliament. I regret that the Government have not seen fit to stand to their guns. It was due to the Committee that the Government should’ have presented honorable members with the whole of the information available before they asked them to reverse the vote given on a former occasion. We decided, by two separate divisions, that the tax was a just one. The Government should have abided by that, and sent the Bill on to another place, to allow that Chamber to take the responsibility of rejecting it. The Government declared on one day that the revenue to be obtained from this tax was necessary to carry on the war, and yet the next day they were prepared to sacrifice £120,000 or £130,000. This will create suspicion as to the reliability of the Government estimate in connexion with the whole of the war expenditure. I regret the action of the Government, but I hope they may make some modification of the proposal, such as will enable this House to retain its hold on the finances.
.- I think the Treasurer, after having heard the arguments from the supporters on both sides of the Chamber, might see fit to withdraw his proposal to exempt the 6d. tickets to picture shows.
– I am sure to be so advised by you.
– I again draw his atten-tion to the danger of neglecting all these sources of revenue. When the honorable member for Maranoa was speaking this morning, he spoke about certain poor boys not being able to go to a picture show because they had no money. Unfortunately, “ The poor ye have always with you,” and even if we exempt the 6d. tickets we will still have the unfortunate lads standing outside the doors of picture theatres. I am afraid that if the Government surrender their trust to the Leader, of the Liberal party, as they will. have to do before long - because it is preposterous that twenty-four men out of 111 should continue the Government of this country-
– Order !
– If the Liberal party come into power instead of having an amusement tax, we shall have a tax upon kerosene or tea - a necessity of every home. A tax on tea will inevitably follow the coming into power of the Liberal party.
– That would bring in revenue, whereas this would not, because, if imposed, people would avoid, going to places of amusement.
– The Treasurer has told us he is sacrificing £100,000per annum by giving way to those honorable members who have advocated the omission of the tax on 6d. tickets. My fear is that if we do not avail ourselves of this form of taxation, we shall have taxes upon the necessities of the people. No one can say that amusements are a necessity. If the people want entertainment, they heed not necessarily go to a picture show or a theatre. Following the advice of Buskin, they might sit on a hill and watch the clouds on a beautiful afternoon, or spend the evening in watching the stars. If they prefer a theatre, what is to prevent their coming to this House, admission to which is free.
– It would be a long way for country people to come.
– I heard the honorable member speak of the difficulties of country people in respect to means of entertainment. Surely he will not claim that the imposition of a tax of1/2d. on a 6d. picture show ticket would cause country people any difficulty.
– It would probably have the effect of shutting down many such entertainments.
– I disagree with the honorable member. While we as a community are attending picture theatres and other entertainments the price of admission to which is 6d. or1s., there are men in the trenches in Europe who have to be provided for, arid we can provide for them only by taxation. It was absurd, as a matter of fact, to propose a tax of only one half-penny. It was too small to begin with, and when we find the Government backing down on such a proposal, we must realize that there has not been that return to responsible government which the Prime Minister spoke of some time ago. “ We have returned at last to real responsible government,” he said, when he proceeded to select his own Ministers. When the Treasurer, confronted with an expen diture of £100,000,000, and with the necessity for imposing taxation, backs down on a proposal to put a tax of1/2d. on every 6d. amusement ticket, merely because a few honorable members demand its abandonment, then he certainly merits the adverse criticism that has fallen from the lips of the honorable member for Wimmera with respect to his backing and filling in the matter.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr.Higgs. - I claim a division.
– There was only one voice for the “ Noes.”
Bill reported with an amendment; reports adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is a, Bill for an Act relating to unlawful associations. [Quorum formed.] It sets out inits preamble the purpose for which it is introduced, and is limited to the period of the war, and six months thereafter. Under clause 3, certain associations are declared to be unlawful, and the subsequent clauses deal with punishments for certain acts.
This measure is introduced mainly to deal with an association known under the sonorous and imposing title of “ The Industrial Workers of the World,” the short title of which is” The I.W.W.” This organization like most big things in these later days, had its origin in the UnitedStates of America. Those responsible for its genesis were probably theorists and philosophers rather than men who translated words into deeds ; but at a comparatively early stage of its history it separated into two bodies, one known as the Detroit association, and the other as the Chicago association. The Chicago institution is that which is particularly active in this country. It came here some eight or ten years ago, and for a time attracted very little notice, finding its earlier recruits mainly, if not entirely, amongst, the revolutionary Socialists. Of late years it has made some strides. Its influence-, however, is not to be measured merely by its membership. Its constitution, to which I shall refer later, and its propaganda, have appealed to many people who-1 have- not joined’ the association, and-‘ it is nob too much to say that the virus ofl its doctrines has poisoned a considerable portion of the body economic in this country.
I” shall not waste any words about the objects of. this organization, as stated in its preamble, but refer honorable members to the preamble itself, and invite them to notice that the means by which the workers of the world are directed to cure their economic heritage is through the general strike. I want to remove /a misapprehension in the minds of many persons as to what the general strike here referred to means. It is not to be confused with strikes, no matter how widespread, of an ordinary character. It is not, for example, a strike for the purpose of increasing wages from ls. to ls. 6d an hour, or from ls. 6d. to 2s. an hour, , or for the remedying of a specific grievance in working conditions. It is” a strike for the purpose of effecting a permanent economic revolution. It does not pretend to spring from any particular grievance. It does not pretend to cure any particular grievance. It is immaterial for this purpose whether there is a good cause for a strike or not. The principle underlying the whole business is that it; is through a complete paralysis of industry alone that the economic salvation of the working classes can be effected. That is the basic principle, and the means- by which the general strike is to be brought about are immaterial. Any cause will do, or none. The sympathetic strike- appears to offer the widest opportunities. A dispute, no matter how trivial to one section of an industry, is to be taken up by all, so that a sporadic outbreak in an industry employing, say, 150 hands would be a sufficient reason and cause for a complete- cessation of work by every person- engaged in all classes of industry throughout Australia - that is, a general’ strike. A general strike is a weapon which, of course; is, in effect, an open declaration of war against society. The methods of this* association are frankly those of open war. They are not confined to those methods which are sanctioned amongst civilized nations at war ; but they also embrace- those other methods which, in international warfare, would fall- under- the head of ex-plosive bullets, the poisoning of- wells, and’ the. infecting of the enemy with loathsome diseases. Just as recourse- to these methods- in inter- national warfare is considered’ to place the nations that practise them- outside the pale of civilized nations, so these methods of the Industrial “Workers of ‘ the World, sabotage and the like, must place those who practise them outside society. Though the methods of the association which, we have under consideration are not confined to that passive’ resistance through which a strike usually manifests itself, it is upon the general strike that it rests its case. Eight years ago, writing on “ The Case for Labour,” I set out my views in regard to the Industrial Workers of the World and the general strike, and I am very glad to find that they are precisely the views which I hold’ to-day. They were the views which the Labour party held at that time. I refer . honorable members curious in the matter to page 28 and following pages of the book The Case for Labour, but I only wish to quote a few lines, which I think directly bear on the present situation, so far as this association and the general strike are concerned. Having pointed out that the general strike is not practicable - and I think that the Industrial Workers of the World have found that out - I go on to say -
The general strike would not be effective even if it were practicable. Consider what would follow from a universal cessation of work. There would, within 24 hours or less, be no food,’ no milk, no meat, no bread, . no fodder for stable-fed horses; our streets would be dark. Little children, the sick, and the aged would be the first to feel this, but all would come before many hours- under the ban. The object of the general strike is to reduce the capitalist? to extremity, but its actual effects would I to reduce the workers to the verge of starvation. If order were maintained and’- passive resistance - the mere- cessation, of production - were the order of the day, then the poor would suffer and the rich would only be inconvenienced. If riot stalked roughshod through the land, then the weak would suffer, and the strong escape; in either ease it is hard to see how the employer would be compelled to pay higher wages or the workers’ lot be in any way ameliorated. The general strike is not practicable, and if it were practicable it would not be effective. It is but a nightmare which if by chance translated into actuality would mean- social suicide. It is the. wildest and most extravagant travesty of Trades Unionism, inevitably calculated not merely to prejudice but to actually destroy it, and bears to legitimate Trades Unionism the- same relation as- license does to liberty.
In this- country, the people- can do, anything they please; have whom, they like as their leaders’, make what laws they’ please; have what industrial conditions they desire; and’ get all these things. by methods safe; peaceful, and sanctioned - by our own experience and the teachings of history. What remains, then, but to educate the ‘people to desire wisely. Thos© were my views in 1908. I have not changed them. I venture to say that they are such as will he indorsed by reasonable men of every section of the community. I have referred in my articles only to the general strike. That weapon was then their only one, or, at all events, their only avowed one. But the Industrial “Workers of the World has since found it an impracticable, if not hopeless, one, and they have taken a short cut to the .goal they desire to .reach. The short cut is known .generally as sabotage. I will quote the definition of .the term. Sabotage as defined in the Chunks of I.W.W’.-ism - I suppose it means Industrial ‘Workers of the World wisdom - published in Auckland, New Zealand, as follows: -
The term “ sabotage “ is used to describe “ all those tactics, save the boycott and the strike proper, which are used by workers to wring concessions from their employers by inflicting losses upon them through the stopping or slowing down of industry, turning out poor products, &c.” It means nothing mors than the adoption on a large scale of dodges already invariably “practised by the disgruntled indi-‘ vidual .worker.
That form of sabotage known as “ going slowly on the job “ takes the starvation- weapon out of the bosses’ hands. It has the effect of a -strike, and it is well known how the boss loves a strike. Instead of leaving work, ‘the rebels stay on, but ‘work slowly, reduce ‘the output, and thus hit the boss where he feels it worst - in the pocket-book.
This is sabotage’ at its best. What it really means is pointed out by Emile Pouget in Sabotage, a work circulated by the Industrial Workers ‘of the World in Australia -
Is a strike .contemplated by the most indispensable workers - those of” the alimentary trades? A quart of kerosene or other greasy and malodorous matter poured or smeared on the level of an oven . . . and welcome the scabs and scabby soldiers who come to -bake the bread ! The bread will be uneatable because the stones will give the bread for at least a month the foul odour of the substance they have absorbed. Results : a useless oven.
Is a strike coining in the iron, steel, copper or any other mineral industry?
A little sand or emery powder in the gear of those machines, which, like fabulous monsters, mark ‘the exploitation of the workers, and they will become -palsied and useless.
The iron ogre will become as helpless as ‘a nursling- and with it the scab.
To be sure’ of success in case all railroad workers -
Now they speak of a specific thing - a -railroad strike, and as it is clear from their own. experience that railroad ‘workers sometimes do not leave their work at the word of command of even such -men as these. It is pointed out how those who do may effect their purpose -
To be sure of success in case all rail road workers do not quit their work at once it is indispensable that a stratagem of which it is useless to give here the definition be instantaneously Mid simultaneously applied in all important centres as soon as the strike is declared.
This stratagem is a stratagem which is by no means new. The sending wires from one centre to the other stating that at the centre from which the wire comes everybody has. come out is not a new device, “and as these wires cross one another, everybody is under the impression that “everybody everywhere else has come out, and so that it is about time that they ame out also. That is done to get them out. When you have got them out,- this is what you do with them -
For this it would be necessary that pickets of comrades determined to prevent at any cost the circulation of trains be posted in every important centre and locality. It would be well to choose those workers amongst the most skilled and experienced, such as could find the weak points off-hand without committing acts of stupid destruction, who by their open eyes, cautious and intelligent action as well as energetic and efficacious skill, would by a single stroke disable and render useless for some days the material necessary to the regular performance of the service and the movement of the trains. It is necessary to do this seriously. It is well to reckon beforehand with the scabs and the military.
If the workers disable the machines it is neither for a whim, nor for dilettantism or evil mind, brit solely in obedience to an imperious necessity. If they do not paralyse the machines they surely go on to unavoidable defeat, to the wreck of all their hopes.
In fine, we can say of sabotage what has been said of all tactics and all weapons : “ The end justifies the means.” It is just in obedience to this, irresistible necessity that the carmen of Lyons some years ago poured cement into the tracks of the switches, thus preventing the circulation of the tramways manned by scabs.
This is Sabotage: that is Destruction at work. Sabotage is war upon society. Now br sadly the position is, that the Industrial Workers of the World has declared war upon society ; upon the people of this country. I have said that its weapons are not limited to those which are permissible between civilized .nations,- and that the evidences of their handiwork are manifest in our ‘midst. I do not speak of ‘.these outward and visible signs _of crime to which public attention has been lately directed. But I mean to say that their agents have poisoned the well spring from which some of the workers of this country drink, and made them believe that it is by setting all law at defiance, by destroying machinery, by retarding the wheels of production, that their salvation alone can be achieved. The Industrial Workers of the World doctrines are a grave menace to society. It is not too much to say that these men are anarchists. I have been all my life a Socialist. The Labour party of Australia is supposed to be a Socialist party. Anarchy and Socialism are the negation of one another. One puts the State above everything, and the other makes war on the State in order to destroy it. I say deliberately that this organization holds a dagger at the heart of society, and we should be recreant to the social order if we did not accept the challenge it holds out to us. As it seeks to destroy us, we must in self defence destroy it.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.
– I have shown that the objective, methods, and propaganda of the Industrial Workers of the World are, in fact, a declaration of war against society. No peace is possible with such an adversary, because its members do not recognise the sanctity of any agreement. It is most important to note this fact, because of its application, not only to the war between the association and society in general, but also because of its application to industrial troubles. It is one of the axioms of the association that no agreement between employer and employee is to be regarded as binding on the employee. The association, in fact, sets up two codes of morality - that to be observed towards its members and those who think with it, and that to be observed towards all persons who do not think with it. In theory, the association professes to apply such a distinction to the workers as opposed to the capitalists; but, in practice, it distinguishes only between those who think with it and those who do not. This code is analogous with the old tribal morality which made it wrong to commit murder or theft within the tribe, but perfectly right and proper to do so outside it. All acts aremoral that may serve the purpose of the association. Thus, “ going slow “ is moral, sabotage is moral, arson is moral, and murder is moral, provided that these crimes are committed in the cause of the worker. As those who speak for the association declare that all that they do is for the benefit of the worker, it follows that their every act is, from their point of view, moral. Broadly, it may be said that the methods of the association are incompatible with representative government, that is, government by representatives of the people ; with political action, because they resort to direct action, and . regard political methods with contempt; and with democratic government, which rests on the rule of the majority, and the obedience of the whole community to- the laws made and the orders issued at the behest of that majority. Prom this position there is no escape. The association’ is incompatible with society as we know it, its purpose being to overturn society. I am not here as an apologist for society; but I am a believer in Democracy, and regard the welfare of the State as the supreme’ good. The association does not believe in Democracy. Whenever the majority differs from it, it endeavours to coerce the majority to its purpose. It does notbelieve that the welfare of the State is the supreme good. It does not recognise the State as such at all, nor does it recognise the Nation. Indeed, it rests on the negation of nationality, denying that the spirit of nationality is a good thing. The effect of its teaching is seen in its attitude towards this war.
I wish to link up Syndicalism in general with the attitude of the Industrial Workers of the World towards the war, so that honorable members may see that it is not only those who call themselves members of the Industrial Workers of the World who have adopted most, if not all, the principles of the association. Syndicalism does not recognise that the welfare of the State is the supreme law. It demands that the control of an industry should be vested in the workers in that industry. Coordination between the groups of workers controlling the various industries is not postulated, and there is certainly no recognition of the welfare of the State, as distinct from and superior to that of the various groups. Syndicalism does not, in fact, recognise nationality.
I might add that a very large number of those who control the Industrial Workers of the World are foreigners. They are, not to put too fine a point on it, the scourings of Europe and America. Many of them have been driven out of the latter country, and some possess a criminal record, so that they cannot return to it.. Let me, by way of preface, draw a clear line of distinction between mere membership of the association and the offences and criminal acts which the Bill has been introduced to suppress. Many persons have joined the association, moved thereto by a sincere desire to Benefit their fellows. They are wellmeaning though mistaken enthusiasts. Against them I have nothing to say, though I disagree with them entirely, and consider them misguided. The Industrial Workers of the World however, is controlled, not by a majority of its members, but by an inner council, which recruits are never permitted to enter, and about which they have little, if any, practical knowledge. This inner council is composed of reckless, desperate men, many of whom have criminal records. I do not say that without ample proof of the fact.
Let us now look at the present situation in its relation to the association of which I have been speaking, and in particular to the doctrines and acts to which I have referred. The Empire is at war. It is vitally important that Australia should play its part in the struggle, and this part is not limited to the sending abroad of men to fight; it is equally necessary, both in our own interest and in that of the Empire, that we should send abroad to Great Britain and the Allies as much of our produce as we can. Without Australian foodstuffs and metals, G*reat Britain and her Allies would be seriously, if not fatally, hampered. It follows, therefore, that when men openly advocate the destruction of wheat in the field and in the stacks, of farming machinery,’ and of mines, they aim a blow not merely at the Allies on the battlefield, but also at the producers and the workers of Australia. Evidence taken by the Courts discloses that men have openly declared that this destruction of Australian produce is a good and a moral thing. When we consider that we are at war, that our livelihood depends very largely on the £100,000,000 or so that we shall get f/om the sale of our products; - of which wheat, wool, and metals form the overwhelmingly greater part - and that there is an association in our midst whose avowed purpose it is to destroy that wealth, or as much of it as possible; it is obvious that society must protect itself. .
These are our present circumstances. The Industrial Workers of the World and its propaganda are alike well known, but it may be as well to remind honorablemembers of some quite recent acts. The criminal charges brought against members of the organization include murder - in cold blood-of a policeman in Sydney last September. Forgery and uttering of bank nott® of the Commonwealth. The head-quarters of the conspiracy in regard to the forgeries were the head-quarters of the organization, and some of the leading conspirators of the association. Arson. The bunch of cases, which may be grouped together, of incendiarism, resulting from efforts on the part of members of the organization to get Mr. Barker, editor of Direct Action, out of gaol. Some fires took place and destroyed a great deal of property. Providentially, they did not destroy human life, though there might easily have been a holocaust, for some of the property destroyed consisted of great buildings, which, had they caught fire in the day-time, might well have involved the lives of hundreds of young women. Here then is- Murder, Arson, Forgery, aiding and abetting Sabotage in its attack upon the life of the nation. But the activities of the Industrial -Workers of the World do not even end here. The electric plant on the Brisbane was damaged, and one of the agents of the Government was shot.
– Where ?
– I shall not enter into any further details; you must accept the facts as beyond all question. Government agents have attended the meetings of the organization, at which every man was armed with an automatic pistol, and raids have disclosed a similar state, o’f things at head-quarters. I mention quite casually a, fact perfectly well known, and mentioned in the House the other day, that at a recent meeting in Sydney the King’s name was hooted. If this were an isolated instance, not correlated with this determined and systematic attack on society, it might pass; but it is not - it is all of a piece. When we add to the fact that a. large number of the members of this association ,are foreigners - I do not mean Englishmen, Scotchmen, or Irishmen, but persons other than of British origin - and that a fair number of names inthe list of membership areGermans, wecan . readinto the operations of this association a meaning which -suggests, if it does not do more, that it is being used for a purpose against the Allies in this war. This is one of the methods to which Germany and her agents resort everywhere - the preaching of denationalism to every nation butherself . That is to say, they teach that national sentiment is bad in the Frenchman or the Britisher, but is a glorious thing in the German:
At any rate; here is this organization in our midst. It is a hot bed - a pest-house, to put it plainly - breeding disease in the social and economic body, and threatening even our national welfare. We must take notice of it. We must deal with it. It will be admitted by every one who looks at the thing fairly that there is a time when to take no notice is good, but there is also a time when to take no notice is a sign of weakness. When this organization was in its infancy, and confined itself to mere words, we could laugh at its preamble and at its propaganda. We could afford to be tolerant. But circumstances have changed. These men have grown audacious - mistaking toleration for weakness. I say deliberately that we have now an unscrupulous body, which advocates the destruction of property, and which has the power to destroy millions of pounds worth of wheat by incendiarism. Does any one deny that? Does any one deny that a member of the organization, only the other week, advocated this by expatiating upon the properties of a burningglass for the purpose ? No one. Does any one deny that there is an attempt to show that the, men sentenced the other day are martyrs - that the evidence was trumped up ? I do not know whether the evidence was trumped up or not; I know nothing at all about it. I neither condemn nor defend the sentences. I know nothing about the evidence; all I know is that these men have preached the doctrine, of which these crimes are the outward manifestation for years. As they now say themselves, their work is beginning to bear fruits! In their newspaper, they advertised for men and women recruits, and asked for unscrupulous agents who -were not afraid of gaol or death. For what purpose? For such purposes as I have spoken about - for arson, for sabotage, -for ‘disseminating these vile doctrines amongst the credulous, the weak, and the vicious, in our midst. Let me tell my . fellow -workers throughout Australia that these doctrines are the vilest of the vile. The workers are told that . salvation is to be found by diminishing . production, in destroying . machinery, in the destruction -of property, in endless industrial upheavals. In countries where the people do ‘not rule, where all -other means of redressing grievances, of obtaining justice, are denied the worker, something might perhaps be said for such methods. But in this country, where the workers rule, and where- they have had the Government under their control for years, and wherethey have means of passing any law they please, and where they can, and do, control - through their socialistic enterprises - great amounts of capital, “going slow” and “sabotage” are grave economic and social crimes, and treason itself against the State. I have been as much as any man in the country a worker; the doctrine of “ slowing down “ is repugnant to me. Any man who is worth his salt will not “ go slow.” If a man does “not get enough wages, I can not only understand him asking for his full share but approve his doing so. “Slowing down” is individual and national economic suicide. Let him go fast and ask for a bigger share - there is sense in that. I have nothing to say against it and everything for it. But to “go slow”; to make the ovens unsuitable, so that thosewho eat the bread may be poisoned; to put emery powder in machinery; to set fire to buildings; to destroy wheat stacks; or to drop a fork in a reaping machine - all these are preached as though they were part of some great and noble gospel. They are the litanies of economic devils.
How are we going to deal with such an organization? This Bill does not penalize a man for his opinion ; and this I wish honorable members to notice. Opinion is free, and thought is free; let a man believe what he likes. But he must not incite others to commit crimes or to do anything against the welfare of the State. This Bill penalizes those who incite others to commit crimes. Surely it is a crime at all times, but now in particular, to incite men to destroy property, to destroy wheat, and to destroy machinery engaged in the vitally important work of ‘production - vitally important to the welfare of every worker in Australia, and of Australia as a nation; and vitally important to the conduct of the war by Great Britain: and her Allies.? Are men to be allowed, to advocate murder wholesale, and crime generally, and no law be provided to deal with them?’ There- is- no such law now. If so, where, is it ? What- is it ? The honorable member for Capricornia asked a question in this- connexion’ this morning-; and I have to say that, there- is no State law that meets such cases, except the lawpassed in New South. Wales the other day. It is’ not. crimes themselves with, which we are dealing, but inciting others to commit -them. These crimes can be -dealt with under existing State laws, though members of the organization object to the antiquated laws under which they are tried. I offer no objection to that criticism. I should object to be tried under laws, passed 500 or 600 years ago. But here we-have a Bill to which this Legislature, is- asked to assent. Let us give statutory, form, indorsed by a living Parliament, to our opinion as to. what is proper in the present circumstances to deal with such offences against the body politic. I do not wish to detain the House at any great length.There are. only two criticisms which can be directed against the Bill. One is that it is too moderate, and the other is that it proposes to proceed, by way of summary jurisdiction, to deal summarily with these offences. As to its moderation, all I. have to say is that a moderateLaw effectively applied is better than a severe law, which, by its severity, would,perhaps, invite that martyrdom, these gentlemen are seeking. To those who do not criticise it for that reason, but object to. its summary operation, I offer an alternative. If they prefer that these offenders shall be proceeded against byway of indictment, then punishment for three years may be substituted for that of six months under the Bill: Or, alternatively, the AttorneyGeneral may decide whether he shall proceed by way of indictment or summarily, according, to the -nature of the offence, reserving; indictment for the- relatively “serious offences-, and for minor offences summary proceedings. Clause 6 provides a new punishment in addition to any that has been known in State or Federal law. It provides that a person, not being;- a- British, subject- born in. Australia; who is’ guilty of any of -the offences, may, in addition to any punishment imposedi under- the Bill; be- deported:. We do not propose- to deport an Australian, but: we do. think that this- country ought not to be the. dumping-ground for the. refuse’ of the earth. There- are men; here who have been’ driven out of America, that; home of the free. They have been swept: out of that tumbledown building in Chicago which is the head-quarters of this glorious organization, and they have come to Australia, where they are giving us- the benefit of those poisonous emanations which were not permitted, to be exuded in America. It is more than high time they were sent back to America, and this measure provides for that being, done. I commend the Bill to the House, and I hope that it will receive the unanimous approval of honorable members. I invite them to note that no man is punished because of his opinions, or because of his. membership of this organization. I am not saying that he should not be, but only that the Bill does not propose to do so. Provided he does not incite his fellowcitizens to . commit crimes, the Bill leaves him alone. But let him commit such an offence, and the Bill deals with him. I say that the Bill is the minimum of what is required to meet the present circumstances. For - that- reason, I invite all sections of the House to approve of it without delay.
.- Is the Prime Minister willing to grant- an- adjournment of the debate either to a later hour of the day or to the next day of sitting ?
– No; I propose that the debate shall be proceeded’ with.
– This measure is entitled the “ Unlawful Associations- Bill.” I think a better title would be, “ A Bill to tryto entrapthePolitical Labour Party.” It may also -be cited as- “ A Bill’ to make the Hughes- Government good with the people.” A lot of this sort of thing will be required to improve their position, which is very parlous to-day. At the outset, I wish to say that this Bill has been brought forward for the express purpose of trying to get some members, particularly of the Labour party, to say somer thing that may. be used in evidence- against them at the election. The idea is that Hansard shall be carefully scanned, as it always is, in order to pick out a sentence of some honorable member’s such and to wrest it apart from the context.
– The only way to avoid that is to pass the Bill, without comment.
– I am showing what is the position of the Minister and his colleagues. The nope of the Prime Minister is that some members may give expression to sentiments which may be picked out by the metropolitan press of Melbourne, which is always opposed to the Labour party, and which has been dealing with the position of the Industrial Workers of the World for some time. ‘ The press will select a sentence from a speech of some honorable member, and say, “ Tudor said this,” or “ Some other member said that.”
– And this is what Tudor looked like when he said it.
– If the press publishes a photograph of me, I hope I shall look better than the honorable member for Wentworth. If I did not, I should look a miserable object.
– Do not be impertinent.
– Order !
– The honorable member asked for that retort.
– It is impertinent and small, and therefore like the honorable member.
– I will be delighted to apologize to the honorable member if I have offended him in any way. Nobody knows better than the Prime Minister that the Industrial Workers of the World have always been more bitterly opposed to the Labour party than to any other political party.
– They have been, but they are not now.
– They will continue to be so, no matter what happens. I have no doubt about that. The Minister for Trade and Customs knows that when new parties come into existence with the intention of regenerating the world by their political doctrines, they always attack the party nearest to them.
– Is that why you are attacking me so bitterly?
– I trust that the time will again come when I shall have the opportunity of attacking the honorable member for Parramatta, and I will do that with as much vigour as I- am attacking the Prime Minister to-day. The Prime Minister knows that the Industrial Workers of the World throughout Australia have always attacked the Labour party, but after enumerating all the crimes to be dealt with under this Bill he informed us that the measure is only for the duration of the war and six months afterwards.
– That statement is quite untrue, of course. This is for inciting.
– The Bill reads, “ This Act shall continue in force for the duration of the present war and for a period of six months thereafter and no longer.”
– Because all the Acts we pass now are limited in the same way.
– I candidly admit that I have learned more from the Prime’ Minister’s speech than I had ever learned before concerning the Industrial Workers of the World. I have never seen a copy of Direct Action, or, until to-day,/ of Sabotage. We are told that the principal offences advocated by that organization are “ going slow,” sabotage, arson, and murder. I am- absolutely opposed to all four of those policies. I am not in favour of slowing down; the organization to which I belong has always fought for piece-work. I am not in favour of sabotage, arson, or murder. I have not the slightest doubt that the “ rags “ in Collins-street, which are keeping the Prime Minister in power, will say, as they have said during the past few weeks, that the members of the Labour party have never expressed themselves as opposed to the Industrial Workers of the World. I took care during the referendum campaign to absolutely oppose that organization, and the crimes with which its members were charged, but I also said that it was an unheard of crime to pronounce men guilty before they had been tried, and that it was not fair to prejudice their trial by bandying them and their crimes on the political platforms.
– The honorable member said just now that he knew very little about the organization, and now he says that he defended those men.
– I did not defend them. The legal gentlemen on the front bench will admit that it is not right to assume a man’s guilt while his case is sub judice. What has been said about the Industrial Workers of the World has been said about other organizations, notably that with which the Vice-President of the Executice Council has been so long associated. The same action as is contemplated by the Bill was suggested in 1901 by the Queensland Government in regard to the Australian Workers Union. The Prime
Minister pointed out that certain members of the Industrial Workers of the World have been found guilty of murder and have suffered the extreme penalty. Those men have been dealt with. He said that some others have been found guilty of conspiracy, and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. They have been dealt with. Those who have been convicted of the forgery of Commonwealth notes, and the men charged in Western Australia also have been dealt with. They have been tried and found guilty under the existing law without the aid of this measure. In what, then, consists the immediate need for this Bill? Will the Prime . Minister say that those men who have been convicted did not receive trial under a State law ? If they were tried under State laws, were those laws strained in New South Wale’s and Western Australia? No one knows better than the Prime Minister that there is ample power in existing laws to deal with these men, and that they have been dealt with.
– There is not power under any law except the. recently-passed law iri New South Wales.
– Is there power to deport them under existing laws ?
– The honorable member for Yarra is confusing the crime itself with the incitement to commit the crime.
– The Minister for the Navy said that the power required is for deportation. According to the sworn testimony of the police at the Sydney trial the accused comprised three Australasians, (two being Australians, one a New Zealander), three Englishmen, two Scotchmen, two Irishmen, one Canadian, and one Russian. Assuming that the power to deport the men had existed, there was only one alien amongst them to whom the law could have applied. The manner in which the Prime Minister made use of the trial of those men during the referendum campaign was something of which he’ had no right to be proud, for he tried to influence the public mind by saying that those men were opposed to the policy that he was placing before the country. The Prime Minister gave to the House a statement of the aims and objects of this organization. I know only one of the men concerned, and I saw him twice, once at the Prime Minister’s meeting in the Melbourne Town Hall, and on the second occasion at a Trades Hall conference which I attended as a visitor.
He came, there, as published in the press, for the purpose of protesting against the sentence on Barker, but I did not sit near him, nor did I speak to him. I have never spoken to any of these persons. This Bill is brought forward for the purpose of trying to entrap some members of the Labour party. No one knows it better than the Prime Minister.
– That is absolutely wrong.
– I have not the slightest doubt that it is absolutely true. The Prime Minister said that the majority of these persons were aliens, and that there were among them a fair number of Germans. If ‘ihat is the case, why are they not interned ? There is plenty of power to intern all these Germans. If there is the slightest suspicion about a German, he can be put inside.
– The honorable member knows very well that Germany works through other agents than her own people.
– Does the Prime Minister withdraw from the statement that he made ?
– I do not withdraw from it.
– According to the Prime Minister, there is a fair number of Germans among the members of the Industrial Workers of the World. Let us assume that the proportion is 5, 10, or 20 per cent.
– I did not say that those Germans were at large. The honorable member may be quite easy in his mind that those persons who could be interned have been interned.
– I hope that they are, and I hope that they will be kept there, but if they are interned, they can do no harm.
– I would not like to say that they can do no harm, but at any rate they cannot do as much harm as if they were not interned.
– If they are not at large, their power in this organization must be considerably curtailed. We are told that there is no power to deal with any of these men, or deal with any organization. I have with me the Crimes Act, which was introduced by the Prime Minister when he was Attorney-General, in 1914. I. have also the War Precau-tions Act, but it is so well known that the Government can do practically anything under that Act that there is no need to quote it. Under that Act they could pass a regulation, and could take all these ‘ men and intern them, if they so desired. I wish to draw attention to eight sections in the Crimes Act dealing with this point. Section 5 provides -
Any person who aids, abets, counsels, or procures, or by act or omission is in any way directly or indirectly knowingly’ concerned in, or party to, the commission of any offence against this Act or ‘ any other Act, whether passed before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be deemed to have committed that offence, and shall be punishable accordingly.
– That merely supplements this Bill.
– But the crime has first to be established.
– The following sections read : -
Then we come to section 10, which makes the justice of the peace all-powerful. I take it that the punishment is limited to six months’ imprisonment, in order that the cases may be dealt with by justices of the peace. Later on I shall show what some justices of the peace have been doing lately in the State of Victoria. Section 10 reads -
If a Justice of the Peace is satisfied by information on oath that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that “there is in any House, . vessel, or place -
Later on we come, to section 28, which is headed “ Interference with political liberty.” It reads -
Any person who by violence or by threats or intimidation of any kind hinders or inter feres with the free exercise or performance by any other person, of any political right or duty, shall be guilty of an offence.
– What has that section to do with the Bill before us?
– Directly I bring up a provision under which these persons could be tried we are told that it has nothing to do with the matter.
– They could not be tried under that section.
– There is no law in the country to punish incitement to murder.
– Is it claimed that the laws under which men were recently sentenced to periods of imprisonment, extending from five years to fifteen years, do not exist ?
– There is no law in existence which deals with incitement to crime in general.
– I feel sure that the Prime Minister, with that ready wit of his, could draw up a regulation that would easily meet the case.
– Does the honorable member advocate doing so ?
– No; but I point out that greater power is given under the Crimes Act than is proposed to be taken under this Bill.
– The next provision in the Crimes Act deals with the destruction of property belonging to the Commonwealth, and I presume that those persons who were guilty of destroying the property of the Crown on the cruiserBrisbane could have been prosecuted under it.
– Will the honorable member allow me to point out that the actual crimes can be dealt with under that Act, but not the incitement to the crimes ?
– I am afraid of, what the right honorable member would have been afraid of, if such a law had been in existence in earlier years, that is, the possibility that men may be gaoled under the slightest pretext. T have not the slightest doubt that if these provisions had been the law years ago, the right honorable gentleman and the ex-President of the Australian Workers Union would have been in gaol many times.
– I am sure no one would have put the honorable member for Darling in gaol.
– The Prime Minister can take his memory back to the time when the honorable member for Darling would, have been put in gaol had the power existed such as was proposed in Queensland at the time of the shearers’ strike. The Mcllwraith Government pro-‘ posed to gaol men, and men have been gaoled in this country before now under the slightest pretext. In my opinion such action will not cure the disease that is now present in the body politic.
– The honorable member admits that it is a disease?
– I do. ‘ I said at the outset that I am absolutely opposed to all the methods of these people.
– Then why does the honorable member object to our dealing with them ?
– Because the Government have now the power to do so.
– We have not the power.
– I listened in silence to the Prime Minister when he was making his speech.
– The honorable member has already objected to one regulation. Does he wish the Government to draw up. another ?
– Greater power will be taken by the Government under this Bill, and it will probably be used for. the purpose of dealing with trade unions as well as the Industrial Workers of the World.
– Why not, if they offend ?
Several honorable members interjecting,-
– The proceedings are becoming disgraceful. I cannot follow the remarks of the honorable member because of the repeated interjections. I have warned the House a number of times. If I take drastic action, it will be thought that I am very harsh, but some honorable member will find himself dealt with if this disorder is continued.
– I do not wish to delay the House very much longer. I shall not worry to read any further provisions of the Crimes Act.
– Is the honorable member for or against the Bill ?
– I shall let the honorable member know in very good time whether I am in favour of it or opposed to it.
– Has not the honorable member made up his mind yet ?
– Yes. I am not like some honorable members who have the habit of sitting on a political rail and slipping down from it so gently that there is not the slightest danger of their spraining an ankle.
– Is the honorable member referring to the honorable member for Capricornia ?
– I am not. We are told that these cases are to be left to justices of the peace. In Victoria, we recently, had two cases before justices of the peace., In the Katamatite District, in the Echuca electorate, and close to the Indi electorate, some youths attacked a person who had been addressing a meeting. The scene of the attack was close by a bridge, and as the person attacked was driving in the dark, if the horses had- shied the lives of those ‘ in the vehicle were endangered. These youths were brought before a Court, and pleaded guilty; but the justice. of the peace considered the crime so trivial that he let them off on their putting’ a donation in the poor box. In another case, at Daylesford, some men were prosecuted for interrupting a speaker at a public meeting, and were heavily fined by the presiding justices. In yet another case, at Colac, justices of the peace fined some men for the same offence. If the offence of inciting to murder, or to the destruction of property, is so dangerous, then it ought to be made an indictable offence.
– Then the honorable member is prepared to increase the penalty from six months to three years’ imprisonment?
– I am prepared to give all persons charged with this offence the right of trial by jury. If I .were being prosecuted for any offence I should prefer that my ease be tried by a Judge rather than. by a justice of the peace. I believe that at the hands of a Judge a man would be more likely to meet with the treatment he deserved.
– I have no faith in justices of the peace.
– Nor have I.
– The honorable member said just now that there was power under the “War Precautions Act to deal with all these cases.
– We are told that there is no power at present to deal with the offence of inciting to murder or the destruction of property. Forgery is an offence punishable under the Crimes Act, and that was the offence of which one of the Sydney men, as the Prime Minister said, was convicted. I hope that inciting to these acts will be made an indictable offence, if, as the Prime Minister has said, it cannot be dealt with under the law as it stands. I recognise that under the Acts Interpretation Act the penalty provided in this Bill is the maximum, and that men who are convicted under it may be sentenced to less than six months’ imprisonment. But my contention is that persons charged with these offences are entitled to a fair trial. The community is in such a ferment of excitement as the result of the war that we are not able to see and think as clearly as we did before, and there might be a tendency to prosecute men unfairly under this Bill. It is not right for the Prime Minister to bring this proposal forward as a political placard, intended first of all to connect the Labour party with the Industrial Workers of the World. We have not, and have never had, any connexion with that organization. Members of the Industrial Workers of the World have opposed us more bitterly than they have opposed any other party.
– The honorable member for Wide Bay professes to know all about it. Does he not know that when the present Prime Minister was Leader of the Labour party he was constantly denounced by members of the Industrial Workers of the World, speaking on street corners and in the Sydney Domain, and that the Leader of the Liberal party was not?
– It is only fair to say that I have always attacked them. That cannot be said of every Labour man.
– The right honorable gentleman said this afternoon that the Industrial Workers of the World favoured direct action and the principle of the general strike. The platform of the Labour party is the direct antithesis of that. Did we not fight, for the principle of conciliation and arbitration and get it placed on the statute-book, despite the opposition of the present Liberal party? Who opposed us when we sought an amendment of the Constitution, so that the principle of conciliation and arbitration might be made more effective? The Liberal party.
– The honorable member will say, I suppose, that the Labour party framed the section in the Constitution providing for conciliation and arbitration.
– No, we had no representatives at the Convention.
– No, but they have been “framing” ever since, and that is why we have had 824 strikes in war time.
– If unionists are breaking the law-
– The honorable member knows that they are.
– I do not. I am opposed to law breakers, no matter from what section of the community they come. I am opposed to them whether they come from the ranks of the workers or the shirkers - the men who work the workers. I am opposed to those who place every obstacle in the way of men reaching the Arbitration Court, and who, after they have reached that tribunal, carry them on to the Privy Council.
– What about those who go to the Court, and then will not obey its awards?
– They should obey the awards of the Court. But the real law. breakers are those employers who put obstacles in the way of men reaching the Arbitration Court. What is to be said for those employees who take advantage of every technicality - employing highlypaid barristers, like the honorable member for Flinders, to discover some loophole of escape from a decision of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court? What is to be said of the employers who compelled the Builders’ Labourers Union, after it had secured a decision of the Conciliation and Arbitration; Court, to go to the Privy Council? The employers did not say .that the decision of the Court was wrong. Their contention was that the Court had no right to make the award. Men who are faced with law breakers at the other end of the social scale have perhaps in some instances taken the law into their own hands. That I do not for one moment defend. Then we are told that workers have destroyed property. Has no other section of the community destroyed property for the purpose of getting a better price for what they have to sell ?
– What about the dumping of fish overboard?
– Yes; fish have been dumped overboard so as to keep up prices. A deliberate limitation df the catch has been imposed so that better prices may be secured.
– - Will the honorable member denounce those fishermen unionists of his?
– It is not the fishermen, but the middlemen. The middlemen compel the fishermen to limit the supply. The same course has been followed in regard to fruit and other products. Fruit has been allowed to rot on the ground rather than that it should be brought to the market and prices reduced. Will the Fruit-growers Association and the Fishermen’s Association - which employs its own auctioneers - as well as others guilty of such conduct come under this Bill ?
– The honorable member wants all those men to be branded with the Industrial Workers of the World.
– If it is wrong for the Industrial Workers of the World to destroy property, it is wrong for other people to do so.
– In making that suggestion the honorable member is insulting these people.
– Am I? I am anxious to bring in the Employers Federation. We are told that men who incite others to do unlawful acts should be punished. It is not so long since the Victorian Employers Federation employed an organizer, named Walpole, who used to preach that marriage was a luxury for the workers. Would Walpole be gaoied under this Bill ? The Employers Federation have advocated things in opposition to the law. Will they, too, come under this measure?
– If you were to brand Walpole “I.W.W.” on the left side, would it not be worse than deporting him ?
-I do not know; I have never seen the man. This Bill was conceived at the Premiers’ Conference last week. There we had exactly the same combination that we had to fight in the conscription campaign. During the last referendum we had to fight six Ministries and five Opposition parties. The six Ministries were represented at the Conference last week and gave the Prime Minister notice to bring in this Bill. According to the press, the Premier of Queensland alone stood out, because he objected to these offences being dealt with summarily.
– Three Labour Ministries were represented at the Conference.
– Not at all. Mr. Vaughan was the only Labour Premier who supported the Bill. Mr. Ryan is a Labour man, but he was opposed to it. There was an anti-Labour Premier from Tasmania as well as from Western Australia and Victoria present at the Conference, whilst New South Wales was represented by a member of the Fusion Government. These Premiers said, in effect, to the Prime Minister, “ Bring along this Bill and see if you cannot put the Labour party in a hole. You know that you have not a hope of hanging on or of getting a double dissolution. We know that the Cook party will desert, you at the first opportunity. Bring this Bill forward so as to make the people dissatisfied with the Labour party. See if you cannot induce members of the Labour party to say something that may be used against them at the next general election. We have two morning newspapers in Victoria, two in New South Wales, and two in South Australia which will be prepared to twist anything the Labour men may say during the , discussion. We will use them for all they are worth, just as we have always used them against Labour. Bring this Bill forward and try to place the Labour party in a false position.” That was their attitude, and to-day we see the result of their action. I have made my position clear’. I have absolutely no sympathy with the Industrial Workers of the World. If, as we have been told this afternoon, they stand for direct action, for the principle of the general strike, for going slow, for sabotage, for murder and arson, I am absolutely opposed to them. I have no sympathy with the taking of life or the destruction of property.
– Then the honorable member ought to support this Bill.
– I do not want any advice or assistance from the leading counsel appearing at the Home Affairs Inquiry as to what I ought to do. I notice, by the way, that they are going to close down on the honorable member, so that he will not have a fair run before the Commission. No doubt if the opportunity offered he would sum up in a speech longer than the record address he delivered in this House on one occasion - a speech extending over a week.
– The honorable member cannot make a speech.
Mr.TUDOR. - If the honorable member means a speech of about nine hours’ duration, and very little in it, like the one he made here on a certain occasion, I cannot. I am absolutely out of sympathy with the Industrial Workers of the World, or any organization standing for what it is said to stand for. But the Government, under the law as it stands, can deal with the offences that have been spoken of. It has introduced the Bill only to stir up trouble, and to improve its chance at the next election. Were there not an election looming in May next, we should not have heard of the Bill. We were told that these meetings of Parliament were for the passing of Supply and the imposition of taxation. The Entertainments Tax Bill was so badly mangled during its consideration in this House that its author would not know it. It is said that the Treasurer lost £100,000 of revenue in consequence. The Entertainments Tax Assessment Bill has not been proceeded with.
– The honorable member must confine himself to the question.
– That and other Bills have been set aside to enable this Bill to be brought forward. No one knows better than the members of the Ministry that this has been’ done to accentuate the split made in the Labour party when they and their supporters walked out of the Caucus room.
– The honorable member for Yarra has made one of the most remarkable speeches that I have ever heard in this Chamber.
– I thought that the honorable member was not going to speak. He came to me and said so.
– I said nothing of the kind. No doubt, if the honorable member tried hard, he could make a truthful interjection. He knows very well what I told him. I am not sure that I should- have spoken had it not been for his speech. One reason for my rising is that I may give him some information about the organization of which he appears to know nothing. If, as he alleges, he knows nothing of it and its ramifications he is not qualified for the position which he holds. I cannot conceive of a man who pretends to lead the Labour forces of this country being ignorant of this parasitic growth on the Labour unions of Australia and else where. I cannotthink that the honorable member is as innocent as he professes to be. He must know more about this organization than he ‘has cared to tell the House, and his air of injured innocence must be a cloak for some other design. Methinks he doth protest too much.
– He wished the public to know what a farce the Bill is.
– The honorable member thinks that the Bill is a farce?
– Then I shall expect him to vote against it. If he thinks that it is a farce he has no right to enact it. If, on the other hand, he thinks that the Bill will be of use, he should vote for it without abusing it. We shall see when the division is taken what his action will be.
The Bill, so far as I understand it, meets with my approval, andI cannot understand how any one who desires the orderly, peaceful development of true unionism can vote against it. It is in the interests of trade unionism that this parasitic growth upon it - or I should say this cancerous growth developing within it - be excised. The sooner honorable members of the Corner party set about this the better it will be for themselves and for the organizations which’ they represent. The honorable member for Yarra began by saying that he had nothing to do with the Industrial Workers of the World, and knew nothing about it. Yet he denounced the Bill as unnecessary, farcical, unfair, unjust, and everything that was bad and vile. I do not understand such argument. He was at pains to prove that there are not many Germans connected with the Industrial Workers of the World, and not many other foreigners; that the Bill was a trap for the Labour party; that it covered a devilish design; that its object was electioneering; and that it had no legitimate excuse.
– I indorse that up to the hilt.
– No doubt. If my honorable friends believe these things, ‘ it is their clear duty to vote against the Bill. They know well enough, however, that it is not the Liberal party for which the Industrial Workers of the World vote.
– The Industrial Workers of the World is against all parties.
– It certainly does not vote for the Liberal party.
– It does not command a sufficient number of votes to be able to make a difference to one State election.
– I am afraid that my honorable friend is not aware of the ramifications of this organization, and does not know how its influence is extending into the trade organizations -which he represents, or, rather, I believe that he knows a little of what is taking place, because there is plenty of evidence of the influence of the Industrial Workers of the World on some of the unions. The poison is there. The doctrine of “go slow,” and the other vicious ideas of the Industrial Workers of the World, are creeping into the unions, and I should expect my honorable friend to be one of the first to wish to drive them out. He should be glad of any measure to help crush this viper, which is rearing its ugly head, and threatening the very existence of our peaceful social organizations. Yet from the Leader of his party we have had an attempt to put the fruitgrowers and fishermen of Australia into the same category with the Industrial Workers of the World. By so doing, he Insults these men, who are doing their best to build society upon a peaceful and prosperous basis. What did his argument amount to, if it was not that the Industrial Workers of the World is no better and no worse than the associations of which he spoke? He mentioned Mr. Walpole’s organization - the Employers Association. Because it has sought an interpretation of the law which he himself helped to pass, he puts them on a par with the Industrial Workers of the World. He likened also to that association the fruit-growers of -Australia. He says they are the victims of designing middlemen, though I have not known the stealing which has been spoken of, although I know something of the business of growing fruit. It is those who know nothing about a business who are most glib in speaking of it. To put the fruitgrowers on the same level as the Industrial Workers of the World is the . deepest insult that the honorable member could have offered to them. Whether he meant it or not, I do not know.
– The right honorable member knows that he did not mean it.
– I can only accept his own language. I say that the honorable member put those whom I have spoken of on the same plane as the Industrial Workers of the World. He said plainly that if we were going to interfere with the Industrial Workers of the World, we should deal similarly with- these others.
Then he said that the Bill had been introduced in the hope that it would apply to trade unions. If the trade unions are committing the offences with which it deals, I hope that they will come within its provisions. They have no right to consideration if they are doing these things. If they incite to and instigate the taking and endangering of human life, let the Bill fall on them with all its weight. I do not, however, believe that they are doing these things, and the Bill will not affect them. The honorable member for Yarra insulted trade unionists by suggesting that it was aimed at them. It is aimed at criminality. I know of no sneak thievery as mean as the doctrines of the Industrial Workers of the World, which is one of the meanest organizations on earth. It tells the workers to destroy the property which produces their wages and the employers’ profits. They are to do this by underhand, despicable, and clandestine methods.
– No one defends the Industrial Workers of the World.
– I cannot conceive of an Industrial Workers of the World member making a better defence for the association than the honorable member did.
– The honorable member was hoping -that the honorable member for Yarra would defend the Industrial Workers of the World.
– I should be sorry to hear him defend that association. But he did nothing but condemn a Bill, which is aimed at the suppression of thecriminality for which the association is responsible. He had not the courage to condemn it straight out on its merits. What he said was that if we were going to pass this kind of law it should embrace such people as the fruit-growers, the fishermen who tip fish overboard, and all who,, acting under the law, seek to get for themselves a certain interpretation of the law. But such people . cannot be put into the same category as the Industrial
Workers of the World, and every case ought to be treated on its merits. This the Bill- does; it indicts no organization » and no individual, except the organization or individual who, in turn, incites to. crime, tries to overturn society, or endeavours to stop the war from being waged with proper effectiveness. If a man is innocent; this Bill cannot touch him, and, therefore, it is idle for the honorable member to trump up all these statements as to its motives and intentions. The terms of the Bill are on the face of it, and if a man commits any of the offences there set forth he should come within the law. There is not one who denounces the Government for trying to visit such acts with consequences - none dare say that such offenders should not be tried and punished. Why, then, this subterfuge ? Either honorable members are in favour of the Bill or they are not.
– Why taunt us in that way ?
– The honorable member’s leader made a speech this afternoon which he should have been ashamed to make in connexion with a Bill of this kind. To try to drag every other section of the community into the same category with these criminals-
– There are some other sections just as bad, who rob the people day after day.
– Who are they?
– I shall tell you when I get up.
– If there are such persons, they ought to be dealt with ; but I know of no sections of the community quite like the Industrial Workers of the World.
– Go down Collins-street!
– Are they to be found in Collins-street?
– And in Sydney, too!
– As bad as the Industrial Workers of the World?
– Yes; and they are poli- . tical supporters of yours.
– Political supporters of mine? I tell the honorable member that he is insulting both the men of whom he speaks and me.
The honorable member for Yarra offered one criticism with which I have, perhaps, a little sympathy. In his opinion, these offenders should be indicted and dealt with by a jury. Personally, I am not sure that it would not be the better course; but would that satisfy anybody in this organization ? Has the honorable member for Yarra read his own organ, the Sydney Worker, which is the most influential Labour newspaper in. Australia ? In a recent publication, some comments are. made on Judges and juries, and, in case that, by some chance, the honorable member and his colleagues have not read this issue - though it is extremely unlikely, seeing that it is practically their Bible - I should like to read an extract or two. Here is what that journal says about Judges and juries, speaking of the recent trials in Sydney -
And only a Judge as insolent as he was bitterly biased could have handed out fifteen years for that, and pretended he was dealing lightly with the prisoner at the Bar.
At the conclusion of the article, which is a very powerful one, we find the following -
It is horrible to think that fifteen years of his. valuable life should be wasted in gaol while that brainless and brutal jury goes about pluming itself on what it has done, and that class-biased and bitter Judge sits in the seat of justice with loaded scales.
Is that the kind of jury to which the honorable member referred ?
– To what particular prisoner does that article refer?
– To Donald Grant, who received a sentence, of fifteen years. I am not saying whether Grant’s sentence was right or wrong, but merely dealing with an attack made on a Judge and jury of our fellow-countrymen. WV. are told that the jury were “brainless and brutal,” and go about “pluming themselves “ on what they had done. Does the honorable member for Yarra say that this jury, selected after the right of challenge had been exhausted, was brainless and brutal, and went about gloating over the fact that they had done an injustice to somebody? Does he really believe that kind of thing goes on ? We all know Judge Pring, and I cannot believe him to be either class-biased or bitter. He is firm, stern,, and inflexible in his uprightness, and I know of no Judge actuated more by a sense of justice and duty to the humblest individual in the community. Yet we have that gentleman thus bitterly denounced. The mere submission of such cases to a jury will not satisfy some of the ablest and most influential propagandists who support my honorable friends in the corner.
As for the organization itself, I do not think very much need be said; its own works and doings in Australia are quite sufficient. We all know that this association came from overseas - that it has hatched in villany, and conceived by men whose minda seem to be poisoned entirely against society; who throw overboard all the things for which we have been fighting all our lives, and discard all our ideas of peaceful social progress. They say, in a word, that right should be turned into wrong; that a new ethic should be set up which does not trouble about whether an action is right or wrong, so long as it accomplishes the object in view. This, they say, is the test of whether an action is right or wrong. Here let me quote from a recent book, American Syndicalism, by John Graham Brooks.
– He is an anti-Labour writer in America.
– I do not think so; my reading of the book leads me to suppose that he is the other way of thinking, if anything, and believes in all that trade unionism, properly conducted, stands for.
– Properly conducted !
– Yes, properly conducted.
– We all believe in that.
– The author a quotes two veterans in the Syndicalists’ organization, and he says that with them the main thing is to try to bring society upstanding - to paralyze the arm of society - and that this is the way in which it ought to be done -
The electrical industry is one of the most important industries, as an interruption in the current means a lack of light and power in factories; it also means a reduction in the means of transportation and a stoppage of the telegraph and telephone systems.
How. can the power be cut off? By curtailing in the mine the output of the coal necessary for feeding the machinery or stopping the coal ears on their way to the electrical plants. If the fuel reaches its destination, what is simpler than to set the pockets on fire and have the coal burn in the yards instead of the furnaces. It is child’s play to ‘ put out of work the elevators and other automatic devices which carry coal to the Areroom
To put boilers out of order use explosives or silicates or a’ plain glass bottle which, thrown on the, glowing coals, hinders the combustion and clogs up the smoke exhausts. You oan also use acids to corrode boiler tubes; acid fumes will ruin cylinders and piston rods. A. small quantity of some corrosive substance, a handful of emery, will be the end of oil cups. When it comes to dynamos or transformers, short circuits and inversions of poles can” be easily managed. Underground cables can be destroyed by fire, - water, plyers, or -explosives, ‘ &c.
Further on, under the heading of “ Sabotage,” there are still further instructions as to how this kind of thing can be done. The Prime Minister referred to the way in which petroleum has been placed in ovens where bread is baked, and. the author from which I am’ quoting goes on to say -
In recent strikes among bakers, the bread in its early stages has been spoiled by some unappetizing addition (like castor oil or petroleum) to the dough. Though it cannot be eaten, the eater is reassured by M. Pouget that in no case is it poisoned - unpalatable, yes, “ but not injurious to health.”
There is any amount of that kind of thing in this book, showing the devilish machinations of these clever, capable, men ; but their cleverness is only the measure of their criminality, and they, ought to be prevented from putting their ability to such, ignoble uses as the destruction of the basis of society under which we live. As to the ethic of it, here is what is said of industrial unionists -
The industrial unionist, however, holds that there can be no agreement with the employers of labour, which the workers have to consider sacred and inviolable.
Industrial unionists will, therefore, sign any pledge, and renounce even their organization, at times when they are not well prepared to give battle, or when market conditions render it advisable i;o lay low, but they will do just the reverse of what they had to agree to under duress, when occasion arises to gain advantages to the worker. To disobey court injunctions is a “ duty.”
– Why not deport these men ?
– I hope the honorable member will assist in passing a law under which such men may be hunted out, as I understand £hey have been from America with some success.
– This Bill will not enable us to deport the men who were sentenced the other day.
– They, are already punished, I suppose. .
– There is only one of them who could be deported, namely, the Russian, for the others are all British - citizens.
– We may be able to do something else .with them, I hope. If the Bill is not strong enough, honorable members ought not to denounce it, but to make it stronger. The general secretary of the Industrial Workers of the World in Chicago, Mr. St. John, writes as follows: -
As a revolutionary organization the I.W.W. aims to use any and all tactics that will set the result sought with the least expenditure of time and energy. The tactics used are determined solely by the power of the organization to make good in their use. The question of “ right “ and “ wrong “ does not concern us.
That is a fine industrial ethic to lay down. The sooner we deal with those gentlemen the better. No quarter can be given to them. They violate every law, and do it . with impunity. Indeed, their minds seem to be so perverted that they deem themselves to be doing the right thing when they are doing that which is absolutely wrong. And the reason for it all is set out in the same book in these words -
The I.W.W. has now come to the knowledge that justice, liberties, rights, &c, are but empty words, and power alone is real. Refusing to even try to delegate its powers, it stands committed to the policy of direct action.
The general strike becomes, in Griffuehle’s words, the conscious exposure of labour’s efforts to free itself. . . The best fellows we send to legislatures, to mayors’ chairs, or to ministries lose their heads. Not one of them- breathes that atmosphere two years, , but comes back to us a changed man. It is a crooked road that makes crooked men. We have found now a road that leads straight where we want to go. That road is direct action. ‘
That direct action has the disadvantage, that it leads directly to the subversion of society as we know it, and to’ all sorts of criminal practices. It leads to murder, arson, and crime of every description, and in so far as this little Bill, comparatively meek and mild in its terms when placed alongside the heinousness of these crimes, lends itself to the extermination of this kind of conduct in Australia, it should receive the unanimous and cordial support of every man in this chamber and elsewhere.
Mr. HANNAN (Fawkner) T4.181.- I understand from other honorable members who have had a great deal more experience than I in comparing Bills introduced into this House with existing laws of the Commonwealth ‘ and State, that there already exists greater power to deal with unlawful associations than is asked for by the Government in this Bill. The measure provides for a penalty of imprisonment for six months, and yet a few days ago, under the State law of New South Wales, men were sent to gaol for fifteen years.
– They were sentenced’ for conspiracy. The penalty of six months is for inciting.
– The States have power to deal more drastically with any’ citizen who has been guilty of inciting an individual or an organization to commit an offence against existing law than the Commonwealth will have if approval is given to this measure. They have also* the right to deport undesirable persons from our midst if they are satisfied that their presence in the country is not to its advantage. I interjected to the Leader of the Liberal party that behind the introduction of this measure was the motive i>f making political capital. I believe that to be so. Both the Leader of the Liberal party and the Prime Minister, in justification of the Bill, have referred to thegrowth and expansion of the Industrial Workers of the World in America, and” have quoted from American writers the> doctrine of that organization. Whilst doing that they have continually dragged” into their remarks Australian tradeunionism.
– The Leader of the Liberal party stated that I.W.W.-ism was a parasite which was trying to attach itself to unionism. ‘
– Hear, hear!
– And the right honorable member further stated that I.W.W.ism was a cancer which was already in the Australian trade union movement.
– I did say that.
– In support of that statement, the right honorable gentleman quoted from the work of John Graham Brooks in regard to the doctrines preached by the Industrial Workers of the World in America, and, like the Prime Minister, tried in a subtle way to attach to the? recognised Labour movement in Australia the odium attaching to the works, deeds, and professions of those individuals in. America.
– The honorablemember has not the slightest justificationfor making that incorrect statement.
– What has .been said’ in that way by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Liberal party, and members of the Government and the Liberal parties, is nothing less than contemptible. Those honorable gentlemen have in theirminds the fact that, in the very near future, there is to be an appeal to the people, and that it is essential for their success ‘ at the polls that they should in some way lower in the estimation of the> general public the Labour movement, and those who represent it in this Parliament. To succeed in this attempt to degrade the Labour movement and ite representatives, they are cunningly endeavouring to connect that movement with the crimes committed in New South Wales and elsewhere by the Industrial Workers of the World. I recollect the Prime Minister replying, about two years ago, to the honorable member for Flinders, who had said that Syndicalism and the Industrial Workers of the World had the sympathy of the rank and file of the Labour movement. The Prime Minister indignantly repudiated that statement. He carefully traced the growth of the Industrial Workers of the World, which, .he said, was an outcome of the great trusts and combines of America, where the employers, controlling all industries, were oppressing the wage-earners, who, not having the power which we in Australia have through the ballot-box, had, after exhausting every legitimate means to fight their enemies, turned to these unlawful methods, including the destruction of the employers’ property. Therefore, he said, this organization was the product of the illegal trusts and combines that were crushing the lifeblood out of the people of America. At that time, the Hon. W. M. Hughes was Leader of the official Labour party, but to-day we heard him encouraging, and even making, the statement that the official Labour movement in Australia is. practically controlled by the influence of the Industrial Workers of the World.
– I did not hear him make that statement.
– If the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Liberal party wished to prove a connexion between the official Labour movement of Australia and the Industrial Workers of the World, why did he not turn to the records of the Trades and Labour Council, and of the recognised trade unions, in order to discover resolutions in which those bodies have expressed sympathy with the works and doctrines of the Industrial Workers of the World? They do not do so; they cannot do so. In their imagination they draw false pictures of this organization, and they try to play on the feeling and sentiment of the community, and at the same time place the responsibility on the Labour movement of Australia.
– The’ honorable member spends hours every day in preparing imaginary attacks on himself.
– So far as the Leader of the Opposition is concerned, and his attack on the recognised trade and labour movement of Australia, tha’,, is not imaginary . Day by day the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are wilfully trying to place the odium of the actions of the Industrial Workers of the World on the recognised trade union and political Labour movement of Australia.
– That statement is simply untrue.
– Read the Age, the Argus, the Sydney Morning Herald, or the Sydney Telegraph. Any person reading the speeches of the Prime Minister during the referendum campaign who would say that the right honorable gentleman meant no harm to the Labour movement of Australia must be very simple minded. It is recognised that the attack is made’ for one purpose only. These gentlemen have in mind the near approach of a general . election. The Prime Minister and the Leader, of the Opposition would be doing themselves more justice if they found out authoritatively what connexion, if any, there is between the Industrial Workers of the World and the Trades and Labour Councils of Australia instead of quoting from works written in other parts of the world.
– I admit that there is no official alliance. Why does the honorable member thrash that bogy?
– Is the right honorable gentleman satisfied that there is no connexion whatever, official or otherwise?
– I am satisfied that the Industrial Workers of the World’s influence is trying its best to get control of the unions. That is all I have ever said.
– The Leader of the Opposition has no justification for that statement. As has been explained by the Prime Minister, the Industrial Workers of the World stand for bringing about reforms by a certain mode of procedure - by direct action, the general strike, the destruction of public property, and, if necessary, crime. They do not believe in sending men into Parliament, because they say openly and fearlessly that every Parliamentarian is a parasite. No distinction is made in this regard’ between Labour and Liberal candidates. What is the attitude of the official Labour party in Australia^ They believe in reform - industrial, social, and economic - but they seek to bring it about-
– By direct action.
– By a method that is altogether different; by the method which sent the honorable member for Hindmarsh into this Parliament - that is, by constitutional means.
– But they will put him out by direct action.
– That is the difference between the two organizations, and it has always been maintained. I do not think that there is any member in our community to-day - except a few, who are perhaps, not altogether responsible mentally for their actions - at any rate, there is no sane person in our community, Labourite or Liberal, who would support a policy of the destruction of public property, or justify the action of these men in taking life.
– I believe that there is not a great number who would do that, but the poison is still there. Let the honorable member help us to extract it.
– I will support the Bill because no right-thinking person in our community will have anything to fear from it. If any person desires to advovate the taking of life he must be prepared to put up with the penalty; if any person desires to incite people to do things that they should not do that person must be prepared to put up with the penalty. Apart from a time of war, any person guilty of these things should be liable to punishment. I have no objection whatever to the Bill.
– Then why the imputation of all these motives?
– I wish to show that I do not believe in the necessity for the introduction of the Bill, or the powers that are sought to be given by it. We have had demonstrations that if the Government so desire they can practically control this country by regulation. Already they have done almost everything by regulation. Furthermore, we know that the State authorities in New South Wales have full powers to punish these persons if they so desire. In fact, when all is said and done, the responsibility will have to be taken by the States. Police constables in the pay of the States will attend the outdoor meetings. Even if the Government believe that the measure is essential - which I do not - it is but the crowning act to a lot of statements by the Prime Minister on public platforms, and appearing in every paper in circulation in Australia. At a later stage no doubt the Prime Minister will be able to turn round and say to the people, “ As an indication that I was perfectly sincere in what I said on the public platform, did I not introduce a Bill into the Federal Parliament for the purpose of dealing with these people effectively?” We know that things are said in this House with a smile and a twinkle’ of the eye, and often with the tongue in the cheek, which bear quite a different interpretation when read in cold print. Then again, like the constant drop of water, we have had statement after statement from the Prime Minister, the honorable member for Balaclava, and others at various meetings such as “ The Industrial Workers of the World have the Labour movement under their control,” and “ These people are controlling the Labour movement.” When honorable members are asked to explain these statements they say, in conversational tone across the benches, “ We did not mean that at all. We admit that they have no connexion with the Labour party. We admit that they have no influence with the Labour party;” but when they are addressing the House officially or addressing electors outside this Chamber we hear quite a different tale. I wish to say, in conclusion, that I see no harm in the Bill. I do not think that it was intended to have a sting - other than a political one which could be used at a later date, and I believe that the States can deal effectively with these people as they have dealt with men in Sydney during the last two or three months, and as they have dealt with them in Western Australia, and no doubt as they would deal with them in Victoria if these people had any influence here. But they have no influence in Victoria, and as far as numbers are concerned, they have no influence in New South Wales. The Leader of the Opposition has said, “ What you people want, and what the Labour party and the Leader of the Labour party know, is that when it comes to an election you will obtain their votes.” But in New South Wales, which is supposed to be the stronghold of the Industrial Workers of the World in Australia, Mr. Holman, in a statement made in the Legislative Assembly of that State, said that in a population of nearly 2,000,000, the total membership of the Industrial Workers of the World did not exceed 500 scattered through the State. Yet the Leader of the Opposition says that the Leader of the Labour party in his speech was endeavouring to make an appeal for the sympathy of those people. Fancy the members of the Labour party appealing for the sympathy and support of an organization with a membership of only 500 in the principal State, while knowing that such an appeal must deprive them of the support and influence of tens of thousands of other’ voters. The proposition is too stupid.
– The results do not show it.
– What is uppermost in the minds of Ministers is that recently certain proposals that were placed before the electors were defeated. They believe over one-half of the voting population of Australia - over one-half of those who went to the ballot-box - were so weak and so foolish as to be influenced by an organization, controlled by criminals, to vote against the proposals of the Government. I say, fearlessly, that the influence of the Industrial Workers of the World, in so far as the “ No “ vote was concerned, was infinitesimal.
– I deny that assertion.
– I repeat it as one who urged the electors to vote “ No.” Three weeks before the vote was taken - at a time when the question was Being fought on its merits - I had a conversation with two representatives of the press in New South Wales, and one told me that he believed the “ No “ majority in that State would be 250,000, while the other went so far as to predict a “ No “ majority of at least 150,000., The same gentlemen, speaking to me a few days before the voting, said they thought that after all there might be a majority in favour of conscription. They had been led to change their view because of the trump card played by the Prime Minister in referring to the destruction of public properly and the taking of human life by members of the Industrial Workers of the WorM, and his attempt to show that supporters of the “No “side, both inside this Parliament and outside of it, were under the influence of this unlawful, life-taking, property-destroying organization. I do not hesitate to say that, without that weapon in the hands of the Prime Minister, the majority for the “ No “ vote would have been ‘300,000 or 350,000.
– I did not meet a member of the Industrial Workers of theWorld who was supporting the’ ‘ ‘ Yea ‘ - side.
– The PostmasterGeneral says that he never met a member of the Industrial Workers df the World during the campaign who was in favour of compulsory military service. I shall not contradict him. The members of the Industrial Workers of the World were opposed, not only to conscription, but to one volunteer going out of the country. The Industrial Workers of the World in this, as i:a every country, are antimilitarist, and the Postmaster-General,- as one who is supposed to have taken an interest in Labour politics, for the last thirty years, ought to know that a member of the Industrial Workers of the World cannot advocate conscription.
– That is all right.
– So that the honorable gentleman, in saying that he did not meet with a member of the Industrial Workers of the World who, was in favour of conscription, merely stated something that practically every one in the community ought to know. Certain organizations were opposed to conscription.
– The Water Lilies opposed it.
– Even the members of the Water Lily Church were opposed to it. The official Labour movement, in all the States save one, also opposed conscription, but the Labour movement in Australia is not opposed to the voluntary system. The late Government, of which the Postmaster-General was a member, waa responsible for ‘the policy which sent 300,000 men out of this country, under the voluntary system, to fight the Empire’s battles. It was the members of our party who, by their votes, enabled the late Government to carry on their war policy until conscription was proposed. When the Postmaster-General tells .me that members of the Industrial Workers of the World supported the “No” campaign, and that, because of their opposition, the Government proposal was defeated, I can only reply that, as an advocate of the “No” side, T should have preferred to see the advocacy of the Industrial Workers of the World on the “ Yes “ side of the campaign. I shall vote for this Bill, although I believe’ it to be unnecessary. There is no necessity in this country for the adoption of the methods at which it is aimed. If there is an oppressive law in this country, the humblest individual has the same right as the wealthiest to go to the ballot-box, and vote for an alteration of the representation in Parliament. If we do not use the constitutional means at our disposal to bring about reforms it is pur own fault; and not the fault of our system of government. “While there might be some justification in some countries, where the people have not the rights and privileges that we possess, there is absolutely no justification in our country for the adoption of the methods against which this Bill is directed.
– The object of “this Bill, as set out in the preamble, is to deal with the advocacy and the incitement to the commission of diverse crimes and offences, and it declares certain associations unlawful. The association known as the Industrial Workers of the World is declared to be an unlawful organization, and also - any association which, by its constitution or propaganda, advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates to the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction or injury of property.
– Would not the conspiracy laws deal with “such offences?
– I shall come to them presently. After that declaration the Bill proceeds to make provision for the attainment of its object. We find, in clause 4, a general declaration that -
Whoever advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates to the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction or injury of property shall be guilty of an offence.
That provision is not confined to the member of an organization or association lawful or unlawful. It is a general enactment that any person who incites or instigates to,, or advocates, the taking or endangering of human life or the destruction or injury of property shall be liable to be prosecuted, and, on conviction, to be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. The next clause deals with members of unlawful associations. It provides that any person who - being a member of an unlawful association, advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates to any action intended or calculated to prevent or hinder the production, manufacture, or transport, for purposes connected with the war, of troops, arms, munitions, or warlike material, including foodstuffs, shall be guilty of an offence.
In order to prove a charge brought against an individual under that clause, it would be necessary, first of all, to prove that he was a member of an unlawful association - an association which, by its constitution or propaganda, advocated or encouraged or incited or instigated the taking or endangering of human life or the destruction or injury of ‘ property. Having proved his membership, it would then be necessary for the prosecution to establish that the person charged with an incitement to, say, hinder the production, for purposes connected with the war, of arms, was guilty of such offence.. In that case, a penalty would be imposed. A further penalty provided in the case of foreigners is deportation. An additional method of enforcing the general principle is that of penalizing - any .person who prints or publishes any writing advocating or encouraging, or inciting or instigating to, the taking or endangering of human’ life or ‘the destruction or injury of property.
When we analyze this Bill, we find it is aimed at those who incite or instigate to, or advocate the commission of, two classes of offences; the one relating to life, and the other to property. There is not a member of this House who does not in his heart approve of the condemnation of persons who incite to the commission of these offences. Those who commit specified offences in relation to life or property may to-day be prosecuted and convicted under the law of the States. Laws to protect life and property are not new. They lie at the Very foundation of our society. If there was no protection for life and property, then the very foundation of our society would disappear. But this Bill goes still further than the State laws. Under the Queensland criminal code, for instance, any person who counsels or procures any other person to commit an offence is liable to a penalty;, but there the prosecution has to prove that the offence has actually been committed - that another person has been counselled or procure ! to commit the offence. In various States the law follows along the same line. But in this Bill there is an extension of the law - a new offence is being enacted - and that is that persons who, in their propaganda work, advocate, encourage, incite, or instigate, others to destroy or endanger life or property shall be liable to a penalty. It is because the State laws do not adequately deal with that phase that the Prime Minister has found it necessary to introduce this measure for the period of’ the war and six months thereafter.
– Have not the States the power to deport? Is not this an additional power that is being provided for ?
– It is an additional power. It has been held by. the Privy Council and by the High Court that there is the power underthe Constitution to authorize deportation from Australia. The Government aims now at the punishment of persons who go through the country inciting to or instigating acts of violence against human beings or property, inciting to general acts of violence. The Commonwealth is taking this power because it. is, to quote from the preamble to the Bill - expedient for the effective prosecution of the present war that laws shall be enacted for the suppression of such practices.
The intention of the Bill is to permit of the whole energy of the nation being directed to the carrying on of the war, and to provide means for the punishment of certain offences committed by members of unlawful organizations which might impede the carrying on of the war. Naturally there can be no objection to the Bill in principle ; the only question arises as to its necessity. The ‘ Prime Minister has shown clearly that there is in this country an association known as the Industrial Workers of the World, that it is carrying out propaganda work, as the result of which injury has been done to property, and lives have been endangered and lost. Some members have said, “ Cannot the States deal with this evil?” The States are punishing crimes as they occur, but the object of the Bill is to strike at the evil at its source by preventing the spread of a propaganda which incites to the commission of crime. On the 1st December, the honorable member for Wakefield brought under the notice of the House a speech delivered at Broken Hill, at a meeting of the Labour Volunteer Army, in which, according to the Prime Minister, there were references to sabotage, directions for destroying haystacks, straw stacks, farming machinery, and other property, blasphemous remarks about the Deity, and some doggerel rhymes. In Queensland, according to a newspaper, similar propaganda work has been going on - .
Everybody is familiar with these “ stickers,” which may be seen adorning walls and windows in almost every part of the city. Sometimes the wording varies, and white lettering on a red background tells the public at large - “ Sabotage “ - the Bosses’ Nightmare.
The matter was brought under the notice of the Treasurer of Queensland, who, at the time, was acting for the Premier of the State. He said -
It has been brought under my notice that there have been posted in various places of employment in towns single “ stickers “ counselling workers to “ slow down.” This is evidently part of the malicious propaganda of the Industrial Workers of the World. This body - the Industrial Workers of the World - is a body of irreconcilables, who stand for “ direct action “ and sabotage in industrial matters. They will have nothing to do with industrial arbitration or any kind pf legislation for the betterment of the conditions of the workers. … It would be nothing short of rank lunacy , for the workers to discard these advantages and adopt the illogical unreasoning statements of the Industrial Workers of the World. I believe that any person in Queensland who exhorts his fellow workers to adopt any of the phrases of sabotage is an enemy to unionism. He should be treated as an industrial pariah, and not admitted to the ranks of the intelligent unions. The Labour movement has fought too long and suffered too much to permit its present position to be jeopardized by irresponsible adventurers who, I fear, are endeavouring to implant in Australia the seeds of hurtful propaganda calculated to divert industrial unionism from its true objective, and bring disruption to its ranks.
The honorable member for Parramatta has spoken of the Industrial Workers of the World doctrines as threatening to become a cancer on unionism, and the statement of the Queensland Treasurer, himself a Labour man, is an admission that its seeds are germinating here, and are calculated to disrupt the ranks of union’ ism. No one can seriously dispute the existence of the Industrial Workers of the World in Australia. The New Unionism is described in a book written by Andre Tridon, an exponent of Industrial Workers of the World methods. He says -
The New Unionist idea is permeating very rapidly the Australasian-English colonies. Following the Chicago Convention, at which the Industrial Workers of the World was launched, the Socialist Labour party of Australia conducted, through its weekly paper the People, an energetic propaganda for industrialism. Industrial Workers of the World clubs were organized in several industrial centres. The Sydney club adopted the 1905 preamble. When the preamble, however, wns amended, the State Labour party refused to . ratify the amendments. Many of its members, headed by George Graham Reeve, a miner, who is at present the leader of the Australian Industrial Workers of the World, seceded. Thus we find in Australia Industrial Workers of the World clubs affiliated with the parliamentary Industrial Workers of the World of Detroit and Industrial Workers of the World locals pledged to direct action and affiliated with the- Chicago Industrial Workers of the World.
– How does the writer know what is going on in Australia ?
– He gives his . authorities for. the statements that he makes. The identity of the propaganda in the
United States of America and. Australia shows the complete identity of doctrine.
Writing in America, the author is in a position to speak regarding the affiliation of Australian societies with the American clubs.
Mr.Fenton. - How do Governments of the United States of America deal with the Industrial Workers of the World movement ?
– I have not gone into that matter. The question for us now is, How shall we deal with it? Does the honorable member deny that sabotage has been, advocated by the Industrial Workers of the World in Australia?
– The word is not mentioned in the constitution of the association.
– We have it in the literature which is circulated by the association. It occurs in its propaganda, and in the speeches of its members. Let me read some of the extracts indicative of the methods of the alleged “new unionism.” I take this from page 42 of the book to. which I have just referred -
Resolved, That whenever there arises between employers and workers a conflict, due either to the employers’ exactions or to the workers’ initiative, and a strike does not produce results satisfactory to the workers, the workers shall use boycott or sabotage, or both, according to the rules laid down in this report.
We may distinguish three forms of sabotage -
Active sabotage, which consists of damaging goods or machinery.
Open mouth sabotage, beneficial to the ultimate consumer; and which consists in exposing or defeating fraudulent commercial practices.
Obstructionism or passive sabotage, which consists of carrying, out orders literally regardless of consequences.
In a bulletin quoted in this book as issued by the Montpellier Labour Exchange for 1900, the different forms of sabotage are thus set forth -
If you are an engineer youcan, with 2 cents worth of powdered stone . or a pinch of sand, stall your . machine, cause a loss of time, or make expensive repairs necessary. If you are a joiner or woodworker, what is simpler than to ruin furniture without’ your boss knowing it, and thereby drive his customers away?
A garment worker can easily spoil a suit or a bolt of cloth; if you are working in a department store, a few spots on a fabric cause it to be sold for next to nothing; a grocery clerk, by packing up goods carelessly, bring about a smash up; in the woollen or haberdashery trade a few drops of acid on the goods you are wrapping will make a customer furious; an agricultural labourer may sow bad seed in the wheat fields, &c.
The writer of the book from which I am quoting gives an extract from a pamphlet on Syndicalism and the Railroads, by A. Renault -
We must select among the expert workers a few comrades who, knowing every detail of the machinery, will find the weak spots where an effective blow can be struck while avoiding all stupid destruction of material.
As an illustration of that form of sabotage called obstructionism, we have this description of what took place in a Rome station -
According to regulations, ticket windows must be open thirty minutes and closed five minutes before the departure of a train. The wicket is opened; a gentleman offers a tenlire piece in payment for a ticket worth fourlirefifty. The ticket agent reads to him an article of the regulations, which requests passengers to present the exact amount of their fare. As no change is made, hardly thirty tickets have been sold within the regulation time. The wicket is closed five minutes before train time, with a mob of would-be passengers, who cannot pass the gates for lack of tickets. Don’t imagine, however, that those who secured transportation are much better off. They are within the cars, but that train does not move. According to regulations, a lot of switching has been done, which has stalled several trains 500 metres away. Some passengers, furious, leave the cars and start to walk to the station. Employees, in strict obedience of regulations, proffer formal charges against them.
We are now in Milan; a train has been assembled after an hour and a half’s work. The inspector notices in the middle of the train a ramshackle car. “ Car out of order,” and the train is cut in two, so as to permit of the removal of the objectionable vehicle.
By this third method, known as obstructionism, the whole of a railway service can be rendered futile. The Bill deals with the form of sabotage the object of which is the taking and endangering of human life and’ injury to property. Clause 5 deals with, members of an unlawful association who instigate the actions therein prohibited. The idea underlying sabotage is set out in an extract on page 55, and there we find what purports to be a justification of the doctrine. We- are told-
Sabotage ‘ is a direct application of the idea that property has no rights that its creators are bound- to respect. Especially is this true when the creators of the wealth of the world are in hunger and want amid the abundance they have produced, while the idle few have all the good things of life.
The open advocacy of sabotage and its widespread use is a true reflection of economic conditions. The current ethical code, with all existing laws and . institutions, is based upon private property in production. Why expect those who have no stake in society, as it is now constituted, to continue to contribute to its support?
Such an association as the one under discussion strikes at the very foundations of our existing society, and aims at nothing less than a complete revolution. Its methods of sabotage are such that, if tolerated, life and property in this community would be rendered absolutely insecure. It has been properly described as a most dangerous growth, and it ought to be checked at the earliest possible stage. This Bill does not interfere with the free discussion of political, social, or economic questions, and associations formed for the purpose of such discussion and criticising will be absolutely unaffected by it; there will be just as much liberty to express the most extraordinary opinions in this, connexion as there is to-day, for the measure deals only with persons who go so far as to advocate or encourage the taking and endangering of life and injury to property. This Bill is introduced because the State laws deal chiefly with’ specified crimes relating to life and property, and not with the general propaganda of incitement to the commission of crime. It is now sought to supply that deficiency; and I dare say that the States will adopt similar legislation. It is perfectly true, as already pointed out, that when this measure is passed, its administration will be mainly in the hands of the States, which have the necessary police, judiciary, and other instrumentalities. On the whole, I regard the Bill as a reasonable one. The honorable member for Yarra was under the impression that all the offences contemplated are covered by the Crimes Act; but that is a total misconception. In support of his view, he read section 5 of that Act, as follows -
The honorable member overlooked the fact that that section applies only to persons aiding or abetting in the commission of an offence. When, the law declares what is an offence, then the section operates, there must first be an offence created by Statute before any one can be charged with aiding and abetting in its commission. In regard to one section he mentioned, the honorable member was perfectly right. Where there has been actual destruction of Commonwealth property, as in the case of the Brisbane, there is a law to deal with it; but there is no Commonwealth law as yet under which a person may be punished who incites persons to the commission of such crimes generally. It is to meet such cases that we are asked to pass this Bill.
– What about the War Precautions Act?
– No doubt there are the widest powers under that Act; but I think that, except in urgent- cases, the duties of the community ought to be defined by Statute - that when we create new offences, it ought to be by Act rather than by regulation. Nothing that has been said by any honorable member has inferred in the slightest degree that trade unions are in any way associated with the crimes which are the object of this measure. As a matter of fact, this Bill is for the protection of trade unionism, and punishes those who might otherwise bring discredit on that movement. The aims and objects of legitimate unionism’ are clearly set out in every trade union Act of the States, and the Conciliation and Arbitration Act of the Commonwealth. Legitimate unionism is fully protected by law; but here we have an association, which alleges that it seeks to benefit societv and proposes to do so by destructive methods. That, of course, is a danger to society. The members declare that they are out for the reform of society and the improvement of the well-being of the worker, and that, of course, has a very fair sound. An association which existed for these purposes only, and sought to attain themby legitimate methods, would not come within the scope of this Bill. The measure aims at the suppression of an . association which seeks to carry out its objects by propaganda work, involving an incitement to a breach’ of those laws . relating to . life and property, which are the foundation of society itself. On the whole, I think the Bill will not meet with any serious opposition in this House, and, if put into operation, can do nothing but tend to promote the wellbeing of the Commonwealth.
.- Under the circumstances, I do not know that the Government have any right to either introduce legislation or govern the country by regulation. If the reasons mentioned by the Prime Minister for the introduction of this Bill represent the truth, it is utterly absurd that it should be put forward as a temporary measure. If the danger is as great as the Prime Minister has tried to indicate, there is every necessity to make it permanent. We are told by the right honorable gentleman that the members of this association have been charged with murder, forgery and uttering, arson, cutting the electric wires on the Brisbane, shooting a Government agent, arming themselves with automatic pistols at their meeting, and hooting the King’s name. Further, we are informed that the association is largely composed of foreigners, with a fair number of Germans, who use their influence against the Allies in this war; that they are a pesthouse of social infection; that they advocate the “go-slow” doctrine, believe in sabotage and the general strike, and have no belief in nationality. It seems to me that the only thing the Prime Minister forgot to mention was that the members of the association are wreckers of the marriage tie and of the home - a gibe that used to be cast at the party to which he recently belonged. I suppose, however, that he has left that part of the business for the Women’s National League when we have the elections. The Leader of the Liberal party was very indignant this afternoon at the idea that fruit-growers and fish merchants should be in any way associated with the Industrial Workers of the World; but the right honorable gentleman must have a very short memory if he has forgotten so soon that during the recent campaign
– I think there ought to be a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– The Leader of the Liberal party was highly indignant at the thought that any one should associate the fruit-growers or the fishermen with such a social pest as the . Industrial Workers of. thei World. But during the recent campaign there was no indignant protest from the right honorable gentleman when the Prime Minister linked up with the Industrial Workers, of the World over a million people, who were voting against conscription. Does the right honorable member forget the insult that was then hurled against more than half the people in the community? The charge that was then made, against them still rankles in their hearts. , One would have thought that an association charged with all thecrimes enumerated by the Prime Minister would have something like a record throughout Australia. But the police record in regard to offences by members of the Industrial Workers of the World in Victoria shows that there have been: two charges. One man was chargedwith having referred to thei Prime Minister as the blackest scoundrel the working classes had ever produced.
– On a point of order, is the honorable member in order in repeating in this House words uttered by persons outside concerning members of Parliament, and which the honorable member would not be allowed to useas coming from himself on the floor of the House?
– The honorable member is not in order.
– Do you mean to say, sir, that I cannot refer in this House . to a charge which was made in a Court of law, and is public property? I am onlyreading the charges levelled against twoof these men in Victoria.
– You have got one charge out; read the other.
– The other charge referred to. a warrant against a mart, named Hughes for horse-stealing-
– Order! That charge has nothing to do with the Bill before the House.
– Surely it has, sir The Bill proposes to declare a certain organization illegal, and I am quoting the only two charges levelled against members of that organization in Victoria. Those charges were deferred for six months. The Liberal party and the press tried to show that the Labour party is connected with the Industrial Workers of the World, and their crimes and doctrines. They may repeat that statement in my constituency as much as they choose, for the electors know that I do not believe in arson, sabotage, the destruction of property, and murder. But in dealing with an organization like this it is well to understand what its members do advocate before we condemn them. The report of the trial in Perth, published in this morning’s paper, illustrates the proper method of dealing with those men who are inclined to go too far in their anxiety to reform society. Many of these men are just as sincere in their convictions as are any members *in this House, and “instead of trying to squelch them with the iron hand of oppression, as this measure proposes, they should be dealt with as they were in Perth, where, ifthey gave guarantees of good behaviour, they were allowed to go forth as free men, and if they refused to give guarantees ‘ they had to go to prison for three years. It has been said that the Government have no power to deal with these organizations, but the fact remains that they are being dealt with at the present time. In Sydney, where the Industrial Workers of the World have been most active, men have been sent to goal for periods ranging from five to fifteen years. One man, as has been said, received fifteen years’ imprisonment for saying fifteen words.
– Members of the Industrial Workers of the World were not allowed to land at Vancouver.
– I was in Vancouver and saw nothing of them. In fact, I do not think I have met half-a-dozen of these men in my life. While this Bill seems very mild in its way, my fear is that, when a Government, such as that now in power, is able to make regulations, we shall never know where the operations of the measure will end. Clause 7 provides^ -
Any person who prints or publishes any writing advocating or encouraging, or inciting or instigating to, the taking or endangering of human life or the destruction or injury of property, shall be guilty of an offence.’
Penalty: Imprisonment for six months.
Honorable members may say that the Bill deals only with straight-out inciting to kill somebody, or burn property, or place castor oil in the bread, or sand in the bearings of machinery, but under a dragnet clause like clause 7, the present Go vernment might rope in the Labour Call or The Worker. Honorable members have quoted from various writers and newspaper articles as to what the Industrial Workers of the World advocate. I will give honorable members some quotations from the preamble of the organization -
The working class and the employing class have, nothing in common.
This is not the first time that this statement has been made. Stripped of all sham the interests of the two classes are necessarily opposed. It is to the interests of capital and labour that production shall be continued, but when we come to the apportionment of the products we find that the interests of the employer and the worker are opposed -
There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people, and the few who make up the employing class have all the good things of life.
– That does not apply to Australia .
– I am only stating what the Industrial Workers of the’ World advocate, according to their own preamble. I do not believe in direct action; I believe in arbitration. . I do not believe in the general strike. As the Prime Minister said, the general strike is impossible; its breaks down under its own weight.
– Why assist a band of criminals ?
M.r. HAMPSON. - I am not assisting a band of criminals. But I am not going to condemn an organization on only scraps of information as to its principles. The preamble continues -
Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production, and abolish the wage system.
These are not the only people who think that out of pur wage system we may evolve a better society -
We And that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs-
I ask honorable members to recognise that the Industrial Workers of the World are opposed to the ordinary trade unions.
– They are always fighting us.
– And will the honor.able member try to link up the Industrial
Workers of the World with the trade union movement? The preamble says -
The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of- workers in the same industry, thereby helping to defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers. These conditions can be changed, and the interests of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lock-out is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all. Instead of the Conservative motto “ A fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work,” we must inscribe , on our banner the revolutionary watchword, “ Abolition of the wage system.” lt is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only ‘for the every-day struggle with capitalism, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown.
We see that they propose to carry on production and industry after they have overthrown capitalism. Therefore, these statements about their being anarchical in- their views do not hold good - so far as their preamble is concerned. The preamble concludes -
By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.
The Prime -Minister has said that this association is undemocratic, but from its rules I find it is essentially democratic in its working. It is certainly sounder in its Democracy than a Government which is representing a minority, and endeavours to bring in this legislation with the idea of bolstering it up afterwards by regulations. A convention of the Industrial Workers of the World was held in 1906, and its work was ratified by a referendum in the same year. The same was done in 1907, and each year following. No matter how wrong we may ‘think their methods are, and no matter how much we may condemn some of their actions, we must regard the organization itself on its merits and on what it preaches, and not on what a few of its members may have done. We might ju3t as well say what was said and done in times of excitement and stress in days gone by by a few members of the union of which the honorable member for Darling was so prominent a member applied to the whole of the union.
– In that case the union itself did not stand for what the few did, whereas this association does stand for what the few do.
– The rules of the union did not advocate some of the acts? which the individuals performed.
– But this organization, does advocate what the individuals do. ‘
– I’ do not wish to read all the rules of the Industrial Workers of the World, though, as a matter of fair play, they should all appear in Ilansard.
– The honorable member has not read the literature of the organization.
– But that is quite a different matter. The honorable member would not contend that his union was to be held responsible for what might be said in any newspaper. Some things have appeared in the Worker for which the honorable member would not care to have the whole of his organization held responsible. The honorable member knows that some of the members of his union were guilty of criminal acts, for which the organization was not responsible. These people are in exactly the same position.
– No; for one thing, they advocate sabotage.
– The word does not appear in their rules. They do not advocate it.
– But when their leaders are telling people how to achieve certain objects, they advocate such things.
– The honorable member is accusing them of things that they may do, and is dealing with’ them as a body. He proposes to make them an illegal association. My point is that if we hold this body responsible for the actions of the few, we could have done it to the Australian Workers Union in years gone by.
– But this Bill would not have touched the Australian Workers Union.
– The Industrial Workers of the World are not only against the construction of society as it is at present, and against ordinary trade unionism, they are also against parliamentary action. Therefore, I do not suppose that they would get many supporters in Parliament. This is . what they say in reference to political parties and discipline -
Whereas the primary object of the Industrial Workers of the World is to unite the workers’ on the industrial battlefield; and
Whereas organization in any sense implies discipline through the subordination of parts to the whole and of the individual member to the body of which he is a part; therefore be it Resolved: That to the end of promoting industrial unity and of securing necessary discipline within the organization, the Industrial Workers of the World refuses all alliances, direct or indirect, with existing political parties or anti-political sects, and disclaims responsibility for any individual opinion or act which may be at variance with the purposes herein expressed.
They do not believe in political action.
– They started, with political action, but they altered their policy at the second conference.
– Some of the members of the Liberal party who seem to know so much about this organization may be able to tell me its numerical strength; but, personally, I believe that there are very few members of the Industrial Workers of the World in Australia. We have ample power to dealwith the actions of individuals who may be connected with the organization. When Parliament frets into a state of panic, and rushes legislation through with the object of saving society from some great calamity that is supposed to be menacing it, my experience is that the legislation has a worse effect than its authors anticipate. I believe that the Prime Minister is resentful about the hard things that some of these men have said about him, but these men were taken before the Court, and sentenced, though their sentences have been suspended. No man can agree with what was done in Sydney. Any one would condemn and suppress with the utmost rigor the destruction of property, but it is absurd to bring forward a special measure to deal with something that has been practically’ confined to Sydney, and also to a certain extent to Broken Hill. With a Government in power that has abused its position under the War Precautions Act by issuing a proclamation which sought to enforce conscription before the consent of the people was given,’ I am afraid to pass this Bill. We have heard the Prime Minister say that though every Minister’s head be lost he will ‘ issue any regulation he pleases. Therefore, I do not think Parliament is justified in allowing this Government to propose, and have enacted, measures of this description, or in leaving it in the hands of that Government to carry out their provisions.
.- No honorable member has sympathy with the crimes that have been committed, but much of the same line of argument that has been employed against the Industrial Workers of the World has been, used in times past against other organizations, notably the Australian Workers Union, and even against the Labour party itself. It . is a very brief time since every one associated with the Labour party was accused of the greatest crimes in the calendar. The members of the Labour party were said to have no sympathy with marriage; to be believers in free love, and in the snapping of the marriage tie, and in the farmingout of children. Everything that was cruel, and untrue, or bad, was uttered in regard to the Labour party, In introducing a Bill . of this kind or a Referendum Bill, the Prime Minister will never be short of adjectives with which to make an impression on his audience. He has quoted from his own book, The Case for’ Labour, issued from the Worker office in Sydney, and containing for the most part a reprint of articles written by himself and published in the Sydney Daily Telegraph. It is only about eight years since he had something to say about the Industrial Workers of the World. On page 37 of his book he said -
It is not a series of industrial engagements which the latter contemplate, but a decisive battle. Of the issue of this industrial Armageddon they seemto have no doubt. Upon its precise nature they are more than a little vague. Whether it is -to take the shape of a universal cessation of labour by the workers of the world, or something more sanguinary, we cannot learn. Sometimes they lead us to believe that it is by passive resistance they hope to succeed; at others more robust means are suggested.
– “ Robust” is good.
– Yes, that- was his mild language of those days. If I remember rightly, he was engaged in a . newspaper controversy with a Mr. Batho, who stood as a Socialist candidate for the Senate in New South Wales. He was one of three Socialists who stood against the candidates of the Labour party. The very fact that these three men stood for the Senate in opposition to Labour candidates shows that the Industrial Workers of the World cannot be associated with the Labour party. I have a lively recollection of the vigorous language they used in denouncing, not the Liberal nor the Fusion party, but the Labour movement. Their choicest epithets were reserved for our party. Between the Labour party and the extreme Socialists ‘and the Industrial Workers of the World to-day there is a wider breach than ever. In this article Mr. Hughes went on to say -
Of those who hold these opinions some call themselves the Industrial Workers of the World, others declare themselves to be Socialists, qualified by some prefix. Generally, they are anything but Socialists - being, in fact, communists or anarchists. For it is most important to remember that between Socialism and communism, or Socialism and anarchy, there are fundamental differences. Anarchy is the very negation of Socialism.
I think we shall all subscribe to that -
Individualism is acompromise upon anarchy - anarchy modified, so to speak. Socialism is the apotheosis of economic and industrial systematization. Anarchy, on the other hand, is economic and social chaos. Now, the whole effort of. the Labour party is to substitute order for chaos in the industrial and economic spheres, and that section - an overwhelming majority - of unionists who support the Labour movement is in accord with them in this effort.
Those lines are as true to-day as they were when written.
– The Prime Minister does not say otherwise to-day.
– I wish that he had always spoken as he did when introducing this Bill to-day. The Minister for the Navy must have sat down in his easy chair many a time during the referendum campaign and’ have smiled at some of the caustic utterances of the Prime Minister intrying to associate the ‘ Labour party with the Industrial Workers of the World.
– Have not some of the industrial unions passed a resolution- of sympathy with members of the Industrial Workers of the World who have been convicted of offences?
– Even the honorable member, I daresay, has been associated with an organization, members of which, at a very sparsely attended meeting, have passed resolutions which do not at all represent the views of the majority.
– But members of unions have been compelled to pay levies to assist these men.
– I should like to know of any union under whose rules a member could be compelled to subscribe for the defence of an Industrial Workers of the World man.
– Members of unions can be compelled, under the Arbitration Act, to pay all levies’.
– That is only in relation to industrial matters. The Prime Minister went on to say- in this article -
It was the minority - who oppose the Labour . party, and with whom, politically or economically, the majority has nothing in common save the fact of their unionism - from whose opinions we most strongly dissent. Some of these were’ so distinctly hostile to the political party with which the vast majority of unionists is affiliated that we notice, with some surprise, that their expression was per-: mitted to be made without effective protest. Quite apart from this; and considered on their merits, most of these appear to be ill-considered and illogical.
There is one point which has been effectively put by the Leader of the Liberal party, and also by the honorable member for Darling Downs, which I desire to emphasize, and that is that this Bill ought to be so amended as to provide for persons charged with offences under this Act being tried by jury.
– It will need, I am inclined to think, to provide for both trial by jury and for summary jurisdiction in certain cases.
– As a rule, most serious offences under both Federal and’ State laws must be tried before a jury. A man charged with the vilest of murders is provided by the State with counsel for his defence, and must be tried by jury. I hope that this Bill will be amended to provide for trial by jury.
– In times of great excitement, a person charged with an offence under this measure might get a better run from a Judge.
– There may be some truth in that statement. Many intelligent men would prefer, in the event of their committing a breach of the law, either by intent or accident, to have their case tried by a Judge rather than by a Judge and jury. Whilst I do not wish to say anything derogatory of those who preside over our Courts, I think there are few men who, no matter what their lives may be, are normal in these stressful times. There are few who are- not suffering from nerves, or some other trouble, and there is something in the contention raised by the honorable member for Bendigo that, even in trying to prevent the commission of offences which we all deplore, we must be careful that we do not give way to panic, and pass legislation that we shall have to amend. Such an experience has happened in connexion with our State legislation. I have a lively recollection of drastic legislation passed by the Victorian Parliament on the occasion of the railway strike. So panicky did the’ State Parliament become that it went so far as to deprive public servants and railway employees of their votes. I predicted at the time that the Parliament would be ashamed of its action, and that the law would be repealed. A future Parliament did repeal it, and gave back to those men that of which they should have never been robbed. A public servant is a citizen and a taxpayer, and is entitled to all the privileges of citizenship.
– Were all the men reinstated after the strike?
Mr.FENTON. - Some did not go back. A few were in a slightly more fortunate position than some of their fellows, and did not return to the railway service. There may be. a few who are not enjoying all the privileges they had before the strike.
Then, again,’ there are many in this community who favour the abolition of capital punishment. I do not share that view. But there are some people who say that men who publicly advocate the abolition of capital punishment are actually offering a premium to the committal of murder and other capital offences.
– The Queensland Legislative Assembly has passed a Bill abolishing capital punishment.
– There are many quite honest in the conviction that capital punishment should be abolished, yet there are well-meaning people in our community who accuse such men of offering a premium for the committal of murder and other capital offences. Such is not the case. We have to be careful in order that we may do the right thing. I have not the slightest doubt that all tie offences against which this Bill is directed can be punished under the Crimes Act, the War Precautions Act, or State legislation.
– None of those measures deal with the offence of “ inciting.”
– Only the New South Wales Act deals with that offence.
– Any offence can be dealt with, in my opinion, under the War Precautions Act.
– It would not be wise to use the War Precautions Act in this direction.
– Perhaps so; but the point I am making is that, even if this Bill were not passed, those who commit the crimes with which it deals could not escape. Men have already been brought to book for such offences.
– Every case cited by the Prime Minister has been dealt with.
– But only after the commission of the crime.
– I am merely showing that we have power already to deal with men who commit these crimes. If we have not, then it is singular that action has not previously been, taken. If it be true that we have not this power, the legal members of the House must have known of it. Why this sudden spasm of virtue ? I repeat that I believe that any offence could be punished under the War Precautions Act.
– No one denies that these offences could be. dealt with under, the War Precautions Act, but why deal with them by regulation ?
– It is strange that, while some of the most important problems that could await a Parliament yet remain to be solved by us, this measure is brought forward as if it were absolutely essential to the successful prosecution of the war, and to the preservation of our community from crime. I may be out of order in referring to some matters that are specially deserving of our attention at the present time. Reference was made to one of them in the House last week - repatriation. That is the kind of legislation that we ought to be considering this afternoon in the interest of our soldiers.
– And does not the Tariff need amendment?
– Yes. There are several things that have been awaiting attention for a long time. The Ministry, however, assisted by the Liberals, have suddenly brought in this Bill, and other matters must be held over until we reassemble ‘at the end of January or ‘the beginning of February.
– The honorable member is not going to oppose the Bill?
– No. I understand that the second reading will be carried on the voices.
– Then let us carry it.
– I feel bound to draw attention, first, to the other important business that awaits consideration. A much more important matter is the amelioration of the conditions of our returned soldiers, and the providing of employment for them. In to-morrow’s newspapers the speeches of the Prime Minister and of the Leader of the Liberal party will be reported almost verbatim, but little space will be allowed for the remarks of the members of the party to which I belong. We should be regardless of our duty, therefore, if we did not avail ourselves of what opportunity we have to express our opinions. Are the members of the Industrial Workers of the World the only persons in Australia whose crimes should be punished ?’ What did the Prime Minister tell the electors in 1915? He said then that Australia was suffering because the National Parliament had not the power to deal with the thieves and vagabonds who were robbing the poor of the community. In the pamphlet which he wrote in advocacy of the amendment of the Constitution, he dealt in picturesque language with many of these vile crimes. What he wrote then i3 true to-day. He pointed out that the people were being exploited by trusts and monopolies. I wish to show that there are others in the community besides the members of the Industrial Workers of the World who should be dealt with stringently.
– If they are members of unlawful associations, they will come within the scope of this measure.
– This measure cannot be applied to them. In the pamphlet to which I refer, the Prime Minister said -
Are the people now exploited by trusts and monopolies to wait for years for relief? Are the labour organizations, which have been urged to abandon the strike and seek relief in the Arbitration Courts, but have time and again, after protracted and expensive efforts to obtain justice, seen the fruits, of their labours snatched from them by legal technicalities, by injunctions, prohibitions, ‘ and other devices by which capital contrives to defraud labour of its just rights, to wait for years ?
Those who have taken advantage of technicalities to deny justice to the workers, and who have levied high prices on the necessaries of life, are as much the enemies of society as are the members of any illegal association aimed at by the Bill. The Prime Minister asked -
Is not industrial peace absolutely essential to a successful prosecution of this war? Did not the strike’ on the South Wales coal-fields gravely imperil the Empire and threaten it with imminent disaster? But. how can industrial peace be insured when employers have the means of setting awards of the Arbitration Courts aside by recourse to technicalities and expensive and protracted litigation?
The conditions of America cannot be compared with those of Australia. Even some of those on the Ministerial bench - a peaceful man like the Vice-President of the Executive Council - would, if living under American laws and conditions, be ready to join the Industrial Workers of the World.
– Certainly not. The Industrial Workers of the World, it has been proved, has been associated with strike-breaking, and has been in the pay of capitalists. v -
– Then how can the Labour party be associated with it? We are opposed to strike-breaking. There are things which the honorable member would have done in the early days of the Australian Workers Union that he would not do now, and there were offences committed then which he has condoned, but which he would not condone if committed now. He knows that in the ‘early days of unionism scores of men had to seek employment under assumed names. Men who have figured conspicuously in the battles of the Empire were forced to resort then to all sorts of tactics to which they would not resort now. So, under American conditions, things are tolerated which we cannot tolerate here. “In a country where every adult has a vote, we should be able to secure what we want by constitutional methods, though I am afraid that even with an elaborate amendment of our Constitution we shall hardly be in a position to do many of the things that ought to be done* The robbery of the people, which, causes the high cost of living, bears very hardly upon women and children particularly, and many of them are relatives of soldiers, but little is being done by the Government to relieve them. There can be no greater crime than to gamble in foodstuffs.
– Is that a justification of the actions of the Industrial Workers of the World?
– No ;’ but the Government has power to deal with others who at present violate- the law. What need is there for this measure when more important matters await consideration - matters such as the amendment of the Constitution ?
– We appointed a Food Prices Board.
Sitting suspended from 6.28 to 8 p.m.
– I repeat that, in my opinion, there are measures and problems of more urgency upon which we might be engaged, and there is sufficient power under the law as it exists to deal with the offences contemplated by the Bill. Twelve months ago the Prime Minister described certain individuals in the community as profit-mongers, exploiters of the people, and makers of huge fortunes out of the war, and told us that profits were higher than before hostilities broke out, and that excessive interest and rents were being charged - in short, that there were many unscrupulous people in the community with whom he sought power to deal, and yet to-day his voice is silent regarding them. As a party, we have nothing to do with the Industrial Workers of the World, and, both inside and outside this Parliament, the voice of Labour has been raised against it. At the recent Inter-State Conference, one of the resolutions - carried, I believe, unanimously - repudiated any connexion between the Labour party and the Industrial Workers of the. World. I presume, however, that the measure will pass, though I regard it as only a piece of window dressing and advertisement in view of the elections in the near future. .
– I am rather afraid that the Prime Minister is up to his tricks again. I do not think it is the Industrial Workers of the World he is after, but rather poor “ Jimmie.” I am one who believes that there is legislation enough to deal with the offences which have called forth the Bill. Some may remember that a little while ago I was rather afraid of the War Precautions Act, and subsequent events have proved that my fears were well founded, seeing that it has been used for purposes never intended. The . harmless Bill before us, intendedor the Industrial Workers of the World, has a sting in its tail, as represented by clause 8, which gives the Governor-General power to make any regulations, not . inconsistent with the Bill, that the Government may choose. The Prime Minister commenced by saying that the Industrial Workers of the World here is founded on the lines of the
Chicago organization. That - may be so, but I know members of the organization here whose object is quite an innocent one, and represents the original idea of combination, namely, one big union. That the organization has become permeated with persons whom Australia could well do without, we all know; and I do not think there is a parliamentary representative who has not a very strong opinion so far as these people are concerned. There are many members of the Industrial Workers of the World who, like our friend Fleming, on the Yarra Bank, would not kill a fly.
– It is only talk! Mr. MATHEWS.- They talk “ direct action,” but their idea is not shooting policemen- through a window, making £1 notes, and firing buildings, but rather that, instead of wasting time on legislative enactment, they should, by means of the strike, bring about that which they desire. While sectional strikes have always been, and still will be, very effective in attaining the ends of the workers, all the talk about the world-wide strike is ofno use so far as they are concerned. If the worker is prepared to keep his wife and family from starving for seven days, the other side, which is well represented in this Chamber, can do so for eight days, and, to my mind, the idea of a universal strike is useless. The trouble is that one is somewhat fearful of trusting a Prime Minister with a measure of this character. The Prime Minister tells us thatthere are some of the Chicago members of the Industrial Workers of the World in Australia, but I may say that there are very few in my electorate. One of these, while he talks pretty loudly, would not, I am sure, havethe pluck to kill anybody, and he says that he belongs to those who call themselves revolutionary Socialists. A revolutionary Socialist . does not mean a person who would burn down buildings if he could not get his own way, or who would engage in any form of sabotage; all the revolutionary Socialist talks about is his intention to revolutionize society in a proper, peaceful, legislative manner. When we hear the Prime Minister trying to connect all sorts of organizations with the Industrial Workers of the World, it does not need any great stretch of the imagination to see that he might , spread his net and get a few of us in.
– He might get himself in!
– I remember the time when the Prime Minister would have certainly come under the condemnation which he is voicing to-day, and when I listened open-mouthed, with my hair on end, because I was regarded as a very namby-pamby kind of Socialist.. The trouble is to prevent the form of sabotage as we know it, and as it is supposed to be carried out in Australia; but, unfortunately, when we give a Government certain powers, they are often used in al direction never intended. The men who were recently tried in Sydney, like all men charged with crime, pleaded not guilty, but they were found guilty and sentenced ; and if they committed the acts alleged they deserved all they got. The objection is that these men were found guilty before they were tried by the Court; and in this connexion the Prime Minister and the newspapers of Australia were the principal transgressors.
– Not against these particular men.
– Yes, against these particular men.
– Nobody could deny the fact that fires and incendiarism were rife in New South Wales.
– We agree that something of the sort took place, but we must remember that one man said that he thought it would be a fine thing to burn down some place and thus dc his father a good turn, and then lay the charge against the Industrial Workers of the World.
– I am sure the individual faults of the men tried were not discussed at all, because the Court would not have permitted it.
– We all know that the newspapers of Australia and the Prime Minister found -these men guilty before they were tried by the Court. I do not like to say harsh things of the Prime Minister, because I know that, like the rest of us, he has his troubles; but I am afraid of handing my liberty over to him. I am quite willing to assist in passing an enactment to prevent sabotage, which is a form of action most repugnant to any Australian. If I lived in a country where I did not have a vote - where the suffrage was not as it is in Australia - I do not know what I might .do. I . might go in for sabotage,, or I might even agree to shoot landlords from behind a hedge. In Australia, however, the man who resorts to .any other method of bringing about reform except that provided by the ballot-box and the Legislature, is a danger to the country. True, the franchise is rather restricted in some of the States, but the Federal franchise is so wide that no man has a right to resort to any other means than those I have mentioned. I was one who helped to return the honorable member for Fawkner to Parliament, and I listened to him with admiration one day when he attacked the Industrial Workers of the World, and told some of the members of it that they ought to go back to America, where they came from. That, I think, is the opinion of every member of the party to which I belong. If we felt that the Prime Minister could be trusted not to do anything under the Bill more than is now intended, I do not think much could be said against it; but the right honorable gentleman does very peculiar things when he thinks it necessary. . For instance, he uses the War Precautions Act as a man in a foundry might use a steam hammer to drive in a tack, though, when he could use it for the benefit of the country, he refrained from doing so. For instance, the great coal strike might have been stopped by the Prime Minister, but it was not; and it makes one a bit afraid when we find a man so using the law to suit himself or his own particular party. There is no doubt that the Prime Minister used the Industrial Workers of the World for all it was worth during the conscription campaign. Many men forcibly condemned him for this, and, though I was ashamed of him, I refrained from comment as long as possible, but at length I had to join in the protests, because I saw that he .was using his powers in a way he had no right to do. Of course, the Prime Minister is what some people demand. The honorable member for Moreton, for instance, says that we require a “ good, strong man” in power; but, of course, we only like the” “good, strong man” on our own side, and not on the other. It happens now that the honorable member for Moreton is on the same side as the Prime Minister, and he feels safe. I do not. The Prime Minister is game to. use all his powers. In Committee we ought to attempt to alter several of the clauses, particularly the last one, which dealswith the making of regulations. Under that clause the Prime Minister can do as he likes.
– No, he cannot.
– When the War Precautions Bill was before the House we were told that it was quite harmless, and necessary for use against the enemies of the country, and a majority of honorable members believed that. But I knew at the time that it would be used for purposes other than those for which it was intended. The idea of Parliament was that the Bill should be used against the country’s enemies. Instead of that being done, dunder-headed justices of the peace were allowed to sentence men to imprisonment for six months and twelve months, and if those same gentlemen could get hold of me they would send me to gaol for twelve years, if they could. I am certain of that. As a matter of fact, the actions of the Industrial Workers of the World in ‘New South Wales were used as an excuse for the imprisonment of Barker. The maximum penalty that should have been imposed upon Barker was a fine of 2s., instead of which he was sent to prison for twelve months. Articles were publishedin the press every day, compared with which Barker’s writings were as nothing, but he happened to be opposed to the Prime’ Minister. We are quite willing to enact any measure that will be used to suppress men who incite to kill and to the destruction of property, but we wish to be assured that innocent men cannot be imprisoned asthey were under the War Precautions Act. If that safeguard can be provided, I do not think the Bill will do much harm. But I desire the insertion of a provision to insure that the Bill shall not be used against persons other than those against whom it is primarily directed. However, I suppose the numbers are up. The Government have said to the Leader of the Liberal party, “ Will you have this Bill?” and he has replied, “Yes.” Therefore, the passing of the Bill is settled.
.- I was somewhat surprised to listen to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports when he expressed concern lest he might be imprisoned under this proposed law. The honorable member could not have spoken for such a length of time in regard to that danger if he had read the Bill, because I do not believe for a moment that he is a gentleman who entertains any idea of encouraging or inciting any one to take action that would endanger human life or lead to the destruction of property. I give him credit for being a much better man than that. Therefore, I was sorry to hear him express concern that he might be enmeshed by this Bill if it should become law, having regard to the fact that unless he were guilty of such incftation he could not be affected by this measure.
– I would not like to be on trial if the honorable member was on the bench.
– I should give the honorable member justice tempered with mercy. We have listened to many disclaimers from members of the Labour Opposition, who dread the thought of the political Labour unions being identified in any way with the Industrial Workers of the World. I congratulate them upon those declarations, but itis a great pity, indeed, that the political Labour unions are not equally careful o’f their reputations. We have only to Scan the columns of the daily press from time to time to discover, that a number of branches of political Labour bodies have carried resolutions sympathizing with the Industrial Workers of the World in a most practical way by voting money for their support and assistance. Perhaps the sting in the Bill consists.in the fact that under clause 5 any branch of a political labour union which carries a resolution condemning the Courts of law which have adjudged these men to be guilty, or which carries resolutions by which they vote sums of money for the support of the Industrial Workers of the World, will bring themselves within the meshes of the. law.
– Will that not apply to the’ Liberal party also ?
– The law will apply to anybody who falls into that sin.
– Clause 5 relates only to unlawful associations.
– Then a legal point arises as to what is an illegal association, and whether associations are by their constitutions illegal, or, by the acts they perpetrate, doing illegal things. That, seems to be an immaterial point. The very fact that organizations carry resolutions to encourage sedition, murder, arson, and other offences ought to bring them at once within the meshes of the law; and as clause 5 does not meet such cases, another clause ought to be added to the Bill by which any person or body of persons inciting these men to maintain efforts in defiance of the law should be punis’hable. I would silence every man or body of men who carried a resolution or publicly essayed to assist men who are in open defiance of this law ; and I cannot conceive how honorable members in the Labour Opposition corner can maintain their own self-respect and at the same time ‘ refrain from condemning those things which have led to the destruction of so much valuable property, and the murder of at least one man, and which are calculated to upset the whole social fabric and the constitutional conditions under which we are governed. I should not have risen to speak but for the speech of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who raised a bogus difficulty, and suggested that there was a possibility in this Bill of innocent persons being entrapped. No such thing is in contemplation. I am satisfied that the Government will not attempt anything of that sort. The measure is directed only against murderers, and those who incite others to evil.
– By the time the honorable member for Echuca reaches the distant parts of his electorate, the speech he has just delivered will have increased in virulence until he has included every member in this Corner amongst the Industrial Workers of the World. I can imagine how the honorable member will use this measure to flay everybody who sees differently from him in politics. However, the honorable member is so well known that people will be able to judge exactly the worth of his remarks. One almost hesitates to treat this Bill so seriously as to even speak upon it at all. Those who have been longer in politics than I agree with me that seldom has such a farce as this Bill been perpetrated in any Legislature. Others have pointed out that the means are already at hand to deal with individuals who commit the crimes that have been attributed to the Industrial Workers of the World. I wish to say, emphatically, with others sitting in this corner, that none of us have the slightest sympathy with the members of any association that is guilty of the crimes which have been mentioned to-day. It is almost unnecessary to give that assurance. I have seldom heard the Prime Minister to worse advantage than when moving the second reading of this Bill. In most matters, he can work up a little enthusiasm, but his speech to-day was absolutely devoid of enthusiasm. He knew that he was merely doing something for a political purpose. He made no attempt to identify any honorable member of the House with the organization at which the Bill is principally directed, but by innuendo the impression was conveyed that in some mysterious way some members of the Labour party, or some members of the organizations to which we belong, are connected with the Industrial Workers of the World.
– The Prime Minister did not say that.
– He dared not say that; but the imputation was there all the same. He knows the game perfectly well. He does not say it; but those associated with him to-day, particularly his new associates, would very soon enlarge on the insinuation to the extent to which the honorable member for Echuca has already gone, and will go when he is among his constituents. The Bill is unnecessary. If I thought it was necessary, I would be prepared to sheet justice home to any individual who would be guilty of these crimes; but I would not stop at six months’ imprisonment. What are the crimes for which these men are to be dealt with? Clause 4 says -
Whoever advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates, to the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction on injury of property, shall be guilty of an offence. Penalty: Imprisonment for six months.
– That is the penalty for inciting, and not for the actual deed.
– If the honorable member finds that a member of an organization has incited some other person to murder him, would he think a penalty of six months would meet the case? I do not think so. Such a penalty will not wipe out the wrongdoings of any organization. It is clear to me that the Prime Minister does not seek to wipe out the Industrial Workers of the World.
– There is also deportation.
– Yes ; for foreigners who come here. But let us deal with the person born in Australia who incites to murder. It is apparent to me that the Prime Minister has not brought in the Bill with the object of wiping out this, organization. He simply wishes to use it as a stalking-horse; and if the Industrial Workers of the World do assume serious dimensions in Australia the blame must rest with the Prime Minister for giving it the best advertisement it could ever have. Mr. Holman, the Premier of New South Wales, who has taken all the benefits that the Labour movement could give him, and, I regret to say, has lately gone the way of a good many others, has said that the membership of this organization does not exceed 400. In fact, he has referred to it as being infinitesimal in point of numbers. Yet now, because he has gone to the other side, this organization is made to loom largely for purely political purposes. If there was anything more pitiful than the look of the Prime Minister when he was trying to infuse a little bit of fire into his speech, it was the look on the face of the Leader of the Opposition when he found that no one in the corner, or elsewhere, would say one word that would prove ‘ him to be. in sympathy with the Industrial Workers of the World, or an organization of the character referred to in the Bill. That is the trouble. There is no one in the chamber, or among the organizations from which the members of the party in the corner come, who believes in the Industrial Workers of. the World. One of the objects in introducing the Bill was the vain hope that some one in this corner would say something that would implicate him one way or another with this outside association; but as that is not likely to occur, the Prime Minister has missed one of the principal objects he had in view. The Bill is simply a new bogy, which will serve the honorable member for Echuca and others when they get out in the back country. For years there have been men in this Parliament who have endeavoured to stem the progress of the Labour party by all kinds of imputations as to Socialism, Syndicalism, confiscation, and phrases of that sort; and now, when all these have died out, there is a fresh” bogy, that of sabotage, the terrifying word that they are about to drag round the country as a stalking-horse for the purpose of intimidating people. The measure” is the production of a party, small in numbers, that has lost the confidence of the people, principally through their recent advocacy of a system which is the very antithesis of the democratic sentiment that pervades the people of Aus- tralia.It is an attempt, as the Leader of the Labour party said to-day, to make good with the people again and to get back for the Prime Minister, a little of the reputation that he, apparently, considers he has recently lost.
– If this Bill will make good the Government with the country, the people must be waiting for it, and evidently it is necessary.
– There is no doubt the people are asked to believe that the Bill is necessary in order to deal with the Industrial Workers of the World, which we are told has been guilty of all sorts of hideous crimes.
– That is so.
– It is my duty to point out to the people that already the Government have in their hands all the power that is necessary to deal with these lawless organizations, if they exist; but there is an election looming up in the near future, and this is to be a very nice stalking-horse for the Prime Minister to take round the country. He believes that it will be the means of taking the minds of the people off his recent actions and lack of policy. By concentrating their minds on this bogy, he hopes to be enabled to win through. I have no sympathy ‘with any body of men that can stand charged with crimes such as are outlined in the’ Bill, but 1 would be prepared to do something effective ; I would not stop where the Prime’ Minister proposes to stop, at six months’ imprisonment. That punishment will be no deterrent in the case of such men. If there are in this country men who would be guilty of the crimes referred to in the Bill, or if there are men here of the desperate character outlined in the measure, it will not prevent any step they propose to take.
– Does the honorable member suggest imprisonment for six years ? ‘
– I would go further than that. But the Prime Minister does not wish to kill this organization. He is trying to encourage it, with the object of using it as a convenient stalking-horse to drag round the country.
– If he wished to do that, he would not have the Bill here.
– The Bill is a splendid advertisement for an organization that could be dealt with in another way at the present time. It is the best advertisement they could have. If it can be proved that there is an organization in this country that stands for the crimes outlined in the Bill, I would, go very much further than the measure proposes. I would go to the extent of wiping out the organization altogether. T have no sympathy with any of these organizations, but I believe that in introducing the Bill the Government are perpetrating a huge farce for purely political purposes.
– This measure looks very simple, but I invariably look to the source of a Bill- in order to see whether the stream runs true, and whether it rises in the mountains and gathers power as it rushes to the sea. What I am frightened about is that it is liable tq affect ex-Prime Ministers, and I would like to add- a clause to protect them. I could have been a very rich man in Sydney many yearsago, but the speeches that I heard frightened me. They said that everything was to be confiscated, and so I came to Melbourne, and did not make a quarter of what I would have made in Sydney. Bills such as these are boomerangs. In my travels in the United States of America I saw the effect of several of such Bills. They hit the very men who passed them. That is the danger. I will not say anything about the honorable member for Echuca. He gets very, excited. We have heard a lot about “ Seeing the light.” It’ is not the light that they see in this Bill; it is a case of feeling the heat occasioned by it. I may be mistaken, but I think that the Industrial Workers of the World have been magnified into a mighty mountain of importance, and that we are making martyrs of its members.
-They would have burned down Sydney if action had not been taken against them.
– I am glad thehonorable member has said that because I did not speak about heavy insurances. I do not know whether the honorable member has heard about a gentleman in the Western States who made a fortune by getting his -place burnt down. A friend said to his son, ‘ Why do you not get rich like Appleheimer?” and when the . son answered, “ I do not know how to,” his rejoinder was, “ Why don’t you get well insured?”
– Thatis a nasty insinuation regarding Sydney business people.
– My honorable friend is not the only business man in God’s green earth. It was a regular business among unsuccessful men in Western America - of course, such a thing would not be heard of in Australia - to pay high premiums, and get well insured.. A little later on ‘ ‘ she turned over and burnt out.” I have known for a lon,g time that business has not been too good in Australia, except in one line, and that is in supplying- the Army and the Navy. We had in Western America an association which every one used to blame for burning down houses. It was known, not as the Industrial Workers of the World, but as the “Dan Murphy,” because a famous gambler of that name was in the business. Every one attacks Tammany, but I have seen things in Australia infinitely more degrading than anything Tammany ever did. I am not going to defend these men, but I want the House to look at the other side of the question. If there were four or five Masons down Collins-street who were considered not too good, the whole Masonic Lodge, under this Bill, might be held up. Yet we have some splendid men among the Masons. Supposing an attack were made on the Presbyterian Church because of four or five elders whose conduct was disapproved of, or on the Roman Catholic Church because of the actions of four or five roosters in it - supposing on that ground either of those religious organizations was declared an illegal association, what would be said ? This is the beginning of the destruction of liberty. It is a serious matter to attack an association. Before the last general election the Liberal party tried to make a slogan of “ preference to unionists.” My sorrow is that I did not get the thousand that I arranged should be held by a friend, for to-day it would have been earning me £45 a year for life. I warn my friends of the Liberal party with all Christian fortitude; I have no ill-feeling against them. At the last general election they tried to make a slogan of preference to unionists, and I was the target. But Lord! How did she tumble? Thirty-one Labour candidates were returned to the Senate, and we got a majority in this House. This dog will not fight. It is only a rat terrier, whereas you want a, bull-dog with 40,000 teeth. This is a mistake. One never gains anything in this world by taking advantage of others - by resort to cunning, subtlety, or any kind of tricks. It is fax better to come out into the open, and be honest in the fight. Then if you are beaten on your merits all is well. In the United States of America recently, President Wilson provided for the legal recognition of the principle of eight hours, and Mr. Hughes, instead of fighting the Presidential campaign on a straight-out issue, attacked the eighthours principle. And, oh, Charlie I Where are you? It was the same with the other Hughes in Canada. He took up a certain attitude. Where is he? We ought not to play these little tricks. They cut no ice. It is a bad policy to make martyrs of people. Why has the great Irish question never been settled? Because every now and again a few fools rise up and are shot by the British Government. The result is that they become martyrs, and the whole nation is seething with sorrow, and weeping, and wailing. That is what happened quite recently over there. Instead of these men being shot, they ought to have been put where they could get a good feed and be well clothed - where they could be made Christians. In Australia, one can already near expressions of sympathy with the Industrial Workers of the World who were recently sentenced to fifteen years’ imprisonment. I do not know the rights and the wrongs of the case, but all this damnable persecution should be no more amongst Christian men. I cannot understand the honorable member for Echuca.
– He is not saved yet.
– He has never found salvation. He needs a missionary. Listening to him to-night, one would imagine that he was the sole survivor of the pre-neocene era of human degeneration. I” felt sad as I heard him talking. If God gives one man a bushel of brains, and another only a thimbleful, how can the thimbleful man be expected to know as much as the man with a bushel of brains? These men, instead of burning down houses, would be building them, if they had brains.
– Does the honorable member say that all burglars are without ( brains?
– I do. How is it that a burglar has never been able to take me down? It is because I think better than the burglar before he reaches nr:. I am the better thinker. I am looking for him, and he is looking for me. Why should’ the Government come down with a Bill of this kind when we ought to be considering financial measures, and trying to evolve mighty schemes for financing this country, instead of talking about Industrial Workers of the World lunatics? We take these poor, unfortunate, ignorant fellows, and shove them into gaol for fifteen years. And why? Because they are condemned before they are tried. We talk about British justice, but for 200 years the name of Judge Jeffreys has stunk, in England. He was paid a high price to serve his King, and he sent 350 people to the gallows at one Assizes. I hope we are not going to have a Jeffreys in Australia. I trust that Australia’s liberty is to live for all time. Why should the’ time of a great Parliament be taken up in this way ? Why should every little tin-pot thing be brought in here? We ought” to be dealing with great issues. We should be dealing now with the Tariff. We ought to have a Tariff as high as the Himalaya Mountains. Then, again, we ought to be evolving a scheme ‘ for the proper settlement of the soldiers on the land. We talk of putting them on little farms, but many of them know as much about farming as the skunk knows about Edison’s invention of the electric light. They will waste the little they receive in a few years, and will come back to our cities. . We hear a lot about sabotage. I remember a man in Western America who sent his son Hermann to college, and who told me when I asked how he was getting on, “ He is a great master of the languages. He ‘called me a double-dyed sea-horse this morning. . That must be Latin.” Then, again, ‘ there was the nigger woman Winch, who, in response to a call at a camp meeting for those who were prepared to come up to the Cross and be saved stepped forward, and was immediately greeted with the cry, from another negro, “ Here, Lizzie, I caught you stealing my chickens last night!”
– Does the honorable member intend to connect these remarks with the question before the Chair?
– I do, sir. Lizzie said, “ Do you think I am going to let a few rotten chickens stand between me and my Lord?” And are our friends of the Liberal party, in combination with the Government, going to allow the Industrial Workers of the World to stand between them and the selection of a slogan for the next election ? Nothing will save them. The handwriting is on the wall . I can already almost smell the corpse. My friends of the Liberal party cannot save themselves. Damnation awaits them. I warn my honorable friends that they must fight, this battle decently and honestly. I have never said an unkind word about an opponent, and I never intend to do so, for I may have to meet that man, some time, in Heaven, and T want to be able to say, “ I gave him a square deal.”
Mrr SINCLAIR (Moreton) [8.59].- We cannot afford to treat this question in the light and airy fashion with which the honorable member for Darwin would have us dismiss it. Rightly or wrongly, the public mind of Australia is agitated, and something is necessary to allay the fears of the people. This- measure, if it does nothing else, will restore public confidence. The honorable member for Bendigo has asked what is the record of the Industrial Workers of the World in Victoria. Whatever may be its Police Court record, the people of Australia feel that only firm, strong action by the powers that be will satisfy them regarding it. Speaking to me the other day, the head of a large firm said, “ We have had to employ seven additional watchmen toprevent depredations on our premises.”
– Was that in Melbourne?
– No; but I believe that in Melbourne the number of watchmen has had to be increased considerably. Another gentleman, from the country, when I asked him how he was getting on, said, “ We have decided to shoot the first man that we catch setting fire to our premises.” The head of the firm to which I have alluded also told me that every watchman on his premises was armed with an automatic pistol. When men have made up their minds to take the law into their own hands, and there is a state of public excitement, serious results may happen at any moment. The Bill at least will do no harm. I am surprised to find in the Corner party those who are prepared to defend the actions of an association which, to use the words of the Prime Minister; is a collection of outlaws and anarchists.
– To what members does the honorable member refer?
– I shall make that plain presently. I take it that the Sydney ‘Worker is the mouth-piece of the Labour party. No doubt the referendum brought bad blood, and, perhaps, foreign blood, into the conduct of that organ. But before there was any talk of a referendum - on the 13th July - that paper published the following statement with regard to the Industrial Workers of the World and their gospel of “ go slow “ : - ,
In an organization -so all-embracing as the Labour movement, there are certain to be different schools of thought, with different theories of action. Sometimes these schools may seem to be very wide apart; their tactics may present no features’ in common. But these are merely surface appearances. Probe a little deeper, and you will find that nothing essential divides them. The various sections of the Labour movement are bound together by the great principle of resistance to an exploitation of which all are equally the victims.
They claim the Industrial Workers of the World, those who are in the “ go-slow “ movement, as their comrades-in-arms against the pernicious capitalistic system which they denounce -
To our mind, the great objections to the I.W.W. way of doing things is not its theoretical depravity, but its practical futility. It does not get there. It fails to deliver the goods. The go slow” weapon does not hurt enough. It is a clumsy instrument; one that is wielded with difficulty, and is apt to snap off at the handle when you try to hit hard with it.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council was at that time connected with that newspaper.
– The extract that I have read shows the connexion between the Labour organizations and the Industrial Workers of the World. Then, in a letter published in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 25th July, there is an account of a meeting of members of the Industrial Workers of the World in the Domain, where the following resolution was carried, with only three dissentients : -
That this meeting pledges itself to resist the introduction of conscription by every possible means, and calls upon the Labour organizations to organize for a general strike throughout Australia in the event of a Conscription Bill being introduced.
A movement for a general strike was started by the Industrial Workers of the World; but it is to the credit of quite a number , of unions that they refused to take part in it. The executive in, I think, three out of the six States, ordered a general strike.
– Not one union in New South Wales came out.
– The rank and file would not follow the leaders. It was the same in Queensland, although there instructions for a general strike were issued.
– The unionists are condemned when they strike, and condemned when they do not strike.
– I condemn the unionist leaders for taking instructions from the Industrial Workers of the World.
– They had a stop-work day. Nearly all of the men at Cockatoo Island Dockyards stopped work.
– Nearly 15,000 men stopped work in Melbourne; but when they went to the Trades Hall to, hold a meeting, they could not get in, because those in charge of the building were celebrating a stop-work day too. The strike was organized, but, to the credit of the rank and file be it said, they did not obey their leaders concerning it. I have read the last extract to identify with the movement Mr. T. Glynn, who signed the resolution as secretary. I shall refer again to him later. Some six or eight weeks ago I attended a meeting at South Melbourne to hear Mr. Tom Barker speak. He and a number of Industrial Workers of the World members addressed the meeting. All of them incited the audience to acts of violence, or told them to go slow, and gave other advice which was against the interests of the community. I made the following note of what Mr. Barker said: -
I have been sentenced to four different terms of imprisonment of twelve months each since last January. ‘I have been let out each time. The last to let me out was Senator Pearce. They dare not keep me in . gaol, as there are too many mysterious fires while I am there.
Inflammatory speeches were made by others, who said that they were members of the Industrial Workers of the World. The honorable member for Dalley, writing to Mr. T. Glynn, of whom I have spoken, said -
I am glad to have your letter re Tom Barker. I am writing the Minister for Defence in this matter, and shall also see him personally, and do everything possible to have Tom Barker out again. I think the jailing of men for speaking that which is within them is most unjust, and should not be allowed in a free country.
– What is the matter with that?
– Barker has confessed that he was sentenced four times to imprisonment for a term of twelve months on each occasion for various serious offences; and he has boasted that he was released on each occasion because the authorities were afraid to keep him in gaol’ because too many mysterious fires took place while he was there. The man was justly sentenced, and yet the honorable member for Dalley says that he was interested in him.
– Does the honorable member suggest that I was responsible for any of the fires?
– I have not done so.
– That is the impression the honorable member wishes to create.
– If the honorable member is responsible for any fire, perhaps he will own up, and tell the House about it when I have finished my speech. I have not accused him of responsibility for a fire, but I accuse him of having tried to secure the release of a criminal who has caused a great deal of trouble,, and who shirks personal responsibility. The twelve men who were recently sentenced in Sydney to long terms of imprisonment have suffered for putting the vicious doctrines of the Industrial Workers of the World into practice.
– The honorable memberis supporting the Government that released Barker.
– It was not this Government that released him; but,if it were, two wrongs do not make a right. The time has arrived when disorder must be put down with a strong hand. If the Prime Minister is not strong enough, I hope that some one who is will take the matter in hand. This is another message sent to Barker -
I am with you right up to the hilt. I wish you could send me a copy of those posters, Good luck to you.
I do not know what the posters referred to were; but we have the honorable member for Bourke congratulating a confessed criminal, saying that he is with him “ right up to the hilt.”
– What do you infer from that?
– I hope the honorable member will explain the letter.
– You cowardly, dirty hound. I will explain it after you have finished.
– The honorable member must withdraw those words.
– I withdraw them for the time being, until I get on my feet. The dirty, miserable dog. I withdraw them again.
– The honorable member for Moreton is adopting a nice way of helping to get the Bill passed.
– Interjections are at all times disorderly, and especially so when honorable members are excited.
– I do not wish to create any excitement. If the honorable member for Bourke can explain the letter I have read, I shall be pleased to hear the explanation. I do not wish to cast a slur upon any member; but when one member after another rises to defend the actions of the Industrial Workers of the World, I begin to suspect that they have some purpose in doing so. To show that at least some of the unions are in sympathy with this movement, I shall conclude bv’ reading a resolution that was passed by the East Woollahra Labour League only a few nights ago. This is the newspaper report of the proceedings -
The East Woollahra Labour League has unanimously carried two resolutions with regard to the recently-sentenced Industrial Workers of ‘ the World murderers at Tottenham, and the twelve men who were sent to gaol on Saturday. The first resolution pro- tested against the hanging of the two men-
I do not object to that, because, personally, I think we might, at least, let these men off without paying the extreme penalty. There are some who do not believe in capital punishment, and it would only be in extreme cases that I should resort to it, though, of course, crime should be punished - and the second urged the Political Labour League executive and sympathizers to take immediate action to express its opposition to the men being imprisoned.
There we have sympathy expressed with men who have been punished for crimes attempted or committed on the peaceful citizens of Australia. If this thing goes on, and is not checked by the authorities, we shall experience in Australia what was seen in America some time ago, when the citizens took the law into their own hands. Mob rule is at all times dangerous rule, and we must put on the statute-book measures to suppress this sort of thing, and not leave it to a few exasperated people to shoot down their fellows because they think them guilty of crimes.
– I had not the slightest intention to speak because, whatever I may think on the question before us, I did not regard this an opportune time to discuss it generally. What brings me to my feet is the last portion of the speech of the honorable member who has just resumed his seat. That honorable gentleman has thought fit to interpolate on a Bill, and in a debate of this character, a personal reference to myself - a reference that has no bearing, directly or indirectly, on the subject under discussion, which is that of unlawful associations and a method of dealing with them. But the honorable member has seen seen fit to introduce a letter which I wrote to, another person some time ago; and for what purpose is this done ? It has no bearing on the justification of or opposition to the measure. The only object he has in view is to seek to identify me as a public man with certain crimes which have been committed, or are alleged to have been committed. Does the honorable member allege that I am identified with these crimes? If so, let him have the manhood to say so. Let him stand on his hind legsand justify his cowardly and dastardly insinuation, which is unworthy of any one who desires to assume to himself the character of a man. Of course, a man may do an injury to another unintentionally; but the honorable member cannot claim to have acted in ignorance. This imputation has been made before ; but so clear and definite has been the denial that no one, even on the honorable member’s own side, is unaware that the impression he wishes to convey is absolutely without foundation. Some two years ago this Parliament thought fit to pass a War Precautions Bill. Along with the honorable member for Ballarat, I saw fit to oppose many of the clauses on the ground that they were tyrannical. I said that under this pretence of defending the national interests, and protecting ourselves from enemies within our own borders, we were going to pass a Bill which would be utilized for the suppression of liberty of speech and the freedom of the press. The Prime Minister made a definite statement that the Bill would never be used for such purposes, and in his absence, the Minister for the Navy gave an equally clear and definite assurance to the same effect. On those statements, the majority of honorable members of the party then behind the Government were induced to support the measure. But as soon as it was brought into operation it was used throughout Australia for the suppression of free speech and the freedom of the press, and hardly any one of us who took a radical view on the question of the war was not subjected to it. Amongst the victims was a man named Thomas Barker. With what Barker was associated I knew nothing at the time; but he made a statement in the press to the effect that the capitalists ought to go to the war, and the working men would follow. That was his crime; he did no more. He was convicted, but he appealed to the High Court, and was set at liberty. There was a second charge, and again he was set at liberty bv the Court. Who was the criminal? Was it not the High Court? If I defended this man Barker, did not the High Court justify my action ? My language and my sympathy were justified by the Courts of the country to which he appealed, and which set him free. What was the next offence that this man was” supposed to have committed ? He issue.d a cartoon of a soldier being crucified on a cannon wheel, and got twelve months for that. The other day there appeared in the English newspapers complaints that Australian soldiers in England were being subjected to the ordeal of crucifixion. Was that not a justification of what Tom Barker did ? When the matter was brought ul. in the House of Commons, Mr. Lloyd George answered the question, not by a denial, but by a justification on the ground that this crucifixion qf Australian soldiers by English officers was necessary, and not a cruelty. This man Barker committed three offences against the War Precautions Act; and in regard to the last, so strong was the protest made, even by the daily press of the country, that the Government again set him free in response to the outcry. At that time I had no knowledge that the Industrial Workers of the World was such an iniquitous organization. Until I was involved, and, for political purposes, identified with the organization, I had hardly any knowledge of its existence j and even now I understand there are comparatively few members here. Indeed, had I been asked what was the difference between the Industrial Workers of the World and Syndicalism I could not have said. But the literature that has been quoted in this Chamber during this discussion will do more to raise in our young people an intense curiosity, and do more propaganda work for the Industrial Workers of the World than anything else could. I am going to support this: Bill heartily. What else can I do? We are told clearly and distinctly that there is a crowd of criminals abroad in this country,’ and that this organization has been in existence for ten years in New South Wales. Here, it appears, there is a band of murderers and criminals. When did they start? It is said that their organization, their constitution, and their propaganda make them criminals. But they have been here ten years, and must have-been criminals from their introduction ; and yet neither the Commonwealth nor the States have ever seen fit to take any action until it suited their political books. I have been intimately associated with the honorable gentlemen now behind the Government; and I know that the Prime Minister until he went to England to save the Empire, never exhibited any knowledge of, or raised any question in connexion with the Industrial Workers of the World. I hope however, to know something about this organization. I think it ls going to be a boomerang, so far as my information goes ; and that it will demonstrate one of the most odious conspiracies ever worked in this country, This is the greatest farce, and piece o:r political “fly-paper” ever put before a Parliament; there is nothing in it. There are none of the crimes denounced that are not capable of being covered by the ordinary operation of the War Precautions Act. The Government do not propose to deal with the crimes under that measure, but, as they say, to do so openly. Why? As an advertisement, in the hope that somebody will be foolish enough to oppose it. We are told that the ordinary processes of the Courts are not sufficient to cover incitements to crime. What stuff - what piffle - to put before children ! We are asked to believe that, after seventy years of constitutional government in the Australian States a man may go to another and offer him £50 or £100 to commit a murder, and that the ordinary processes of the Courts of the States are not sufficient to cover the crime. The thing is an , absurdity. To murder is a crime, and to incite to murder is a crime ; and there is power to punish both acts in the ordinary Criminal Courts of the States; and so with the crime of inciting to destroy property by fire or otherwise, whether the incitement be by money or threats. It is a mere bogy and sham to say otherwise, and it demonstrates the Government’s insincerity in the objects they have in’ view. It is, as I say, absurd to suggest that the public have no power to protect themselves against such crimes. And, then, for how long is this Bill to be in operation ? ‘ We are told, as I say, that these criminals have been in the country, for, ten years without discovery until now; and, if that be so, ought not the community to be guarded against ; them for ever. But how long, I ask, it is to be guarded? Until the war finishes? No. Until the elections are over. If the, elections are next year, or if the war finishes, as we are told by the Prime Minister that it is to finish, next June, that will close the operation of this measure. That will be the final stages of it. How is Australia to be protected ? The States have no means to protect themselves, we are told. This Bill is the only means by which we can protect them, and it is only going to protect the community till next June, till the end of the war; and after that the community is to be left once more at the mercy of this group of assassins. We axe asked to believe that unless this Federal Parliament takes the action indicated in this Bill, the community will have no power to protect itself. There is not one of us but knows very well that it is within the sovereign power of the States that the community is able to protect itself not only from crime but from incitement to crime, and that this Bill is pure piffle. We are told that the Government will deport people, and that the Industrial Workers of the World are murderers and criminals. They may be; therefore let us exterminate them. They committed all sorts of offences. They cut some of the wires on H.M.A.S. Brisbane.I read the other day that there was another fire in Sydney. The only unfortunate thing was that the fire was too late to serve the Government’s purpose, and the boys who caused it were caught. Papa’s business was not too good, and the boys were anxious to help papa, so they laid a trap ; and when they were taken into court they, said that they thought the fire would be attributed to the Industrial Workers of the World.’ There are periods in the history of every organization in every country when it becomes judicious and advisable in the interests of the governing class to allege against that organization every crime and every offence committed in the community. Another business building went up by fire the other day. It was a “ brummy “ business. The shares had dropped from 19s. to 9s. The premises went up in flames. ‘Again the Industrial Workers, of the World were accused. We were told that a Government agent was shot, and the honorable member for .Flinders asked where this had happened. The reply was, “ Never mind where. Yours not to reason why, yours but to believe it.” We were told that these Industrial Workers of the World are walking abroad in the community with automatic revolvers in their pockets, and nobody is taking any action against them. Despite the unlimited powers conferred by the War Precautions Act, and the fact that this organization lias been in existence for ten years, and that its crime is established, not in its offences but in its propaganda, and in the preamble to its constitution, nothing was done to suppress it. If it was a criminal organization, action should have been taken years ago, but no action was taken until there was a political end to be served. Every State has the power to preserve itself against crime, and the instigation to crime; but this Bill has no other purpose but to serve a political end. It is a trap set to catch flies. Let no man enter up his judgment too rashly in this matter. The day is coming when men in this Chamber, when the daily press, and the community generally will come round to an entirely different opinion as to what .were the operations in connexion with these charges. They will come to recognise to what extent the prosecution of these men was an organized crime for the purpose of serving political ends. The use of telegraphs and telephones, and the ringing up of the officials to “ hurry up with the trial “ are happenings which have yet to be disclosed. We shall yet hear more’ of the instruction, “ Whatsoever these men do, let it be given publicity and charged up to this Department.” Here are facts which all men and women who are unbiased and desire only justice must face : A number of men - three Australians, two Englishmen, two Scotchmen, two Irishmen, one Canadian, and one Russian - were charged with various offences. What is the fundamental principle of British justice? Is it not that nothing shall be said against accused persons while their case is before the Courts of the country ? . Do you, Mr. Speaker, know of’ any case in the history of Australia in which a body of men were charged with an offence, when justice, moved, apparently without anybody pushing it from behind, with such rapid feet from the time of the commission of the crime, to the display of the evidence for the prosecution ? Do you know of a case, sir, in which, the accused men had so little of the evidence in their defence furnished to the daily press? Do you know of any case since the war started in which the censorship was so rigidly exercised to prevent the public mind forming any belief that the men had a defence at all? Contemplate the spectacle of four men, witnessses for the prosecution, walking into court and taking a solemn oath that on a certain date they saw a certain man in a certain place; and it was proved that on the day when he was alleged to have been in this place in association with other men, it was absolutely a physical impossibility for him to have been there, ‘ because the evidence showed that he was in
Long Bay gaol on another charge. And when it was proved that those four witnesses for the Crown had conspired to commit perjury, the Judgethis fountain-head of justice, permitted them to sit down in Court and change the date from the day in respect of which an alibi had been proved to another day. Can you call that a Court of justice? Think of the case of the man Mcpherson, who was working in a ship’s hold. Mc Alister, a police agent, a mere phizgig, comes along and says to McPherson, “ I have become a convert to the gospel of the Industrial Workers of the World.” “Have you?”’ says McPherson; “come along to our office, and I will give you a dose of fire dope.” “What will I do with it?” “Burn something, or somebody; anything, anybody.” And all the time detectives are watching. McPherson does not hide his actions from anybody. But after getting the fire dope, stands in the open street and there discloses, under the view of the detectives, how to use the ma terial. Under cross-examination, the witnesses were asked, “ What was the date, and what was the time?” They mentioned the date. and the time. Then the wharfinger and the time-sheets were produced, and they proved that on the day and at the time stated McPherson was working in the ship’s hold. When the evidence for the prosecution could no longer stand, when even the Judge could not escape from the alibi, he said, “ Anybody is liable to make a mistake,” and allowed the prosecution to change the date. That is but typical of many features in connexion with the evidence. Goldstein was another man who, the Court was told, went into the office to get fire dope, and operated it in the public street. In the lower Court the evidence of witnesses under cross-examination proved them to be in conflict with one another, and the censorship was used to prevent the men’s defence being given’ to the public. On top of that, we had the crowning crime of crimes, a thing unknown in the history of this country or of Great Britain, when the man who represented the Government of the country was walking up and down the Commonwealth while these men were on trial, and speaking of them as criminals condemned by. a Court of law. Do you, Mr. Speaker, know of any such parallel case? I say there never was such a case in this country. The Prime Minister, who held in himself the agency of justice, who controlled the reins of government, who, by his belief in a God, by his oath to his King, by his obligation to the country, by his pledge to hold the scales of justice evenly, and by every sense of honour and obligation which a man in his position should respect, was bound to be silent while those men were yet to be heard and condemned, was attacking them on every platform. What man can indorse conduct and procedure of that kind ? . How could any man expect justice from tha Courts of the country? How could he be sure that the jury would walk into the Court unbiased? What is the reason for silence in regard to the case of a man undergoing trial? Why is it that the Courts and the law of the country, and the . common principles of honour and decency, demand that we shall be silent, and by no public speech or writing prejudge any man unheard ? It is that the jury shall walk into the box with an open mind. The press are not allowed to comment on a case, and if a newspaper does do so it is immediately brought to book before the Judge for contempt of Court. There are few men in this community who would descend to the tactics adopted by the Prime Minister, and very few men who would be permitted to do so. His actions were without parallel. I shall not go into the. case. in detail; but I say, deliberately, that for the deepest-dyed scoundrel amongst those men, dissatisfied as they were with their economic condition, suffering from poverty of mind and body, and possessed of a warped intellect, some excuse may be found, but what excuse can there be for a man, able-bodied, excellent in intellect, and in a position to hold evenly the scales of justice, who would so abuse the trust reposed in him as did the Prime Minister during the referendum campaign?’ His was the greatest crime of crimes, and whatever the crime those other men committed, it sinks into insignificance alongside this violation of the principles of British law, under which alone our Courts can give a guarantee of justice. I had not the slightest intention of saying a word on this Bill had it not been that the honorable member for Moreton dragged in a reference to me. I need not defend myself in any shape or form, but let me say finally, “ Where stands this organization ?” Somebody mentioned that one of the. reasons for the Independent Workers’ objection to political action , was that so many workmen go into politics and then become conceited. Against the natural conservatism of certain factions, the wealthy and the opulent, the squattocracy on the one hand and the moneyocracy on the other, there stands a class of men who, drawn out of the ranks of the working classes, elevated into positions and given honour, place, and pay, grow careless and indifferent, and the world looks brighter, and they become more indifferent than in the days . when they battled outside. So there begins a policy of protest and penetration in the different unions, which, after all, are being used as mere instruments to satisfy the political ambitions of myself or some other person. For political purposes, we say that we have no objection to these political organizations. How long are they to continue to be lifted up, only to be thrown down and cursed after serving our ends? So it is that, in these organizations, there grow up bodies of dissatisfied men, who draw themselves together by their dissatisfaction and common faith. The honorable member for Darling Downs brought forward to-night a book entitled New Unionism. The phrase “ New Unionism “ is not new. I heard it applied twenty-five and thirty years ago. What did it mean in those days? It meant a little group of men who believed, not in direct action as accepted, by the organization referred to so much to-night, but in political action, and in the utilization of the old powers of unionism in order that their aims and objectives might be realized. In those days we experienced the same hostility and heard the same denunciations. There is hardly anything said in connexion with the Industrial Workers of the World today that, was not said about many of ustwentyfive or thirty years ago. In the “ middle ages “ of unionism in Australia, I was associated with the Seamen’sUnion in Queensland, and with the wharf labourers and coal lumpers in New South Wales, and I was associated with the waterside workers in Victoria in the nineties. I know the position then; how we set to work to penetrate the old forms of organization; how we denounced the old section of the unions as fossils; and how they denounced us as extremists ; and how the press, in the very language of the right honorable member for Parramatta to-day, talked of “ properly conducted unionism.” Twenty-five years ago, properly conductedunions were those which went the same old way, never advancing, never progressing, and included those who were opposed to political activity in any form. In thismovement to-day there is growing up a party of protest, probably seen to its greatest extent in America, but existing also in Australia. We think that we can annihilate it. We may annihilate institutions, but we cannot annihilate ideals. We may exterminate the particular form of the organization, but the ideals of the organization will develop, in some form or another, as a protest against the inactivity of those who stand here to-day elevated by the ranks of the working classes, and drawn from the working classes. God knows what many of us would have been but for this opportunity. We pride ourselves on what we could have done if we had not been pushed into our positions through the support of the organizations and their members; yet here we stay, year after year; and how far do we endeavour toutilize our powers for the purpose of realizing for the masses of the people those things we profess on the public platform? It is the same old thing as was said of the Whigs and Tories. “ Alike in baseness, when out of power both professing that which they never attempted to do when in power.” And so, as there arose against both Whigs and Tories a cry of protestation from the working classes, there arises to-day against all political parties, Labour or Liberal, Radical or Conservative, a cry of protest from a very earnest section of the community. Whether it be right or wrong in its methods - very often it is wrong, and very often violent in its activities - the protest is that of men who have come to be dissatisfied with those whom they have- lifted to high places, and from whom they have got little or no return. The Bill before us can do nothing. It can avail nothing, because it is a mere political sham. And so there is no sound reason for objecting to it.. It can achieve nothing. What it professes to achieve can be achieved by the War Precautions Act. I do not say that the Government should not use the War Precautions Act for that purpose. Let it not be said that I object to that course, for I say that it can be done, and that the Government have ample power to deal with this matter. I rose first of all for the purpose of dealing with the speech of the honorable member for Moreton, and secondly, in order to point out that the Bill is a mere farce. It is a sham, brought forward merely for political purposes ; it is a trap for catching flies, if there are any foolish enough to be caught by it; it is brought forward in the hope that, honorable members sitting in the Corner would denounce it, and thus be . identified in a certain way, as the honorable member for Moreton has attempted to identify me, with a man who committed an honest crime. Just a last word to the honorable members of the Opposition, with whom I have nothing in common. Let them not be too ready to assume that everything is on the surface as it appears in Sydney; let them keep their minds open to the touch of ‘ justice,” which, after all, rises above all differences, whether of creeds or of political controversies. That is all I have tosay on this particular matter.
.- I have but one or two words to say, and they have been occasioned by the most contemptible action of the honorable member for Moreton: in reading a letter of mine in this Chamber.
– The honorable member must withdraw that remark.
– Very well, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw it; but it is a matter for extreme regret that, when certain men were placed, on their trial for an offence, letters which were used in the preliminary proceedings, and had absolutely no bearing on the proceedings before the Court, were afterwards published broadcast, as was done during the referendum campaign by men of the type of mentality of the honorable member for Moreton, whereas those who mentioned the matter on public platforms did not have the ordinary honesty, not to talk of decency, to make any reference to my reply to the letter the honorable member read, which was published in all the Sydney morning newspapers. And to-night the honorable member for Moreton has read my letter, but very cunningly and very subtly has refrained from giving the reply.
– I never saw it.
– There are none so blind as those who will not see. This, briefly, was the nature of my reply: I had received a communication in reference to a parson named Barker, who was in gaol for having committed an offence which, in my opinion, did not warrant the sentence imposed, namely, twelve months’ imprisonment, with a fine of £100. The offence was the issuing of a pamphlet. At election times I have seen pamphlets issued a thousand times worse than this, and, showing that I was not singular in the opinion I held that the offence did not warrant the extraordinary penalty imposed, I may say that the term of imprisonment was reduced to three months, and the fine to £25 - not by myself, but by the ‘Government led by the Hon. W. M. Hughes., That was my reply. I know none of the members of the Industrial Workers of the World. I have had no connexion with them or with their organization, and I do not propose to have any connexion with their class of thought. The difference between the principles of the Industrial Workers of the World- and those of the Labour party as we know it in politics to-day is fundamental. The Labour party believes in political action and the evolutionary process for achieving results. The Industrial Workers of the
World discards political action, and believes in direct action. I cannot accept that school of thought, nor follow it in any way. I trust that public men will at least endeavour not to try to take away the characters of other public men merely to gain for themselves some little political advantage. I regard as a direct reflection on my personal character this attempt to connect me with the Industrial Workers of the World, and I invite the honorable member for Moreton, and any one else who shares the views he expressed, to speak in the same way outside, and see what will happen. It is degrading that we, the elected representatives of the people in the National Parliament, cannot carry on our discussions without getting down to the level of endeavouring in an insidious way to connect, each other with some criminal act that may be committed outside. The same attempt was made in my own electorate during the recent referendum. Those who resorted to it, however, found that it was a dog that would not bite. The people in my electorate gave a majority of about. 10,000 votes for the side which I advocated. That was their reply, and they will give the same answer at the next general election - it is immaterial to me when it comes - to any further attempt to resort to such’ tactics.
– I do not wish to detain the House at any length, but I should like to reply to one or two observations made by the honorable member for Bourke in reference to this Bill. I pass by all those allusions to members of the Industrial Workers of the World, the injustice that has been meted out to them, and the suggestion - it was more than a suggestion - that those men were the victims, of a plot - that, in effect, they did not set fire to any buildings in Sydney’; that they were merely the innocent, although strangely pliant tools of paid agents of the Government, police, or some other; that they, poor, innocent fools, placed this phosphorus, or whatever it was, where they did at the bidding of these agent provocateurs, and were amazed at the result! I pass all these things by. I confess I cannot swallow the story. It is too great a draft upon my credulity. Certainly it will not explain away the death of that unfortunate man who was foully murdered. Was that, too, a plot? Were they egged on by the police to kill a member of the police force? Did they think that by blowing out his brains - giving him not as much chance as one would give to a clay pigeon - they were furthering the great interests that they professed to have at heart? Is it by such means that the Labour movement has been raised, and that the workers in this country have come to great power ? Emphatically no !
I am very sorry to have listened to my impressionable friend advocating, if not the cause, the claims of these men. It is his heart that speaks, not his head ; in this matter he is carried away on the wings of his emotion. I am sorry for it. As far as his reference to the welfare of the people is concerned, I am. perfectly content to point to one fact which will bear criticism. It is this: That of the two methods which are available to ameliorate the conditions of men, the one I have steadily followed throughout the whole of my public life, that of political action, is infinitely the better. It is not only compatible with democratic and lawful government, but it produces infinitely better results. Prom it I have never deviated. I do not believe in “ direct action”; that is to say, in “force,” as a means of improving the lot of the people in a country like this, where the laws are made by the whole ‘ people, and where political action is more effective than anything else. I have never once since I first came into public life led a union into a strike. I have endeavoured in every way to prevent, not only direct action such as is here spoken of, but direct action of any sort or kind. As to the advantages of that policy there are the organizations to speak for themselves.
I come now to this Bill. The honorable member said, “ It effects no purpose. It is a political placard, and is unnecessary.” The honorable member does not understand what he is speaking about. There is no law now to deal with men who incite to crime generally. There is a law to deal with men who incite to crime particularly. If I shall get on a stump and incite some one to murder a particular man, or some particular men, then I am liable. If I shall incite- a man to injure some particular man or men, then I am liable. But I may incite men with absolute impunity to injure mankind generally. If I shall incite men to commit arson with respect to any par- ticular building, I am liable. But I may incite men to commit arson generally, and except for some antiquated Statute under which I may be indicted for treason against the Government, or for sedition, no law can touch me.
This Bill deals with circumstances as they now exist. It deals with propaganda, with doctrines, with acts, for which there is no effective remedy to our hands. It deals with the trouble before it reaches the magnitude of a crime. It nips it in the bud. It says that any man who shall incite another to destroy or injure human life, or to destroy or injure property, shall he guilty of an offence. It does not penalize him for mere membership of an association, for his beliefs, for his opinions, but only for his acts.
It cannot be said of this Bill that it errs on the side of severity. It proposes as a penalty for any of these offences six months’ imprisonment. That is the maximum. I do not deny that we might have taken action under the War Precautions Act. We might have dealt with the matter by regulation. Will any man say - the honorable member for Bourke did not - that that would be the better way ? It is the worst way. Such a regulation could have been disallowed. In all human possibility, at all events, it would have evoked as much discussion as this measure has done.
The Bill deals in a straightforward way with a menace to society, whose gravity cannot be exaggerated. All this that we have listened to is by the way. If this association began and ended with these men who have been convicted, whether rightly or wrongly, it would be’ a small matter. But I say deliberately that the virus that has emanated from that source has spread among the body politic until now we are confronted with a condition not unlike that which would befall a country in the grip of a great epidemic. We are dealing with it in the only possible way. Although there is much provocation, I shall refrain from saying anything further except to add that the Bill deals with a real and a grave menace. It deals with it in a direct fashion, . in a manner which challenges criticism. It is a measure which should commend itself to every section of the House, and I hope and believe that it will receive the support of every honorable member.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– Is it the pleasure of the Committee that I put the Bill as a whole?
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear ! The Bill.
.- I should like an explanation of clause 5. There are members of the Industrial Workers of the World who have distributed themselves among certain unions. I wish to know whether, if a member of the Industrial Workers of the World was also a member of a trade union, and did any of the things set out in this clause, would that union be an unlawful association ?
– I would refer the honorable member to clause 3, which provides -
The following are hereby declared to be unlawful associations, namely: -
The association known as the Industrial Workers of the World; and
any association, which, by its constitution or propaganda, advocates or. encourages, or incites or instigates to the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction or injury of property.
Now, clause 5 says “whoever, being a member of an unlawful association.” It does not say “whoever being a member of any association.” If the honorable member will turn to the Bill, he will find that before clause 5 can operate a man must first come within the provisions of clause- 3. Take the case of a trade union. Is there any union of which the honorable member knows, which by its constitution or propaganda, docs any of the things set out in clause 3? I do not know of any. Sub-clause (b) of that clause was inserted in order to meet a possible case in which the Industrial Workers of the World might change its name. . That is all. If the honorable member will look at it in that light he will see that if Jones were a member of the Waterside Workers and also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, the mere fact of his membership with the latter would not affect the Waterside Workers Federation.
. -Will the Prime Minister be good enough to explain the reason for providing in clause 2 that this Act shall continue in operation for six months after the war and no longer?
– - That provision was put in the Bill because, practically, all legislation since the commencement of the war has contained a similar provision. But I have not the slightest objection to knocking it out.
– What would be the effect of knocking it out?
– The Act would then last for ever and ever.
– Could it? Would it have any effect after . six months following the termination of the war?
– In this Bill, is not the Prime Minister exercising a defence power during the war ? The preamble says so.
– It is solong since the question of our constitutional limitations arose, that, for the moment, I am not1 prepared to say. There was a time in this chamber when we were accustomed to ask whether we had the power to do certain things. Now we merely ask if we are going to do them. It is very probable that the honorable member for Darling Downs is right, and if so, that would be a sufficient answer to- the honorable member for Henty. Apart from the preamble, I think that our general powers would be sufficient to enable us to pass such a Bill as this in ordinary times.
.- I move -
That clause 2 be left out.
– If we have not the power that is claimed, the Act will become void on the termination of the war.
– Exactly. On the other hand, if the Act falls within our constitutional powers, it ought to be a permanent Statute.
– I hope that the honorable member will not press his proposal. It may happen that the Bill will require amendment. It would not be the first Bill of that kind, and, in any case, any Parliament can re-enact it. Though I would be the last to suggest that this Parliament will pass away, it probably will do so, and a new
Parliament may be constituted which may elect to’ pass a similar Bill even if thismeasure should lapse.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
.To my mind, a Bill dealing with offencesso serious as those against which thisprovides should make them indictable, so that offenders might be tried before juries oi their own countrymen. It is a serious, thing to permit the crimes herein provided against to be dealt with by summaryjurisdiction, because it will allow men, some of whom are not capable of . dealingwith such cases, to adjudicate upon them. I say that without wishing to reflect in any way upon the justices of the peace.
– An ordinary justice of the peace cannot try the offences provided against.
– In any case, I think that offenders should be tried before juries of their own countrymen. It is the basic principle of British jurisprudencethat every man must be tried by his peers. This legislation takes away that right. Very often, when offences of the kind provided against occur, public opinion isin a state of fever, and this is likelv to prejudice an offender before his trial. The only hope for him under such circumstances is trial before a jury.
Bill agreed to, and reported without amendment; report adopted.
Standing Orders suspended, and Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is a Bill “to promote the earlier use of daylight in certain months yearly, and for other purposes.” The verbiage istaken from the Tasmanian Act, which has been a great success. The reformis a very sensible one which we ought tohave adopted long ago. The measure will come into operation on a day to be fixed by proclamation; that is, as soon aspossible after it has become law, and from that time until the last Sunday in March we shall all have to get up an hour earlier, though it will not be necessary to retire to rest any sooner. When a similar measure was introduced in Great Britain, the press reported some meetings of dairy farmers indignantly protesting against the innovation, protesting, that bovine creation could not readly accommodate itself to it, but the cows calmly ignored the change, and continued to give their milk at the old hours, and the measure has been wholly successful. The day will commence an hour earlier from the passing of the Act until the last Sunday in March, when we shall go back to the present standard time. But at 2 o’clock in the morning of the first Sunday in October our clock time will again be an hour in advance of standard time. It has been suggested that the last Sunday in September be substituted for the first Sunday in October. As to that I am indifferent.
– I agree with the Prime Minister that, this reform should have been adopted -earlier. I understand that we are indebted for it to the continent of Europe, where the innovation was first proposed in Germany and was afterwards taken up in Great Britain. I suggest that the last Sunday in September should be substituted for the first Sunday in October, because the sun crosses the equator on the 21st or 22nd day of March and of September, and the arrangement that I . propose would subdivide the year more evenly.
.- A man who will save daylight for the community is a benefactor, and I want to give the Prime Minister my blessing. I have long been looking for something that will get me up an hour earlier in the morning, and I think this is it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to-
That the words “first Sunday in October” be left out, and the words “last Sunday in September “ be inserted in lieu thereof.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 5 and 6 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment, and passed through its remaining stages.
The following paper was presented : -
Defence Act - Royal Military CollegeReport
.- I move-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
It is purely a machinery Bill divided into four parts - Preliminary, Imposition of Tax, Offences, and Miscellaneous. Part 1 is chiefly definitions, and includes administrative powers, together with delegated powers. Part 2 deals with the imposition of the tax, how it shall be chargedand paid, the method of charging tax in certain cases, and the recovery of the tax. Clause 12 is the most important. It shows what class of entertainments are exempt. Clause 13 provides for the refund of the tax in certain cases.Part 3 deals with offences, and gives power to enter places of entertainment. The penalties for offences against that section and the next are money penalties. Clause 16 defines certain other offences, amongst them being that of forging a die or stamp,’ or printing or making any impression with a forged die, or fraudulently printing or making any impression from a genuine die. The penalty under that clause is imprisonment for fourteen years. Clause 17 deals with the serious offence of making paper in imitation of stamp paper, the penalty being seven years. Clause 18 deals also with - an indictable offence- the unlawful possession of stamp paper. Part 4 gives power to search premises and issue regulations. I would suggest that we get into Committee as quickly as possible, as this is a Committee Bill, and we have a great deal more to do yet.
– Does clause 12 exempt religious entertainments?
– I do not think so.
– Will you include them in the exemptions?
– I think we can do so, but I shall deal with the matter later in Committee.
– I congratulate the Treasurer on his thorough and exhaustive analysis of the principles of the Bill. The honorable . member is getting wise in his generation.
This is the very essence of a Committee Bill, and after the Minister’s exhaustive explanation of its fundamental principles, we shall he glad to help him to put it through as speedily as possible.
.- Is the Treasurer willing to adjourn the debate, or does he want the wholeBill to-night?
– There is very little in it.
– If it has to go through to-night, I would as soon speak now as in Committee; but we have been here for twelve hours, and will be here again inside twelve hours. Notwithstanding the satire of the honorable member for Parramatta, there are a few fundamental principles in the Bill. I suggest that we go into Committee, and that progress be reported oh clause 7.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Definitions). “Admission” means admission as a spectator or one of an audience. . . .
.- I see that “ admission “ means “ admission as a spectator or one of an audience.” Are we to take it that the tax will be charged even in the case of a person who pays nothing for admission? I ask the question because, within the metropolitan area of Melbourne, there are many gentlemen made life members of football clubs and other sporting associations, in recognition of their- services in the past. Their tickets might be estimated to be worth, perhaps, a guinea a year; but the holders may not use them more than once or twice in the twelve months.
– If the club receives no payment, there is no tax.
-Will that apply to houses. of entertainment? For instance, I know a gentleman who, as a shareholder, is entitled, as such, to go into the picture shows with which he is connected.
– Clauses 7, 8, and 9 make it clear that the tax is charged only in respect of those who pay.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) agreed to-
That after the word “audience” there be inserted the words “and includes admission for the purpose of participating in any exercise in . which the payment for admission entitles him -to participate.”
Clause further amended verbally, and agreed to.
Clauses 3 to 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
There shall, as from the first day of November, One thousand nine hundred and sixteen, be levied and paid on all payments for admission to any entertainment an entertainments tax at such rates as are declared by the Parliament.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) agreed to-
That the words “ the first day of November, One thousand nine hundred and sixteen,” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ a day to be fixed by proclamation.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until 11 o’clock to-morrow morning.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
To-morrow we shall proceed with the Entertainments Tax Assessment Bill, and then proceed to discuss the Income Tax and Income Tax Assessment Bills. It has been decided not to proceed before the holidays with the Marriage by Proxy Bill.
.- I wish to bring under the notice of the Minister for the Navy, and the Government generally, the lack- of proper accommodation at many of the places where the payments are made to the wives and dependants of soldiers. These people are notified to appear at, say, 10 o’clock in the morning, and some 500 or 600 may all gather at the one time, with the one object of getting away again as early as possible. The result, of course - and I repeat that the complaint is general - is a great crush; and at one office recently no fewer than three women fainted. At South Melbourne, for instance, the payments are made in a small room with only one door for both entrance and exit, and as, of course, the women all gather round that door, we can easily imagine what happens. I ask the Minister for the Navy to make some inquiry and see if some improvement cannot be brought about.
– I should also like to emphasize the need of something of the kind being done, because I have heard many complaints of people having to stand around lor some time before they got their money. The Government ought to got a move on in some way.
– The work is not systematized.
– The trouble is that not enough men are employed to attend to the people. Instead of paying an extra staff to handle the people, just the ordinary staff is employed, with the result that women have to stand around for hours before they get their allotment money. I urge the Minister to give his attention to the Sydney office, where the same trouble obtains. This state of affairs does not reflect any credit on the Department.
.- -I am not sure whether this matter is in the hands of the Assistant Minister of Defence or the Treasurer, but I fancy it is under the Treasurer. The pensions, I know, are under the Treasury, and I brought it under the notice, not only of the honorable member for Capricornia, but also of the former member for Wide Bay. I visited the offices, and found out the position for myself. At Richmond post-office over 2,000 persons receive allotment money or pensions on account of the war. The other three offices do not do anything like the same amount of business. I fancy that the actual payments are not made at the Richmond post-office, but the people go up to a hall for their money, and I am not sure whether they are all paid on one particular day. I suggest, however, that the Treasurer or the Assistant Minister should go to some of the places in the larger suburbs, such as Brunswick, Rich,7 mond, or South Melbourne, where big payments are made. In regard to the oldage pensioners, I know there is a difficulty, because, unfortunately, the old people will wait on the doorsteps of the postoffices for two hours before the post-office is opened. If some structural alterations could be made in the offices by pro viding better exits, a lot of the crushing that at presents exists would be done away with. The honorable member for Parramatta and the honorable member for fawkner will agree that if the Minister will only visit one or two of the offices on a busy day, when the old-age pensions, or soldiers’ allotment money is being paid, he will realize the urgency for some improvement being made.
– T thank honorable members for the information they have conveyed to me tonight, and I promise them I shall look into the matter, with a view to remedying the complaint as early as .possible.
Question resolved in the affirmative. ‘
House adjourned at 10.49.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 December 1916, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1916/19161218_reps_6_80/>.