10th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Eon. Sir Littleton Groom) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Motion (by Mr. Charlton), by leave, agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month be given to the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) on the ground of ill -health.
– In view of the fact that Mr. Fiske has returned to Australia from the Old Country, has the Prime Minister any information to give the House with regard . to the arrangements made between the British Government and Amalgamated Wireless?
- Mr. Mason Allard, one of the Commonwealth Government’s representatives on the Board of Amalgamated Wireless, and its chairman, proceeded to Great Britain last year, and returned to Australia about a fortnight ago. I had an interview with him when he waa passing through Melbourne, and he is sending to the Government a report of the communications which took place .between the British Government and himself concerning beam stations, . At the moment I do not think there is any statement on the matter that I can usefully make.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the report of a new method discovered by Professor J. M. Thompson, a botanist of Liverpool, for the storage and transport of fruit? If so, will the Government take early steps to test the value of the new method? For the right honorable gentleman’s information, I may say that in a report to the Weekly Times representative in London on the 28th January, Professor Thompson says -
I am positive that I have found the key to the whole problem of Empire fruit transport and storage. I shall be able commercially to revolutionize long distance shipments.
In the course of his report, he refers to Australia, and says -
The journey from Australia is a trifling affair, as storage from four to six months will be easy. I am prepared to co-operate with the Commonwealth and State Governments and private firms to test the transport and storage of all kinds of fruits, including Queensland pineapples.
Is the Government prepared to allow representatives of the Commonwealth in London to examine Professor Thompson’s claims in this matter?
– I suggest that the honorable member should get into touch with the Department of Markets and Migration. He will there obtain the fullest information we have on the subject. If he subsequently wishes for some specific information and will put a question concerning the matter on the noticepaper, I shall obtain an answer for him.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he will obtain for the information of honorable members and the public generally a full list of the names of the members of the local branch of the Fascisti, and will lay the list on the table of the House?
– If the Government undertook to do that in the case of one organization, it might be asked to do it with respect to all. We could not possibly undertake such a responsibility.
– Can the Prime Min ister inform the House whether any representations have been made by the
Commonwealth Government in regard to the proposed alteration of the representation of nations on the Council of the League of Nations ?
– The Government has been in receipt of cablegrams from the British Government with regard to the number of permanent members upon the Council of the League of Nations; but there is no information on the subject which I can usefully give to the House.
– South Africa has protested against the proposal.
– I noticed a paragraph to that effect in this morning’s newspapers. Communications from any of the dominions to the British Government are automatically forwarded to the other dominions, and the Commonwealth Government has no information on the subject referred to in the newspaper paragraph.
Possible Shortage of Fruit Cases
– In view of an article in the Herald last evening suggesting that, as a result of the bush fires in Victoria, there may be a shortage of fruit cases, will the Minister for. Trade and Customs cause inquiry to be made and see that any such shortage shall if possidle be avoided ?
– No representations concerning the matter referred to have been made to the Department for Trade and Customs. In view of the large quantity of timber said to be available in Australia, the difficulty which the honorable member’s question suggests is, I think, one which those most concerned should first attempt to deal with.
Transfer to New South Wales
– Can the Minister for Defence give me any information with regard to the proposed transfer of the Randwick Rifle Range and as to the cause of the hold-up in the matter between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales ?
– I shall obtain the information and convey it to the honorable member.
Returned Soldiers’ Examinations
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will he state the position of ex-members of the Australian Imperial Force -
Who have passed the necessary examination and are temporarily employed in the Commonwealth Public Service?
Who have passed the necessary examination but are not as yet employed in the Commonwealth Public Service?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the statements being continually made from public platforms and pulpits, and also appearing in the press, that there is a shortage of 30,000 houses, which is affecting the public health, and that the position will be made worse with the arrival of additional immigrants who are likely to comein greater numbers owing to the passing of the Widows and Fatherless Children Pension Bill, and the adoption of the 44-hour week in New South Wales, will he make a statement as to when Parliament will have the opportunity of assisting the Government with that proposal referred to in their policy as the “ Housing Scheme”?
– The proposed legislation foreshadowed in the policy speech in connexion with the Housing Scheme is at present receiving the consideration of the Government, and the necessary measure to give effect to the Government’s proposals will be submitted to the House as early as possible.
Duties: Tin Plate - Wire Netting
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The matter will be inquired into.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the fact that statements have appeared in the English press and have been telegraphed to Australian newspapers that prominent members of the House of Commons interested in Dominion affairs intend to submit proposals to the Prime Minister of . Great Britain urging the creation of stronger representation in London, such proposals embodying the following: -
Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether he has been consulted regarding the proposed business for the next Imperial Conference i.
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the urgent need for wireless communication at. Lord Howe Island, in order to make perfect communication on the Australian coast, will the Government grant a commission to the honorable member for East Sydney to take evidence at Lord Howe Island and Sydney, and provide a shorthand writer and clerical assistance for the purposes of an inquiry during the recess?
– In reply to a question by the honorable member on the 21st January, I promised that I would have inquiries made regarding wireless communication with Lord Howe Island. When these inquiries are completed, the matter will be carefully considered by the Government, which will take whatever action appears to it to be necessary or desirable. The Government does not consider that the question requires the appointment of a commission on the lines suggested by the honorable member.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: - “
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of persistent statements in the public press that the Australian display at the Dunedin Exhibition is not worthy of the Commonwealth, and much inferior to that provided by Canada, will he lay on the table of the House the report of Mr. C. McPherson’s investigations into the matter, which is understood to be in the hands of the Government?
– The report of Mr. C. McPherson was laid on the table of the Library to-day.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
Will he have a list prepared showing the names ofthe divisional officers and their assistants who were compelled to work overtime in connexion with the last election, with the number of hours overtime oppositesuch names?
– The average number of hours worked in overtime, from September to December inclusive, in each State, by divisional returning officers and their clerks in connexion with the recent elections, is as follows: -
A list showing the number of hours worked by each individual officer will be obtained from the Commonwealth electoral officer for each State.
Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s question’s are as follow : -
Wages and Hours of Labour
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– I desire to direct the honorable member’s attention to the reply given by me to similar questions asked by him on the 29th January, 1926. As promised in my reply on that date, the Prime Minister of South Africa has been requested to supply the desired information, which will be made available to the honorable member as soon as it is received.
Sale of Vessels
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– Certain of the information desired by the honorable member was supplied by me on the 3rd February, 1926, in reply to questions asked by the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay). I will communicate with the Commonwealth Shipping Board regardingthe further information desired, and will advise the honorable member more fully as early as possible.
– (By leave.) - The contract for steel sleepers referred to yesterday by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) is one requiring special plant. It could not be carried out by any small manufacturers, as they could not give satisfactory deliveries or manufacture them at reasonable rates. If the manufacture of steel sleepers is to become an established industry in Australia, this can be achieved only by proper plants being installed, otherwise the price and deliveries would make their use impossible. I have reason to believe that more than one Australian firm will quote under the conditions laid down. The sleepers are required to be delivered at Darwin. To send them up in monthly instalments would entail utilizing the monthly service to that place,as monthly deliveries would not justify the chartering of a special steamer. Even ifthe monthly boat to Singapore, which calls at Darwin, could undertake their delivery, the additional freight entailed would make this proposition impracticable. The delivery by four specific dates, not three shipments, as stated by the honorable member, was deliberately arranged so as to provide shipments of sufficient size to justify the employment of special steamers.
– Where from?
– From wherever it is anticipated the contract will be let. The value of the contract will exceed £200,000. To givean idea of what is entailed, it is mentioned that if only one press were employed, and a sleeper turned out every two and a half minutes, working three shifts a day for six days a week, it would take 111 weeks to manufacture the 352,000 sleepers required. It is evident, therefore, that more than one press will be required, in addition to which special arrangements will have to be made, which no small tenderer could face. Tenders were called only in Australia, but it was specified that either Australian or British tenders would be accepted - no other country than Britain was included. There will, therefore, be no foreign contractor competing with Australia, as stated by the honorable member, and the shipments specified were definitely arranged so as to reduce the cost to the Australian manufacturer as well as the British. The tariff on British sleepers is 48s. a ton, plus 25 per cent. ; on those from other countries, 90s., plus 35 per cent. Tenders were invited on20th January, 1926, and are due to close on 16th March, 1926. Dealing with the honorable member’s requests seriatim, the replies are -
Reply. - The delivery of sleepers is not specified in three shipments, but by four specified dates. Deliveries at Darwin in lesser quantities would unduly add to their cost, and the specified deliveries are as- much to the advantage of the’ Australian manufacturer (who is sufficiently big to carry out this contract), as to the British manufacturer, with whom only the Australian manufacturer is competing.
Reply. - The contract provides that progress payments shall be made on the delivery of each shipment, but there is nothing to prevent any one when tendering making it a condition th at advance payments for portion of the value of the sleepers shall be made as they are manufactured. Such a request would be considered in dealing with the tenders.
Reply. -I have reason to believe that more than one Australian contractor will tender under the conditions as laid downby the department.
Reply. - So far as the conditions underwhich the contract is to be complied . with are concerned, both Australian and British manufacturers are on the same footing.
– By way of personal explanation, I desire to call attention to an error in the Votes and Proceedings of yesterday. They show that I was absent from the sitting, and as I have a very lively recollection of having been present I desire the libel to be corrected.
– The correction has been already made in the revised issue.
In committee (Consideration resumed from 17th February, vide page 988) :
Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
Section 3 of the principal act is amended -
By adding at the end of the definition of “constable,” the words “and any peace officer appointed in pursuance of the Peace Officers Act 1925 “…
.- The definition of constable in the original Act is “ any member of the Police Force of the Commonwealth or of a State or of a Territory being part of the Commonwealth,” and this clause proposes to include “ any peace officer.” This gives the impression that the Commonwealth is to maintain two police forces. If the peace officers are to be continued, there is surely no need for a Commonwealth Police Force as well.
– The proposed amendment is necessary in order to confer upon the peace officers the ordinary powers of a constable. I am informed that no Commonwealth Police Force is now in existence, but in order that I may verify that information I ask that the clause be postponed.
Clauses 5 and 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
After section 8 of the principal act the following section is inserted : - “ 8a. Any constable . may, without warrant, arrest, any person, if the constable has reasonable ground to believe -
that the person has committed an offence against the law of the Commonwealth ; and
that proceedings against the person by summons would not be effective.”.
.- Postponed clause 4 defines a constable, and proposed new section 8a empowers “ any constable “ to arrest without warrant. Whilst it is necessary to give that power to a constable who, for instance, sees a person breaking into a building, the granting of the same authority in connexion with an industrial dispute is quite a different matter. I suggest to the Attorney-General that the proposed new section should be postponed until clause 4 has been dealt with.
– The two are not interdependent.
– Peace officers were appointed under the Peace Officers Act for a special purpose, which was, mainly, to deal with industrial disputes.
– That is not so.
– There is not the slightest doubt that they were appointed in connexion with the British seamen’s strike, which was an industrial dispute. If the Attorney-General will frankly say that the object of the clause is to give to a constable the right to arrest without warrant persons engaged in industrial disputes, we shall join issue with him right away. If he desires to limit the power of arrest without warrant to cases in which a policeman sees a person breaking into a shop, or committing some other obvious offence, we take no objection ; but we cannot agree to give a constable the right to arrest without warrant persons who, in our judgment, are not criminals, and have committed no offence except that they have done something which the powers that be regard as an offence.
– It is intended by this clause to make the enforcement of the act more effective in all cases. Section 8 of the act gives to a constable certain powers of arrest without warrant. It has been difficult in practice to apply that section, because the powers of a constable at common law depend largely upon the distinction drawn between a felony and a misdemeanour. At common law a constable may arrest without warrant for a felony, but iu general he may not do so for a misdemeanour, unless there is special statutory provision to that effect. In Commonwealth legislation there is no distinction between a felony and a misdemeanour, and, accordingly, section 8 is difficult to apply. The proposed new section 8a is for the purpose of conferring power of arrest without warrant only where the requirements of paragraphs a and 6 of the proposed section are fulfilled. It is not proposed to give a general power of arrest without warrant. The conditions of paragraphs a and b are that the constable must have reasonable ground for believing “ that the person has committed an offence against the law of the Commonwealth,” and “ that proceedings against the person by summons would not be effective.” The second paragraph refers to cases in which the offender by absconding might evade service of the summons, and to cases in which, if he were summoned, the proceedings might not be effective, because he might not put in an appearance at the court. The States have legislation providing for arrest without warrant in a large number of cases. In the State of New South Wales the Crimes Act of 1900, as since amended, provides that a constable may arrest without warrant any person whom he with reasonable cause suspects of having committed an -offence irrespective of the requirements of paragraph b of this clause. Therefore, the law in New South Wales to-day is practically the same as that pro.vided in paragraph a of the proposed new section 8a without the limitation imposed by paragraph b. This provision does not go so. far as the act now in force in New South Wales. All the other States have provided for arrest without warrant for different classes of offences. Various crimes under the Police Offences Act and the Crimes Act of Victoria come within this class, and under the following acts there are provisions for arrest without warrant: - Explosives Act 1915; Geelong Harbour Trust Act 1915; Health Act 1915; Local Government Act 1915; Marine Act 1915; Markets Act 1915; Melbourne. Harbour. Trust Act 1915; Public Works Act 1915; Railways Act 1915; Stamps Act 1915; and Unlawful Assemblies and Processions Act 1915.
One result of dealing with this subject of arrest without warrant in separate statutes is that a constable is apt to be uncertain of his powers. He has to consider the particular legislation under which he is operating, and that obviously hampers the administration of the law. When an act is made an offence under the law it is proper to allow an arrest without warrant if the constable has reasonable ground to believe the facts set out in paragraphs a and b of the clause. If a constable were to act without reasonable ground - and that would be a matter entirely for a jury - he would be liable to heavy damages. The objection to the provision for arresting persons guilty of industrial offences is not really associated with this, clause; it raises the question whether there should be industrial offences. If there be industrial offences, they must be treated as breaches of the law, and the ordinary procedure of the law must be applied to them. The alternative to introducing a general section, safeguarded as this one is, is to consider whether it is necessary to insert a special provision for arrest without warrant m each of the bills brought before this House. That would be highly inconvenient, and the officers administering the law would have some difficulty in ascertaining their powers. The officers administering the law would know exactly their powers under this clause, which is not nearly so drastic as the New South Wales act. It appears to be a perfectly reasonable . provision. An individual arrested under this clause may immediately apply to a magistrate for bail.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 (Search Warrant).
.- Section 10 of the act, as amended by the bill, will read -
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 -
anything with respect to which any offence against any law of the Commonwealth has been, or is suspected on reasonable grounds to have been, committed ;
What is the reason for adding the words ‘ any law of the Commonwealth “ ?
– Under the provision it is intended to increase the power of justices of the peace iu issuing search warrants.. At present they can issue them only when the offences in question Happen to be indictable. I can best explain the necessity for this clause by giving one or two actual instances which have arisen in the administration of the law. Certain provisions in the Australian Soldiers Repatriation Act prohibit the assignment of pensions. A penalty of £25 is provided by statutory rule in the case of persons who advance money on the security of pensions. This is not made an indictable offence, and, accordingly, it is impossible to issue search warrants in such cases. It is known by the Commonwealth authorities that some pawnbrokers and money-lenders have been advancing money on the security of pensions, and that they have pension certificates in their safes. In some cases the evidence of the soldier can be obtained to show that he handed over his pension certificate to the pawnbroker or the money-lender. Against his word is the pawnbroker’s or money-lender’s version, and it then becomes a question of who is to be believed. There is no power to search books or safes to find out whether loans were made against pension certificates, because this offence under statutory rule is not made indictable. The object of the amendment, therefore, is simply this : . that where it is shown to the satisfaction of a justice of the peace that there is reasonable ground for believing that articles, including books and documents which may provide evidence of an offence having been committed, are in the possession of a person, search may be made for those articles. There is no sanctity about an indictable offence, and the Commonwealth authorities in the administration of the law should not be hampered, as they are now, owing to the precise terms of the section which we propose to amend. This clause does not give a general power to justices of the peace to issue search warrants as they please. They must be satisfied, before issuing a search warrant, of the facts set out, in the clause.
Clause agreed to.
After section twelve of the principal act the following section is inserted : - “ 12a. - (1.) Any offence against this act, although declared indictable, may, with the consent of the defendant, beheard and determined by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction. “ (2.) Any proceeding in respect of anoffence against this act, although declared to be an indictable offence, may -
it the offence relates to property the value of which does not exceed Fifty pounds ; and
if the prosecutor so requests, be heard and determined before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction. “ (3.) Where an offence is dealt with under this section, the court may impose a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding one year and, in its discretion, impose a pecuniary penalty not exceeding One hundred pounds in addition to or in lieu of a sentence of imprisonment.”.
.- This clause provides that offences may be dealt with summarily. I take no exception to sub-section 1 of the proposed new section, which provides that any offence, although declared indictable, may, with the consent of the defendant, be heard and determined by a court of summary jurisdiction; but I have a doubt about sub-section 2, and should like to know the Attorney-General’s reason for permitting the prosecutor, if he so requests, and providing the property is under the value of £50, to have the offence heard and determined before a court of summary jurisdiction.
– I should like to know from the AttorneyGeneral whether any offence - sedition, bribery, or forgery - no matter how serious it might be- could, if the defendant so agreed, be heard in a court of summary jurisdiction. If so, I certainly do not approve of the clause, because such . offences should be tried by jury.
– I would inform the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) that new sub-section 2 must be read in conjunction with new sub-section 3, which limits the penalty that may be imposed by a court of summary jurisdiction. The proposed -new sub-section 2 can only apply in cases of offences in relation to property of relatively small value - in effect, to larceny or embezzlement or a similar offence.
– Why should the prosecutor have the right to compel a man to have his case heard and determined before a court of summary jurisdiction ?
– It is a relatively small matter. This principle has been adopted in the legislation of all the States. .
– The legislation of the States does not permit the prosecutor to decide where the offence shall be heard.
– The legislation of the States contains general provisions which permit a court to deal with offences in relation to property, where the subjectmatter is small- in value. The justices are then able to deal with the case summarily instead of committing the person concerned for trial. This is a question for the consideration of the committee. I do not wish to take up a dogmatic attitude, because it appears to me that on this matter there may well be a difference of opinion. It is important to remember that thisclause deals only with offences in relation to property and substantially amount to larceny. The clause is drawn upon the view that an offence in relation to property of a value of less than £50 may, if the Commonwealth authorities think proper, well ‘ be dealt with by a court of summary jurisdiction. That is the whole idea of the clause. Of course, it plainly permits the Commonwealth authorities to decide whether an offence in relation to property under £50 in value shall be tried before a magistrate.
– It is a serious matter, because even although the offence relates only to property, the reputation of the person concerned may be involved.
– That is so. I have already said that I am not adopting a dogmatic attitude on this matter. If it is the general feeling of the committee that the words “ if the prosecutor so requests “ should be deleted or amended–
– Why not include the words “ with the consent of the defendant”?
– That is already provided for in new sub-section 1.” In a case to which sub-section 2 of the proposed new section 12a applies, the prosecutor could request that it be dealt with by the court. If, however, the committee feels that the decision should be left to the court, rather than to the prosecutor, I am prepared to agree to an amendment providing for the substitution of the words, “If the court thinks proper,” for the words, “ If the prosecutor so requests.” As, however, there may be some consequential amendments needed, I should, like an opportunity to consult the departmental officers about the matter.
Clauses 11 to 14 agreed to.
Clause 15 (Form of indictments, information, and summonses).
.- I desire to draw the attention of the AttorneyGeneral to the proposed new subsection 21c, which reads -
Where under any law of the Commonwealth any act, if done without lawful authority, or without lawful authority or excuse, or without permission, is an offence against that law, the burden of proving that the act was done with lawful authority, or with lawful authority or excuse, or with permission (as the case may be), shall be on the person accused.
That clause throws upon the person accused the onus of proving his innocence, I have always thought that it was a fundamental principle of British justice that upon the Crown, or the person prosecuting, is thrown the onus of proving the defendant guilty. As this proposed new sub-section is in opposition to that principle, I should be glad to hear from the Attorney-General the reason for its inclusion in the bill.
– By taking a similar case from the State law, I may be able to make my explanation clearer. Let us suppose that a person is charged with having driven a motor car without a licence. In the absence of some special provision in the law to meet the circumstances,’ the prosecution would have to prove, first, that the person accused drove the motor car, and, secondly, that he had not a licence. It is difficult to prove a negative, whereas, if the accused person has been granted a licence, he should have no difficulty in proving it. This clause is designed to meet cases of that kind. Under the Commonwealth law the same principle applies in the Customs Act in the case of persons who may remove goods only with certain lawful authority. Should a man be charged with having removed goods without lawful authority, it would be difficult for the prosecution to call every one who might have given him authority to remove the goods to show that no such authority had been given. The possession, or otherwise, of authority to remove the goods would be a matter peculiarly within the knowledge of the accused.
– Could not the same principle be applied to industrial offences also?
– No. In such cases uo question arises as to doing acts without lawful authority, or without lawful authority or excuse, or without permission. I know of no industrial offence to which this principle could apply. The object of the clause is to deal with cases such as I have mentioned.
.- I know of no other law which provides- that the onus of proving his innocence shall rest with the person accused. Under the Roman law, I believe that that is the position, but British law throws upon the prosecutor the onus of proving the guilt of the person accused. I do not think that the committee will stand for an alteration of that fundamental principle of British justice. The case instanced by the Attorney-General is different from this one. Before voting for the clause, I should like him to give some better reason for its inclusion in the bill. A person who is charged with an offence is sometimes awkwardly placed because of his inability to get bail or to obtain proper legal advice. He may not be aware that he has committed an offence. Unless a better reason for the inclusion of this clause is given, the committee would be well advised to reject it. Personally, I think that it has been inserted to see whether members of the Opposition are alive to the danger of such a vital principle being interfered with.
.- It is true, as the Attorney-General has stated, that various measures now on the statutebook provide that the burden of proving his innocence shall be thrown upon the accused. Otherwise, the Crown would be expected to prove a negative. This proposed new sub-section, however, begins’ “ Where under any law of the Commonwealth “
– The effect of the proposed new sub-section is limited in that it applies only to the charge of having done something without lawful authority.
– There can be no lawful authority for any offence against the law. Lawful authority cannot be given to break the law.
– Some acts which, when committed without authority are offences, are not offences if done with authority.
– Surely the honorable member does not suggest that that is the intention here?
– This proposed section shows the danger of mixing crimes with offences that are not crimes. Where there may be political bias, there is need for honorable members to carefully scrutinize a provision like this, because under it a person charged with assisting others to strike may be called upon to prove his innocence. To say that under any law of the Commonwealth any act, if done without lawful authority, is an offence against that law, and that the burden of proof of his innocence rests on the offender, seems to be a breach of the principles of British justice.
.- I should like to ask the Attorney General (Mr. Latham) if a person who ventures on to a wharf in connexion with a union’s business becomes guilty of an offence if he goes on that wharf without lawful authority?
– That man might be charged with trespassing, in which case he would be prosecuted under a State law, but this section would not apply to him.
– One must of necessity defer to the legal knowledge of the. honorable and learned member, but we are naturally suspicious of a bill of this kind which deals with industrial offences. The proposed new section reads as follows : -
Where under any law of the Commonwealth any act, if done without lawful authority or without lawful authority or excuse…..
It seems to me that there is a certain amount of redundancy about it.
– The apparent re?dundancy in the proposed new section is unavoidable, because some statutes use the words “without lawful authority,” aud others use the words “without lawful authority or excuse.” In order to remove any misapprehension on the part of honorable members, I might illustrate exactly what this proposed section will do. Where the charge is that the person has’ done something without lawful authority, it is proposed to shift the onus of proof as to the existence of the authority. The examples which I have already given indicate fairly the difficulty of the prosecution in having to prove the negative.Under section 82 of the Defence Act any person who, without lawful authority, makes or attempts to make a sketch, drawing, photograph, picture, or painting of any fort, battery, field work, fortification, &c, is guilty of an offence. The offence consists in doing something without lawful authority. The allegation of the absence of that lawful authority is a necessary part of the charge.
– The absence of that lawful authority is the essence of the offence.
– It is. In such a case the effect of the proposed new section would be to require the defendant to show that he had authority to make his sketch or drawing, and this he could easily do if he had the necessary authority. Section 120 of the Excise Act provides that no person shall sell except by authority any excisable goods unlawfully removed from a factory. If this proposed section were the law the Crown would still have to prove that the goods were excisable, that they were removed from a factory, and that the defendant had sold them. The defendant would have to prove that if he did all these things, he did them under authority. That is the only effect of the proposed section. The defendant will be required to show that he has authority- to do an act which is only unlawful if he has not that authority. It is a reasonable provision.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 16 agreed to.
Clause 17 (Unlawful associations).
.- This is a very important clause. It proposes to insert in the act a number of new sections relating to the protection of the Constitution and of public and other services. The following are declared to be unlawful associations: -
Any body of persons, incorporated or un incorporated, which by its constitution . or propaganda or otherwise advocates or encourages -
Any body of persons, incorporated or unincorporated, which by its constitution or propaganda or otherwise advocates or encourages the doing of any act having or purporting to have as an object the carrying out of a seditious intention as defined in section 24a of this act.
Honorable members of the Opposition do not stand for violent revolution. There is nothing better than adult suffrage, which permits the people of a country to determine everything for themselves. But the proposed provision lends itself to criticism, and certainly calls for explanation. The words, “ The overthrow of the Constitution of the Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage “ are too indefinite. No one would contend that persons who seek to bring about some radical change in our form of government should be punished so long as they proceed on lines that are constitutional and in a manner that does not lend itself to violence. I could understand the provision better if the words ‘ violent revolution “ were used . Authorities admit that a revolution may be brought about in a legitimate manner, and that it may not necessarily be sought to be achieved in contravention of the settled policy of a country. In substantiation of this point, I quote resolution 74 of the Industrial Policy of the Church of England, adopted at the Lambeth conference. It reads as follows: -
An outstanding and pressing duty of the Church is to convince its members of the necessity of nothing less than a fundamental change in the spirit and working of our economic life.
Dean Hart, of Melbourne, in a pamphlet dealing with the resolution, explains what was meant by a “ fundamental change “ -
A “ fundamental change “ is a revolution.
I do not mean a violent one. The committee say plainly that “ the goal can never be reached by violent revolution.” Apart from its immorality, violence is ineffective.
Yet, under the bill, the overthrow of the Constitution by revolution is to be a criminal act ! Certain sections of the people may advocate a change; or a movement in that direction may be commenced by one or more of the States.
– Would the honorable member say that every basic change in the Constitution must necessarily be brought about by revolutionary means ?
– If there is a complete change, it can be termed a revolutionary one.
– There is a distinction between the two.
– There is certainly a distinction between a violent revolution and one that is carried on within the law.. I can quote no better authority in support of that contention than the Church of England. Very few honorable members will deny the logic of the statement issued by the conference of that church.
– -Is there any objection to revolution by violence?
– That is not provided for in the clause.
– The mention of sabotage indicates the character of the revolution that is referred to.
– The clause says, “revolution or sabotage,” not “revolution and sabotage.” The word “violent” should appear before “revolution “ to indicate the use of force to accomplish the end sought.
– May I direct the attention of the honorable member to the word “overthrow” at the beginning of the clause? The overthrow of the Constitution is entirely different from its amendment or alteration.
– The overthrow of the Constitution may be brought about in a legitimate way. But it would still be a fundamental change.
– The honorable mem: ber confuses revolution with evolution.
– I do not. There may be a peaceful revolution to bring about a change in any state of society. My argument is buttressed by the statement of the conference of the Church of England, which is an authority that stands very high. I cannot imagine any honorable member saying .that the Church of England would advocate any action that might be detrimental to the wellbeing of this or any other community.
– Can the honorable member give an historical instance of peaceful revolution?
– If there is a desire to bring about a change, and it is advocated in a proper way, the people are educated up to it. That would be, in fact, a revolution, a basic change, brought about according to law and order. May I quote further from this authority ? He says -
But there is another kind of revolution. The complete change of the system of British farming in the eighteenth century is always referred to as the agrarian revolution. The later change which the use of power-driven machinery made in manufacture, is the industrial revolution. But at the time it was hardly realized that a revolution was going on.
That shows plainly that .there can be a peaceful revolution. I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am merely endeavouring to point out what I regard as defectsin the bill.
– The honorable member wishes to insert the word “ violent “ ? -
– That word should qualify “ revolution “ in the clause.
– There should be no objection to that.
– I wish to hear what the Minister has to say. Difficulty is also experienced when we endeavour to define “sabotage.” I understand that word to mean the destruction of property; but unless a plain definition is given trouble will be encountered, later.
– The definition of “ sabotage “ can be found in the addenda to the 1924 edition of Webster’s Dictionary.
– I have not been able to find a definition in the dictionaries .that I have consulted. The clause also makes provision for deportation in certain circumstances. Any one found guilty of specified offences may be sentenced to imprisonment and may subsequently be deported, at the direction of -the’ Attorney-General. I agree that the power to deport should be vested in the Commonwealth Parliament. That power, however, must be exercised in a. reasonable way. What causes me concern is, when does a person become an acknowledged citizen of Australia? Some one who emigrated to Australia 20 years ago, and has since complied with all outlaws, may, because of a mistake, come within this provision and render himself liable to be deported. Should we deport any one who has resided in Australia for that length of time? Our existing legislation gives the Government the power to deport a person within three years of his arrival in Australia. I gravely doubt whether we should be justified in deporting any British citizen. We all belong to the one Empire, and we claim that we desire to bring about closer relations amongst the people of the Empire. Will the deportation of Britishers have a tendency in that direction ? If a man comes to Australia from Britain, and within a reasonable time commits acts which prove that he is not amenable to our laws, he should be deported. But where is the line to be drawn? A Britisher is entitled to the franchise after six months’ residence in Australia. It is bat fair that he should he amenable to our laws when he has a voice in the affairs of the country. I doubt whether the power to deport should be placed in the hands of the Attorney-General. I have nothing to say against the present AttorneyGeneral. Any man who occupied that position would, I know, endeavour to do what was right. But it must be admitted that a certain amount of prejudice exists among politicians. A man may be unconscious of such prejudice, but it is there, and may possibly lead to injustice. 1 submit that it should be left to a court to decide whether a man should be deported after he has served a sentence imposed by it.
– I do not think it should be left to the court. I think it should be left to the Attorney-General.
– I think that a judge is more likely to deal equitably with an offender than would the AttorneyGeneral, no matter to what party he might belong.
– Then deportation would be in the nature of punishment.
– lt is the worst punishment that could be imposed upon any man. Under the clause an offender might be sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, and after he had served that sentence the Attorney-General might impose a further sentence of deportation. If, in the hearing of a case, a judge considered the offender’s crime so serious as to warrant deportation, it might be left to him to impose that penalty. A foreigner must have resided five years in Australia or in some other part of the British dominions before he can apply to be naturalized. After a foreigner has resided for five years in Australia, or in some other part of the British dominions, and has taken out naturalization papers, I would say that he has become an acknowledged Australian citizen, and if he commits an offence’ should be punished in Australia according to our law. There should be some definition of an Australian citizen for the purpose of this measure. Let me quote, in reference to this aspect of the matter, from a leading article which appeared in the Age of 3rd February -
But is a Britisher a foreigner? Is it to count for nothing iu Australia that a man is British-born? Of the population 84J per cent, is Australian-born, 12$ per cent. Britishborn - 97 per cent., practically, British stock. Vet, for the purposes of the deportation clauses of the Crimes Bill, a man or woman of British birth is kin with any other nation’s lowest breed. Whatever are we coming to that we cannot maintain law and order among people of our own blood in our own country? Do not those who are submitting the present measure’ see the possibility of future danger in the extraordinary degree of power with which, they propose to invest the Attorney-General? The right to deport an Australian-Briton should not rest with any single individual. It is a right that Parliament should not allow to exist at all. The setting up of such an insulting and degrading classification between Australian and Briton would bo a source’ of perpetual irritation. In the sight of such laws as are now proposed the native-born and the British-born should stand equal. Let penalties for offences be increased in severity, if need be, but let the proposal to deport British people be dropped. It is clear that before the Crimes Bill reaches the statute-book it will have to be extensively and radically amended. The public verdict is certain to be that its present terms are unduly drastic. The Ministry should be careful to avoid the folly of trying to combat Soviet insurgence by’ methods that savour of czaristic autocracy.
There is a lot of common sense in that leading article. Some line of demarcation should be drawn, sp that we may know exactly who is considered an Australian citizen. Such persons should not be permitted to do wrong without punishment, but they should be punished within the limits of this country and not by deportation. I have criticized this clause in the hope that, if he approves of my criticism, the Attorney-General will remedy any defects of the provision which have been disclosed. Honorable members on this side do not- oppose the clause, but they say that it should be amended in certain directions. Without going through every part of the clause, I have endeavoured to outline briefly the position we take up in regard to it. No one can contend that we are offering any unwarranted opposition to the clause. I do not intend to propoee any amendment of it. I throw the responsibility for its amendment upon the Government. The matters to which I have directed attention are worthy of consideration. It cannot be expected that a perfect bill will be introduced. Every measure must be given careful consideration during the committee stage. We have already postponed two clauses of this bill, and the clause now under consideration is one of the most important provisions it contains. It, requires very careful consideration to see whether it does not go a little too far. It is possible to deal with unlawful associations established for the purposes referred to in the clause without, at the same time, proposing to deport citizens who may not have been born in Australia. It would be wrong for me to offer a legal opinion, as I am not a lawyer, but, in view of the fact that legal opinions have so often been found to be wrong, it might not be out of place for me to say that, in my opinion, this clause will, if there should be an appeal to the High Court against action taken under it, have the same fate as section 8aa of the Immigration Act. It is true that the High . Court did not decide that this Parliament had no power, under an immigration law, to do what section 8aa of the Immigration Act provided for; but so far as I could understand their judgments, the justices of the High Court did not convey the impression that we could, under any law, deport citizens of Australia, or at least those who were here prior to federation. I doubt whether they would not hold the same view should an appeal to them be made against action taken under this clause. The Chief Justice of the High Court held that we have no power under an immigration law to deport persons who have become members of the Australian community. He did not ‘say whether it could be done under a crimes act. Mr. Justice Isaacs contended thatthe Immigration Act did not apply to persons who came to Australia before 1901. This bill does apply to such persons. It may be that Mr. Justice Isaacs,, should an appeal under this measure come before him, may decide that we have no power to go back to a time before ‘ federation in a provision for the deportation of people who were in Australia at that time. Mr. Justice Higgins said that section 8aa of the Immigration Act was invalid and there is no power under it to deport Australian citizens. ‘ He did not say whether it could be done under a crimes act, and I doubt whether it could. Mr. Justice Rich said that section 8aa of the Immigration Act is valid, but there is no power to deport persons who were here prior to federation. Mr. Justice Starke said that section 8aa of the Immigration Act is invalid and cannot extend to citizens of the Commonwealth. We have yet to determine who is a citizen of the Commonwealth, and it appears to me that it is very doubtful whether, on appeal, this legislation would stand. The reputation of this Parliament is injured every time its legislation is declared unconstitutional by the High Court. There has been appeal after appeal in connexion with taxation legislation, and the recent immigration legislation, and the High Court has held that this Parliament had not the power to do what it attempted to do. In view of this, we should be very careful to act within our constitutional powers, and I have very grave doubt whether we have the power, even under a crimes act, to deport persons who were here prior to federation. I hope we shall not be led away by excitement because the clause is applied to unlawful associations, and to the communist association in particular. Whatever may be our feelings towards people who desire to bring about revolution by violence in this country, it is our duty to be careful in dealing with what we regard as offences, not to overstep the mark by attempting to do something which we have not the power to do’. If it should be decided later by the High Court that we have not the power under a crimes act any more than under an immigration act to deport Australian citizens who were here prior to federation, where will this Parliament stand? It will be said that it is incapable of looking after the affairs of the Commonwealth. I urge the Attorney-General to listen to criticism of this clause, and if he comes to the conclusion that it is necessary to amend it, I hope he will adopt that course. I have come to the conclusion that, however sound an amendment I moved might be, it would be certain to be defeated, because honorable members opposite would consider that it was proposed for party purposes. I have therefore decided not to move any amendment. I leave to the Government tha full responsibility for all action taken in regard to this measure. I am offering no opposition to the clause. I do not support unlawful associations in any shape or form. If their members are not prepared to be amenable to the law, they must put up with the consequences. I can make no clearer statement than that. But I submit that the provisions of this clause are unsatisfactory. I have pointed out some of its defects, and I have no doubt other honorable members will do the same. After a general discussion of the clause, I hope that the Attorney-General will. move such amendments as he may deem necessary. If any honorable member on the other side considers an amendment of the clause necessary, he should submit it so that it may be discussed, and reasonable amendments will probably receive support from this side. I have no doubt that we all desire to make the measures passed by this House as perfect as possible, and we can only do so by careful consideration at the committee stage. I trust that necessary amendments of this clause will be made so that it will not only stand the test of an appeal to the High Court, but will be framed in such a way as to be fair and equitable to every member of the community.
.- I believe that all honorable members agree that the provisions in the bill under which penalties can be imposed upon those desiring by violence to overthrow constitutional government in Australia are necessary, but I regret that the Government has thought it necessary to bring in special legislation to deal with these people, as by doing so they are making martyrs of them. Similar action has not been taken in Great Britain or other civilized countries. Whilst it may be necessary, for political purposes, to promise legislation of this nature during an election campaign, there is no occasion for members of the Government and those supporting them to make it appear that the members of the Labour party are in any. way associated with communists. It is idle for the Government to suggest that if effect is given to the provision now before the committee, strikes will be abolished. In submitting this measure to Parliament, the Government stated that it was endeavouring to keep faith with the public,’ but in doing so it is endangering the liberties of the people. The communists publish a little journal, known as the Workers’ Weekly, which some supporters of the Government occasionally read and use for purposes which suit them, and, in doing so, bring the paper under the notice of people who have never heard of it. Such honorable members encourage that which the Government is endeavouring to crush. I recall what happened in this State some years ago, when certain per- sons had not a good word for the late Queen Victoria, and did not hesitate to say that they were strongly in favour of a republic. They advocated all sorts of changes in our system of governments in words which no one would dare to utter to-day; but the authorities of the day took the stand that people should be allowed to speak as they desired, as free speech was a safety valve. Notwithstanding all that has. been said concerning communism and socialism, socialists and communists must have a majority behind them before they can act in the way they desire. It is absurd to suggest that a mere handful of hotheads or cranks could successfully operate against the police or the military forces.
– I do not like the colour of the flower the honorable member is wearing.
– The honorable member for Warringah (Sir Granville Ryrie) sees red in everything, and he would like to be another Colonel Tom Price, who, when in possession of a little brief authority, called out a small army and said to the men, in the same way as the honorable member for Warringah would say, “ Fire low and lay them out.”
– I was there at the time. He did not say that.
– I was there, as a member of the militia, and know that he used those words. We heard a dissertation the other evening from the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Parsons), concerning the ungodly nature of communism. I am not a communist, and do not believe in communism. The platform of the Labour party is sufficiently comprehensive to conduct the industrial forces of Australia along the lines of progress quite as fast as they care to go. The honorable member for Angas said that there has been an intrusion into the ranks of labour of communists who are anti-Christian.
– So there is.
– The honorable member also said that this legislation is aimed at men who are striving to tear down our social fabric, that is built upon the teachings of the Bible, and to substitute ungodly and inhuman terrorism. The honorable member calls the Creator of mankind into political disputes. He wants the Almighty on his side. Let us see what the Encyclopadia Britannica has to say concerning communism.
– What is the date of that publication ?
– It is the latest edition in the parliamentary Library. ‘
– The honorable member is quoting from the 1911 edition, which has been altered.
-I quote from the latest article -
The great communists, like Plato, More, Saint-Simon, Robert Owen, were the very reverse of selfish or idle in their aims; and communism as a force in the historical evolution of economic and social opinion must be regarded on its ideal side, and not merely in its lapses, however natural the latter may be in operation, owing to the defects of human character. As a theory it has’ inspired not only some of the finest characters in history, but also much of the gradual evolution of economic organization, especially in the case of co-operation (q-v.) ; and its opportunities have naturally varied according to the state of social organization in particular countries.
The following should widen the knowledge of the honorable member for Angas: -
The communism of the early Christians, for instance, was rather a voluntary sharing of private property than any abnegation of properly as such.
I am not here to support or condone the teachings of any people in Australia who claim to bo communists, and who speak of using force in order to achieve their objective. I do not think that possible; but I deprecate the actions of honorable members who, under the plea of debating this matter in a spirit of sweet reasonableness, endeavour to prove that every reformer in this country has his hands gilded with Russian gold or covered with blood. On the one hand we are told that the communists have brought Russia to such a fearful pass that the people are starving, and in the next breath we are informed that throughout the civilized world, and particularly in the British Empire, they are spending millions in propaganda. If honorable members opposite think that the people of Russia or elsewhere are providing vast sums of money to assist the communists or the Labour party in Australia, the way is open to them to join the Labour party and thereby get their share of the money we are supposed to be receiving. I wish to quote other authorities, including one whose opinions are considered of value in this chamber. There is, for instance, the following definition of socialism; as adopted at the Lambeth Conference : -
Socialism itself as a scheme of brotherhood is the outcome of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Use property as a trust, use ability as a trust, uselabour as a trust, use one’s life as a trust, lent by God to be used, in His sight, for the benefit of brother man. this is the doctrine of Christ and the truth of socialism.
Those gathered at the Lambeth conference have, I know, a better knowledge of ecclesiastical matters than a lay reader, such as the honorable member for Angas. Let us see what the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) has to say on this subject, in his publication entitled The Case for Labour. Although the right honorable gentleman is now a member of another political party, I consider his knowledge of industrial matters equal to that of any honorable member on this side of the chamber. He is the only honorable member opposite who has the slightest knowledge of the Australian worker’s view-point and position, and consequently his opinion should be of value. Dealing with- the cause of unemployment, he says : -
Unemployment is the modern riddle of the Sphinx, which society must solve, and that speedily, or perish.
Instead of debating this bill, which proposes to depart industrial leaders, we would be more usefully occupied in considering methods whereby this great riddle could be solved. We have heard a good deal of the losses caused by strikes in this country, but it has been shown by figurespublished by the Commonwealth Statistician, that those arising from unemployment are ten times greater. In dealing; further with the solution of the problem of unemployment, the right honorable gentleman says -
Let us consider a little the causes of unemployment and some possible remedies. Private ownership of land is undoubtedly a primary cause; private ownership of capital is another. In Australia, where there is sufficient fertile land for at least 50,000,000 people, it is absurd that with’ a population of under 5,000,000 there should be unemployed men. But it is not less absurd that with capital amply sufficient to employ a population much larger than our present one there should coexist idle capital and workless men.
These are the primary and, so to speak, passive causes of unemployment. It is with an active cause that I propose to deal with here, the manufacture of the unemployed man by employers of labour.
There is no feature about the present unsystematized methods of production so tragic as. the manner in which private enterprise deliberately creates for its own selfish ends an army of unfortunates who are chained Vo their ringbolt in the industrial inferno by relentless necessity, as surely as were the galley slaves of old to the oar by fetters of iron.
The ONLY Way Socialism Can Come.
There is, as every one knows, only one way in which a five-year-old child can become a man - he must grow and mature. There are many ways .by which he may be helped to become a healthy, strong, skilful, and wise mon, rather than a sickly, weakly, unskilled, and foolish one; but only one way in which lie can become a man. He must grow and develop in the natural way. Socialism will come if it is to come - as I believe it will - in due time; just as manhood comes to a boy. And its coming will cause no more astonishment than does the boy’s arrival at what we call manhood. That is to say, it will cause no astonishment at all; for its growth will have been so gradual as to almost escape attention, as does the growth of all things in the eye3 of those who see them daily. Indeed, this development of the social organism will be even less noticeable than adolescence in the human organism. A boy becomes a man, but his parents remain man and woman. He changes, they change too, but much less than he. But with the social organism it is different. There are, so to speak, no lookers on, and the change runs through the whole sphere; those who stand by relatively unaffected by the ‘processes operating in and upon others are a negligible quantity. The social organism as a whole is affected’.
Complete collectivism, when we get that far, will appear the most ordinary, natural, and inevitable thing in the world to those who live under it. It will be as ordinary, natural, and inevitable as that a young man who is 21 a year ago should be 22 to-day. There will be no abrupt and rude transition from private enterprise to socialism, but every stage will follow upon a preceding one, preparing all men to expect, to anticipate, and to desire it.
Many will think it a perfect or, at any rate. the best possible system, as many have thought every system under which they have lived in every age and country. But some, on the other hand, will not, and a few will persistently denounce it as the few always denounced all systems. But even to these, as to all, the system then existing will be quite natural, for they will have either known no other, or have reached it along a road which was then the only and inevitable road that men could take, and from which socialism had long stood out as the only and inevitable goal.
If the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) were to preach that doctrine to-day, he would be in grave danger of being penalized under the proposed law.
– Not at all.
– Though the AttorneyGeneral may split straws, unquestionably the fundamental purpose of the bill is a crusade upon ideas. Even in the Mother of Parliaments, which hitherto we have considered not quite so democratic as Australian legislative institutions, nobody has dared to attempt to legislate in the manner proposed in this bill. I have not quoted The Case for Labour in any spirit of hostility to the right honorable member for North Sydney, but merely to support my contention that any citizen of the Commonwealth should have the right to express to-day the ideas which the right honorable gentleman expressed years ago when he was a leader of Labour. No man can predict the future state of society, but we need not be afraid of ideas. Even in religions new sects spring up and make war upon the older order. Jock Garden is, I understand, a member of the same denomination as the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Parsons), and, whereas the latter is merely a local preacher, the former solemnizes marriages. Yet the honorable member declares Jock Garden’s Christianity to be wrong, whilst Jock Garden says that the honorable member is devoid of christian charity. I advise the honorable member to be less vindictive and less narrow. The intolerance of rival christian sects has been responsible for a good deal of trouble in the world, but at times they unite to make an onslaught upon agnosticism, which is not without influential supporters, even in this chamber. History teaches us the value of freedom of thought and speech. Let there be no repetition of the bitter prejudices with which Charles Bradlaugh had to contend. Do not try to suppress ideas that are so wild and irrational that they can be exploded in a few seconds by sound argument. If the Government adopts a policy of suppression, it will merely aggravate the danger it seeks to remove. It will drive underground the quacks who prescribe weird nostrums for the cure of political ills, real or imaginary, and by making martyrs of them . give to them and their shibboleths a greater vogue than they merit. Not so long ago slavery was in general practice, and approved by law. Good Queen Elizabeth ventured her fortune in slave ships, and some of our Puritan forefathers, before putting to sea, fell upon their knees on the shore and asked the Almighty to bless their effort to bag slaves from the galleons of the heretic King of Spain. In America at one period most of the ministers of dissenting sects in the Southern States thundered from the pulpits their defence of slavery and quoted Holy Writ to show that it was ordained of God. Millions of people were prepared to fight for a system which they sincerely believed to be just. William Lloyd Garrison, who stood almost alone in opposition to slavery, was persecuted from one end of the United States to the other. A halter was placed around his neck and he was led in obloquy through the streets. His paper was published with the aid of a negro boy, because no white man was game to help him in his crusade for the emancipation of the slaves. John Brown was hanged for espousing the same cause. But afterwards, when hired labour hecame more economical than chattel slaves, the American people abolished slavery. Therefore, I say we should cherish above nil things the right of the reformer to preach the faith that is in him. It is scarcely necessary for me to restate my attitude towards the fantastic ideas of the communists. I no more believe in what they preach than I. endorse the absurd defence of the fascists by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell). The honorable member is prepared to crush the communists, but he would allow the fascists to assume the reins of government and maintain peace and order according to their methods. He may try to make himself believe that the Australian and the Italian fascists have nothing in common, but both bear the same name, and there is not the slightest doubt that their ideas are identical. Some honorable members opposite have warned us against the possibility of repeating in Australia the horrors perpetrated under Soviet rule in Russia. I advise them to read Bed Russia by John Foster Frazer, M.P. It is a thrilling story of Russia in the time of the Czar, when no man’s life was safe, and when a person who expressed views different from those of the oligarchy was sent to Siberia. The people of Russia did not enjoy the privilege of adult suffrage as Australians do, and revolution was the only means of redress that was available to them. The honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen) said that the bolsheviks had slaughtered 1,300,000 Russians. We do not know how many millions were slaughtered under the rule of the Czar. The Russian people have devised their own means for curing political and social evils, and even though in their fight for freedom they assassinated the Czar, let the fact not be forgotten’ that the English people executed Charles I., and the executioner, holding the head on high, said, “ Behold the head of a traitor ! “ And I read in my school history that never was England more respected at home and feared abroad than under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, at whose instigation the royal head had been lopped off. So we should be careful to preserve to every man full liberty of thought and speech. Honorable members opposite say that there is danger from the communists. I say. that there is none. What is preached to-day was preached scores of year3 ago with even greater vehemence. Parliament may pass this proposed law, and future governments will interpret it according to their political convictions. Jock Garden may be convicted and deported by the present Ministry, but who shall say that a Labour Government will not subsequently come into power which will declare that, as Mussolini was a menace to Italy, so is Bruce a menace to Australia, and that he should be sent out of the Commonwealth to the country where he was educated, and which he so dearly loves.
– Clause 17 contains the vital principles of the bill, and to discuss it in detail would be to go over again ground that was more or less covered during the debate on the motion for the second reading. Still there are points that yet need emphasis. I draw a sharp line of demarcation between the communist, the member of the Industrial Workers of the World, who believes in overturning constitutional government by force, the promoter of general strikes, the man who resorts to unconstitutional methods, and the unionist who, rightly or wrongly, engages in an ordinary strike. It is a little difficult for those who have not taken part in industrial struggles to understand just how strikes occur. Any attempt to analyse, tabulate, classify, and explain them must fail unless there is behind it experience and knowledge of the psychology of the unionist. One must see things in the mirror in which the unionist sees the world reflected, which to him is the world of reality. The difficulty I see in dealing with this subject arises out of its complexity. The question is, in some respects, a material one, but if one goes deeper, it is psychological. It may be asked, why does one wing of the industrial army avow itself a believer in class war; why does it view with suspicion every act and utterance of the other wing, and regard the members . of that wing with suspicion and even hatred? The explanation is to be sought, not in the conditions that exist to-day, . but in the facts of history. If honorable members wish to understand the . Labour movement, they must remember that, during the. last 75 years, there has taken place a revolution so complete that, if in times gone by civilization might be regarded as a pyramid resting on its base, it is now poised on its apex. Of course, those who believe in democracy will say that, throughout the ages, civilization has pivoted on its apex, but now rests on its base. From the beginning of time, except at short and infrequent intervals, which were like oases in a desert, the people who have done the work of the world have been without power. They have been, at the best, pawns iu the industrial game. For the most part tho work of the world was done by slaves. Until comparatively recently - I believe towards the end of the eighteenth century - mining in ! Scotland was carried on by men who could not leave the districts in which they were working. But it has now come about that the labour wing’ of the industrial army - those who were Ishmaelite- have come into their kingdom. The stone that the builders rejected ha.3 become the corner-stone of the industrial, temple. Those who do the manual work of the world are now the repository of political power. Naturally, persons who have been nurtured on the traditions of the past, on stories of injustice done to the workers in days gone by, view with distrust and suspicion proposals for settling the industrial question on lines suggested by men of another class. In my opinion, that question cannot be settled; tho problem cannot be completely solved. I do not say that nothing can be done, that nothing, ought to be done. Industrial trouble can be aggravated: in cannot be assuaged. But the Labour movement is human nature at work. To suppose that the buyer can have the same point of view as the seller, or that the conflicting interests of employer and employee can be reconciled, is to expect the lion to lie down with the lamb. Still, civilization has found a way, not of ending but of settling differences on other matters; the law forces a settlement on one of the parties. The rule of law is the mark of civilization ; without that rule it would be impossible for society to cohere; without organization civilization could not exist. While we may deplore the eagerness with which the unionist flocks to the standard of his union when it is unfurled; and when he is bidden comes out on strike, yet surely it ought to be one of the easiest things in the world to understand. Tha labourer is so placed that without solidarity, without united action, he would be utterly undone. Although we may deplore the fact that he strikes when his union tells him to do so, nothing would be more foolish in principle than for him to do anything else. How else can .he hope to protect his interests? But we are in a new age. Those who were formerly the servants are now the masters. “ Other times, other manners”; and we must, if wc are to keep step in the march of progress, extend the principles and domain of the law to cover the sphere of industry.
This bill takes up a rather illogical attitude. It does not declare strikes, as such, to be illegal. It simply says that some strikers are to be penalized, while others are not; and it selects - as is natural in the circumstances, because the measure is born of the recent strike of British seamen - the transport industries as being the most important to the community. So, indeed, they are. In some industries a cessation of work inflicts no hardship on society. For instance, if the persons engaged in the boot industry ceased work, the community as a whole would not be seriously affected. But the bill is marred by curious omissions. There 13 nothing in the bill to make it an offence for persons engaged in coal mining to strike. Yet transport depends for its life upon fuel. Under it, strikes, in themselves, are not an offence. It is the stoppage of transport that is in certain instances, to be an offence against the law. A distinction like this is impossible to maintain. If we arc to endeavour to ensure industrial peace, Ave must have power to deal with strikes generally, and not merely in a piece-meal way. I do not believe that it is possible during a strike to bring about a settlement by the mere application of the penal clauses of the bill. There should be means at the disposal of the Government for settling, or attempting to settle, disputes. The bill purports to deal with the strike and the lock-out, and with any person who does anything to interfere with transport. If honorable members will trace the British seamen’s strike hack to its ultimate cause, they will find that it was due to the action of the British ship-owners in reducing wages. Now the reduction of wages by an employer is not an act that comes within the provisions of this clause. But, technically at any rate, it should do so. The hill proposes to punish persons, not ‘ for being in the wrong, but for doing certain things, whether these are right or wrong from their point of view. I do not agree with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green) that it is aimed at ideas; it is aimed at acts. A man may think what he likes, and, within reason, he may say what he likes. For every strike - I am putting aside those shibboleths and concepts of society which are current among unionists - there is an immediate cause.
Some employer or person, or section of society, has done some, definite thing to bring it about. It may be only that some one is suspected of having done this thing. Now unless the purpose of the Government is clear, and it is intended ,to deal with either party involved in a dispute, the unionists will regard this as a class conscious mea-‘ sure, and say that it is aimed at trade unions, that it endeavours to hamper; to crush them, that it does not deal impartially with both parties, treating the employer, who is in the wrong as frequently as the unionist, in the same way as the unionist. Leaving this, I now turn to the proposal for deportation. Under clause 17, this penalty may be imposed for every offence mentioned therein. As to its imposition upon members of unlawful associations, I say nothing. But as a remedy for industrial unrest, and a punishment for strikes, it is a penalty not suited to the offence. We are living in the twentieth century, and are dealing with an infinitely complex and difficult situation. Strikes are the most common phenomena of the age. They occur everywhere. The other day I read in a. newspaper that a strike in Pennsylvania had just terminated after a duration ni, I think, 165 days, during which it had caused the loss of £200,000,000. reduced hundreds of thousands of people, of all classes, to the verge of destitution, and had thrown the industries of America into confusion. We read every day of strikes all over the world. Clearly deportation is not a remedy to be applied ‘to so universal a disease. I admit freely that the leaders of industrial trouble in this country are mostly persons who were born elsewhere. That, perhaps, may be a slap in the face for myself. The recent strikes were fomented by persons born abroad. There may be something in this country that distils and sublimates the grosser nature common to people from countries overseas ; that here, as it were, mankind is spiritualized. However, I shall not dwell upon this fascinating theme further, lest I unduly elate the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) and others. Although strikes may be led frequently bypersons not born in Australia, it is obvious that the majority of those who take part in them are Australian born, and they may do what they please, paralyze the trade of the country, without tear of deportation. It is . quite a wrong conception of industrial unrest to think, for one moment, that this clause, if put into operation, would prevent strikes. It could not do so. What we want in this country above everything else is population. This is not only a white man’s country, but a country in which the people of one race so predominate that practically 97 per cent, of its inhabitants are of British origin. We are all agreed that British people are the most desirable migrants. We are holding out both hands to welcome them. Yet it is proposed- that, when they come here and engage in their favorite recreation - strikes are more common in England than anywhere else - they shall be deported. I do not believe that this proposal is in the best interests of the country. Law must be observed, because civilization rests upon the rule of law. But the law should fit the circumstances and apply to all alike. The Government would have done better to declare every strike a breach of the law. If strikes are wrong, they ought not to be permitted. ‘ To permit or condone an illegal act while its effect is small, and thus encourage it until it has arrived at a point which cannot be checked is wrong. The Arbitration Act declares that strikes are illegal. Yet strikes take place. It would be better to face the position by admitting that under our present powers we cannot deal effectively with the industrial problem. Assume that a strike such as the recent strike of British seamen occurred after this provision had- come into operation, and that it provoked that most dangerous form,- a sympathetic
Strike, how would it be dealt with under this section? As a civilized community we ought to face the fact that we have grown up, and cannot afford to have insurgent movements aimed at the destruction of society. If a strike is wrong, it ought to be declared illegal. But what can we do? If the strike is supported by a sufficient number of people throughout this country, it may readily become general, and clearly no law would be effective against it. I do not say for one moment that the Government in framing this measure has not, as it were, been compelled to proceed along certain lines. It was com mitted to them by its pledges to the people. It had ample warrant, so far as the vote of the people was concerned,, for introducing this bill, or even a measure going much further. But I say that Ministers would be better advised to confine the deportation penalty to unlawful associations, and to rely upon other penalties which are flexible, convenient, and usual, in dealing with ordinary industrial disputes. It cannot bo said that the remedies upon which we rely for maintaining law and order generally would be ineffective in maintaining industrial peace. In my opinion it would be better to fall back upon those penalties against which, in themselves,, nothing can “be said by the unionists or the general community. In New South Wales during the recent strike, the British seamen who refused to work their ships were sent to gaol in such numbersthat the authorities had to call a halt, because of insufficient gaol accommodation. But Messrs. Walsh and Johannsen the head and front of the offending, suffered neither imprisonment nor inconvenience, though if they had been subjected to the same penalty as was inflicted upon the seamen, I am inclined to think that it would have had a salutary effect upon them There is about mild punishment something that would appeal to the great body of the people in this country, and I am, therefore, in favour of amending the clause so as to provide for summary procedure for ordinary cases which I . think is essential. Graver offences should be. heard before a jury. The punishments inflicted would be flexible, and generally applicable, so that they would incite neither comment nor opposition. I cannot in the circumstances do other than make the suggestion to the -Government, leaving the responsibility for the bill on its shoulders.
.- As honorable members in dealing with this clause have discussed it as a whole, I suggest that you, Mr. Chairman, put to the committee first the proposed new sub-sections from 30a down to and including 30h, which deal with unlawful associations, and thus provide for- a separate discussion on proposed new subsections 30j and 30k, and also on the proposed new sub-sections from 30l tothe end of the clause ?
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bayley).Do I understand that the honorable member wishes me to put to the committee now that portion of the clause from the proposed new sub-section 30a down to and including 30h, and thus permit of a separate discussion on proposed new sub-sections 30j and 30k, and on the proposed new sub-sections from 30l to the end of the clause ?
– That is reasonable.
Proposed sections 80a to 30h.
.- Does the Attorney-General intend to reply to the request ‘of the Leader of the Opposition ?
– I propose to do so; but other honorable members may wish to speak first.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral prepared to accept the amendment ?
– There is no necessity to do so.
– There is a left wing in all advanced forms of society. There is a left wing in the Labour party. During the whole of my life I ‘ have been a left-wing man. We should not forget that the world was made perfect, and that, therefore, any imperfections that now exist are man-made. Being man-made, they can be unmade by man. I live and strive for the day when we shall attain to that state of perfection which existed at the creation. There was then no capitalistic or wage system; no policy of “ the devil take the hindmost “ ; no “ pull devil, pull baker “ for a living or an existence. In the early days of the trade union movement men advocated ideas which at the time were considered just as bad as are the ideas advocated by some persons to-day. I would not injure one of my opponents, nor would I advocate violent revolution, or any action which would cause destruction, because to do so would be futile. After having created something, it is futile to tear it down without first enjoying it. For a person’s actions to be judged by the standard of this measure is not just. Not only do I want to protect the trade unionists and the people inside the Labour movement, but also want to stimulate to further effort those who may think that, having reached a certain stage of progress, they can rest. There can be no rest until what ought to be attained has been attained.- Numbers of trade unionists hold that view. The present High Commissioner, Sir Joseph Cook, speaking in the New South Wales Parliament in 1S92, said that he was a republican; that he was not one of those men who were prepared to sit down anil wait for the republic to come, but was prepared to put his shoulder to the wheel to hasten the day. At that time Sir Joseph Cook had no thought of King or flag. But how would he fare if he uttered that sentiment to-day? Except in respect of that one ideal, Sir Joseph Cook led a blameless life; no exception could be taken to anything that he said or did. Since that time, however, he has shown his apostasy by wearing buckled shoes and knee breeches, and by carrying a sword which from time to time trips him. That shows the transformation that can take place in man. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), who has just resumed his seat, is not different. When he, in turn, has to wear buckled shoes and knee breeches, and carry a sword, I do not know, what will happen. It ‘ is remarkable what changes can take place. In the light of the definition given by the Church of England to the word “ revolution,” and with the administration of this legislation in the hands of one whose political bias runs away with his common sense, it is possible for any person to come within its purview. We are not asking the Attorney-General to restrict in any way the power to deal with unlawful associations, but we want his assurancthat it will apply only to those who preach violent revolution, sabotage, and destruction. The man who comes here - like myself, a “pommy,” except that I have had a more extended residence in Australia - and is prepared, although a citizen of the Commonwealth, to fly in the face of convention, has only himself to blame if through repeating an offence he is deported. But that is not the class of man who will be dealt with, under the proposed new sub-section 30j. That sub-section deals with the trade unionists who are out to improve the condition of the workers. The clause as: it stands leaves to those who for the time being are in authority, the determination of what constitutes revolution or sabotage. That means the government of the day. I do not suggest that the present Government would abuse that power, but there might come a time when a government would do so. The Government would be acting within its mandate if the word “ violent “ were inserted before the word “ revolution.” “ Revolution” may mean anything. By sane and reasonable reformers revolution mean9 effecting a complete change from existing conditions. If we leave the clause as it is, what will happen if a strike takes place? It is not unusual for a man when excited to act and speak iu an irresponsible manner. If in his excitement he addresses a strike meeting, and lets off what is commonly called “hot air,” no one is greatly concerned. He certainly has a right to an outlet for his pent-up emotions’. After the meeting is over he may again be a peaceable citizen. But having, like a drunken man, in the excitement of the moment, given expression to revolutionary utterances, he may be reported to the Government, and without warrant be summarily arrested by a constable, and charged with having advocated revolution. The bill goes too far. We ask only for the interpolation of the word “violent.” Its insertion would indicate that the Government intended to deal only with those persons who believe in attaining their objective by violent methods. I hope that the Attorney-General will accept the suggestion which has been made.
.- I feel it incumbent on me to reply to some remarks uttered, I think by mistake, by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green). Had he realized their meaning, he would not have uttered them. The honorable member referred to my statement that communism was anti-christian, and gave a definition of communism which he extracted from an old edition of a certain book which has since been more or less revised. In the light of history, it is clear that the honorable member made an unfortunate reference to the old edition. History supports my previous statement and refutes the contention of the honorable member. The communistic revolution in Russia has supplied sufficient evidence that communism is anti-christian. The Christian Church was attacked by communism, because the communists realized that it stood between them and the attainment of their objective. It is well known that priests and bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church were, in many instances, dragged by the communists from the churches and -shot without a trial. At times they were not even taken outside the churches, but were shot down in cold blood inside cathedrals and churches. That the revolution was not aimed solely at the Greek Orthodox Church, which came more or less under the protection of the State, is shown by the fact that other Christian churches and sects were ‘ similarly misused by the communists. I have it on the authority of one of the most learned and respected Lutheran’ pastors in South Australia, that no section suffered more from the communists during the great Russian upheaval than did the Lutheran churches. That pastor, who has spent the greater part of his life in the service of the Lutheran Church, stated emphatically that communism was anti-Christian. He added that, while he would not participate in political warfare, he had preached, and would continue to preach, against communism from the pulpit of his church. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) referred to the Lambeth conference. If he had been as well acquainted with some of the big men who attended that conference as I am - I speak with all humility - he would not have made the remarks that he did. Those who know the former Bishop of Willochra (Dr. White) could never imagine that he would in any way countenance communism. And no one acquainted with the big Christian men who took part in the Lambeth conference would be so foolish as to suggest that they would advocate communism or revolution .
– Does the honorable member contest the authenticity of .the extract which the Leader of the Opposition read ?
– I am contesting his interpretation of it. Reference has been made to the duties which I have for over twenty years performed as a lay reader of the Church of England. I do not resent what has been said, but I very much regret that honorable members should, for political purposes, refer to that part of a mans’ life which I hold to be the most sacred.
.- The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Parsons) has said nothing that requires answering and has not discussed the provisions of the bill now under consideration. I take this opportunity of repeating certain objections which during my second-reading speech I raised to this part of the bill dealing with unlawful associations. I think the Government should qualify “revolution” by making it either “ violent revolution “ or “ revolutionary violence”; and I submit that a definition of. “sabotage” is required. After considerable research I have ascertained that Funk and Wagnall’s new standard dictionary of the English language defines “ sabotage “ as -
The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) gave Webster’s latest definition. The term is palpably vague. In France in an anti-strike law passed some years ago, it was found necessary to define sabotage to be -
The wilful destruction, deteriorationor rendering useless of instruments or other objects, with a view to stopping or hampering work, industry or commerce.
Surely if in a French law it is found necessary to define the meaning of a French word it is equally necessary to do so in this bill. In the absence of such a definition sabotage may be interpreted to mean anything from going slow on the job to a railway “ regulation “ strike and the wilful destruction of property.
– All things are intended to be covered by theword if : they . are directed to the overthrow of the Constitution. Everything depends on that objective.
– A court will interpret the meaning of sabotage on proceedings instituted by the AttorneyGeneral. It will decide whether the act of sabotage referred to it is admittedly something tending towards the overthrow of the Constitution. But, no matter -how thecourt may decide the matter, I contend that it is the duty of this Parliament to make the purpose of this measure clear, and to remove from it all ambiguity. “ Revolution” means a sudden change. We may . advocate the complete destruction of the present constitution by a radical : and sudden change, or, in other words, by a revolution not accompanied by violence.
– Not necessarily.
– Many people advocate the abolition of the Senate. Many people regard the land tax views of the honorable member for Lang (Sir Elliot Johnson) as of revolutionary character. It is largely a matter of one’s point of view. I do not see why we should so much revere the Constitution. Constitutions change with development of thought. Many people are to be found to-day advocating a very radical alteration of our Constitution and a general reconstruction of our method of . government. Therefore, the provision of the bill should be made clearer than it . is at present . There are many other features of this part of the measure to which, so- far, no -attention has been directed. For instance, any person who “ acts as a teacher in any institution or school conducted by or under the authority or apparent authority of an unlawful association,” may be imprisoned for a year, yet any person who “ by speech or writing advocates or encourages the overthrow of the constitution of ‘the Commonwealth ‘by revolution or sabotage, or the overthrow, by force or violence, of the established government,’’ may be imprisoned for two years, and, in addition, may be liable to deportation.
– The . person who is prosecuted under both sections may get three years imprisonment.
– To my mind, instructing persons -in acts of violence is as serious a crime as the mere act of writing about it. It may even be regarded as the more serious offence.
– The penalty provided for in section 30b is for -connexion with an unlawful ‘association, quite independentof anything -else. But if, in addition to being connected with such an association, a person is also liable tobe punished under section30c,the latter offence is regarded . as a separate crimefor which a heavier penalty is provided.
– I do not -think that the bill should provide dual punishment for the same offence.
– It is not the same offence. Separate offences- are provided for.
– The man, who.- t eaches revolutionary violence in. a school is liable to imprisonment for twelve months.
– No. Section 30c. deals with, the specific act of teaching revolutionary, violence, whereas section 30B covers the case of a man who may be a teacher in an institution or school’ conducted, by. or’ under the authority or apparent authority of an unlawful association, but may go no further.
Mr.COLEM AN. - Another objection to this part of the bill is the use of the words, “ any other civilized country or organized government.” I ask the Attorney-General to explain the necessity for them. These- provisions relating to unlawful associations are objectionable not only for the very excellent reasons advanced by honorable members of the Opposition, but, also, because they vest in the Attorney-General a power to inflict, punishment in addition to that which may be imposed by a court, and, also-, because the power of punishment thus, reposed, in the Attorney-General may be exercised at a moment of political hysteria or under the influence of. political bias. I have been asked’ by certain Sydney booksellers to ascertain what their position will be under the proposed section. 30f, which reads as follows: -
Any person who. knowingly, prints, publishes, sells or exposes for sale any book, periodical, pamphlet, hand-bill, poster or newspaper for or in the interests of or issued by any unlawful association shall be guilty of an. offence.
Penalty : Imprisonment for six- months.
They want to, know whether the sale of this literature will be regarded as an offence, even before at comviction is secured against an unlawful association.
– One- of the factstobe proved in a prosecution would be that the publication alleged to be sold is- in the interests of, or issued by, an unlawful association.
– It would be more equitable for the unlawful association to be proceeded against before the bookseller was punished.
– There must bo a conviction of the individual before he can be imprisoned. It must be proved against him that the book he is selling is associated with an unlawful association in the- manner set. out by section 30f, and it -must also be proved that the association is unlawful.
– Section. 30h provides -
In. any prosecution under this act, proof that the defendanthas, at any time since the commencement of this section -
been a- member of an association;
attended a meeting of an association;
spoken publicly in advocacy of an association, or its objects; or
distributed literature of an associa tion, shall; in the absence ofproof to the contrary, be evidence that at all times material- to the case he was a member of the association..
The onus of disproof of membership of an unlawful association will be thrown on the- individual who may be charged.
– If the prosecution can prove any of the facts set out in paragraphs a, b, c, and d, it will be evidence that the person charged is a member of an association unless hecan produce proof to the contrary.
– That . is most inequitable. The mere fact that a person has attended a meeting of an association will put him in the position of being regarded as a member of the association.
– A man can readily prove that ho is not a member of an. association-.
– In my opinion, the onus of proof of a man’s actual membership, of an. association should be thrown upon the prosecution. However, I do not wish, to labour- the question. It has- already been- extensively discussed. I simply record my protest against the provisions for deportation. There will be a further- opportunity to discuss the industrial provisions when the committee is dealing with proposed new section 30j.
– variouspoints have been raised by honorable members on this group of provisions, and it is perhaps convenient that I should deal with them at this stage. Considerable attention has been directed to the words “ revolution “ and “ sabotage “ in section 30a. These are words that must be taken with their context. They cannot be picked out and looked at by themselves. The essence of the matter is that this is a compound phrase. The prohibition is directed against advocacy of the overthrow of the Constitution by revolution or sabotage. “ Revolution “ in that context plainly means revolution to bring about the overthrow of the Constitution. It is, therefore, something different from the peaceful development of the present state of society into the state of socialism referred to in The Case for Labour, which was written by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). It is essentially different from the growth of a child into :i man, which was used as an illustration in that work. Many words are frequently used in a metaphorical sense. The word “ revolution “ comes within that category. But that is not its customary meaning, which implies and connotes the use of violence. When the words “ revolution “ and “ sabotage “ .ire used in direct association with the phrase, “ the overthrow of the Constitution,” it cannot reasonably be argued that the phrase can be interpreted to apply to the peaceful advocacy of alteration to the Constitution by ordinary methods. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) urged that, although the provision of deportation might act as a preventive, the power to order deportation should be exercised by a court and not by the Minister. It would obviously be much easier and more pleasant for the executive to place the responsibility upon a court. A vital objection, however, is that a court can deal with an individual only upon evidence that is strictly relevant to the offence with which he is charged. Evidence relating to his antecedents, history, character, and general behaviour, possibly in other lands, would be irrelevant and inadmissible,
– It would be admissible before sentence was passed.
– Evidence relating to prior convictions and’ good character, but not evidence of bad character, would then be admissible. I shall give an illustration. Some time ago a foreigner was convicted in Sydney of the offence of indecent exposure. The only relevant evidence v;is that relating to the particular offence with which he was charged. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. I do not think that he’ had any prior convictions. When his effects came into the possession of the authorities, it was discovered that he had been sent, to Australia to preach doctrines of revolution, and that he was actively engaged in revolutionary organization, to carry on which he had been supplied with funds from some source that was not discovered. He had in his possesion most violent and inflammatory material, copies of which had been circulated among his compatriots. He was undoubtedly a most undesirable citizen, and under the provisions of the Immigration Act he’ was deported. That action was taken before the recent decision of the High Court of Australia. The Minister who ordered his deportation did his duty in protecting the community against a dangerous individual. It would have been impossible to place before a court the evidence upon which the Minister quite properly acted, because it would have been irrelevant to the offence with which he was charged.
– He was a criminal.
– Yes. The point that I am endeavouring to make is that any action in connexion with deportation must be taken in the light of facts that concern the history and the character of the individual, and that such evidence is not admissible upon any inquiry by a court. The duty of taking such action should be accepted by the government of the day, with a full sense of the responsibility that is involved, the primary consideration being the safety of the community in the future.
– Would it not be possible to empower the court to review a person’s history and his antecedents ?
– That would be an entirely novel method of procedure.
– I realize that; but the difficulty which the Minister apprehends might be overcome by such an enactment.
– I appreciate the suggestion of the honorable member ; but I point out that that is not one of the ordinary functions of the judiciary.
– I grant that.
– Practically every country has a law of some kind relating to deportation, and. so far as I am aware, the responsibility is always accepted by the executive. There are necessarily conditions precedent before the executive can exercise that power. The commonest provision is that a person may be deported if he is an undesirable and an alien.
– Honorable members on this side are afraid that trade unionists may be drawn within the scope of these extended criminal provisions.
– Any individual who commits the acts that are specified in this clause ought to be dealt with according to law, whether he belongs to a trade union, a church, a football club, or any other body.
– Or the National Union.
– The National Union, or any other union. The Leader of the Opposition referred to British subjects. The dominions have always claimed the right to legislate in the fullest sense with respect to British subjects. It is unnecessary to examine at any length that aspect of this legislation, because it must be apparent to any honorable member who has given consideration to the matter that, if provisions with respect to deportation were not made to apply to British, subjects, our White Australia policy .would immediately fall to the ground. The Leader of the Opposition also questioned our power to pass this legislation. In my second-reading speech I endeavoured to place before honorable members the legal position as I saw it. I do not desire to repeat what I then said, but I should like to refer to a statement that was made by the honorable, member for Batman (Mr. Brennan). I welcome his repudiation of the criticism of officers of the Crown Law Department. Those officers are required to give advice to the government of the day, to enable legislation to be drafted and the administration of the Commonwealth to be carried on. They are responsible to the Minister whom they advise. It is the Minister, however, who accepts full responsibility in this chamber, and no one other than he can state whether he has accepted the advice tendered to him. Departmental officers are not in a position to defend themselves against criticism by honorable members or any one else. Although it was not the purpose of the honorable member for Batman to dilute the acid which at the moment he was producing, I was pleased to hear him say that it was improper and unfair for honorable members to criticize those officers on the assumption that they were responsible for any particular legislation.
– I go further than the Minister. The officers should be held responsible for the advice which they give, and the Minister should accept the responsibility of acting upon that advice. But. this committee is really the responsible party if any unsatisfactory legislation, leaves this chamber.
– I agree that the committee or the House is responsible. Honorable members know perfectly well that these officers have to advise one government to-day and another government at a future date. Their reputation stands sufficiently high to enable every honorable member to say that they give equally loyal service to every governmentThere were one or two other criticisms to which a reference might be made. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman) wishes the proposed section 30a to be extended to uncivilized governments as well as to civilized and organized governments. I cannot understand his object, and what he said on the point appears to me to be purely verbal criticism.
– The Attorney-General is not fair. The honorable member for Reid did not mention uncivilized countries, but he wanted to know the reasonfor confining the application of the proposed section to civilized countries.
– What is a civilized’ country or an organized government ?
– A civilized country is one which enjoys the blessings of civilization, one of which blessings is the privilege of being able to have a discussion as to what is a civilized country and civilization. No real difficulty can possibly arise in the application of the proposed section. The proposed section 30h was also mentioned, and the method of proving membership of an unlawful association. On that I desire only to say that unlawful associations are not going to keep nice registers of members for the use of the police, it would be a very difficult thing, indeed, to prove membership unless there were some such provision as that included in the proposed section. In the case of an unlawful association, as described in the bill, an ordinary citizen has no justification for attending its meeting, speaking in advocacy of its objects, or distributing its literature. If be engages in those activities, he can hardly complain if, when prosecuted, and these, facts are- proved,, the- prosecution proceeds on> the presumption that he: is a member-‘ of the unlawful) association, unless’ toe can give proof to the contrary. I think- the- proposed) section is- quite a reasonable provision!.
.I am- very strongly- opposed’ to the provision for deportation under certain circumstances by Che’ Attorney-General. I protest Chat it’ is inequitable and- immoral to discriminate- as- between two citizens of the- nation’. If it is equitable and proper that citizen A should be liable1, to- indictment and to punishment on being, found’ guilty, it is not. right that, citizen B should’ be liable - for- a. similar offence to the. punishment, inflicted on citizen A, and’ liable, in addition, to: some other, form of punishment. There- have recently occurred cases; in which citizens resident: for 30 years; in this country were indicted before- a: political tribunal. The Government, is not attempting to breathe new life into> that, political deportation board. Persons brought; before it found that they might be deported if - they were found guilty. But the whole thing- was surrounded-, by politics. The matter was not investigated! im the calm of th©> law courts, but! in- the< atmosphere: of: a political wrangle. The freedom! of men was placed, in the hands, of politicians. That is totally wrong. A man- may, have,come to- this- country 30y 40,. or 50 years ago. He may have lived’,, as far as cant be known,, an honest and crean. life,, have raised a family, and. may- have- grandchildren. He: may have stepped, aside from, what is recognized as the right path?, because, it may be, of eu run, of bad. luck-, or the: economic conditions in which he finds himself. It: is> easy, under goodeconomic circumstances to- be contented and happy, and, with a good bank balance-, to wear a smile. It should be remembered that sickness and unemployment produce psychological effects, and in the case, of such a> person as- I have described, that might: be- the real reason for his departure from the proper path as laid down by the Nationalist Government of the country. After all, society itself has a certain responsibility for the psychology of its members. Certain circumstances may operate to render a man . bitter-. Because of what he might regard as wrongful imprisonment, or bad treatment’ by employers, in. very desperation a man- might decide . to attempt the overthrow of the Constitution- by revolution and sabotage. He might decide, by- force- or violence,, to overthrow’ the. established government of the Commonwealth1, or to destroy or- injure property. If’ he- does- these- things; the, laws– of: the country should, apply- to him within, the, country. I firmly believe that when, a- man. has; in a bona fide manner, attained, citizenship,, the nation owes- responsibility to him just as he does to it. If a man da given full rights of citizenship in this country,” the country must be held responsible’ for conferring those rights. I hold strongly- the opinion expressed by honorable- members1 on both sides, that the- Government of Australia must not- surrender its right’, to deport. That- right must be1 preserved. If a person attains citizenship- by. misrepresentation, or has- not resided’ in the country for - the stipulated’ period, of. six months in> the case- of British- subjects1, and’ five1 years in- the case- of foreigners, then, if he be a criminal, and it is considered’ in- the> best interests of the good’ government- of- the Commonwealth the! Government should- have- the right, to deport h’im. But it is quite immoral1 that a man1 who has- attained: citizenship, and: has been a- good citizen, of this’ country for 10>, 20, or 40 years, should be deported from’ these- shores, as provided for in- this- clause. Whilst he may be deported under the- clause, his son, who may have committed exactly the same offence as that for which- the father is deported, is; not liable to- the- same penalty. That is a wrong- discrimination to make. The- Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) does: not like the. idea of his. respondsibility in the- matter. He says- it’ would be far easier’ for. him- or for. the. executive to, place the. responsibility on someone else. I agree- with- him. up to. that point, but he seems - if not eager- and: anxious-, yet ‘ as willing as- Barkis - to accept responsibility for usurping the functions of the judiciary of this country. I say it is quite wrong to affect the decisions of the judiciary- as- they will be affected by the provision which will permit of punishment being imposed by the AttorneyGeneral. When. a. person is indicted for any of the offences referred to- in the clause,, the judge, or the. jury before whom his case- is heard cannot help but be im- pressed by the fact -that if he was not born in Australia and iffound guilty, is liable to be deported by another person.
– In what direction would they be affected by that knowledge ?
– They would be affected by the fact that upon their decision would rest the ‘decision of someone else.
– In what way would they ‘be affected - in favour of the offender or against him?
– The probable assumption is that they would be affected in favour of the . offender, but if that is so, the very intention of the Government as framers and sponsors of this bill, will fail. Despite all kinds of abuse and corruption we have, through the ages, gradually established a judiciary of which we can justly be proud, and I think it is quite wrong that the politician should interfere with the judicial functions of the State. It is wrong that any person depending on the votes of the people should take part in the trial of the people. It is only in certain exceptional circumstances that the executive must accept responsibility. When a man has been found guilty of murder, and sentence has been imposed upon him, the decision has been made by the judiciary, and is based upon the facts. But it is only in the case of taking a life by hanging that executive action is necessary. Under this clause a person may ‘be found guilty and penalized by the judiciary, and, upon that, the political factor is introduced. I protest against the political and judicial instrumentalities being mixed in ‘the way proposed in this clause. It may be quite legal., provided that the High Court does not upset it. The Attorney-General and the Government must accept responsibility for the bill, and for whatever is done under it when at is brought into operation. Honorable members on this side have entered their protest against it. They made a similar protest against the provisions of the Immigration’ Bill, and much of ‘that protest has ‘ since been justified by the decision of theHigh Court. Iam totally opposed to the deportation of anyone who has acquired citizenship in Australia, particularly when a person who commits a criminal offence is ‘.not liable ‘to deportation. The thug, the garrcter,and the murderer cannot be deported, but an . academic crank who for advertisement and his own glorification, advocates theoverthrow of the nation by means of revolution, is to be subjected to penalties which a criminal of the worst type would not be subjected to. For these reasons, I am strongly opposed to the proposed new sub-section.
– The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) appears to have lost sight of the fact that a great many persons of foreign extraction who come to Australia accept ‘theprivilege of citizenship, exercise that privilege to the fullest extent and -.claim the protection of the law, but at the same time disclaim the responsibilities . of citizenship. They take pride in proclaiming themselves to fee citizens of the world, towing allegiance to no country, . and recognizing no regularly constituted authority. That is . an aspect of the ‘ matter which should not be overlooked when we are (considering who are. and . who are not desirable . citizens of the -Commonwealth. I think, however, that a useful purpose has been served by questioning the definition of certain terms usedin this clause. The terms “revolution “ and “ sabotage “ were mentioned during the second-reading debate. The Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) . has made it perfectly clear that the word “ revolution”as applied in this proposed new sub-section must be read with the context and having regard to the purpose -of the measure,, and should not be considered independently. It seems to me that it might be wise to more clearly define what is covered by the terms “ sabotage “ and “ job -control,” because otherwise it is likely that a great deal of argument may ensue over their exact meaning. “It is unfortunate ‘that “ sabotage “ is not very clearly defined in our dictionaries. Dictionaries, unfortunately, afford us little help at arriving at a clear meaning of the word ‘’'’sabotage,” and, in some -cases, have not - given . any definition at , all. One definition has already ‘been quoted ‘by the honorable -member for Reid (Mr. Coleman), but it is -so limited as tobe practically valueless when considered in connexion with ‘the purpose of this ‘clause. The word “ sabotage “ is defined a little more clearly . and at greater length,as thehonorable member for
Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) pointed out, in the 1924. edition of Webster, which is not available in the parliamentary library. These two words might well be more clearly defined in the bill before it is passed, because it is not advisable to have any ambiguity of meaning in words used in a statute. Very often phrases slip into bills which become acts, and disputes subsequently arise in the courts as to their exact meaning which lead to endless trouble.
– Could not a definition be set out in the bill ?
– A definition clause could be inserted. It was stated during the second-reading debate that the term “ job control “ has not yet been defined, but that is incorrect, because I find that in the Commonwealth Law Re-ports, volume 23, there is a full definition, although it does not cover everything, by Mr. Justice Isaacs and Mr. Justice Rich, and also by a witness, Mr. Adams.
– Is that in a recent judgment?
– It is to be found in the report of the case Commonwealth Steamship Owners Association v. Federated Seamen’s Union of Australia. On page 305 .of the Commonwealth Law Reports, volume 23,’ I find the position stated as follows : -
As an instance of the difficulty in the present case, Mr. Adams, who. as an expert, gives the principal evidence on the subject, says : “I should say it was an attempt by the men on a particular job to refuse work on that job for the purpose of enforcing industrial conditions.” The mere fact of his stating, ‘’ I should say,” may indicate a mere personal opinion, and not a knowledge of the meaning accepted generally by others as well as himself. Then he makes it part of the definition that the control must be “by the men on a particular job.” This would exclude all men who refused work before engagement, and would therefore exclude almost all the evidence as to the exercise of job control by individual members in this case. Again, he says, job control may be in some cases by an “ organization.” ‘ That is not consistent with what went before, but, if true, it is outside this case both because the information does not charge the exercise of job control by the organization, and because the award does not include it. The word “ job “ hardly permits the final definition, because what is selected as the thing to be controlled, and called the “ job,” is naturally not susceptible, of prior delimitation. It must vary with circumstances and with the progress of industrial operations. It may be a house, or a shop, or a ship, or a waterworks. “Job control,” so far as we understand that phrase to have acquired any definite meaning, connotes the control by employees, whether already engaged or not, or by some organization representing them, of some single enterprise or portion of an enterprise of an employer, which is selected as an isolated unit of industrial operations; the effective method of enforcing the control being, not a general strike in the industry or of the union, or even in the general service of the employer, but a strike of the employees engaged on. that unit or a refusal to engage on it at all. If that be the true meaning of the term, it does not, as we have stated, accord with the definition in evidence in this case, nor does it entirely coincide with the application of the phrase by the terms of the award, though there is nothing in the award, so far as we can observe, inconsistent with it so far as its meaning is concerned.
If that is the definition of these learned judges, it seems that it needs amplification, and I suggest for the consideration of the Attorney-General that it might be well to consider this proposed new sub-section a little further before asking the committee to pass it. It is most important that we should have a clear definition of the terms employed in the measure, especially where there seems to be such a wide divergence of opinion concerning what the words actually mean and what they actually imply. After all, tha Attorney-General’s explanation can, in the absence of any clear and judicially authoritative definition, be regarded only as hia opinion. I think it would be wise to clear up any doubt in the matter by inserting a definition clause covering words or phrases as to which there is any ambiguity regarding their meaning.
.- My views on this measure have been admirably expressed by honorable members on this side who have already spoken; but there are one or two other points with which I wish to deal. I do not dispute the contention that the national legislature should be possessed of full powers, including power to deport; that a legislature such as this should have complete and absolute powers. The application and administration of a particular law should, however, be safeguarded in order to conserve the fundamental principles of British law. This Parliament should not be permitted to discriminate in the matter of citizenship, because I venture the opinion, as a layman, that in doing so we would find ourselves in a very embarrassing position.
I believe that the deportation of a British citizen resident in Australia would be held to be unconstitutional, and the government responsible for it would be placed in a very embarrassing position. Australia is one of the first of the British dominions to consider the adoption of this method of punishment, which strikes at the very root of the privileges of British citizenship.
-i-Did not New Zealand deport a man to> Australia recently ?
– I believe that if that man had appealed against his deportation the action of the New Zealand Government would have been held to be an unwarrantable interference with the right of a British citizen. But, in any case, we should not follow an evil example ; rather should we set an example to other dominions in upholding the best traditions of the Empire. Whilst I affirm the right of the national, . legislature to exercise absolute and complete power over ito citizens, I hold that it is the responsibility of the judiciary which, in the interpretation of the law, holds the scales of justice evenly, between the Crown and the accused, to determine what penalties should be imposed for an offence. Under this bill the judiciary will be required to determine whether or not a man is guilty, and then impose a penalty; but deportation is a super-punishment to be imposed by the Government without reference to the court as to its equity. That is contrary to the principles of British jurisprudence. The Attorney-General has explained that the power of deportation is retained to the Cabinet because it is undesirable to introduce into the court a man’s previous records, or any other evidence that is not admissible in the trial of an ordinary criminal offence. The answer to that is that in a criminal trial, after the jury has returned its verdict, the judge, before passing sentence, refers to the previous convictions of the accused. Similarly, in proceedings under this bill, the accused’s past record need not be introduced into the trial, but after the verdict has been given, may be taken into account by the court when determining the punishment. If that procedure were adopted the accused would not be prejudiced in any way, and the Government would be relieved of a responsibility and freed of any suspicion that, for selfish ends, it was despotically deporting its political opponents. That system would protect
British citizens from unfair discrimination and victimization by the government of the day.
.- 3 ask the Attorney-General to’ give further consideration to the issue raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) and the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman). The Attorney-General said that the words “ overthrow of the Constitution of the Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage “ in proposed subparagraph i, means overthrow by force or violence. I submit that the court will take into consideration the wording oi the whole section, and ask itself why, if sub-paragraph i means force or violence, it does not use those words. Subparagraph ii deals with “the overthrow’ by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth or a State, etc.” The very inclusion of those words in sub-paragraph ii in relation to the government, and their omission from sub-paragraph i, referring to the Constitution, suggests a differentiation between the two offences. All possibility of misapprehension would be removed if the words ‘ ‘ force or violence “ were used in both sub-paragraphs. The term “ revolution “ has been used in many senses. “ Sabotage” is a French term, and is undefined in the bill, but we are asked to accept the Attorney-General’s opinion of what it means.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to S p.m.
– To emphasize the argument I was advancing before the suspension of the sitting, I repeat the point I made. The first paragraph of the proposed new section 30a reads, “ The overthrow of the Constitution of the Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage.” That means that any association that advocates the overthrow of the Constitution of the Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage is unlawful. The AttorneyGeneral says that revolution means the exercise of force or violence, but we, on this side, say that it may mean something else. Revolution is a complete change. The Attorney-General says that i*-. could not be a sudden change without force, but I submit that it could.
– Revolution means, amongst other things, a turning round, like the Government has done many a time.
– Many a revolution has- been committed’ by honorable members opposite. They were quite wrong in some of their revolutions, but I would not put them- into jail for that. We speak very familiarly to-day of the industrial revolution in England, but there was no force or violence about that, and it was certainly not very gradual. It was, in fact, very sudden from the point of view of the craftsmen who were thrown out of employment by the introduction of machinery. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann), and the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse), might advocate a revolutionary change in our Commonwealth Constitution. We have heard it threatened in this chamber that Western Australia may secede from the Commonwealth.. To do that would be to overthrow our Commonwealth Constitution. It would be a revolution, but not necessarily brought about by force or violence. While I. entirely disagree with the honorable members who advocate that change, I do not think they should be put into jail or deported. The words “ force or violence “ ought to be inserted before the word “ revolution.” If the. honorable member for Forrest were to advocate that Western Australia should secede from the Federation,; he would be advocating, revolution. The- Government says it intends to punish only those who. advocate revolution by force or violence. That being so we contend that the word’s “ force or violence.” should be included; in the first, paragraph of theproposed- new section. There- can be no reasonable explanation why the words should not be included ineach of theparagraphs. Paragraph a (i) refers to” the overthrow of: the Constitution of the Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage,” while paragraph a (ii) refers to ‘ ‘ the overthrow by force, or violence of- the established- government of the- Commonwealth.” Why should the words “ by force or violence “ be- included in. the paragraph that deals with the overthrow of the established government of the Commonwealth, but not in the- paragraph that deals with the overthrow of the Constitution of the Commonwealth ? What difference is there- between “ the Constitution of the Commonwealth “ and “the established government of the Commonwealth “ that calls for this variation in phraseology? The distinction made in drafting the bill suggests- that the intention of the Government is to bring, under the heading of unlawful associations those who advocate a complete and sudden change, whether accompanied- by violence or mot. I submit that the. provision as it stand’s is dangerous,, and that the intention of the. Government should be made clear. To say that the word “ revolution,” without qualification, means . revolution by force or violence, would not carry much weight in a court of law, when, in the next paragraph, the words “ force or violence” are used. The court would undoubtedly come to- the conclusion that the distinction was made deliberately, and would hold that, if. no distinction had been intended, the words “ force or violence “ would have been included in both paragraphs. The fact that the Government declines to insert the words in both paragraphs shows that it wishes- to clans as unlawful-, associations that advocate- revolution without force or violence. Surely it is not intended to arrest men who advocate a change in our industrial system. If it is so intended, I can understand the wording of these paragraphs,, but the Government denies that, that is: so. The AttorneyGeneralhas said, that the Government does: notwish to deny freedom of speech except to prevent the advocacy- of revolution by force or violence. Then why not insert those words- in each paragraph ? The honorable memberfor Reid (Mr. Coleman)- has emphasized the- ambiguity of the word “sabotage,” and. the honorable member for Batman- (Mr. Brennan) has said that it is “ a. bad French word,” but this committee is asked to acceptit without a definition of . it in the. bill. The- honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), said that there- was no need to define- it because it was defined in. the dictionaries. I have yet to learn that the courts- of law are bound, to accept dictionary definitions-. If they were, their work would- be greatly simplified. The Government that wishes us to accept the word sabotage as having a clear and definite- meaning has placed in the bill a definition of the word ‘ ‘ employer.” Every one surely knows what an employer or employee is, but every one could not. define the word “ sabotage,” which’ is used in. different ways in different circumstances. The proposed new section 30f is typical of many provisions in this bill. I. suggest that the bill was draf ted in a panic, and t’ha’t.it is hysterical legislation. There is nothing happening in the country to warrant many of its provisions. The priceless freedom we boast of in British countries is .being seriously whittled away. .Let me read the proposed -new section in abbreviated form .so as .to drive the .meaning of it home to .honorable .members -
Any person -who (knowingly sprints, -publishes, sells -or exposes “for sale any book -.issued by any unlawful association shall he guilty of on offence.
A bookseller in this country who exposes for sale a ‘book written on behalf of an unlawful association anywhere in the world, is guilty of an offence.
– -He must do it knowingly
– The true significance of that paragraph appears when it is read in conjunction with -paragraph a (ii) of proposed new section ‘30a -
The overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the ‘Commonwealth or of -a State, -or of -any other civilized country or of organized government.
Any association ‘that ‘exists in any part of ‘the world for the purpose -df overthrowing “by -force ‘or violence any government in the world may be declared illegal in Australia. A ‘book issued on ‘.behalf of an association ‘of -that kind may -cause the person who ‘exposes it for -sale in Melbourne to be sentenced ito si-x months’ imprisonment. -Suppose san -association was set up like the Counter Revolution, with its “ White .Army,” in Russia. I believe that that association still exists, and that it has for its object the .overthrow by force of the established .government of Russia. A book written on ‘behalf of that association might .find its way to Australia, and it, no doubt, would advocate the [overthrow of the Soviet government of Russia, - which is an established and an organized ^government - by force. I agree -with much, :and disagree with much, that -it us doing, .just .as I ‘disagree with ‘most that the present Commonwealth Government does, -and with nearly all ‘that it is ‘doing in .this ‘bill. If a book setting forth the aims . of <an organization established in Russia ‘for ‘the overthrow -df .the .Soviet .Government .was exposed for .sale in Melbourne, the bookseller handling it .would be committing an offence under this bill. ,:It may be said -that this Government -would not prosecute him ; but another government might. A government opposed to the Soviet system in Russia ‘would have as much right ‘to PUt into jail a shopkeeper who ‘exposed for sale .a book advocating the overthrow of that .government by force as this -Government would have in -putting ‘into jail a .person who exposed -for sale a book advocating the overthrow of the Italian Government by force. il:shall not labour that .aspect of :t-he question; .but I draw attention to it to show that this is hysterical legislation, which ;goes beyond the limits of providing .for the safety of the country.
It is proposed to- give to the -Attorney-General the power to superimpose, after a court of law has decided upon a penalty, the greater penalty of deportation. We may agree that there are -persons in this country who advocate the use. of force and violence, and the attainment of their .ends by force, and . we all agree that they ought to be punis’hed; but I suggest -that -whatever punishment is inflicted should be inflicted -only by -the judge who hears the evidence and sees the .prisoner. To :give into the bands of the political head ‘of the .government of the day the right to .superimpose another punishment is fundamentally wrong. I repeat what 1 .said during the second-reading debate, that I would ,be prepared to trust the Attorney -‘General if he were sitting on the High Court bench to deal tout justice, ‘but ‘that I would -not trust him as the political head of a .government swayed by the passions of the times. The -one great principle we have .tried to lay down in all legislation providing ‘.punishment for crimes is that penalties shall be imposed by the -judiciary of the country, removed from the taint of politics and the prejudices of parties. In support of that contention, let me quote the honorable the Attorney-General. On a former occasion, When we were discussing a proposal ‘to appoint appeal boards for taxation purposes, the honorable gentleman opposed the government of the day, and said -
The principle is embodied in .the Constitution that judicial powers -shall be exercised by judicial persons. The essence’ df a judicial appointment, as determined: by the Constitution, is that the (person exercising judicial powers shall not ‘be’ removable at the will Of the Government.’ -
The Attorney-General is removable at the will of the Government and the will of the people, but the judges are appointed for life. The Attorney-General said that only judicial persons should exercise judicial powers. The essence of our Constitution is that a judicial person appointed to exercise judicial power is free from the control of the government of the day. His appointment cannot be cancelled. We on this side are firmly of the opinion that the determination of whether a man shall be deported from Australia is a judicial, function; but if it is held to be not a judicial function, then I say that the grave act of deportation should not be performed unless accompanied by the judicial action that accompanies a judicial function. We are asked to assume that the Attorney-General will act in a judicial way, but on his own interpretation of the Constitution no judicial, function should be performed unless by a judicial person, who is not the political head of the Government, but a member of the judiciary appointed under the Constitution. What are the arguments advanced by the AttorneyGeneral? He said that there might be certain facts and certain evidence in justification of the deportation of a man under this legislation that could not be brought before a court of law as relevant evidence. He said that the history and general record of the man would be irrelevant as evidence before a court, and therefore could not come into consideration in the question of deportation. It sounds well in theory, but what is the practice? What would the Crown Prosecutor do when charging a man from another part of the world, who had a bad record? He would certainly put it in.
– It would not be possible. It would be very improper . for him to attempt to do so. >
– No doubt such an action might be improper, but the AttorneyGeneral knows that many improper things are done.
– Not by Crown Prosecutors; they are a fair set of men. In any case the judge would prevent such evidence being put in.
– The Crown Prosecutor would certainly divulge the history of the accused. He would charge him with being an advocate of revolution, and I venture to say that it would be relevant for him to produce the record of the accused in other countries, especially if he were a revolutionary and an advocate of those things so much talked about by tho Attorney-General. Apart from that, in our ordinary courts, before a prisoner is sentenced, a list of his prior convictions is read, and there is nothing to prevent, this Government, if it so desires, from including in the bill the right to produce to the court, before sentence and after trial, evidence to show justification for deportation. I should not object to the Government having the right under this bill to deport certain undesirables who have recently arrived in this country, persons with criminal instincts, who have been chased by the police from other countries: But wc distinguish between those undesirables and persons who have made this country their home, those whom the Leader of the Opposition defined as Australian citizens. We distinguish entirely between the power which the Government already possesses under the Immigration Act to deport undesirable immigrants, and the power to deport our own citizens who have lived here probably half a lifetime, merely because they are guilty of an offence for which Australian-born citizens can receive at the most only about two years’ imprisonment. Transportation for life in the Old Country was at one time regarded almost as the alternative for hanging.
– British-born citizens may even be imprisoned for a couple of years before being deported under this bill.
– That is quite possible. On the other hand, Australianborn citizens committing a similar offence are to be sentenced at the most to two years’ imprisonment. The bulk of our people who have come from across the seas are British. They are of the stock that laid the foundations of this country - the stock from which we have sprung. The fathers of almost every one of us were British born, and we are asked to show so little regard for that stock1 from which we have sprung as to treat our British-born citizens differently from our Australian born, no matter how long they have lived here.
A man may live in this country for 50 years, and yet be liable to deportation under this legislation. If he commits an offence against this law he may, after serving a certain sentence in prison, be ordered by the Attorney-General to leave this country for ever, to leave his family, and, possibly, his grandchildren, behind. It is no use saying that such an action is not contemplated, because we have recent evidence that the Government attempted, by the worst methods that it could employ, to deport a man who had lived in this country for over 30 years. The Government failed on the job. It appointed a political board to deport this man, but its decision broke down owing to the High Court upholding the Constitution of this country. While we do not object to the punishment of persons who break our laws and become criminals, we strongly object to persons who have lived here for years, and whose family ties are deep-rooted in the soil of Australia, being exiled from their families. They should be treated the same as Australian-born citizens, because they are of the stock that laid the foundations of our country. This clause provides, not for judicial punishment, but for political punishment. The Government first of all tried to convict persons without a proper trial. In fact, it did convict persons by means of a political board, and the Attorney-General justified the Government’s action in appointing that board by saying that it is not always possible to prove your facts in a court of law by evidence that is legally admissible. A murderer cannot be sent to his doom under the laws of Australia to-day unless he is proved guilty on legal evidence. Yet a person who advocates something that is opposed to the economic and political ideas of the Government may be deported from Australia at the mere will of the Minister. The Attorney-General justifies the proposal to give the political head of the country the power to deport persons for the very same reason that he gave in support of the appointment of the political board to which I have referred. It is no use saying that any action taken by him will be judicial; it will really be political. It will be political punishment superimposed upon the decision of. the court. While the judge sitting in the court, having heard the evidence and watched the demeanour of the prisoner, may consider the offence trifling and impose a fine of, say £5, the . fact, that the man was found guilty will enable the AttorneyGeneral to say that he shall be deported. It is a wrong power to place in the hands of the Attorney-General, and it is a wrong punishment to give to persons who have made this country their home.
.- The only word of unfriendly criticism that I can utter about the excellent speech just delivered by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) is that, perhaps, he is taking the absurdities of the Government a little too seriously. After all he should, in a spirit of Christian charity, remember that the Government is under the necessity of justifying its election war-whoops. Having endeavoured to create a scare about a chimera which had no real existence, and having succeeded in frightening a considerable section of the electors into supporting it in its absurdities, it must now legislate in order to preserve uniformity on the lines upon which the supporters . of the Government spoke during the recent election. The part must be acted in full. The Government cannot call off the piece after having staged the first act. It cannot ring down the curtain and disperse the crowd. The thing must go through in its natural sequence, and, therefore, what was spoken foolishly in the electorates must be enacted foolishly in Parliament. From the very memorandum which the Government has printed to show the amendments in their proper relationship with the Crimes Act as a whole, it will be seen that we already have powers under the laws of this country to deal with such crimes as sedition, disaffection, treason, and other offences against the order and good government of Australia. And so, in truth and in fact, by an examination of this document it may be proven that there is no real reason whatever for this panic legislation which the Government has introduced. We enacted a good deal of this class of legislation during the war, but the government of the day had to be excused. It was a Nationalist government - a panic government. It was a government that kept on seeing things, preferring to see things rather than to do things which had any real value. It was constantly passing acts of ‘parliament to restrict ‘the liberty of the .people and freedom of speech, and, generally, to terrify and terrorize the people as an evidence of its burning patriotism. But at least it had the good grace to recant. The Nationalist Government of the day had the’ grace to repeal some pf the legislation which it- passed in war time, -or at least the worst of it. It had the common sense when it did find its feet, and ceased to see things, and the hysteria had passed and the war madness and blood-letting had come to an end, to rid the statute-book of those absurd provisions which were passed in’ the name of the War Precautions Act. But now in time of peace, if it is a time of peace, that class of legislation is to be re-enacted. What really is to be reenacted? What we are considering for the moment is the proposed new subsection 30c, which reads -
Any person who ‘by speech or writing advo,cates or encourages -
the overthrow of the Constitution of the Commonwealth by revolution or -sabotage ;
the overthrow by force or violence of- the established government of the Commonwealth or of a State or of any other civilized country or of organized government; or
the destruction or injury of property of ‘the ‘Commonwealth or of ‘property used in trade or commerce with other countries or among the States, shall be -guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for any period not exceeding -two years, and, in addition (if he was not bom in Australia) to deportation by order of the ‘Attorney-General as provided in this act.
My first comment is -that that is sufficiently provided for by existing law. My next comment is- that, in its legislation, the Government is adopting catch cries with- which it has become familiar by a ‘too deep reading of communist literature. It :has used the word “ sabotage “ as though that word had an -established meaning in modern English literature. It is not English, and it is bad French. It has adopted the term “ job control “ as though it knew what the term meant; but it does not attempt to define it. Apparently, the Government’s idea is that ‘we on this side will enlighten them as to the meaning of these terms, which are to be embodied in acts of Parliament. Owing to ‘the propaganda of the Government, many people are becoming afraid of their own -shadows, and, therefore, they say that no one ought to object to the punishment of an association or of an individual who advocates’ the overthrow of .the Constitution’ of the Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage. I was never a great advocate of physical force in bringing about industrial, political, or international reforms. In .fact, I am afraid that in the year 1915, and thereabouts, I gained a somewhat evil reputation for being, of all things in a Christian -country, a pacifist. I was one of those who, at a time when such views were unpopular, advocated -that we should import into our dealings with ‘other nations something of the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, in which, during times of peace, we profess to believe, but which, in that time of war, were .scrapped or dealt with by the censor. I cannot, therefore, be accused of being an advocate of political or industrial reform by force of arms or bloodshed. I do not believe in those things. But I do believe in freedom of speech. I believe also in the wisdom of the policy pursued by Great Britain for 100 years, which permitted all sorts of cranks, fanatics, and heretics of various kinds to meet in their little meeting places in the centre of London, unhampered and unhindered, -and to give expression to their views .as to the best -way .to overthrow by force the established government of the very .country in which they were speaking. No harm came from their’ utterances. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) -was correct when he said that ‘those ‘meeting places provided those people with a safety valve, which prevented their dangerous doctrines from developing in secret as they did in Russia and elsewhere, until they resulted in actual .and treacherous physical force, causing the murder of officials and of men in high ‘public positions, .and the useless destruction of human life. It is arguable whether it is wise to pass legislation to render it a penal offence to express opinions. I believe in making it penal to commit offences; :but the .’expression of opinions is a different matter. Being a pacifist, infected with notions of Christianity which are consistent with the Sermon on the
Mount, 1 do not like- bloodshed or force, and, therefore, I am content to allow that portion of the bill to- remain. But it goes further. It is also an offence to advocate the . overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth, or- of a State, or of any other civilized country or of organized government. It would appear that people in Australia may not advocate with propriety the overthrow, by .physical force, of a civilized government on the other side of the world. If the Russian Czar were now on the throne, it would clearly be an offence to advocate ihat czarism should be overthrown in that country, notwithstanding that by common consent the. rule of. the’ Czars meant the denial of the very elements of li.ber.ty. The position in Russia under the regime of the czars was very different from conditions in Australia, where every adult has a vote. But the regime of the czars has been- overthrown, and the Soviet regime has taken its place. . Is it equally unlawful to advocate the overthrow of the Soviet regime by force? The answer that I suggest- is. that it would not be an offence to advocate the overthrow of that government while the present Government is in power in Australia, but that it would be if the Labour party were in power here. It is not difficult to see the purely political nature of this legislation. It has relation, not to the real issues at stake, but merely to the political condition of the people’s minds from time to time. Let us consider ako the position of the great Chinese empire in the days before the republic. During the time that his serene highness was on the throne, it would have been an offence under this bill to advocate the overthrow of that empire by force. But if Sun Yat Sen had driven a dagger into his back and taken possession of the umpire, and, in turn, established another civilized government - civilized, that is, more or less - clearly it would have been an offence in Australia for one to have suggested that his government should be overthrown by force, notwithstanding that in China the different factions were, and still are, all the time busily attempting to overthrow one another by force. If before Mussolini secured power in Italy by force we had suggested that he should do what he actually did do, we should have been liable to punishment or to deportation.. But Mussolini, having secured the power which he sought by force, we should now be liable to deportation if we- suggested that he should be overthrown, by force. If the AttorneyGeneral had a sense of humour,, he would not have the courage to place such measures before honorable members. Unfortunately, a fatal lack of humour afflicts him;, he, cannot see a joke. This bill’, which says that it is ‘ an offence to advocate the overthrow of organized government,, does, not define organized government. Nor does it define sabotage or job control. Does the Government which introduced the measure know what organized government is? Organized government in one country differs greatly from organized- government in another country. .The only test that I can suggest as. satisfactory to the Government is that organized government is government de facto,, whether obtained by force, fraud., or otherwise, so long as. for the time being it has the upper hand. It is clear, therefore, that no person has a right to advocate the overthrow of any government. Apparently it is a case of whatever is, is right, and whatever is proposed, is revolutionary and wrong. That precept is distinctly nationalist, and it is no wonder that to oppose it is a penal offence. Again, the destruction or injury of the property of the Commonwealth is an offence. Hara it would be possible to appeal to the Attorney -General’s sense of humour, If he had one. If a person saw a.n objectionable building on the grounds surrounding this building, and on sanitary or other grounds, destroyed it, his action would be regarded as an offence under this bill. The person who commits that offence is to be liable, on conviction in the courts of the country, to imprisonment for two years; and oh the completion of that term the Attorney-General, waiting at the door of the prison, may deport him from the country. . That is fine! We have certainly never had that before. We thought that criminal offences could be dealt with under the criminal law in the courts of this country. We did not believe that convicted men would be made the plaything of a party in the political arena. The Government has been forced to do these things by reason of the absurd position it took up during the recent election campaign. I do not think that the Attorney -General believes in these things. I should like this House to know that my great respect for the Attorney-General impels me to say on his behalf that I do not believe for a moment that he is in favour of the bill which he has introduced. But, like the present Speaker, he has received a mandate, and that mandate he must obey. Each, in turn, steps up higher, and another takes his place ; the great work must go on. I am against any extension of the power to deport which already exists in the Immigration Act. I am not one of those who believe in limiting the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament in regard to the preservation of the purity of the race. This Parliament has an undoubted right to expel from the country people who are undesirable, and who by their coming here may lower our standard of living or affect our racial purity. I believe that Australia should control her own ports in regard to immigration and emigration. She does control them, and has done so for years. Ever since the establishment of the Commonwealth the courts have been employed to deport people who had no right to come or remain here. I believe in the exercise of that power. So far as I know, the Government; has not found, the existing powers to be insufficient. People who have entered this country without authority have, when captured, been ejected under the country’s laws. Moreover, people with evil reputations and others suffering from contagious or transmissible diseases have been deported, notwithstanding that to do so was an unpleasant duty. We are entitled to maintain our standards of health, of public morality, and of racial purity, and we have never found the powers already existing to be insufficient for the purpose. I invite the AttorneyGeneral to say otherwise. Now the Government wants to make deportation the punishment for certain offences. I prefer to treat the whole thing somewhat contemptuously. I take this opportunity of declaring my hostility to the power to deport, which already exists under the laws of the Commonwealth, being added to. On that part of the clause to which this debate is limited, I need say little more unless it be to refer also to the proposed section dealt with earlier by. the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin). That section reads - 30f. Any person who knowingly prints, publishes, sells, or exposes for sale any book, periodical, pamphlet, handbill, poster, or newspaper for, or in the interests of, or issued by any unlawful association shall be guilty of an offence. Penalty: Imprisonment for six months.
The honorable member pointed out the class of literature which it- may become an offence to distribute in this country, literature having no regard to disturbances in Australia, nor contemplating the possibility of any disturbance in Australia. But let us suppose for a moment that it . may relate to a conceivable disturbance in Australia. Sometimes I go into the public halls of Melbourne to deliver addresses. It may seem a dreadful confession to make, but occasionally an old lady who presumably gets a commission for selling pamphlets of various kinds relating to industrial, social, and political matters, has exacted a penny from me for the purchase of one of, those pamphlets. Under this proposed section, that old lady and I would be liable to imprisonment for six months.
– What would be the honorable and learned member’s offence? .
– The purchase of the pamphlet.
– That would not be an offence under the bill.
– Then it is only the old lady who would be punished.
– That makes the position worse, and I suggest that it is a matter that should be righted. Surely the purchaser is the greater offender of the two.
– Let the honorable member move an amendment to penalize the purchaser.
– This obvious’ omission merely enables us to add a little more to the ridicule we are entitled to pour on this proposed legislation. By and by we shall come to section 30j, and then I hope, Mr. Chairman, that your good health and good temper will be maintained in all their usual effervescence. In the meantime, I leave the unlawful associations part of the bill. I regard it as absurd and unnecessary. “ Much of it is manifestly unjust. The more vital mat- ters dealt with, are already provided for in our crimes legislation. But honorable members opposite have their mandate. They must appear to be in earnest, even if they are not. The elections are just over. They had to meet in the summer to appear to be in a hurry to do these absurdities. Let them do them.
Proposed sections 30a to 30h agreed to.
Proposed sections 30j (Industrial Disturbances, Lockouts, and Strikes), and 30k (Obstructing or hindering the performance of services).-
, - As various honorable members have already said, the provisions now before the committee are of considerable importance. They arise very naturally and directly from recent experiences in Australia which are so fresh in the minds of honorable members that it is quite unnecessary for me to describe them again. It is, however, important that honorable members should understand exactly what is sought to be provided, because during the secondreading debate there was directed towards these provisions a great deal of criticism which was entirely misconceived. It was said, again and again, that this was legislation dealing with strikes in general, and that it was directed against trade unionism in Australia.
– I rise to a point of order. I have no desire to limit the discussion, but it appears to me that the AttorneyGeneral is setting out to give a reply which he should have given last night on the motion, for the second reading. I want to know if it is competent for an honorable member to reply extensively in committee to arguments raised at the secondreading stage.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bayley).I understand that the honorable the AttorneyGeneral is now merely making some . introductory remarks in regard to proposed sections 30j and 30k.
– I propose to deal specifically with those two provisions. The first point to be considered is their actual scope and significance, and then as to their effect. The section is not ‘ to come into operation until a proclamation has been made. That effect is produced by the first words of sub-section 2, which comes into effect only during the operation of a proclamation made under subsection 1. Consequently the section does not operate unless a proclamation is made, and it therefore follows that this provision, is not legislation directed generally against strikes “or industrial disturbances.
– A proclamation can be made whenever the government of the day desires it.
– Whenever the government of the day thinks proper to make one. That is perfectly clear on the face of the section, and I have no desire to disguise that obvious fact. It is, however, also equally apparent that, having made a. proclamation of this character with a full knowledge of- the penal nature of the subsequent provisions of the section, the Government of the day incurs a responsibility for which it will have to answer to the people of the country. A government would not, if it were at all well advised, run the risk of issuing a proclamation unless the circumstances justified the application of emergency legislation. This is essentially emergency legislation. It is not directed against all strikes. It is not a part of our industrial legislation. So far as this Parliament is able to legislate on industrial matters, its industrial legislation is to be found in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. “That measure is designed to produce industrial peace, whereas this bill is designed to protect the community against interference with vital services, and has quite a different object from the general purpose of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
Not only does this legislation not come into effect until after a proclamation of a serious industrial disturbance, prejudicing or threatening trade or commerce with other countries, or among the States, has been made, but it will also be observed that the lockouts and strikes which are dealt with are of a very limited and defined character. Under the first heading they are “in relation to employment in or in connexion with the transport of goods, or the conveyance of passengers, in trade or commerce with other countries, or among the States.” Not only does the section not apply to strikes in general, it does not even apply to strikes in or in connexion with trade or commerce, interstate and foreign, but is confined to strikes relating to the transport of goods or the conveyance of passengers. That is to say, it is strictly limited to interference with transport.
– That is one of my criticisms of the. bill.
– There are- two reasons for that limitation. The first is that the Government, under , this bill, is endeavouring to deal with the real difficulties and evils which exist. As has already been pointed out, it has been discovered by some people that interference with transport is one of the best means of. holding up the community. The second reason is that, although the Commonwealth Constitution permits this Parliament to legislate upon interstate and foreign trade and commerce, it gives it no. general power to legislate upon industry. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman), managing to maintain a solemn countenance, said in an earlier stage of the debate - to which the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) will not allow me torefer more particularly - that he objected to this legislation, because it discriminated - it picked out transport. He said that it should apply to everything, but he was evidently suffering from a strange lapse of memory. Hitherto he has not failed to recognize that the Commonwealth Parliament has limited powers and that it could not legislate generally upon strikes, even if it thought it proper to do so. Therefore, the- nondiscrimination which the honorable member suggests is impossible. We can legislate only upon certain limited matters.
– This bill does not attempt to legislate on all matters within our jurisdiction.
– If the bill attempted to legislate upon all strikes it would be plainly invalid. The second heading relates to lockouts or strikes, . “ in relation to employment or in connexion with the provision- of any public service by the Commonwealth, or by any department or public authority under the Commonwealth.” The real problem with which proposed section 30j seeks to deal is that of industrial disturbances, which are not merely industrial disputes, but are of a much more serious character. This provision is aimed at dealing with industrial disputes which threaten the life of the community.
Recently we have heard some most surprising statements about the inalienable right to strike. It has. been suggested that the right to strike is valued as a great, substantive right of the working men and working women of Australia. I think that, honorable members who suggest this do. the men and women of Australia an injustice. To talk about the inalienable right to strike is nonsense-, as any one who knows anything about the present conditions of industrial legislation in Australia . will recognize. Honorable members opposite flatter themselves with the conviction, which is apparently sincere, that they alone are acquainted with industrial conditions in Australia, and that they alone are informed as to the nature of industrial legislation. It has been- argued inside and outside this chamber that one of the prized rights of an Australian is the right to strike, and that the men and women of Australia will fight to the bitter end before they abandon that inalienable right.
– Is the honorable member aware that the legislation of New South Wales provides for strikes.
– I propose to deal with that particular point. For the moment I am not discussing the policy of this legislation; I am simply and shortly directing the attention of honorable members to. the actual legislative provisions of the Commonwealth and the States on the subject of strikes, because it has been suggested that it is an- unheard-of thing to legislate against strikes.
– Our contention is that they have not previously been brought under the criminal code.
– Immediately there is a qualification by the honorable member.
– That is the position which we have always taken up.
– I was dealing with the matter from that point of view. Any act the commission of’ which renders a person liable . to punishment by fine or imprisonment, comes within the operation of the criminal code. Let us begin with Commonwealth legislation. Ever since the Arbitration Act was introduced in 1904, the statute-book of the Commonwealth has contained provisions prohibiting strikes in so far as the Commonwealth has had power to legislate in that direction. I refer honorable members to section 6 of the Commonwealth Arbitration Act, which has been a part of the act from the commencement of its operation. That section prohibits all strikes on account . of industrial disputes, and fixes a penalty of any . amount up to £1,000. Under section 5, a second offence maybe punished by imprisonment. I also ‘direct the attention of honorable members to section 6a, whichwas introducedin1920. All the provisions to which I propose to refer apply equally to lockoutsand tostrikes, but in the present discussion the strike aspect is the more important, and I therefore quote particularly the anti- strike provisions. Section 6a prohibits strikes by unions that have the benefit of, -or are bound by, an award. Many governments, of various political complexions, have had opportunities to alter the arbitration law, but it has never been altered in such a way as to take from it the prohibition against strikes.
Mr.Stewart. - Has there been any conviction under it?
– There have been convictions. Applications have also ‘been granted at different times under section 48 of the act for an injunction against a strike, in terms of section 6 or 6a.
– Has the penalty of imprisonment ; ever been ‘imposed ?
– I do not know of a case in whichthere has been a second conviction. We come now to the legislation of ‘the States. Their provisions ‘vary. In South Australia, -under the Industrial Code of 1920, and in Western Australia, under, the Industrial Arbitration Act . of 1912, strikes are declared tobe illegal; they are prohibited, . and penalized.In New South Wales and Queensland, the prohibition is not absolute. . In . New South Wales -there is an absolute prohibition of certain strikes, and, in industries that are regulated byawards, there is a prohibition of strikes, which is subject to the modification that after a period of twelve months has elapsed, . a union may, by a vote, get out of an . award. In regard to unions that are not bound by an award, a penalty is imposed if a strike takes place and fourteen days’ notice of that intention has not been given to the Minister. In Queensland, a penalty isimposed upon strikes in the absence ofa prior secret ballot. In the original provision, secrecy of the ballot ‘was not enforced, but that was ‘recently amended. The position, therefore, ‘is that in the Commonwealth and four of the States, penalties of different descriptions are im posed in respectof strikes. Accordingly, it is . of no use to say that this legislation is entirely new because it seeks to im pose a penalty ‘upon -strikes. It may be opentocriticism,but not upon the ground that it isentirelynew in that regard .
– The honorable gentleman is proving -that there is no necessity for this new legislation.
– The honorable mem ber forYarra (Mr. Scullin) on occasions . is more ready to make what appears to be an apt interjection than to consider the Teal relevance of what he is about to say. His interjection is beside the point. In the first place, ‘State law has nothing to do with the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth cannot administer it. Further, the Commonwealth Government -considers that it has a responsibility in the case of certain -strikes. It is not attempting to take over the administration of the whole of the industrial law of Australia; it has no power to do so. But in the case of interference withtrade that in itsopinion make theposition sufficiently . serious to justify . aproclamation, it must . accept that . responsibility.
Mr.Scullin. - -There is already a Commonwealth law dealing with the matter.
-At present the Commonwealth Arbitration Act applies only to strikes en -account of interstate industrial disputes, ‘and to -strikes by unions that are registered underit and have an award. Takethe lastserious ‘strike, that of the British seamen.HisHonour Mr. Justice Powers convened a conference in an endeavour to . deal with that dispute -under the Commonwealth Arbitration Act. Conciliation failed, and His Honour held that he had nopower to deal further with it under that act. If this bill’ becomes law there will be power to apply -its provisions,but the existing flaw does not and ‘cannot deal with . such a strike asthat of the British seamen. Unless ‘the ‘arm of the ‘Go- vernment is ‘to be palsied there ought to be the power ‘to deal with such a condi- tion of ‘affairs as existed ‘-towards the end of last year.
– The Minister has not stated ‘ the : facts. The ‘Commonwealth Government has ‘ powerto ‘deal with strikes, whether the unions are registered or not.
– The honorable member has failed to follow me. I stated quite plainly that there was power to deal with a strike on account of an interstate industrial dispute, and also a strike by a registered union that was bound by an award. Those are the only cases that come within the provisions of the Commonwealth act. I also said that Mr. Justice Powers explicitly decided that the British seamen’s strike did not fall under either of those heads. There are limits to the right to strike. There is no necessity upon this bill to discuss generally the question of the right to strike. After all, that right is subservient to the claim to work under proper conditions. It is not an end in itself; it is useful only for the purpose of enabling men and women to obtain work under what they regard as proper conditions. There are, at least, two limitations imposed upon any claim to the right to strike. The preservation of order is one, and the other is the right of the community to live. If in a strike there is an infringement of those superior rights, and the Government is to protect the people, it must take action to the full ‘ extent of its powers. Some strikes are not directed to. industrial objects, but are intended to imperil the economic life of the community; the intention is rather to cause inconvenience to the public and loss to the employer. Provision should be made in the law to deal with a strike that is designed to bring to a stand-still the whole economic life of the community.
– Name one such strike.
– The British seamen’s strike -last year. It has been conclusively demonstrated that the object of certain of the promoters of that strike was to precipitate a general strike and a general hold-up in Australia. The Government ought to have power to deal with such a contingency if it arises. If it does not arise, the legislation does not come into operation. Without this legislation such a crisis cannot be adequately handled. Every one recognizes the difficulty of dealing with these subjects. It is important that they should be dealt within a fair-minded manner. The object of this legislation is, not to deal with strikes in general, but in an emergency to protect as far as possible the vital services of the community in the interests of all sections of the community. It is the duty of the Government, within the limits of its powers, to preserve essential services. The preservation of those services obviously benefits trade unionists as well as every other section of the community. Whatever quarrels may exist between different sections of the* community, the life of the community must go on. This legislation has been designed and introduced in the interests of all sections of the people. It is directly in line with the mandate that was given by the people after an election at which the matter was thoroughly and exhaustively canvassed. During that campaign the Opposition was given more publicity in the press than it ever had before. Despite the denials of honorable members opposite, columns were placed at their disposal by the Nationalist press. Their only difficulty was that they did not have good matter with which to fill those columns, and their propaganda regarding woollen mills and the. like, having been prepared months previously, was so outofdate that it made no impression upon the people. If ever an election was fought on a particular issue, the last election was fought on the issue which is represented by proposed new section. 30j. The Government was returned to power with an overwhelming majority. I repeat what I have previously said, that no Government can possibly secure a. majority in both Houses of the Federal Parliament without the assistance of the votes of hundreds of thousands of working men and women. Honorable members of the Opposition have no claim to consider themselves the special or the sole representatives, of the workers of Australia. In bringing forward this bill, as honorable members on this side well know, the Government is submitting legislation which has thestrong support and approval of large numbers, not only of the working classes, but of the trade unionists of this country. We know that of our own knowledge, and we place this legislation before honorable members confident that it will receive the approval of a tremendous majority of the people of Australia.
The clause now under consideration, including, as it does, the proposed section 30 j, is the most important in the bill. It is important fora reason which the Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) carefully avoided mentioning. For the first time in the history of a State or the Federal Parliament the proposed section declares that members of trade unions are in future to be branded as criminals. There is no escape from that. The AttorneyGeneral was very careful to point out that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act provides penalties for strikes, but those penalties do not make criminals of trade unionists. The act referred to provides for fines, and in the case of a second offence for imprisonment for a short term; but those penalties are provided for in an industrial act, and not in a criminal code. There lies the distinction between the position taken up by the Government and by honorable members on this side. The AttorneyGeneral referred to State legislation dealing with industrial matters, but . there again offences are dealt with under industrial,, and not under criminal laws. The Attorney-General will not deny this statement. Where is the justification for the Government, for the first time in the history of Australia, deciding to make criminals of industrialists? I ask honorable members opposite how they can justify making criminals of working men in this country because at some time or another they may be parties to a dispute that interferes with transport and the trade and commerce of the country? The Attorney-General stated that the Government was compelled to introduce this measure in order to maintain peace and good order in this country. That is its justification for making criminals of- tra.de unionists. As a matter of fact, such a thing was never previously proposed by any public man in this country. As I said in speaking on the second reading of the bill, from the time when Mr. B. R. Wise introduced the first industrial act in the New South Wales Parliament, no public man in any State Parliament in Australia, or in the Federal Parliament has claimed that industrialists, because of a dispute > .between themselves and their employers, should be branded as criminals. It has all along been recognized that they are in a different category altogether. Though the Attorney-General just now spoke for. half an hour, he never once referred to a lockout. He mentioned strikes 50 times and more, but he had not one word to say against employers in this country. Are the working men always to blame? Do the employers never do anything wrong? Are they not the people who put honorable members opposite where they are, and is it because of that that they dare not comment on the action of employers iu connexion with industrial disputes ? I venture to say that employers have occasioned as many disputes in this - country as have the workers.
– Admitting that, they do not find any objection to the clauses of this bill.
-I should say they do not. When a measure is introduced to . break down trade union activities in this country, and to prevent militant action by trade unions, I should say that the employers would not raise any objection. Why do they not raise any objection to this bill ? It is because it is impossible under this bill to deal with any employer under the provision referring to lockouts. Can any honorable member point to a single instance in which a lockout has been proved ? During the ‘whole of the -years ye have had industrial arbitration will honorable members opposite say that there has been no reason to complain of the action of employers ? Has an employer never locked out his men? Has it been the working men who have always been at fault?
– No one suggested that.
– Honorable members opposite have not suggested it, but everything they do and say would make it appear that it is the working men only who are responsible for industrial disputes. This bill is for the purpose of dealing with the working men and making them criminals. It has remained for the present Government to depart from the well-worn path laid down in previous Parliaments, Federal and State, by men who understood the industrial position. The Attorney-General went out of his way just now to infer that no ohe understood the industrial position but himself.
– No, he did noi;. That is a scandalous thing to say.
– If that is a scandalous thing to say, I may modify the statement to the extent of saying that he tried to make it appear that honorable members on this side of the House knew very little about the industrial position.
– I did notsay even that.
Mr.CHARLTON. - The honorable gentleman . used that expression.
– I said . that honorable members ‘opposite could not claim a monopoly ofknowledge of the . industrial position.
– We do not claim such a monopoly. Let me ask, how many members of the Government know anything at all about the industrial position ? The answer is, “ Not one.” If they did know anything about the industrial position they would not endeavour to make criminals of honest working men, and that is ‘what is being done by this measure. The Attorney-General stated that the Government had no intention of doing that. He told us that the proposed section 30j will apply only to certain people who may do something . to interfere with transport services or trade and commerce, and that its application will, therefore, be confined only to certain unions. May Iremind the honorable gentleman that we have no power to pass legislation to deal with an industrial matter that is not interstate. Such legislation would be ultra vires. Because of that he has not attempted to do so. The attitude adopted by the Government . shows very clearly that if it had the power it would put every industrialist in jail. We have this legislation proposed because’ the Government has not that power. I can prove my statement by what fell from the lips of the AttorneyGeneral himself. He said that the proposed section 30j covers only cases of interference with transport and trade and . commerce. May I ask him to consider for a moment the industries that affect trade and commerce. What are they ? The waterside workers, the . seamen, the shearers, the miners–
– , No, (shearers and miners are not included : in this legislation at all.
-I shall show the honorable gentleman that they are included in it. I am sorry that he cannot see the effect of thelegislation he has introduced. Take first the case of the miners. An industrial ‘trouble arises in which ‘they are -concerned. After . it . has continued -for a time . no more coal is supplied, and immediately the result . is to interfere with trade and commerce and with . transport. Is there any escape from that?
– Yes, in the words of the proposed section, if the honorable member will read them.
– i am coming to the words -of the proposed section, but let me first put my case. ‘When, as the result of a dispute in the coal-mining industry,coal is no longer produced, the trouble becomes an interstate one and affects -the whole of Australian interstate and foreign ‘trade. The dispute is concerning an industrial matter, and it becomes an interstate dispute -and involves an interference with transport. When that stage is reached the whole of Australia is affected, and the Government will then issue a . proclamation. If it is true to the mandate -it claims to have received, it must issue its proclamation. It cannotmake a sham of this legislation, which is passed for the purpose of dealing with industrial troubles . affecting ‘transport and trade and commerce. ‘The Government ‘having issued its proclamation, what will follow ? The miners ‘are militant trade unionists,’ and will, no doubt, continue ‘their struggle. They occupy a key position in connexion with the industries of the country, and have done much to improve, not only ‘their own conditions, but also the conditions of other workers by their militant action. Should the trouble . continue after the issue of the Government’s proclamation, the men at the head of the miners’organization will . continue to occupy their positions and advise the members of their union, and immediately they do-so they willcome into conflict withthe provisions of the pro- ‘ -posed section 30j. They may be arrested or summoned andbrought before a court and may besentenced to imprisonment up to two years, and if they were not born in Australia may be deported . under the proposed ‘section, though ‘they may have livedherefor 20 or 30years and may have reared families here. In spite of anything the Attorney-General may say to the ‘contrary, my outline of what might -occur is . absolutely correct, and thereis no escape from it. I ask ‘the Attorney-Gen eralto say whether that is notso. How many times in this country -have there not been industrial troubles in which miners, waterside workers, shearers arid other unionists have beenconcerned, that have interfered with transport services? We do not want to see such troubles arise. The men concerned do not want to see them. They have an honest desire for their settlement, but if in the future . such troubles should reach the stage I have referred to, the workers concerned in them will be liable to all the pains and penalties of this measure and may be branded for all time as criminals. Under the industrial laws of the Commonwealth and the States to-day, in such circumstances the leaders or their unions might be fined, but they would not be imprisoned or regarded as criminals. That indicates the distinction between this and existing measures dealing with industrial matters. I listened carefully to the Attorney-General, and he tried to evade the issue. He endeavoured to mislead the public and the committee with regard to the true interpretation of his bill. No other construction could have been put upon what he said. If honorable members opposite doubt the view that I have expressed concerning its effects, I am prepared to- accept the opinion of any outside legal man as to what might happen under the proposed section 30j if there is an industrial disturbance which results in an interference with transport and trade and commerce in Australia. It is on this account that honorable members on this side are fighting this particular clause. Honorable members opposite -proclaim that they have a mandate from the people for this legislation. Let me tell them that the people never realized what that mandate would be interpreted to mean. If ever, as the result of an industrial dispute, an attempt is made to send a number of the leading men of a big industrial organization in this country to jail or to deport them then as surely as I am speaking at this moment, the people of Australia will, with no uncertain voice, redress the wrong they did at the last election. The people really did not understand the position ; we could not expect them to. The Attorney-General referred to the recent general elections and the reports that were published. May I, as Leader of the parliamentary Labour party, inform the Minister that when I visited many parts of the Commonwealth during the elections, I was interviewed by pressmen who said, that they had. come to report my speeches. I replied, “ That is very good’; but no reports will appear.” What I said was correct; the reports did not appear. The reporters were there merely in the hope that I might say something which would enable the Government, to discredit the Labour party in the eyes of the people. Had I said anything that would be of service to the Government it would have been reported and used to the detriment of this, party. I did not get full publicity, and very often the reports of my utterances were merly half truths, or were published only in part with the object of injuring, the Labour party. The Government and its supporters speak of the mandate they received from the people; but could any one have expected a different result to the elections in view of the conditions that existed during the campaign? Hundreds of thousand’s of pounds ware contributed towards the campaign funds of the National party. In Victoria £124,000 was spent in support of the National party; a larger amount was also spent in New South Wales, and in other States in proportion to their importance. We are told that the Labour party’s polley was given full publicity during the elections, and that we had a fair deal; but that was absolutely impossible in the circumstances. We were not given a fair deal.
Will the Minister now turn his attention to the definition of the words “strike” and “lockout,” I stated during my second-reading speech that I was dissatisfied with the definition of “ lockout/’ and that since our Commonwealth Arbitration” Act had been in operation no employer had been cited before the court for causing a lockout. It is almost impossible to prove, the existence of a lockout. In proposed new section 30j “ lock.0U “ is defined in this way - “ Lockout “ includes the closing of a place or part of a place of employment, and the total or partial refusal of employers, noting in combination, to give work, if the refusal is unreasonable. *
The employers, in order to avoid that, will take care that they do not work in combination. The definition continues - or the total or partial suspension of work by an employer, with a view to compel his employees, or to aid another employer in compelling his employees, to accept any term or condition of employment;
Under that definition no employer will be found guilty of causing a lockout. All he will have to do is to submit some excuse for altering the conditions which will be called reasonable, such, for instance, as that, owing to a slump in prices he cannot pay the prevailing wages, and that the men will have to submit to a reduction. An employer will say, “ I am not locking you out. The works are there, and you can go in.” If the act is to be effective, it should apply equally to both the employer and the employee. I stated in my second-reading speech that the proposed definition should be amended by adding something in the form of the following proviso : -
Provided that no employer shall be permitted to close his place of employment or reduce wages, or interfere with the working conditions until such time as he has received an award of the court.
If employers are to be dealt with effectively under our laws, they should be compelled to go before the court, and receive an award before interfering with the existing conditions. In that case there would not be any strikes or lockouts. The matter cannot be placed on an equitable basis until provision is made in the direction I have suggested. Up to the present no such attempt has been made. It is practically impossible to define a lockout. It has been admitted by public men throughout Australia that strikes and lockouts cannot be avoided. We do our best, as every one knows, to prevent strikes, but in spite of. our efforts, and the activities of trade union leaders, they occur. We cannot say to the workers when a serious industrial upheaval occurs, such as an interference with our transport services, that they must submit to the conditions imposed when the wages proposed to be paid have not been awarded by the court. Under this measure, those who lead- a strike may either be imprisoned or deported, or perhaps both. I shall now quote from a leading article in the Age of the 11th February. I am. glad to have the Age supporting the views I am now putting forward. The article reads, inter alia -
While the proclamation is in operation any person taking part in a lockout or strike in relation to transport and Commonwealth public services will be guilty of an offence for which he may be imprisoned. The proposal is to be regarded as the deliberated judgment of men who have found themselves face to face with an admittedly difficult situation. To that extent their proposal is entitled to respect. But such a measure of power no Australian Government should get.
That is a very strong statement for the Age. The article continues -
This Government must find some less dangerous way out.
That is an instruction to the Government from a newspaper which supported it during the recent fight. .
– It did not support me.
– It supported the honorable member’s party, even if it did not support the honorable member individually. The article continues -
It might be possible for the Australian people to have sufficient faith in the sagacity and self-restraint of present Ministers. But they cannot offer pledges for the presence of these qualities in their successors. And even Australian citizens warmly favorable to the Ministry have lingering memories of the arrogance and autocratic spirit that blossomed strongly in some politicians secure under the aegis of the War Precautions Act. To make an offence of some action or inaction that has not previously been an offence is always hazardous and undesirable. However great the seeming justification, the Crimes Bill increases the number of offences. To stamp certain acts as crimes when’ there is no- spontaneous sense of crime is merely to increase the number of potential criminals
Does a trade unionist who has a dispute with his employer commit a criminal act? Every one knows he does not, but under this measure his offence will be regarded as criminal.
– Does not the Leader of the Opposition think it almost criminal to hold up perishable produce which may be the product of twelve months’ labour ?
– It is regrettable that such things should happen. Every one wishes to avoid such incidents, but they are always likely to occur. I have contended all along that industrial offences should be dealt with under our arbitration laws, and not under the criminal code.. The Age article continues - ‘
If the Government persists in keeping such a provision intact, it will display a perverse and unpardonable blindness to the elemental facts of industrial life. Lockouts and strikes are capable of widely varying classification. Not all of them are purely vexatious or revolutionary in their ultimate aim. The time has not yet arrived when the self-respecting employer or employee is prepared to admit that, by taking part in lockout or strike, he is guilty of a social and moral offence so reprehensible that the State is warranted in branding him a criminal.
That is stronger than I can put it. Although that is taken from a conservative paper, the comment-
– That is a different view from that which the Age has previously expressed.
– That is what I have been contending. During the election in order to defeat the Labour party, many things were written and said that were not justified. Now that we have been defeated, our opponents come back to sanity, and state the true position. The article goes on to say -
Quite apart from the nature of the penalties proposed, these considerations are sufficient warrant for insisting on a recasting of the Crimes Bill.
I am glad to have that testimony in support of the views expressed by the Opposition. The writer of that article is seized with the importance of the situation.
– The members of the public do not hold that opinion.
-They will not realize the position until the provisions of this measure are brought into operation. It is idle for any one to say that the people understand the bill, and that it is framed in the direction they desire. Every honest man will admit that the public do not understand its purport. It has to be explained.
– They heard a good deal about it’ in Queensland and Western Australia.
– We heard about it everywhere; but the measure has to be put into operation before the people will realize its significance.
– They are only sorry that Walsh and Johannsen could not be deported.
– I am dealing with important principles, and not individuals. It is the principle in this instance that is vital. The provisions of this measure can be applied to every industrial leader, and I believe it has been definitely drafted in such a way as to aim a blow at trade unionism. I make that statement without the slightest fear of contradiction. It will strike a big blow at the great militant unions of this country. I wish to see Australia prosper, but success in that direction cannot be achieved by bludgeoning trade unionists under repressive legislation such as this. Disputes should be settled in a constitutional way. The Government is worthy of censure for the attitude adopted by the Prime Minister during the industrial disputes which have arisen. Since the right honorable gentleman has been in office nothing has been done by him to effect a settlement of any industrial dispute. I asked a question to-day in regard to a dispute in the coal mines; if trouble occurs the miners will be blamed. I now desire to place on record the fact that the coal-miners have been waiting for two years for a settlement of a dispute. Delegates were appointed to attend a meeting last week. It was explained that the Prime Minister was asked to appoint a tribunal under the Industrial Peace Act to settle the dispute, but that request was refused. Is it fair that these men who have been waiting for two years for the dispute t<v be settled should be subject to the penalties which can be imposed under this legislation? If honorable members opposite think that the men will continue under existing conditions they do not know them. If they find that they are being unjustly treated they will kick, and stand up for their rights. No coercive legislation passed here will deter them. If they are placed in jail or deported hundreds of others will take their place. The people will turn against the Government as they did against the Wade Government in New South Wales after it had passed certain coercive legislation. If this measure is brought into operation, as we expect it will be, I believe that the people of Australia will speak with no uncertain voice when they next have an opportunity to do so. They are prepared to punish those who break the laws, as men have been punished for offences against the Arbitration Act, but they are not willing to make criminals of honest working men, especially as the workers have never been asked to surrender their right to strike.
That is why the industrial laws prescribe only monetary penalties. We prate about the greatness of the British Empire and our kinship with the people . of the Motherland and the other dominions, and we ought not to deport fellow Britishers who have residedin Australia for 20 or 30 years, helped to pioneer the country, and raised families here, for no Other reason than that they honestly believed that they should support their fellow workers in an industrial dispute. I shall propose no amendment, to this bill; any proposal by me would receive short shrift; but, if any honorable member opposite who has pondered this legislation and realizes that it goes too far, will propose a reasonable amendment, we on this side of the chamber will support it. We shall, however, vote against this proposed new section, because we believe it to be entirely opposed to the best interests of the country.
– I have been, and still am, desirous of assisting the Government to pass any. legislation that 1 consider to be in the best interests of this country. With some reluctance I voted -last evening with the Ministryagainst the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition, but, in regard to the proposed new section now before the committee, I had hoped that the Government would relent, and, in the light of representations by honorable members opposite, review its very stringent proposals, with which I certainly do notagree. I listened with a great deal of interest to the speech of the AttorneyGeneral. Apparently he and his colleagues have made up their minds that not one word or sentence in the bill shall bo altered. Such an attitude in regard to so important a. measure is wrong. The Attorney-General stated that the penalty provisions of this proposednew section will not be put into operation until -a proclamation ‘hasbeen issued by the Government. The Government, after all, is buta collection of individuals . occupying for a while . the treasury bench, . and in times of industrial turmoil and strife even a government is prone to lose its head .
Mr.Gregory. - There was -a risk of people losing theirlivesrecently.
– I -do not -deny ‘that the Government should have all reasonable powers to maintain law and order and protect the lives of citizens. The only point in question is - what powers are necessary to that end ? The AttorneyGeneral said that this section would require to be very carefully operated, and that no self-respecting government would attempt to harshly use the powers it confers. Perhaps the honorable gentleman is able to speak with confidence of the present Ministry, but it is only temporary, although, no doubt, like all other governments, it considers itself - the wish being father to the thought - more permanent than it may prove to be. However, though it may possess all the virtues that a good government should have, it cannot guarantee that future governments will be equally qualified. The present Government will go, but this legislation will remain. The Leader of the Opposition related circumstances in which the miners could be brought within the scope of this proposed new section. Certainly it is clear that public servants could be affected by it, for it refers to a lockout or strike -
That brings within the scope of the provision all Commonwealth public servants. The Attorney-General quoted Commonwealth, and State anti-strike legislation, and suggested, if he did not actually say, that the right to strike had long since been abandoned. I have had industrial experience; I have been a member of trade unions; I still am a working man, and I -think I understand the masses of the people as well as do most honorable members in thischamber.Certainly I know the Australian workers fairly, well, and I ‘do not hesitate to say that the imprisonment and deportationof their leaders in certain circumstances as not the . best way to . end a . strike.
-Nobody says that it is.
– Anystudent of industrial ‘history and the -working class fight for justice -must admit that some strikes in the past ‘have been justified; and I do not delude myself with ‘the belief that all justifiable strikes are in the limbo of the past. No honorable member on this- side of the . House can believethat.
– No one suggested that.
– The AttorneyGeneral said that strikingis prohibited by Commonwealth and State laws, and therefore the right to strike- no longer exists: Nobody deplores- strikes more than I do, particularly when I recollect that in every squabble between, organized labour and organized capital the primary producers are the. innocent victims. They, know nothing of the- cause of the- trouble, but merely find that they are unable- to market their produce because of an industrial dispute, hundreds of miles away,. between organized, labour and organized capital. If this, or any other government, can evolve a scheme that will; remove the causes of strikes for- all time;. I shall be only too glad to support it. Industrial unrest- is one of the greatest problems in the civilized world, and if this Government can solve it by, legislation, it is the first in- history that has been able to do: so. If. if really- believes that legislation of this character- offers a solution, I certainly do not share its optimism. Lockouts have been mentioned, and it has been suggested that most industrial disputes have- been strikes rather than lockouts. While I. clearly recognize that the industrialists of this country are, like other sections of- the community, liable to go too far, and sometimes need pulling up, I also recognize that employers suffer from the. same weakness. All individuals’ and all sections of this community, must have limitations placed upon- their freedom, when their conduct affects the- rights of others. But allowing that there has been among the workers a- large degree- of laxityin connexion with industrial: disputes,. I must confess that, many of the strikes that have taken place have been, purposely and deliberately caused by pinpricking practices by the employers. If a man does not wish to sell his labour because the conditions are. such that he decides that he cannot support his wife and family by that means, I- can see a great difficulty in making, it a criminal offence for him to refuse to work.
– ‘That is not regarded as an. offence..
– This bill makes it an offence for men- collectively to refuse to work. I am not concerned with what honorable members opposite think, but. I-. am concerned with the view taken of this measure by the mass of industrial workers- outside this House. I have talked, with them, and. I have no hesitation. in saying, that, while the great mar jority of them; do not object, to many of the provisions of the bill,, they have decided objections to the proposed’ new section 30j. . The Parliament ought not to ignore that feeling, The working men are very, much afraid, that. a. Government that was. returned to power as they say this Government was, with, the- help, the influence, and the support of the employers, would be less hasty- to issue a proclamation, that a. serious industrial disturbance existed in the case of a lockout than they would be in. the case of a strike. I. now come to the question of the penalty. I would not deny the right of any government of the day to deport individuals who have no right to be in this country, who have come here because other countries were too- hot to hold) them. This Government, or any other government, should have the power to bundle such persons out of the country, neck and crop. I do not wish my remarks to be misconstrued -when I say that it is quite a different thing when deportation is made a penalty additional to that imposed by the judiciary for merely encouraging industrial disputes. If two leaders of an -industrial dispute, one an Australian, and the other not an Australian, are sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, the one not born in Australia may be deported the next day, or at any time during the term of his sentence, and by deportation he is naturally considered to have served his sentence. I am not inferring, that the Government is deliberately making this provision in order to abuse it, but whatever the Government’s intention may be, in certain circumstances some of the clauses- of this bill may operate harshly and unwisely. It can fairly be said that the bill lays down the principle that we shall have one penalty for Australians, and a different one for Englishmen. It is a strange ‘ principle for this Government, which has always- advocated so- strongly the strengthening of the Imperial ties, to adopt.
Probably no Prime Minister that we have ever had has been a more ardent or more loyal Imperialist than the right honorable the Prime Minister, yet his Government is, as far as I know - and I speak subject to correction - the first Australian Government to introduce legislation making one law for Australians, and another for Englishmen. I am keeping in mind not the revolutionist, but the decent, English trade unionist, who has made his home here, married an Australian wife, and has Australian children. However much the Attorney-General may protest that it is not intended to operate in that way, the cold fact is that the bill could be put into operation against such a man. My objections to this bill are honest. I speak in a critical way, not because I am anxious to be shooting at the Government, but because I have my responsibilities, in common with all other honorable members, to the electors who sent me here. The Government is said to have a mandate. I can only say that I, also, have a mandate from my constituents, and the mandate that I have is certainly not a mandate to deport industrialists under the conditions set out in this bill. I speak for myself, just as supporters of the Government have spoken for themselves. During the election I said that I did not think that the deportation of trade union leaders was wise. I made that statement many times during the campaign, and I was returned again to this House. I regret very much that the Government has taken the hard, fast, and relentless stand it has taken, and unless I receive an assurance that it is prepared to reconsider this clause, I intend, when the committee divides, to vote against it.
Mr. c. riley (Cook)[10.10].It is, indeed, . refreshing to hear the democratic sentiments expressed by. the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart). It affords me a ray of hope to know that there is at least one member sitting on the other side who is prepared to show some independence. I have followed this debate very closely, and I can assure honorable members that I was loth to rise to speak on the bill. Honorable members supporting the Government refuse to be influenced by the reasoning and pleading of honorable members of this side. We fully realize that they represent the large business interests which during the recent election campaign did their utmost to enable the composite Government to continue in office and to destroy the Australian Labour party in the process. Anything that honorable members on this side say has little or no effect, and the polite rebuke administered to the Government by the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart) was fully justified. The Government’s refusal to accept any suggestion offered by the Opposition should be deprecated by all fair-minded men. I strongly oppose the bill, and particularly the proposed new section 30j, because it is class legislation directed against the trade union movement of Australia. I have had considerable experience in trade unionism, and have been connected with a number of strikes. I have held offices in organizations some of which included large sections of Commonwealth public servants. The Government must carry on the game that it began prior to the election, and this panic legislation is necessary to convince the people that there is still a likelihood of serious industrial disturbances in Australia. I warn the Government that any attempt to put this legislation into effect will be playing with fire, because, so soon as any trade union leaders are arrested or deported for association with strikes, thousands of men will be ready to step into their places, and the effect will be to stiffen the backs of the strikers and the trade unionists. During the election campaign a great deal was said about the frequency of strikes and the general behaviour of trade unionists in Australia. It was also said that members of the Labour party were promoters of strikes, and fully prepared to take part in disloyal actions. The Nationalist party was strongly backed by the capitalistic press, and because of that the Labour party were misrepresented and placed at a great disadvantage. I remember, during the election campaign, seeing a cartoon depicting Australian industries being strangled by three monsters - Strikes, Anarchy, and Revolution. That cartoon should ha.ve properly shown Australian industries being strangled by importers and others, who have little or no interest in Australia, their only concern being the making of huge profits at the expense of our industries and workmen.
The Attorney-General, in his secondreading speech, quoted at length from the Workers’ Weekly, It is strange that honorable members behind the Government have displayed a greater interest in that journal than have honorable members on this side. We have every reason to suspect that the Workers’ Weekly is controlled by the interests that largely contributed to the campaign funds of the Government. The Attorney-General significantly stated that no advertisements appeared in that journal, and, in view of the thousands of its. copies that are distributed, and the tens of thousands that were distributed just before the elections, I ask the Attorney-General why the special Investigation Branch and the members of the Commonwealth Police Force were not instructed to inquire as to the source of the funds of this journal? During the election, honorable members behind the Government were guilty of many utterances which they did not honestly believe. I desire to place on record a statement made by the honorable member for . Wentworth (Mr. Marks) at Clovelly, on the 19t.h October last. The question was addressed to him, “Can you justify the action of the Bruce Government in’ having cruisers! built overseas ? “ The reply was, “ Yes, hecause the Government knew that if the keels were laid at Cockatoo Island, the communists would prevent them from ever reaching the water.” ‘So honorable member would seriously subscribe to such a contention. That statement was deliberately made with a view to injuring the Labour candidate and the Labour party generally. Then, again, we have been charged with disloyalty. The GovernorGeneral Lord Stonehaven, on 23rd October, said, “Loyalty to the Crown is nowhere more marked in the whole of the Empire, not excluding the centre of the Empire, than it is in Australia,” The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), for purely party purposes, at that time said, “ Revolutionary forces are at work in Australia to disrupt, our Empire; I am appealing to the country to give me a mandate to deal with the situation.” I should like to ask whether it was His Majesty’s - representative or the Prime Minister who told the truth. This measure is purely camouflage, and introduced with the idea of saving the face of the Govern ment. I shall never admit that to strike is to commit a crime. Why does not the Government display the same earnestness in dealing with market-riggers and the manipulators of cold storage that it shows in introducing a bill with a view to injuring and interfering with the trade unions of Australia? The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Parsons) spoke of the primary produce of the country having been held up. It is lawful for owners to hold up primary produce, but a similar act by the workers is considered a crime. Not many months ago the wealthy pastoralists and the wool-selling brokers of this country decided to withhold their wool from sale because they were not satisfied with the prices they were receiving. That was countenanced by the Government. But if the workers, who have nothing to sell but their labour, refuse to sell it because the return is considered to be unsatisfactory, the Government says that they must be punished, or even deported, for having been associated with a strike. The refusal of the pastoralists and the wool-selling brokers to offer their wool for sale threw hundreds of storemen, trolley and dray men, as well as seamen and wharf labourers, out of employment, but there was no sympathy for those men. If it be wrong for a man to refuse employment, it is equally wrong for another who has a commodity to sell to refuse to offer it for sale. The Government hastens to introduce a bill to deal with strikers, but it does nothing to interfere with the monopolists and profiteers in our midst. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) shortly after his return from the Old Country during the war period said that he was out to shoot the profiteers. But no shooting took place. We have now another Nationalist Administration, which also allows these enemies of the country to go free. Many combines are in operation in Australia to-day. We know that the brick and tile combines have operated to the detriment of the whole of the people of Australia, particularly of the returned soldiers who, having returned from the war, have been made to pay excessive prices for the bricks, tiles, and timber used in the construction of their homes. To the shame of the Government, be it said, that it has not raised a finger to protect them. Its energies are directed against the’ poor unfortunateworkman, who g.ets nothing-, more out. oflife than a basic wage-, and can only carry on from week to. week on a . wage which, is not sufficient to provide his- wife and. family, with: decent comfort. Much has been said regarding arbitration. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr.. Rodgers), said that- the industrialists ;couldnot have it both ways; that they could not have arbitration and also the right to strike. The workers of this country will never give, up their, right to strike. The Labour party and the trade unionists generally do not want strikes ; they do all in their power to prevent them. The only way to prevent strikes is- by removing the cause of strikes. While arbitration has done much to minimize industrial disputes, our arbitration system is not perfect. There is too much delay in dealing with the claims before the court; in the meantime, many injustices are suffered by, the workers. It is no wonder that they, become* restless, or that at times they take the- law into- their own hands, and strike. I* wish to refer to- the- present dispute at Mort’s Dock, Sydney, where 1,500 men have been, thrown out of employment because of a dispute affecting the painters and dockers-. The painters and dockers presented their case to the court, as did the employers. The jud&e- having read his proposed award, said that if the parties had any suggestions to make, he was prepared to receive and to consider them. Suggestions were made by the employers’, and a return containing some statistics was submitted by the industrial officer for the Commonwealth. The submission of that return caused the judge- to alter his award’ materially. Yet the union had no opportunity to. challenge the figures it contained. As a result, a large section, of the painters and dockers was called upon to. accept considerably reduced wages. The present, strike is the result of that procedure. It was wrong for the judge to alter his- proposed award after the case had been closed, and without permitting one- of the- parties to- the case to challenge, or even to investigate, the figures on which the judgment was finally based.. Some years. ago- when- the Commonwealth Dockyard, at Cockatoo Island was engaged in the fitting of troopships and the construction of naval vessels, the clerks, numbering about 120, found if
Mr. C. Tilley. necessary to! refuse duty.. At- that time I was secretary of the Federal. Clerks’ Union. I advised) the clerks, to, strike* Great, patience, had been« displayed’ in endeavouring to get the Government to agree, to certain improved conditions, but in spite of- all’ the- representations made by the- union, we were unable to d’o so. By & display of- forGe we achieved our object. The refusal of the clerks to- work meant, that no- records, no costings, couldbe kept, and as a. consequence-, the whole of- the works: were- closed, d’own. Within 48- hours we obtained by striking what we had: been unable to accomplish by other, means in eighteen months. That strike, was justified. We realized that it was a serious, thing to close down the workshops at that’ time, but we- had no alternative. Master retailers, wholesale grocers, and manufacturers are able to increase the prices- of their- commodities at anytime, and; without reference to any authority; but the workers are not able to obtain- increased payment’ for- their labour unless they first submit to long and tedious arbitration proceedings^ or negotiations with the- employers. No- force in. the land is capable of stopping the manufacturers, employers,, and master retailers from raising the price of their commodities at any time; but let a body of workmen attempt to do the same, and it is an entirely different’ matter. The workers cannot be blamed for all industrial troubles. Tt is interesting- to note that during the last few months there have been very few disputes- on the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers, whereas when the Government proposed to dispose- of the vessels of that line there was a succession of stoppages and disputes. As a matter of fact, those disputes were- purposely brought about by the pin-pricking attitude of the management of the line and its officers. This attitude was adopted for the purpose of” causing, such, turmoil as would bring the line into dispute and assist the endeavours of those who were trying to dispose of it. But the moment the Government found that no acceptable offers- came to hand for the purchase of the. line, industrial disputes on the vessels of the line practically’ ceased; The utterances of the- honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart)’ ava very encouraging to honorable members of the Opposition. Evidently there as one honorable member supporting the Government who is not prepared to forsake policy and principle for place and power. No matter what is said by honorable members of the Opposition, the . Government and its supporters have made Tap their minds. Reasonable suggestions and amendments put forward from, this side will not be accepted. -But Ministers are not in earnest. They are merely seeking to save their faces andcontinue the huge conspiracy entered into during the recent election. If any proclamation is to be issued under these provisions it will most likely he issued on the eve of the next election, when it can be used for party purposes. But whatever action is taken under this bill it will not intimidate the trade union leaders, because for -every hundred persons imprisoned and deported there will he thousands with sufficient courage to take their places and carry on the work of trade unionism.
.– Like the -honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart), this is the first occasion on which I have spoken in connexion with this bill, and had it not been for the remarks of the honorable member I should not have spoken at ‘all. I can quite appreciate the attitude of honorable members of the Labour party. They have to save their faces. It is an open secret that they would have been pleased, indeed, if the High Court had decided that the legislation passed by this Parliament last year was perfectly valid and if certain individuals had been deported. The result of the election clearly proved that the workers recognized the grave, injury that those individuals, who wore doing so much to destroy the trade and commerce of this country, were causing to the trade union movement of Australia. Honorable members opposite -are now denouncing the wording of the proposed section 30j, but it does not differ from the wording of the legislation passed last year, and approved by the country.
– As a matter of fact, it is less drastic than the previous legislation.
– Proposed section 30J is almost identical with section Saa of the Immigration Act, which reads as follows : -
The only difference is that under the bill now before the committee offenders may be taken before a court and, if convicted, may be imprisoned as well as deported.
– We did not .approve of the act passed last year.
– No ; but she country approved of it.
– What was the good of it? Walsh and Johannsen are still in Australia. This bill will also be found to be ultra vires.
– We are prepared to take the risk. If honorable members opposite are so sure that this legislation is invalid, and that they can take it to the -High Court and have .it thrown out, there -is no need -for them to make such a noise in opposition to it. But -the country has told the Government most -emphatically that it wants this legislation. The honorable member for Cook (Mr. C. Riley) .says that if a man who is dissatisfied with his .conditions refuses to work he will be deemed to be on strike. The honorable member is entirely wrong, because every individual is perfectly free to refuse to work; he commits no offence by his refusal; but if he seeks to hold up the transport of this country he commits an offence. Do honorable members opposite claim that certain things which took place last year were justified ? Do they justify the action of . men in Queensland who held up hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of produce, and allowed it to deteriorate to an extent that it was almost rendered worthless, and by force prevented others from attempting to do the work they refused to do? Will they justify the happenings at Fremantle? The honorable member for Cook has talked a lot of twaddle about the management of the Australian Commonwealth line of steamers trying to do everything they could to destroy their own business. There is too much humbug talked in this way. If an employer does something wrong, the proper thing for the employees to do is to take him to court and not seek to destroy his business. Why cannot the employers be sued before the courts ?
– The honorable member knows that it is practically impossible to get to the Arbitration Court.
– Similar conditions existed when the Labour party was in power. Why did it not introduce legislation to improve them? Every person and every organization in Australia should be amenable to the law.
– Including big boodlers.
– If an employer will not abide by the provisions of the Arbitration Act it is not for the honorable member and his friends to say that his property shall be destroyed and his business ruined. They should take the matter to the court. We are here to make laws, and we should see that every person abides by them.
– The AttorneyGeneral is being given the power to deport men.
– There must first be a conviction by a court.
– I have stated what is the effect of the provision.
– That is not its effect; it is an additional penalty.
– If a man is sent to jail for two days, or even for ten minutes, he is liable to be deported.
– If honorable members opposite will tell us that they approve of the industrial disturbances that occurred in the shipping industry in Australia last year, and that no penalty should have been inflicted upon those who were responsible for organizing the upheaval, we shall know exactly where we are.
– Is that a sufficient reason for offending every trade unionist in Australia ?
– We must do our duty. The Government must have power to ensure peace and good order in this country. There has certainly been quietness in the industrial arena since the amending immigration bill was passed last year. If we pass this legislation I hope that it will be made effective. Six years ago Walsh was fined £100, but that sum has never been collected. Again, about twelve months ago, a similar fine was imposed upon him, and it has not been collected. I have no desire to see this legislation similarly ineffective. A clear issue was placed before the people, and the Government was given a mandate to pass legislation to bring about peace and order in our industrial affairs. Some trade unionists are, unfortunately, too loyal to their unions. In North Queensland a small number of unionists declared a ship black, and when it came south the unionists in the different ports would not work it. That is a mistaken sense of loyalty. The Leader of the Opposition in the most indignant manner told the committee to-night that if the bill was passed and trouble occurred in the coal-mining industry, the miners as well as workers engaged in the transport unions might be drawn into it.
– They will be drawn in if trouble arises.
– I ask the honorable member to read the provision.
– I am prepared to debate it anywhere with the honorable member.
– The proposed new section 30j (2) reads -
Any person who, during the operation of such proclamation, takes part in or continues, or incites to, urges, aids or encourages the taking part in, or continuation of, a lockout or strike -
in relation to employment in or in connexion with the transport of goods or the conveyance of passengers in trade or commerce with other countries or among the States.
What is there in that provision to . justify the honorable member’s excitability ? He saw no such risk with similar legislation six months ago ; and there is no possibility of it under this bill; though why the coal-miners should be permitted to hold up industries at their sweet will passes my comprehension. One can visualize the awful condition into which our trade and commerce would get if the post office and other Commonwealth activities were prevented from functioning. The Government must have power to deal with matters of that description. Honorable members . opposite should take stock and see where they stand. The workers of Australia are being urged to seek wealth and power. They Jo not realize that they are being led by forces that are more unscrupulous and tyrannical than mankind has previously known. There is not the slightest doubt that in recent years there has been a development in the trade union movement in the direction of unscrupulous tyranny. The ordinary trade unionist believes in law and order, and is opposed to the coercive methods of. the industrial agitator. When I went through a portion of my constituency in which the workers predominated, I found that a majority of them realized the injury which was being done by a few unscrupulous persons who were using, in a most tyrannical fashion, the power that they possess in an endeavour to destroy the industries of Australia. We need not look further than the trouble that occurred at Fremantle.
– Was that caused by the British seamen or by paid hoodlums?
– The honorable member has made a preposterous suggestion. I realize that it is necessary for honorable members opposite to find some excuse for the overwhelming defeat that they suffered. I am pleased that this legis lation has been brought forward. Ihope that it will be passed and made effective.
– Does the honorable member think it can be effective?
– I trust it will be effective. There are some people in this country who, year after year, have defied the law, and in doing so have created enormous losses, and caused destitution and desolation everywhere. Such acts should not be tolerated. It is our duty to pass effective legislation in order to control those who say that they will not obey the laws of the land. If they will not do so they should be placed in jail or sent out of the country. I would not have spoken but for the speech of the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart), and I now wish to make it clear that the act passed last year, of which the country approved on the occasion of the recent appeal to the electors, is almost identical with the measure now before the committee. I endorse the action of the Government in bringing the bill forward, and hope that it will be passed so that we shall have more industrial peace than we have had in the past.
The following papers were presented : -
Norfolk Island Act - Ordinance of 1926 - No. 2 - Territorial Waters
Papua Act - Ordinances of 1925 -
No. 14 - Immigration Restriction.
No. 15 - Superannuation.
No. 16 - Native Plantations.
Public Service Act- Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1926, Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11.
Motion (by Mr. Bruce) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
Dr. maloney (Melbourne) [10.53]. - Whenever I have wrongly accused an institution or an individual, it has always been my custom to admit my mistake. Honorable members may remember that when I submitted a motion in relation to the initiative, referendum and recall I said -
At one time the Bulletin was a firm supporter of these principles. Whether or not it has been influenced by the large advertisements, which now appear in its columns, I cannot say, but it is . no longer ‘as staunch . a believerin the . referendum, initiative, and recall as it was.
I said that, believing it to be correct. I now find, from a leading article in the Bulletin that it is as . strongly in favour of the initiative, referendum and recall.as.it has ever been. I am delighted to find that such is -the case, because one of its principal owners is a great personal . friend of mine. Moreover, one of the strongest articles ever . penned by a journalist in advocacy of the initiative, referendum and recall w.as published in that paper. I make this correction if fairness to -the Bulletin.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned et 10.55 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 February 1926, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1926/19260218_reps_10_112/>.