11th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir Littleton Groom) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. M. CAMERON, as Chairman, presented the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, together with minutes of evidence, relating to the proposed establishment of an automatic telephone exchange at Caulfield East, Victoria.
– During my visit to Sydney at the week-endI was interviewed by many business men in opposition to the proposed increased tax on the picture film industry. On this subject I have received several letters and telegrams which I propose to read.
– The honorable member will not be in order in reading a series of letters and telegrams. He is entitled to state briefly their effect, or read only so. much of them as is necessary to explain his question.
– James Porter and Sons, reputable contractors, whom I have known for many years, have telegraphed to me in the following terms: -
Just starting on big theatre building job when amusement levy announced and job abandoned. This means loss to workers of £2,000 per week in wages. Please endeavour to get levy withdrawn, otherwise works close.
Another correspondent, a lady, who has invested her money in the picture show business, states that, generally speaking, the profits do not exceed8½ per cent of the gross receipts, and that, if the Government makes a levy of 5 per cent., it will be impossible for her and her family to live on the remaining 3½ per cent. I ask the Prime’ Minister to afford the House an early opportunity to discuss the proposed tax in. order to remove the mental worry of investors in the piotureshow industry, and avoid an increase of unemployment?
– I understand that nearly every honorable member has received many telegrams in regard’ to the proposed increase of the entertainments tax, and I much regret that such’ tactics have been adoptedby those engaged in the picture-show business. Honorable members will, I am sure, resent the insult that is thus being put upon them. I assure -the honorable member for East Sydney that the Government will , afford the House the earliest opportunity to discuss all measures relating to the new taxation mentioned in the Treasurer’s Budget statement.
– I rise to a question of privilege. This buildingis for the use of, first, members of the Parliament, secondly, officials of the Parliament, and, thirdly, the reoording angels of the press, who distribute our pearls of wisdom to the world. You, Mr. Speaker, would not, I am sure, permit any rooms in Parliament House to be used by an outside organization, or unauthorized persons, especially for the dissemination of pernicious news that might tend to corrupt the morals of the younger members and undermine the good taste ‘ which distinguishes every honorable member but myself.
– If the honorable member is raising a question of privilege, it will be necessary for him to conclude with a motion.
– I shall do so. It is the duty of honorable members to uphold the privileges of Parliament and- to protect its dignity. I draw attention to the fact that literature has been issued froma room in this building, which the majority of newspapers have refused to publish, but which one journal has reprinted with a condemnation and an inquiry as to who is footing the bill. If the statement made by that journal is not in accordance with facts, its editor should be brought before the bar of the House ; if the statement is true, the practice to which ‘ it relates should cease. I ask you, Mr.’ Speaker, to investigate these allegations, and, if necessary, ask the head of the Criminal Investigation Branch to assist you in discovering the offender.. Happily, however, the delinquent, or his instigator, has left, not only finger-prints, but also other means of identification, and I propose to read a statement published in a newspaper last evening so that you, Sir, may be able to take the steps necessary to uphold the dignity of this Parliament, and prevent further abuse of its privileges. I amsure that you, sir, will endeavour to discover who this person is. It appears that the person responsible is clean shaven, so that I presume that several honorable members in this chamber will escape the suspicion of being the accused person. He is ofclean build. That description might include the Prime Minister. He is lofty minded, pure in heart, and perfect in all his parts. Sincere reasoning precedes his perorations. His words are chosen with precision and he always concludes an oration with spirit. This gentle- man who works through his agents who make use of the properties and instrumentalities of this House, has unostentatious strength, an impressive make-up, and a charming personality. He is quiet spoken, but forceful, and backed by a calm confidence that compels respect. Next to the Prime Minister - where is the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page) and where is the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) ? - he has the most striking personality in this chamber. In order that he may be more easily identified I draw attention to the fact that he holds the following titles and degrees O.M.G., K.O., M.A., LL.B., M.P., and a variety of others. If that is not conclusive evidence of this person’s identity let me say that his present position is but the stepping stone to higher things, and that when the Prime Minister retires he will be succeeded, not by the Treasurer, but by this gentleman who used these precincts and parliamentary privileges to further party ends. I leave it to you, Mr. Speaker, to prevent the continuation of this abuse of honorable members which lowers the dignity of; the House and destroys the good feeling which exists among us, irrespective of party altogether. I move -
That Mr. Speaker be requested to make inquiries into the statements appearing in the Melbourne Herald- of the 27th inst., to the effect that Parliament House, its precincts and its property are used by unauthorized persons, thereby disclosing a breach of the privileges of this House.
.- I second the motion. The honorable member who has moved it is taking exception to the practice, which apparently has been prevalent for some time, of using the parliamentary rooms, stationery and the conveniences available to members, to carry on an intense form of party propaganda. I am not sure that the matter raised by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) has reference to the particular propaganda of the Country party, in its periodical bulletin, ‘if it is an allusion to that,, it is only right that attention should be drawn to it, because not only the parliamentary institution and the privileges of Parliament, but also the hospitality of the authorities who control this establishment, are being abused. The persons responsible are sheltering themselves to some extent under pseudonyms in making personal and violent attacks upon members of Parliament. Anybody who has read those bulletins successively must agree that they disseminate misrepresentation and outright lies about the attitude of the Labour party to many questions before this House, and about the statements of individual members of the Labour party. It is only right that attention should be called to this practice. These bulletins ostensibly give views and impressions of the opinions of members of the Country party, but I have noticed that frequently they are issued from Canberra at a time when no members of the Country party are in Canberra. It seems that the Country party has established a sort of publicity agency here under the control of paid hirelings, who manufacture attacks upon the political opponents of that party, and send them out under the authority of members of that party even when these are absent from Canberra. *~Not only do Country party members give instructions or the necessary authority, but apparently they allow their names and reputations to be used by others. My particular grievance at the present time relates to the practice of the Country party in respect of its bulletins. I take no exception to criticism no matter how pointed or unmeasured it may be; but it should be fair, and based upon facts. Criticism based upon the scandalous misrepresentation of members’ views, is unfair and should not get publicity in periodical party bulletins, as well as in the press and in the streets. I do not assert that I have any personal grievance in the matter, but attention should be called to the fact that there are fair means of political fighting and that so far as possible the rules of the game should be observed.
– I was not altogether surprised when the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) moved this motion, but I” am a little surprised that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition lends support to it. His action must be much regretted by every honorable member, and that it was taken in the absence of the Leader of the Opposition must be even more regretted by honorable members opposite. There has never been a more ludicrous motion. There is not a shadow of evidence in support of the statement that there has been an infringement of the privileges of this House, and wrongful expenditure of public moneys. I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that you have the support of this House, and that we are quite prepared to leave in your hands the custody of our rights and privileges as members of this Parliament. I refuse to be associated with so contemptible a motion, and I therefore move at once.
That the question be now put.
Question - That the question be now put - put. The House divided.
Majority . . 7
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the negative.
Mr.FENTON. - I desire to make a personal explanation in relation to thefollowing news item that appeared in last evening’s Sydney Sun: -
KILLEN may NOT BE PAIRED.
There is a danger that the Federal Government’s position in the House of Representatives will be further weakened by the ill-health of Mr. Killen, Country party member for Riverina.
At the Federal members’ rooms, where many members representing all parties congregated to-day before leaving for Canberra, the opinion was freely expressed that the Labour party would most likely refuse to grant Mr. Killen a pair.
Mr. Killen stated today that he did not intend to resign yet.
It is hardly necessary to make a personal explanation touching such a news item. The granting of pairs is a matter that is left entirely in the hands of the party Whips. There was no need for any request to be made to me for a pair for the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen), because, as every honorable member is aware, four members of the Opposition are unable to attend the sittings of this House on account of illness, therefore the Country party “Whip would experience no difficulty in arranging for a pair. I received a telephone message from the management of the newspaper from which I have quoted. I informed them that this is a matter which is left entirely to the discretion of the Whips; but that they could announce that, in cases of illness, it is the invariable practicein this House to grant pairs.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!
– It gives me pleasure to be able to say that all parties are unanimous on that point.
– Will the Minister for Public Works inform me who is responsible for damage done as a result of the carrying out of the Murray river waters undertaking? Six authorities are associated with this work: the Victorian Government, the New South Wales Government, the South Australian Government, the Commonwealth Government, the Murray River Waters Commission and to a lesser extent the State Rivers and Water Supply Board. None of these bodies seems capable of protecting public property. What authority, I ask, is responsible for the premature inundation which has. destroyed roads and bridges before now ones have been constructed, and which has seriously damaged public and private property?
– I shall make inquiries and inform the honorable member.
– Last week in this. House, during the debate on the censure motion, the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley) made reference to an interview which I granted to a newspaper in Brisbane some weeks ago, and took exception to remarks I made about a statement of his own on the subject of the withdrawal of the John Brown prosecution. The honorable member described my statement as untrue, saying “ The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Theodore) put words into my mouth which I did not utter “. He went on to quote portions of a report in the Courier in support of the allegation. I have taken the trouble to look up the newspaper, and have discovered that I did not misrepresent him. In the course of his speech the honorable member for Oxley used these words -
The honorable member for Dalley twisted my words. He said that I stated that the prosecution was withdrawn with the concurrence of the representatives of the miners union. It would be impossible for them to concur unless they had spoken. I made no such statement. The words that I used were “ without dissent “.
Later, in the same speech, he said -
When the honorable member for Dalley misquoted my words by saying that I stated that the miners had agreed unanimously to the withdrawal of the prosecution, he knew full well that he was using words that I did not utter.
I should be very sorry to misrepresent or misquote any honorable member. Tie honorable member for Oxley made, so definite a charge against me that I felt it necessary to look up the newspapers, to find out what really had been said. Having done so, it is necessary that I should, by way of personal explanation, clear myself of the charge made against me, and put myself right in the eyes of honorable members. In the Brisbane Courier of the 19th April of this year there is published a report of an interview with the honorable member for Oxley. It is the same report as that from which the honorable member himself quoted -
Mr. McCormack is reported to have said when speaking at Innisfail that “the Federal Government had abandoned the prosecution of Mr. John Brown because a Tory Government was in power in New South Wales.” Commenting on this statement yesterday, Mr. J. G. Bayley, M.H.R., said: “The facts are that after the summons had been issued to Mr. Brown, representatives of the mineowners and of the miners met in Sydney under the chairmanship of Sir Wallace Bruce to endeavour to bring about the re-opening of the mines, if possible. Both sides were unanimous on the desirability of this, and when it was pointed out by the owners representatives that it would be impossible for them to lay all their cards on the table if information they gave would be used against Mr. Brown when his case came up for trial, the miners representatives admitted this was so, and the conference, without dissent, agreed that the case against Mr. Brown should be dropped.”
It was the report of that interview upon which I commented in Brisbane. It will be seen that I did not misconstrue the words of the honorable member and that he did, in fact, give an incorrect version of the happenings at the peace conference.
– I desire, by way of personal explanation, to draw attention to the action of the Prime Minister when he described some remarks of mine as contemptible. I do not greatly object to the right honorable the Prime Minister’s description, because such criticism keeps my soul alive. Let me say, however, that however contemptible my conduct may have been, it was not more contemptible than that of the man who uses his position to boost himself at the expense of his comrades.
– Order ! The honorable member must not discuss that matter.
– I am not discussing it. I am merely explaining it to you, Mr. Speaker.
– If the honorable member has been misrepresented, he must state in what way.
– I am explaining the matter to you, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure you will understand it, if nobody else will. The Prime Minister said that my motion was ludicrous; but it was not more ludicrous than the conceit and vanity of a man-
– Order ! The honrable member is disregarding the ruling of the Chair. He has been long enough in the House to know how far he may go in making a personal explanation.
– The Prime Minister knows that he misrepresented me. Having made his accusation, he sheltered himself by applying the gag.
– Order ! The honorable member must resume his seat.
– That is all I want to say.
– In view of the fact thaf the Minister for Defence, by his failure to make available cooking utensils for use in schools in the coal-mining areas, has shown that he is not prepared to defend innocent little children-
– Order! The honorable member must not argue the question.
– In view of the fact that the Minister for Defence has refused to make available cooking utensils in which to make soup for innocent little children, who have often to go to school hungry, as the result of the present lockout of the coal-miners, will the Prime Minister take steps to see that relief is granted in this direction ?
– I shall discuss the matter with the Minister for Defence with a view to determining what can be done.
– Previously, in times of drought, concessions have been granted on the trans-Australian railway to persons desirous of shifting stock to agistment areas in the west. As need has again arisen to find agistment for starving stock in South Australia, will the Minister for
Markets and Transport take steps to have this concession reinstated, as it is necessary that the South Australian pastoralists should obtain some relief?
– A communication on this subject has been received from the Premier of South Australia, and arrangements are being made for the transport of starving stock over Commonwealth railways at concessional rates.
– I have here a telegram from the chairman of the Roads Board at Broome relating to the visit of the vessels of the Australian fleet to Western Australian ports. The telegram is as follows : -
Understand Canberra on voyage around Northern Australia, proceeding from Darwin direct Geraldton. Consider very important any war ship actually passing Broome should show flag here in view having largest Asiatic population in Australia. Residents also very disappointed. Please use your influence have this ship pay visit here.
There is very little to indicate the connexion of that out-of-the-way place with the rest of Australia, and I ask the Prime Minister whether, in the circumstances, it would not be possible for the cruiser Canberra to call at Broome, so that residents might have an opportunity of visiting the vessel ? I consider that this is important from a national point of view.
– I shall discuss the matter with the Minister for Defence to see whether anything can be done to meet the request. I point out, however, that the honorable member’s question is not so urgent that it could not have waited until to-morrow. While Ministers do not wish to appear discourteous, I remind honorable members that if Ministers resume the practice of answering a great many questions without notice, much of the time of the House will be taken up with them. Already 40 minutes have been devoted to questions without notice.
– In view of the impending repeal of the Arbitration Act, what will be the position of unions which have cases part heard by the court? “Will the judges be given an opportunity to dispose of these matters? This aspect of the subject is causing a good deal of concern to a number of industrial organizations which have spent a considerable sum of money in bringing their plaints to the present stage. It would clear the air if the Attorney-General would make a statement on the subject.
– I shall deal with that question when I make my second-reading speech on the Maritime Industries Bill.
Memorandum from Chinese ConsulGeneral.
– Has the Government received a memorandum from the ConsulGeneral for China, the contents of which have been seriously misrepresented by certain sections of the press? I understand that the Chinese Consul-General has made a statement to this effect.
– The Government has received a communication from the ConsulGeneral for China, urging that certain modifications be made in our immigration laws. The subject is now under consideration, and I hope to be able to let the Consul-General have a considered reply at an early date.
– Will the House be given an opportunity to discuss the subject ?
-I think that that will be unnecessary, for the reply of the Government will, I believe, be in accordance with the views of every honorable member.
Disease Among Aborigines
– On the 16th August, I directed the attention of the Government to the fact that a number of aborigines had died at the Hermannsburg Mission Station from an unknown disease. The Prime Minister promised to refer the matter to the Minister for Home Affairs. Has anything been done to meet the situation?
– Notification has been received from the Government Resident at Alice Springs that the disease has been definitely checked, and that precautions have been taken to prevent its recurrence in future.
– A number of merchants and small shopkeepers in Sydney, and also some press representatives, have requested me to inquire from the PostmasterGeneral whether there is any truth in the statement that the Government proposes to increase certain postage and telephone charges ?
– I am not prepared to make a statement on the subject at the moment.
– Nearly six months ago I asked the Prime Minister whether he could tell me the cost to the Commonwealth of the British Economic Mission known, as “ the Big Four,” headed by Sir Arthur Duckham. Is that information yet available?
– I was under the impression that the honorable member had received the particulars he desired. I believe that the information is now available; if so I shall have it forwarded to him.
asked the Minister for
Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Subsidies to private companies -
In addition to the above, an amount of £4,948 13s.1d. was expended by the Commonwealth on geological survey in Australia by Dr. Wade.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the recent trouble in the Calcutta jute mills and the probable delay in the trans port of sacks to Australia to meet harvest requirements, will the Government take immediate action to ensure that fast steamers are secured to expedite the delivery of these sacks to Australia in order to obviate the great loss which wheat growers may otherwise suffer?
– Inquiries which have been made in regard to this matter show that there is no occasion for anticipating any shortage of supply of wheat sacks for Australia. Purchases of sacks are made through the Australian representatives of Calcutta jute companies, and these representatives have numerous supplies offering for August, September and October shipment. As far as shipping is concerned, the arrangements are quite satisfactory. Three fast vessels have sailed from India for Australia since 6th August, and seven more are scheduled to sail between the present date and 7th October. This tonnage is stated to be more than ample to cover the whole of Australia’s requirements for wheat sacks. There is, therefore, no need for any action of the nature suggested by the honorable member.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Will he take into early consideration the future action proposed in connexion with the renewal of the wine bounties, on the expiry of the present law, namely, 31st August, 1930,so as to avoid the undesirable position that arose in 1927, owing to the late decision in regard to the future operation of the bounty at that time?
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Whether any negotiations have taken place in regard to the question of reciprocal invalid and old-age pensions within the Empire; if so; when is it expected that finality will be reached in this matter?
– Proposals were made by the British Government for reciprocal arrangements in connexion with old-age pensions between Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The Commonwealth Government considered these proposals, and replied to the British Government that the wide disparity existing between the present invalid and old-age pension scheme of the Commonwealth and the old-age pension scheme of Great Britain prevented the adoption of a scheme of reciprocal payments between the two countries.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
What quantity of petrol is delivered in the Federal Capita] Territory, for which a duty of 3d. per gallon is paid to the New South Wales Government?
– The customs have no record of the quantity of petrol delivered in the Federal Territory, nor am I aware of any official source from which that information could be obtained.
Public Baths - Interest on Loans.
asked the Minister for
Home Affairs, upon notice -
When will work on the construction of public baths in Canberra be commenced, and is it expected that they will be ready before the end of this year?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Will he state the amounts of money borrowed and the rates of interest paid in connexion with loans obtained for the building of the Federal Capital?
– The amount of £2,014,697 was borrowed, at interest rates ranging from 4 per cent, to 6 per cent, per annum, from 1912-13 to the date that the Federal Capital Commission assumed office. £3,106,780 was borrowed at5¼ cent, per ‘annum since the Commission assumed office. In addition, £1,752,055 has been advanced to the Commission by the Commonwealth pending the raising of moneys by loan. Interest at 5¼ per cent, per annum is charged on this advance. The Commission has also borrowed £150,000 from the Commonwealth Bank, at an interest rate of 5½ per cent, per annum, for housing purposes.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Imports and Exports
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
– On 22nd August last the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen) asked me the following questions : -
I now have pleasure in furnishing the following replies to each of the questions asked : -
We consider that the high costs of these works (weirs and locks Nos. 10 and 11) and also that at Torrumbarry (completed cost £285,439) are to a certain extent due to the fact that the constructing authorities for New South Wales and Victoria concentrated on the construction of one weir and lock, and thus were unable to take advantage of the more economical use of plant, &c. between two or more locks. It is further considered that such high costs are attributable largely to the fact that one authority was not placed in control of the whole of the works. Had this been done, we. are satisfied that considerable savings could have been effected by the standardization of plant and the economical use of items of plant at the various works along the river.
– On 22nd
August the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked the following questions : -
I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows: -
– On the 22nd August, the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked the following questions: -
I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows : -
Sea-going personnel (49 in number) included in the above are also entitled to accommodation and victualling or allowances in lieu.
Officers will be relieved on attaining the prescribed retiring age. Pensioner ratings serving in the sea-going force are employed only on short term engagements of one year, and are allowed to re-engage only if qualified Royal Australian naval ratings are not available to relieve them. Pensioner ratings employed in the auxiliary services will be relieved by Royal Australian naval ratings from the sea-going service, as they reach the retiring age. 5. (a) None.
New Air Port
– On the 22nd August, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. J. Francis) asked the following questions: -
I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows : -
– On the 22nd August the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) asked, inter alia, the following questions, upon notice -
Will the Minister ascertain whether -
I am now in a position to advise the honorable member as follows: -
– On the 16th August the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) referred to the charges made for the use of departmental hangars for privately-owned aircraft. As promised, I have taken the matter up with the Minister for Defence, who has furnished me with the following information : -
The rates recently brought into force are those which were adopted when the Defence Department first commenced to provide Hangars at departmental aerodromes. Those rates were, however, subsequently reduced, as a matter of policy, by one-half in view- of the somewhat precarious financial position of aircraft owners not operating under subsidy from the department, and in order that the ‘growth of their activities might be fostered.
The reduced rates operated until recently, when the matter was reconsidered in the light of the changed conditions due to the development of commercial aviation.
A continuance of the reduced rates would not only deprive the department of a reasonable return upon the cost of erecting departmental hangars, but would mean competition with private concerns which have erected a considerable number of hangars with the intention of catering for the accommodation of privately-owned aircraft, a business into which it is not the policy of the department to enter. The hangars already erected by the department were provided only because the industry was not, at the time, sufficiently developed to justify commercial concerns undertaking the necessary expenditure.
Now, however, that private enterprise is taking action to cater for the accommodation of privately-owned aircraft, the department is prepared to lease outright such hangars as are not required for departmental purposes at a rental determined to give a reasonable return upon the cost of erection. No concern leasing these buildings could, however, make a profit from accommodating aircraft at the low rates recently in force.
It is considered that the rates now charged for aircraft accommodation compare favorably with charges which the public has to pay for the garaging of motor cars, taking into consideration the relative amount of space occupied by the two types of vehicles, and the fact that the charges for aircraft include the free use of an aerodrome which represents very considerable capital outlay. The rates are approximately only half those charged by the British Air Ministry for similar services.
– On the 22nd August the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) asked the following questions, upon notice -
I am now in a position to furnish the following replies: -
As regards the cost of Royal Australian Air Force machines lost in the search, these machines were presented to the Commonwealth by the British Government. At the time of loss the whole type . was in process of being replaced by modern machines. There is no basis on which a value could be readily assessed.
Certain expenditure is being met from the votes of the Prime Minister’s Department. The whole of the accounts for this expenditure are not yet to hand, but it is estimated that the total cost will be approximately £900. This amount is made up chiefly of the following items: - (1) Expenses of party which proceeded to North Australia from Adelaide for the purpose of the recovery of the bodies of of the deceased airmen; (2) Cost of rail transport of bodies to Sydney and Perth; (3) Funeral expenses.
In addition to the foregoing, there is a contingent liability involved in the Commonwealth Government’s promise to the Premier of Western Australia to share half the expenditure incurred by the Western Australian Search Committee, which was organized under the control of the Western Australian Government. No claim has yet been received in this connexion. -
The following papers were presented -
Commonwealth Bank Act - Balance-sheets of CommonwealthBank and Commonwealth Savings Bank at 30th June, 1929, and statement of the liabilities and assets of the Note Issue Department at 30th June, 1929; together with the AuditorGeneral’s reports thereon. ‘
High Commissioner of the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom - Report for 1928.
Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1929, Nos. 85, 86, 87.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended -
Statutory Rules 1929, Nos. 83, 84, 90.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Ordinances of 1929 -
No. 16 - Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
No. 17- Rates (No. 3).
Debate resumed from 23rd August (vide page 291) on motion by Mr. Bruce -
That the bill be now road a second time.
.- This bill involves the most sweeping change in statutory law ever proposed in this Parliament, and because of the nature of the proposed changes, is one of the most important measures ever submitted to the Commonwealth Parliament.
It did not originate in any wide and popular’ demand for a repeal of the arbitration law after mature consideration by any considerable section of the people. At the caprice of one man, and without preliminary notice or warning, it was flung on the table for the consideration of the House. Industrially, socially and economically it vitally affects many scores . of thousands of Australian citizens, yet apparently the head of the Government has resolved upon this policy without even the consideration or prior approval of his own party. He certainly had not the authority of the people given at a general election, or even the authority of the organizations supporting him, givenat their conventions or conferences. One is struck by the extraOrdinary insufficiency of the title -
A bill for an act relating to industrial matters in relation to trade and commerce with Other countries and among the States and for other purposes.
Apparently the proposed repeal of the whole of the Commonwealth arbitration laws is covered by the bald words “ other purposes.” One would gather the impression that the main purpose of the bill is the establishment of a tribunal to deal with the maritime industries, and that the wholesale repeal of existing statutes and the destruction of the arbitration system is merely incidental thereto. In this puerile fashion does the Prime Minister attempt to mislead- the’ House and the public regarding the real purpose of the proposed law. Actually the bill if passed will repeal fifteen statutes and will amend fourteen others, some of them drastically. These are merely the incidental “other purposes “ of the measure. One man is proposing to undo the work of a generation of men. The Treasurer smiles ; perhaps he can afford to do so,; perhaps he can refuse to accept any responsibility for this bill, because it is quite clear that he was never consulted regarding it.
– That is a deliberate mis-statement.
– How can it be a deliberate mis-statement? I have merely expressed my opinion that the honorable member was not consulted before the Prime Minister declared his policy of abolishing the arbitration law. .
– That is a deliberate untruth.
– The honorable member must withdraw that expression.
– I withdraw it. The honorable member’s statement . is inaccurate.
– Notwithstanding the protestations that the Treasurer makes now, it is evident that the Prime Minister decided upon the course of action proposed by the bill without consideration, and without consulting any member of his party, inside or outside the Parliament.
– How does the honorable member know that?
– It is obvious; all the evidence points to that conclusion. The bill is a proposal by one man to undo the beneficial work of many men during the last 25 years - work that has involved infinite trouble; work that is the product of intense study and great ability on the part of statesmen, jurists, and students of industrial affairs. All that has been accomplished by a generation of thinkers and reformers is to be brushed aside as the result of a more or less capricious decision by the Leader of the Government. This is a wrecker’s policy. It is undertaken in complete disregard of all that it involves. Did the Prime Minister realize that this legislative slaughter will destroy a firmly established principle in our industrial affairs, a system of wage regulation that has developed with the endorsement of the people from time to time, and that it will destroy a whole province of law and order? Did he understand that his policy involves the destruction of the established wage standards of hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens, and that he is treating as “ scraps of paper “ 140 arbitration awards, and 260 industrial agreements registered under the Arbitration Act? All these are to cease to exist and no adequate substitute is proposed. Apparently, also the many part-heard cases 1low before the Arbitration Court are to be discontinued. Some of them have engaged the attention of the court for many months and have cost organizations of employers and employees hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds, as well as many months of arduous toil in the preparation of evidence. So far as we know no provision is to be made for the completion of those cases.
I listened closely to the speech of the Prime Minister when moving the second reading of the bill and I say frankly that it was unconvincing, and did not impress one man, whether a friend or opponent of the proposal. The right- honorable gentleman made the extraordinary statement that the Government has a mandate from the people for what it proposes to do. In support of that grotesque claim he quoted two obscure references to arbitration, one by himself and the other by the Attorney-General, as to what might possibly happen if the workers did not do what he considered right and proper under the arbitration law. The right honorable gentleman has a mind which enables him to justify to himself anything he wants to do by reference to some speech that he has made on the subject. . On this occasion he relies on one ambiguous statement during the course of the general election, campaign. Has he forgotten other statements he made regarding arbitration? I remind him of a much more specific and pertinent pronouncement made in this House on the 20th May, 1926 (vide Hansard, vol. 113, page 2162) -
Some remedy must be found for the duplication and overlapping of the two tribunals. The remedy urged by some persons is to abolish arbitration. I say that that is unthinkable.
Again on the 17 th May, 1928, speaking on the Arbitration Bill, the right honorable gentleman said (vide Hansard, vol. 118, page 5001)-
Another suggestion was that only two industries - the snipping amd shearing industries - were the affair of the Commonwealth. That, of course, is quite wrong. There are many other industries which are nation-wide in their ramification.
The Prime Minister was reported in the Argus of 12th February of this year as having said : -
It would be a tragedy if the system of conciliation and arbitration . . . had to be given up. The arbitration system had worked reasonably well. … It seems to me unthinkable that we should have to admit that what we said more than twenty years ago about industrial matters was only a glorious dream.
He stresses that it would be unthinkable to admit the failure or the impracticability of arbitration. The Prime Minister quoted a reference by the Attorney-General, taken from some obscure place, to what might pos:sibly be the consequence of a revolt of the workers in some industries, to. the whole system of arbitration, and took that as a basis for his declaration that the people had given him a mandate to repeal all the arbitration laws. This is what the Attorney-General said on the 15th December, 1927 :-
The abolition of the court would not solve any problem. On the contrary it would create new problems without any satisfactory means at hand for solving them….. It is sometimes said that the court is a failure. I do hot profess that it is a complete success. . . but very few human institutions are a complete success.
Just proir to the last Federal election, the Attorney-General was reported in the Argus of the 27th April, 1928, as sayings -
Those who say that arbitration has broken down are not acquainted with the facts . . .
Those who make broad statements that the whole system has failed completely disregard the fact that while in three or four industries there have been serious difficulties, scores of other industries are working under awards or agreements of the Arbitration Court with reasonable satisfaction to both sides.
Then the Argus of 17th of August last year, on the eve of the elections, reported that at a meeting at the Prahran Town Hall, Mr. Latham defended the Arbitration Court and said that those who advocated the- abolition of the court should suggest an alternative. There is nothing in the frequent quotations of the Attorney-General to give the least judication that the Prime Minister was seeking a mandate from the people for the abolition of arbitration in the Federal sphere. Could any reasonable person assume, in ‘the light of present knowledge, that the Prime Minister was either seeking a mandate, or that he had obtained one from the people at the general elections to destroy the whole, of the Federal arbitration system ? Could such an assumption be. made by any one except the Prime Minister, who, apparently, was’ driven to make it out of sheer desperation and from lack of a more tangible excuse for what he proposes. What the Prime Minister left unsaid, in the course of his somewhat dreary speech on Friday last, is more extraordinary than what he actually said. He made no reference whatever to the fact that only two years ago he referred the subject of industrial matters, among others, to a royal commission for the investigation of needed amendments of the Constitution. That body has been sitting for more than two years. According to an answer given by the right honorable gentleman this afternoon, its activities have cost this country more than £17,000, so apparently it has been constantly on the job. This royal commission consists of men of considerable experience, judgment and training. It is about to make it3 report, which the right honorable gentleman indicated this afternoon would be available in about a week’s time. Yet here is this bill flung down on the table of this House for the consideration of honorable members - a bill finally dealing with matters which for two years have been the subject of investigation bya royal commission. And the Prime Minister asks Parliament to pass the bill without awaiting the report of the royal commission. The royal commission was appointed to inquire into and to report upon the powers of the Commonwealth under the Constitution, and the working of the Constitution since federation, and to recommend any constitutional changes considered to “be necessary. It was instructed to report on ten subjects, among which was the question of industrial powers. The commission, therefore, was to inquire into the working of the Constitution in relation to industrial powers. It has cost this country a vast sum of money; it has taken an enormous quantity of evidence, and it has collected various expert opinions throughout Australia, yet its report is not even awaited by the Prime Minister before he makes this drastic change in the exercise of the power provided under the Constitution, which means so much to a vast number of people in Australia.
The right honorable gentleman, if I have followed his speech accurately, based his justification for the bill upon three main grounds: First, because the present system was unsatisfactory by reason of overlapping; secondly, because of the continuation of industrial disputes and their consequences; and thirdly, because of the economic difficulties existing within Australia. We have heard much from the right honorable gentleman about the alleged overlapping of Federal and State awards, and the grave difficulties that arise therefrom. What does he mean by overlapping? He is fond of generalising when referring to this subject, but let me ask specifically, what does he mean by overlapping? How has .overlapping,. between Federal and State awards made it impossible for Federal awards to operate ‘ If he means that awards when made by two classes of tribunals - the Federal Arbitration Court and the State tribunals - in the same industry or calling bring about duplication overlapping and confusion, it is strange that he has not been more specific, because, if that is what he means, he visualises a difficulty that does not exist. It is well known that there can be no conflict between Federal and State awards, because a Federal award, when made with the full authority and- under the proper powers of the Federal Arbitration Court, overrides a State award.
– That practice is not always observed, and I can give the honorable member a definite illustration.
– The honorable member will have a more favorable opportunity later to contribute to the debate. If, in some cases an award has not been observed by one party or the other, that does not mean that there is overlapping in the sense implied. If there is any overlapping, if there is any clash between awards, the Federal award is supreme. Lack of uniformity is inevitable when several awards apply in the same industry. There is the difficulty that arises out of what is known as a demarcation between callings and crafts, but New South Wales has overcome that difficulty by setting up Demarcation Boards. Overlapping no longerexists in Australia. There may he a certain amount of confusion, because of State awards that have been in force for a certain time being replaced by a Federal award, but only in that sense is there any difficulty. There is bound to be a certain amount of confusion where a number of dissimilar craft awards apply in one industry. For instance, in the engineering industry there may be differing awards for engineers, mechanics, boilermakers, moulders, carpenters, metal workers, and various crafts within the industry. There may be twenty awards operating in one establishment, and, because of their varying conditions, there is a certain amount of confusion. Some awards provide for a working week of 44 hours, and others for a working week of 47 hours. That is a difficulty, but it is not inherent in the jurisdiction of the Federal Arbitration Court. It applies with the same intensity to all awards for various callings and crafts, and will continue even if the Federal Arbitration Court ceases to exist. It will not be solved by abolishing that court. In fact, the abolition of that court, may, indeed, intensify the confusion. The right honorable gentleman spoke of the impossibility of carrying out the present system of arbitration, because of the frequent resort of the trade unions to direct action. In recent months the honorable gentleman has spoken frequently on that subject, and has given the impression, apparently deliberately, that Australia, as a result of the unwisdom of the unions, and those controlling them, is fast reaching a condition of chaos, that the industrial position to-day is worse than it was years ago, that there is a kind of tyranny on the part pf the unions applying throughout this country, and that this is manifested in frequent strikes.
– That is perfectly true.
– It is not true. There are to-day no more strikes than there were years ago, and relatively no more time is lost through industrial disputes. There is not more industrial disturbance in Australia than in other countries.
– There should not be as much.
– There is not as much. A few days ago the Premier of New South Wales returned from a tour abroad. One of his first statements! was that, while in the United States ‘ ‘ of America, he had noticed that in that country only disparaging references to Australia were made, and that Australia is known as the land of strikes. He deprecated that, and expressed the view that we are too apt to broadcast our difficulties, which we experience in no greater degree than other countries. In the past a great disservice has been done to Australia by politicians who have exploited industrial disputes for their own party political purposes. Honorable members opposite applaud that statement, but it is they who have done the damage. Who made industrial disputes the major political issue in the 1925 election campaign ? The answer to that inquiry will be found in the policy speech delivered oh that occasion by the right honorable member for Flinders, the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), and in the speeches of the Attorney-General (Mr. Latham), in which he denounced the Labour party, and drew upon his imagination for the horrible stories he circulated with the object of placing upon that party and the trade unions the responsibility for disruption and revolt in this country.
The Prime Minister, the” AttorneyGeneral, the Treasurer (Dr. “Earle Page) and other honorable members who sit opposite have always made industrial disturbance a major political issue.
– Who cause the disputes ?
– That is another matter. Apparently the honorable gentleman has satisfied his mind as to who has caused them,- and is prepared to sink all other, issues at a general election. Yet he complains because countries overseas have a” wrong idea of what is happening in Australia. Speaking at a meeting of the Commercial Travellers’ Association on the 4th August, 1928, the honorable gentleman said -
We are apt to overemphasize our own particular local difficulties. I am rather tired of hearing Australians speaking of Australia as a “land of constant strikes.” If you look at the actual figures and statistics you will find that we are really better off than most countries.
I trust that the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Jackson) will note that statement. The honorable gentleman went on to say -
The position in Australia to-day is this: In the Arbitration Court 149 unions are regis tered. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of unions which, inrecent years, have struck or ceased work.
Does the honorable member recollect having made that statement? He continued -
As sensible men let us recognize that, and do not let us exaggerate our industrial troubles.
It is a pity that the honorable gentleman did not preach that sound doctrine to his Prime Minister, who, in a political sense, appears to have developed insanity upon this question. It seems to me that the gravamen of the attack upon arbitration is that Australia is riven with industrial disputes and that the arbitration system has failed to save it from those disputes. There are many statistics relating to this matter to be found in the statistical publications of the Commonwealth.I shall place on record the number of working days lost in Australia over a period, and compare them with figures that relate to other countries. The figures for Australia are as follow : -
An examination of those figures shows that our industrial troubles have not be come more acute, but on the contrary have diminished, in the last few years.
– They are bad enough.
– One must admit that the loss of 1,000,000 working days is a serious matter; hut the point is that in 1928 the number of days lost was less than was the case during any of the preceding ten years. The position has not become more chaotic, and confusion and anarchy have not increased, as honorable members opposite suggest. Although, as the honorable member for Warringah (Mr, Archdale Parkhill) has stated, the positi’on is bad enough, it is not so bad in Australia as it is in other countries. Honorable members opposite take delight in referring to the United States of America as an industrial paradise. They also hold up Canada and the United Kingdom as excellent examples. They so frequently misrepresent the position in Australia that it is referred to in the United Kingdom as.” the land of strikes.” Yet industrial disputes are much more frequent, and more serious in those countries than they are in Australia. The following table has been compiled from the Canadian Year-Book and the Commonwealth Year-Book -
The comparison is even more favorable to Australia than those figures indicate, because the Canadian statistics take into account only those strikes of which there is official cognizance. Mr. B. M. Selekman, of the Department of Industrial Studies in Canada, referring to the Canadian figures relating to industrial disputes, says -
The figures do not actually include all strikes occurring in Canada. They represent the best efforts of the Department of Labour to discover those which occur.
Our statistics are much more complete than are those of either Canada or the United States of America. Dr. Carter Goodrich, an American Sociologist who recently visited Australia, writing in the Economic Record with respect to industrial conditions in this country, compared our figures with those of the United States of America for the ten year period, 1916 to 1925, in the following table which is based on official records: -
He added -
The American trade unionist, in spite of his reputed conservatism, goes on strike more than twice as often as his Australian fellow.
Apparently conservative politicians iti the United States of America do not constantly harp on that fact, nor do they make it an issue at elections; consequently we do not hear very much about it in Australia. I urge honorable members opposite to refrain in the future from thus slandering Australia and Australian workers. The following table will enable honorable members to compare the working days lost in Australia- on account of industrial disputes, with those lost in Great Britain -
In the year 1926 there was a general strike in Great Britain; therefore, I shall not take into account the exceedingly large number of days lost in that year. The average number of days lost in Australia during that ten year period was 1,186,333, while in the United Kingdom, allowing only the average number for the year 1926, it was more than 20,000,000. The figures in regard to Great Britain have been taken from the British Labour Year-Booh for 1928. The Australian figures were supplied by the Commonwealth statistician.
– What is the comparison on a population basis ?
– The population of England is seven times as great as that of Australia; but the number of working days lost was twenty times as great.
Lest there be any doubt as to whether we have foolishly exaggerated troubles which, after all, are experienced by every industrial country in the world, let me quote from a speech delivered in this Parliament by the Attorney-Genera! on the 15th December, 1927. He then said -
The troubles which have occurred in Australia have been practically confined to the transport, mining and engineering industries . . . but similar trouble in these particular industries are occurring to-day in every country of the world. A great disservice is rendered to Australia by emphasizing such troubles, and by representing Australia as a land of constant strikes. We do our own country a grave injury by exaggerating the strikes which occur. If we compare the position of Australia with that of England, we find we are very fortunate indeed in relation to strikes.
That was said upon the authority of the Attorney-General when he was a champion of Federal arbitration, and frequently demonstrating its great success. Apparently he adhered to that opinion until recently. What tremendous event caused his present extraordinary attitude of mind he will, perhaps, be good enough to tell us when he gets up to speak.
The third point upon which the Prime Minister relies in justification of this revolutionary change in Australia’s industrial system, is the alleged economic difficulty with which Australia is faced. He puts forward as a reason the economic unsoundness of the conditions under which, he states, the commercial life of Australia is being carried on. Those who listened to the early parts of his speech must have concluded that the right honorable gentleman hopes to balance the budget by repealing the arbitration laws. His idea seems to be that he will adjust the finances of the Commonwealth by getting rid of the Arbitration Court, and also, I suppose, of Arbitration Court awards, and all decent regulation of industrial conditions. The right honorable gentleman referred to the necessity of reducing the cost of production, which I take to be a euphemism for reducing wages. I wish the right honorable member had been a little more specific on that point. What does he mean by reducing the cost of production, if he has not in mind the reduction of wages and lengthening of working hours? The Prime Minister is a master in evading a direct issue.
– The honorable member himself believes in a 48-hour week.
– I believe in a 44- hour week, and the 44-hour week act was passed in Queensland when I was Premier. Prior to the passing of that act the average working week for wageearners in Queensland was 45£ hours, so that many industries in that State, even before the 44-hour week was made statutory, were working only 44 hours. In other parts of Australia many industries have for years past been carrying on under a 44-hour week. This idea of regarding the 44-hour week as something obnoxious and detrimental to the best interests of the nation is an extraordinary, latter-day development on the part of honorable members on the other side. The Prime Minister himself, on the eve of the 1925 election, practically promised the workers an Australianwide 44-hour week. It is true that he refrained from actually mentioning the 44-hour week in his policyspeech; but he referred to the desirability of having a uniform working week, so that the workers might enjoy more leisure, and it was the 44-hour week that was under discussion at that time.
– That was a different thing altogether.
– Every government candidate in that election campaign applauded the idea of the uniform working week of 44 hours. But now, after having secured the transient support of many workers on that occasion, they are prepared to abandon the proposal, to sneer at the idea of a 44-hours’ week, and to sabotage the principle which they then endorsed. In the course of his speech on Friday last the Prime Minister became a prophet of gloom. He spoke with dreadful foreboding of what would happen if the present state of affairs continued, and it appeared as though he could see nothing but disaster ahead. That is the attitude he has adopted in an effort to justify the present attack on the workers. He conjured up all kinds of things as likely to happen, not only to investors and employers, but to the workers as well. To me this attitude is a mere pose, adopted in an endeavour to justify a step for which no adequate justification can be found. It is only three or four weeks ago that the Prime Minister spoke very differently. Addressing the Women’s National League in Melbourne, on the 23rd July, 1929, he said : -
Australians should cultivate a little sentiment and a belief in their own country, a real optimism, and a little courage, in spite of the present difficulties. An era of prosperity lay ahead, and it would come all the sooner if the pessimists could be silenced.
The outlook in Australia, he said, was better to-day than ever before in the country’s history, because a much better atmosphere was being created. Australians were beginning to tackle their problems with more sanity and honesty than they had ever done before. With a few good seasons there would be a revolution in the financial and economic position of the Commonwealth.
Yet listening to the right honorable member on Friday last one might have thought that the end of the world was approaching, that a dreadful doom was fast overtaking Australia. When the leader of a Nationalist party wants to take away the reforms which the workers have enjoyed, when he wishes to curtail the liberties of the people, he usually tries to justify himself by voicing such doleful prophecies. The Prime Minister is no exception. If he has been examining the economic position of the country, and wishes to find a solution of the difficulties with which it is faced, if he wishes to save the workers from some of the economic burdens that are bearing harshly upon them, he should long ago have done something to mitigate the unemployment problem. No other trouble in Australia is causing such suffering, hardship and distress as unemployment. It is the greatest economic difficulty with which this nation is faced. I have shown that industrial disputes are responsible for a loss of 1,000,000 working days a year, but the working days lost to the community as a result of unemployment amount not to 1,000,000, but to more than 20,000,000.
Mr.RODGERS. - And the ramifications of unemployment are so far-reaching.
– They are, but I am speaking now only of the loss of earning power and’ productivity directly due to unemployment. There are other losses suffered by the unfortunate victim of unemployment himself, and by his family, but over a period of ten years the direct economic loss due to unemployment is the equivalent of 20,000,000 working days as against 1,000,000 days lost as a result of industrial trouble. “
– Are not industrial disputes directly responsible for unemployment?
– I am speaking of unemployment resulting from causes which have nothing to do with industrial disputes. Professor R. C. Mills, of the Faculty of Economics in the University of Sydney, when addressing the Industrial Peace Conference a few weeks ago, said : -
Possibly, we are apt to expect too little disturbance in our industrial life, and certainly we are apt to over-estimate the economic importance of industrial disputes compared, for example, with unemployment.
Again, Dr. Benham, who is an economist of some standing in Australia, states in his book The Prosperity of Australia : -
The number of working days lost through industrial disputes in Australia during recent years has averaged about 1,000,000 per year. . . . An unemployment percentage of 10, applying to 1,000,000 wage-earners for a year of 250 working days, means a loss of 25,000,000 days. Calculated in this way, the loss in Australia through unemployment has been, on the average, more than twenty times as great as the cost through industrial disputes during the present century.
If the Prime Minister is really concerned for the welfare of this country of which he is so fond of talking, if he is inspired by a wish to promote the welfare of the workers for whom his heart seems to bleed on certain occasions, why does he not apply himself to this tremendous problem of unemployment, instead of try: ing to wreck the work of his predecessors - real statesmen who have built up Australia’s arbitration system? The. right honorable gentleman may, however, say that he did not know that unemployment has reached such serious dimensions in this country. Perhaps he may allege that he did not. know of the existence of this problem ; that it is a mere figment of the imagination of’ Opposition members. He cannot rely on that as an excuse, for he himself appointed a royal, commission to inquire into unemployment, and he has received its report. He referred to the problem of unemployment in the course of his policy speech in 1925, and promised definite reform, which promise he has failed to redeem. He referred to it again before the 1928 election, describing the problem as a grave cause of anxiety. He promised to take specific action, but he has failed to fulfil that promise or, indeed, to make any further allusion to it, although the new Parliament has been functioning since February last. Now he brings down this proposal which was not referred to in his policy speech, and seeks to abolish the arbitration system of Australia, a system that has afforded protection to hundreds of thousands of workers, and without which they will he left without any protection whatever.
Let us contrast the views of the Prime Minister upon the alleged economic disaster that has overtaken the country with those of Sir Robert Gibson, one of the leaders of commerce and industry in Australia, and a gentleman specially chosen by the Prime Minister to occupy the high position of Chairman of Directors of the Commonwealth Bank. Sir Robert Gibson has filled a great many public positions with great distinction to himself. On the 21st of this month Sir Robert Gibson, in an address to the Rotary Club in Melbourne, said - “ I think that the constant reiteration and publicity put forward as to the unsatisfactory condition of affairs is largely one of exaggeration. I do not mean that all is well, but I do suggest that things are not so bad as they are being represented to-day.” Sir Robert said that if one went back in recent history it would be found that serious strikes and difficulties have become perceptibly less than during the last decade. During that time Australia had only two oustanding troubles - those in the waterside industry and the coal industry. Apart from these industries, there had been a singular absence of. difficulties which had led to the cessation of work. Setting the late timber strike aside, there has been no serious trouble which had led ‘to a complete stoppage Of work. Sir Robert added, “That, to my mind,- is the most encouraging sign of to-day. The reason for it is that relations between employers and employees are generally better than they were during the last 20 or 30 years.”
I do not deny that Australia has her economic difficulties. But if it is necessary to reduce the cost of production to enable us to compete in the overseas markets on a better footing, surely it can be done in some other way than by reducing the wages of the workers. I cannot believe, that a single member of the House would dare to assert that that is the only ‘ way to solve this problem. Yet the reason for the introduction of this bill is undoubtedly to make the way easy to effect a reduction of wages and a lengthening of working hours.
– No one has said that.
– The sole reason for the introduction of this bill is to provide a means of assault upon the workers’ conditions. But surely, if sacrifices have to be made, others should be called upon before the workers. Many rich people in the community draw to a much greater extent than the workers upon the common fund of wealth produced here. Those who draw interest from loans, those who draw rents in large amounts, and those who reap substantial profits from industry, should first be called upon to make some sacrifice. If it should become necessary to revise our economic system in order drastically to reduce the cost of production, the workers should be the last, and not the first, upon whom an assault should be made. Other sections of the community who are drawing heavily upon the common fund of wealth produced should be called upon to make greater sacrifices than the worker, who usually is not in a position to give up any of his hard-earned wages. Those persons who are drawing profits out of industry in times of prosperity as well as in times of adversity, and those who derive rents from real estate, amounting in the aggregate to scores of millions of pounds, should be required to make a sacrifice.
The picture that the Prime Minister drew of - the economic difficulties which threaten Australia was, to a considerable extent, imaginative. If our economic conditions were as unstable as he represents them to be, we should see signs of a reaction upon the Stock Exchange. The prices of industrial stocks would be falling, because the people would be fearful about the soundness of their investments. But an examination of the Stock Exchange lists shows that industrial stocks are standing at a higher level than at any time within the last twenty years. The Attorney-General smiles sarcastically at that statement. It is not likely that he would appreciate the logic of the argument. His idea of saving a few million pounds for industry is to take it from tha workers, and, naturally, he would regard my statement that the stock exchange quotations of industrial concerns reflects the stability of our trade and commerce as absurd and ridiculous. I am using this argument with the object of refuting the suggestion that the basis of our economic life is unstable, and that we are faced with ruin. If the facts were as the Prime Minister has declared them to be ‘ the Stock Exchange would reflect it, and it does not do so. The tendency is the other way. If we were facing an industrial crisis the return of capital from industry would show some diminution, but that is not the case. The experience, of the banking companies during the last few years should be a good criterion to take in this connexion. Their profits have not suffered any diminution. The joint stock banks in Australia, which include nine of the principal banking companies here, made profits last year of more than £4,000,000, which enabled them to pay dividends to their shareholders ranging from 9 per cent, to 15 per cent., the average being more than 12 per cent. During the last fifteen years these banking companies have added -to their reserves and undivided profits no less than £29,000,000. The profits for last year were equal to the profits of five years or of fifteen years ago. It cannot be argued therefore, that our economic fabric is threatened with destruction.
I repeat that the sole object of the introduction of this bill is to enable the Nationalist party, through the Prime
Minister (Mr. Bruce), to clear the way for a ‘wholesale assault upon wages and upon working hours. There can be no other explanation of it. The measure cannot have been introduced merely because there have been disturbances in industry. The maritime industry is the only industry which has been seriously disturbed during recent years. It has suffered more dislocation than possibly any other Australian industry. But it is proposed that the Commonwealth shall retain control of it, while industries which have been carrying on their operations peaceably for fifteen and twenty - years are to be sacrificed. It is not a case of transferring them from the jurisdiction of one authority to that of another, for there is no State jurisdiction capable of controlling some of them. All that this measure will do if it be passed will be to allow the Commonwealth Government to surrender the welfare of a vast number of working people, whose sole protection for many years has been the Federal Arbitration Court, to the tender mercies of sweaters and potential sweaters.
– Does the honorable member mean State Governments ?
– It may be State Governments where Nationalism is in power. Honorable members may ask what alternative the Labour party has to offer to the proposal of the Government; but this measure does not admit of any modification or amendment. It is designed to sweep away our whole system of industrial arbitration. The policy of the Labour party is to retain the arbitration principle in the Federal’ as well as the State sphere. Jurisdiction in both spheres is necessary, but it should be co-ordinated. No one claims that the Federal arbitration system is perfect, but we say that it could $ie improved. It is capable of great improvement. Unfortunately it has been tampered with by the present Government during the last two or three years. Many of the difficulties which are now being encountered in the Federal sphere have been caused by the ignorant interferences with the act of the present Government. I do not deny that there have been, and still are, defects in the Federal system; but no humanly designed institution is perfect.
Certain obvious defects in the system could be rectified by this Parliament without any difficulty whatever. [Extension of time granted.] But the existence of the defects is no justification for the sweeping away of the whole system. So far as we can see, there is no satisfactory alternative to the court. The only possible alternative is the appeal to direct action; and that would be unsatisfactory. It would mean that the party which could exercise the greatest force could compel the more weakly organized party to submit to its demands. Under that system the weaker sections of the community would suffer greatly. The fact that the Commonwealth Arbitration Court has not had power to make a common rule has caused many of the difficulties now facing industry. In order to remedy that trouble the people should be asked to amend the Constitution in such a way that the court would be clothed with power to make a common rule. The fact that they have been asked to do this on other occasions and have refused to do so, is not a sufficient justification for declining to appeal to them again. There is, in fact, no reason why another appeal should not be made. But whether such a grant of power were made or not some of the existing and obvious defects of the system could be remedied. Too many delays occur under the prevailing conditions. Cases may remain unheard for years after they have been listed. Surely it is within the power of the Commonwealth to rectify that. Too much congestion occurs in the court. This results in an accumulation of business, which causes discontent everywhere. It has been said that the processes of the court are too cumbersome. The court has been engaged for as long as three and four years in making an award in some cases. That is altogether unreasonable and it should be unnecessary. One of the most comprehensive cases ever submitted to an arbitration authority came before the Queensland Arbitration Court some years ago. It involved an investigation into almost every calling and craft of the State railway system, but the award was made four months after the log was submitted.
– Was that the time when the honorable member made a 5 per cent, cut in the wages of the men?
– What does the honorable member for Warringah mean? There was no cut in wages at the time I am speaking of. The case was submitted to the court in February, 1917, and the award was made by Mr. Justice McCawlay on the 4th July, of the same year. The whole gamut of railway employment was dealt with by the court in a few weeks. A similar case has been before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court for about eighteen months, and may last another six months. The difficulties that arise under the existing Arbitration Law are capable of remedy, The fact that they exist is no justification for sweeping away the whole system of industrial arbitration.
This bill represents a most ignominious retreat by the Government from the difficulties which it has encountered. It is proposing to hand over the workers to potential sweaters - I do not use the phrase offensively;. it was employed in the Age, a similar one in the Melbourne Herald, and another, equally strong, in the Sydney Sun. We have to recognize that employers are good, bad, and indifferent, and we must protect the workers from the exactions of the bad employer, the potential sweater. That is the justification of the system of arbitration. The exploiters may be only a small proportion of the total number of the employers, but because they exist the workers must be protected against their rapacity, and good employers also must be guarded against unfair competition by the sweater, who’ has no regard for decent and humane conditions.
The action which the Government proposes involves a weakening of the Federal spirit. The Government is proposing weakly to surrender the authority of the Commonwealth and retire from the field of industrial legislation, one of the most important functions entrusted to its care and administration by the Constitution without any excuse dating further back than a couple of months. The Opposition will do all that is permissible under the Standing Orders to prevent the Government from effecting its unworthy purpose by means of this proposed legislation.
– It was difficult for the
Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Theodore) to simulate enthusiasm for the Federal system of industrial conciliation and arbitration. For several months he has been endeavouring by speech and action to undermine that system, and honorable members must have observed that he said very little to-day about it. He certainly did not deal with the real issue now before the House. It is a practical issue, an Australian issue that concerns all of us. It cannot be determined by the citation of statistics relating to other parts of the world. Certain facts are obvious to every Australian, and the practical issue is - what is the best method of securing continuity of industry in Australia, upon a fair basis, and of making necessary provision for the alteration of industrial conditions with a minimum of friction? That issue must be determined upon the facts. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has put before the House an entirely false alternative. He has said that the repeal of the Commonwealth Arbitration Act would hand over the workers to actual, or potential, sweaters, and that if this bill is carried there will be no protection for the workers, other than those engaged in the maritime industries. That is not correct. Even at the present time, more workers are operating under awards and determinations of State authorities than under awards of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. It is not right to assume that every member of a federated union is working under a Federal award. Thousands of unionists are working under State awards, and there is more State than Federal regulation of industry. Therefore, the suggestion that the retirement of the Commonwealth from the field of industrial arbitration means that there will be no protection for the worker and the fair employer is entirely false.
The bill does not raise the question of whether there should be legal control of industrial conditions; that is not the issue, although a large part of the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was directed to the erroneous assumption that it is. The vast majority of Australians of all classes, employers and employees alike, believe in protective legislation in the industrial domain. The only question that the House has to consider is whether there should be two systems of control operating in the same industry, and whether, if the dual system is not desirable, the federal system, limited as it is, should be retained. Under present conditions, it is possible for any industry to be controlled by both Federal and State awards, operating simultaneously, making inconsistent provisions in reference to the same matters and operating in some States and not in others, for a Federal award may apply to two, three, four, five or six States. Nobody really believes that the existing dual system of industrial regulation is sound.
– Did not the AttorneyGeneral believe in it ?
– At no time did I believe in a dual system, and I shall prove to the honorable member that I have often said so. In his book, A New Province for Law and Order, Mr. Justice Higgins wrote. -
We cannot have the State and the Commonwealth dealing with the same subject independently at the same time. It would be well, in my opinion, to amend the Constitution by committing to the Commonwealth Parliament the whole subject of industrial relations, and to let that Parliament organize a co-ordinated system of tribunals, local and general. It is a grievous wrong to those who have the responsibility of carrying on business undertakings that they should have to obey at the same time, on the same subject, two distinct authorities, State and Federal. If there is to be regulation - and there must be - it should come from one authority.
That is the fundamental principle underlying this bill - if there is to be regulation, and there must be, it should come from one authority.
The present system of industrial control is very complex. We have first the Commonwealth arbitration law operating subject to the limits imposed by the Constitution. This Parliament has no power to legislate on industrial matters by virtue of the arbitration power. Its only power is to make legislative provision for conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of interstate disputes. It follows, from the interpretation given to these words by the High Court - by whose decisions this Parliament is bound - that the federal power «is very limited indeed, and I propose to set out briefly its limitations. In the first place, the idea of a dispute is fundamental to both conciliation and arbitration in the federal sphere. There must be an actual or probable dispute before the federal power can function. I have often suggested that that is fundamentally wrong. The idea that no industrial improvement can be obtained without a dispute is producing a profound and disastrous psychological effect on the minds of employers and employee. The creation of a dispute is the first .incident in any invocation of the exercise of the federal power of conciliation or arbitration. There must necessarily be a precise formulation of claims in order to identify a dispute. The result is that the parties become committed, for and against, to something like a legal pleading. Inevitably, so far as the federal jurisdiction is used, the parties become arrayed in two opposing armies. The nature of the federal power promotes an expansion of disputes, because a dispute must be in existence in at least two States before the federal jurisdiction can have cognisance of it. All these unavoidable incidents of the federal power are essentially unsound. The sound idea is not the creation of disputes in order to settle them, but co-operation of both sides from the beginning to preserve industrial peace and to bring about desirable changes with a minimum of friction. But from such methods this Parliament is excluded by the nature of the existing federal power. Not only must there be a dispute before the Commonwealth’s power can be exercised, but the only methods that can bs employed to deal with it are those of conciliation and arbitration. Conciliation aims at agreement, and if the parties will not agree, the only recourse is to arbitration, which necessarily involves the parties being at issue upon a claim. They are in dispute before they enter the court. Arbitration necessarily involves the right of the parties to be represented in the court so that their cases may be properly stated, and the right to give evidence; therefore it inevitably involves an atmosphere of legal procedure. The award, when made, binds only the disputants ; it applies only so far as the dis- pute extends, and the party creating the dispute makes it extend just so far, as suits the interest of that party at the time. So, a union creating a dispute omits a state in which conditions are already favorable. For instance, the Australian “Workers Union,- the largest in Australia, which is now playing an important part in supporting the retention of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, is not operating under a federal pastoral award in Queensland. It does not trouble about uniformity of conditions, or the effects of interstate competition. It considers that it is able to obtain better conditions in Queensland from the State tribunal, and not unnaturally, that is the only consideration which concerns it. The Federal Court- has no power to bring about Uniformity throughout Australia, because that is dependent entirely upon the extent to which the claimant party has chosen to cause the dispute to extend. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, has mentioned, the Commonwealth Court cannot make a common rule. Nonunionists are not entitled to the benefits of an award or subject to its obligations, and employers who have not been cited are not bound by it. The statement is often made that it is easy for the Commonwealth Arbitration Court to produce uniformity of industrial conditions throughout Australia ; I have shown that that is not so, and that the extent to which any award can operate depends entirely upon the will of one of the parties to it. The Industrial Peace Act is subject to exactly the same limitations as other Commonwealth legislation under the arbitration power, and all the incidents to which I have referred characterize action under that statute also.
On the other hand, the State power in relation to industrial matters, is complete. The State Parliaments are able to regulate, directly by legislation in industrial matters or indirectly by setting up authorities, all industrial matters within their boundaries. They are able to determine the conduct in relation to industrial matters of all persons within their areas. They can determine what wages shall be paid for any work done in the State: They can deal with hours and conditions and with every aspect of employment which affects the relations of employer and employee on land. There are distinctions in the case of vessels which travel round the coast from one State to another. For that reason - there being full power in the Commonwealth in connexion with interstate maritime industries and no such power in the State - it is proposed to retain full control of those industries. But it is quite wrong to say, as has often been said, that no State can deal with an interstate dispute. Each State in Australia is able to deal with every element of an interstate dispute which exists within its own boundaries. It is able to deal with every employer who carries on business in that State, and in that respect there is no shadow of doubt that its legal power is complete. As to the extent, to which that power has been exercised I shall say something in a moment. But entirely different considerations affect employment at sea on interstate vessels. A State can control such vessels only while they are within the territorial waters of the State. The Commonwealth alone can effectively control, for example, the contract for employment upon an interstate vessel, and accordingly it is proposed to retain control of interstate ‘maritime and waterside employment, and waterside employment also so far as it effects foreign vessels, and to do that under the trade and commerce powers given to it by the Constitution which’ confer upon the Commonwealth Parliament full power to legislate, according to the present decision of the High Court.
It is proposed, under this bill, that where the States have full powers and the Commonwealth has no power to deal with any industry as such, but only power to deal with such disputes as are made interstate, the operation of industrial law shall be left to the States. I can illustrate what I mean by referring to clause 43 of the bill, which provides that a State industrial authority shall not have any jurisdiction to make any award, &c, in relation to employment in a maritime industry, and any award so made shall be void and of no effect. The Commonwealth Parliament is able to legislate under the trade and commerce powers for interstate and foreign trade and commerce in the manner set out in clause 43, and is able to say that no State tribunal shall enter this area. The Commonwealth cannot do that in the case of any industry which does not fall within the trade and commerce power. It would be impossible to enact this clause in general terms applying to all industries. The States can legislate directly, or set up bodies of any description to deal with any industrial matter within their boundaries, whether or not there be similar industrial matters outside their boundaries. There is no legal limitation upon their powers to deal with interstate disputes so far as those disputes affect employers and employees within the boundaries of the State. They can legislate in respect of factories, apprenticeship, workers compensation, and the like, from all of which this Parliament is excluded.
– Subject to the superior awards of the Commonwealth. ‘
– As the honorable member says, subject, in the case of a dispute and so far as the dispute extends and in the case of those persons who are. parties to the dispute, to the over-riding effect of the Commonwealth award, if any. It is proposed under the bill that the Commonwealth shall continue to control where it has full power, but that other industries shall be left to the domain of the States, where they have full power.
Now it will be said that this is familiar matter, that it was all known, long before this bill was brought down, and the question may be asked - “Why did not the Government adopt this attitude in 1926, at the time of the referendum, and in 1927 when the amending Arbitration Bill was brought down ? “ There was that option, that possibility, that course open to the Government - the course which the Government is now adopting - but it was not taken. . It may . be asked, “Then why the alteration now ?” In. 1926 there were many who thought very differently from the Government, and as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Theodore) has referred to the Age newspaper, it is not perhaps out of place for me to remind honorable members of what that newspaper said in 1926, when the Commonwealth Government was’ asking by referendum for extended powers, and when some honorable members on the other side, including, if I am not misinformed, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Curtin), opposed the granting of those powers to the Commonwealth. On the 23 rd August, 1926, when the Government proposed the referendum to give the Commonwealth Parliament extended industrial powers, the Age wrote -
It has evidently not occurred to the Federal Government that it would be equally possible to use the referendum and restore to the States the powers of industrial legislation they thought they had, and that they certainly never intended the Commonwealth to filch when federation was proposed and approved. Admittedly, there is much overlapping of awards, but it is the functioning of the Federal Court which is causing most of the overlapping of which the Government is complaining. The remedy for that evil seems to be in the extinction of the court, not in the extension of its powers….. .-Throughout the past 22 years the Commonwealth Arbitration Court has proved itself costly, dilatory and unsatisfactory. It has not eliminated friction; it has not averted strikes. It has played the part of an intrusive fifth wheel; it has been a fertile source of revenue to the lawyers.
On the 1st September, the Age said -
Let him (the Prime Minister) introduce legislation which will free the Wages Boards from the super-authority which the Commonwealth now may exercise.
I shall give one more quotation, exactly the opposite of what honorable members are now reading in the Age every morning. On 20th November the Age wrote -
The Australian people have no intention of enhancing the Federal Arbitration Court’s _ power or of extending its scope. The signs plainly are that they would be swift to endorse any proposal that the institution should be scrapped.
That newspaper says something very different to-day. I have read those extracts to show that the alternative of scrapping the court was in the past very plainly presented. The Government did not propose that course, but on the contrary endeavoured to obtain fuller powers, in accordance with the principle that there should be one source of control in industry, and one only. A referendum was held and failed, as did the referendums held in 1911, 1913 and 1919 on the same subject.
Reference has been made to the Prime Minister’s statement that the abolition of arbitration was unthinkable. If honorable members will refer to the Prime Minister’s speech they will see that he was dealing with the general subject of industrial legislation. Bie said that it was unthinkable to go back to a condition of complete freedom from control without any regulation at all. The whole burden of the Prime Minister’s speech was that our present method of arbitration was most unsatisfactory, and that we ought to get extended powers to enable us to use other methods. That referendum unfortunately failed, and then the Government had to consider what to do, whether to repeal or to , amend the act, and the decision deliberately taken at that time, for reasons then stated, was that arbitration ought to be given every chance of success and that the act should be amended rather than ended.
When I introduced the Amending Arbitration Bill in December, 1927, I said that the Government did not believe in a general abandonment of industrial legislation in Australia ; but I added that the present form of Federal power was most unfortunate and, indeed, was subject to the defects which I have endeavoured to outline this afternoon. I went on in nlp speech to consider the views of those who urged the abolition of the Federal Arbitration Court and I used the words which have been quoted by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition this afternoon. I said “ The Government does not at the present time subscribe to that view.” It is plain from that sentence alone that the Government was holding itself free to determine its action in accordance with actual developments and circumstances as they varied from time to time. Then I said that the mere abolition of the court would not solve any problem, but would create new problems without any satisfactory means at hand for solving them. That is a sentence which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition chose to quote. I went on to say that, although there were defects in the Arbitration Court, due largely to constitutional limitations, most unions were working peacefully and supporting the Arbitration Court. I want honorable members to realize the reasons then existing for the then policy of the Government. I went on to say in my second-reading speech, and not in any obscure place as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has suggested, that there was one condition - and this has never been included in the many quotations of my speeches that I have seen in labour propaganda - upon which the . arbitration system depended, and that was “ the general principle that those who appeal to the arbitrator must obey his awards. They must not take arbitration when it suits them and resort to direct action when that seems more likely to give them what they desire.” I went on to say that there was a “ positive obligation to the community arising on both sides to keep industry going. If it were found that organized industry on either side was not ready to recognize this obligation the Government would have to consider whether it was desirable to retain the system.” Those words are clear and definite. Then came the election, and once again the Prime Minister, in his policy speech, and not in any obscure place, dealt with this subject. After referring to the importance of industrial peace he said -
A conference between the representatives of the employers and those employed in industry is shortly to be held. The Government greatly welcomes this conference and trusts that success will crown its efforts. If, as a result of its deliberations, recommendations are submitted for the alteration of the law in connexion with the regulation of industry and the settlement of industrial disputes, the Government will give the fullest and most sympathetic consideration to such suggestions.
The Government stands definitely for peace in industry and continuity of employment, and for the highest wages and best conditions to the workers that industry can provide. The Government is prepared to consider any alternative to our present industrial laws which will enable these ends to be more satisfactorily achieved.
The Government did not at any time tie themselves up to the continuance of the present system of Federal arbitration. The meaning of the words I have read is clear. The aim of the Government at all times has been the preservation of industrial peace and the adoption of methods best calculated to ensure it. This measure is completely in accord with that policy. I have shown why the Government in 1926 and 1927 were not prepared to abandon the Commonwealth arbitration system. I can summarize the reasons by saying they believed that the abandonment of the court would leave some problems that there were no means -at hand to solve; that the unions as a whole were supporting the Arbitration Court and the principle of arbitration, and that the maintenance of the system depended upon obedience to awards.
What is the position to-day? The Government still do not believe in the abandonment of industrial regulation. They propose to act where they have the power to do so; but intend to retire from the field where they are so hampered and restricted that they are unable to achieve satisfactory results. The form of the Federal power to-day is as bad as it has ever been. All the defects referred to in 1926 and 1927 still exist. A further attempt to remove those defects was made by way of an appeal to the Premiers of the States to ask their Parliaments to refer further powers to the Commonwealth Parliament. Both Nationalist and Labour Premiers unanimously refused to recommend their Parliaments to refer any industrial powers to this Parliament. The policy of the Government has always been to have these matters dealt with by one authority. It is impossible to get them exclusively in the hands of the Commonwealth, therefore the only alternative is for each industry to be dealt with by a parliament that possesses full powers with respect to it.
I said in 1926 that the abolition of the Arbitration Court would leave some problems for the solving of which there were no means at hand. At the time I believed that that was the case. I admit that I did not then realize the significance of the trade and commerce power of the Commonwealth. I did not then know - I doubt whether any other person fully realized - that under that power it was possible to control industrial conditions in relation to interstate shipping. I believed that the abandonment of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court would deprive us of all means of dealing with interstate shipping. Since 1927, however, the nature of the trade and commerce power has been better understood. It is now recognized that there is power to deal with those problems which at that time I thought would be beyond solution.
A further point mentioned in the earlier years was that only a few unions were causing trouble, and that, taken as a whole, the trade union movement supported the principle of arbitration. In that direction, most unfortunately, the position has changed very radically since 1926. There is now no loyalty to arbitration, as a principle, in the trade union movement.
– That is a sweeping statement to make.
– Honorable members will have observed that the words I used were “ loyalty to arbitration as a principle.” My object was to deprive my honorable friends opposite of the point which they ordinarily make, that they are loyal to arbitration, but not to the Arbitration Court as at present constituted. They would be loyal to a court that would give them everything they want. I propose to show that I have correctly stated the position. Since 1926 there has been a number of strikes directed against the very principle of arbitration itself. I refer to those that took place in the ranks of the marine cooks, the engineers, the waterside workers on two occasions, and the timber workers. Et is many months since we have been free from industrial disturbance in Australia. It is alleged that those strikes were caused by the legislation of this Government. Those honorable members who make that allegation rely for its acceptance upon the ignorance of their audience. They know perfectly well that neither this Government nor this Parliament had anything to do with prescribing the number of cooks which should be carried on vessels; yet the strike of the marine cooks was due to a difference of opinion on that point. Neither this Government nor this Parliament had anything to do with fixing the number of pick-ups, which caused the waterside workers to go on strike. Neither this Government nor this Parliament had anything to do with the determination of a working week of 44 hours, which caused trouble in the ranks of the timber workers, nor with the piece-work decision that led to the engineers going on strike. Upon all of those matters it is possible for honest men to hold varying views.
– The Government was responsible for the appointment of the present judges.
– The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) suggests, by his interjection, that it is wrong for a judge to give a decision against one particular side. I honour the judges of the Arbitration Court for having refused to allow themselves to be diverted from their duties by the abuse that has been heaped upon them, largely as a result of the efforts of honorable members opposite.
The strikes to which I have referred adopted a peculiarly unfortunate form, on account of the limitations imposed upon our industrial, power. An award made under the federal arbitration system is necessarily the judgment of a court. It is inevitable that we must have strikes and lockouts from .time to time; but the most unfortunate form that any strike or lockout could assume is opposition to the judgment of a court. In such an event, it is more serious from the point of view of the community than would be the breach of an agreement or a mere refusal to continue to work independently of an agreement. The element of resistance to the decisions of the court is producing most profound and evil effects in the life of Australia to-day.
The campaign against the principle of arbitration began in 1927. It was organized by the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, which claims to represent the trade union movement in Australia. The Australian Workers Union is not affiliated with the Australasian Council of Trade Unions. It is difficult to ascertain what unions are so affiliated, because, apparently, the secretary of that body it not prepared to accede to the request which I made to him, recently, to furnish the information. But the Australasian Council of Trade Unions represents a considerable number of unions, through their officials. It has been publishing a journal called The Pan-Pacific Worker, in the very first number of which one important article was entitled, “ The Curse of Compulsory Arbitration.” This was written by the gentleman who is now Senator Arthur Rae. He succeeded in obtaining the labour nomination for the recent Senate election in New South. “Wales. In that article he said -
It is impossible to estimate the moral harm which has been done to the Australian working class by its hasty and ill-considered acceptance of arbitration as the solution of Labour’s problems.
It would be easy for any person who reads the Pan-Pacific Worker as closely as I do, to point to many examples of resistance to arbitration^ and abuse and contempt of the system. It has been the definite policy of this organ of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, to abuse arbitration at every opportunity ; but it is an interesting fact that since the Government has made these proposals to abolish the court it has not had a word to say either for or against arbitration. Lest it be said that the quotation I have made from Senator Arthur Rae’s article does not express the views of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, I inform honorable members that that article appeared in the first number of the Pan-Pacific Worker, and that in the third number there is reported a resolution by the Australasian Council of Trade Unions in the following terms : -
The Australasian Council of Trade Unions Executive takes cognizance of the first two issues of the Pan-Pacific Worker, and herewith expresses its full satisfaction with the character given to the journal.
Accordingly it identified itself with opposition to arbitration as a principle.
In July, 1928, a trade union congress held in Melbourne passed a resolution recommending all trade unions to take a referendum on the question of cancelling their registration in the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. The waterside workers struck in deliberate defiance of an award of that court, and so did the timber workers. The latter were accorded the support of scores of unions in their defiance. Such a fact makes the position entirely different from that which existed in 1926-27. Thousands of pounds were subscribed every week with the object of breaking down an award of the court by trade unions which previously supported the principle of arbitration and worked loyally under the awards of the court. It is useless for any union to parade the fact that it is still working under an award which happens to suit it if, simultaneously, it is subscribing large sums of money for the purpose of breaking down another award. The members of the timber workers union have my sincere sympathy. They were warned at the outset that defeat inevitably awaited them. After months of suffering, after causing the loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds, at least, to all sections of the community, after enduring the greatest distress, they have lost the fight in Victoria, where they have gone back under the 48-hour week, which they said they would never accept, and in New South Wales, from all practical points of view, they have also lost the strike. While these misguided men, thus foolishly led, were encompassing their own destruction, the Leader of the Opposition defended them because, he said, they were fighting for a vital principle. I put it to honorable members - if it is to be left to either side to resist the awards of the court in the interests of what that side maintains is a vital principle, there is an end of all compulsory arbitration.
On the 17th May the Prime Minister, referring to the timber workers’ strike, made this statement, which was published throughout the press of Australia -
A serious aspect of the matter is that a large number of Federal unions are assisting the strike by compelling their members to pay levies and other contributions to make its continuance possible. This strike, like the waterside workers’ strike, is one against an award of the Federal Arbitration Court, and I would ask those unionists who believe in the principle of arbitration to consider the full significance of their action. The result must be to discredit the principle of arbitration, and to imperil the existence of the Federal arbitration system.
Not the slightest attention, however, was paid to that warning. At the biennial conference of the Australian Railway Workers Union, held in Newcastle on the 23rd May, 1929, five days before the Premiers Conference met in Canberra, the State president of the New South Wales branch of the union, Mr. McAllister, made a statement, which was starred with large headings in the Labor Daily, so that he who runs may read. The report, which was headed “Arbitration a Myth,” quoted Mr. McAllister as saying- “Arbitration is a myth. It weakens and places in an impossible position all its devotees upon the workers’ side . . .”
The report continued -
The Australian Council at its last meeting decided against the principle of arbitration, and with good cause. . . . Mr. McAllister urged them to confirm the resolution of the Australian Council, which had for its purpose the weaning of the workers from the dangerous practice of relying upon legal tribunals for something they should extract by their organized might.
The Australian Railways Union, which has a large membership, is one of the leading unions of Australia, and at that conference, held five days before the sitting of the Premiers Conference in Canberra, the following resolutions were reaffirmed : -
That the perpetuation of arbitration is to the detriment of the organized workers of the Commonwealth, and Australian Railways Union workers in particular, and, with a view to bringing about some measure of social justice, that the efforts of the Australian Council be directed towards placing before members their real economic position.
That, with a view to uniform propaganda in relation to collective effort on the part of the working class in opposition to the chloroforming effect of arbitration courts and other wage-fixing tribunals, a committee of* three be appointed to prepare and disseminate such propaganda.”
On the 23rd May there was published in the Sydney Morning Herald the following report: -
Railway Log. - Officers’ Protest - Resentment was expressed at a special meeting of the executive of the New South Wales Railways and Tramways Officers Association at the action of the Railway Commissioners in serving copies of a log of claims upon members. The meeting held the1 view that the object of the Commissioners was to create an industrial dispute and force members into the Federal Arbitration Court. Members were instructed to reply to the Commissioners as follows: - “No. I prefer to remain within the jurisdiction of the New South Wales Industrial Arbitration Act.”
Thus, on the 23rd May, the expressed opinion of the Australian Railways Union was that arbitration was a myth, that it was exercising a chloroforming effect on the workers, and that it was to be fought at all costs. The other railway association expressed its opposition to coming under a Federal award, and insisted upon remaining under the control of the New South Wales arbitration authorities. On the 28th May the Premiers Conference was held, and honorable members know that the Prime Minister asked the conference for ex- tended powers. When those powers were refused, he stated that he would ask Parliament to agree to the proposal which is now before the House. On the 21st Junea conference of 54 trades unions was held. It is an extraordinary thing that out of about 150 registered unions nearly 100 did not attend. The conference claimed that it represented all the registered unions, but as a matter of fact it did not. The chairman was the secretary of the Australian Railways Union, the union which a little while previously referred to arbitration in the terms I have cited. The following resolution was passed at that conference of unions: -
That this conference……. declares its uncompromising hostility to the proposals of the Federal Government to abolish the Arbitration Court.
Yet only a month before the Australian Railway Union had passed a resolution stating that arbitration was to be re- .sisted because it was opposed to the in- terests of the workers. It is a difficult matter now for some of these unions to change step, and topretend that they are in favour of the retention of a system which a littlewhile before they so strongly condemned.. There is, however, a definite policy behind the activities of certain of the unions. On the 21st January a leading article was published in the Labor Daily touching upon the reform of the arbitration system. The essence of the articleis contained in these words -
No court should have the power to rescind any benefit once secured, nor to reduce - wages. Its functions should be limited todeciding whether claims for improved conditions should be granted or refused, and under what conditions operations in industry should’ be carried on to meet changing methods and circumstances.
In other words, arbitration is to work oneway only. I can understand that there might be such a system to entertain claims for improved conditions only, but it would not be arbitration ; it would be something . entirely different from anything which is being done now, or which has ever been done under Federal powers. I do not think: that the idea of making awards only when they are favorable to one side can commend itself to honorable members.. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) has been publishing articles concerning the subject of arbitration. I refer to the Australian Worker of the 3lst July, 1929, where there appeared an article by “Mr. J. H. Scullin, M.H.R.,” under the title of “ Why I believe in Arbitration “. The article contained the following statement : -
As to principles, in the first place society should concede to every worker the right to demand in return for his labour reasonable working conditions and wages. Secondly, interruptions to industry are contrary to the best interests of the parties concerned, and of the community as a whole. Thirdly, society has reached a stage where force should be rejected in favour of methods more closely allied to reason.
I assent to every one of those propositions. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) was not here when the Opposition party passed the motion on the first day on which this House met, and which was sent for publication in the Labor Daily by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin), who wrote -
I desire to convey to you the terms of a resolution that was carried at a meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party on the 14th August: - “This meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party congratulates the rank and file of the miners and timberworkers on their splendid unity against the general attack on wages and hours.” Yours, &c,
NORMAN Makin, Secretary, Federal Parliamentary Labour Party, Canberra.
I ask how can the action of the Opposition and the statements elsewhere of the Leader of the Opposition in commending and supporting the timber-workers while on strike be reconciled with the statement of the Leader of the Opposition, when writing for public consumption, that things have reached a stage where force must be rejected for methods more closely allied to reason. Apparently, there are to be convenient exceptions to the policy advocated by the Leader of the Opposition. Honorable members of the other side have been supporting the use of force, and some of the unfortunate effects and unintended consequences of such incitements upon ill-balanced minds have been the bombing outrages in Melbourne during the waterside workers’ strike, and the activities of “basher” gangs in Sydney. These consequences have flowed from the advocacy of force as distinct from the methods of reason to which the Leader of the Opposition pays lip service when it is convenient.
The position with which we are faced in Australia to-day is this: Federal arbitration has no real, loyal support anywhere. By Federal arbitration I mean arbitration with an unqualified obligation to obey valid awards. That is not supported loyally by the trade union movement in Australia to-day.
In this connexion a very serious step was taken in- ‘ 1926 by the New South Wales Parliament when it passed the 44-hour week act. I am not in any way debating now the merits of a 44-hour week as, against those of a week of any other number of hours, but the New South Wales act is a complete demonstration that a dual system of arbitration administration is inconsistent with that respect for law which is a fundamental requirement of our social system. Take, for example, the recent timber-workers dispute. It might be suggested that it would have been an appropriate remedy when the timber-workers struck, to apply for the de-registration of the union, and the cancellation of their award. I considered what the effect would have been in that case when’ the men ‘were striking for a 44-hour week. If the award had been cancelled the men would have got a 44-hour week under the New South Wales legislation. So long* as a Federal tribunal continues to operate in the same sphere as the State authorities it will be impossible to obtain satisfactory results.
What have been the main objections urged against the Government’s proposals? Much has been said concerning the desirability of uniformity in industrial awards. As to that, let me quote Mr. G. W. Rymer, the State president of the Queensland branch of the Australian Railways Union, as reported in the Brisbane Daily Mail of the 31st May, 1929-
The change proposed by the Government would make little alteration in Queensland where most of the unions were operating under State awards. The problem of the remuneration of labour and the hours of such were inseparable from the problem of unemployment. The respective State Parliaments should accept the responsibility of such matters as the basic wage,hours of labour, and unemployment, leaving the margin for skill and other details to State courts or boards. There was no more important issue facing the people’s political representatives under existing society than the solution of those problems. Hebelieved that the Prime Minister’s proposals, if given effect to, would ultimately assist in that direction, by forcing recognition of the varying conditions and stages of development operating in the respective States, and which at present made Commonwealth-wide uniformity of hours, wages and conditions an impossibility.
These are the latest figures available as to the number of Federal and State awards and determinations -
The number of federal awards is taken from the information supplied by the Commonwealth Industrial Registrar, and of State awards and determinations from information compiled by the Bureau of Census and Statistics from returns supplied by the States.
Of the federal awards, only twelve are in force in all the States.
– How many employees are covered by those awards?
– There are more employees actually working under State awards and determinations than are operating under federal awards. In such circumstances there must be a lack of uniformity. The Commonwealth authority has no power to bring about uniformity throughout Australia, unless the party creating the dispute elects to make it an all-Australian dispute. The unions do not always favour uniformity. Naturally, they wish to obtain the best conditions available in every case. In New South Wales and Queensland the State awards are now more acceptable than Commonwealth awards.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) stated in his policy speech, and it has been repeated quite recently, that what is wanted is a sound business-like system, free from entangling legalisms, on the lines of the Industrial Peace Act. No practical suggestion is contained in those words. No one has made plain what a “sound business-like system, free from entangling legalisms” actually is. All we have been told is that it should be “ on the lines of the Industrial Peace Act.” Yet when we refer to the records, we find that the members of the Labour party voted against the second and third reading of that measure when it was under consideration in this House. What are the entangling legalisms which it is suggested should be removed? Entangling legalisms are due to the constitution under which we are working, and we cannot dispense with them, although every possible effort has been made to do so. I await positive suggestions from honorable members opposite on this subject. The features of the present system to which I have already referred are unavoidable in the exercise of our powers. There must be a dispute ; there must be arbitration, with the right of parties to be represented and to give evidence; there mustbe legal procedure; there cannot be a common rule; there must be a limitation of the awards to the ambit of the dispute ;. all these things must continue under any system of preventing or settling industrial disputes put into force under the conciliation and arbitration powers given in the Constitution to the Commonwealth Parliament.
In this bill provision is made for the repeal of theIndustrial Peace Act, which is subject to all the limitations imposed by the Constitution on the exercise of our conciliation and arbitration power.. That measure has functioned only because it has suited both parties to allow it to do so. It has been applied only to the coal-mining industry, and if either side had wished to prevent the system from operating, its representatives could have absented themselves from the meetings of the tribunals as the act provides that there must be a quorum which involves the presence of representatives of both parties to the dispute. [Extension of time granted.]
– Honorable members must agree that the Industrial Peace Act in. its relation Ito the coal-mining industry has been a failure, complete and almost unrelieved.’ Throughout the present dispute in the industry a special tribunal has been in existence, and neither party has appealed to it. Both parties know that either can, prevent the tribunal from functioning, and that most, if not all; of its awards are almost certainly invalid, because they were not made in respect of interstate disputes. The result is that, under the Industrial Peace Act, what are, in effect, agreements, have been made between the parties with very little regard to the public interest. The uneconomic position of the coal industry to-‘day is a consequence. Nothing will be lost to the community as a whole by the repeal of that statute.
– In what way has the tribunal failed?
– The position of the coal industry at the present time shows how it has failed, and the neglect of both parties to appeal to it indicates the weakness of the act. At any time since the beginning of the present dispute, either the owners or the miners could have appealed to the special tribunal, but neither has made any attempt to do so. The system will not work, and most of the tribunal’s awards are almost certainly unconstitutional. For those reasons it is useless.
The bill proposes to abolish the Arbitration Court except for the purpose of interpretation and enforcement of its awards for the limited period during which it is proposed that they shall continue in operation. Similarly, the Industrial Peace Act is to be repealed, subject to provision for the temporary continuance of its awards. Under both statutes the awards will expire on the 30th June next. As soon as the bill is passed all awards will become subject to any variation or alterations which may lawfully be made under State laws. Thus the States will at once be able to enter into this field and occupy it to such an extent as they may think proper. Insofar as the States do not enter into the field, federal awards will continue until the 30th June next; after that date they will cease to have any operation or effect. It is competent, however, for the Parliaments of the States to legislate for the continuance of federal awards after that date, subject to any action which may be taken by State tribunals or otherwise under the laws of the States. Part-heard cases will not continue to be heard, and the court will not sit for the making of any new awards after the commencement of the act. It is necessary that a definite term should be set to the activities of the court, and- it is proposed that, upon the commencement of the act, the court shall cease to function except in relation to the interpretation and enforcement of awards so far as they continue up to the 30th June next.
– Presumably there will be a period of grace between the dates of the passing and proclamation of the act.
– Yes. In the interstate maritime industry, awards are to continue in operation and effect, subject to determinations which may be made by the maritime industries committees to be appointed under this proposed legislation. These committees are to consist of representatives of both sides of the industry who will be appointed by the Minister upon the recommendation of the Chief Judge of the Maritime Industries Court, who, in making his recommendations will consider suggestions for nominations made by organizations of employers or employees.
– What is the objection to allowing the parties to nominate their own ‘ representatives ?
– Difficulty has been found even in individual States in arranging for elections of representatives of unions, and I have no doubt that the difficulty would be greater in connexion with the election of representatives of the maritime unions in the Commonwealth, because of the frequent and long absences of the members from their homes or ports. But I have no doubt that in practice, as under the Wages Board system, the nominees of properly representative organizations will be appointed members of the committees. The Chairman is usually to be a
Judge or officer of the Court. . It is proposed that the committees shall operate irrespective of the existence of a dispute. There will be no arbitration; instead there will be a consideration- of the matters with which the committees are appointed to deal. It will not be necessary to present a claim or to follow any hard and fast legal procedure. The committees will not make awards between the parties, but will determine the terms and conditions of employment in the industry. No viva voce evidence is to be taken; the method of conference as opposed to that of litigation is to be followed. Subject to one qualification which I shall mention later, a decision will be reached through the knowledge of the industry possessed by the parties themselves.
– May not the committees call evidence?
– Not viva voce evidence, and the meetings of the committees are not to be in public. That, I believe, will be decidedly to the advantage of the industry and the community as a whole. The committees will have power to make a common rule, and thus the trouble that arises through persons not being parties to a dispute will be avoided. There will be no need for any procedure in the nature of either the creation of disputes or the citation of respondents. The procedure will be entirely informal, while at the same time making possible a legally binding result. It is impossible for the Commonwealth to apply these methods in other industries because in respect of them, so far as there is any compulsion, all the legal methods of arbitration must accompany the operation of the legislation. The committees will be appointed after consultation with the representatives of the industry. It may be found wise to appoint a general com,mittee in the nature of a maritime industrial council to deal with all matters of a certain class in the shipping industry. On the other hand, it may be found more convenient to have separate committees to deal with matters affecting masters and officers, seamen, stewards, cooks and pantrymen, and the various other classes of employments in the maritime service. In the waterside industry it will be possible to have either a common committee for the whole of Australia, or separate committees for individual States, or even individual ports. In regard to these matters those engaged in the industry will be consulted, and that method which is found to be most convenient will be adopted. It is impossible to follow this procedure in other industries. Such conditions are not possible of application under the arbitration power of the Commonwealth, but they are possible under the trade and commerce power.
One of the weaknesses of the “Wages Board system, to which these committees will approximate, is that there is no guarantee that the public interest will be considered or conserved by the members of committees, and, as in the coal industry, in which industrial peace tribunals have been operating, sometimes but little regard is paid to the needs of the community. In 1926 a committee of the British Board of Trade made a very interesting report, entitled A Survey of Industrial Relations, and in it I find these words-
In matters affecting the permanent economic welfare of the nation regard must he had to many considerations besides the harmonising at a given moment of the interests of a particular set of employers and employed.
The public interest is a matter that should be considered in the making of any industrial award or determination. It is proposed to provide for that by arranging for a judicial Board of Review, which shall have the duty of considering the economic effect of awards upon the industry concerned and upon the community generally. Such a board will consist of the Chief Judge and such other judges as he asks to sit with him. All determinations of a committee not presided over by a judge must go before the judicial Board of Review. Other , determinations may be referred to it by a judge. The judicial Board of Review shall have the right to confer with a committee, and in order to obtain evidence in relation to any matter -before a committee or the judicial Board of Review - evidence regarding its economic or other aspects in respect of which the information available across the table is considered insufficient - application may be made to the Maritime Industries Court for the disclosure on oath of the information desired. ‘
– Where will that be heard?
– The application for the order will be heard by the court, and then the information will be disclosed to the committee or to the judicial Board of Review, as the case may be. Either side may apply for the disclosure on oath and in writing of any information relating to a matter before a committee of the judicial Board of Review. Similarly, application may be made for an order for the production upon oath of books and documents.
– Will the decision of the judicial Board of Review be final?
– The provision of the bill is that some determinations become final when made by the committee, the chairman having a casting, but not a deliberative, vote. Should the members of the committee not attend its meetings, the chairman may proceed alone. Other determinations which go to the judicial Board of Review are reviewed by that body. If it thinks that an alteration should be made, the matter may be referred again to the committee, and should the committee consent to the alteration, no difficulty arises. On the. other hand, if the committee is not prepared to accept the recommendation of the judicial Board of Review, that board may make a determination. There will also be the Maritime Industries Court, with power to impose penalties for breaches of awards; but with no power to impose any penalty for strikes or lockouts. Indeed, the bill includes no penalties for strikes or lockouts, for it is considered that the Transport Workers Act will adequately meet the needs of the case.
This bill has been criticized on the ground that the Commonwealth will retain control of the maritime industries, in which, it is suggested, the greatest amount of trouble has occurred, and in which, also, there is, it is said, the least chance of the Commonwealth agency being successful. I point out, however, that since the Transport Workers Act has been in operation, there has been unprecedented continuity of work on the waterfront. Since September last, there has not been one holdup on the waterside. Honorable members cannot point to any other period during the last fifteen years in -which there has been uninterrupted employment on the waterfront for so long a time. The beneficient effects of that legislation, which has been described by those concerned as incalculable, will continue, to be enjoyed when this measure also has become law. Since the passing of the Transport Workers Act, work on the waterfront in every port of Australia, especially those in which the act has been applied, has been done more efficiently than ever before.
I realize that industrial questions are by no means easy of settlement for they are question’s as to the terms on which parties to industry consent to co-operate. There will never be a complete solution of industrial difficulties; but the existence of a dual system of control greatly impedes the chance of obtaining a solution in particular cases when otherwise difficulties could be removed. When, for instance, a court orders a week of 48 hours, and a State parliament . legislates for 44 hours, it is vain to expect contentment and satisfaction, human nature being what is it. From the purely legal point of view, it may be said that the question is solved by the fact that the federal award prevails. But that is not a satisfactory or indeed a practical solution. It does not satisfy the citizen of New South Wales, who remembers that the Parliament of his State has passed legislation providing for a 44-hour week. It is no wonder that with State parliaments operating in this sphere there is discontent and dissatisfaction. In some factories the same cost of living figures are utilized to determine wages for some men under federal awards and also for other men, working in the. same factories, under State awards. The federal and State tribunals make different selections from the same set of figures. Some awards are based on the figures relating to twenty towns ; others on the figures for only four towns; still others are based on the figures for the capital cities. The result is that, in the same factory, one man working under a State award may find his wages increased because of the changes in the cost of living figures for a certain quarter, whereas his companion, working under a federal award, has, to accept a reduction of wages, and vice versa. That state of affairs cannot be altered under existing conditions, but will any honorable member say that such a system is even remotely rational ?
What do honorable members opposite say ought to have been done in the timber workers’ strike? A federal award which, in a sense was the responsibility of this Parliament, was made. Numbers of citizens were willing and anxious to work under that award, but, owing to its limitations, the Commonwealth was unable to protect them. That was a State responsibility, although no State agency had made the award in question. What do honorable members opposite say ought to have been done in the case of the timber workers ? Will they say that action ought to have been taken to overawe the court in order to obtain the withdrawal of the award ?
That the parties to industry in Australia must be drawn more closely together than is possible under existing conditions is clearly demonstrated in the timber workers’ case. At the present moment there is an application pending before the High Court, on behalf of the Western Australian branch of the Timber Workers Union, for an order the effect of which will be to exclude them from federal jurisdiction, and to place them under the jurisdiction of the State. That application is made at a time when the trade union movement, through its officials, is professing to be in favour of complete federal control of all industries.. Men in the distant States feel that they are too far away from the court, and that there should be better opportunities for the two sides in industry to get together. That is possible in the maritime industry. There’ is a chance there for co-operation which the Commonwealth is unable to bring about by its agency in other industries. When this bill becomes law, there will be greater opportunities for agreements made out of court and without reference to any court. There .are many industries which can operate satisfactorily, and I confidently expect will operate satisfactorily, under agreements.
There was one conspicuous omission from the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Theodore). Apparently he supports the principle of federal arbitration; he has not said one word to indicate that he, or those associated with him, will do anything to secure the observance of an unpopular award if the federal arbitration system is retained. There is no need to give a guarantee of that nature in the case of a popular award.
I conclude by saying that there is no need to fear for the living wage, or for fair conditions of labour, unless, indeed, we mistrust our own people, because, as to some industries, the control will be in the hands of the Federal Parliament, and, as to other industries, it will be in the hands of the State Parliaments. I do not mistrust the Australian people, as represented in this Parliament or in the State Parliaments. On the contrary, I rely upon the people generally to see that, in industrial matters as elsewhere, their ideals of fairness and justice shall prevail.
.- I regard the motion for the second reading of this bill, misnamed the Maritime Industries Bill, as a very depressing proposition. The proposal is got out of a craven spirit by cynicism, and creates a sense of shame bordering almost on despair. In a lengthy address, the Prime Minister gave the impression that he knew little or nothing about the subject, whereas the Attorney-General gave the impression that he knew all about it, but wanted to keep it dark. To undermine the great work of great men is necessarily to undertake a thankless task. One feels the taint of being associated with it, even as an Opposition, for it is a policy of wreckage and re-action. This bill is re-actionary in a special sense, although almost all the legislation introduced by this Government and the party opposite, has been either contentious or reaction.ary, or both. In introducing legislation of this nature, the Government seeks to turn back the hands of the clock 25 years.
When the Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) first entered this Parliament, he was full of knowledge and experience of conciliation and arbitration. He brought with him >a measure of enthusiasm for many things, but particularly for reform in the administration of the laws of the Commonwealth. He had been familiar with conciliation and arbitration as a student; he had dealt with them in the courts of the land; and in his political activities he had made a study of the question. In one of his speeches in the House he said that he would make it part of his business and policy to see that the laws of this Commonwealth were enforced, and he indicated especially the industrial laws. He referred to fines and penalties imposed under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and he proposed to make that legislation effective, to see that the penalties’ were enforced, and generally to give full effect to the intention of the legislature. He said in effect: We will enforce the penalties; we will make the act bite. He “was then a private member, and, in due time, the Prime Minister took him to his heart as one biter to another. At first they only toyed with the subject, and then they set about amending the act. In 1926 they amended it in a number of material particulars. They appointed, judges, and more of them, at better and bigger salaries, with higher pensions and life tenure They did these things when Parliamentwas sitting. Shortly afterwards, when Parliament was not sitting, they appointed another judge, against whom I have nothing to say except that he certainly deserved some reward at the hands of the Government which appointed him. Then, having passed this act of Parliament, these distinguished gentlemen, the Prime Minister and Attorney-General - I acquit the Treasurer for once, he having had nothing to do with the business - threw out their chests and said, “ We are unduly restricted by the Constitution; our style is cramped; we must amend the Constitution. It is true we have passed a good act and appointed good judges at higher salaries and exceptional pensions; but, in order to give full play to our ambitions and our ideals, we must have an amendment of the Constitution and a truly Australian Parliament capable pf dealing in the grand manner with great Australian questions. Our present powers are not enough.” They directed their attention for the moment to these words of the
Constitution - ‘‘conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of one State.” They said, “We want more) we want to be able, through our courts,’ to make a common rule in any industry; we want, indeed, to be able, when we so desire, to regulate industry generally.” I need not pause to cite the quite unanswerable claims which these distinguished gentlemen made for the amplification of the Federal Constitution. I myself regarded them as being so unanswerable that, in common with almost every member of my party, I accepted and supported them. It was truly said by the Attorney-General this afternoon that some of the members of the Labour party did not support those proposals. Why did they not support them? They agreed, as they had frequently stated publicly and privately, that the Constitution was an insufficient charter to enable the Australian people to give expression to their desires. They believed in an amplified Australian Constitution, and the main reason why they did not support the Government’s proposals was that they did not trust the Government then in power to give effect to them.
– Does that apply to Mr. Charlton? .
– The ex-member for Hunter took his courage in both hands and supported the proposals. I shudder to think what might have occurred if this Government had received the additional powers with which I was at that time willing to clothe them. In view of what has since happened, the question that naturally presents itself to me is whether these gentlemen, had they been entrusted with these additional powers, would have used them for the purpose of construction or for wreckage. We know the result of the referendum. The Government was hopelessly outvoted. It was, apparently, not trusted by either its own supporters or the supporters of the Labour movement. Undismayed, these gentlemen introduced in 1928 a hill to amend the Arbitration Act. They still wanted more elbow room. As additional power had not been given to them by the people, they proposed to show this Parliament- that notwithstanding their defeat, there was still power within the limits of the Constitution to make the Conciliation and Arbitration Act a useful and effective piece of legislation. The Attorney-General said, in effect, “ We will make this a watertight measure, and, incidentally, give it a little more bite so far as the workers are concerned.” The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General now say that they wanted the whole power of arbitration, but they failed to get that from the State Premiers. When the Prime Minister met the representatives of the States - Nationalist premiers for the most part - he put to them a question, the answer to which he knew perfectly well in advance. As he was disposed to consult the Premiers, one naturally wonders why he did not consult the people of Australia. Having been assured by the State representatives at the Premiers Conference that they were quite ready to take over and operate these powers, he made the monumental public announcement that the Federal Government, after 25 years of the operation, of conciliation and arbitration, was going out of business.
– The Prime Minister asked the State Premiers whether they were prepared, not to take over arbitration powers, but to give him full power.
– I think that the Prime Minister asked both questions. At any rate there was readiness on the part of the State representatives to take over the whole of the power, such as it would be in their hands. The Prime Minister says now “ True, I did say that it was unthinkable that we should scrap the Arbitration Act.” True it also is that the Attorney-General said that arbitration was a human institution, and that it had its imperfections like all human institutions. He defended it for the good. that it had done. He defended it on behalf of the loyal workers who operated under it. He made comparisons ‘ between the workers of Australia and those of other parts of the world, greatly to the advantage of our workers. He conveyed to the people of Australia the clear impression that come hail or rain he might be depended upon as a doughty and consistent champion of federal conciliation and arbitration so long as he held office or exercised power in the Federal Government or Parliament. Yet at the table to-day he said, in effect, “ Though I did these things openly, candidly and ably, had you read my speech between the lines, had you viewed my public utterances on the edge instead of on the front, had you understood the implied casuistry woven into them, you would have gathered that they were capable of some construction other than that they bore upon their face.” That was the Attorney-General’s excuse to this Parliament and to . the country to-night. He did not mean what he said openly and plainly; he meant something which could only be tortured out of his pubic utterance.
To-day we see the dismal procession of these self-confessed failures going back upon their tracks. What are their excuses? I listened painfully to the speech of the Primte Minister. He seems to have taken as the . basis of his personal explanation of the bill one of- the unused sheets of the Treasurer’s1 budget. First of all he said what he has repeated a thousand times on the platform and in this Parliament, that production costs must be reduced. He did not say anything about a reduction in wages. Under his scheme he proposed to produce a sort of political elixir, the use of which would enable the workers to buy more goods for less money. He left the subject at that. It is a hint conveyed in graceful language and with an obvious meaning not stated. Then the Attorney-General made his apologia. Among other things he said that there are more State than federal awards in existence; that the State courts are apparently more popular than the federal courts. When one of my colleagues endeavoured to ascertain from him how many workers were covered by those awards, he failed to elicit any response. The honorable gentleman kept to the number of the awards. But, if it be true - and I am not prepared to deny it - that there is a very much larger number of State awards operating than federal awards and that both classes of awards are capable of application, that merely proves what we have always maintained, that this condition’of affairs is not impossible, nor inconsistent with peace in industry ; that ‘by wise choice the workers are able to use the machinery which they conceive to be best suited to their particular calling.
The Attorney-General quoted the late Mr. Justice Higgins as having stated in one of his fine pamphlets that there should be one authority. I grant that there should be one supreme authority. But whatever the honorable gentleman may impute to the late Mr. Justice Higgins he will never be able to attribute to him the anti-Federal, anti- Australian sentiments which alone have made this wretched measure of surrender possible. The late Mr. Justice Higgins did declare for one authority; but it was for an Australian, not a parochial authority; he advocated one supreme authority capable of operating throughout Australia, for Australia. At present the jarring sectional authorities which operate through State Parliaments, with their undemocratic Legislative Councils, stand like a bulwark against many reforms. Under the conciliation and arbitration power, there must be, says the Attorney-General, searching his facile mind for, excuses for his volte face, an actual of probable dispute in view before the federal legislation can come into operation. There is nothing new in that. It has been admitted on all sides of the Chamber, and most readily by members of the great Australian Labour party, that there is that sharp constitutional limitation, which ought to be removed. That has been recognized by ns, and by the other side, more hesitantly, too. But we say, as the Government says, or at all events professes - one now doubts its sincerity - that complete freedom of action and development can never be achieved until the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament have been amplified by the amendment of the Constitution. Yet rather late in the day that contention is made by the Attorney-General as an excuse for this measure. It is an objection which the Attorney-General has already answered.
The honorable gentleman also said that the State powers are absolute within the State boundaries. Within their own boundaries, certainly; but not an- inch beyond them. The honorable gentleman pointed out that no ship when outside territorial waters can be within the jurisdiction of an individual State. That is obvious. And similarly no individual who crosses the Murray from Victoria into New South Wales remains any longer under the jurisdiction of the Victorian courts, and vice versa. Surely when the Constitution was framed, and certain of the men of enlightened vision who framed it employed words of much more limited implication than they desired, to enable Australia to exercise jurisdiction in the matter of industry and industrial disputes, industry was less complex than now, when by land, air, and water, intercommunication has become abundantly more rapid and facile, and the States more inextricably bound up one with the other than in 1901, when they entered the union. Yet now, 29 years later, when the need of federal authority in industry is so much more pronounced, and demonstrably more necessary, the present Federal Government proposes to scrap the work of a generation of thinking men.
A newspaper circulating in my own city, the Age, is quoted as having referred to the Arbitration Court as costly, dilatory, and unsatisfactory. This is criticism which members of the Labour party have voiced more than once, and by which we still stand. Honorable members of this party have said, and will repeat, that amendments of the act are urgently called for to remove those defects. No charge of inconsistency is sustained against the Age on that count.
Then the Attorney-General came to his strong point. He said that there is one condition of effectiveness of this legislation, namely, the recognition of the positive obligation which it imposes upon both sides by its awards. He revived the history of the cooks, who in a particular case made a claim for one more cook in a particular galley. He also revived the matter of the unfortunate waterside workers’ dispute; of the pickingup places. And, finally, he turned confidently for inspiration to the disastrous strike of the timber-workers. As then, so now, to put it mildly, there is something to be said on both sides in regard to those various industrial disputes. It is certainly to be contended on technical grounds that where men seek the aid of the court, it is the duty of those concerned to accept the court’s award.
That was put forward with tremendous and somewhat wearisome insistence by those who are disposed entirely to condemn the workers in these cases. I do not argue against ‘that contention, nor do I intend at this moment to elaborate the very practical reasons which in those cases aroused the workers to a sense of indignation and resistance. I shall say nothing more on the subject than this: granting everything that our opponents say about those workers, paint them as black as may be, the fact remains that in the extended operation of the Arbitration Court during the 25 years which it has been in operation, the cases which our opponents are able to cite, and of which they make so much as an inspiration for unrestrained attacks upon the workers, still remain isolated cases, insignificant in comparison with the numbers of men and women in Australia who are working loyally and obediently under the awards of the court. But although honorable members opposite and their supporters have noised them abroad, and made them the instrument of defaming Australia within and without its boundaries, the fact remains that one swallow does not make a summer, and that hundreds of thousands of Australians, having accepted these awards, are to-day working under them loyally. Yet even partly-heard cases are to be arbitrarily cut off in grave violation of the principle that existing rights should be respected. Thus the champions of peace in industry would bring chaos where formerly peace reigned.
I have yet to learn that isolated cases of wrong necessarily vitiate the system under which that wrong may be committed. It would be a very dangerous theory for honorable members opposite to elaborate. Would the Attorney-General seriously contend that because one member of his profession had gone wrong, disgrace and discredit had been brought upon that profession; that because one member of Parliament had erred he had discredited the parliamentary institution ? Would he say that, if one member of the Nationalist party - as I am sure is quite impossible - had committed a minor peccadillo, such an unexpected falling from grace would bring discredit upon the whole Nationalist organization, and specifically upon the members who sit behind the Government?
The Attorney-General was not quite ripe last year for the surrender which he has now made. He suggested that there is no loyalty to. arbitration as a principle, and one of the reasons which he advanced in support of that contention was that organized labour as a whole levies contribution upon its members and raises- funds for the purpose of making a subvention to persons on strike. The honorable gentleman also called attention to the fact that a resolution was passed in the Labour party room congratulating certain persons associated with strikes. I hope and believe that the time will never come when, there being a state of industrial trouble racking the people, men being thrown out of work and women and children being thereby put in urgent need of the necessaries of life, organized labour will fail to relieve those in distress. Even though I stand for the general principle of arbitration. I should regard myself as recreant to my trust and unworthy to be a representative of the Labour party in this Parliament if, in such circumstances, I failed to do the little that lay in my power to make the lot of the workers and their wives and families a little less harsh. This party recognizes as it is bound to do, that a fight, involving great fortitude, self abnegation and suffering, has been put up by the members of industrial unions, their wives, their families and others who are dependent upon them. These facts are irrespective of legal right and legal wrong. Even my leader has been taken to task, not for having made inflammatory public statements but, if you please, for having been guilty of saying that he stands for the substitution of methods of reason for those of the strike. He merely repeated what he had frequently said on previous occasions, both in this chamber and in many other places. Every honorable member on this side stands for the method of reason and conciliation, rather than that of strike and direct action. What would be the position if we stood for the policy of strikes and direct action, for organization without arbitration or conciliation, for an exhibition of the united strength of the working classes as a whole throughout Australia? lt would be the end of this Government and of those captains of industry who, in their leisure hours and from their places of ease and comfort, are so disposed to criticize the workers and their representatives in this Parliament? We stand for reason and conciliation. We believe that both sides should be given a fair hearing, and that the judgments arrived at should do justice, alike to industry, and to industrialists.
We are much more concerned with the vital principle involved in the proposal to vacate this vast field of legislative and industrial activity than with the details of any alternative scheme. We stand today against a policy of abandonment and surrender. We are also anxious that conciliation and arbitration should be made effective. We have not only said so repeatedly, but have also indicated the lines upon which we desire to proceed. But the matter which immediately concerns us is the proposal to return to pre-federal conditions, to aggrandize the local authority and debase the national authority. Later on, we shall point out in detail what is involved in -the bill. Some half dozen industries only will remain within the jurisdiction of the federal authority. It is not proposed, however, to dispense with the services of any of our judges, industrial commissioners, court officials, or the big public department which is organized and equipped to deal with hundreds of thousands of Australian workers. Apparently, it is proposed to continue to pay those gentlemen to work the elaborate machinery that is being set up under this measure to deal with a handful of people. It will be somewhat difficult for them to keep themselves fully employed on that comparatively simple task. Yet “ Peace in Industry” and “Economy in administration” are two of the watchwords of this Government.
The unfinished cases are to be summarily dropped. Cases like the railways and the engineering cases, which have involved months of preparation and necessary expense to all concerned, have, been partly heard, and a mass of valuable information has been placed before the Court. It is depressing to consider that the Govern- ment should, in this utterly ruthless fashion, endeavour to break down the existing system, and to abdicate the authority of the Commonwealth. I feel certain that the proposal is the outcome of petulance caused by what has occurred within the last few months. It seems to me, reading between the lines, as the AttorneyGeneral in other matters has invited us to do - that when the Prime Minister weakly, or perhaps deliberately, decided to abandon the prosecution against the notorious John Brown, the AttorneyGeneral stoutly resisted up to a certain point - but not to the point of leaving the Ministry - and then said. “ Very well, if we cannot prosecute John Brown, it is hopeless to continue the prosecutions against the workers; consequently you had better drop the whole system and get out of it. It is better to admit failure and rid ourselves of this terrible incubus than continue to enforce penalties against the workers and withdraw prosecutions that have been) instituted against the employers.” That was evidently the view which the Government took in the matter.
I look back with pleasure, tinged with sadness, on the early history of federation. I remember the names of big Australians, who were associated with the passage of this legislation. I recall with pride the names of the late Mr. Justice Higgins and of the late Hon. Alfred Deakin, against whom, as a junior, I fought politically. With them was the late Hon. C. C. Kingston, bringing to bear upon the consideration of this legislation, and the Constitution on which it was based, his great personality and patriotism. The form in which it was adopted in the Constitution fell far short of what those great men desired, but in the then state of public opinion it was the best -that they could do. It was their contribution, at all events, to Australia’s right to have some responsibility in connexion with the great industrial questions that they knew inevitably would arise. Needless . to say, the Labour party stood until then. They did their best, courageously and ably. The act has since been administered by other great men, and the Court which was created under it has been presided over by judges of outstanding ability. As the late Mr. Justice
Higgins aply termed it, it is a history of “A new province for law and order.” It is an integral part of Australia’s development, of which no hig Australian has any reason to be ashamed. A capable and courageous Government which took a broad and. sympathetic view of the varying interests involved in the working out of Australia’s destiny, would unquestionably have kept the ship of State headed . for the open seas towards success and enfranchisement. This Government has betrayed the great trust reposed in it; it has unsaid all the statesmanlike things that any of its members have ventured to say; and in this measure it has deliberately set out to wreck a number of enactments which held for the people considerable promise, and have, in fact, been the medium of great achievement.
.- I very greatly appreciate the concluding remarks of the honorable member for Batman. I wish, however, that he had delved a little more deeply into the early history of arbitration and conciliation in Australia. It must be evident to all honorable members, from the names that were mentioned by the honorable and learned gentleman, that in the early days conciliation and arbitration was not a party question. He mentioned the names of the late Hon. Alfred Deakin and the late Hon. C. 0. Kingston, as well as that of the late Mr. Justice Higgins, who was regarded as one of Labour’s leaders. It is necessary for us to retrace our steps a long way, and to search deeply to ascertain in what atmosphere the Conciliation and Arbitration Acts were) brought into being. Mr. Kingston’s first effort was in South Australia in 1891. It has been freely stated that that measure was rendered necessary by the terrible maritime strike that took place in 1890. New Zealand enacted similar legislation after the passage of the South Australian bill, and then, I think, came the New South Wales and Western Australian measures, in that order. New South Wales provided for a system of arbitration, but not for conciliation. New Zealand established a series of conciliation boards as well as an arbitration court. To give an idea of the serious view that men not attached to the Labour party in those days took of this matter - and you, Mr. Speaker, as one of the oldest members of this House, will recollect the incident - I may mention that Mr. Kingston resigned from the Cabinet’ owing to the proposed exclusion of seamen. Speaking to the first arbitration bill, he said -
We hear of rejection of proposals for conciliation and arbitration. Why? Because human nature generally wants to get all it can. I make no distinction between master and men in this respect.
I do not think that we shall find, as the centuries roll by, that masters and men will change in that respect. The bill was originally intended to deal with disputes of an interstate character, and a study of the early debates on the introduction of the measure in 1903 leaves no room for doubt on that point. One member of the House, either Sir John Forrest or Mr. Kingston, said -
The States may very well be left to deal with every-day industrial disputes within their own borders by means of their local legislation.
It seems clear to me that it was not intended that the Federal Arbitration Court should take over the whole of the work in connexion with industrial matters in Australia. I ask honorable members to bear with me in these quotations, because they enable us to understand the atmosphere in which the measure was conceived. According to Hansard, volume xv, page 2862, Mr. Deakin said of the bill -
It marks the beginning of a new era in industrial matters, not only because of its main object, the prohibition of strikes and lockouts,’ but because it brings into play a new force - the force of an impartial tribunal with the State behind it - and by that means calls into operation principles other than those which have hitherto acted upon organizations, or through them upon the industries affected.
The whole tenor of the debate was that a new era was to be ushered in. There was to be no more striking by, or lockingout of, employees. Every speaker indicated that it was expected that strikes and lockouts would be things of the past. Mr. Reid, the then member for East Sydney, was not quite certain on the subject of Federal and State jurisdiction. He said -
State legislatures are entitled to pass’ acts having an effect and range of which the Commonwealth acts, except upon one or two subjects, are incapable.
Frequent reference has been made to the 1890 strike and its effect both in Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Reid spoke of happenings in the United States of America in 1903, and referred to “painful and bloody disputes” in that country. That is a strong phrase; but it is applicable to events in Australia to-day. After 25 years of conciliation and arbitration, which were expected to give peace in industry, with improved conditions for the men and security for the employers, we find that industrial conditions here are little different from those obtaining in the United States of America in 1903. Mr. Reid then paid a tribute to the labour bodies of Australia, in that they were willing to entrust their liberty, even their subsistence, to judicial decision. That was a great deal for him to say; but do we find the unions to-day, or a large number of them, at any rate, obeying judicial decisions? If an award suits them, well and good.
– What does the “ boss “ do, if an award does not suit him?
– I think that in 99 cases out of 100 the employers obey the awards of the court. The Labour leader of that time, Mr. Watson, desired to exclude lawyers from the court. In my ramblings through Hansard, I notice that he remarked that too much legal technicality and not enough technical knowledge had been resorted to for the settlement of disputes.
– Does the present bill meet the situation?
– I think that it will, because it will do the very thing that one of Labour’s leaders said the first bill would do. On turning to Hansard, vol. xv., page 3377, I find that Mr. Hughes, as a private member, speaking in support of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill on the 11th August, 1903, said:
The employer is no longer to be allowed freedom of contract. . . . He is robbed of his ewe lamb, and is correspondingly downhearted. But, on the other hand, we are taking away from the employees their only weapon, their right to strike.
– What is wrong with that?
– Nothing at all. I am trying to show honorable members what was in the mind of those who framed the original bill. The men were to give up the right to strike ; but in view of what has happened in the last year or two, does the honorable member for South Sydney say that they have given up that right? I am not suggesting that they should do so ; I am merely pointing out what one of their leaders at that time declared would be the effect of the proposed legislation. Let me remind the House also of the following remarkable statement by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). I believe that there should be no taxation without representation, and I would go a little further and say that there should be no privileges without corresponding responsibility. Here is the opinion with regard to responsibilities expressed by Mr. Hughes in 1903 - when he represented West Sydney - in reference to the New South Wales act -
At the same time I desire to point out that the right to strike was abandoned - I shall not say cheerfully - but without any open complaint in New South Wales. The men who had been accustomed to lay this work or that boat idle almost without a moment’s consideration, have gone on cheerfully under the rigid discipline of the court, and they recognize that unionism and democracy have not only privileges, but duties attached to them. The act in New South Wales, and the bill which we have before us, will enforce upon the men the very necessary lesson that unionism has responsibilities that cannot be evaded under any circumstances. That- lesson once learnt will do more to secure peace to the community than anything else within the four corners of the bill.
Those words, uttered by Mr. Hughes in 1903, are true to-day; but we are not getting what was promised. Unionism was expected to give security to the employers for the enforcement of awards. The then member for West Sydney remarked that every man should join a union - a mild form of preference to unionists was provided for in the bill - and Mr. Deakin interjected -
Every man who joins the union gives greater security to the employer for the enforcement of the award.
– That stands good today, too.
– Many honorable members on this side of the House, and hundreds outside, do not endorse the view of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Martens). It was said in the debate in 1903,- that it was somewhat tyrannical to force men into unions, and one member remarked -
It may be tyranny - I do not say it is not - to make the men become unionists. . . . Membership of the union is part of the price which men have to pay for industrial peace.
The payment of union fees “was to be the. price of industrial peace, and the meD have been paying that price for a long time. But they have not been given the peace that was promised. Mr. Hughes then taunted the employers over the phrase, “ Law and order,” which was used by employers in 1890, and said that they had no confidence in their own cause. He added that they called for law and order when a strike was in progress, but, when the Arbitration Bill came before the House, they did not want their case dealt with by a tribunal. The employers, however, were brought before the court - some of them not too willingly - and generally it may be said that while they have stood up to their obligations, the employees have not done so. It is rather interesting to recall what the right honorable member for North Sydney said in 1903, concerning the rights of the States regarding arbitration legislation. According to Hansard he remarked -
If in every State there was to-day an arbitration act, there would be little or no chance of interstate industrial friction, and therefore the chief reason for this bill will pass away when the example of the Commonwealth as a whole, as well as that set by New South Wales and Western Australia, is followed by the remaining individual States.
Was Mr. Hughes right when he said that ? There are members in this House who say that the unionists will have nobody to look after them if the Arbitration Act is repealed, but that view was not held by Mr. Hughes. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was probably the greatest worker for unionism that Australia has ever had. The honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Martens) may smile, but nobody has done more for unionism in this country than has Mr. Hughes. I quote from his statements because of his services to labour in the past, and because for so many years he was accepted as a mau who knew what trade unionists wanted, and was able to get it for them.
– He later undid a lot of the good work he had done.
– I am pleased that the honorable member admits that he did do good work. I admit that I was worried for some time as to whether the State arbitration authorities would be able to carry on without Federal assistance, but I am worrying about that no longer. From what has been said on the matter since this subject was first discussed in 1904, and again in 1911, I have no hesitation in believing that the States can handle arbitration and conciliation quite as satisfactorily as the Federal Government can. There was much debate as to whether the uniformity of awards would be upset if the Commonwealth withdrew from arbitration, and whether harm would result from upsetting an award that had still a certain time to run. Here again I find the opinion of the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) most definite. He said that the Commonwealth powers should be severely limited in order to give the State awards that stability which it was desirable they should have. The matter was discussed in 1911, when the subject of preference to unionists was under consideration. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was Attorney-General in the government of the day, and he piloted the bill through Parliament. During the debate on that occasion he said that the New South Wales State law had been forced on the organizations, and had lost much of its virtue because those organizations were prejudiced against it. I think most honorable members will agree with me when I say that the 1911 amendment of the Arbitration Act conferred great benefits on the employees, and every effort was made at that time to gain their confidence, but it must be admitted, without much success. To-day thousands of men are flouting the awards of the court, and many more thousands are assisting them. The Government has been charged with attempting to reduce wages. For my own part I deny any such desire. I can speak only for myself, but I do not believe that any honorable member on this side of the House wishes to reduce wages or the standard of living.
– Then what is this measure for?
– I am surprised the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) should display such ignorance as to make that objection. The honorable member knows just as well as I do why this measure has been brought forward. Production costs can be reduced in several ways. Some time ago I was brought, as an employer, before the Arbitration Court when it was considering the 44-hour week question. I can only speak with authority of conditions in my own industry-
– What court was that?
– The Federal Court. On that occasion the court was told by representatives of the union concerned that the men could do just as much in 44 hours as in 48. That has not been borne out by actual facts, and personally I do not know of any industry in which it can be shown that the men will do as much in 44 hours as in 48. I am not an advocate of long hours. I would . advocate hours just as short as would enable the necessary production to be done. If a man can and does do ;is much in 44 hours as in 48, well and good, but that has not been done. What did the right honorable member for North Sydney (M’r. Hughes) have to say on the subject of the reduction in wages? He said that if a man offered a certain price for making an article, and the worker said he wanted so much and would not take less, the result might be unemployment which might bring wages clown gradually until the worker was willing to make the article at a lower wage. Value, he said, was not determined by the cost of production, but the cost of production rather adjusted itself to value. To-day we are faced with keen competition from overseas. It is the duty of the manufacturer to help in the reduction of production costs by using the most uptodate machinery, and conducting his business on the most efficient lines, while it is equally the duty of the workers to turn out as much as possible in a given time. If the men who have obtained a 44-hour week will not produce as much as when they were working 48 hours, there can be only one result, and I mainrain that some of the unemployment existing to-day has been caused by putting into effect the 44-hour -week, which is making it impossible for many industries to compete against the manufactures from other parts of the world.
– What will happen if varying conditions are laid down in the different State awards?
– That obtains at the present time, but I think it will be found that the States will adjust these matters quite amicably. Personally, I do not mind if even a 40-hour week is declared, provided production is maintained. I am not an advocate of long hours. I believe that my record as an employer is all right. The men who work in my factory arc prepared to stay there, and some of those who have left’ have been glad to come back.
– All employers say that.
– There are good employers, just as there are good unionists, and the majority on both side’s are doing the right thing. We must have legislation, however, to protect the good unionist from the bad. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition pointed out that there were fewer strikes in Australia than in some other countries. I do not think that that is ‘ a. particularly good argument just now, because compulsory arbitration was designed to get rid of strikes altogether, and has not done so. If Federal compulsory arbitration has failed, it is our duty, seeing that the States will not give the Federal Government sole control, to vacate the field and allow the States to do the work themselves. I am now confirmed in my opinion that the States can handle the matter satisfactorily, and I trust that the repeal of ‘this legislation will bc in the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole.
.- The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act was an outstanding contribution to industrial legislation, and it has claimed the attention of the more advanced nations of the world. It may not have been regarded as a model pattern for industrial law, but it has been looked upon as a valuable contribution to the regulation of industrial relations between employer and employee. I think the results to which we can point in’ Australia have proved how successful has been that venture on the part of the Federal legislature in seeking to find a modus operandi for the settlement of disputes. The present effort of the Federal Government will live long in the minds of the people of Australia because of its reactionary nature.
The Attorney-General said this evening that the one thing missing from the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was some promise or assurance from those who spoke on behalf of trade unionism, that the awards of the court would be observed by the employees. My reply is that the records of the Arbitration Court are in themselves an eloquent testimony to the way in which the employees have been prepared to honour the decisions of the court. By the courtesy of the registrar of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, I have been furnished with a return dated the 12th of July of this year, wherein it is stated that 155 awards were in operation on the 30tb June. Almost without exception, those 155 awards are being honorably observed. Nevertheless, the very unionists who are thus loyally abiding by the awards of the Arbitration Court have been chosen as the victims of this ruthless legislation. It is a piece of unqualified impudence on the part of the Attorney-General, and a. slander on the great body of trade unionists, to say that there is among them no loyalty to the principle of arbitration. The records of the court prove that the language used by the Attorney-General was so extravagant that his utterances on industrial matters are unworthy of consideration. Sir William Irvine, who once represented the district of Flinders, stands out as the most reactionary person in the industrial life of Australia. We remember his record in the Victorian legislature, and it is a coincidence that that constituency should return another gentleman in the person of Mr. Bruce, the present Prime Minister, whose main desire seems to be to suppress the aspirations and ambitions of decent working men. The AttorneyGeneral emphasized what he regarded as a remarkable omission from the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, but there have been striking omissions from the speeches of the right honorable the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General himself. I have in mind references to the suggestion of the British Economic Mission. In addition to the influence of employers, one of the driving forces -behind the Commonwealth Government’s efforts to abolish the Commonwealth arbitration system is the stronger influence of vested interests abroad. Some months ago, we were visited by the members of the British Economic Mission, who received generous hospitality, even to the point of extravagance, at the hands of the Australian people, as will be shown when certain facts which will stagger the public are later revealed. On page 18, item 65, of that mission’s report, it is stated that -
A change in the method prevalent in Australia of dealing with industrial disputes appears to us to be essential, and we hold that there should be a minimum of judicial and governmental interference in them except in so far as matters affecting the health and safety of persons engaged in industry may be concerned.
Apparently it is the desire of these commissioners that the old industrial system of the strike and the lockout may be restored, and that the employers may have the right to dictate their own terms in the matter of wages and conditions, as Mr. John Brown is doing in connexion with the coal-fields dispute. In effect, these commissioners suggest that the employers should exercise the power which the economic situation gives them, and force the workers and their wives and children to lower standards of living. The British Economic Commission, the Commonwealth Government and employers generally desire freedom of action, so that the army of unemployed which we have at present may become larger, and men in employment will be compelled to remain at work, irrespective of their wages and conditions, because of the thousands of unemployed, who through sheer force of circumstances will be compelled to take any positions which would become vacant and on any terms. If a dispute should arise the “ boss “ could say, “ You can get out ; I have another man waiting to take your place.”
To-day our arbitration system is a solid protection to those engaged in industry, and prevents the exploitation of labour. It is rather significant that this measure should follow the recommendation of the British Economic Mission, and justifies the opinion we have held concerning the possible action of the Government. If the right honorable gentleman desires to maintain the- confidence that he has enjoyed from a section of the Australian people, he must live more in keeping with the spirit of the age. He should recognize that ‘there is a growing force of public opinion throughout Australia for a co-ordination of effort, and the elimination of waste occasioned by the duplication of governmental instrumentalities; but the actions of this Government are in the opposite direction. For the past six years there has been an unparalleled record of tinkering with the industrial laws of the Commonwealth; instead of unifying the Government has been multiplying legislation on this subject. Its argument that its object is to eliminate duplication and overlapping is sheer nonsense. This measure accentuates that fact. On every occasion when industrial bills have been introduced, we have been assured by the Attorney-General that they have been framed with the object of rectifying anomalies, and that after they became operative we would enter a brighter industrial era. But to-day the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General have admitted that all their efforts have been fruitless, and that they possess insufficient knowledge or foresight to control the industrial forces of the Commonwealth. If they have failed in the past, how can we expect them to guide us in future legislation? They have always set .aside the suggestions made by honorable members on this side of the chamber who, by their close association with the workers, whose interests we are now endeavouring to protect, are conversant with the difficulties, hardships and privations with which many of them have to contend.
We have offered advice to the Government on numerous occasions as to the manner in which the industrial system could be made workable. The Council of Federated Unions and the Australasian Council of “ Trade Unions have done their part by suggesting a means of meeting the present situation. The representatives of other industrial organizations have also been in consultation with the AttorneyGeneral on the same subject ; but on every occasion he has given little or no consideration to their opinions. Some time ago we were assured that we were to have law and order in the community; but the situation is calamitous. In June last the Prime Minister made a significant declaration in Adelaide, when he said; “ The decks would be cleared for industry to take hold of their own problems.” In other words, the employers were to have the right to fix the conditions of the men engaged in industry. If the Arbitration Court is abolished by a government which has no mandate from the people - I remind the House that not one word of this was mentioned at the election last November - we shall revert to the days of sweated labour, and we should be unworthy of a place in this legislature if we did not offer the strongest possible protest, and endeavour to protect the rights and privileges of the Australian people. The Prime Minister went on to say that the only way to bring back prosperity and a brighter and better outlook was by working hard and increasing efficiency. The only way in which to meet the present situation and get back to prosperous days, he said, wa? to reduce the cost of production. In his opinion, the workers were not entitled to the wages they were receiving unless they gave a fair return for the money they received. What right had he to slander the workers in that way, having regard to the magnificent return they are winning “for the investors of this country? According to the latest figures issued by the Commonwealth Statistician the value added to raw material used in the manufacturing industries in one year was £162,000,000. That is the result of the hard work of the men and women employed in the factories. Yet the total return to those who earned that money, including costs of management and supervision, and general wages, was only £90,000,000, leaving a balance of £72,000,000 that has gone into the pockets of people who have not earned it. Yet the Prime Minister dares to insult the workers by implying that. they are not earning the wages that they receive! To-day the Deputy Leader of the Opposition quoted from a public share list, and I propose to carry his argument a step further. I find, according to the monthly share list issued by Joseph Palmer and Sons, of Sydney, that banks, insurance companies, commercial companies and manufacturing agencies, almost without exception are paying a higher rate of dividend than was paid for a considerable number of years prior to the present time. Dividends of 10 to 12 per cent, are common, but a more startling fact is that the reserves and undivided profits of the 140 companies mentioned in that list aggregate £100,000,000. That money has been earned by the workers engaged in primary and secondary production and it has gone to stuff the coffers of the investors. If anybody has a grievance regarding the manner in which the rewards of industry have been distributed in the past, it is the working man, who although required to surrender much of the wealth created by his labour, is subject to all manner of pains and penalties whenever he attempts to improve his conditions. I have not heard any suggestion from the Ministerial benches that rent, interest, and profits should be further regulated in order to reduce the cast of production. Apparently, they are sacrosanct. According to the Prime Minister a lower cost of production, to be effected at the expense of the workers, alone will bring back prosperity to us. The obvious aim of this policy is to swell further the wealth belonging to the investors in industrial enterprises.
– Surely the workers have some money in the savings banks.
– But no part of the £100,000,000 that is represented by the reserves and undivided profits of 140 public companies. I defy the honorable member to explain that accumulation of wealth to the satisfaction of the Australian people. The Melbourne Age has eloquently expressed the view of our people by demanding to know what has caused this Government to make such a complete volte face from its attitude of twelve months ago.
– One might ask a similar question regarding the Age.
– There is this to be said in extenuation of the changed attitude of the Age that it seeks to interpret public opinion, but the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General interpret only their own opinions, and they have not given any satisfactory explanation of the gross inconsistency of their attitude of twelve months ago, and the policy represented by this bill. I do not defend the inconsistency of the Age; but I remind the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr. Abbott) that the faults of that journal do not excuse the misdeeds of the Government. If Ministers desire to justify their present attitude, they must advance, arguments more convincing than those employed by the Prime Minister and the AttorneyGeneral.
The writings of the late Mr. Justice Higgins, one of the most eminent men in Australian political and judicial history, contain distinct compliments to our system of arbitration. The Government has sought to justify the proposal to abolish the Arbitration Court by referring to the many industrial disputes that have occurred, and suggesting that the workers do not honorably observe the ‘awards of the court. Mr. Justice Higgins, in an article published in the Harvard Law Review of December, 1920, said -
The Minister quoted the Commonwealth Statistician as showing that there were 1,647 strikes in Australia during the years 1914-15-10-17; and he said that the hopes of the framers of the Federal Constitution in inserting the provisions under which the court has been created, have been disappointing. Of course, . it is not the practice to treat police as useless because order is not always kept in the streets, or to- treat criminal courts as useless because there are still crimes.
Those eloquent words are peculiarly applicable to the measure that is now before us. Mr Justice Higgins continued -
Even from 1904, when the court was created, up to May, 1919, there were only three disputes at the most within its jurisdiction that were accompanied by a strike, partial or general.
If there is anything wrong with industrial conditions in Australia it is due to the different codes operating in the several States. Yet it is to the State tribunals that the workers are being driven by the action of the Government. If this bill becomes law the result will be a state of chaos, perhaps of anarchy. I warn the
Government that serious consequences may be expected from its action. Some of the awards which it seeks to abolish have taken years to obtain, and have meant considerable effort and expense to the unions concerned. Yet, almost by a stroke of the pen, the Government seeks to destroy them. With industry unprotected the result cannot be other than serious. The introduction of this bill is a repudiation of the Government’s promises to trade unionists who have pinned their faith to arbitration. The union of which I am a member-
– What union is that?
– The Amalgamated Engineering Union, of which I am proud to be a member.
– I thought you were a Methodist.
– It does the honorable member no credit to raise that subject. I am not ashamed of my religious beliefs. If the honorable member has no appreciation of the value of religious services to the community, he is the poorer for it. A little religion in his soul would make him a better man.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) is out of order.
– But not more than is the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Archdale Parkhill), whose interjection led me to make these remarks. I ask your protection, Mr. Deputy Speaker, against these frequent interjections by the honorable member for Warringah. The Amalgamated Engineering Union, of which I am a member, has a case now before the Federal Arbitration Court. It lias incurred considerable expense in seeking an award to suit existing conditions, but, apparently, all its efforts are to go for nothing. Altogether 143 organizations which are now registered under the Federal Arbitration Court will be affected by the Government’s withdrawal from the field of arbitration. The State tribunals to which the men will be driven are governed by vested interests represented in the Legislative Councils of the States, so that the workers cannot hope for anything from the States which will make for goodwill in industry. Furthermore.it is absolutely impossible for the State Governments to set up the necessary machinery in the way of tribunals to hear the enormous number of claims in the time stipulated. The Prime Minister’s statement the other day that conciliation had been a failure is disproved by the Registrar of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, who has shown what the Arbitration Court has done in recent years in the way of settling disputes by conciliation. Among the unions which have been prepared to settle disputes by conciliation are the Carpenters and Joiners, Coachmakers, Enginedrivers, Electrical Trades, Employees of the Tasmanian Government Hydro-electric Undertaking, Female Confectioners, Insurance Officers, Journalists, Lift Attendants, Rope and Cordage Workers, Saddlery Trade Employees, Stonemasons, Storemen and Packers, Textile Workers, Wool and Basil Workers, various sections of the Liquor Trade Employees, Radio Telegraphists, Artificial Manure Trade Employees, Iron Workers, Plumbers, and others. In the light of that comprehensive list, how can the Prime Minister say that the system of conciliation provided for in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act has been a failure? The multiplication of awards will lead to confusion, whereas to-day there ia only one award for the majority of trades. Even where a Federal award is not operating, it influences the State award. Many trades are of such a nature that uniform rates can operate throughout Australia; but if the workers in those trades arc forced to apply to the State tribunals to determine their wages and conditions, varying awards will be made, and the result cannot be other than chaotic. The flour-milling industry, for instance, will be seriously affected by this legislation, for if it is controlled by the State tribunals, different wages and conditions will probably be prescribed in each State. The tribunal that is prepared to award the lowest wages and most inferior conditions will play into the hands of the employers of the State concerned by giving them an advantage over employers of other States in the competition for export trade. Surely we should refuse to return to the conditions of a quarter of a century ago. If this legislation is passed we shall be doing a grievous wrong to honorable citizens who have at all times sought to obey the. laws of this country and, by their efforts, to contribute towards the progress and prosperity of Australia. The workers are now to be deprived of the protection of the Federal Arbitration Court, which has prescribed uniform rates for the regulation of industry throughout Australia. Mr. Justice Heydon and Mr. Justice Cohen, of New South “Wales; Mr. Justice McCauley, of Queensland, and Deputy President Webb, of South Australia, are unanimous in their opinion that an industry in one State should not have an unfair advantage over a similar industry in another State.
– The present judge of the Arbitration Court in Queensland is also of that opinion.
– Let me give an illustration of what may happen under this legislation. Myers, of “Melbourne, recently acquired in Adelaide an establishment that was previously owned by James Marshall and Company. In the same street is a rival firm known as John Martin and Company, Limited, whose interests and factory requirements are for the greater part localized in Adelaide. If the award prescribed for employees engaged in the manufacture of clothing in Victoria is lower than that ruling in South Australia, the firm of Myers, which has certain of its factories and its headquarters in ^Melbourne, will have a decided advantage over John Martin and Company, Limited, because its requirements may be manufactured in Victoria and transported to South Australia, and the Adelaide factories closed. It would be necessary for Martin’s to consider the advisability of transferring their orders to factories and agencies outside the State. In that way those engaged in the clothing trade in South Australia would be deprived of a tremendous amount of work and as a result of interstate competition, the evil conditions that prevailed prior to 1891, when possibly that industry was one of the most sweated in Australia, would inevitably return.
The Attorney-General has said that the States will have their wages boards and tribunals, but under such a system we are not likely to have an impartial body. The women engaged in the clothing trade will be forced to attend round-table conferences and engage in argument with their employers. That will mean intimidation, and also hesitation on the part of employees to ask for better conditions. The printing industry, the theatrical industry, the boot industry, and a number of other industries will be similarly placed. There are 155 arbitration awards in existence, and in the majority of cases the industries concerned will be adversely affected by this change. Deputy President Webb, when giving judgment in a case relating to the printing trade, said : -
As far as I can see there is no remedy for the manifest injustices which have existed in this industry from the point of view of the pockets of the workers as well as from the point of view of interstate interests of the employers, other than that the industry should be regulated by a Federal award.
Under this legislation the workers will not have placed in their pockets that which they have a right to expect. Mr. Justice Heydon, when dealing with the clothing trade case before the New South Wales State tribunal, said : -
The evidence that has been submitted to me in this case proves beyond any doubt that there is room for improvement in the wages and conditions of the employees in this industry, but one is forced to take into consideration the wages and conditions obtaining in the same industry in the State of Victoria. In consequence, I hesitate to concede to the employees all that I might in other circumstances. In an industry such as this there should be some form of Federal adjustment of the wages and conditions.
That, indeed, is a true indication of the position that will arise under State tribunals.. This legislation is a retrograde step and will bring chaos and confusion to industry. I am .hopeful that honorable members, in their wisdom, will prevent the abolition of the Federal system of arbitration.
The Prime Minister uttered some significant words when he said that he hoped that this question would not be made a party one. That means that every member supporting the Government is free of the party tie and may give expression to his convictions. Honorable members who have made a careful study . of the conditions that prevail in industry to-day must realize that the operation of this, legislation must penalize the workers who have stood loyally by Federal arbitration. Honorable members should ensure that justice is done to these men by permitting them to remain under a uniform system of arbitration. If there are imperfections in the present system, let us set out to remedy them. In that way we shall promote confidence among employers and employees, and in the community generally, and also bring about peace and goodwill throughout industry, and prosperity throughout Australia.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Archdale Parkhill) adjourned.
Fascism in North Queensland - “ Douglas Mawson “ Survivors - Storm Warning Station,browse Island.
Motion (by Mr. Gibson) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
Mr.MARTENS (Herbert) [10.31].- I desire to draw attention to and to refute some statements concerning my electorate. The first appeared in the Daily Guardian of the 26th instant, and reads -
“WE DON’T WANT FASCISM HERE.”
Italians Incensed byplacards.
Troubleis brewing again between the Italian and British communities here over what is considered to be an incident similar to the “ coat of arms “ episode.
Prominent places in the town have been plastered with placards bearing the words, “ The Italian Consul is in Innisfail to organize Fascism. We don’t want Fascism here, Italian workers - so says the British worker.”
Italian residents in the district consider the posters insulting, and are incensed at the words, but the majority of residents think that practical jokers are responsible for the incident.
Feeling is running high, and many fear personal violence as a result.
That is a re-hash of something which was published in another section of the press two or three days previously. Knowing the unfortunate effect of such propaganda on the public mind, I wired to the police magistrate at Innisfail, Mr. Aitkin, asking for the facts of the case. His reply reads-
Functions associated with visit Royal
Italian Consul over week-end carried out in peaceful and orderly circumstances. Principal officer police states only untoward incident was posting of few anti-fascist placards. No ill feeling displayed nor slightest suggestion personal violence.
That will enlighten the general public on the subject.
Another statement was published in the daily press regarding two unfortunate women who were lost when the Douglas Mawson disappeared. The suggestion is, and it is likely to be believed by people in the south, that the two women concerned survive and are the unwillingcaptives of the natives in the north of Australia. Those responsible for the statement know very little of the ‘geography of Australia, and to show how ridiculous is the assertion I mention that CaledonBay is at least 750 miles from Thursday Island, and is situated in the Northern Territory. The dissemination of such despicable propaganda is beneath contempt. Not only did the Queensland Government, of which the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Theodore) was then Premier, make every endeavour to locate any survivors of the Douglas Mawson, but the Commonwealth Government also thoroughly investigated the matter. The conclusion was that there were no survivors of that ill-fated vessel. The purpose of the yellow press is merely to inflame the imagination of the public, and perhaps unjustly to buoy up the hopes of the relatives of the unfortunate women. The police of Thursday Island know nothing of the existence of the two women. I was at Thursday Island when the last press statement appeared, and when I approached the sergeant of police, whom I have known for many years, he informed me that there was nothing in the rumour. I hope that my refutation of this insidious propaganda will be broadcast.
– -I desire to direct the attention of the
Minister representing the Minister for Defence, to the summer cruise of the - H.M.A.S. Canberra. I understand that the officers of that ship are to call at Browse Island, on the north-west of Western Australia, as the vessel proceeds from Darwin to Geraldton. Browse Island is between the north of Western Australia and the island of Timor, and is considered by meteorological experts to he ideally suitable for a storm warning station, and I urge that the Minister for Defence in another p’ace should suggest to - the Naval authorities that that fact be kept in :mind when the Canberra calls at Browse Island. It is said by the government meteorologist of Western Australia, that those very dangerous storms, second only to the typhoons of China, which occasionally visit the north-west of Western Australia with such disastrous effect, “ breed “ in the north of Australia, circulate between the island of Timor off Koepang and Cape Londonderry, and circulate anti-clockwise until they reach the coast of Western Australia somewhere south of Fort Hedland. Those storms occur periodically, about once every four years, and as a result of their occurrence the major portion of the pearling fleets is often lost, together with a great number of human lives. If the establishment of a storm warning station at Browse Island would give the pearling luggers a timely opportunity of rushing for shelter, the step would he warranted. 1 therefore ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence to press the matter so that it may he investigated when the officers of the H.M.A.S. Canberra visit that island, with a view to establishing ‘ a storm warning station there similar to that at Willis Island north-west of Queensland.
– I shall take an early opportunity to bring the matters referred to by the honorable members foi Herbert (Mr. Martens) and Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green) before the Ministers concerned, who will no doubt investigate them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.87 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 August 1929, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1929/19290828_reps_11_121/>.