House of Representatives
19 June 1930

12th Parliament · 1st Session



Mr. Speaker (Hon. NormanMakin) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and offered. prayers.

page 2927

QUESTION

AUSTRALIAN TRADE WITH NEW ZEALAND

Mr HAWKER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I ask the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs whether his department has been advised of a proposal in New Zealand to impose a duty on Australian coal in order to protect the coal of the Dominion from the competition of subsidy-aided coal produced in the Commonwealth ?

Mr FORDE:
Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Customs · CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– No communication on the subject has been received, but the fullest consideration will be given to any representations by the New Zealand Government. The CommonwealthGovernment desires to work amicably with the Dominion, and, if possible, to make a more satisfactory trade agreement between the two countries. Nothing will be done to prejudice the possibilities of such an arrangement.

page 2927

QUESTION

UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF IN CANBERRA

Mr YATES:
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I am informed that of the 60 unemployed men in No. 4 camp at Canberra, 30 only are registered at the bureau and entitled to receive rations. Will the Minister for Home Affairs instruct that that anomaly be rectified, and that rations be issued to all the men?

Mr BLAKELEY:
DARLING, NEW SOUTH WALES

– With few exceptions, the men registered at the bureau are residents of the Territory, and only those are entitled to receive weekly rations. Travellers, however, receive rations as they pass through the Territory.

Mr YATES:

– Will the unregistered men receive rations if they apply for them?

Mr BLAKELEY:

– I shall investigate the matter, and let the honorable member have a reply.

page 2927

QUESTION

SHIPPING COMMUNICATION WITH TASMANIA

Mr BAYLEY:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND

– Will the Prime Minister say whether Admiral Clarkson has yet presented his report on the proposed Commonwealth steamship line to operate between the mainland and Tasmania? If so, will the right honorable gentleman lay it on the table?

Mr SCULLIN:
Minister for External Affairs · YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP

– I have received the report, and I shall consider whether it can be made available to honorable members.

page 2927

SUPERANNUATION BILL

Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES

– Will the Assisttant Minister in charge of the Superannuation Bill circulate a short summary of the measure throughout the Public Service, and defer the further consideration of it until the various contributors to the Superannuation Fund have had an opportunity to express their opinions of the amendments?

Mr BEASLEY:
Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Industry · WEST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– That has been done already. The Public Service unions have been consulted in various ways and Mr. Page, the Public Service representative on the Superannuation Board, has had every. opportunity to present the views of contributors.

Dr EARLE PAGE:

– Will the Assistant Minister takesteps to ensure that the proposed amendments reach public servants in distant parts of the Commonwealth?

Mr BEASLEY:

– I have already ascertained that the Commonwealth public servants in Queensland regard the proposed amendments as acceptable. If it is possible to Consult with public servants in other remote parts of the Commonwealth I shall do so.

page 2927

QUESTION

COMMONWEALTH PUBLIC SERVICE

Pay and Working Conditions

Mr LATHAM:
KOOYONG, VICTORIA

– Public Service Regulation No. 55 of 1930 specifies the rates of pay and conditions of employment for public servants who are not members of organizations. Will the Prime Minister lay on the table a statement showing the resultant alterations, if any, to the pay and conditions of employment, so that honorable members may understand the effect of the regulation ?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– The preparation of such a return may involve a considerable amount of detailed work, but I shall inquire whether the honorable member’s request can be complied with.

page 2928

QUESTION

TIMBER INDUSTRY

Mr CULLEY:
DENISON, TASMANIA

– In view of the great distress prevailing amongst workers in the timber industry, will the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs inform the House when the Tariff Board’s report on the industry will be made available?

Mr FORDE:
ALP

– The Tariff Board’s report and the representations of the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Culley) and others are being fully considered. As soon as the Government is able to announce what action it proposes to take, the report will be made available to honorable members.

page 2928

QUESTION

DARWIN TOWN COUNCIL

Mr WHITE:
BALACLAVA, VICTORIA

– The Argus of yesterday reported the Minister for Home Affairs as having said that a commission will replace the Darwin Town Council that has resigned. Will the Minister say. how the commission will be constituted?

Mr BLAKELEY:

– I shall doso as soon as the members of the commission have been chosen.

page 2928

ARBITRATION BILL

Mr M CAMERON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP; NAT from 1925; UAP from 1931

– The Melbourne Herald of yesterday published the following cablegram: -

ARBITRATION BILL.

Investors Discouraged.

Hindrance to Trade.

London, 17th June.

Adverse comment hag been made in financial circles regarding the Australian Arbitration Bill, says the financial editor of The Times.

Some of the provisions of the measure are considered to be decidedly one-sided, and unlikely to give confidence to investors thinking of establishing industries in Australia conse quent on the tariff increases, and the reverse of encouraging to those invited to subscribe to Australian loans.

Such legislation might prove extremely costly and embarrassing to Australia at a time when it is specially needed to instil confidence.

Prohibition of employment to any except unionists means that overseas and interstate commerce might be brought to a standstill by a general strike.

In view of this criticism, does the Prime Minister intend to modify the provisions of the bill?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– I have seen the parar graph referred to by the honorable member, and my only comment is that it is evidently based on the misrepresentation which has been circulated throughout the country regarding the bill.

page 2928

QUESTION

WIRELESS TELEPHONY

Service to London

Mr ELDRIDGE:
MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to a statement of a correspondent in the Wireless Weekly of the 30th ultimo, which includes the following : - “ It is to be hoped that you will eventually wake up the PostmasterGeneral, and particularly that purely ornamental and high-salaried official, Mr. Brown, whoso far has done nothing except be praised by the Postmaster-General for inaugurating the London ‘phone service, which he did not do. I noticed Mr. Lyons never mentioned Mr. Fisk “.
  2. If the facts are as stated, will the Minister rectify the defect complained of?
Mr LYONS:
Minister for Works and Railways · WILMOT, TASMANIA · ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Yes.
  2. I am of the opinion that full recognition has been given to all concerned in the establishment of the telephone service between Australia and the United Kingdom.

page 2928

QUESTION

WIRELESS BROADCASTING

Mr ELDRIDGE:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Has his attention been drawn to a statement appearing in the Wireless Weekly of the 30tn ultimo, in the course of which the administration, in connexion with broadcasting, of Mr. Brown, Secretary to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, is severely criticized, and in which it is claimed that we are five years behind, and that this is due to Mr. Brown?
  2. Is it the intention of the Minister to cause immediate action to be taken to remedy the alleged unsatisfactory administration complained of?
Mr LYONS:
ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. I have since read the letter signed “ W. Young” in the Wireless Weekly of the 30th May, from which the statement appears to have been extracted.
  2. I am not aware that the broadcasting services are “ five years behind “, but if the honorable member considers the statement correct and will supply the necessary information to justify the opinion, I shall be pleased to thoroughly investigate it.

page 2929

QUESTION

RE COGNITION OF BRAVERY

Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. In view of the many brave actions and heroic sacrifices made in private and professional capacity in the saving of life, will the Prime Minister, when time permits, ask cabinet to consider whether the time has arrived to make some recognition of bravery in saving life, as is done in matters pertaining to war and on the field of battle?
  2. If so, will he take into consideration the example set by Napoleon in making the award of the Legion of Honour applicable to civil and military life, independent of sex?
Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– It is not considered that any action by the Commonwealth is necessary to supplement the provision which already exists for the recognition of bravery in saving life in Australia.

page 2929

QUESTION

DEFENCERETRENCHMENTS

Mr CROUCH:
CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. Of the personnel of the Royal Australian Navy retiring compulsorily or otherwise, how many officers, warrant officers and men respectively were (a) first trained in Australia, and (b) first trained overseas?
  2. Was any request or inducement made to any rank to retire, and, if so, what was the nature of such request or inducement?
  3. If such request or inducement was in writing, what was the text of same?
Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - l.

2 and 3. No inducement was offered. Applications for free discharge were invited by the Naval Board through commanding officers. In addition to free discharges approved, the board was regretfully compelled to select some officers and men for retirement.

Mr CROUCH:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. Will the defence economies apply to the officers of the department in England?
  2. How many officers are there in England, and how are they employed?
  3. What pay do they receive?
  4. Is it a fact that General Bruche, the military representative in England, is now largely unemployed?
  5. Is it proposed to continue his services?
  6. Will he and others in England be under the rationing scheme,as applied to officers in Australia?
Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– -The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Yes.
  2. Naval 76, military 13, air force 9. Some of these officers are employed on exchange duty; some are undergoing courses of instruction and some are employed in the offices of the naval, military and air force representatives in London.
  3. With the exception of the Senior Military Representative (General Staff), High Commissioner’s office, whose pay is £1,100 per annum, all other officers receive the pay of their rank under regulations.
  4. No.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes.
Mr TULLY:
BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice-

Have those naval ratings discharged from the Royal Australian Navy during the past four years, who have not been granted compensation, any right of appeal; if so, to whom or to what tribunal can they appeal?

Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– Discharged ratings have no legal right of appeal ; but I shall inquire into any particular case represented to me. Eatings discharged for medical reasons without compensation may, if they have had war service, apply to theRepatriation Department for a pension, and if pension is disallowed, they may appeal to the Appeal Board appointed under the provisions of the Australian SoldiersRepatriation Act.

Mr WHITE:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that no permanent civilian’s services in the Defence Department have been dispensed with or transfers made to other branches of the Public Service?
  2. If there are any of such cases, how many?
  3. If none have been dismissed or transferred, why are they not rationed in the same manner as permanent soldiers?
  4. If rationing of civilian employees in defence (military) is not proposed, would it. be possible to absorb the surplus soldiers in military positions now held by civilians?
  5. Can civilians so displaced be absorbed in other government departments, and thereby save some £400,000 voted for temporary assistance ?
  6. In view of the reduction in the strength of the military forces, will the Government give an assurance that it will increase the efficiency by appointing soldiers to all posts in the present organization where soldiers would be required in war?
Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– Inquiries are being made and a reply “will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as possible.

page 2930

QUESTION

TRADING BANKS PROFITS

Mr KEANE:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA

asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. What profits have been made bythe associated banks since the creation of the Commonwealth Bank ?
  2. What was the total amount paid in dividends during the same period?
  3. What was the total amount added to reserves during the same period?
Mr THEODORE:
Treasurer · DALLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– This information is not published in collated form. I have, however, secured from the Commonwealth Bank, information collated by that bank in regard to the profits of the Australian banks from 1915 to 1929. Particulars are as follow: -

The reserves of the above banks have, during the period shown, increased by approximately £18,000.000, from £12,000,000 in 1915 to £30,000,000 in 1929, as follows: -

The particulars shown above include the following: -

Australian Bank of Commerce, from 1st July, 1915 to 30th June, 1929.

Bank of Adelaide, from 1st April, 1915, to 31st March, 1929.

Bank of Australasia, from 12th October, 1915, to 11th October, 1929.

Bank of New South Wales, from 1st October, 1915, to 30th September, 1929.

Bank of Victoria, from 1st July, 1915, to date of amalgamation with Commercial Banking Company.

Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, from 1st July, 1915, to 30th June, 1929.

Commercial Bank of Australia, from 1st July, 1915, to 30th June, 1929.

English, Scottish and Australian Bank, from 1st July, 1915, to 30th June, 1929.

National Bank of Australasia, from 1st April, 1915, to 31st March, 1929.

Queensland National Bank, from 1st July, 1915, to 30th June, 1929.

Royal Bank, from 1st October, 1915, to date of amalgamation with English, Scottish and Australian Bank.

Union Bank of Australia, from 1st September, 1915, to 28th February, 1929.

West Australian Bank, from 1st October, 1915, to date of amalgamation with Bank of New South Wales.

The figures represent those for the financial year of each bank, e.g., the Bank of Adelaide figures for year ended 31st March, 1929, and Bank of Australasia for year ended 31st October, 1929, are each included in 1929 figures.

page 2930

QUESTION

STATE GOVERNORS

Costs

Mr KEANE:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

What has been the cost of each State Governor for each State since federation?

Mr THEODORE:
ALP

– I regret that the information desired is not available in the Commonwealth Treasury. The annual costin each State is, however, published from year to year in the Commonwealth Year-Book under the heading “ Cost of Parliamentary Government “.

page 2930

QUESTION

INSURANCE FOR NURSES

Mr McGRATH:
BALLAARAT, VICTORIA

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice-

Will he consider the question of a systemof insurance for hospital nurses?

Mr ANSTEY:
Minister for Health · BOURKE, VICTORIA · ALP

– In response to inquiries recently made, it was found that a valuable report on this question had been prepared by Mr. Arthur Baillieu, and arrangements have been made to have this printed for general information.

page 2931

QUESTION

CANADIAN STANDARD WORKING WEEK

Mr KEANE:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Is it a fact that the Canadian Government, by an order in council, has adopted a standard working week of 44 hours?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– I have no information on this subject, but I am having inquiry made.

page 2931

QUESTION

ACCIDENT PREVENTION

Mr HOLLOWAY:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

Whether the Department of Health is taking any steps to deal with the important question of accident prevention?

Mr ANSTEY:
ALP

– The Federal Health Council, recognizing that action directed towards the organization of measures for the prevention of accidents was urgently necessary, recommended that the Commonwealth Government should approach the States with the object of organizing this important work on national lines, and invitations have now been issued to all governments and interested bodies to a conference to be held at Canberra next October.

page 2931

QUESTION

TREATY OF VERSAILLES

Mr CROUCH:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Has he received the text of the amendments agreed to by the committee appointed by the League of Nations Council, which met in Geneva in February and March last, to amend the Covenant in the Treaty of Versailles, so as to bring it into harmony with the Kellogg Pact?
  2. If so, will a copy of the amendments be made available to honorable members?
  3. Was the Commonwealth represented on this committee; if so, by whom?
  4. As the Commonwealth was party to the covenant and the pact, does he propose to ask Parliament to ratify the amendments ? .
Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes. A copy will be tabled.
  3. No.
  4. The amendments at . present are recommended by a committee of the League of Nations to the council of the league. They will probably be referred to the 11th Assembly next September. If they are adopted by the assembly they will be submitted to States members for ratification. Before the Commonwealth ratifies them Parliament will be given full opportunity to discuss the matter.

page 2931

QUESTION

VISIT OF DAME JANET CAMPBELL

Expenses

Mr YATES:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. How long was Dame Janet Campbell in Australia?
  2. How long did she remain in South Australia ?
  3. What remuneration or allowance was paid in respect of her services?
  4. What was the total cost to the Commonwealth Government, including travelling allowance, hotel accommodation,salary, and expenses of secretary, &c. ?
Mr ANSTEY:
ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -

  1. From 20th August to 23rd December, 1929.
  2. From 5th October to 14th October (ten days).
  3. Salary at rate of £1,400; superannuation contribution, £113; honorarium, £500.
  4. £2,289 16s. 8d.

page 2931

QUESTION

CENSUS

Dr EARLE PAGE:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

Will he make available the full text of the representations of the economic section of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Science regarding the necessity for holding the census?

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– Yes. A copy of the communication received will be laid on the table of the House.

page 2931

QUESTION

ARBITRATION AWARDS

Sick and Holiday Pay

Mr KEANE:

asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -

In how many awards of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration is provision made for sick and holiday pay for workers employed from day to day?

Mr BRENNAN:
Attorney-General · BATMAN, VICTORIA · ALP

– Inquiries will be made, and the information will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as possible.

page 2931

QUESTION

TARIFF EMBARGOES

Dr EARLE PAGE:

asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice - 1.Is it a fact that he has lifted the embargo in the case of importers who have had their namesbranded on their goods which consequently were unsaleable in other parts of the world?

  1. Is it a fact that similar concessions have been refused to other firms in a like position, with other articles on which are also branded the names of the Australian distributors?
  2. Will the Minister see that all citizens of this country are placed on an equal footing in this regard?
Mr FORDE:
ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -

  1. In several specific cases this has been done. 2 and 3. In another case badged goods were involved in a larger issue, and general permission was refused. If specific applications are made on the grounds that particular goods werealready branded with Australian names before the date of the proclamation, sympathetic consideration will be given to requests for admission where the goods would be unsaleable elsewhere than in Australia.
Mr LATHAM:

asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government any information with regard to any action by the Government of France (in alleged retaliation against the tariff proposals of the Commonwealth Government), the effect of which is to prevent the importation into France of wheat or sheepskins from Australia?
  2. Has the Government any information with respect to any proposed action by the Government of France in the direction of restricting the importation into France of wool from Australia?
  3. Will the Minister, make a statement upon the matters referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2.
Mr FORDE:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Information has been received that Australian wheat imported into France was subjected in January last to an additional duty. No information has been received as regards any proposed action to prevent Australian sheepskins being imported into France.
  2. No.
  3. As Australia does not discriminate against France in her tariff schedules, the general tariff being applied alike to all foreign countries, suitable representations are being made through the French Consul against duties being imposed by France which discriminate against Australia.

page 2932

QUESTION

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE

Educational Qualifications for Admission

Mr LONG:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that candidates for admission to the Royal Australian Air Force must have educational qualifications equal to a university education ?
  2. Is it a fact that young men, with a thorough knowledge of aircraft and aviation, acquired by two years and more experience, and with greater experience than some applicants who have secured appointments, cannot be appointed owing to the lack of university education ? 3, If so, will he have investigations made into this matter with a view to enabling those who have not received a university education, but who have the practical qualifications, to receive the same opportunity to enter the Air Force ?
  3. If the facts are found to be as stated, will he take steps to abolish this apparent class distinction and allow young men with practical experience equal opportunity to advance in the Air Forces of the Commonwealth?
Mr A GREEN:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– The answers to the honorable members questions are as follow : -

  1. No. The standard of education set is that necessary to enable pupils to absorb instruction given during the course. This standard is that of intermediate or junior public certificate of the various States, and the curriculum of high schools goes beyond this.
  2. No. A university education is not called for, and previous experience in flying and with aircraft is considered a qualification in favour of the applicant.
  3. See replies to Nos. 1 and 2.
  4. Selections for courses usually average between ten and fourteen for cadetships for training, and from 300 to 400 applications are usually received to fill these few vacancies. Applicants are considered on their merits, and in such a large selection the standard of those finally chosen is naturally high. Candidates are selected from all walks of life, including selection from all ranks of the Air Force. In the last selection of cadets, out of fourteen cadets selected only one was from the University.

page 2932

QUESTION

ABRAHAM BROTHERS

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government made any, and, if so, what endeavours, to ascertain the whereabouts of the Abraham Brothers ?
  2. If so, with what results?
  3. If no attempt has been made, does the Government propose to make any efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of these persons?
Mr BRENNAN:
ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. No.
  2. See answer to No. 1.
  3. No. the Government is not interested in the whereabouts of these persons.

page 2932

QUESTION

LABOR DAILY

Mr BAYLEY:

asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Whether, when a federal award provides a rate of wages or- salary, it is in accordance with the award to pay only a proportion of the wages or salary in money and the balance in shares?
  2. If not, will he inquire whether the Labor Daily newspaper is breaking the award by which it is bound, in as much as it has paid its employees only 90 per cent, of their wages or salary in cash, and has compelled them to take out the balance in shares in the company ?
Mr BRENNAN:
ALP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. It is not the practice to answer questions involving advice on legal matters.
  2. No.

page 2933

QUESTION

LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– On the 4th June the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Crouch) asked me the following questions, upon notice -

  1. What was the total cost to Australia of the League of Nations, together with its committees and inquiries, in the years 1927, 1928 and 1929?
  2. What is the proportion that Australia bears of the total expenses of the League of Nations ?
  3. Has any Australian been appointed to the staff of permanent officials of the league; if so, who has been appointed?

I am now in a position to furnish the following reply: -

  1. The total contributions of Australia to the expenses of the League of Nations, as set out in its budget, including the International Labour Office and the Permanent Court of International Justice, were - 1927, £23,670; 1928, £24,378; 1929, £27,069.
  2. Australia’s proportions were - 1927, 27 out of 1,015 units; 1928 and 1929, 27 out of 986 units.
  3. The following Australians have been appointed to the permanent staff - League of Nations, Air. R. N. Kershaw (since resigned) ; and Mr. H. Duncan Hall; and International Labour Office, Mr. H. Caldwell.

page 2933

QUESTION

TELEGRAPH LINESMEN’S EXAMINATION

Mr LYONS:
ALP

– Yesterday the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Nairn) addressed to me the following questions, upon notice -

  1. Whether, in connexion with an examination held recently for telegraph linesmen, all examination papers from distant States were sent to Canberra for marking?
  2. Is it considered that there are not men competent for linesmen to be had in all the States?
  3. Is it intended to send men from central States to outlying States for linesmen’s work?
  4. Is there any reason why all examinations should not be completed and quotas filled in the several States?

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows: -

  1. An examination is being held for appointment as linesman, Postmaster-General’s Department, Western Australia. The educational section has been held and the papers will be marked in the office of the Public Service Board at Canberra. The practical tests which follow will be conducted in Western Australia.
  2. No.
  3. and 4. Appointments from residents in one State to linesmen’s positions in another State are not encouraged, but there is no power to restrict candidates to residents of any particular State. Generally, however, examinations are almost wholly confined to local residents. In the present case, out of the 140 candidates only two are not resident in Western Australia.

page 2933

QUESTION

PRINTING COMMITTEE

Report (No. 3) brought up by Mr. Tully.

Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– Is it not customary for the report of the Printing Committee to be read?

Mr SPEAKER:

– I understand that as this report is of a special nature, it is intended to move its adoption after honorable members have seen it in print.

page 2933

PAPERS

The following papers were presented -

Census 1931 - Proposed Postponement - Communication from the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science.

International Labour Organization of the League of Nations - Thirteenth Conference, held at Geneva, October, 1929 - Reports of the Australian Delegates.

Norfolk Island Act- Ordinance of 1930 - No. 2 - Affidavits.

page 2933

QUESTION

OVERSEAS EXCHANGE

Consultation with Bank of England.

Mr SCULLIN:
ALP

– I ask the leave of the House to make a short statement.

Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I wish to know the subject of it before I will agree to leave being granted.

Motion (by Mr. Scullin) proposed -

That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the Prime Minister to make a statement.

Question put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Norman Makin.)

AYES: 53

NOES: 5

Majority . . . . 48

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative by an absolute majority of the members of the House.

Mr SCULLIN:
Prime Minister · Yarra · ALP

– The Commonwealth representative in London has for some time been in close consultation with the Bank of England and other financial authorities with a view to finding a solution of the growing difficulties of providing exchange to cover Australian payments oversea. At the same time the Australian Loan Council has been in close consultation on the same subject with the Commonwealth Bank and the associated banks in Australia. The Government and the banks have already taken important corrective measures for adjusting the trade balance, and the banks have materially assisted the Australian governments to secure exchange on London. The Commonwealth Government is determined that the necessary steps shall be taken to meet promptly all Australian oversea obligations, and as the Bank of England has expressed its willingness to assist Australia to find a solution of its present difficulties the Government and the Bank have mutually agreed that there should be consultation in Australia between a representative of the Bank of England, the Commonwealth Government and the Commonwealth Bank Board. A representative of the Bank of England, Sir Otto Niemeyer, will accordingly visit Australia. He left London yesterday accompanied by an economist and an officer of the Bank of England.

Mr LATHAM:
Kooyong

.- by leave - I desire only to congratulate the Prime Minister upon the action that has been taken by the Government, and to express the hope that the result of the consultation between the Australian financial and economic authorities and the gentlemen who are coming here from England will be of great benefit indeed to Australia. Since the object of the visit of these gentlemen is to assist in finding a solution of our present difficulties, particularly our financial difficulties, will the Government consider postponing the legislation dealing with the CentralReserve Bank and the Commonwealth Bank which is at present before Parliament? I suggest that these measures are in themselves highly important from a financial point of view, and that it is desirable to have the advice of these eminent authorities upon them before proceeding further with them.

Mr SCULLIN:
Prime Minister · Yarra · ALP

by leave - In reply to the question of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) I wish to emphasize that the visit of these gentlemen to Australia has really no relation whatever to the banking legislation introduced by this Government.

SUPPLY (Formal).

Ministerial Statements.

Question - That Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair - proposed.

Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– This afternoon there was a recurrence of the practice which has been growing in this House of asking leave to make a statement, no information being given at all as to the nature of that statement. Recently the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. McGrath) obtained leave to make a statement in this House, and, as a result the same privilege had to be extended to several other honorable members. This afternoon the Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin) asked leave to make a statement, and when I questioned him he curtly refused to inform me of the nature of the subject, although it probably had been made available to other honorable members. I called for a division of this House as a protest against that action. When the Prime Minister, or any other honorable member, asks for leave to make a statement to this House, it should be his duty to indicate its subjectmatter to honorable members. The curt refusal of the Prime Minister to supply the information asked for was an insult not only to me but to other honorable members.

Mr Crouch:

– I point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that under Standing Order 269 no member shall reflect upon any vote of the House.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Norman Makin:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I ask the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. E. Green) not to express himself in terms which are offensive or which reflect upon the business of this House.

Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– So far as I am aware I am not doing that.

Mr Martens:

– The honorable member said that the Prime Minister’s action was an insult. Surely that is a reflection upon the proceedings of this House!

Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– It was an insult to me, and in future I shall refuse to grant any honorable member leave to make a statement unless he makes its subjectmatter known to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Scullin) adjourned.

page 2936

COMMERCE (TRADE DESCRIPTIONS) BILL

Secondreading.

Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The objects of this measure are, first, to give power to apply compulsory marking to any imported and exported goods where the circumstances make that action necessary; and, secondly, to adapt the provisions of the act more exactly to the purposes that they are intended to serve.

At the present time, marking is compulsory in respect of only the seven classes of goods that are specified in section 15 of the act. The proposal now is to repeal section 15, and to omit from sections 7 and 11 the word “ specified.” That amendment will remove the existing limitation, and marking can then be required in respect of any imported goods or goods intended for export. Section 15 of the act of 1905 limited its powers to articles of food and drink, medicines, manures, apparel, jewellery, seeds and plants. By an amendment of the act made in 1926, brushware was added to the list.

In 1905, the idea of the compulsory marking of goods was new, at all events in Australia. Fears were then entertained by Parliament as to the effect of this legislation; but the experience that we have since gained has proved those fears to have been groundless. It may be claimed that the benefits of the act have been appreciated by the public and by manufacturers, both in Australia and overseas. For example, some time ago the Australian Association of British Manufacturers requested that, wherever practicable, all imported goods should be stamped with the name of the country of origin.

The last Government recognized the reasonableness of that request, and on the 22nd March, 1928, a bill was introduced in the Senate to amend the Commerce Trade Descriptions Act 1905-26. The bill was passed by the other chamber and forwarded to this House, but pressure of business and other occurrences prevented its passage here.

Additional proof of the growth of public opinion in favour of compulsory marking is to be found in. recent legislation of other countries. In the United States of America, a section of the Customs Tariff 1922, provides that no article shall be imported unless it bears a statement of the country of origin, where such a statement can be applied without injury to the article. Articles that are imported without marking are delivered only after such marking has been applied; and an additional duty of 10 per cent. ad valorem is collected. That penalty acts as a deterrent against breaches of the provision.

By the British Merchandise Marks Act 1926, power is taken to prohibit the sale, or the offering for sale, in the United Kingdom, of any article not bearing an indication of the country of origin. The articles that have to be so marked are specified by the appropriate department, after the appointment of a committee to examine the matter, and a consideration of its report.

A further indication of the necessity for a more general application of the principle of having goods marked with the name of the country of origin is provided by the activities of the Imperial Economic Committee and the Empire Marketing Board. These bodies have given a good deal of consideration to this matter. In a recent report the Imperial Economic Committee refers to the conditions that are necessary to make effective the voluntary preference of Empire goods among which is the condition that the consumer, when purchasing goods, shall be able to inform himself as to the country in which they were produced. The report goes on to say that, as a result of the recommendations contained in the general report of the committee, it was decided to include in a bill to amend the British Merchandise Marks Act a provision requiring the marking of agricultural produce, so as to give power to distinguish the “ produce of the oversea Empire “ from that of foreign countries. At page 14 of the report, which is dated 1928, the following paragraph appears : -

The committee concluded - “That the time is ripe for a national effort to stimulate the consumption of Empire produce in the United Kingdom” - and that this could be effected by the exercise of voluntary preference by the British consumer. They based this conclusion on their belief that “as between goods of the same quality and price the consumer would undoubtedly select Empire produce if he could recognize it,” andsaid that their policy of voluntary preference seeks to translate this latent feeling into a practical scheme under State guidance and on a scale commensurate with the productive facilities of the Empire.

Paragraph 22 of the reportreads -

Thus, to render voluntary preference effective, three things were necessary -

That the consumer should be induced to select Empire goods;

That he should be able to recognize Empire goods; and

That Empire goods should be adequate in supply and quality, and reasonable in price.

Dealing further with the question in paragraph 24, the committee states -

In regard to the second of the requirements enunciated in paragraph 22 above - recognition of Empire goods - it happened that in 1926 a bill had been drafted, in the interests of British industry, for the amendment of the Merchandise Marks Act. As a result of the recommendations inthe “general” report of the committee, it was decided to include in this bill also the marking of agricultural produce for which the English Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries had been pressing, but with the addition of power to distinguish the produce of the oversea Empire from foreign produce. The bill so extended became law in 1920. It is now possible for parties interested in particular products to move for an inquiry with a view to obtaining an Order in Council that the marking of the origin of those products should be made obligatory.

That report was presented to the House of Commons in January, 1928, by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. It will thus be seen that the action which we now propose to take has already been taken in Great Britain. As Great Britain is Australia’s best market, and Australia is Great Britain’s second best market, this action will be of mutual advantage in building up trade between the two countries. Furthermore, the consumer is protected, because this action will enable the Australian consumer, just as the action taken by the British Government enabled the consumer in Great Britain, to learn where the goods that he purchases have been made. Probably a certain amount of fraud takes place at times; for example, goods that are made on the continent of Europe may be handled by unscrupulous dealers, and marked “Made in England.” This law will impose, in future, an effective check on such a practice.

It is obvious that any efforts to encourage the consumption of Empire goods must be based upon action that will enable the consumer to recognize those goods when he is making his purchases. Frequent instances have occurred that demonstrate the extreme desirability of marking being made compulsory; but action could not be taken previously on account of the limited scope of the act. Such a case arose in connexion with brushware, and the act was amended to include brushware in the list of goods subject to compulsory marking. It is evident, however, that if the act had to be amended to meet every case that arose, action would become so difficult as to be hardly practicable. Such a piecemeal method of dealing with the matter is very unsatisfactory. I feel sure, therefore, that honorable members will recognize the necessity of passing this measure. To cover all the goods that can be marked without doing them injury provision will be made by regulations, which will be laid on the table.

Mr Archdale Parkhill:

– Will, this apply to the sale of footwear?

Mr FORDE:

– Yes. The case may be cited of cricket balls made in India. These were imported without marking. After importation., words were applied to the balls which would lead purchasers to believe that they were buying either Australian-made balls or balls manufactured in England. Action of that kind could have been prevented if power had existed to insist on the balls being marked on importation with the words “ Made in India “. Under existing legislation there is no such power, and the Department of Trade and Customs has therefore been seriously handicapped in its work.

In connexion with blankets, a request was made that these articles should bear an indication of the country of origin, and it appeared to me that the request was a very reasonable one. As blankets did not come within the scope of the act, nothing could be done by the Customs Department to enable purchasers of these articles in Australia to know whether they were made in Japan, France, America, Britain or Australia. A similar position has arisen in regard to the furniture imported from Eastern countries. In Victoria, to-day, thanks to legislation passed in that State years ago, the purchaser of furniture is able to tell by the marks that it bears whether it has been imported from Eastern countries.

Mr Gullett:

– And whether it is a product of European labour.

Mr FORDE:

– That is so. It may be fairly claimed that the present limitation in the act in regard to the marking of goods is illogical. It results in anomalies and prevents the proper application of the principles on which the act is based. Our present legislation is out of date as compared with that of other countries. It will, of course, be understood that the granting of the power to require marking does not imply that that power will be used with respect to all goods imported; that would not be necessary. The Department can be trusted to administer this law fairly and equitably. All that is intended is that where there are valid reasons for requiring the marking of a particular article or class of articles, there shall be power to do so. This will afford protection to not only the Australian manufacturer but also the Australian public, because purchasers will know where the goods they buy are made. No fairminded importer should object to the public having that information.

As regards the second object of the bill, it may be explained that the act provides for two classes of marking - a the compulsory application of a trade description, and b the prevention of the application of false trade descriptions. A trade description consists of a true description of the goods, and the name of the country of origin ; and, where weight or quantity is given, a statement whether it is gross or net. These are separate and distinct objects which require separate and distinct provisions. In the act as it stands, the provisions relating to these matters are not distinct. For example, section 4 (1) defines when a trade description is deemed to be applied to goods. The terms of the section clearly indicate that it was designed to deal with the application of false trade descriptions. In such cas« it is necessary that the provision should. be so drafted as to meet all the methods by which a false trade description may be used in relation to goods. But, when it is a matter of defining the method by which a compulsory trade description, that is, a true trade description, shall be applied, the provision should be so drafted as to enable the trade description to be applied in a definite prescribed manner. Clause 3 of the bill refers to this, and makes the definition clear as to when both a false trade description and a compulsory trade description shall be deemed to have been applied to goods.

Clause 7 of the bill amends section 8 qf the principal act. That section relates to goods which the act requires to bear a trade description. It may be explained in regard to the compulsory application of a trade description that the trade description is required to be applied directly to the article itself, where that is practicable. If that is not practicable, it is applied to the immediate container. At present, section 8 has effect only where the goods are found without marking in the package or covering in which they are imported. For example, boots must be marked and the marking must be applied directly to the boot. If boots are removed from the carton in which they were imported then, even if they are found without marking, the section is useless. The amendment proposed in clause 7 is intended to remove this defect. If the question arises as to the application of the section to particular goods, the first point for consideration will be - “How do the regulations require the goods to be marked?” If the marking must be applied directly to the article, and the article is found without the trade description so applied, it will come within the section. If the regulations require the marking to be applied to the immediate container, and the immediate container does not bear the required marking, the section will apply.

The new section which clause 8 of the bill proposes to insert in the act applies to goods found, after importation, to bear a false trade description. The principle is the same as that applied by section 8 to goods found after importation without a trade description which they are required by the act to bear. Both of these sections give power to follow up goods which have been imported in contravention of the act. It will be readily understood that it is impossible to inspect every article imported into the country, and it is therefore necessary to have the power to follow up goods in respect of which the provisions of the act have been evaded. The amendments proposed in respect of sections 3, 6, 11 (2) and (3) and 13 are formal, and have been rendered necessary by the transfer of the administration of the “ exports “ sections of the act to the Department of Markets, and the proposed amendment of section 5 merely extends the scope of inspection to cover inspections made at packing sheds, meat works, and other places where goods are prepared for export. The proposed amendments of the act will have the effect of adapting its provisions more exactly to the purposes which the act is designed to serve, and will bring it into line with modern legislation on the subject.

In the Commonwealth Gazette, of the 14th January, 1926, a proclamation was issued prohibiting the importation of goods marked in a language other than that ordinarily used by the people of the country of origin, “ unless there is applied to such articles, or to any such covering or container thereof, as the case may be, in conjunction with the marking referred to wherever such marking appears, and in conspicuous and legible characters, a definite qualifying statement in the English language indicating the country in which the articles were made or produced.” This bill provides in short for issuing a regulation which will give power to apply the compulsory marking provisions to any goods or classes of goods in respect of which such marking is considered necessary in the public interest. I hope that the measure will have a speedy passage through the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Gullett) adjourned.

page 2938

CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION BILL

Second Reading

Debate resumed from 18th June (vide page 2882) on motion by Mr. Brennan -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Mr HUGHES:
North Sydney

– The bill deals with a matter of tremendous importance. In moving its second reading, the Attorney-General reminded us that the principal act has been amended no fewer than twelve times. We are now asked to consider the amendments in the bill which the Government has submitted, and the wide issues which legislation of this character must always raise. The industrial problem is incomparably the greatest that confronts modern society. In 1922, when submitting the policy of my Government to the people, I referred to the subject in these terms -

The industrial question is emphatically the greatest with which the world has to deal. It is as old as civilization, but modern methods of production have made it far more acute. It is th.e sword of Damocles which hangs threateningly over the head of society. Formerly static, to-day it is dynamic. The forces behind it are terrific. It cannot be resisted by anything outside itself. It conditions the life of every individual. Its ripples wash the farthest shores of social activity. The industrial question is not merely a question affecting what is known as wageearners in manual industries, but all individuals in society. Industrial unrest is a disease of civilization. It is, or seems to be, inherent in civilization. Some declare that the only remedy is the destruction of society. Those of us who do not subscribe to this gloomy and ferocious creed are called upon to find some other solution. One thing is certain : we must face the position.

That puts the matter clearly and succinctly. The Attorney-General said that the frequent amendments of the principal act have been due in the main to the limitations imposed upon the Parliament by the Constitution. With that we must all agree. I am firmly convinced that, unless and until the Constitution is amended in such a way as to clothe this Parliament with full powers over all industrial matters, it will be impossible to devise effective machinery to deal with the greatest problem of the age. I This measure must, therefore, be regarded as a stop-gap. We have to deal with the position as it is, and, in directing our attention to the bill, must consider the arbitration system in its broader aspects. Despite what some gentlemen say there is obviously a large body of opinion in this country - not numerically strong perhaps, but influential - opposed to arbitration, which it regards as a cause, if not the main one, of our financial and industrial ills. With that, of course, I do not agree. But no useful discussion of this bill is possible unless we realize that we are dealing with a system established in this country so long that it has become an institution sacred to many but anathema to certain sections. Arbitration itself is an issue in this debate, yet arbitration, whatever its shortcomings, is the only alternative to direct action. Industrial disputes must be settled either by appeals to force or by appeals to reason. Long ago, after many bitter experiences of strikes, we adopted the appeal to reason, which alone is compatible with the ideals of civilization, and created a “new province of law and order.” We have been told that the results have been disastrous; but even the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) has said that upon a fair review of the operations of the Arbitration Act during the last 25 years that charge cannot fairly lie. against it. That it has fallen short of the extravagant expectations of many, including myself, who hoped that it would solve the whole industrial problem, must be admitted; but it has not failed to a greater extent than laws in general. For a quarter of a century this system has operated, and under it the Commonwealth has made tremendous progress. Yesterday the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) painted a gloomy picture of the present position of Australia. He said that trade was depressed and unemployment rampant. Unhappily there is much truth in that statement; but it comes ill from the mouth of a gentleman who for several years was a member of a government administering the affairs of the Commonwealth. His statement was in itself a confession of abject failure by the Ministry of which he was a member. The other day he said that the Prime Minister had not faced economic facts, and that his words of cheery optimism were mere empty sounds signifying nothing. The economic facts to which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) referred were, according to him, such as must prove obdurate to any remedy except the reduction of the cost of production. That was the string on which he played atune familiar to us all; it is his only definite contribution towards the solution of our problems. What he means by reducing the cost of production is most obvious. He said that the Prime Minister failed to appreciate the gravity of the situation because he did not attack it from a certain angle. The Leader ofthe Opposition declares that costs of production must come down, meaning thereby that wages must be reduced. When all is said and done, that is what he means. May I remind him and those who think as he does that in considering the problems of production we must take note of many factors, of which wages is only one. Rent is also a factor ; interest is another ; and profit is another. But although there are many factors of production, the only factor which the Leader of the Opposition has in mind when he speaks about the cost of production coming down as a remedy for industrial unrest and trade depression is that wages must come clown.

Mr Latham:

– There is not the slightest foundation for that statement.

Mr HUGHES:

– That is what the honorable member means; the proof is to be found in the facts surrounding the last election. He can hardly deny that it was upon that cry that he and his friends went to the county.

Mr Latham:

– I do deny it. That is merely the misrepresentation of the right honorable member and those associated with him.

Mr HUGHES:

– The Leader of the Opposition was a member of a Government which proposed to strip this Parliament of all its industrial powers, on the pretext that it was necessary to do this monstrous thing in order to reduce the cost of production. The Government declared the position of the country to be so desperate that this action had to be taken without an hour’s delay.

The honorable member said yesterday that he rejoiced in the removal from the act of all penalties; of the effectiveness of which he had long entertained doubt, finally arriving at the conclusion that they were ineffective. He went on to say that the Government of which he was a member would have removed those penalties if it had continued in power. Coming from him this is a most amazing statement. Let us compare his present words with his past utterances and actions. He told us last night that one of the things which stood in the way of effective control of industry by this Parliament was that the Commonwealth had no police, and consequently could not enforce the awards of the court. Therefore it was proposed to hand over to the States the business of enforcing awards. Now there can be no exercise of force by a State unless there is legal machinery which authorizes the setting of that force in motion. It is therefore obvious that the honorable member’s conception of arbitration rests upon penalties and. coercion.

Mr Latham:

– That is a complete misrepresentation of anything I have said.

Mr HUGHES:

– It is obviously a true representation. The Leader of the Opposition poses here as one who rejoices that penalties are to be removed from the Arbitration Act. What is his record? Did he not introduce the licensing system on the various wharfs of Australia? What is that but a penal system? Men, to my certain knowledge, have been deprived of employment for the past twelve or fifteen months as a result of the legislation sponsored by the Leader of the Opposition when the last Government was in office. Is not that the most that could be inflicted on any one? The victims of his legislation are numbered by thousands. He has made it clear by his references to Queensland yesterday what his views are. He said that in Queensland there is less unemployment than in any other State, and he followed up that statement by saying that in Queensland the rural workers’ award has been withdrawn. What other deduction can be drawn from those words than that which I have submitted to the House? The withdrawal of the rural workers’ award was intended to bring about a reduction of wages. The Leader of the Opposition said that there is less unemployment in Quensland because that award has been withdrawn, and it is evident that wages have come down because the workers no longer enjoy its protection. This happy condition of affairs has, according to the honorable member, swept away depression from the State of Queensland.

I’ have emphasized these points because it is necessary that the people should understand the difference between arbitration as presented by the Government and the conception of arbitration held by the Leader of the Opposition and some, though not all, of his friends. I say deliberately that the honorable gentleman’s sole idea of dealing with the acute situation to-day is to reduce the wages of the workers. He spoke of Australia in very unflattering terms, contrasting it with other countries, greatly to its disadvantage. He said that Russia alone stood on the same level. In view of those statements it is permissible to emphasize by reference to figures which cannot be challenged what is the true position of Australia under arbitration. Much of the criticism to which reference has been made is founded upon maliciously false reports concocted in this country and sent out for world consumption. These reports are based in the first place on party coloured statements made by honorable members in this House and elsewhere. Since 1920, the population of Australia has increased from 5,350,000 to 6,4.14,000. The value of Australia’s annual production has increased during the same period from £343,000,000 to £453,000,000. Bank capital and fixed deposits have increased from £157,000,000 to £284,000,000, while Savings Bank deposits have increased from £136,000,000 to £225,000,000. That is a record which speaks for itself, and will challenge comparison with that of any country in the world. I do not say that Australia baa progressed because of arbitration, but that it has progressed under it is undeniable. Arbitration has so adjusted itself to the circumstances of the country that we have made this material progress, not at the cost of breeding a degenerate people, but while population, wealth, and trade have greatly increased, we have been able to maintain a high standard of living, which is reflected in the splendid physique and in the social conditions of the people.

Now let us turn from this general view to the measure before the House. The chief proposal of the bill is the appointment of conciliation commissioners, clothed with authority practically equal to that of the judges of the Arbitration Court. The measure is designed to give full effect to the principle of conciliation. When the new system is in operation we shall see the commissioners doing very much of the work formerly done by the court itself. As a result of considerable experience as a union official, as an advocate in the Arbitration Court, and as Attorney-General of this country for eleven years, I have long been convinced that there are disadvantages in courts as instrumentalities for adjusting disputes between capital and labour. The courts have done excellent work, but in my opinion they are not the best means for doing the work. The disadvantages of their legal procedure are obvious. It involves unnecessary delay and great expense. The honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Holloway), in the excellent speech which he delivered last night, gave some striking figures, showing that hundreds of thousands, if not in the aggregate millions, of pounds have been spent by the unions in trying to get their just claims settled by the court. He pointed out that, from time to time, the work of the court has been congested, and I know from my own experience that some unions have had to wait more than twelve months for the hearing of their claims. Then, too, a great deal of time is wasted in endeavouring to inform the judge of technical matters relating to the particular industries which come before him. It is, of course, impossible in the nature of things for a judge to be acquainted beforehand with the technicalities of the many industries with which he has to deal, and even after lengthy hearings judges have sometimes shown that they do not understand points with which the parties in the case are thoroughly familiar. Advocates employed in the courts tend also to keep the parties at arm’s length, and to widen the breach between them. The position would be very different if matters were dealt with before conciliation tribunals, for their proceedings would be much less formal than those of the court. Both parties would )>< familiar with all the. technicalities involved, and no time would be wasted iu explaining them. The disputes submitted to such bodies usually relate to hours, wages, and conditions of work. I have no doubt that the chairmen of these tribunals will be practical men with wide experience in industrial affairs. I should say that the chairmen of the tribunals that deal with large industries should also have had experience of those particular industries. Such tribunals would be far better fitted to deal with disputes than the Arbitration Court. The commissioner would listen to the parties, and endeavour to bring them to agreement; if he failed to do so, he would be able to make an award on the merits of the case. I heartily support this method of dealing with industrial troubles. I believe that its adoption will tend to facilitate the hearing of cases, and promote better relations between employers and employees. Whenever I have sat at a table for any length of time with the representatives of employers and employees, I have found that they come to know each other better, and to appreciate each other’s point of view. In such circumstances there is always a greater prospect of securing, and maintaining, harmonious relations than in the chilly atmosphere of the court.

I have endeavoured to give effect to my beliefs in this regard on three separate occasions to which I shall refer. In 1920 I introduced the Industrial Peace Bill, which is still upon the statute-: book. I do not suggest that it is a perfect piece of legislative machinery; but it certainly provides a more effective means for the settlement of industrial disputes than the Arbitration Court. As the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) said last night, it was my intention, had I remained in office, to apply the principles of that measure more generally to industry in this country. I was also responsible for the setting up of another tribunal which is worthy of some notice. During the war it became necessary for Australia to build ships on a large scale, and the unions were asked to accept two principles to which many were greatly opposed - piece-work, and the dilution of labour. An agreement was made which embodied these two principles, and for five years that industry gave employment to thousands of men, under the control of a tribunal the chairman of which was Mr. M. J. Connington, a practical man who had been an officer of a trade union with me for many years before. During that .period not a single stoppage of work occurred’. This constitutes a record to which I direct the attention of the House and the country. If the people of Australia want peace in industry, that is the way to get it; but if they follow the advice of those who say that there shall be peace in industry only at their own price, then peace will be unobtainable. The -tribunals to which I am referring have worked satisfactorily in Australia. To all intents and purposes they are the kind of tribunal which the Government is now asking the House to approve of in partial substitution for the Arbitration Court. These tribunals have worked more efficiently and harmoniously than any other industrial tribunals in the history of Australia; but I am not suggesting that any one form of tribunal will be successful in overcoming every difficulty. We are called upon to deal with a situation which is infinitely complex and difficult. Our industrial troubles cannot perhaps be wholly removed but they can be aggravated, and they can be alleviated. It is possible for us to set up an industrial machine which will run smoothly, or one which will not run at all. I submit that tribunals of the kind to which I have referred are much better for the purpose of securing and preserving industrial peace than the Arbitration Court.

The third occasion on which I endeavoured to give effect to my views on this subject was when I delivered the policy speech of the Government in 1922 at the Chatswood Town Hall. On that occasion I said -

As the Government believes the industrial question to be th j greatest of all questions, affecting, as it does, every sphere of human activity, I must define the position in plain terms. The Government admits that the present state of things, with clashing awards; conflicting and uncertain jurisdiction, is most unsatisfactory - that courts presided over by judges are not best suited to deal with industrial disputes.

The Government is of opinion that industrial tribunals are to be preferred to courts. But it does not believe that, if in these tribunals the parties do not agree, they should be left to fight the matter out, or in other words, to wage industrial war against society.

That is a clear indication of the intention of the party which I had the honour to lead to set up industrial tribunals presided over by practical men for the purpose of dealing with industrial disputes. Such tribunals would have been on all fours with the kind of tribunals which the Government is now proposing to establish, and their chairmen would have had power to make binding awards. I make these remarks to show that I am no new convert to the principles of industrial tribunals, and I hail with satisfaction the decision of the Government to set up such bodies.

Mr Latham:

– There is nothing about industrial tribunals in this bill.

Mr HUGHES:

– That, no doubt, gives the Leader of the Opposition a good deal of satisfaction ; but there is nothing in the bill that will prevent the setting up of such tribunals. And in any case the giving of power to conciliation commissioners to inquire into and make awards in regard to various industries without the formal ceremony of a law court is desirable, and is more likely to yield satisfactory results than the present system. I do not say that the Government intends to adopt the exact provisions of the Industrial Peace Act, or the Shipping Act, but it is certainly taking a step iu a right direction. The Leader of the Opposition seems to regard the proposals of the bill in this respect as a kind of monstrous innovation; but the principle of conciliation has been embodied in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act ab initio. Although many amendments have been made, the principle of conciliation is still retained in the act. The honorable gentleman himself endeavoured to give it a more prominent place. His proposals were not availed of by the leaders of industry, but in this bill it is proposed to give conciliation quite a different status; for the conciliation commissioners will be endowed with prac tically all the powers of an arbitration judge, and will be able to make binding awards if the parties fail to reach an agreement. At present, if the parties to disputes submitted to conciliation committees fail to agree, the matter must be referred to a judge of the court. Surely it appeals much more to- common-sense that the man who hears the proceedings in committee should settle the case. If he is not fit for that purpose he should not be appointed at all. It is suggested that the circumstances of tenure are unsatisfactory, and that these commissioners will be creatures dependent upon the whim of governments. Where there is life tenure there is complete independence, which is the ideal for which we look in the judiciary. The members of the coal tribunal and the shipping tribunal were appointed for a term. More or less these arguments are conjured up to hide the real reason why this bill is being opposed. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham) fears that these commissioners will not reduce the basic wage. Of course that, to him, is a very serious thing.

Mr Latham:

– I have said nothing of the kind.

Mr HUGHES:

– We are concerned not with words but with actions, When the honorable member was returned to this Parliament in 1928 he stood definitely for the extension of the power of the Commonwealth in industrial matters ; but what he did was to attempt to strip this Commonwealth of all industrial powers. What, therefore, do his actual words matter? The honorable gentleman travels through this country talking about what is necessary to be done. He has the effrontery to do that after having been a member of a government for several years. While in a responsible position he heaped upon this country, year by year, a mountain of trouble to which he points as if it were a monument of achievement. I welcome this proposal so far as it relates to the appointment of commissioners, because it will simplify the system of arbitration, and make for that harmonious working which we think so desirable. As a result of this legislation we are more likely to promote those cordial relations, which were sadly lacking under the preceding administration.

I agree that there should be no reduction of wages or increase of standard hours except with the approval of the majority of three judges. What we want in this country is a Uniform standard of hours and a uniform basic wage. But while I agree that a majority of three judges should decide what shall be the standard of hours and the basic wage, I do not agree that these bases of our industrial system should be liable to disturbance at the- instance of a conciliation commissioner. We desire uniformity and stability, and we shall get uniformity if we have standard hours and a standard basic wage throughout Australia. Having obtained that, it should be altered, if at all, only by the tribunal that declared it.

It has been suggested that disputes filed in the Federal Court should not be remitted to a State court. That course commends itself to me. It is also proposed to clothe the court with power to decide whether a dispute is within the meaning of the Constitution. Although the present position is intolerable, I have serious doubts whether, as a fact, this can be done ; I doubt whether it is possible to take from the High Court the power of determining this question. However, that remains to be seen, and I shall not oppose the attempt to clothe the Arbitration Court with that power.

While heartily in accord with the proposal to appoint commissioners, and to give them power to settle disputes, I regret that the Government is attaching to this much needed reform a number of amendments of the law that are more or less, as the Attorney-General said last night, political gestures. For instance, it is proposed to strike out the provision for- taking secret ballots. That is a mistake. When the 1928 bill was before this House, I opposed strongly the amendment relating to the secret ballot, and I gave my reasons for so doing. They are reported in Hansard, of the 18th May, 1928, at page 5055. I said -

I come now to the clause dealing with the secret ballot. I was glad indeed to hear the

Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), say that he welcomed the secret ballot. Every sensible man does, and a good many unions hold secret ballots. But the honorable gentleman is right, I think, when he says that the provisions whereby the court may, on the secret application of ten men, order a secret ballot will be either futile or disastrous.

I went on to show why that must be so. I pointed out to the then AttorneyGeneral who is now the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham), that, while he had the best of intentions, he did not understand the .working of the .union organizations. I said -

An effective secret ballot can be conducted only through the instrumentality and machinery of the union. We may attempt to do ““it some other way, and to compel a union to take a ballot; but it cannot be done, and there are no means of punishing the union when it refuses to obey the order of the court. This legislation runs counter to human nature.

I said that the secret ballot then proposed must inevitably fail, and it did fail. I pointed out that a secret ballot with the goodwill of the employees would be a good thing, but that if the Government attempted to force a ballot down the throats of a body of unionists, they would resist it. And that is what they did in the timber-workers’ dispute. That is the position still. A secret ballot on the application of ten members of a union must fail, because there are always in a union a number of men who can be got to do anything. The average unionist would say, “ These men are doing the work of the employer,” and would reject the proposal, or fight it tooth and nail. But if a substantial proportion of the bona fide members of a union desired a secret ballot, they should have it. The last Government went on its way heedless of any advice or suggestion; it deliberately drove straight on to the rocks. This Government is now endeavouring to increase the membership of unions by making preference absolute, and to force men who are now outside the unions to join them; but without the secret ballot the rank and file will have no opportunity to express any opinion, good, bad, or indifferent. I said, in 1928, that my experience of unions was that at every meeting that I had attended- - and I was a unionist official for over twenty years - there were “reds,” that is, extremists, present. Sometimes they were few and sometimes many, but they always made their influence felt. Repeatedly a mere handful of men dominate a meeting and their purpose is always the same: they want to provide strife. One rarely knows what is going to happen until it is too late to prevent it; a strike is declared, and you are in it. The moderates are powerless. I am speaking, not of tame-cat unions, but of virile unions. In the union of which I was a member, no man, at a time when feeling ran high, would dare to counsel moderation. Without a secret ballot the moderates cannot make themselves heard. I contend, however, that the opinion of the majority as well as the voice of the minority ought to be heard. If, say, 20 per cent. of the bona fide members of a union demand a secret ballot, that secret ballot ought to be taken under the auspices of the union.

It is proposed to strike out of the act the proviso that was inserted in 1928, compelling the judge to take into consideration the probable economic effects of his award. I opposed that provision whin it was introduced, and said that it lay open to the interpretation which certainly every unionist would place upon it, that it was designed to prevent the judge from giving an award that would raise wages. The great bulk of the unionists of this country firmly believe that that was the intention; and events as I have detailed them seem to bear that out. It must be remembered that for twenty odd years the court had taken into consideration the economic effects of its awards. A new factor, therefore, was introduced ; the judge was no longer given discretionary power, but was told that he must take notice of those effects. Why was that done? What could be the purpose of the amendment except to influence the court against awarding an increased wage ? To remove any doubts the gentlemen who were responsible for its insertion went about the country preaching the doctrine of the reduction of the cost of production. There could be no doubt in the mind of any man as to their intention. I pointed that out at the time.

In Hansard, volume 118, page 5053, I am reported as saying -

When the Leader of the Opposition was speaking, the right honorable member for Balaclava (Mr.Watt) interjected that the court had always done this, and the Leader of the Opposition replied that that was so, but that hitherto the court had had a discretionary power, but it was now intended to make such consideration obligatory.

The reason for my opposition to that provision was that I considered it an unwarrantable interference with judicial discretion. The settlement of industrial disputes is a matter of very great delicacy; the interests involved are vast and complex; any attempt at direction is so redolent of party political feeling, that it must inevitably defeat the purpose for which arbitration was introduced - to preserve peace, to promote harmony, and bring about cordial relations between the powerful forces of capital and labour. Those who introduced the 1928 amendment were not representative of trade unionists. When they said that a judge must take notice of the economic effects of his awards, knowing that he had always done so, what interpretation was to be placed upon their proposal other than that it was a partisan attempt to tamper with the free working of justice? The present Government now proposes to wipe out that provision. I quite understand their motive, but they are mistaken in supposing that they can, by striking out these words, restore the position as it was before the words were inserted. If the Government now says that the judge need not take notice of the economic effect of awards, what interpretation will be placed upon their act? It will go out to the world that Australia, which is regarded by many as the land of strikes - a kind of industrial hot-house in which wages are forced up to a monstrous uneconomic level - now proposes to throw descretion to the winds, and take no notice whatever of economic laws.

Mr Brennan:

– As the right honorable gentleman has pointed out, if this provision is enacted the act will be as it was for 24 years.

Mr HUGHES:

– That is so; but nobody will believe it [Extension of time granted.] A form of words should be adopted that will make it clear that we have no such intention as will, be implied by those who do not understand the whole of the circumstances surrounding the matter. That can easily be done. Last night it was pointed out that this is a two-edged sword. I am anxious that Australia’s reputation shall not suffer, and that those who support the measure shall not be placed in an invidious position. I wish to make my position, at all events, perfectly clear. I shall not vote for this proposal in its present form.

I have already referred to the proposal to extend the principle of preference to unionists. Preference to unionists has been a provision of the act for many years; but a mistake will be made if the principle is extended in such a way as to remove the qualification that has hitherto been attached to it. I have always been in favour of preference to unionists, but not of absolute preference; there has always been the qualification, expressed, implied, understood, nay inherent in the very nature of things, that the unionist shall be fit for his job. To remove that qualification would be a very great mistake. If the new provision is to be effective, everybody will be compelled to join a union. The overwhelming majority of those persons employed in industries or avocations in which organizations have been built up, are already members of unions. I can say with certainty that not one-half of 1 per cent, of those employed in the industry covered by the organization to which I was attached were outside the union. But there are avocations in which a similar condition docs not1 obtain.

Mr Brennan:

– Does not. the right honorable gentleman see that, after the removal of those words, the matter will remain as it should be - in the discretion of the judiciary?

Mr HUGHES:

– Not when those words have been removed. . The honorable gentleman does not appear to realize that if the words had been there without qualification ab initio, the position would be as he has stated ; but the judiciary will now naturally inquire why those words were taken out. Only one deduction can be drawn - that the law has radically changed the position. If everybody is compelled to join a union, what will unionism become? I can remember the time when a unionist was really a unionist, and if he had to go into a strike he knew where he stood. If everybody joins a union, unionism as a force will cease to exist; it will be a papier mache thing, maintained only by the law, and a creature of the law. Preference to unionists will then be meaningless, because when everybody is a unionist no distinction can be drawn. If the court regards absolute preference as unworkable it may refuse to award preference at all. Prom every point of view this amendment is most unwise. If it is to be effective, and all persons who are not now members of unions are compelled to join them, they will bitterly resent it at the ballot-box. The AttorneyGeneral has referred to this as a political gesture. It is not worth while to make such’ gestures. Let us not have political gestures that mean nothing. This does not mean anything; or if it does, it means so much that it will prove too much for honorable members opposite.

It is proposed to wipe out the secret ballot and to deny to bona fide unionists the opportunity to make war against the “Reds”. That is not fair play, and it will not appeal to the great mass of trade unionists. If it is a gesture intended to placate, it will not be of any advantage to the great mass of trade unionists.

I am entirely in favour of the main object of this measure, but I regret very much that these amendments have been tacked on to it. They have no real soil in which to find a root. They are political gestures and might gracefully be abandoned. At best this is a stop-gap measure, for until the Constitution has been amended, it is impossible to .deal effectively with the industrial problem, but the appointment of conciliation commissioners is as a step in the right direction. There I leave the’ matter. I hope that we shall have an opportunity in committee, when the Government has considered the matter further, to make some amendments that will render ‘ the bill more acceptable than it is in its present form.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Keane) adjourned.

page 2947

TARIFF SCHEDULE (No. 1) 1930

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Mr FORDE:
Acting Minister for Trade and Customs · Capricornia · ALP

– I move -

  1. That the schedule to the Customs Tariff 1921-1930 be amended as hereunder set out, and that on and after the twentieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty, at nine o’clock in the forenoon reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff as so amended.
That, excepting by mutual agreement or until after six months' notice has been given to the Government of the Dominion of New Zealand, nothing in this Resolution shall affect any goods the produce or manufacture of the Dominion of New Zealand entering the Commonwealth of Australia front the Dominion of New Zealand. By adding a new Prefatory Note (11) as follows : - " (11) Whenever goods are composed of two or more separate articles, even though such articles are specifically mentioned in the Tariff, the goods sholl be dealt with under the item or items directed by the Minister." ifr. *Forde.* ifr. *Forde.* {:#subdebate-32-1} #### Mr {: type="1" start="2"} 0. That the Schedule to the Excise Tariff 1921-1928 he amended as hereunder set out, and on and after the twentieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty, at nine o'clock in the forenoon reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff as so amended. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. That in lieu of the Special Duty of Customs specified in the Resolution introduced into the House of Representatives' on the third day of April, One thousand nine hundred and thirty, there be imposed, on and after the twentieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty, at nine o'clock in the forenoon,, reckoned according to standard time in the Territory for the Seat of Government, in addition to the duties of Customs collected in accordance with the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1921-1930, as proposed to be amended by the Tariff Proposals, a special duty of Customs, at the rate of fifty per centum of the amount of duty calculated in accordance with the duties imposed by the Customs Tariff 1921-1930 as proposed to be amended by the Tariff Proposals on such of the goods included in the items specified in the first column of the Schedule hereto as are specified in the second column of that Schedule, which were exported from the country of export after the third day of April, One thousand nine hundred and thirty, and which are entered for home consumption after the nineteenth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty. That in this Resolution " Tariff Proposals " shall mean the Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the nineteenth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and thirty, and shall include any amendment of those proposals : and That, excepting by mutual agreement or until after six months' notice has been given to the Government of the Dominion of New Zealand, nothing in this resolution shall affect any goods the produce or manufacture of the Dominion of New Zealand entering the Commonwealth of Australia from the Dominion of New Zealand. It is with a good deal of satisfaction that I submit the foregoing motions in connexion with tariff adjustments proposed by the Government, all the particulars of which honorable members will find in the schedule that is now being distributed. The motions submitted to the House embody those tabled on the 21st November and the 11th December last. It is not my intention at this juncture to make a lengthy speech, but to deal with principles rather than details. Honorable members will be afforded an opportunity, within the next fortnight, to give the fullest consideration .to these schedules in detail. In the customs and excise schedules there are altogether 442 items and sub-items, of which 43 are embodied for drafting purposes only. There are 114 new items .and sub-items in which increased duties are proposed, and 8 where reduced duties are suggested ; in addition, 25 of the items submitted in November and December have been varied. I realize that some persons will be disappointed that certain additional items have not been placed on the schedule. That is inevitable of course, but I would remind those persons and honorable members that altogether about 1,400 requests have been received by the department in regard to tariff matters. I have received over 350 deputations personally. I have visited a great many new factories, and departmental officers have done everything humanly possible to give the fullest consideration to every request that has come before the department. But it has been physically impossible to consider carefully all the applications that have been made. Some have therefore to be further considered or referred to the Tariff Board. The schedule placed on the table to-day represents a good deal of work, not only by myself,, but also by officers of the department, and I desire to pay a special tribute of praise to a very capable band of officers in the Trade and Customs Department throughout Australia, and particularly those in the central office, with whom I have been more closely associated in the last seven or eight months. I wish to specially recognize, the services of the Deputy Comptroller-General, **Mr. Abbott,** who has worked tirelessly. He serves under governments of all political parties, and, whatever the policy of the Government of the day may be, like a good public servant, he does his utmost to carry out the work that devolves upon him as the officer in charge of the tariff. I believe that the same remark may well be applied to every other officer of the department. Unfortunately, the Tariff Board has been very much overworked, and it has not been possible in all cases to wait for reports from it before action has been taken. {: #subdebate-32-1-s0 .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE:
ALP -- I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that the Tariff Board has enough work already to keep it occupied for the next six or eight months. The loyal and capable assistance of the staff of the department has enabled the Government to give effect to the definite promise made by the Prime Minister at the last general election, when he said, " Breaches in the tariff wall will be repaired at once. Labour stands for the fullest possible protection of all industries, primary and secondary." In making that promise, he was giving effect to planks 4 and 5 of the Federal Labour party's platform, which states - {: type="1" start="4"} 0. The new protection embodying the effective protection of Australian industries, prevention of profiteering, and the protection of the workers in such industries. 1. Import embargoes for the effective protection of Australian industries subject to the control of prices and industrial conditions in the industry benefited. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth Constitution limits the powers of this Parliament over trade and commerce, and at the present time it is not possible to give full effect to the Federal Labour party's new protection policy. There have been quite a number of complaints in regard to alleged profiteering, and I ordered that the fullest investigation be made into them. It is gratifying to the Government, and it must be pleasing also to all those who stand for the policy of protection, to find that, in practically all cases, the fault lies, not with the manufacturers, but with the distribu-tors. As an earnest of the Government's intention to take every reasonable measure to prevent the public from being exploited, arrangements have been made to allocate a competent accountant of the Trade and Customs Department to take charge of all investigations into alleged instances of profiteering, and if they are proved, those responsible, whether manufacturers or retailers, will he exposed in Parliament. I believe that that will act as a deterrent against profiteering, because I believe that the- great majority of manufacturers throughout Australia stand for a fair deal, and will be prepared to co-operate with the Government in making a success of its protectionist policy. If they fail to do that, the Government will take whatever action lies within its power to expose them on the floor of Parliament. Owing to the unfortunate trade depression through which not only Australia but the whole world is passing, the expected benefits from the November and December schedules have not been fully realized, but inquiries among employers clearly prove that were it not for the November and December schedules many of the factories would have closed down and others would have been in a bad way, with the resultant large additional unemployment of artisans and workmen. Nobody knows that better than I do, because I have visted more factories in the last eight months than any other honorable member. The present Government is not responsible for the unsatisfactory state of industry generally in Australia. If the protection given by this Government had been granted six years ago, there would have been a wonderful development of secondary industries. All. students of political economy realize that many factors are contributing to the present temporary depression, amongst which are over-borrowing abroad to the extent of £50,000,000 a year for about ten years; a number of secondary industries overwhelmed by a flood of imports, and adverse trade balances over seven years amounting to £90,000,000. But the governments and the people continued the orgy of extravagance until the bottom fell out of the prices of some of Our staple primary products, and then the present Government had to set our financial house in order. An estimate of the falling off of the real income of the community was recently made by the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, which has put the figure down at between £80,000,000 and £100,000,000 per annum, made up chiefly of loss through the falling in prices of primary products and the enforced curtailment of loan expenditure, with its resultant unemployment. This falling off in our national income has had a serious effect upon the purchasing power of the people, and upon the development and expansion of our primary and secondary industries. No doubt it will delay for some time that big development that would in normal times have followed the protection that has been given to industries by the present Government. This is not the time for pessimism, however. A healthy optimistic note should be struck, because we have nothing to fear, and we shall emerge from this temporary depression a better and more progressive people. After the first stock exchange debacle or Wall-street crash ' in America last year, the President of the United States of America called the commercial leaders together, and a joint announcement was made that it was not the time for counsels of despair, but an occasion when everybody in authority should take positve action to develop new industries and avenues of employment. That is the spirit which animates the Commonwealth Government to-day, and in the methods it is adopting it is buoyed up by the knowledge that the United States of America, which was experiencing a general deflation, after consulting the financial authorities and economic experts, recently passed a comprehensive tariff schedule, the largest in its history, covering 3,418 alterations and providing 888 increases, of which 250 were in respect of agricultural products. Many Australian industries have reported very encouraging progress since November last. One company, whose weekly wages bill was slightly over £300, is now paying £900 a week, and has been forced to work night shifts in order to handle the rush of orders. Another industry reported that the number of employees in one factory had increased by over 100 men. Numerous industries have reported inquiries from all parts of Australia by people who were previously confirmed importers. The policy of protection has been subjected to a lot of criticism, and extravagant estimates have been made of what it is costing Australia. It is not my intention to go into the merits or demerits of the policy now, except to say that credit has not been given to protection for any of the benefits which the general public is deriving therefrom. It is a well-known fact that overseas suppliers charge the Australian purchaser higher prices when there is no local factory producing similar goods than when Australia has a competitive industry. This has been proved time after time, and in connexion with the November schedule a very marked instance has come to my notice. A line of knitted piecegoods, which before November last was being sold in Australia at 5s. lid. per yard f.o.b., is now being offered at 3s. lid. per .yard f.o.b. This is evidence that the Australian' purchaser was previously overcharged. Many examples can be quoted to show that the introduction of increased duties has resulted in decreasing the prices of Australian manufactured goods. I quote a few items of underwear - The following figures, in relation to the prices of farming implements, give a further indication of the fact that the imposition of an effective tariff reduces prices : - Other prices which have decreased since the introduction of the November and December schedules include - Seductions have also been made on the following lines: - >Paints - 5 per cent, to 10 per cent. > >Springs for motor cars - One manufacturer in Sydney has reduced his prices as much as 60 per cent., according to quantity ordered. > >Full-fashioned hose have been sold at prices lower than imported hose imported prior to duties of November last. > >Cigars - Reduction in all local-manufactured lines ranging from 2J per cent, to 20 per cent. > >Women's felt hats and women's millinery hats-Coming season's quotations 16 per cent, to 26 per cent, less than last years. > >Cotton and linen handkerchiefs - 7) to 15 per cent, reduction. > >Ladies' hand-bags - 10 per cent, to 12 per cent, reduction. > >Steel split pulleys - 10 per cent, reduction. > >Wireless cabinets - 20 per cent, reduction. Another effect of the tariff is that numerous overseas manufacturing firms have decided to establish branch factories in Australia, or are now exploring the market here. The result will be that instead of Australia sending money across the seas for goods manufactured abroad, the money will be retained in Australia, and more employment will be provided. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- That is pleasant news for the local manufacturer. {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr FORDE: -- No local manufacturer will object to such a development, having regard to the fact that Australia annually imports £140,000,000 worth of goods, of which £70,000,000 could be produced locally. Some of the large overseas firms that have decided to establish plants in Australia are - >Julius Kayser and Company, New York, and Holeproof Hosiery and Company, Milwaukie both well known hosiery manufacturers, have completed arrangements for the manufacture in Australia of the full range of their products. They will give employment to a considerable number of Australian men and women. > >Godfrey Phillips Limited, one of the largest tobacco and cigarette manufacturers in the United Kingdom, has signified its intention of establishing a branch factory in Australia. > >A. Gilbey Limited, United Kingdom, has decided to turn its gin-bottling works at West Melbourne, Victoria, into a distillery. ThiB company intends to expend approximately £20,000 in extensions to the existing factory. > >J. Heinz, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States of America, is transferring a certain section of its manufacturing activities to Australia, and hopes to cater for the Eastern export market in addition to maintaining the Australian market, which the company previously held. It will employ 350 persons. > >Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company, which previously supplied the Australian market with rubber garden hose, manufactured by the parent company in United States oi America, has, since the imposition of the increased duties, installed at its Australian branch, plant for the manufacture of such hose. > >Arrangements are now in hand by. the Swedish Match Company to establish two factories in Australia, one in Western Australia, and the other in New South Wales or Victoria. . > >Phillips Lamps Limited, Eindhoven, Holland, intends to establish a factory in Australia for the manufacture of radio receivers and parts, which the company considers will eventually employ 200 hands. > >Australian General Electric Company has arrangements well in hand for the manufacture in Australia of filament lamps for lighting and heating. > >Robert Bosch and Company, Germany, will shortly manufacture the company's well known spark plugs in Australia. > > **Mr. J.** Joris, a Belgian diamond expert has decided to operate locally a plant for cutting and polishing diamonds. > >Qualcast Company, Derby, United Kingdom, is establishing a branch at Footscray, Victoria, for the manufacture of lawnmowers. > >It is also possible that J. Stone and Company, London, will establish a branch in Australia for the manufacture of machinery for ships and railways. The necessary inquiries to this end are now in train. > > **Mr. S.** Bolton, General Manager of Fuller Brush Company, America, the . biggest brushmaking concern in the world, has announced that his company has decided to establish a factory in Australia to manufacture brushes, and that employment will be given to 250 persons. It is little wonder that the Melbourne *Age,* commenting upon this development, said on the 5th June - >One of the most gratifying results of the series of tariff schedules introduced by the Federal Government during the last six months is the decision of large enterprising firms to establish branch factories in Australia. The Government's policy of giving protection to Australian industries has an important bearing upon primary production. It provides a local market for the man on the land. The greater the sales of primary products in Australia the greater will be the prosperity of the people who produce them. The butter, dried fruits, and sugar industries may be cited in this connexion, but the same principle applies to many other industries. The following table shows how Australia's production of butter, dried fruits, and sugar is disposed of: - Each of these products is sold abroad at much less than the Australian price. If, say, half of the present exports could be sold in Australia, the greater return on the three products mentioned would be approximately £2,865,000. The only feasible way to increase materially Australian sales is to develop and extend the local market. That can best be achieved by creating more employment and incidentally reducing the dangerous adverse trade balance which in the last seven years has aggregated over £90,000,000. The Government assumed office in one of the worst periods since federation, but it realizes the vastness of our heritage and the great recuperative powers of our country. Australia has natural advantages and wealth almost unequalled in the history of civilized races. Within its borders are to be found a variety of climates, and most classes of raw material. In the Government's tariff proposals a distinct advance is being made in the direction of assisting enterprising manufacturers, creating additional employment, and providing remunerative industries for our own people. The Government recognises its responsibility to those who, in this time of depression, instead of putting money into bonds, take the risk of investing it in industries which will support many workers in conformity with Australian standards of living. The Government believes that its policy is not only creating additional employment, but is conserving work for thousands of people who would otherwise be dismissed. In this way it is helping Australia to emerge from its temporary depression, and win even greater prosperity than it has enjoyed in the past. I move - >That progress be reported, and leave asked to sit again. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- **Mr. Chairman-** The **CHAIRMAN (Mr. McGrath).No** debate can take place on this motion. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- No debate? {: .speaker-F4U} ##### Mr Forde: -- Not to-day, but within a fortnight. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- That is the roughest thing that has ever occurred in this House. Motion agreed to. Progress reported. Question proposed - >That the House will, at the next sitting, again resolve itself into the said committee. {: #subdebate-32-1-s1 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
Kooyong .- The Acting Minister for Trade and Customs has brought down a new tariff schedule, and in doing so made a speech in which he referred to the effects of the present schedule as viewed by himself. Some of the statements which he made can be checked, but in regard to others-- {: #subdebate-32-1-s2 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Norman Makin: -- I am reluctant to intervene, but the only matter under discussion at the moment is when the House shall again resolve itself into a committee. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- For. the reasons I have just stated it is important that the House should resolve itself into committee at the earliest posible moment. The new schedule introduced by the Minister may be a very good one, but no honorable member in this House, except conceivably the members of the Government, has the slightest idea of what it contains. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I rise to a point of order. I submit that the Leader of the Opposition is now discussing the schedule, and in that, I respectively suggest, he is violating your ruling. {: #subdebate-32-1-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The Leader of the Opposition will not be in order in discussing the tariff schedule. The only question before the House is the time when the House shall again resolve itself into the said committee. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- I appreciate that, and I would not dream of discussing the schedule, because I do not know what is in it. Moreover, no one else in this House knows what is in it, except, perhaps, the members of the Ministry. It is of the first importance that the committee should sit again at the earliest possible moment, so that honorable members may learn the meaning of the resolution moved in such eloquent terms by the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs. The Acting Minister made no reference to the contents of the schedule, and I shall not attempt to do so either. The committee is anxious to get on with its work, and I suggest, therefore, that instead of the House resolving itself again into the said committee at a later date, it should do so immediately, so that honorable members may learn whether the Minister himself knows the nature of the proposals which be submitted to an astonished committee. {: #subdebate-32-1-s4 .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr GULLETT:
Henty .- This motion should not be carried before the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied honorable members with the information asked for. I am not trying to take advantage of this point to delay proceedings, or to embarrass the Government. Although the Minister has tabled a schedule containing 114 items, I have not been able to learn from anything he said what the nature of that schedule is. The printed matter supplied gives no intimation as to what is in the new schedule. The new items are mixed up with those in the three or four previous schedules. I appeal to the Government to issue instructions for the preparation of a separate memorandum setting out specifically the alterations which have been made to the previous schedules. {: #subdebate-32-1-s5 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Cowper .- I ask the Government to agree to the House again forming itself into a committee, so that the Minister , may explain the new schedule. If that is done honorable members will be able to discuss this matter intelligently when it again comes before them in a fortnight's time. When the previous schedules were brought down all the new items were set forth in such a way as to be readily understandable, and the same practice should have been followed in this case. {: #subdebate-32-1-s6 .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN:
Prime Minister · Yarra · ALP -- The date on which this House will again resolve itself into a committee to discuss this schedule will be determined very largely by the time occupied in disposing of the bill now before us. It has been suggestedby the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs that the schedule may again come up for discussion in a fortnight's time, or perhaps earlier. At any rate it will be discussed as soon as possible after the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill has been disposed of. This new tariff schedule is a consolidation of the previous schedules. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- There is more in it than that. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- It contains a good deal of fresh matter I know, and if honorable members will look at the memorandum {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- It is not permissible for the right honorable gentleman to pursue his present line of discussion. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- I am aware of that. I desire merely to point out that when the time comes for the committee to sit again honorable members will have had an opportunity of learning the nature of the alterations which have been made to the preceding schedules. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- What about the April schedule? {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- The April schedule has nothing to do with this. If the right honorable member for Cowper **(Dr. Earle Page)** studied the schedule for half an hour he would find that he has been barking up the wrong tree. One very strong reason why the matter should be adjourned now is that honorable members may, in the interval, have an opportunity of studying the schedule, and dispelling the confusion which seems to have settled in many of their minds. {: #subdebate-32-1-s7 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA · ALP . I do not know whether I should ask leave to make a personal explanation, or whether I should take the opportunity of saying what I have to say on the motion now before the Chair. I wish to state that I have been misrepresented by the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Gullett).** He said that no one in the House understood what was in the schedule. The honorable member has accused me of ignorance equal to his own. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I did not hear the honorable member for Henty make any reference to the honorable member for Corangamite. {: #subdebate-32-1-s8 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- He said that no one in the House understood the schedule. That is an attack upon my intelligence. I know already that it is proposed to alter the duty on timber, bolts, and- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must recognize that if I permit him to make a personal explanation under cover of speaking to the motion now before the Chair, a general debate might ensue. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 3006 {:#debate-33} ### CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION BILL {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from page 2946. {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE:
Bendigo -- I take this opportunity of thanking the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** for sup plying me with a copy of his speech on this bill. I was anxious to hear the honorable gentleman's speech, but was unable to do so because of another engagement. As a new member I wish also, in this connexion, to express my appreciation of the work of the shorthand staff for the manner in which that speech was reported. It was in print and in my possession within 3? hours of its being delivered. The great battle on the subject of arbitration was fought when the Maritime Industries Bill was before Parliament. On that occasion the Government submitted proposals, the effect of which was practically to abolish the Federal Arbitration Court. Those who represented the Labour movement in this House told the Government that the proposal would be repugnant to 95 per cent. of the people of Australia. We were informed by members of the Government that if the Federal Parliament withdrew from arbitration, industrial regulation could be left quite well to State Governments and State tribunals. Since that time the Governments of New South Wales and Queensland have repealed legislation under which many of the workers in those States had obtained arbitration awards, a fact which shows that the electors of Australia were wise in their choice of a government when they were asked at the last election to vote on the issue of federal arbitration or no federal arbitration. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- Does the honorable member mean other than rural awards? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Yes; the Queensland Government has deliberately interfered with the hours of work in the Public Service in that State. That would not have been possible had the Labour party view in relation to the Maritime Industries Act been accepted. {: .speaker-KZR} ##### Mr White: -- Queensland has fewer unemployed than any other State. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- That is because the previous Labour Government left the present Government with a large surplus, which it has been able to use to relieve unemployment. I strongly deprecate government interference with industrial tribunals or trade unions. I have had a long experience of Commonwealth and State Arbitration Courts, and I believe that 95 per cent, of the people of Australia, including practically the whole of the workers and the middle classes, believe that trade unionism provides the best means of improving the working conditions of the people. So far there have been twelve amendments of the Con.ciliation and Arbitration Act, some of which have been good and some bad. But undoubtedly the tendency in this country among employers and employees is to organize industrially and commercially. The British Medical Association is one of the strongest organizations in the country, for it includes 99 per cent, of the medical practitioners here. That association practices direct action at all times, und sometimes in the most brutal way. We all know very well that a doctor frequently charges 10s. 6d. for looking wise, and making a wrong diagnosis. The Law Institutes of Australia also include the whole of the lawyers practising here, and prescribe minimum charges for their members. {: .speaker-JVR} ##### Mr Nairn: -- That is not correct. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- I have had a wide experience of lawyers. Some of them have been cheap and some costly. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- And some of the cheapest are the dearest. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- That is so. All of them have been qualified, but they have not all been competent. The architects of Australia also have their O.B.TJ., which dictates terms before any work is done. The coal-owners, the ship-owners, and the proprietors in practically every industry are thoroughly organized. I offer no objection to this; but it is remarkable that no governments have ever interfered with the operations of these bodies. The coal-owners, for instance, were able to close down the collieries on the northern fields of New South Wales for fifteen months, and the Government, because of constitutional limitations, was not able to prevent them from doing so. In these circumstances it is only to be expected that the workers should insist upon the right to organize industrially. In the last 25 years the Arbitration Court has been the "be all and end all " of their efforts. To-day, however, there are several schools of thought in the industrial movement. A few labour leaders advocate the entire abandonment of arbitration; hut that policy is not acceptable to 99 per cent, of our trade unionists. I have had the honour of working with and for trade unionists for many years, and I believe that the great majority of them, like every honorable member of this Parliament, desire that industry shall proceed smoothly, and that employers shall be enabled to pay their workers a fair wage and provide them with regular work. In spite of what has been said by honorable members opposite, I do not know a single Labour leader who has ever been pleased because a strike has occurred. They have always fought for peace in industry, and the spectacle of the members of their organizations suffering starvation is the most hellish that can confront them. I had the honour for many years to be the leader of one of the biggest industrial organizations in Australia. It was a government body which had an excellent record. My association with it brought me into contact with practically all the labour leaders of this country, and that contact enables me to refute the statement of the Leader of the Opposition yesterday that trade union leaders are dishonest. I believe that a combing of the ranks of the legal profession would bring out more crooks and rogues than have been discovered in the ranks of trade union secretaries in the last 25 years. There is more rascality in the legal profession than there has ever been in the Labour movement of Australia. Trade unions are managed by executive officers and committees well skilled to protect the interest of their members, and to conserve the funds of their organizations. Although a school of industrial thought advocates class war and revolution, it is entirely out of favour with the vast majority of working people, who desire peace in industry. Trade union leaders may not, speaking generally, have the educational qualifications of the leaders of the employing class, but some of the greatest leaders of our political and industrial life have come1 from among them. The economic difficulties of Australia have not been caused by frequent strikes. It is regrettable to me that certain persons opposed to the policy of the Labour party take every opportunity of condemning its industrial policy, and of publishing abroad that Australia is the land of strikes and industrial unrest. In my opinion, unemployment is a far greater menace to the welfare of this country than industrial disagreements. Some little time ago, I asked the Prime Minister {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What number of working days was lost in Australia, during the past year, as a result of industrial troubles (omitting the time lost in the Newcastle coal-fields lockout) ? 1. What number of working days was lost during the same period as a result of unemployment? His replies were - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 2.100,000. 1. The loss in working days caused by unemployment is not readily ascertainable, but it is estimated that the number of working days so lost during the year mentioned would be not less than 27,000,000. It is deplorable that there should be so much unemployment in this country. Despite the fact that an honorable member opposite directed the attention of the Prime Minister, this afternoon, to a cablegram published in the Melbourne *Herald* which suggested that Australia's credit abroad had been injured by the introduction of this bill, I submit that our credit has been injured more by unemployment and other elements in our industrial life. I believe that many of the cablegrams of this nature, which appear in the British press, are inspired iri Australia, and they do more than anything else to harm us. However, this is an arbitration bill and not a bill to deal with unemployment, so I shall confine my remarks to the subject of arbitration. It has been suggested that there is a great deal of overlapping of State and Commonwealth arbitration" authorities; but that is not the case. It has always been understood that the workers of this country could choose to place themselves under .either Commonwealth or State jurisdiction, but the federal court has invariably held that they cannot have recourse to both authorities. In the debate on arbitration, which occurred in this House in 1928, the present Leader of the Opposition quoted some figures to show that so many workers were working under State awards, and so many under Commonwealth awards; but many. of the State awards that are supposed to be in force in New South Wales have been superseded by Commonwealth awards. In December, 1925, one federal award, covering railway workers, came into operation and entirely nullified 41 New South Wales awards ; yet these are still recorded in that State as being in force. I suggest that that is one of those generalities which are so often used in connexion with the overlapping of awards. The wages and conditions of our working people are the most important factors in the life of the community, because the employers and the employees constitute the majority of our adult population. There are actually 800,000 people in this country registered under federal awards. In 1928 the then Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham)** introduced an amending arbitration bill. He is a very worthy gentleman and an excellent lawyer, but, unfortunately, at that time he did not know the A B C of industrialism. In sponsoring the bill he was certainly handicapped, because the then Government was determined to abolish federal awards. That legislation was provocative throughout, and intensified the legal atmosphere surrounding the Federal Court. I do not wish to offer any criticism of the four judges of the court. In making their awards for the waterside-workers, the timber-workers, tramway-workers, and engineers, they were tied hand and foot. They had to administer the law as amended by the Bruce-Page Government in 1928, and would have been lacking in their duty had they done otherwise. It is futile to appoint a lawyer to prescribe the conditions and wages applying to anyparticular industry. I say frankly that the arbitration system has failed. {: .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson: -- That is Un argument in favour of the wages board system. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- It is an argument in favour of conciliation committees and assessors. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- Would the honorable member suggest that a man has no knowledge of sanitation unless he has been a sanitary inspector? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- I am fully aware that a man is not a horse just because he is in a stable. I am suggesting that the judges of the Arbitration Court were placed in an impossible position because of the amending legislation of 1928. That legislation has brought in its train nothing but industrial disasters. The unions have lost faith in the federal arbitration system mainly because of the astonishing number of bewigged judges and barristers who are employed in the court. When the Hours case was before the court, I attended with the honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Holloway)** and **Mr. Crofts.** There were four judges on the bench, and a bar of six legal gentlemen representing the employers. On that occasion the advocates of the unions were unfairly sidetracked and tricked by these shrewd legal men. The action of the Bruce-Page Government in appointing members of the legal profession to the Arbitration Court was hopeless and doomed to failure. The general community would be much more satisfied if practical men representing the employers and employees sat round a table, and, dispensing altogether with lengthy evidence and costly transcript, arrived, by mutual consent, at the wages and conditions in industry. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- That could not be done under this bill. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- This bill merely deletes the provision in the act which makes it mandatory for the judge, when making an award, to take into consideration its economic effect upon industry. That practice has never been departed from either in the Federal or State spheres. It has always operated and will always operate until arbitration is abolished altogether. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- Let us hope so. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- We do not desire legal men on the Arbitration Court. The late Government made an appalling choice of the Arbitration Court judges. A. criminal lawyer is not the proper type of person to settle the differences of the employers and employees and to bring the lion and the lamb amicably together. The present Arbitration Court judges are excellent men but they have had little industrial experience. If I want meat, I go to a butcher ; if I want legal advice, I go to a lawyer. To bring about industrial peace I would establish a tribunal consisting of industrial experts and not of legal experts. Had the previous Government carried the Maritime Industries Bill, it would have meant the ultimate abolition of the whole of the State industrial tribunals, and we have already seen the abolition of the rural workers' awards in Queensland and New South Wales. The employers of Australia should every morning offer prayers of thanksgiving to those who established the Federal Arbitration Court, because that institution has done more than anything else to standardize the conditions and wages in industry. At one time there was a different rate of pay for each grade of labour in practically every State. Today, as a result of the Federal Arbitration Court, an engineering firm in New South Wales, when competing for business, knows that its labour costs will be at least equal to those of similar firms in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. THat was not the case under State tribunals and before the development of federal arbitration. Up to 1926, when the railway workers came under the jurisdiction of the Federal Arbitration Court, the guards on the trains in the various States were paid different rates of wages, the margin ranging from ls. 6d. to 3s. a week. The Federal Arbitration Court wisely placed the railway guards in each State on an equal footing, and as a result of its awards railway costing has been standardized, and the railway workers are enjoying an adequate basic wage. If an industry cannot afford a basic wage of £4 6s. a week, it has no right to be in existence. It has been argued that federal arbitration has brought about increased unemployment. The latest figures from Geneva indicate that wherever wages have been deflated unemployment has increased, so that I dismiss that argument as worthless. The deflation of wages will not improve the unemployment position. Without arbitration we would revert to the position of the old days when the employer had an " open go " and everything was unfairly in his favour. {: .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr Bayley: -- Under this bill the employer will have an "open go " once more. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- The employer has the right to dismiss his employees at any time. He can say to them " Industry no longer requires you". That is actually what is happening in Australia to-day. We have an immense army of unemployed, including the majority of the members of the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Railway Union, men who have been fired from industry through no fault of their own. They are covered by federal awards. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- In other words the operation of the Federal Arbitration Court has deprived them of their jobs. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- If the honorable memher admits that, I can well understand his opposition to arbitration. In two years some 15,000 men have been dismissed from the railway services of Australia. That has been due, not to arbitration awards, but to the abnormal position of the industry. There was a time when practically every industry paid reasonable wages and made fair profits. Even the railways were making profits except on developmental lines. But that day has gone. Whatever award is made, however smoothly the industry is working, there is always the sword of Damocles suspended over the heads of the workers. The right to hire and fire rests with the employers and not with trade unionists. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- And it should. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- But that should not be used as an argument that Arbitration Court awards have been responsible for dismissals. On one occasion the Chief Railways Commissioner of Victoria, in opposing an award sought by the members of an organization for which I appeared, disclosed the fact that the railway revenue of that State had decreased by £9,000 as a result of motor competition. The judge retorted, "If that is so, why blame the Arbitration Court?" The honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. R. Green)** adopts an implacable attitude towards this matter; he does not want any class except his own to be considered. He is opposed to arbitration, and would welcome a revival of the good old days. During my lifetime I have not had to work very hard. Before I was elected to this Parliament I was a public servant, and occupied a goo.d position. What has arbitration achieved? Literally, .in the case of 60 per cent, of the workers of Australia it has meant nothing but " A crust of bread and rags." The basic wage amounts to only £4 6s. a week, with margins ranging from a minimum of 6d. to a maximum of 4s. a week. To earn that basic wage a man must work six days a week. Many persons who are engaged in seasonal occu pations do not average six days a week throughout the year. Honorable members know what their expenditure amounts to. I know what mine is$ and I have no expensive tastes. A wage of £4 6s. a week, plus a margin, does not offer very much to a man who has to give his whole life to industry. The argument that the system of arbitration loads industry with unfair burdens needs to be analysed. I contend that the present basic wage is not a fair one. The royal commission that was appointed to fix a basic wage was the only tribunal that gave a fair adjudication. It fixed a rate of £5 16s. 6d. a week, but that was reduced to £5 Ss. 6d., for reasons that are well known. Outside of certain government employees, no provision is made for sick pay for the workers. There is a miserable accident pay, and workers' compensation. Except in the case of the engineers, who have been granted six days holiday leave annually, provision for holidays is not made in any award. If my friends opposite, and the employers, were to study the conditions of the workers in countries that we regard as behind the times, they would find that we have not accorded very liberal treatment to our people. All that our industrial systems make provision for is, payment while a man is able to work; when illness . overtakes him, his pay stops. Industries should carry for a reasonable period men who have given long and faithful service. A man who is mangled in industry should be in the same category as a " digger " who received an injury on active service. If I were empowered to do so, I would give those diggers the rate of pay that they earned before they went to the front. Similarly, any man who is prevented from earning his livelihood because of injuries should be given the rate of wage he was receiving before he was injured. {: .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr Yates: -- I wish that the honorable member could move the Government to do that for the " diggers." {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- I advocated it in my election campaign, and shall practice it if ever I am given the opportunity to do so. The platform of the Labour party makes provision in that direction, not only in the case of men who have been injured, but also those who have given honest, faithful service for a working lifetime. There should he some tribunal to ensure that men who are stricken with illness are not allowed to suffer. A month's sickness puts a man back for twelve or eighteen months. The beneficent legislation about which we hear so much, is nothing but a sham. The law of Victoria lays it down that the maximum amount of compensation payable to the widow of a railway employee who is mangled in the service of the commissioners shall be £500, even though he may leave behind him five or six children. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -What does the honorable member suggest the amount should be? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- If I were mangled in industry I would want, not workers' compensation, but the rate of wage that I was earning when I was injured; and that payment should continue until I could recommence my duties. If I were so badly injured as not to be able to take up those duties again, the payment should continue during my lifetime. {: .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr Bayley: -- At whose expense? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- At the expense of the owners of the industry. A few moments ago I said that no federal award made provision for holiday leave. That was slightly inaccurate. The award of the Seamen's Union provides for 52 days leave - 14 days annual leave, 12 days holiday leave, and 26 days sea-going leave at the rate of half a day a week. That award was obtained as a result of the militancy of the Seamen's Union. If a seaman is injured after he joins his steamer, his hospital and ambulance expenses, and salary, are paid until he is fit to resume duty. If he becomes sick on the voyage, he is returned to his home port. A similar provision is embodied in the Navigation Act. As those advantages have been awarded only in the two cases that I have mentioned, surely my honorable friends opposite will not suggest that the Arbitration Court has erred on the side of liberality? How the workers of this country exist on £4 6s. a week, baffles me. There is no opportunity to make provision for the day of illness. The working people are the most law-abiding citizens of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -What does the honorable member consider the basic wage should be? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- A minimum of £5 10s. a week. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- Has the honorable member considered where the money is to come from? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Yes; I have given the matter a great deal of thought. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- Should the men be given it without earning it? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Oh, no. The labour movement preaches and practices the doctrine of work; but it also says that industry must provide in a fair way for our people. I have endeavoured to show the fallacy of the contention that the Arbitration Court is an extravagant court. Industrial disputes have been responsible for some horrible calamities. We have one in our midst now. On the waterfront to-day are 6,000 waterside workers who cannot get work, because some vicious individual, who had neither met them nor knew anything about them, brutally persecuted them, and ground them into the dust. These men went down in a fight, the merits of which I am not now discussing. Usually, when men lay down their arms there is no victimization. These unfortunate men were placed in this position, perhaps by faulty leadership, but certainly because of a lack of confidence in the court that made their award. In war, if a man surrenders, he is housed, fed and repatriated, although he may be the vilest creature on earth, and may have been guilty of every crime in the military calendar. But in the industrial arena my friends opposite, who have so much to say about giving a fair deal to some sections, will not give a fair deal to men who, I suggest, have been handicapped by the Arbitration Court. *Sitting suspended from 6.14 to 8 p.m.* {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Before the dinner adjournment, I was pointing out that, despite the criticism of the federal arbitration system, the conditions of the workers in Australia compare unfavorably, in certain respects, with those in some countries that are regarded as unprogressive. I mentioned that the average basic wage in Australia was £4 6s. a week, and that under no award, excepting the seamen's award, which has since been scrapped by the court, has there been provision for sick or accident pay. In the awards of some of the craft unions, holidays amounting to six days per annum are allowed ; but there is certainly no provision for sick pay under any federal award. A comparison of the conditions in countries alleged to be backward with those in Australia reveals amazing differences. The railways of Australia are operated by some 100,000 employees, of whom about 25,000 are salaried men. The latter receive some sick pav as the result of departmental regulations or administrative acts, but the other 75 per cent., who are daily-paid workers, receive no sick pay at all. The significance of that is emphasized By happenings during the abnormal outbreak- of influenza that occurred seven or eight years ago. Men employed in maintenance work on the permanent-way know that on the day they stop work their pay ceases, and, therefore, they remained at their posts as long as possible, even when they were suffering from influenza. "With the exception of one small group, all such men who contracted the disease lost their lives. Australia has a long way to go before the conditions of its workers will compare favorably with those in certain other countries, so far as. sick pay and other benefits are concerned. I have a fairly intimate knowledge of the conditions in almost every industry in Australia, but my experience has been mainly in the railway service. Sick pay is given for about a month to the salaried officers, but the 75 per cent, of the men who constitute the daily-paid section receive nothing on this account. Free passes over the railways are granted only to the extent of one a year to each employee. This does not involve expense to the management, and it is regarded by the employees as a reasonable concession. Put shortly, federal arbitration has given a basic wage of £4 6s. a week, but there is no holiday pay, no sick pay, and no accident pay. The intermittent nature of the work of those on the basic wage results in the unskilled worker receiving less than £4 6s. a week on the average, owing to periods of unemployment. Much has been said in the press and in other quarters about "unionism run mad," and about the awards of the Arbitration Court handicapping industry and putting the railways out of business ; but I propose to draw attention to the conditions obtaining in some European countries. The majority of the railways in "Sweden are State-owned, and all permanent employees receive full pay for any period during which they may be sick while in the service. At death, there is a funeral allowance of 500 crowns, which is a cash payment. In addition, hospital attendance is provided for sick men at a minimum rate, and superannuation also operates. Therefore, the railway employees in that country enjoy conditions 100 per cent, better than those in Australia. Spain has been referred to as a backward country. There the railways are privately-owned. Every member of the staff receives up to three months' full pay, if sick, and, if necessary, sick pay is given for a longer period. Superannuation is also provided, but not as the result of contributions by the workers. In Holland, where the railways are half privately-owned and half Statecontrolled, the men are allowed full sick pay for twelve months, and, for the next two years, 70 per cent, of the full wage is paid. At death, the dependants of an employee receive six months' wages in a lump sum. That is 300 per cent, better than anything awarded under the muchabused arbitration system of Australia. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- How does the regular wage in those countries compare with that in Australia? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- On the average, the actual wages are 30 per cent, lower than in this country; but, allowing for the difference in the purchasing power of money, they would, perhaps, be only 20 per cent, lower. The most potent factor in the lives of the people who work is not the amount of wages they receive while they are in good health, but the rate they are paid when they are unable to work as the direct result of their employment. In Denmark, the railways are half State-controlled and half privatelyowned. The employees receive full pay for the whole period of sickness, subject to a regular inspection by medical officers for the purpose of preventing malingering. When a workman dies, his widow receives three months' full wages, and superannuation is also paid. Free passes are allowed on all lines and on all trains after twelve years' service. A locomotive driver receives a permanent free pass. In the Swiss railways, also, superannuation1 operates. If an employee is superannuated, and has spent five years in the service, he receives an allowance for the rest of his life, which usually amounts to 45 per cent, of his earnings. Australia gives only fi a week to the man who can no longer work. Sick pay in Switzerland consists of full wages for four months, 85 per cent, of wages for four months, and 75 per cent, of wages for four months. Thus, for a full year, these workers are protected, not by an award of a court, but by an administrative act of the Government in an allegedly backward country. In Norway, from six to twelve months' sick pay is allowed on the recommendation of the responsible officers. In the case of death a man's family receives one month's full pay. Free passes are allowed for employees and their families on all lines and on all trains. There is no similar concession in Australia. In Belgium, sick pay is granted for the full period of illness, and, at death, a funeral allowance is made, and superannuation is paid. The railways of Austria are 90 per cent. Stateowned. The allowance for sickness consists of full pay for a year. There is nothing like that in Australia, despite our so-called extravagant system of arbitration. Italy has a State-owned railway system. Sick pay is allowed for three months, and, beyond that period, there is a provision for half pay. In Russia there is a provident fund, which is contributed to by the union, the railways department and the Government. The employee receives full pay for the whole period of his illness, and, in addition to that, he is sent to a holiday resort, and is allowed medical attendance free of charge. Medicines are provided by the State. During the summer of 1924 22,000 railway men enjoyed these free institutions, which are designed to enable workmen who have been in ill health "to return to their employment 100 per cent, efficient. Nothing of that nature has ever been suggested in Australia. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Do the railways in those countries pay? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- As well as in Australia. In some of those countries a good financial position is revealed. {: .speaker-JV9} ##### Mr Morgan: -- How do the wages compare with those paid in Australia? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- I have already remarked that there is approximately a difference of 20 per cent., and I qualified that statement by pointing out that the wages an employee receives while actually at work are not the only factor to be considered. It is necessary, by means of national insurance or arbitration awards, to provide for the calamities that overtake employees and prevent them from continuing at work. Under the Workmen's Compensation Act in Victoria the life of every worker, who may have three or even six small children, is valued at £500. Therefore the statement that Australia industrially is much ahead of other countries is absurd. It has not advanced beyond supposedly backward countries, but has just about held its own at the lowest possible rates of wages and the longest possible working hours, with no assurance of provision for sickness or accident. {: .speaker-JV9} ##### Mr Morgan: -- What about unemployment insurance? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- That should not be mixed up with the regulation of hours and working conditions. I regard unemployment insurance as of primary importance; it is even more important than industrial arbitration. In Esthonia, which has no Australian Workers Union, or Trades Hall Council, or Australasian Council of Trade Unions, a sick worker receives full pay for one month and twothirds of his wages for the whole subsequent duration of his illness. He receives also free medical attention and medicine for himself and his dependants. Sanatoriums are provided, not only for the men, but for their wives and children. No such provision is made in Australia; here the worker pays what he can afford to the hospital. It is clear that the Arbitration Court has not placed any undue burdens on Australian employers. A hot controversy is proceeding as to whether the working hours should be 44, 48 or 88 a week. I quote from the magazine of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, published in Cleveland, Ohio, in May of this year - Canadian Government Adopts 44-Hour Week and New Wage Basis. The principle of the eight-hour day and 44- hour week has been adopted by the Canadian Government. This is provided in an order in council passed on 27th March, 1930. There is no Arbitration Court in Canada, but the working week has been reduced to 44 hours by executive act. *[Extension of time granted.]* In Australia great complaint has been made by the opponents of arbitration because the Federal Court has interfered with hours. The trades union movement expended £15,000 in getting from the court a 44-hour week in the engineering industry. Engineers follow a skilled occupation, mostly indoors. They work from, say, 7.30 a.m. until 5 p.m. The labourers on the road, on railway construction and maintenance, and on overhead lines, work strenuously out of doors in all weathers ; yet the court awards to the engineers 44 hours, and to the labourers 48 hours. That shows the futility of asking menof legal training to adjudicate on hours and working conditions. The interference of the Arbitration Court judges in the fixation of working hours has been a colossal blunder. What are the qualifications of this tribunal? It consists of three men whose training started in the University, and was continued in lawyers' offices. They practised at the Bar and showed outstanding ability in law. In the course of time they became judges, one of them in a criminal court. Then they were transplanted into the Arbitration Court to train wolves to lie down with lambs. Assisted by five or six bewigged lawyers from the same stable - men who have never known real work and fatigue - they award to the man in a good indoor job 44 hours and to the man on the road 48 hours. Nothing shook the faith of the trade union movement in arbitration more than the determinations of the court on the subject of hours. The present Arbitration Act and Court are the product of an able lawyer, but an industrial amateur. The unions subscribed £11,000 in order to state a test case to the court on the subject of hours. The court was expected to decide whether the hours were to be 44 or 48 for all. The honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Holloway)** was one of the advocates of the workers. The court awarded 44 hours to about 22 per cent. of the trade unions. Honorable members of the Opposition preach to the workers that their salvation lies in working longer and harder. When piece-work and longer hours are introduced into industry, not 15 per cent. but 50 per cent. of our workers will be unemployed. {: .speaker-KOC} ##### Mr HAWKER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT; UAP from 1931 -- Piece-work is operating in the shearing industry. {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Shearing is a seasonal occupation and the men receive a prescribed rate per one hundred sheep. My observation of payment by results convinces me that it means the employment of fewer men and introduces obnoxious practices. I have not much quarrel with the butty-gang system, which is in operation in the railway services. A group of men agree to build a car at a certain price, the commissioners supplying all the materials. Although this system displaces a lot of daily workers and establishes an unfair standard of comparison for costing purposes, because the buttygang is supplied with all material on the job and is not subject to the same supervision as the daily worker, yet it increases the wages of the contracting group by about 80 per cent. A carbuilder, whose ordinary wage is about 19s. 3d. a day, may earn in the buttygang up to 39s. 3d. a day. But the management was not satisfied. It said to John Brown and Tom Robinson, "Keane's butty-gang gets £400 for building a car. You form a gang, and if you can build a car more cheaply you will receive the difference between their price and yours." The resultant competition and speeding up tended further to increasesuspicion of any system of payment by results. The visit of the Industrial Commission to the United States of America corroborated the fear and instinctive feeling of many trade unionists that a departure from daily wages and fixed hours introduces methods that are abhorrent to the Australian people. {: .speaker-KIT} ##### Mr Mackay: -- The shearing industry is an exception. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Shearing and mining are exceptions. I have not appeared before the court as an advocate for the unions in those industries or I might hold different views. {: .speaker-K88} ##### Mr Cunningham: -- The circumstances of those industries are exceptional. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- That is so. The advocates of payment by results may quote the high wages in America, the land of high production, the "speeder" and the "framer," but the American *Year-Book* shows that from 1918 to 1926, whilst the production in the manufacturing industries increased 40 per cent., the number of workers employed decreased by 1,000,000. In all industries the increase of production was 22 per cent., but 2,000,000 fewer workers were engaged. No employer or trade union should support a policy that will tend to put more people out of work. Bad as the position is in Australia to-day, it would be aggravated if the unions encouraged payment by results. The policy of the leaders of industrial unionism is to cater for the whole industrial life of the individual, to organize the workers into trade unions; not to preach direct action, but to conciliate and arbitrate; not to add to the suffering of any other class in the community, but to assure to the worker a reasonable rate in his youth, and, when with advancing years his strength declines, the same rate of pay as when his productive power was greater. We do not believe in speeding up the worker and scrapping him in his middle age. The judges who recommend payment by results and longer hours are out of touch with the needs of the workers and were never intended by nature to preside in an industrial court. I repudiate the suggestions of the Leader of the Opposition regarding the dishonesty of trade union leaders. As an ex-trade-union-leader I tell him. that the legal profession produces in one year more thieving crooks than are found amongst union officials in 20 years. The honorable member's statement was a blemish on an otherwise splendid speech, and I am amazed that a man in his responsible position should make such unworthy accusations. Most of the leaders of the trade union movement were born in Australia and are at least as well educated as are honorable members opposite. They are well trained in the avocations they follow. They have been elected to their positions by the rank and file of the unions, and that alone is proof of their strength of character and qualities of leadership. Their collective and individual records are as good as those of men in any other walk of life. The suggestion that auditors are necessary to check their handling of union accounts is an insult to the intelligence of the rank and file unionists. If honorable members had any knowledge of unionism, they would be aware that all expenditure is, as it were, microscopically examined. The bill contains a provision that a balancesheet must be filed in the Federal Arbitration Court. I support that. The workers aim at securing control of industry, and if we are to achieve that end, we can do it only by adopting the tactics of our opponents, and conducting our financial affairs on sound lines. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** suggested that special supervision of trade union accounts was necessary, because some person recently embezzled £30 of union funds. I remind him that not very long ago a member of his profession got away with £25,000 in Brisbane. His motto evidently was "a duck or no dinner". No one in the Trade Union has ever gone so far as he did. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** disapproved of the proposal to abolish provision for the taking of secret ballots which, he said, gave to the rank and file of a union the right to say whether or not they should take part in a strike. The amending legislation of 1928, made it mandatory on the industrial registrar to conduct such ballots. During the progress of the timber dispute the court ordered that a secret ballot be taken. The union did all it could to help the registrar, even going so far as to offer to put into his hands the actual cards of membership. The registrar failed to take the ballot, as any registrar might have been expected to fail. Practically every union registered in the Federal Arbitration Court is a federal union, having State organizations. These hold annual or biannual conferences at which the policy of the union is decided upon. I admit that mass meetings have not been successful, generally speaking, in the conduct of industrial affairs. It is a fact that certain individuals of violent type, who make a great deal of noise at such meetings, are able to dominate many of their fellow unionists. While admitting that, I cannot agree that the remedy introduced by the last Government was a. good one. Its system of secret ballots was too cumbersome a machine to be workable. I have already referred to the appearance of legal practitioners in the Arbitration Court, and need now only say that if I had my way no lawyers would be admitted to the court at all. As for the judges, I recognize that they have been appointed for life, and I bow to the inevitable. I support the Government's proposal to appoint conciliation commissioners. Some honorable members appear to think that that is too drastic a provision, but I remind them that power to do this is contained in section 18c of the existing act. This section is as follows : - >The Governor-General may appoint conciliation commissioners of such number, and upon such terms and conditions as to remuneration, and otherwise as he thinks fit. It will be seen, therefore, that there is nothing new in this proposal. There has always been power to appoint conciliation committees, but that power has not been used. Authority has also existed for appointing assessors to help in the hearing of cases, but no assessors have ever been appointed. Trade unionists have always been distrustful of the introduction of legalism into the settlement of industrial disputes.' They believe, and I believe, that it should be made easier, and not harder, for the direct representatives of the employers and of the employees to come together and settle as quickly as possible the numerous disputes which will always occur no matter what form of arbitration is in existence. At no time, either in this chamber or outside it, while head of an industrial organization, have I ever reflected on any member of the judiciary. They have always administered the law as it stood, though the law, I contend, was often based on wrong principles. The judges of the court are able men, skilled in the law of evidence. Nevertheless they have, most of them, a decided leaning towards legal men. A layman may be a bit crude in the way he presents his case, though he generally gets there if he knows his job, but it .is a fact, I think, that they have not always been so acceptable to the judges as those recruited from their own profession. We should change all that. It is proposed in this bill to delete section 2od of the Arbitration Act, which directs a judge, before making an award, to take into consideration the possible economic effects of that award on industry. Those who are familiar with Arbitration Court practices know that even before that section was inserted in the act, it was the general practice of judges to give just that consideration to the position of the industry when framing their awards. The deletion of the section from the bill will not prevent the court or the conciliation commissioners from taking such matters into consideration. We know that it is not possible to take out of an industry more than is in it. One. cannot get more water out of a glass than it will hold. {: .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson: -- What harm can there be, then, in letting this section remain? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- It is to be deleted because it was introduced by a Government which trade unionists suggest, and I frankly believe, deliberately attempted to administer a serious blow to the trade union movement by the inclusion of this and other sections in the act. It will be noted that no discretion was to be allowed the judge. The section says that the judge " shall " take into consideration the economic effect of an award on the industry concerned. However, whether the section is in the act or not, the judges of the court or the conciliation commissioners will, as a matter of fact, give due consideration to economic facts. The section is to be deleted because it is one of those obnoxious sections inserted by the last Government, which we promised to repeal if the Labour party were returned to power. We would amend the act much more drastically if we possessed constitutional power to do so. One of the amendments for which the last Government was responsible was the deletion of section 61. It is proposed in this bill to reinsert that section. I have read the second-reading speech of the Leader of the Opposition made when, as Attorney-General, he introduced the bill deleting the section, and nowhere could I see that he gave any reason for its deletion. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- The explanation was given in committee, as the honorable member can see if he looks up the records. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- A recent Labour congress, acting in collaboration with certain members of this House, decided to recommend the re-insertion of section 61. This is the section which forbids persons to resign from an industrial organization while a. dispute is in progress. It seems to me that this is a just provision, because it is not right that, after an organization has committed itself to the expenditure of thousands of pounds, the members should be allowed to resign, leaving the leaders responsible. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- There is no reality in that objection. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Feuds and dissensions sometimes break out in industrial organizations, and a group of members, out of spite to the officers of an organization, might seek to resign. This should not be allowed if the organization has been put to any considerable expense over any matter, even apart from arbitration proceedings. The officers of such organizations should be afforded some protection against the action of disgruntled individuals who might seek to leave them in the lurch. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- This clause will only operate while a dispute is in progress. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- In the case of big organizations, disputes are nearly always in progress. As the honorable member knows, there has been a dispute continually in progress in the Railway Union since 1924. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- So that a member is never to be allowed to resign? {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Not while he remains in the industry. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- The law says, in effect, that a man can never resign from his union. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Yes; and the unions support the law. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- Then it is bad law. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- One of the most stupid provisions in the Federal Arbitration Act is section 62, which deals with proclaimed organizations. Under that section a oneState union, such as the scab Railway Union of New South Wales, a survival of the upheaval of 1917, can obtain, without any expense to itself, the benefits of an award obtained through the court at a cost of thousands of pounds by some other organization. All it has to do is to approach the court, and ask to be proclaimed an organization benefiting under the award. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- It has never happened yet. {: .speaker-KE4} ##### Mr KEANE: -- Proceedings were instituted under section 62, but Judge Lukin refused to make the applicant organization a party to the railway workers' award. However, he informed the representatives appearing before him that all they needed to do was to apply under the act in order to obtain all the benefits of the award. That is not right. I believe that the bill is an honest attempt by the Government to do all that can be done under our present limited constitutional power to make our arbitration machinery as perfect as possible. The Australian workers have a long way to go before they can say that they enjoy such excellent conditions as the workers of some other countries; but the repeal of the obnoxious sections that are in the present act will do something to help them to gain ground. It has been truly said that our arbitration machine was made unworkable by the action of the previous Parliament; but the passage of this bill should improve it considerably. The appointment of conciliation commissioners will ensure to the workers a practical handling of their problems by practical men. The proposed new method of dealing with disputes will be less costly and more expeditious than the existing method. I believe that all the practical men among honorable members opposite will help us to pass this measure, so that the period that must elapse before this Parliament can be clothed with more adequate power over industry may slip by with as little trouble as possible. Nine hundred thousand households in Australia depend almost entirely for their livelihood upon the proper regulation of wages and working conditions, and their interests will be safeguarded if this bill is passed. The employers of Australia, on the other hand, should bless the day upon which, industrial arbitration was introduced into Australia, because it standardized and stabilized our industrial operations. {: #subdebate-33-0-s2 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL:
Warringah -- I shall confine my remarks to the period allowed me by the Standing Orders. Even if an extension of time were offered to me I should refuse to accept it. I certainly would not abuse the courtesy of honorable members by speaking for half an hour longer than the Standing Orders permit. A great part of the speech of the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Keane)** was not appropriate to the bill. The statistics which he quoted in regard to railway workers in other parts of tho world were valueless because he did not also quote the wages paid in those countries. Had he done so we should have been able to see how very much better off the Australian workers are than those of Esthonia, Austria, Italy, and some other countries that he mentioned. The speech delivered by the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Chifley)** last night was interesting and showed a reasonable spirit. He, like honorable members on this side of the House, evidently desires to do what he considers to be best in the interests of the workers of Australia. Like him, I shall endeavour to introduce amendments to this bill when it is at the committee stage, with the object of making it an effective means of promoting- the prosperity of the country. The honorable member's views in regard to the timber strike were very different from those of the honorable member- for Flinders **(Mr. Holloway)** who spoke immediately after him. It was gratifying to hear the honorable member for Macquarie say that he had always stood, and always would stand, for the adoption of constitutional methods. He also said that as the timber-workers disagreed with Judge Lukin's award they should have placed additional evidence before the court with the object of securing a reversal of its decision. He added that by resorting to direct action they had done a great deal of injury to the principle of arbitration. For my own part I can conceive of nothing more serious happening to the Government than for this bill to be passed in its present form. It surely must be apparent to every clear thinker that it is impossible to provide in the same measure for the enforcement of the principle of compulsory arbitration and for the parties to disputes to strike or lockout as they please. The bill endeavours to do that, and in that respect it is utterly inconsistent. It will also be a serious thing for the Government if trade unions are given the transcendent power over free citizens which it is proposed to give them, for it will make them the most tyrannous bodies that can be imagined. If trade unions are given these powers this Government would find it extraordinarily difficult to refuse any request that they cared to make. Moreover, if these powers are granted to trade unions, our whole system of industrial control will inevitably break down, and cause deplorable turmoil in industry. I listened with much interest to the speech of the honorable member for Flinders, for he, like myself, has been before the public for many years as an executive officer of an important organization; but I must confess that I was surprised to hear the honorable member express some of the opinions that he did. I thought he had a wider knowledge of industrial matters than his speech showed. He said, in the first place, that the original Conciliation and Arbitration Act had been passed by this Parliament in 1903, because certain commissions appointed to inquire into charges of sweating in specified industries had reported that such sweating had undoubtedly occurred. But the honorable member* did not tell us that those commissions made their reports in 1891, nearly a decade before federation was consummated. Everybody who has studied the industrial history of Australia knows that in the eighties serious sweating occurred in the whitework. sewing, and tailoring industries; but those conditions were altered by the passage of the Shops and Factories Act of Victoria in 1894, and of a similar measure introduced by the Reid Government of New South Wales in 1894 or 1895. The establishment of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court had nothing whatever to do with the sweating that existed ten years earlier. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The Harvester judgment awarded the workers a moderate £2 a week in 1906, and that was considered rather a good wage at that time. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- The interjection of the Attorney-General does not make it necessary for me to qualify or withdraw any statement that I have made. The honorable member for Flinders also said that our system of arbitration was so successful in its earlier years that the court was called upon to deal with only a few cases compared with the number submitted to it in later years ; but he did not tell us that it was not until 1920, seventeen years after the court was established, that State instrumentalities were first brought within its jurisdiction, or that the sphere of its operations was very much broadened in 1911, which made it possible for many industries to come before the court which previously had been debarred from doing so. A fair statement of the position requires that these facts should be mentioned. I also listened with interest to the long and involved statement of the honorable member in defence of the attitude he adopted in connexion with the Lukin award in the timber-workers' case. He told us that because the judge did this, that, and the other, he was constrained to urge the workers not to accept the award. But the otherside of the question should be heard. Judge Lukin's judgment differs widely from the honorable member's statement. But as I have already said, the honorable member for Macquarie took the right stand when he said that responsible leaders of industryin Australia should always stand for the adoption of constitutional methods. The honorable member for Flinders should have advised the workers to submit additional evidence to the court with the object of getting it to reverse its decision. Any one who advises the workers to adopt other than constitutional methods of adjusting their differences with the employers is not doing justice to himself or to those whom he seeks to advise. But while it may be said that there was a good deal of reasonableness in the speeches of both the honorable members to whom I have referred, the same can not be said of the speech of the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes).** I regret that the right honorable member is absent from the chamber, but as it is his duty to be here I feel that his absence should not prevent me from commenting upon his remarks. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- It is not generous to call attention to the right honorable member's absence, for we are all temporarily absent from the chamber on occasions. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- I have only referred to his absence in order to protect myself from the charge that might otherwise be made by even the Attorney-General that I attacked an honorable member in his absence. Charges of that kind have been made in the past. This afternoon the right honorable member for North Sydney twitted the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** with having failed, in the five years thathe was Attorney-General, to effect certain alterations to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act; but as the right honorable member was himself Attorney-General for eleven years, and failed in that time to make the act a perfect industrial measure, there is no justification for his criticism of the Leader of the Opposition. No Minister has ever left the industrial law in such a state of utter confusion and hopelessness as did the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** when he left office. His real trouble is that he has been out of office for over seven years, and that alone is responsible for the viciousness with which he invariably attacks the late Government. He made reference to-day to his policy speech of 1922, of which I have a copy. I had a good deal to do with the printing of that speech. I know how it was prepared at Pennant Hills. I heard it delivered, and I ordered 1,000,000 copies to be printed and distributed throughout Australia. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- Who paid for that? {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- The Nationalist organization, and not theGovernment Printer, as was done in Queens land and some of the other States when under Labour rule. That policy speech was the only thing to which the Nationalist candidates were pledged. The Labour party is pledged to whatever the outside organizations may put on the Labour platform, but the only thing that the selected Nationalist candidate is pledged to is the policy speech of his leader. {: .speaker-JUR} ##### Mr McTiernan: -- To what was the honorable member pledged in 1928 ? {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- The Nationalist members at that time were pledged to what the then Prime Minister said, and his policy speech on industrial matters was identical word for word with that of the right honorable member for North Sydney in 1922. The policy speech of 1922 contains this passage - >The Government, fully recognizing the defects of the present system, is desirous of removing them. It accepts the proposals unanimously agreed to by the Premiers of all the States and the representatives of the Commonwealth last November, and is prepared to do its part to give effect to them or any fractional modification of them which does not impair the principles laid down. It believes that State instrumentalities should be outside the federal jurisdiction, which should be confined to disputes in industries federal in their nature; e.g., affecting seamen, waterside workers, coal-miners and the like - leaving all others to be dealt with by the arbitration laws of the States. That is what the right honorable member for North Sydney said in 1922, and that was the policy to which every selected Nationalist candidate was pledged at that time. It is the identical policy of the Bruce-Page Government at the last elections, which the right honorable member for North Sydney misrepresented and attacked from the moment that it was announced in the House and , discussed in the constituencies. During the right honorable gentleman's speech this afternoon he said that if we could .look into the mind of the Leader of the Opposition all that we would see there would be the desire to reduce wages. He further stated that the Leader of the Opposition said that the policy of the party was the reduction of costs of production, which meant that wages must come down. The Leader of the Opposition said nothing of the kind. He did not even think it. But that is of no consequence to the right honorable member for North Sydney when he starts out on a controversy. He is not particular in the least what weapons he uses. He quoted certain extracts from his policy speech, but he left out the following passage: - >The workers must face certain facts; but then so must the employers. Labour cannot get more out of an industry than it puts into it. Before Labour can get high wages it must create the wealth necessary to provide them. Production cannot be carried on at a loss. No one will engage in an enterprise unless there is a reasonable prospect of a margin of profit. It is one thing to produce an article and quite another to sell it. World competition 'has to be faced. If we cannot compete successfully the industry cannot be carried on. It is the eternal law. The attitude of the late Prime Minister on this wage question was utterly misrepresented by the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes). Mr. Bruce,** speaking in this House in September, 1929, said - >If we can reduce the cost of production without affecting our standards of living the purchasing power of the wages of the workers will be increased, and that will contribute towards a higher standard of living. In effect, a rise in the purchasing power of wages was aimed at, and to such a policy not even the most radical elector could object. The following extract is taken from a speech of the right honorable member for North Sydney at Bendigo in January, 1922, as reported in the Melbourne *Argus -* >They could not reduce prices unless they reduced wages. As prices had climbed up wages had climbed after them. Now prices had to come down and wages must come down also. That is what the right honorable member for North Sydney said, *nml he* is the only member of a Nationalist party who has publicly advocated, as he did in 1922, a reduction' in wages. Yet right throughout the last election, night after night, from the platform and over the wireless he spread this consistent misrepresentation. The cost of using the wireless amounted to some £4,000, and I am quite sure that the right honorable member exercised a recklessness and generosity in the use of the wireless which can only be accounted for by the fact that he was not paying for it himself. The money was not coming out of his pocket. We know the methods of the right honorable member in controversy. We have seen it on numerous occasions. His principal method is to make the most damaging misrepresentation that he can invent, and then to audaciously stick to it irrespective of denials or anything else. During the course of his speech he referred to certain tribunals. He had in mind tribunals that he had appointed himself during the war. He mentioned **Mr. M.** J. Connington who, he said, paid a tribute to the tribunals that he had appointed. That was only natural because **Mr. Connington** was chairman of the shipping board that was established by the right honorable gentleman. That board heard 300 disputes and only two of them were decided in favour of the employers. The others were decided in favour of the employees. Of course that was a most successful board from the employees' point of view. The right honorable member for Worth Sydney had much to say about the Industrial Peace Act which, in effect,was merely a piece of legal machinery designed to rob the people. Under it a limited number of men representing the employers and employees in an industry raised the price in their own interests without any regard to the interests of the general public and the consumers. The operation of the Industrial Peace Act was responsi.ble for an increase in the price of coal out of all reasonable proportion, and, also for the recent stoppage of work for fifteen months. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr JAMES:
HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; LANG LAB from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- I rise to a point of order. The honorable member forWarringah **(Mr. Archdale Parkhill)** is misrepresenting the facts. {: #subdebate-33-0-s3 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Norman Makin: -- The honorable member has not raised a point of order. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- The honorable member for Warringah is not telling the truth. {: #subdebate-33-0-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I ask the honorable member to respect the Chair. If the honorable member for Warringah has made misrepresentations they can be contraverted in debate. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- I ask that the honorable member for Hunter withdraw his statement that I am not telling the truth. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member for Hunter has reflected upon the honorable member for Warringah by accusing him of not telling the truth. That language is unparliamentary and must be withdrawn. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- I withdraw it, but let me say that Ananias has nothing on the honorable member for Warringah. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- There can be no qualification of the withdrawal. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- To show that my contention about the Industrial Peace Act is correct, I shall cite, not the *Sydney Morning Herald,* the Leader of the Opposition, or the Deputy Leader, but **Mr. Gibson,** the president of the Engine-drivers Union, of Victoria. He was the Labour delegate to Geneva at the last conference and is a leading industrialist in that State to-day. At a conference that was attended by **Sir Arthur** Duckham, **Sir Hugo** Hirst, and other members of the British Economic Mission, this gentleman said - >I am honestly and conscientiously of the opinion that the Industrial Peace Act and its administration are mainly responsible for the parlous condition of our coal-mining industry to-day. I say that as one having had no little experience of the measure. In fact, it was placed on the statute-book by a Prime Minister to get straight with a judge with whom he disagreed. The motive was bad in the first place. The additional cost of producing steel led, within six months, to 500 of those men being thrown out, because orders for steel could not be obtained at theenhanced prices ... That quotation is a justification, if such were needed, of the statements that I have made. I said that the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** had left the industrial law of this Commonwealth in a most confused state. I call as a witness to that fact no less a person than the late **Mr. Justice** Higgins, who, in announcing his resignation on the 25th October, 1920, referred to the tribunals that had been set up by the right honorable member for North Sydney; tribunals which were given the power to ignore the court and over which the court had no authority. **Mr. Justice** Higgins said - >My resignation is due to my opinion that the public usefulness of the court has been fatally injured. Honorable members opposite display a readiness on most subjects to accept the views of the late **Mr. Justice** Higgins; therefore, I am not unreasonable when I ask that they accept his views regarding the right honorable gentleman's intervention in the field of arbitration, and the effect that it had. I wish now to refer to some of the remarks made by the Attorney-General **(Mr. Brennan),** when introducing this measure. The honorable gentleman went to the trouble of reading statements that had been made by the ex-Prime Minister, **Mr. Bruce,** and the present Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** in support of arbitration. Those quotations were unnecessary, unjustifiable, and unwarranted, because the Nationalist party has never been anything but consistent in season and out of season, in its advocacy of arbitration. On the other hand, however, the policy of the Labour party has been that of opportunism, and a miserable truckling to the prejudices and passions of the populace. It is not my practice to make such statements without supporting them ; therefore, I shall quote the views of some representative organizations that stand behind honorable members opposite, and without whose assistance many of them would not be in this House to-day. In 1926 the Brisbane *Daily Standard* sought the views of union officials on the subject of arbitration. **Mr. H.** G. Carrigan, of the Seamens Union, said - >If a ballot is taken and the workers decide to retain the Arbitration Court, which has outlived its usefulness, then the onus will be upon the workers. **Mr. Rymer,** of the Australian Railways Union, said - >The court has stood in the way of the workers attaining a greater share of the wealth their labour creates, too long. Let it die as peacefully, and with as little grace, as is left. The Council of the Australian Railways Union, on the 14th July, 1927, passed a resolution declaring that " the perpetuation of arbitration is to the detriment of the organized workers of the Commonwealth and the Australian Railways Union in particular." The all-Australian Trade Union Congress, that was held in Melbourne in July, 1928, recommended all unions to take a vote as to whether they should stay in the federal court or go out of it. I shall now quote what some of 'those who lead the Labour party to-day have said with regard to arbitration. Referring to the Lukin award the present Prime Minister, speaking at Clifton Hill last year, made the following statement : - >It has been stated that the men were striking against an award of the court, but there did come a time when an award was so outrageous and unjust that it was impossible to accept terms that were calamitous. The right honorable gentleman at that time was the leader of the Labour party, and a prospective Prime Minister. It was his duty to stand by the law. He should have taken up the attitude adopted by the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Chifley),** and have told those men that, in accordance with the constitutional position, they should' approach the Arbitration Court and have their award altered if they were not satisfied with it. The present Treasurer **(Mr. Theodore),** however, made an even worse statement. Speaking at the Sydney Town Hall on the 5th August last, that honorable gentleman is reported as having spoken as follows: - "So far as the timber-workers were concerned," he said, " the Government of New South Wales had harassed and goaded them, and used every endeavour to crush them." When **Mr. Theodore** was referring to actions of the police, a member of the audience interjected, " It will always be the same." **Mr. Theodore:** "No, not always. If workers put their own Government in power they can control the police force." No more unworthy utterance has ever been made by a representative public man. It was an incitement to men who were breaking the law to continue to do so. He told them that, if they returned the Labour party to power, the police would not be permitted to see that the law was enforced. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Was that what he said? {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- That, in effect, is what he said. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- That is the honorable able member's own construction. **Mr. ARCHDALE** PARKHILL.The Melbourne *Argus* has reported the Attorney-General as having said at a May Day meeting - >Every worker should take part in the fight against the iniquitous capitalistic system. It was useless the workers fighting the individual; they should fight the whole system. To-day the honorable gentleman is an ornament and a buttress of that capitalistic system. A gentleman who now occupies a seat in another place recently published an article in the journal of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, the governing body of all trade unions. In it he said - >It is impossible to estimate the moral harm whichhas been done to the Australian working class by its hasty and ill-considered acceptance of arbitration as the solution of Labour's problems. I have given the views of Labour organizations and of responsible leaders of the Labour party and of **Senator Eae.** I shall now quote a letter that you, **Mr. Speaker,** wrote to the Sydney *Labor Daily* before you occupied the high and august position that you now adorn with such serene mien, admirable pose, and elocutionary effect. It reads as follows : - >I desire to convey to you the terms of a resolution that was carried at a meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party on 14th August: "This meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party congratulates the rank and file of the miners and timber-workers on their splendid unity against the general attack on wages and hours." Yours, &c, Federal Parliamentary Labour Party, Canberra. I think that I have proved conclusively that the Attorney-General's references to the ex-Prime Minister and the present Leader of the Opposition were entirely unjustified ; because the National party has always pursued a straight and consistent course in regard to arbitration. Its sole object has been the welfare of the people. It has been swayed, not by the passions of persons, not by the weight of wealth, not by the pomp of power, but by a desire to do the utmost that lay within its power to advance the interests of the whole community. It has consistently adhered to the principle of arbitration. Having already indicated the attitude of the Labour party, and its organizations outside, I shall say no more on that aspect of the matter. It has been urged that the Government has a mandate to introduce this measure. I contend, however, that it was not given a mandate to legislate with respect to the details that have been exposed. The present Prime Minister, as leader of the Labour party during the last election campaign, said - >We will revise the whole of the Arbitration Act to provide for a system of sound businesslike arbitration, freed from the entangling legalisms of the law courts and legal advocates - a system framed on the lines of the Industrial Peace Act. He did not say that he would remove from existing legislation all those provisions which this bill proposes to repeal. He did not say that he would give absolute preference to unionists in such a way as to place them above the citizens of this country. If he had done so, a very different tale might have been told. But I am not disposed to cavil very much at that. I content myself by saying that the mandate which the present Government was given at the last election was to retain federal arbitration. The other mandate that was given, but which is not being carried out, was to see that wages were not reduced. Those were the two issues upon which Labour candidates gained and National candidates lost votes. The electors wanted federal arbitration retained, and they further believed - wrongly, as they now realize - that the Federal Labour party would be able to keep wages at their existing high level. That belief led to the return of some honorable members who will certainly be defeated at the next election. Despite all that Government supporters said with regard to a lowering of wages, work is now being rationed in some government departments; men have to take one week off in every four, which means a 25 per cent. reduction, of their wages, compared with an 8 per cent. reduction made by the Government of New South Wales. That, however, is as nothing compared with the action that this Government will no doubt take before long. I have before me a full report of the Arbitration Committee of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions' Congress held in Melbourne on the 27th February last. The report issigned by Messrs Drakeford, Seale, Evernden, Carter, Turley, Gibson and Magrath, and the concluding paragraph reads - >Your committee desires to add that it invited **Mr. M.** Blackburn M.L.A. to assist in its deliberations. This he did, attending many sessions, and we desire to express our appreciation of his many services. Every amendment of the Arbitration Act proposed in the measure before the House is suggested in the report of this committee. That is where the marching orders of the Government come from. These are the gentlemen who call the tune to which the marionettes dance. {: .speaker-JUR} ##### Mr Mctiernan: -- Cannot some good come out of Nazareth? {: #subdebate-33-0-s5 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- I do not say .that some of these amendments are not desirable; in fact I agree with some of them, and, when the bill reaches the committee stage, I propose to make a few suggestions with a view to improving some of them. I am not now discussing their merits; I am disclosing the source from which the Government has derived its inspiration in regard to this bill. I do not suggest that I am entitled for a moment to announce the policy of the Nationalist party; but there are three basic principles which I think should be observed in the matter of arbitration. An effort should be made to strive for peace in industry. That is the main thing to be sought after, and it can only be obtained by freedom from irritating restrictions, and the burden of overlapping awards, by the exclusion of those who, like the lilies of the field, neither toil nor spin. In fact, Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like the individuals to whom I refer, who batten on industry. The differences between capital and labour can best be settled without outside interference, and there must be a recognition by Labour that wages come only out of industry, and must be actually earned. The unionists of this country must realize that their wages do not come from the Arbitration Court. That tribunal has no inexhaustible supply of wealth from which it can pay high wages, irrespective of whether an industry is profitable or otherwise. There must first be profits in industry before wages can be paid. I commend that view to the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Chifley).** Speaking' of the timber-workers' award, he said that, because the timber - mills were not making large profits, the judge declared that the award had to be so much. Did not the judge point out that on the best evidence that could be ob tained the industry was returning only 2 per cent.? How, then, could it pay wages that would represent 10 per cent, on its capital? If any honorable gentleman opposite had put into an industry money that he had borrowed from a bank at 7 per cent, and got a return of only 2 per cent., how long would he carry on his business, and pay high wages? I advocate a general use of the round table conference method and arrival at agreements by conference of the parties directly concerned in industry. The Arbitration Court should be resorted to only in the event of failure to come to an agreement. The legal restrictions in the present act should not be removed. I have no objection to the appointment of the proposed conciliation commissioners, provided they have no vote in dealing with industrial disputes. No outsider should have a vote in such matters. These should be discussed only by committees of employers and employees, and the commissioner should have no power to influence a decision by his casting vote. I propose to suggest to the Attorney-General that we should seriously consider depriving the commissioners of a casting vote, thus compelling those within the industry to settle their disputes themselves. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The Government welcomes any help that the honorable gentleman can give it. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- I propose to make several suggestions in committee. *The Works Council, a German Experiment in Industrial Democracy,* the author of which is C. W. Guillebaud, refers to the system operating in Germany. It points out that, through sitting in constant conference with the employers, the workmen in that country have been given an entirely new idea of the difficulties which directors of companies and others in control of industries have to contend with, and this has made even the wildest advocates of Labour the most reasonable of men, in many cases. I advocate that system as a means of producing peace in industry and bringing the two sides together in a form of partnership. This creates a feeling of confidence between the parties to industry, without which there can be no success in any system of industrial regulation. The Balfour Committee in its survey of industrial relations in Great Britain, seems to put the whole situation as I see it. It says - >Throughout British practice the voluntary principle is deeply rooted. Suspended during the war, it was promptly restored under the Industrial Court Act, reference to arbitration can only take place by consent of the parties, nor can the Minister of Labour refer a matter to arbitration unless existing joint machinery has failed. Even then there is no statutory obligation to observe the awards. It is assumed, that is to say, that all that should be done is to provide machinery, as elastic and adaptable as possible, to facilitate discussion between the parties, reinforced by arrangements for their reconciliation by impartial outsiders, and, in the last resort, for the review of the question in dispute by a semi-judicial tribunal. It is assumed that there will be enough good sense and fair dealing in the parties concerned to take advantage of this machinery, and enough honour in them to maintain and support agreements or decisions thus reached. > >In the main this system works out well. There cun be little doubt that the apparatus described above, inasmuch as it has secured a ventilation of grievances at an early stage, a fuller consultation, a freer expression of points of view, and, above all, a clearer grasp of facts by both parties, has reduced the area of dispute, and nipped many a quarrel in the bud. There are probably far fewer disputes to-day which arise out of mere misunderstanding. > >We have figures for disputes that occur; none of those that are obviated. So long as there are two parties to any discussion whatsoever, the possibility remains that, on some point or other, an issue will arise about which agreement seems impossible and compromise inadmissible ; and in a percentage of cases this situation will arise. It is not completely guarded against by provisions for conciliation or even arbitration, since there may be issues which - one side or the other will refuse to submit; which they prefer to test by the cruder method of the " trial by strength " or appeal to the tribunal of public opinion, represented in industry by a lockout or a strike. Moreover, the table of disputes must be read with the fact in mind that a strike or lockout is an expedient, which in the last resort may sometimes be the only practicable one, for securing a change. > >As regards the efficacy of the compulsory procedure, the statistics of Australian industrial disputes on page 351 show clearly that it has not prevented strikes and lockouts, of which an average of 431 were recorded annually during the last, three years for which figures are available. Moreover, of this large total, over five-sixths were settled without recourse to outside intervention, and of the relatively small number (67) of disputes settled by outside agencies, only 20 were dealt with under the Commonwealth or State acts referred to above. It is- a matter of common knowledge that some of the most competent and experienced observers in the Dominions are of opinion that the introduction of penalties is an illusory protection, as they fail to deter a strong and aggressive and unreasonable organization, while in other cases they are unnecessary. A broad distinction has to be drawn between the awards of temporary tribunals set Tip *ad hoo* to find a way out of some existing difficulty in a particular trade, and a permanent court which must attempt by its successive decisions to build up a coherent and equitable system in industries generally. The Australian and New Zealand legislation was original!)' directed to the latter object, and it is clear that the success or failure of experiments . on these lines 'must in the long run depend on the ability or failure of the courts to solve the fundamental problems that lie at the base of the nation's social and economic prosperity. The great difficulty of such a task will be apparent when it is remembered that the only instrument by which the courts can operate is a series of orders or decrees, each of which is primarily concerned with the relations of employers and employed in some particular industry and dispute, whereas, in matters affecting the permanent economic welfare of the nation, regard must be had to many considerations besides the harmonizing at a given moment of the interests of a particular set of employers and employed. > >In Germany the normal system is one of voluntary collective bargaining. The Conciliation and Arbitration Order of 1924, however, established State conciliators, and it is significant that a tendency has already appeared to make too great a call on the compulsory powers of the conciliators. This danger - that where compulsion is present, conciliation in the true sense will be neglected - also emerges forcibly from Australian and New Zealand experience. I have said that the principle of the strike and the lockout is upheld in this bill, and that this destroys the value of the arbitral sections of the act. The unions, and the other advocates of this bill, do not realize the power that is left in the hands of the employers in regard to lockouts. There will apparently be no more irritation strikes and no more sectional strikes. I am sure that, if this power is exercised discreetly and wisely, many persons who are to-day in favour of it will soon be surprised by its effect. I desire to refer to only one other part of the bill, and that relates to the safeguarding of the public interest. Yet the Attorney-General says, in regard to this matter, as with respect to preference to unionists, that it rests in the discretion of the judge. The Government's policy is to sit tight; by no overt act will it attempt to improve the economic position. It is allowing economic forces and factors to operate, and trusting to God that they will act quickly. Then Ministers will say to the workers, "We are not responsible; we did what we could, but economic forces were too strong." They will say also that they provided for preference to unionists but the judges departed from it. The Attorney-General **(Mr. Brennan)** says that the consideration of the public interest is in the discretion of the judges. So it should be, but is it not absurd that the Government should be removing from the act the instruction to the judges to have regard to the public interest, and yet operate that principle for all it is worth against the public servants ? Every increase awarded by the Arbitrator to the Public Service is scrutinized in the public interest by the Government before it is gazetted. The Government retains the right to protest in the public interest against any increase of salaries. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- But this Government has never disallowed an award of the Public Service Arbitrator. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL: -- It will do many things that at present it does not expect to do. On the 23rd March, the Prime Minister met representatives of the Service organizations in conference in Melbourne, and I quote from the official report of the proceedings published in the *Australian Telegraphist* of 22nd April- >The Prime Minister emphasized the fact that thousands of workers in Australia could not And employment and that the Government, sorely against its wish, was finding it impossible to continue the employment of temporary officers "in the Service. He stressed the heavy moral responsibility which lay upon organizations in submitting claims to the Arbitrator which involved the Government in any increased expenditure in respect of permanent officials, many of whom were receiving relatively high salaries, while their temporary fellow officers were being dismissed. In this connexion, and in reply to a question raised by one of the representatives, the Prime Minister stated that retrenchment in the Defence Department was inevitable. > > **Mr. Scullin** pointed out that the Government was fully entitled, under the Arbitration (Public Service) Act, to have direct representation before the Arbitrator, and if claims involving the Commonwealth Government in heavy expenditure were lodged, it would have no other course open toit in the interests of the community than that of pleading the present state of finances directly before the Arbitrator. > >It would easily be understood that the present Government would be very loath indeed to adopt such a policy, and it was clearly within the power of organizations to ensure that it would never he adopted. > >The Prime Minister stated that he realized that approach to the court might be practically unavoidable for the rectification of anomalies felt to exist, or for the removal of grievances which would involve expenditure. He merely wished to emphasize that the present time was not the one for the free exercise of arbitration rights, regardless of financial consequences. Finally, the Prime Minister stated that he was not attempting to dictate any policy to public service organizations. He was not even making any appeal, but was merely following his duty in pointing out to responsible Service representatives what the present financial position exactly was. He left it to the good sense of organization representing men capable of intelligently estimating the problems confronting the Commonwealth to adopt a policy which would be in the best interests of the community, of the Government, and, thus, of themselves. On the motion of Messrs. Dwyer and McCarthy, the following motion was carried : - >This meeting of representatives of Service organizations is of opinion that all Service unions should refrain from initiating arbitration proceedings in respect of claims which would involve the Commonwealth Government in any substantial expenditure. The secretary expressed high appreciation of the unprecedented action of the Prime Minister in discussing such matters frankly and fully with representatives of the Service. The Arbitration Court may not consider the public interest, but where the Public Service is concerned the Prime Minister can, in the public interest, meet the Service representatives and warn them not to apply to the court for improved conditions as the public interest must be considered. The Government has placed an embargo on certain imports, and has thereby given to some manufacturers a monopoly. There is nothing to prevent them from making an arrangement with the unions to pay any wages they ask for and to pass the cost on to the public. That is all very well for the favoured few in those industries, but it is grossly unfair to the great body of workers. I regret that time will not permit me to discuss further the bill at this stage, but I hope to deal with other aspects in committee. {: #subdebate-33-0-s6 .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS:
Herbert .- The statement made by the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Parkhill)** concerning the association of the honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Holloway)** with the timber strike is not accurate. I have never believed that good results can be achieved by organizations kicking against decisions of the Arbitration Court. During my long experience in the industrial field I have at times had the unpleasant task of telling dissatisfied men that they must obey the court's decision, however disagreeable it was to them, because obedience to the court by both parties was in the best interests of all. I believe that to-day the timber-workers realize that they would have acted more wisely had they accepted Judge Lukin's award instead of going on strike. But sometimes when feeling is running high, even the advice of union officials is disregarded by the men. That happened to some extent in connexion with the Lukin award. Solely because of the instruction contained in section 25d that the court, in making an award, should consider the public interest, the judge did something unpredecented in the history of arbitration. During my long experience of arbitration courts, I have never known a judge not to warn the parties, even when he was ordering them into conference, to avoid doing anything that was economically unsound; in other words, they were to give consideration to the economic effects of any decision they might make. But Judge Lukin construed section 25d to be an instruction to consider the immediate economic position of the industry, a course adopted by no previous judge. Hitherto the presidents of the court have thought it fair to take into account the average condition of the industry over a period of at least three years, hut Judge Lukin, after a brief investigation, behind closed doors, of the books of a few firms, decided that the industry at that time was not in a sound position. As an advocate before the court, I have at times heard the representatives of employers pleading that the economic position of their industry was such that it could not carry on under the conditions prescribed by the court, and I have been privileged to investigate even the most confidential documents in order to satisfy myself that that statement was correct. On no occasion have I known the state of the industry to be misrepresented, nor did the men ever disbelieve me when I went to them and said, "I have examined the books and accounts of the employers, and they corroborate the statements made in court." Judge Lukin not only decreased wages and increased the hours, but he put boys into jobs and turned the fathers on to the road. Instead of allowing the fathers to carry on in their old jobs, he displaced them and put a larger percentage of juveniles into the industry. Yesterday the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** asked when the workers had ever assisted an industry to progress. My reply to him is that industry owes its present position to the abilities and activities of workers who have initiated schemes of industrial control that have made possible a greater output in a shorter period, and incidentally displaced many of their mates. Mechanical progress is largely due to the inventive powers and study of workers on the joh, who too often found that when their invention was perfected and in operation it scrapped their mates. I agree with honorable members that the displacement of human labour by mechanical power cannot continue indefinitely; a stage will be reached when machines cannot longer be allowed to turn the operatives out of their jobs and force them to carry their swags about the country. Industrial efficiency in Australia is as high as in any other part of the world. The honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. R. Green)** said that the Canadian worker produced three times as much wealth as the Australian. The analogy is not fair, because mass production operates in Canada, whereas Australia, with its sparse population, has not reached the stage when mass production will pay. I am confident, however, that the Canadian workman, good though he is, is not superior to the Australian. The honorable member for Richmond said also that the Arbitration Court should he abolished, because it had never created one job. No responsible union official has ever suggested that it is the function of the court to create jobs. Nevertheless, it has indirectly increased employment. With the abolition of sweating conditions in the sugar industry, and the change from a working week of 58 hours at a wage of 22s. 6d. to a 48-hour week, employment was given to a large number of additional men. That, I admit, was the result of a strike, but later the Arbitration Court further reduced the hours, and still more men were employed. In connexion with domestic servants, hospital nurses, and shop assistants ; in fact, in all employments in which the court shortened hours, the employment of more people became imperative. The court has also kept the children at school, and thereby conserved the jobs of their fathers. *[Quorum formed.]* The standard of living has been raised considerably since the advent of the Federal Arbitration Court. Nobody will deny that. The honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Parkhill)** made a great song of the fact that wages must be earned before they can be paid. He must know that all the wealth produced in the world is a product of labour and land; but under our present system those who obtain most of the wealth do least to produce it. The Australian workers produce more per unit than do the workers of any other country in the world. It is suggested that wages should be decreased and working hours lengthened in order to overcome our present economic difficulties. In reply to that I point out that in Queensland, where wages are higher and hours shorter than elsewhere in the Commonwealth, the cost of living is lower than in any other State, while the wealth produced per unit is higher. Much has been said during the course of this debate about secret ballots. It was suggested by some honorable members opposite, including the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** that the provision for the compulsory taking of secret ballots should be retained as a protection for the rank and file. This plea was made by the right honorable member for North Sydney, even though he admitted that the provision was futile - a brand of hypocrisy which I find it difficult to understand. A secret ballot, unless conducted by an organization, will not achieve the object of the court. In 1927 a strike took place at the South Johnstone sugar mills over the action of the management in dismissing many employees 1 who had been working there since the founda- tion of the mill. The president of the Queensland Board of Trade and Arbitration, **Mr. Justice** Webb, asked me whether a secret ballot of the workers had been taken. When I informed him that no such ballot had been taken, he asked that steps should be taken to hold one. I immediately had a ballot of the strikers taken, and it was a perfectly straightforward ballot. Those allowed to vote were the men who had been previously employed at the mill, and those who were able to produce letters showing- that they were going to be employed. The ballot was in favour of the continuation of the strike, and when I reported this to **Mr. Justice** Webb, **Mr. Pritchard,** the representative of the Australian Sugar Producers Association, objected to it on the ground that men had been allowed to vote who were not going to work at the mill. I pointed out that nobody could know that except the management of the mill, but I said that I had no objection to a ballot being taken under the direction of an industrial magistrate. The full bench of the Board of Trade, comprising **Mr. Justice** Webb, **Mr. Gillies** and **Mr. Dunstan,** ordered that a ballot be taken by the industrial magistrate at Innisfail. The magistrate was ordered to prepare a roll of men who were going to be employed at the mill. The ballot was taken, and was even more definitely in favour of a refusal to return to work than was the ballot taken under my direction. This was because the men resented the interference of the Board of Trade, which suggested that there had been something improper in the ballot taken under my direction. As a matter of fact, there is no trouble in having a secret ballot taken in most organizations. In the Australian Workers Union, one of the biggest industrial organizations in Australia, there is a rule that any five members can, at a meeting, demand that a secret ballot be taken, and the request must be acceded to. My experience has been, however, that when an organization, after due deliberation, has decided upon a definite course of action, its members almost invariably endorse that action, even though they are given the opportunity of voting in a secret ballot. It is true that ballots have sometimes been successful in defeating the ambitions of certain persons who desired a strike at any price. As the section now stands the court may, on the application of any ten members of an organization, order the taking of a secret ballot. If the organization refuses, the court may direct that the registrar take the ballot; and order the union to pay the cost thereof, plus a fine of £500. In my State there are 50,000 members of the Australian Workers Union, and, under the section as it stands, ten men possessing, perhaps, no sound union principles, who have merely bought their tickets as a licence to get jobs, may compel the taking of a ballot among those 50,000 members. It is not right that ten disgruntled "narks" should have the power to compel the taking of a ballot throughout a huge organization over some trivial matter. {: .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson: -- The judge of the court must be satisfied that there is good reason for taking a ballot. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- I know just how much it takes to satisfy some of the present judges of the court on matters of that kind. The Leader of the Opposition said that the representatives of the organization, of which I was for years a member, withdrew from the Arbitration Court because the judge said he proposed, in framing his award, to take into consideration the direction contained in section 25» of the act. As a matter of fact, the judge told the union representatives that as there had been a drop of 50 per cent, or 60 per cent, in the price of wool he proposed to take that fact into consideration, and the men also would have to accept a reduction. It did not matter, apparently, what evidence might be adduced; the judge had already made up his mind. This was not recorded in the press, but it appears in the shorthand record of proceedings. "This," said the judge "is a matter to be decided by the legislature, and in this case I am the legislator." The honorable member for Gippsland **(Mr. Paterson)** had better not say too much about the judges of the court ! There is a story behind the withdrawal of the Australian Workers Union from the Arbitration Court. This union has never done such a thing before, and the step was taken this time, not on the initiative of a few individuals, but as the deliberate determination of a body of men who know something of what arbitration means to the workers. Honorable members opposite have protested that they do not favour a reduction of wages. Those supporting the present Government in Queensland made the same protestations before they got into power, but they have since so emasculated the arbitration act of that State that they have deprived workers of many of the benefits they enjoyed in the past. The Queensland Government withdrew the rural workers award, but that, in itself, did not affect a great many workers. The idea underlying its action, however, was that there should be restored freedom of contract between employer and employee, a principle much favored by honorable members opposite. When this matter was being considered, I visited Stanthorpe, where an investigation was being" made into the complaint of fruitgrowers that the rural workers award constituted an undue hardship. We examined seven fruit-growers, and not one of them was employing any one who was affected by that award. Nevertheless, the Government abolished the award, and restored the practice of private contract, .under which the man with a job to offer can get it done at the price he likes, while the man who wants the job must accept the terms offered or go further along the road. Efforts have also been made to deprive, certain workers of the benefit of the station-workers' award, and action in this direction has been taken by the Moore Government of Queensland, which is of the same political kidney as the late Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, who said that he did not wish to reduce wages, but merely to reduce the cost of living, so that people might buy more with the same money. Section 6 of the Queensland Industrial Conciliation Arbitration Act contains the following : - >Nothing in this act applies to..... persons employed in work such as is usually carried on in farming operations on dairy farms, fruit farms, or. agriculture farms, or to casual workers such as noxious weed destroyers, scrub-cutters, ring-barkers, suckerers or ' to jackeroos, book and storekeepers on stations. Ring-barking, I may mention, is very hard work. Those workers were covered by the station-workers' award, while noxious weed and burr-cutters were also covered *by the* municipal employees award. Now those workers are deliberately excluded from any industrial protection. They have been made industrial outcasts by the Moore Government. Another paragraph of the section is as follows : - >For the purposes of this paragraph (i) the term " a person engaged in domestic service " shall, without limiting in. any wise the ordinary meaning of the term, also mean and include an employee engaged in domestic duties in any hospital whose daily average of occupied beds does not exceed nine; also an employee engaged in domestic duties in any boarding or lodging house, which provides accommodation for less than seven paying boarders or lodgers; and also a cook on a station who cooks for less than four employees including overseers and jackeroos Under the station-hands' award, female cooks employed on stations had their working hours and wages defined,' and with good reason. Station-owners have now succeeded in abolishing that protection, so that when a crowd of their friends descends on them in their luxurious limousines the domestics may be required to provide them with supper at 11 o'clock at night without receiving any extra remuneration for overtime. These people have been deliberately excluded from the arbitration tribunal by a government of the same political complexion as the Opposition in this Parliament. That Government has also introduced a provision into Queensland's industrial legislation requiring judges to have regard to the economic effect upon industry of any award that they might make. The unfairness of this provision will be realized when it is remembered that, although increased prices have been obtained at all the recent wool sales in Australia, Chief Judge Dethridge would be obliged to take into account the economic condition of the industry at the moment if he had to determine now the wages and conditions which should govern the pastoral industry. He has indicated that he considers that he has no discretionary power to consider the conditions that have existed in the recent past, or that may exist in the immediate future. I Ifr. *Marten*.* resent a provision of that kind. Probably the only instance in the whole industrial history of Australia of a judge having regard to the economic position of the workers was when **Mr. ActingJudge** Dickson made an award in the sugar industry in Queensland in 1917; but I have never heard any honorable member of the Opposition, or any person holding similar views, condemn the employers for locking, out their employees after that award was made. How long would honorable members opposite carry on an industry which was not paying? They would not do it for a day longer than they could help. They should not, therefore, expect the workers, who know what it costs them to live, to work for less than a living wage. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- I agree with that. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- Yet the honorable member has never said a word in criticism of the action of the coal barons in locking out the miners on the northern coal-fields of New South Wales. He, like his colleagues opposite, has always excused them for acting as they did. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- A defence of the colliery-owners will not be found in any of my speeches. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- The honorable member may not have referred to them particularly; but I think it was he who asked this evening how long the employers in the timber industry could be expected to carry on at a profit of only 2 per cent. It is high time that honorable members opposite should pay more attention to the point of view of the workers and less to that of the employers. I think it was the honorable member for Gippsland **(Mr. Paterson)** who interjected this afternoon that there was less unemployment in Queensland than in any other State; but I feel certain that he would not have made that remark had there been a Labour government in Queensland. The fact is that there has been less unemployment in Queensland for the last ten years than in any other State. Queensland is a wonderful State, but many people, and some honorable members of this Parliament, do not appreciate it, and cry " stinking fish " to everything that happens in Queensland. There is a tendency to refer to Queensland as a land of strikes. One ex-representative of a Queensland constituency in this Parliament made a similar remark. But there has only been one strike of any dimensions in Queensland for many years, and that was in 1912. A strike occurred in 1927 among the sugar workers in the South Johnstone district; but the Queensland Premier promptly locked out the railway workers with the object of settling the dispute as rapidly as possible, and so inflicting the minimum of hardship upon the State. The honorable member for Darling Downs **(Mr. Morgan)** said this afternoon that the shearers were working under the contract system, and that they had found piece-work satisfactory; but I assure him and other honorable members that a large number of shearers desire a reversal of this policy. An examination of the early records of the Arbitration Court will show that, on ons occasion, the late **Mr. Justice** Higgins said that he was astonished that a wellorganized body like the shearers should have accepted the principle of piecework. {: .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson: -- Does the honorable member think that any other system would be practicable for shearing? {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- I do not know of any reason why some other system could not be adopted. I am certain that the piece-work system is harmful, because it results in a serious speeding-up of the workers. The shearing contractors will not, if they can help it, employ a man who shears less than 200 sheep a day. If they have a man on the board who is shearing only 180 sheep on an average, and a shearer comes along who can do 200 regularly, the other man very soon finds himself out of work. The piece-work principle in the shearing industry mean3 the survival of the fittest. Men are at their zenith as shearers between the ages of 24 and 32, and so long as a man about that age is able to shear his 200 sheep a day and holds his tongue, he is kept in employment. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** yesterday expressed regret that trade unions were political bodies; but when the bush workers' strike occurred in Queensland in 1891, representatives of the employers advised the workers to send their own representatives to Parliament so that they might obtain legislative redress of their grievances, and they accepted his advice. Of course, all industrial organizations, whether they represent the employers or the employees, are political bodies. I have a very good idea of where the funds come from that the organization which the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Archdale Parkhill)** is connected with uses to fight its election campaigns. Revelations on this subject were made some time ago by the Melbourne *Age* which I intend some day to put on record in *Hansard.* I also have a copy of a circular sent out by the secretary of the Pastoralists Association in Queensland, appealing for funds to assist the Nationalist party in two election campaigns. I do not object to the Nationalist party or any other political party obtaining funds from its supporters in order to help it to return to Parliament men who will represent its views. But surely the industrialists should be permitted the same liberty of action. They would have no possible hope of successfully resisting the pressure of their employers unless they could return to Parliament men able to give expression to their views. It is the duty of Parliament to make laws and the duty of the people to obey the laws that are made. Those who disobey the law should be made to suffer the penalty for doing so. To my mind the administration of the law is a wonderful thing; but if a law is so irksome that many people break it, Parliament will soon alter it. It has been said that industrial arbitration is only satisfactory as a method of settling industrial disputes when industry is flourishing. I believe that the honorable member for Oxley **(Mr. Bayley)** this afternoon approved by interjection of a statement of that kind, and the honorable member for Warringah is now nodding his head in a way that suggests he also agrees with that view. But in 1916 a reduction of wages occurred in three particular industries, and there was no strike in any one of them. Yet when arbitration awards are not acceptable to the coal barons, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company and other employers, they do not hesitate to close their works and use other means to force the workers to accept reduced wages. On this point **Mr. Justice** Higgins, in his book, *A New Province for Law and Order,* says - >The truth is, I think, that if the men secure the essentials, food, shelter, clothing, &c, they are not so unreasonable as is sometimes supposed. They do not love strikes for the sake of strikes; and the great majority are generally quite willing to submit to reason if they feel that they are reasonably treated. That is quite true. It is frequently stated by honorable members opposite that the paid officials of trade unions are largely responsible for the strikes that occur. I was a paid official of the Australian Workers Union in Queensland for nearly twenty years, and I received my salary whether there was a strike on or whether there was peace in industry. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Archdale Parkhill: -- Sometimes trade union officials do not get their salary when there is a strike on. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- That is true; and on one occasion I was in that position. But I was able to enjoy life with my family very much more when there was peace in industry than when there was a strike in progress. If some honorable members opposite were personally concerbed in a strike for five or six weeks they would have a very different outlook on the subject. Not 1 per cent, of the paid officials of trade unions do other than exhort the men to avoid direct action as a means of settling their grievances. I remember that on one occasion **Mr. Justice** Macnaughton, of Queensland, said that he had never known a representative of organized labour who did not do his best to maintain peace in industry. A good deal has been said already during this debate about the insults that the workers have offered to the Arbitration Court. On this point I make the following quotation from the book of **Mr. Justice** Higgins, from which I have already quoted: - >In the earlier years of my work I received through the post many insulting anonymous letters, most of which I have kept as curiosities, and nearly all these letters came from partisans of the employers. The party with a stronger economic position naturally wonts to be free to act as it thinks fit; it objects to be bound by orders from outside. The act makes it the first duty of the court to endeavour to get agreement on the matters in dispute and to exercise its compulsory powers only when an agreement is impossible; but when the party with a stronger economic position refuses to agree on lines of justice instead of economic strength the court has to interfere by dictating terms such as would, in its opinion, be just in a collective agreement. The ideal of the court is a collective agreement settled, not by the measurement of economic resources, but on lines of fair play. The stronger economic position is usually held, of course, by the party which has the right to give or withhold work and wages, the means of livelihood. It is usually held by the employers. This is the reason why the awards necessarily operate more frequently as a restraint upon employers than as a restraint on employees. Every word of that is perfectly true. **Mr. Justice** Higgins was qualified by long experience to speak on these subjects, and that is his considered conclusion. It is a very long while since conciliation and arbitration were first proposed as a valuable means of settling industrial disputes and of making the hours, wages and conditions of work uniform in industry. This aspect of our industrial life has engaged the attention of every judge who has presided over a State industrial tribunal. In endeavouring to determine the conditions that should prevail in a particular industry in a State a judge is almost obliged to consider the wages and conditions that prevail in the same industry in other States. The late **Mr. Justice** McCawley, **Mr. Justice** MacNaughton, **Mr. Justice** Douglas, and **Mr. Justice** Webb and **Sir James** Blair have always, when making an award, taken into account its effect upon industry in Queensland, and also the fact that in the other States wages in the same industry and the purchasing power of money are much less than they are in Queensland. That is a sound practice. On the last occasion that I spoke on arbitration in this House I quoted from page 151 of *New Province for Law and Order* by **Mr. Justice** Higgins, as follows : - >Inasmuch as I am now relieved of the responsibility for the further doings of the Commonwealth Court, I feel that I moy now speak more freely than as president; and the public of Australia are entitled to know my opinions and to attribute such value to them as they think fit. I should like it to <be distinctly understood that my resignation is not in any way due to any lack of faith in the utility of the Court to the public. I say deliberately, and after much -thought, that, in my opinion, the system of conciliation and arbitration under the Commonwealth Act is, in essence, sound and beneficial to the community; and that with proper amendments (including amendments of the Constitution), and if the Government and Parliament act with common sense, it can be made to yield even richer results. Where two great bodies of men differ and will not yield one to the other, and yet do not want to resort to .force, there is no device that I know better than that of the impartial arbitrator. This the Commonwealth Act gives. That is a complete answer to the statement of the honorable member for Warringah **,(Mr. Archdale** Parkhill) that he would bring the two contending parties together, and make them sit in conference until they agreed. That is an absurd thing to say. It is the practice of the conciliation commissioners iu Queensland - Messrs. Dunstan and Ferry - to ask the parties to meet in conference to settle their disputes. In answer to the jibe of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** yesterday, that this Government is likely to appoint incompetent State commissioners as conciliation commissioners under this legislation, let me say that if a vote were taken of the people of Queensland tomorrow, they would plump for **Mr. Dunstan** because of his wonderful knowledge of industry. He knows his work. No two parties are likely to agree on all points in dispute. Under the old Arbitration Act of Queensland there were no conciliation commissioners. There were three judges on the bench and two of them, **Mr. Justice** McCawley and **Mr. Justice** MacNaughton did most of the work. In a big case they always ordered the parties into conference, and any points which could not be agreed upon were afterwards settled by the judge in court. Over 90 per cent, of the Queensland awards have been arrived tit by consent. They are agreements which have been made in conference. As a .result of the efficient working of the arbitration system in that State a feeling has grown up" in the community that the judges of the court are approachable and quite decent persons. Although a Tory Government is in power to-day in that State there is little fault to find with the arbitration system. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Does that apply to both parlies to industry? {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- It applies more to the employer than to the employee. There was a time when we could not approach [HI] the employer. I have been through the mill, and the honorable member would have been much wiser had he also been through the mill. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- I have been through as many mills as has the honorable member. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- Only in the Supreme Court and receiving big fees for it. On page 159 of this book, **Mr. Justice** Higgins says - >If the directors and the committee of the union could only be present at the discussion, much friction as well as evidence and argument could often be saved; but it is too much to expect them to be present. If they could sec their way to give their advocate full powers, could make him their plenipotentiary, it would be a great gain. That position has developed in Queensland. The Arbitration Act of that State was the finest piece of legislation in the world. I realize that it could not be adopted by the Commonwealth Parliament, because of the limitations under the Constitution, but when that is altered this legislation will not meet with my approval. It certainly falls short of the Labour party's ideal, though it is a step in the right direction. When conciliation commissioners are appointed, better results will be obtained under the arbitration system. I do not say that there should be no judge of the Arbitration Court, because legal difficulties are likely to crop up, and will have to be settled by a judge at the earliest moment. In Queensland there is no difficulty in approaching the court when there is a legitimate difference of opinion between the contending parties. There is no need to issue a summons. We merely state a case and the judge decides upon that. Lawyers are prone to give advice according to the wealth and position of their clients, and to prolong litigation. . But, happily that practice does not apply in Queensland, because there is no work for a lawyer in the Arbitration Court. I am pleased indeed that this legislation will do away with the need for a lawyer in the Federal Arbitration Court. Lawyers raise all sorts of technicalities in order to prolong cases. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Has the AttorneyGeneral done that in this case? {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- That is the usual practice of lawyers. This legislation will wipe out the penalties imposed by the amending act of 1928. The so-called arbitration act which was introduced by the last Government is really a criminal code, and had it had sufficient courage that Government would have ' inserted a deportation provision in the act. Under the original draft of its bill it was intended to make an offender under the act a worse criminal than a person who commits robbery or murder. To knock a man down after accusing him of telling an untruth is not evidence that he has told an untruth. If we fine a man- for doing something which he really believes he has a right to do, we shall not for long have a contented community. If an organization is fined £1,000, which it cannot pay, the individual members of that organization are held responsible. The very fact of embodying such a provision as that in the law must make the community resentful. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- It does not make for conciliation. {: .speaker-KMZ} ##### Mr MARTENS: -- No right-thinking person can have any regard for any member of this Parliament who supported the pernicious criminal code known as the Arbitration Act of 1928. No man was happier than I was when I heard of the result of the last elections and the relegation, to political oblivion of the Bruce-Page Government, principally because of the amending Act of 1928. That criminal code provided worse penalties for offences than did any other legislation, with the exception of the Crimes Act, for which the late Government was also responsible. There are men, not union secretaries, who are quite competent to act as conciliation commissioners. I have a keen appreciation of the work of those who were responsible for the minority report of the Constitution Commission. One member who signed that report does not belong ito the Labour party and yet he adopted a fair attitude. In any case this Government will not make the mistake that the previous Government did in making appointments under the arbitration law. This Government will appoint as conciliation commissioners, men of knowledge and experience, with a capacity to get at the root of an industrial trouble before it develops into a serious dispute. In the' event of a dispute occurring, the judge would visit the locality in company with representatives of the employers and the employees, see the work that was being done, ascertain where friction existed, and determine the matter within an hour. A stoppage would not then take place, but satisfaction would be felt by all parties. It must not be thought that the men always get the plums; they frequently get the axe; but both the men and their representatives appreciate the fact that the judge is prepared to see what they are doing, and obtain a first-hand knowledge of their trouble. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Latham)** said that the Commonwealth has no police force of any magnitude, or it might be employed in industrial disputes. If the Federal Arbitration Court makes a determination which causes such resentment that there is a stoppage of work, no State Government will allow the award to be flouted and blood to be spilt by the fighting factions, either free workers or strikers. I -have a keen recollection 'of both National and Labour Governments being censured by workers on strike because they have allowed the police to protect the men who were working. There is no obligation on a State Governmentto do that, except that it is a government. It would not be a government if it failed to perform that duty. The Commonwealth Government is paramount over all other governments. If a State Government failed to see that, as far as possible, peace was observed, -it would not be discharging its obligations to the people who had elected it, and would soon have to make way for another government. We have always told the workers in Queensland, " Whether you like this decision or not, unless the Government is prepared to hand the administration of affairs over to you - and that it dare not do - it must run the country and you must put up with the consequences". When the men are spoken to in that way they act reasonably. Frequently it is not pleasant to tell them these things; but it is a duty that one owes to one's fellows, and I am pleased to say that the organization to which I have belonged for many' years has never failed to act along those lines. Before the Arbitration Court was established we had to adopt whatever guerrilla methods lay to our hand. The Labour party -was the first to advocate arbitration, and give effect to it to any material extent. Having done that, it would be unfair for members of that party to say to a body of men, "While you get from the court all that you want, stick to it; but when you do not, kick over the traces ". That would be a stupid and an unfair proposition, which would bring untold suffering and misery to people who do not deserve it. I can assure honorable members that there are occasions when one is warranted in feeling resentment at decisions of judges. Such an occasion arose when Judge Lukin gave his decision in the timber-workers' case. That decision aroused resentment in the bosoms of, not only the men who were affected by it, but also those who represented them. It is reprehensible for any presiding judge to refuse to allow the advocates or the representatives of an organization to investigate accounts and report to their executive. In Queensland we have been ' privileged to peruse these so-called secret, documents, which it was alleged could not be made public. The judges there have always trusted the representatives of the employees, and that trust has never been betrayed. When trusted loaders go back to their members and say, " We have been through the accounts, we have seen everything, and we can give you the assurance that the statements of the employers are true," no difficulty is experienced. This , bill can do no harm, but it will do ah immense amount of good ; and this House, as well as another place, will be well advised to give it a quick passage. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Mokoan)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 3035 {:#debate-34} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Darwin Unemployed - Development and Migration Commission Motion (by **Mr. BRENNAN)** proposed - That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr YATES:
Adelaide .- As honorable members are aware, the honorable member for the Northern Territory **(Mr. Nelson)** is laid aside with sickness. Consequently, I have been written and wired to, to bring before the Minister for Home Affairs **(Mr. Blakeley)** the situation in Darwin as it affects the residents of that town, especially those who happen to be unemployed. I am not acquainted with the circumstances, and can speak only in the light of the information that has been supplied to me ; but, reading between the lines, there would appear to be wilful neglect of the residents, and carelessness with respect to their conditions. The wire that I have received states that the Director of Works is making an avoidable six weeks tour of inspection, and that the Director of Education is going to the Victoria Rival district for a holiday, while his wife is holidaying in that locality. Other matters are referred to, but without more authoritative statements I do not wish to repeat them. Seeing that the honorable member for the Northern Territory is unable to make representations personally, and that these people have been left stranded, I feel it incumbent upon me to impel the Minister to make inquiries to ascertain what is happening in Darwin, and whether ameliorative measures cannot be taken. That portion of the Territory must be in a parlous condition when men have been forced to take the action that they have taken and are taking to improve their conditions. When men are unemployed and hungry they become desperate. If society fails to give to its constituent parts that to which they are entitled, those parts owe no duty to society ; and if they revolt and act as they would not otherwise act the fault lies, not with them, but with the administration. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- What is the trouble? {: .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr YATES: -- I am not acquainted with the whole of the .trouble, but it relates principally to unemployment. The honorable member is aware that some little time ago the unemployed took the drastic action nf locking the officials in their offices so as to force steps to be taken to relieve their distress. This portion of the Territory is far removed from the centres of government, and, consequently, is hampered when it tries to get its grievances rectified. Perhaps if I occupied a position similar to that of these people I also might be impelled to adopt drastic measures. We cannot judge another man until we have placed ourselves in his position. When week after week passes without; redress, and the outlook is hopeless, men become desperate. Before judging these men honorable members should try to picture how they would feel in similar circumstances. I understand that John Basil Waldic was sentenced to 21 days imprisonment, William Jennings to fourteen days; and that Frank Broziet was fined £5 or, in default,to go to gaol for six months or until the fine is paid. {: .speaker-KXT} ##### Mr Paterson: -- What for? {: .speaker-L1T} ##### Mr YATES: -- For locking the officers in their own room. Persons in the capital cities who have to submit to similar punishment are in close touch with their representatives, and consequently are able to obtain some satisfaction; but these unfortunate men are so far removed from the seat of Government that it is very difficult for them to obtain any redress. I am also informed that Patrick Reid, Roy Reid, Walter Power, Donald Cameron, Albert Wright, Patrick O'Hara, Charles Precce and Jack Carter were each fined £2 10s., and ordered to remain in gaol until the fine is paid, but no longer than six months. This is a most Gilbertian way of treating thesemen, because, in one instance, a fine of £5 was imposed when the man has not5d. to his name. If I were one of these unfortunate persons, I would remain in gaol and compel the authorities to keep me. I suggest that the Minister **(Mr. Blakeley)** should get into touch with the authorities in Darwin, and ascertain if something cannot be done.I am loath to believe that this Parliament, which is in control of this great continent, cannot do something to assist these poor fellows, who should not be compelled to serve a term of imprisonment for such a trivial offence. {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
Kooyong .- I take this opportunity to correct a mistake I made when speaking on the second reading of the Development and Migration Bill, on the 17th June, which appears in the official report of the debates of this House, and also in the press reports. It is to the effect that the Development and Migration Commission had saved its cost many thousand times over. That, of course, is impossible, as several members promptly pointed out. What I intended to say was that the Development and Migration Commission had saved many, thousands of pounds, and its cost many times over. {: #subdebate-34-0-s2 .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY:
Minister for Home Affairs · Darling .- The matter raised by the honorable member for Adelaide **(Mr. Yates),** is now under consideration, and I hope to be able to make a statement on the subject at an early date. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 June 1930, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1930/19300619_reps_12_125/>.