House of Representatives
7 June 1956

22nd Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. C. F. Adermann) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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– My question is directed to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Has your attention been drawn to a report on the front page of to-day’s issue of the Sydney Daily Telegraph which appears under the following headlines: -

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Parliament House “ Involved

If so, what action is being taken to investigate these serious allegations?

M.r. DEPUTY SPEAKER. - The President and I have already had a discussion on the matter, and have arranged for an investigation to proceed, r shall report to the House on the result? fit a later date.

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– I direct a question to the Acting Prime Minister in his capacity as Treasurer. Is it a fact that a third hank in Australia has established, by approval of the Treasury, a savings bank in competition with the Commonwealth Savings Bank? Is it also a fact that the Commonwealth Savings Bank invests its funds so as to assist municipal councils and similar organizations? Is it further true that the permission given by the Government for the establishment of a third new savings bank will mean a loss of at least £2,000,000 a year to the Commonwealth Savings Bank in deposits, which will reduce by that amount the total that the Commonwealth Savings Bank will he able to lend to local government bodies which are so desperately requiring finance for the development of water, sewerage and electricity schemes? Is not this action by the Government a calculated undermining of the Commonwealth Savings Bank?


– Taking the last part of the honorable gentleman’s question first, the Government’s action is not an undermining of the functions or activities of the Commonwealth Saving.Bank. The bringing into being of saving.banks will have a tendency to encouragesavings,

Honorable members interjecting,


– Order !


– That La,- already been proved. I shall be pleased to get the honorable member the terms anil conditions of the charter under which the banks concerned have received permission to conduct savings banks, and 1 am sure that after studying that he will agree with me that greater funds will be made available for the purposes he is so concerned about at the moment.

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– I should like to ask the Minister for the Interior; What arrangements have been made for State representation at the fire services conference to be held at Maryborough, iti Queensland, next week? Will such organizations as the rural fire brigade.of Victoria, which number more than 1.000 associated brigades, be represented? Will travelling expenses of the delegates, be paid by the Commonwealth?

Minister for the Interior · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I am grateful to the honorable member for his question, because it gives me an opportunity to clear up what might be a misunderstanding arising from the widespread and splendid press coverage of this matter. In shortening the report, the newspapers may have given the wrong impression. In actual fact, a fire-weather service is being instituted. It is being developed by the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau in co-operation with the Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau and will lead to closer liaison between the Meteorological Bureau and those who are responsible for bush-fire control in the States. Those who are going to the conference will represent the State and Commonwealth Forestry Departments, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, private companies who are interested in forest products, public utilities and so on. The people to whom the honorable gentleman referred will be represented by the fire control officers of the various State governments. There is no question, therefore, of delegates of rural fire organizations being at the conference.

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– I desire to ask the Minister for External Affairs a question following the question I asked yesterday on the advice given by the Australian Government to the British Government in connexion with the movement in Singapore for complete self-government. The background is, of course, that the Singapore Government did not ask that international affairs be included within its scope, but it asked for complete selfgovernment in internal affairs, including internal security. I understood the details given by the right honorable gentleman yesterday to indicate that the views of himself and of the Prime Minister were opposed to the grant of self-government in relation to the internal matters sought by the Chief Minister of Singapore, but other parts of his answer did not seem to fit in with that interpretation. I now ask again : Did the decision and advice of the Australian Government, which was conveyed to the British Government, as he said, by telegram, represent Australian policy? Could the substance of that advice - not necessarily the words of it - be conveyed formally to the House? Could a debate be arranged on that matter in view of the statement made yesterday by the right honorable gentleman that he would try to have some discussion on international affairs because of the changing international situation?

Minister for External Affairs · LP

– In answer to the question asked yesterday by the right honorable gentleman, I tried to give, very briefly, an account of Australia’s intervention in this matter by way of the channelling of the Australian Government’s views into the minds of the British Government on the matters that were under discussion at the London Conference on Singapore. That was on the basis of the best knowledge that we could collect, including my own knowledge gained during the considerable time I spent in Singapore and my long discussions with Mr. David Marshall himself only just previously. It is not possible in practice to divide all these subjects, such as internal security, into water-tight compartments. They all impinge on each other. We certainly expressed ourselves, I like to believe, in distinct terms about the general subject of internal security, as one subject amongst a number of others that make up the right of the Singapore Government to govern in respect of internal matters. At this moment when this matter is under active debate in the Singapore Assembly, I am not disposed to recommend to the Acting Prime Minister that a parallel debate should be held in this House. However, I direct the attention of the right honorable gentleman to the fact, as reported to-day, that Mr. Marshall has said that the only two matters still in dispute with the United Kingdom Government are, first, whether there should be an Asian Governor-General in Singapore and, secondly, whether the affairs of Singapore in future should be transferred from the Colonial Office to the Commonwealth Relations Office. Mr. Marshall is quoted in the press, I believe correctly, as saying that those are the only two matters in dispute. He is quoted, in his own very effective language, as then asking how matters such as that can be allowed to dominate, in effect, the whole constitutional future of Singapore. He does not, as he has been reported, emphasize or, I think, even suggest, that internal security is a matter on which the United Kingdom and Singapore are divided, or that it was responsible for the breakdown of discussions in London.


– The Minister knows that is the issue.


– 1 am merely quoting Mr. David Marshall as reported in this morning’s press. Prom my knowledge of the situation, and in the light of the answers I have given to questions on this subject in the House during the last two days, I believe that is a reasonable summary of the situation. Perhaps I may be allowed to add that, in to-day’s newspapers, Mr. Marshall is reported to have mentioned that Australia had not - I imagine he means in recent times - sufficiently informed itself of the views of the Singapore Government.

Dr Evatt:

– That is an understatement of what he is reported to have said.


– That is what I understood him to have said, no doubt as the result of a comment made in Colombo during the last few days by the Prime Minister of Australia, the terms of which are not available to me. I had several hours of active, intimate and friendly discussion with Mr. Marshall not very long before the London conference. In the week or two that followed, my discussion with him was supported by talks between him and the Australian Commissioner in Singapore. I believe we could not have been more fully informed of the views of Mr. Marshall and his Government before he went to London. I believe we understood those views precisely. Anything that was in doubt was clarified by telegraphic request to the Australian Commissioner in Singapore, and I consider we were very fully informed. I should like to believe, and I do believe, that we took a balanced and sympathetic view of the aspirations of Mr. Marshall and his Government in respect of Singapore, as, indeed, we still do. I do not believe, as I have said before on behalf of this Government, that what has happened is the last word. Nor do I believe that the merits of this question should be debated in this House while the matter is being debated in the Singapore Legislative Council.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for External Affairs, who administers the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. The Minister will recall that, some weeks ago, I asked him whether he considered that the funds available for textile research in Australia were adequate, particularly in view of the enormous expansion of the use of synthetic fibres and the need to keep wool ahead of these competitors. Is the Minister yet in a position to say whether the funds available to the organization for this purpose are adequate? If they are not, what steps does he propose to take to increase them?


– I recall the honorable gentleman’s question very well. I regret very much that I have not given him a more detailed reply, but that is not to say that I have not inquired into the matter very carefully. I took it up with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization immediately after the question was asked. In general, I would say that the honorable gentleman is right, and that it is the view of the organization that more active research into a variety of matters should be initiated as soon as possible. It all comes back to this dreadful question of money, of course. The question of the funds required to support such research is now under active discussion with the relevant departments and, through the appropriate bodies, with the wool-growers. Perhaps I shall have an opportunity, at the committee stage of the consideration of the Supply Bill (No. 1) 1956-57, to develop this subject in a way in which it cannot be adequately discussed in answer to a question.

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– I address a question to the Acting Prime Minister. Before, the Prime Minister left Australia recently the honorable member for Lalor asked him if he would confer with the Minister for Repatriation on the matter of the proposed closing of the Anzac Hostel Brighton. In view of the repeated protests from all sections of the community against the proposed closing of this hostel, can the Acting Prime Minister tell me whether any decision has been made on this matter, in order that I and other members can let the protesting parties know the intention of the Government in this regard?


– I am not conversant with the details of the matter that the honorable member has mentioned, or of the present position in regard to it. I shall have enquiries made and give the honorable member the required information.

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– I preface my question to the Minister for Civil Aviation by observing that some major airline operators in Australia have imported helicopters. Will these aircraft be used principally for charter flights, or is there any intention to establish regular services of a suitable kind where conditions and circumstances warrant them? Has approval been granted for commercial helicopters to operate from any areas or sites other than recognized airstrips?

Minister for Air · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– The two major airline operators in Australia, TransAustralia Airlines and Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited, have both purchased helicopters. There is no intention at present to establish regular services, nor, indeed, are the helicopters that have been imported of a type suitable for regular passenger-carrying services. They are too lightly powered to be able to lift a sufficient number of passengers to make such services profitable. The two operators have introduced these aircraft mainly in order to assess their value in commercial operations. They will also be used to give pilots experience in flying them, and to carry out a number of charter operations. They are allowed to take off and land from the ordinary airports, and all kinds of other landing fields have been authorized for them. They are not allowed to fly over populated areas at u height less than 1,000 feet. The Department of Civil Aviation will, however, approve a 500 feet ceiling for them if they can follow a track that takes them over parklands or other areas on which they could land without danger to third parties in the event of engine failure.

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– In the absence of the Minister for Territories, I direct my question to the Acting Prime Minister. Is the Japanese pearling fleet at present in Darwin? Have the Japanese operators been granted permission to lift 1,000 tons of shell? Are they still restricted in their operations to areas north of the continental shelf, or have they been granted permission to work on the Australian coast? Does the Australian Government receive any revenue from these activities?


– As the question concerns the administration of the Department of Territories, I must ask the honorable member to place it on the notice-paper.

Mr Calwell:

Mr. Calwell interjecting.


– I cannot give the honorable member any information on this matter at present.

Mr. Calwell and other Opposition members interjecting.


– Interjections are out of order - particularly at question time - even when they come from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He cannot dictate how a Minister should answer a question. I direct that interjections must cease. If they do not, I shall have to take action against the offenders and call on the next item of business.

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– Has the Minister for Primary Industry given any consideration to a suggestion that a national insurance plan should be established as a protection to primary producers against losses caused by floods, fires and other national disasters? If the Minister has not considered such a suggestion, will he. through the department that he administers, investigate the practicability of such a plan?

Minister for Primary Industry · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– Neither I nor the department has given consideration, in recent months, to a national insurance scheme to cover losses caused by floods, storms, tempests- or other acts of God. I saw a document dealing with this question within a few days of my becoming the Minister for Primary Industry, and I was informed that an actuarial calculation had shown that such a scheme would be impracticable unless fairly substantial premiums were paid by primary producers, or a very large subvention made by the Commonwealth. In other words, I think that such a scheme may be impracticable. But knowing the honorable member’s great interest in this problem, I shall have the file dug out and ascertain the exact position. If I think it is desirable, I shall communicate with him further.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Will he say what authority he had for two statements that he made on Tuesday? Does the Minister recall saying that the Commonwealth would consider the question of compensation for people who might he dispossessed at Jervis Bay? Does he recall, also, saying that the return of the Naval College from Flinders to Jervis Bay would not mean that all business activity there would cease but that it would mean only a reduction in business activity? Does this latter statement contrast completely with the announced decision of Cabinet that all buildings and all homes must be vacated by the 3lst March, 1957? Can the Minister’s statement be taken as an announcement of a new decision by Cabinet or has it, in fact, no weight at all ?


– The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has been on this subject for some considerable time and it seems to me to be reprehensible that he should try to-

Opposition Members. - Oh !


-Order ! An honorable member has a right to ask a question.


– Perhaps so, but-


– I rise to order. Is the term “ reprehensible “, when applied to the action of an honorable member, unparliamentary ?


– Order ! The Minister has not applied the term to the honorable member for Melbourne, [f the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory asks for a withdrawal of the word when used against himself, I shall ask the Minister to withdraw it.

Mr Calwell:

– Is it not one of the unparliamentary words that may not be used ?


– Not necessarily - in certain circumstances. The Minister may continue.


– I have, over the years, kept the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory fully in formed of the Government’s intentions’. Those intentions were made clear to him years ago and the decision of the department then was that the business premises would have to be vacated and if there was proof of loss the Government would give consideration to the payment of compensation. This decision was made some time ago and was known to him and has not, in fact, been reversed. So the answer to the honorable member’s first question is known to himself and has been consistent Government policy for some time. The second part of the honorable member’s question refers to whether or not business activity would cease completely. Again, the Government has made it clear that there is plenty of land in the area of Jervis Bay where private business interests may extend should they wish to do so. The honorable member knows as well as any one that the Huskisson and other areas are available and can be used for businesses and the area will still be occupied. It will be occupied by the Naval College and the naval base, and the fleet air arm will be stationed handy at Nowra. Therefore, I think it can be said that, insofar as the Government is concerned, there may be an increase in business activity. The Chamber of Commerce has informed me that it welcomes the presence of the fleet air arm at Nowra because of the status that it gives to the town and because of the increased business activities. Consequently, I think it is logical to assume, and I think that most logical members of the Opposition will agree, that the transfer of the Naval College to Jervis Bay must result in some increased business activity in that area. I am prepared to say that I think business activity in that area will expand in the future.


– I direct to the Minister for Primary Industry a question which is supplementary to the one asked by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory. Will the return of the Royal Australian Naval College to Jervis Bay enhance Australia’s defence effort? Will the transfer mean giving back to Australia’s future naval officers their spiritual home? In this controversy, is the Australian Labour party siding with profit-making tourist caterers against the interests of defence ?

Minister for Primary Industry · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I shall not make any comment on the last part of the question. The honorable member will have abundant opportunity to raise the matter during debates on motions for the adjournment of the House or in other places, if he so wishes. As to the first part of the question, the Naval College will be going back to its spiritual and traditional home. One fact I should like to make known to the House is that, when it was first decided to establish the college at Jervis Bay, some of the necessary funds - I am not quite certain how much - were raised by public subscription and placed in trust for that purpose. I believe that not only is Jervis Bay the spiritual home of the Naval College, but also that the Navy wants to go back and that the Government has made a proper decision in allowing it to return. The honorable member has asked whether the transfer will be in the interests of defence. My colleague, the honorable member for Calare, dealt extensively with that matter on Tuesday during the debate on this subject. I think the reasons given by him were conclusive, and that the best interests of the Royal Australian Navy, and certainly the interests of defence, are being served by the return of the college to Jervis Bay, where cadets can be effectively and efficiently trained and come in close contact with the Navy’s fleet activities.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether he has any recent information about the serious unemployment position in Western Australia. In relation to the answer furnished by bini to the Leader of the Opposition on the 25th May, can the Minister say whether the 1,400 vacancies to which he referred were mainly jobs for boys and girls, jobs calling for special qualifications, and jobs requiring special skill for farm work? If that is not so, how can he account for the fact that 813 persons were in receipt of unemployment relief when, as he alleged, there were 1,400 vacancies? I add, by way of explanation, that at that time, quite apart from persons who had not registered, more than 4,000 people were seeking work from the Commonwealth Employment Office.


– I have not readily available any information in addition to that which I gave to the House recently in reply to another question, but I shall ascertain whether there is any later information that I can make available to the honorable member. I shall certainly be able to furnish him with a. break-up of the vacancy position.

Dr Evatt:

– A breakdown!


– The right honorable gentleman speaks about a breakdown. If ho is of the opinion that, the Australian economy is in a state of breakdown, he is out of line with most other thinking people.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether hie attention has been directed to the serious drift in the prosperity of the poultry industry of Australia, particularly in New South Wales. Has his attention been directed also to recent criticisms of the policy adopted by the New South Wales Egg Board and the claim that the public of Australia, and more particularly of New South Wales, is being charged high prices for eggs, which even then are almost unobtainable, while eggs are being dumped overseas at unprofitable prices? Can the Minister inform the House, first, of the action that can be taken to assist the poultry industry to greater prosperity, and secondly, of the accuracy or otherwise of the statements and criticisms that have been made ?


– I am a bachelor, and frequently at week-ends I have tocook my own meals. Last week-end, 1 was unable to obtain that commodity which 13 most used by bachelors; I could not obtain a few humble eggs to cook my supper on Sunday night. So I can agree with the statement^ made by my friend, the honorable member for New England, that there is a shortage of eggs in some parts of New South Wales.

Sir ARTHUR Fadden:

– There is no shortage of wives !


– I hope that some day, in addition to correcting the deficiency in the supply of eggs I might be able to comply with the wishes of the Acting Prime Minister and take unto myself a. wife. The honorable gentleman from New England will know that the shortage of eggs is a problem for the New South Wales Government and the New South Wales Egg Board. I should not like to make a comment on the board’s policy of procuring and dumping eggs overseas, but it constitutes a real problem. So far as it lies within the competence of the Australian Government, positive action is being taken. Although eggs may appear to be a rather humble commodity, they are mighty important in the economy of the family. Therefore, shortly after becoming Minister for Primary Industry t had two inquiries completed. One related to a poultry improvement plan, by which the Commonwealth is providing the funds for demonstration units, and the other is in relation to provision for visits overseas by officials of State departments of agriculture and the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industry to investigate on the highest scientific level the latest methods of poultry and egg production. I have prepared a statement on this matter for the poultry industry and I shall be only too happy to make a copy of it available to the honorable mem.her at the conclusion of question time.

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Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee: (Consideration of Governor-General’s message) :

Motion (by Sir Arthur Fadden-) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue he made for the purposes of a bill for an act to make provision for the grant of financial assistance to the States in connexion with universities.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

That Sir Arthur Fadden and Sir Erie Harrison do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Sir Arthur Fadden and read a first time.

Second Reading

McPhersonActing Prime Minister and Treasurer · CP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Under legislation, Commonwealth grants for university purposes have been provided since the 1st July, 1950. Before that time there had been Commonwealth, grants for research and, in addition, substantial subsidies were paid to universities to meet the costs they incurred in connexion with training provided under the reconstruction training scheme. This bill seeks to continue Commonwealthgrants for universities for the year 1956. When the corresponding legislation was introduced last year, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) indicated that a close examination was being made of the basis on which grants were determined, in the light of changes in student enrolments and changes in relative costs as between one university and another. This bill, then, is the product of that review, although it does not depart from the established principles under which grants have been made since 1950.

It would be appropriate, I believe, to remind honorable members of the principles under which grants have been made. When grants were first provided in respect of 1950, the legislation enabled each university to qualify for a basic grant. To qualify for such a basic grant it was necessary for the income from State grants and fees to be at least sufficient to balance the university’s budget for 1950. Also it was necessary for the total amount from State grants and fees to be at least three times as great as the Commonwealth basic grant. After that year, in accordance with an agreement with the State of New South Wales, adjustments were made to the qualifying amount and the basic grant for the New South Wales University of Technology, but, apart from that, there has been no change in the qualifying amount for any university and the only adjustment in the basic grant has been to allow for increases in a small part of that grant - provided as a contribution towards teaching and administration costs of residential’ colleges. The total amount provided for residential colleges has been increased from £25,000 in the original legislation to the sum of £44,000 provided for in the present bill. Compared with la3t year’s legislation, which provided for £35,700, this particular item has been increased by £8,300.

Under present conditions, all universities would qualify for the basic grant, and the importance of the review carried out during the past year in accordance with the Prime Minister’s statement is that it has provided material to enable the Government to arrive at an appropriate total for this year, as well as an allocation as between universities. The important matter for each university is the maximum amount available, which is shown in the fourth column of the schedule to the bill, and honorable members will note that the maximum amount available this year is £2,000,000 - an increase, I would observe, of some £300,000 on the total provision made in the 1955 legislation. .

This amount of £2,000,000 was determined after a careful analysis of enrolments and costs of universities. It has been found that since 1953 there has been an increase in the level of university costs. At the same time, it is estimated that the increase of enrolments between 1954 and 1956 is of the order of 10 per cent. The increased maximum made available in the bill has been determined so that the Commonwealth contribution will be appropriate to the Commonwealth share of these increases. In referring to the “ Commonwealth share “, I must mention that the essential principle of this legislation is that the Commonwealth grant is a supplementary grant and that each university’s share of this grant is attracted by that university’s income from fees and State grants. Once a university has attracted the basic grant, then it is able to attract £1 of Commonwealth money for each £3 of income from State grants and fees.

The allocation between the several universities of the maximum grant available provides for an increase of Commonwealth support in each case compared with that of the 1955 legislation. The allocation is based on the investigations which have been carried out and on the best possible estimate of the relative needs of the several universities. In estimating these needs, it was- necessary to make allowance, not only for university enrolments, but also for the distribution of students between the various faculties and for the differing costs of these faculties. Again, consideration was given to the special problems of small universities.

This year’s legislation is, I believe, somewhat simpler in form than the previous legislation and the maximum amount payable to each university shown in the fourth column of the schedule will enable honorable members to determine by inspection the allocation of the overall grant as between the universities. This column does reflect, as accurately as we are able to estimate it, the relative claims of Australian universities on the total amount of £2.000,000. Honorable members will appreciate, however, that whether any particular university will be able to attract the maximum amount offered will depend on that university’s income from State grants and fees. I have had an examination made of the amount likely to be attracted thic year and it seems, on the evidence available, that all universities will together qualify under the conditions provided in this bill for somewhat more than £1,900,000. The total in the fourth column includes in respect of each university the amount provided in the third column, i.e., the amount of the basic grant which, in turn, includes, as I haw already mentioned, the amount provided for residential colleges shown separately in the fifth column.

Apart from the change in the maximum grant available and the changes in its distribution resulting from the review, there is only one other change to which I would draw the attention of honorable members, and that will make it easier for universities to attract Commonwealth money. This is a change in clause 3, the interpretation claude of the act. Honorable members will recall that the Commonwealth grant is provided as a grant towards running costs. The Commonwealth has not, under this legislation, made any provision towards capital costs. We have always had the problem of defining capital expenditure in such a way as to provide for ease of administration and for the avoidance of a detailed analysis of minor university expenses. Previous legislation has provided that capital expenditure shall include expenditure on the erection of a new building, and expenditure exceeding £500 on the alteration of an existing building, or for the purchase of, or otherwise in connexion with, a single item of equipment.

The Government now considersthe time has come to review that provision and in the interpretation clause of the act, clause 3, the amount of “ £500 “ in earlier legislation has been replaced by an amount of “£1,000 “. I commend the bill to honorable members. I am sure that they will wish the Commonwealth to continue its assistance to university education, which is so important for Australia’s future.

Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.

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Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910-1955.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Mr. HAROLD HOLT (Higgins-

Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration) [11.14]. - by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The bill makes a minor amendment to the Northern Territory (Administration) Act of 1910-1955 and is consequential upon the changes to be made by the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. The act at present provides that the Conciliation and Arbitration Act shall apply to industrial disputes in the Northern Territory as if the words “extending beyond the limits of any one State “ were omitted from the definition of “ industrial disputes “ in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Now, under the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission will have juris diction in relation to disputes in the maritime and stevedoring industries. To enable this jurisdiction to be exercised in relation to those industries in the Northern Territory, it is necessary to adjust in the Northern Territory (Administration) Act the definition of “ industrial dispute “ appearing in the maritime and stevedoring divisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill accordingly. It is quite a simple proposal, and I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Clarey). adjourned.

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Motion (by Dr. Donald Cameron). agreed to -

That leavebe given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the National Health Act 1953-1955.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Health · OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP

, - by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The National Health Service Act introduced by my predecessor in 1950 has operated with outstanding success. Honorable members will recall that the objectives of the national health legislation are to provide for the community a wide range of life-saving and diseasepreventing drugs, a free medical service and medicine for pensioners and their dependants, and generous medical and hospital benefits based on the development of health insurance. These objectives are being achieved in full measure. With experience, however, it has been found that a number of minor alterations have to be made to the legislation in order to deal with contingencies that arise from time to time. There is scarcely any need to enlarge on the necessity for effecting minor procedural and machinery adjustments to legislation of such a comprehensive character as this. For example, there are some 12,000,000 medical services per annum for which total Commonwealth and organization benefits amounting to £11,500,000 are being paid under the act. Transactions on this scale inevitably bring about numerous administrative problems. ,;Four machinery amendments are provided for in this bill. None of them alters any of the major principles on which the legislation is established, so it may be most convenient if I explain the purpose of the amendments to the House in the order in which the various clauses appear in the bill.

Clause 3 is designed to give the Minister power to determine a rate of Commonwealth medical benefit, not exceeding the maximum benefit of £11 5s., in respect of medical services for which no amount of benefit is specified in the schedules to the act. Experience has shown that the determination of benefit for new medical procedures which come under notice from time to time cannot be satisfactorily achieved under the existing law. Honorable members will have seen the schedules to the act which specify the amounts of Commonwealth benefit payable in respect of 931 individual medical procedures. The schedules are drawn up in the light of the best and most uptodate medical advice available, but, of course, it is never long after a schedule has been prepared and approved by the Parliament before new medical techniques are developed and brought under notice. In the past it has been the practice for the benefit payable in respect of these new medical procedures to be arbitrarily calculated on the basis of the number of attendances by the doctor. This method of dealing with the problem has not proved entirely satisfactory, and it is believed that it will be much better if there is power for the Minister to determine the rate of benefit payable in the light of all the information available to him. The amounts of benefit determined under this provision will be submitted to the Parliament for incorporation in the schedules, by amendment to the act, as soon as practicable after the determinations are made.

Clause 4 seeks to repeal sub-section 19 (2.) of the act, which gives the Minister certain discretionary powers in relation to payment of benefit in respect of medical expenses charged for by public hospitals. Under the act, benefit is not payable when the fee for the medical service is payable to a public hospital, unless the Minister makes an exception under this discretionary power. The Minister’s discretionary power has been used in the past to enable benefit to be paid in respect of charges for radiological and pathological services and electroencephalograms rendered by public hospitals. Doubts have, however, arisen as to the technical validity of the declaration made by the Minister. It is proposed to remove these doubts by taking all discretionary powers in this matter out of the Minister’s hands, and by specifying in the act the particular services for which benefit has in the past been paid and will continue to be paid. These services are those specified in items 201 to 318 inclusive, and 332, of the Second Schedule - that is, radiological and pathological services and electroencephalograms as referred to in clause 4 of the bill.

A further alteration to be made by clause 4 is an amendment of the definition of “ public hospital “ in section 19 (3.) of the act. This definition is to be changed to ensure that hospitals in the Northern Territory will not come within the scope of this particular section. With minor exceptions, medical attention is not available in the Northern Territory except at the hospitals maintained by the Commonwealth, and it would be inequitable if any charges which might be made in future by the Commonwealth for attention at these hospitals did not attract Commonwealth medical benefit under the National Health Act. This amendment to section 19 (3.) will ensure that there is no possibility of this inequitable situation arising.

Clause 5 will give the Minister power to appoint a qualified person to serve temporarily on a committee of inquiry in the absence of one of the duly appointed regular members. At present there is no provision in the act for the appointment of a substitute in cases where a committee member is temporarily unable to take his place at committee meetings because, of, for example, sickness or absence from Australia. The amendment to be effected by clause 5 will enable this necessary step to be taken when required.

The remaining proposed amendment is that in clause 6. Section 134a of the act gives the Minister power to publish in the Gazette notification of disciplinary or prosecution action he has taken against doctors or chemists for abuses, or offences against the act. It is believed that this power to publish notification of action is a valuable deterrent to abuse or malpractice. In order to strengthen the value of this deterrent provision it is proposed that power be given to the Minister to enable him to publish a statement of reasons why action was taken. This is the only change to he effected by this clause. I commend the bill to honorable members.

Mr Thompson:

– Before the Minister resumes his seat, would he tell us whether any effort will be made to publicize, before the amending bill comes before us, those new items to be added to the schedule?

Minister for Health · OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP

– They are not new items in the schedule.

Mr Thompson:

– I mean the ones in relation to which the Minister has been using his discretion.

Minister for Health · OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP

– They are not new items. It is merely a question of transferring the method of making benefit available. Previously it was done by declaration. In future, it will be incorporated in the act.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned. [ Quorum formed.]

page 2901


In committee: Consideration resumed from the 6th June (vide page 2877).


– There being no objection to that procedure, leave is granted.

Postponed clause 7.

Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– I have circulated an amendment which is made necessary by the provisions included in other legislation currently before the House - that is, the Stevedoring Industry Bill 1956. It will be found that this amendment includes quite an extensive range of matters which are made necessary, in our view, as a result of the action that we are taking in the other legislation. The broad purpose is to bring the stevedoring industry, in company with the other industries already covered, under the general arbitration system, for the purpose of determining industrial disputes. It is felt that that is the most convenient way of doing it. There may be particular aspects which honorable members wish to raise in the course of the discussion, and I should prefer to deal with those matters as they arise rather than to attempt any blanket description of what is provided here and take up the time of the committee unnecessarily. I move -

That, at the end of clause 7, the following Division be inserted: - ” Division, 4. - Industrial Matters - Stevedoring Industry. 16RS. - (1.) In this Division, unless the contrary intention appears - employer ‘ has the same meaning as in the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956; “ employment bureau “ has the same meaning as in the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956; “industrial dispute” means a dispute (including a threatened, impending or probable dispute) as to industrial matters which extends beyond the limits of any one State, and includes -

a part of an industrial dispute;

an industrial dispute so far as it relates to a matter in dispute; or

a question arising in relation to an industrial dispute; “industrial matters” means all matters pertaining to the relations of employers and waterside workers and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes -

all matters or things affecting or relating to work done or to be done;

the privileges, rights and duties of employers and of waterside workers ;

the wages, allowance and remuneration of waterside workers employed or tobe employed :

the piece-work, contract or other reward paid or to be paid in respect of employment;

the question whether piecework or contract work or any other system of payment by results shall be allowed, forbidden or exclusively prescribed;

the question whether monetary allowances shall be made in respect of any time when a waterside worker is not actually working;

the question whether minimum payments shall be made to waterside workers in respect of any circumstance or period;

the hours of employment, age, qualifications and status of waterside workers;

the mode, terms and conditions of employment;

the employment of any water side workers or class of waterside workers ;

the preferential employment or the non-employmentof any particular waterside worker or class of waterside workers ;

the right to dismiss or to refuse to employ, or the duty to reinstate in employment, a particular waterside worker or class of waterside workers ;

any custom or usage, whether general or in a particular locality ;

any industrial dispute, including any matter which may be a contributory cause of such a dispute; and

the provision of first-aid equip ment, medical attendance, ambulance facilities. rest rooms, sanitary and washing facilities, canteens,cafeteria, dining rooms and other amenities for Waterside workers, and includes all questions of what is right and fair in relation to an industrial matter having regard to the interests of the persons immediately concerned and of society as a whole; “ industrial question “ means -

an industrial dispute;

an industrial matter; and

a matter pertaining to atten dance money or a. question arising in relation to such a matter ; “ the Authority “ means the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority established under the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956; “ Union “ has the same meaning as in the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956; “ waterside worker “ has the same meaning as in the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956. (2.) A reference in this Division to an industrial matter shall be read as including a reference to a question arising in relation to an industrial matter. 16bt. The Commission is empowered -

to prevent or settle, by conciliation or arbitration, industrial disputes; and

to hear and determine industrial matters submitted to it in so far as those matters relate to trade and commerce with other countries or among the States or in a Territory of the Commonwealth, whether or not an industrial dispute exists in relation to those matters. 16bu - (1.) The Commission is empowered to determine, by order, the terms and conditions in accordance with which, and the rates at which, the Authority shall pay attendance money to waterside workers. (2.) Where, in the opinion of the Authority, there is a concerted failure by all or any of the waterside workers registered at a port under the Stevedoring Industry Act1956 to comply with a provision of that Act, an order of the Authority under that Act or an award or order of the commission under this Division the authority may, by instrument in writing, suspend the operations of an order made under the last preceding sub-section in so far as it relates to waterside workers at that port.

The Commission may, by order, upon application made by a Union, revoke the suspension under the last preceding sub-section of the operation of an order made under subsection ( 1 ) . of this section, and the revocation has effect from such date, being a date not earlier than the date of the application to the Commission, and upon such terms and conditions, as the Commission directs. (4.) Where, at a port, arrangements exist for allotting waterside workers to stevedoring operations by means which do not require the daily attendance of waterside workers at, an employment bureau at the port, a waterside worker who does not attend at an employment bureau on any day on which he is not required by the Authority to so attend is not, by reason only of that non-attendance, disentitled, to attendance money in respect of that day. 1 6BV. - ( 1 . ) Subject to the next succeeding sub-section, the powers of the Commission in respect of an industrial question, and any other powers of the Commission under this Division, are exercisable by the Commission constituted by a presidential member of the Commission assigned by the President for the purpose and not otherwise. (2). The powers of the Commission in respect of an industrial question -

in relation to a matter referred to in sub-section (1.) of section sixteen s of this Act - are exercisable by the Commission in Presidential Session ; and

under section sixteen t or sixteenU of this Act - are exercisable by the Commission constituted as provided by whichever of those sections is applicable, and not otherwise. “ (3.) The Commission shall not make an award or order in the exercise of its powers under this Division which, in the opinion of the Commission, will be inconsistent with an order of the Authority under the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956 unless the Commission has first consulted with the Chairman of the Authority and the Chairman has informed the Commission that the Authority has agreed to the making of the award or order by the Commission. (4.) An award or order made by the Commission in the exercise of its powers under this Division with the agreement of the Authority under the last preceding sub-section has effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in an order of the Authority made before the making of that award or order by the Commission, and the order of the Authority is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no effect. 16bw. - (1.) An award or order of the Commission under this Division may -

confer powers, and impose duties, on the Authority in respect of a matter dealt with in the award or order; and

subject to the next succeeding subsection, direct the Authority to pay amounts to waterside workers in such circumstances, and in accordance with such terms and conditions, as are specified in the award or order. “ (2.) A direction under paragraph (b) of the last preceding sub-section, other than a direction in relation to attendance money, shall not be included in an award or order of the Com mission except with the approval of the Minister. 16bx. - (1.) Where the Commission is of the opinion that an industrial question before the Commission concerns a matter in relation to which the Authority is empowered to make orders under section eighteen of the Stevedoring Industry Act 1056, the Commission may direct the Authority to deal with that industrial question and thereupon the Authority shall deal with that industrial question. (2.) Where the Commission is of the opinion that an industrial question before the Commission concerns a matter which relates to one port only, the Commission may, if the Authority so agrees, direct a member of the Authority, or an officer or employee of the Authority, to deal with that industrial question and thereupon that member, officer or employee, as the case may be, shall deal with that industrial question. (3.) Where, under this section, the Commission directs the Authority, or a member, officer or employee of the Authority, to deal with an industrial question, the powers of the Commission, and of the presidential member of the Commission referred to in sub-section (1.) of section sixteen bv of this Act, under this Division in relation to that industrial question are exercisable by the Authority, or by that member, officer or employee, as the case may be, as if the Authority, or that member, officer or employee, as the case may be, were the Commission constituted in accordance with this Division,or that presidential member, as the case may be. (4.) An award or order made by the Authority, or by a member, officer or employee of the Authority, by virtue of this section shall, for the purposes of this Act and the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956, be deemed to be an award made by the Commission under this Division. 16by. - (1.) The Authority may, in the public interest -

intervene in a matter before the Commission under this Division;

submit an industrial question to the Commission ; or

make an application to the Commission in relation to an industrial question. (2.) The Authority may, in proceedings before the Commission, be represented in such manner as the Commission allows. 16bz. - (1.) Subject to this Division, Division 1 of this Part extends to and in relation to the powers and functions of the Commission under this Division, to and in relation to proceedings under this Division and to and in relation to awards or orders made under this Division. (2.) In the application of Division 1 of this Part under the last preceding sub-section, references to industrial disputes shall be read as references to industrial questions and references to a Commissioner or to the Commissioner shall be read as references to the presidential member of the Commission referred to in sub-section (1.) of section sixteen bv of this Act.’.”.


.- The Opposition opposes the proposed amendment that has been moved by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt). I regret that the Minister has not made a detailed explanation of this amendment, as I feel sure that honorable members would have appreciated a considered statement from him of the reasons for the very remarkable provisions that are contained in it. The amendment provides for a very involved and complicated procedure to deal with disputes on the waterfront which, because of their very nature, should be decided promptly. The committee might well bear in mind that this amendment, which is part and parcel of the amending Stevedoring

Industry Bill 1956, which the House is also considering; refers to casual work on the’ waterfront. In the interests of industrial harmony, and certainly to provide continuity of work on the waterfront, it is essential that disputes should be promptly heard and speedily settled.

When one examines the amendment, one finds that instead of the procedure providing for a prompt and speedy determination of disputes, a very complicated and involved system is laid down which will make it almost impossible to deal promptly “with disputes on the waterfront. The necessity for a prompt settlement of these disputes can be appreciated when one realizes that even the slightest hold-up on the waterfront may gradually run right round a port, resulting in the port itself being held up and, in certain circumstances, other ports being affected. Because of those conditions, and because of those things that have happened in the past, I point out to the committee with the greatest emphasis that I can give the desirability of having the procedure for this industry made as simple in operation and as speedy in action as is possible.

Having said that, I desire to bring to the notice of the committee the rather extraordinary provisions contained in proposed section 16BU That proposed section is entitled “ Attendance money “.


– I do not want to interrupt the honorable member, but he has referred to the whole of the proposed amendment. Were there particular matters ‘before proposed section 16BU to which he wanted to draw attention?


– No. I want to draw the attention of the committee to what I believe are the major matters in the proposed amendment which should be considered by the committee and the importance of which should be recognized. The Minister will recognize that, unfortunately, not very much time is allowed to an honorable member in the committee stage, and I want to deal with the matters in this amendment that I think ought to be placed before the committee for its special consideration. Proposed section 16BU is headed “Attendance money”. Attendance money has become a feature of the payments made in connexion with waterfront work. As honorable members know, it is a payment that is made ito those who are ready, willing and available for work but whose services are not sought on any particular day. They have made themselves available, they are not called upon to work and they receive a varying amount, determined from time to time, which is given the title of attendance money. Sub-section (2.) pf proposed section 36BU provides thai where, in the opinion of the proposed Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, there is a concerted failure by all or any of the waterside workers registered at fi. port under the Stevedoring Industry Apt to comply with a provision of that act.. an order of the authority, or an award or order of the proposed Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission the authority may, by instrument jit writing, suspend the operation of an order in respect of the payment of attendance money. In other words, if the authority,. for any reason whatever, concluded thai, there was a concerted failure on the paf!, of waterside workers to comply with the provisions of the Stevedoring Industry Act the authority could forthwith suspend the payment of attendance money.

There is in proposed section 16ar nothing that would make it necessary for an inquiry to be made, for evidence £o be taken, or for the union to be consulted. The matter would be determined solely upon the opinion of the authority. Thaiopinion might be sound, or it might b> unsound, but, once it was formed, the payment of attendance money would be suspended. The power to take action to suspend the payment of attendance money would be given, in the first instance, to the authority, but, even assuming the authority was right, sooner or later any concerted action would cease. The body that had suspended the payment of attendance money would not then be able speedily to restore it. It would be necessary for application to be made to th, proposed commission for the restoration of the payment of attendance -money. During the period that would elapse between the making of the application and the giving of a decision by the commission, attendance money would not be paid.. It is true that the commission would have power to make the payment of attendance money retrospective to the date of the application, but it would not be mandatory for it to do so. It might do so, or it anight not, as it thought fit. The position is that the authority would have power to suspend payment, but application would have to be made to another body for the restoration of attendance money. This provision would be more conducive to industrial unrest on the waterfront throughout Australia than any other. I cannot think of any provision that would cause greater confusion, discontent and more resort to direct action. It is inexplicable to give power to suspend to one body and to give power to restore to another. Surely, if the opinion of the proposed Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority 13 good enough for the suspension of the payment of attendance money, it should be good enough for the restoration of such payment.


– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


– As no other honorable member has risen, I shall take my second period now. If the Minister for Labour md National Service really wishes to promote peace and contentment on the waterfront, the best_ thing he could do would be to give the power to restore attendance money to the body that could suspend it. As I have said, the proposed Stevedoring Industry Authority may have acted mistakenly in deciding to suspend the payment of attendance money. One would hesitate to say that any body always forms the correct opinion. If the authority happened to form the wrong opinion, there would be no redress for the waterside workers who were wrongly deprived of the attendance money which is their right. If an error were made, attendance money for the period between the date of suspension and the date of application for restoration would be lost forever to the waterside workers concerned. The proposed Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission would not have power *io find that the payment of attendance money had been wrongly suspended, and to restore it from the date pf the .suspension.

Mr Mackinnon:

– In all probability, the application for restoration would be made on the same day as payment was suspended.


– No. There would beno power to appeal against the suspension. The authority could suspend payment without investigation or inquiry, and, once it had done so, there would be no appeal against the decision. Attendance money could be restored only 011 application, and the commission would not be able to grant attendance money from a date prior to that on which application for restoration had been made. This would be exceedingly unjust and would cause great discontent and much industrial trouble on the waterfront.

I wish to direct the attention of the committee also to proposed section 16bv, which appears at pages 4 and 5 of the list of amendments circulated by the Minister. This section relates to the jurisdiction of the proposed Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Here again, we find an extraordinary division of powers to be exercised in respect of industrial matters on the waterfront. I direct the attention of the committee particularly to subsections (3.) and (4.) of this proposed section. Sub-section (3.) provides thai the commission, which would have power to deal with wages and working conditions, shall not make an award or order in respect of any of those matters unless it has first consulted with the chairman of the proposed Stevedoring Industry Authority and the chairman has informed it that the authority has agreed to the making of the award or order by the commission. Naturally, the authority must have exceedingly wide powers in stevedoring matters, and, if this amendment is agreed to, it will be given exceedingly wide powers in relation to industrial matters, but the determination of the industrial matters will be placed in the hands of the proposed commission. If the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, the North Australian Workers Union, or some other union concerned, applied to the commission for an order or an award in respect of the stevedoring industry, the commission would have to consult the chairman of the proposed authority and obtain his assurance that the authority had agreed to the making of the award or order by the commission. That would create a division of power in relation to the determination of wages and working conditions on the waterfront that would be unique in Australia’s industrial history and industrial law.

I do not know of any tribunal with authority to determine wages and working conditions that is placed in this extraordinary position. After an application comes before the commission, and after it alone has heard the evidence, it is required to make an award or an order, but before it can do so it must go to another body that has not heard r.he evidence, and has probably not participated in any way in the proceedings in connexion with the application. It must then consult with the chairman of that body, and ask him to discuss the matter with his fellow members and obtain permission for the original tribunal to exercise the powers given to it by an act of Parliament. That kind of division of power is most extraordinary, particularly in an industry where most of the employees are engaged on a casual basis. It is because they are casual workers that the employees want their disputes settled quickly, and a provision of this description can only cause confusion a.nd conflict between the commission and the proposed authority, with the inevitable result that deadlocks will occur from time to time. Whatever mav bp. the Minister’s belief regarding legislation to improve industrial relations, I suggest to him in all earnestness and sincerity that this kind of legislation will not achieve that end. It will merely cause greater friction and discontent, and much more misunderstanding between employers and employees.

In conclusion I say to the committee, as I have said previously when debating industrial matters, that if it is desired to promote understanding between employers and employees, the industrial legislation should be so framed that the parties! will be constantly brought in contact with one another, and so learn to understand one another’s viewpoints. But above all, the legislation must pro vide for simple procedures to be followed, so that both employers and trade unions can avail themselves of the legislative provisions without the slightest difficulty. The procedure should be made so simple that speedy decisions may be given. I suggest that speedy decisions in regard to attendance money are not possible when one body has the power to suspend and another has the power to restore. Wise and prompt decisions will be impossible when the commission has the duty of taking evidence and making inspections, but must then obtain permission from the authority, which may have heard nothing about the matter, before it can make an award or an order.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mi-. HAROLD HOLT (Higgins- Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration) [11.50]. - I should like to deal first with the second part of the speech delivered by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), because I believe that in answering his comments I shall give the committee an explanation of much of what the Government intends in relation to this industry generally. The honorable member said that what was proposed in relation to one particular matter was unique in industrial experience in Australia. I think he may have used that word in relation to the legislation as a whole, a? it applies to the waterfront industry, because what we are doing in this part of the legislation is certainly unique, in that it applies to that industry and to no other industry in the Commonwealth. But this Government did not initiate that kind of practice, and I am quite pertain that the honorable member for Bendigo will recall the reasons why a government of which he was a supporter found it desirable to establish a unique relationship, industrially and otherwise, in the waterfront industry.

It is true that one may conjure Up a picture of difficulty, and even of disorder and division of authority, by making such an analysis of the provision as has been made by the honorable member for Bendigo, but what the Government has set out to do is to strengthen one of the weaknesses that have developed in our industrial legislation under the former system. Indeed, much of what the honorable member has said to the committee constituted a condemnation of the legislation introduced in 1947 and 1949 by a Labour government. To the extent that we have moved at all in this matter, we have moved in the direction of reducing the overlapping and confusion that existed previously. As the Tait committee pointed out in its report, much of the trouble that has developed in the industry in the past has been due to the fact that, because of the overlapping of authority of the arbitral tribunal and the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, a situation has arisen in which neither body is eager to grapple with an industrial problem, because each of them is looking to the other to solve it. In this legislation the Government has endeavoured to define the responsibilities of the two bodies, and give to each of them the powers that we think it should exercise.

The honorable member for Bendigo has referred to the possibility that the proposed Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, acting in its own sphere, may have made an order, which one or other of the parties may seek to have varied, perhaps by means of a more general application, by an award of the commission. The Government intends to remedy the situation that previously existed, in which the commission could step in at any stage of the proceedings of the authority, or the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board as it then was, with thu result that the board frequently omitted to take action that it might otherwise have felt disposed to take, or even have felt some obligation to take. If we left the legislation in that form, we would merely be perpetuating the difficulties and disadvantages of the past. Therefore, we have inserted this provision. It may seem an involved provision, but it should certainly improve the position that existed formerly.

The honorable member for Bendigo referred to the desirability of bringing the parties in close contact with one another as frequently as possible. I think he knows my general views well enough to expect some endorsement of that point of view from me, and I certainly give it. But I remind him again of the unhappy results that flowed from attempts made along those lines by a Labour government. It was because of experience of the old Stevedoring Industry Commission, when the parties were directly participating in the work of the commission, that the then government found it necessary to repeal its legislation and to establish the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board that has functioned ever since. I hope that, as time goes by, there will be much more consultation between the parties in the industry than has taken place in the past, and that a better relationship will develop between them. But that is a growth that we cannot force, except at the risk of putting back the clock rather than advancing it. “We believe that what we have proposed in this legislation is the best practical answer to the problems of the moment.

As to the matter of attendance money, I think that general public opinion would endorse the actions of the Government. The granting of attendance money has resulted in an improvement in the situation on the waterfront. It has broken down, to some extent, the casual nature, not only of the employment, but of the income returns to the waterside workers from their employment on the wharf. But I do not think it can be fairly argued that attendance money should be payable entirely irrespective of the conduct of the waterfront worker.

Let us take an illustration. Suppose, by virtue of the waterside workers’ having engaged in a strike on the waterfront, a ship has had to leave port leaving behind on the wharfs half the cargo that otherwise it would have taken. There is work available in that port for some time ahead but the ship cannot wait, and has left the cargo behind. It may be a port for which there is very little shipping, and other ships may not be due. The shipping companies, planning the movements of their ships into particular ports, may have calculated that the port would be engaged for a certain length of time on the cargo known to be there. So the next ship will not arrive for some days. As matters now stand, the waterside workers would bc entitled in the meantime to receive attendance money. But that is the kind of case in which the authority may very well say, “ We are not going to give you attendance money in relation to a lack of work which you yourself have created by your own refusal to work in accordance with the terms of the award “, or something of that sort.

I shall not attempt to exhaust the list of possibilities. Such an occasion may arise in a great many instances. 3 think that the good sense and spirit of fairness of the community dictate that where the lack of work for which attendance money is normally payable has resulted from the culpable action of the group of waterside workers involved there is, prima facie at any rate, a case for the suspension of attendance money in relation to that issue.

The honorable member for Bendigo made a further criticism that it is undesirable to have the application for restoration of attendance money made to some party or person other than the party or person suspending the payment. It seems to the Government that there is an advantage, from the point of view of the waterside workers, if they have a genuine grievance as to the manner of and occasion for the suspension of attendance money, in being able to go promptly to the commission and apply for the restoration of attendance money. It would seem a little odd if, the authority having suspended attendance money, the representatives of the waterside workers should go back to it on the same day and ask to have the payment restored. The atmosphere, from the point of view of the waterside workers, could not be very favorable in those circumstances. It may be that strong feelings have developed out of the issue which gave rise to the suspension.

I point out to the honorable member for Bendigo and others who maj’ have been troubled by these provisions that it is open to the commission to restore the attendance money right back to the point of suspension. If the commission comes to the conclusion that the authority had acted capriciously or unreasonably, it could so determine and there would be no loss of attendance money.


– Where does the Minister find that provision? Does he say that proposed new section 16bv makes that provision?


– My advice from those who have participated in the drafting of this division is that there is provision for an immediate application, if desired, to the commission, and if the commission so determines—


– Yes, provided the application is made on the same day as the actual decision is made by the commission. But if it is not made by the next day the commission cannot make the payments retrospective.


– My understanding is that it could. However, 1 shall look into that aspect. I understood it to be the intention that where the commission came to the conclusion that the suspension had not been reasonably determined, it could order the payment of attendance money back to the date of suspension. I shall look at that matter as the discussion proceeds. If I cannot, go into it as fully as I would desire at this stage, it can be looked at when the bill i? before another place.


– No amount of explanation on the part of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) can conceal the degree of coercion that exists in respect of this matter. Proposed section 16BU (2) reads as follows: -

Where in the opinion of the Authority -

And it has only to be in the opinion of the authority - there is a concerted failure by all or any of the waterside workers registered at a port under the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956 to comply with a provision of the Act, an order of the Authority under that Act or an award or order of the Commission under this Division, the Authority may, by instrument in writing, suspend the operation of an order

Suppose that a situation exists on No, 1 wharf in Sydney on a day when. 1,800 men are on appearance money. The incident occurs at th, ee o’clock in the afternoon and the authority decides to suspend the men on No. 7 wharf. The authority has the power, at that instant, to suspend the attendance money for the 1,800 men who have been away from work all day, not as a result of any decision of the authority, but as a result of an award made by the commission. We have heard a lot about compulsory arbitration and the need for making unionists observe awards. Here we have a classic example in which the Government says that an award is to be made in respect of attendance money but if, in point of fact, a dispute occurs on No. 7 wharf on any day, the attendance money provision made by the commission can be set aside by the authority. The action taken is dependent only on the opinion of the authority.

Let us see the ridiculous position that could result from this bill. This matter should have been discussed thoroughly in the second-reading debate. Under this bill, a dispute could arise which has not been caused by men whom the Waterside Workers Federation has brought into its organization. The people who caused the trouble could have been only a few waterside workers who had been brought onto the waterfront as a consequence of what might be regarded as the “ second leg” of casual labour employed by the authority. As a result of this situation, an award decision could be set aside on the hour and, despite what the Minister has said about the restoration of attendance money, the waterside workers could not obtain attendance money retrospectively to that day.

I now want to deal with proposed new section 16bw. My good friend the honorable member for Bendigo dealt with proposed new sections 16bu and 16bv and in the twenty minutes that were allowed to him, he did not have time, even cursorily, to mention all the bad features attached to this legislation. Under proposed new section 16bw, sub-section (1.), paragraph (b), there is a remarkable power. The proposed new section reads, in part -

An award or order of the Commission–

That is the court as we know it now - may -

  1. direct the Authority to pay amounts to waterside workers in such circumstances, and in accordance with such terms and conditions, as are specified in the award or order.

Surely that should be sufficient. The proposed section will give to a presidential member of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, who is now a judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, power to direct the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority to pay amounts to waterside workers in such circumstances, and in accordance with such terms and conditions, as are specified in an award or order. It is of no use for the Minister to talk about conciliation and then to introduce this kind of legislation. A situation could arise in which the employer would want a quick turn-round of a certain ship because it was loaded with an obnoxious commodity, and as a result he would be prepared to concede something. The commission having decided that special payments should be made in accordance with such terms and conditions as are specified in its award or order, proposed sub-section 16bw (2.) provides -

A direction under paragraph (b) of the last preceding sub-section–

And that is the paragraph to whichI have beenreferring - other than a direction in relation to attendance money, shall not be included in an award or order of the Commission except with the approval of the Minister.

That gives rise to the stupid situation in which the commission, having examined the matter which requires special attention, and having consulted the Stevedoring Industry authority before making a decision to ensure that its decision is not contrary to a decision of the authority, must go to the Minister to obtain approval for a payment, other than attendance money, for a special service on the waterfront. Yet the Government speaks about streamlining legislation !

Let me tell the committee what happened in the industry with which I was associated for many years, the railway locomotive engine drivers’ organization. We had a certain guarantee. But in the dark days the Commissioner for Railways had the right to set aside the guarantee in the same manner that the relevant tribunal in this case can set aside a guarantee in relation to attendance money. Fifteen years have passed since the Arbitration Court decided that the only authority that had the right to set aside the guarantee included in our awards was the authority that made the award, and, of course, the court would not set aside the guarantee without hearing argument. A fundamental principle is involved in this matter. If the Government establishes a tribunal that has authority to fine a unionist or organization for not observing an award, that unionist or organization is entitled to the benefit of all the conditions that are laid down in the award, and only the authority that makes the award should have the power to set it aside. If we depart from that principle, we open the way for the development of industrial unrest. Members on this side of the chamber know that from experience. We had experience of such a situation from 1913 until about fifteen years ago when the court in its wisdom decided that only the authority that made an award should have the power to set it aside.

I direct the attention of the committee to proposed sub-section 16BX (2.), which reads -

Where the Commission is of the opinion that an industrial question before the Commission concerns a matter which relates to one port only, the Commission may, if the Authority so agrees, direct a member of the Authority, or an officer or employee of the Authority to deal with that industrial question and thereupon that member, officer or employee, as the case may be, shall deal with that industrial question.

The section provides that, in such cases, the Stevedoring Industry Authority shall have the same powers as the presidential r member of the commission. Let us keep n mind all the time that anything that is done by the commission under this proposed section is subject to appeal by the employer. The award governing this industry is twenty years old. I do not attach to the court all the blame for the absence of a new award, but, on the other hand, we must not blame the Waterside Workers Federation.


– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.


– No other honorable member having risen to seek the call, I shall take the second period to which I am entitled. T tell the Minis ter and the committee that the setting up of the machinery that is envisaged in this legislation will produce a situation that is quite the reverse of that which he expects to achieve. I have in mind, all that has been said by supporters of the Government in relation to the setting up of conciliation commissioners under the 1947 legislation introduced by the Labour party. I do not intend to be specific abou their comments, but those honorable members who referred to the matter will remember what they said. After this Government assumed office in 1949, the Chief Judge himself said that dual authority in relation to awards was completely unsatisfactory. Over the last six years, every honorable member who hap had any interest in these matters has risen and made the point that the Arbitration Court should be in control of itown affairs and that the conciliation commissioners should not make decisions contrary to principles laid down by the court. As I have stated, the award governing the waterfront industry is twenty years old, and is due for recasting. The Government proposes to establish a tribunal with the power to make an award for waterside workers, and to deal with attendance money and any other matter? associated with the industry. Most Government supporters have no idea of the procedure that will then be followed. But I know something about the intricacies of fitting one section of an award into another. It will be necessary for the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, having decided that attendance money shall be paid to employees who do not get work, to ensure that its decision is not contrary to a decision of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission,

I do not know which presidential member of the commission will be given the task of making awards in relation to the waterfront industry, but I should imagine that, after the bill has been closely examined, the job will be hawked around. If I know the attitude of the present court - and I think I do - it is very jealous of its own preserves and will not allow itself to be placed in the position of playing second fiddle to a lay authority, and of having its decisions examined by that authority and being subject to appeal. We agree that conditions of employment in this industry are unique, but we cannot coerce the Australian worker.

Mr Anderson:

– The trade unions can.


– I smile at that interjection by the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson). If he were sincere in the opinions he has expresSed in this chamber, he would oe -tie first to say either that he believes the things that are said by the Government about the Arbitration Court and the control of its own affairs, or that he does not believe thom and will vote against this provision, because it is a complete negation of all that the honorable member for Hume has said time after time. The Government cannot expect to put any section of the Australian workers into a situation wherein they will give loyalty of service and understanding if they are told that a condition of their award is to be suspended. If I wore put in the position of general secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation r.o-morrow, and I had to go to my members and say, “ I am sorry, but the award that was made by the court three weeks igo in respect of attendance money was -et aside by another authority the day before last as a result of a dispute on No. 7 wharf at 11 o’clock at night, which dispute occurred as a result of casual employees introduced by that authority “, r can imagine the effect of such a statement upon the workers I represented. Immediately hostility towards employers would be fostered, and it would need more r.han the best left or right wing loader wi drive employees back to work. I put it, to honorable members that the Government in its anxiety to shackle waterside workers, as it obviously is attempting by means of this legislation, is destroying completely any possibility of the union hems; able to instil a sane line of reasoning into its members. That is the great responsibility that attaches to trade union leadership. Whether a leader be a Communist or a right-winger, whatever he may be, his Treat responsibility is to convince the members of his union that they are getting a fair go from the employer and that they should remain at work. Legislation of this character takes away from a trade union leader any say at all in regard to the suspension of the payment of attendance money. There is no provision for the union to be heard before the authority makes up its mind about cancelling the payment of attendance money payable under an award made by the commission. Upon being supplied by the authority with nothing more than a decision in writing, without any reason for the decision, all that the union can do is to go back to the commission which made the original award and say, “ Please, will you restore our entitlement to attendance money ? “ I conclude on this note: As one who has been a leader in the trade union movement for twenty years and who has stood against communism during that period, I say that no leader, irrespective of his politics, could ever hope to establish satisfactory arrangements under legislation of this kind between the workers he represents and employers on any front, water, land, or anywhere else.

Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– I desire to deal with the point raised by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), in respect of the making retrospective to the date of suspension the commission’s determination on the restoration of attendance money. I have had a talk about this matter with the Parliamentary Draftsman. I am entirely agreeable to amending the. provision so as to enable that end to be achieved, but I am told that it will not be sufficient merely to omit the following words appearing in the proposed section 16BU (3.) :- “being a date not earlier than the date of the application to the commission.”

It will also be necessary to insert the following words in place of them : - “which may be a date earlier than the date of revocation.”

Otherwise, the principle that retrospectivity shall not apply to a provision made by the Parliament may prevent the application of retrospectivity. Therefore, T ask for the leave of the committee to amend proposed section 16BU (3.) as I have suggested.

Leave granted.


– I should like to add - perhaps striking a more controversial note, but not sufficiently so to stir my friends opposite into renewed action : - that much has been said about the attitude of the Government to the trade union movement and the effect of this legislation on feeling amongst trade unionists. I sometimes wonder where all the trade unionists go on election day. Last night we were told that there are about 1,750,000 of them, but by some miracle this Government has managed to secure majorities at the last four general elections. I suspect that we have secured a considerable number of votes of trade unionists on those occasions. “We would be singularly lacking in political acumen if we were wilfully to discard the support which has meant so much to us in the past. In this concluding stage of consideration of the arbitration legislation I wish to say only that we have tried to deal fairly with all sections affected by the legislation, and that applies as much to the trade union movement as to any other section.

Amendment agreed to.

Question put -

That proposed clause 7, as further amended, be agreed to.

The committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. G. J. Bowden.)

AYES: 54

NOES: 34

Majority . . . . 20



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Postponed clause 49 - (1.) Subject to the next succeeding subsection, orders of the Court . . . made in the exercise of judicial power, have effect,, and proceedings may be taken thereon … as if this Act had not been enacted. (4.) This section extends to awards and orders made under an Act other than the Principal Act.

Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– I move -

That sub-clause (4.) he omitted with a view to inserting the following sub-clauses in place thereof: - “ (4.) Subject to the next succeeding subsection, this section extends to awards and orders made under an Act other than the Principal Act. “ (5.) Sub-section (3.) of this section does not extend to awards and orders made under the Stevedoring Industry Act 1949-1954.”.

This amendment is consequential upon action that has been taken in relation to the stevedoring industry.

Amendment agreed to.

Postponed clause, as amended, agreedto.

First and Second Schedules - by leave - considered together.

Amendment (by Mr. Harold Holt.) agreed to - .

That the proposed schedules be omitted with a view to inserting the following schedules in place thereof: -

Schedules, as amended, agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report - by leave - adopted.

Third Reading

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) - by lea ve - put-

That thebill be now read a third time.

The House divided. (Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker - Mr. G. Freeth.)

AYES: 54

NOES: 36

Majority . . 18



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a third time.

page 2916


Second Reading

Debate resumed from the 10th May (vide page 1998). on motion by Mr. H aroldholt -

That thebill he now rend a second time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported.

page 2916


Second Reading

Debate resumed from the 10th May (vide page 1998), on motion by Mr.. Harold Holt -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Question resolved in the affirmative..

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 2916


Second Reading

Debate resumed from the 10th May (vide page 1998), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 2916


Second Reading

Debate resumed from the 10th May (vide page 1998), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt -

That the bill be now reada second time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 2916


Second Reading

Debate resumed from the 10th May (vide page 1998), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate ; report adopted.

Bill -by leave - read a third time.

page 2917


Second Reading

Debate resumed from the 10th May (vide page 1998), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported.

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of Governor-General’s message) :

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to amend the Judges’ Pensions Act 1948-1951.

Resolution reported and adopted.

In committee: Consideration resumed.

Sitting suspended from 12.47 to 2.15 p.m.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 2917


Second Reading

Debate resumed (vide page 2899).

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 2917


In committee: Consideration resumed (vide page 2916).

Clauses 1 to 5 - by leave - considered together and agreed to.

Clause 6 (Reference to the Commission.)

Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

.- I move-

That the following sub-section be inserted after proposed section 15a (1.) - “’ (1a.) For the purposes of the constitution of, and the exercise of functions by, the Commission under this section, the Arbitrator shall be deemed to be a member of the Commission.”.

The proposed amendment will enable the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in certain circumstances to deal with matters arising before the Public Service Arbitrator which the president of the commission considers should, in the public interest, be so dealt with. The proposed section provides that for this purpose the commission means that constituted by presidential members of the commission to the number of at least two and the arbitrator. It is considered desirable to make it clear that for the purpose of performance of functions by the commission under the proposed section, the arbitrator is to be deemed to be a member of the commission. The bill makes provision for the position where the commission constitutedby three or more members is divided in opinion on a question. The proposed amendment will make it clear that this provision with respect to division of opinion will apply to cases where the arbitrator is sitting as a member of the commission.


.-I should like to secure from the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) some information on this matter. The words of the proposed amendment are -

Tor the purposes of the constitution of, and the exercise of functions by, the Commission under this section, the Arbitrator shall be deemed to be a member of the Commission.

The commission is composed of three groups of persons. It is composed of persons who are either a president or deputy president and who constitute the commission in presidential session. In addition, there is a chief commissioner and not less than five commissioners. As well as the presidential commission, which deals with questions of the basic wage, long service leave and hours, two other commissions, consisting of different persons, are appointed under the bill. In one case, there must be two deputy presidents and one other member of the commission and in another case there must be at least one deputy president - if possible the person who is dealing with a case from which a reference is made - and one other person.

It is quite possible that the arbitrator might be a deputy president of the court. Ct is true that in some cases in the past the arbitrator has been a barrister and solicitor. That was the position with Mr. Atlee Hunt and with Mr. Castieau. Those people who are barristers and solicitors have a term of office that extends until they reach 70 years of age. Others who are commissioners or the chief commissioners hold office until they reach 65 years of age. The question in my mind is this: The arbitrator under the Public Service Arbitration Bill is to be deemed a member of the commission. In the event of him being a commissioner-


– May I explain for the information of the honorable member that this is designed to cover the reference practice?


– It may be designed to cover- the reference practice, but I think r.he Minister will agree with me that if the person appointed is a barrister or solicitor of five years’ standing or more, he may be appointed eventually a presidential member of the commission. If the arbitrator is to be deemed a member of the commission, will he also in certain circumstances, because of his qualifications, be a presidential member of the commission or is he to be regarded purely as a commissioner irrespective of his qualifications ?

Having expressed that view to the Minister, I want to protest again on the question of references and appeals. Proposed section 15a and proposed section 15c provide for references and appeals from the Public Service Arbitrator to the proposed Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in presidential session. I express my protest that the ‘position created by the L920 act is to be departed from, and that the Public Service Arbitrator, who was the only industrial authority for public servants employed by the Commonwealth, and who functioned successfully as a court from which an appeal could be made only to the Parliament itself, is to be deprived of his complete local autonomy and is to bc made subject to references and appeals do the commission to be constituted under the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1956. The original Public Service arbitration legislation provided that the final decision whether a determination of the Public Service Arbitrator should come into effect was vested in the Parliament. There was no appeal against a decision of the arbitrator, but, before it could come into operation, it had to lie on. the tables of both Houses of the Parliament for 30 days, and the Parliament, if it so desired, could reject the decision. That is still the position under the principal act. But the Government proposes, by means of this bill, to allow references and appeals to the proposed Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in presidential session. Then, after all those steps have been gone through, the decision will eventually be tabled in the Parliament and will not take effect until it has laid on the table of each House for 30 days. I know nothing can be done about the matter now, but I wish to register my protest against allowing decisions in relation to public servants to be subject to references and appeals when they have still to come to the Parliament for ratification. The old system, which existed from 1920 to 1951, caused no trouble and worked to the satisfaction of both Labour and Liberal governments, and it is a great pity indeed that it is now to be altered.


.- 1 shall deal first with the comment about the substantial aspect of this matter made by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey). I do not see how it can be argued logically that the Public Service will be put in a disadvantageous position by the provisions in relation to references and appeals. As the honorable gentleman has pointed out, the Parliament has had power to disallow an award of the Public Service Arbitrator.


– Tt will still have that, power.


– It will still have it. We recently had a situation in which the Government, which enjoyed a majority of support in the Parliament, was not satisfied with a determination of the Public Service Arbitrator in the important matter of wage rates for the Public Service. I imagine that, had there been no provision for appeal, the Parliament would have felt bound to disallow the award, and would not have been so well informed in doing that as it would be after an appeal had been conducted. Although the Government was dissatisfied with the award, it took the matter to appeal to ascertain the view of the appeal tribunal, instead of requesting the Parliament to disallow the award, [n the result,’ although the tribunal did not go so far as the Public Service Arbitrator had gone, it went considerably further than had been proposed by the Government through the Public Service Board. Surely that is a more satisfactory way of dealing with these matters than by having the Parliament, which, generally speaking, can act only upon the advice given to it by the Government, act without being so well informed as it would be after the matter had been before an appeal tribunal. I do not want to argue the matter in greater detail. There may be other occasions more suitable for doing so.

I am assured that the amendment will not alter the substance of the provisions of the principal act. Its purpose is to cover a point raised by the Parliamentary Draftsman, who pointed out that it could happen that the Public Service Arbitrator could sit as a member of the proposed Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission on a reference without having been defined as a commissioner for the purposes of the proposed section which deals with divisions of opinion between members of the commission. The amendment will simply make it clear that, in those circumstances, he may be regarded as a commissioner. I am assured that will be the effect of it.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Remainder of bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.

Bill reported with an amendment; report - by leave - adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

page 2919


Second Reading

Debate resumed from the 6th June (vide page 288S), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt -

That the bill be now read a second time.


.- On« of the peculiar features of this debate has been the insistence by a number of Opposition members that this measure constitutes an attack on trade unionism in Australia, and is repressive. I find that a peculiar argument, for the simple reason that this bill is anything but an attack on trade unionism, and I find il difficult to decide that it is repressive in any way. The bill is designed to help remedy a grievous fault in one of Australia’s major industries. No doubt. Opposition speakers would like to think that it constitutes an attack on trade unionism and that this Government does not command the support of trade unionists throughout Australia. The answer to such a suggestion is that this Government does command the support of trade unionists throughout Australia; otherwise it would not be in office. It is a matter of supreme regret for Opposition members that the Government has commanded that support for almost seven years now.

In approaching my consideration of this bill, I should like to state my own attitude of mind towards members of the Waterside Workers Federation. They are not all, in my view, members of the Communist party. I mention that because it is not infrequently assumed that they are. The second point is that the blame for industrial stoppages on the waterfront throughout Australia cannot fairly, in itf entirety, be attributed to members of the Waterside Workers Federation. That is made abundantly clear by the Basten report and the interim report of the Tail committee. Nevertheless, while members of the federation, as individuals, are not in any great measure responsible for the tragic loss of working time and for the number of stoppages that have occurred on the waterfront, the further fact emerges that the leaders of the Waterside Workers Federation must face up to the charge of being responsible for a great deal of this trouble.

Turning my attention to my own State of Queensland, and to Brisbane in particular, I shall read to the House one or two short passages from a booklet that sets out the rules of the Waterside Workers

Federation of Australia, Brisbane Branch. Under the heading “ Objects “, the following appears: -

The objects for which the Organization is established are by all lawful means:

To regulate and protect the wages and conditions . . .

To promote industrial peace by all amicable means.

It is extraordinarily to find those phrases being used, “ by all lawful means “ and “ to promote industrial peace by all amicable means “. No doubt when those words were first selected and used in the rules of the Brisbane branch of the federation, they were respected, but no person who has read the sixth annual report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, and has noticed the number of man-hours lost on the Brisbane waterfront last year, would consider that the members of the federation in that port have sought by all lawful and amicable means to promote industrial peace and to protect their wages and conditions. The report reveals that some 246,000 manhours were lost on the Brisbane waterfront last year. That figure represents 7.2 per cent, of the hours worked. The same report reveals also that between the years 1946-47 and 1954-55 no fewer than 13,514,000 man-hours were lost because of disputes. That loss of man-hours resulted in the loss by the members of the Waterside Workers Federation of nearly £6,000,000 in wages. If we make another assessment, we find that if that time had not been lost, about 3,800 ships could have been worked, at the present rate of handling of ships on the Australian waterfront. A very conservative estimate of the monetary loss to the shipping companies, and ultimately to the Australian people, because of the loss of those manhours, is £45,500,000. That is, as I say, a very conservative estimate, and if any honorable member wishes to give a different estimate, I should be delighted to hear it, because I believe it would be considerably in excess of that figure.

I now mention another aspect of this matter. The report of the Tariff Board on the shipbuilding industry gives a number of examples of comparisons between rail and shipping freights. For example, motor tyres may be sent from Melbourne. to Brisbane by rail for £30 3s. 2d. a ton, while a similar consignment, if sent by sea, would cost £40 5s.10d. Motor bodies may be sent for £30 a ton, from door to door, by road, and for £38 6s.8d. by sea. It may be arguable - and, indeed, there will be plenty of arguing before this bill is ultimately passed - as to what is the prime cause of this tragic loss of” hours on the waterfront. If one likes to be charitable about it, I suppose one could say thatit is a matter of opinion, and I may be allowed the liberty of expressing my own opinion as to the prime cause of this tragic loss of hours. It is part and parcel of a deliberate plan to bring industrial crisis to Australia, to exacerbate the injustices that may exist, and to try to weaken Australia’s economy. It is designed not only to embarrass the Governmentbut also to bring into contempt the whole parliamentary institution. It is designed to stir up agitation and feeling, when there is no real cause to do so. All of these things are part of a deliberate plan. I know that it is more or less vieux jeu, as the French would say, to attack communism these days, but I think all of us would be running away from the truth if we failed! to recognize the fact that the disturbances on the waterfront are part and parcel of a Communist plan, sponsored in this country and controlled ultimately from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I have here a small booklet entitled The Trade Unions, which has been prepared by L. L. Sharkey, and in which that gentleman says -

All strikes have political significance, since everything that deals a blow to the capitalists deals a blow also to the capitalist order.

If one studies the Communist Party: Training Manual, one finds the following reference to left-wing thinkers who enter Parliament: -

These members enter parliament not that they may take the machine into their own: hands, but that they may help the masses to destroy it. Above all, it is necessary that the centre of gravity of the struggle be outside parliament, in strikes and other forms of mass struggles.

I also direct attention to a publication entitled Red Hand Across the Waterfront, which I understand, has been circulated to all honorable members. It. mentions the celebrated Lozowski lectures, which were first published in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics some twenty odd years ago. Lozowski said -

Not the destruction, but conquest of the unions is important.

Our adherents must not only be a model of revolutionary struggle but a model of endurance, and cool level-headedness. . . . The Red International regards the strike as a form of class war and considers it necessary that the whole experience of all imperialist and civil wars that have ever taken place should be utilized in the strike struggle.

have noticed, during the last day or so, one of the officials of the Waterside Workers Federation sitting in the gallery of this chamber, and, from my own observations, it has been pretty clear that he has received the saccharine adulation of a number of members of the Opposition who should know better. In addition to that, the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), that political- tragedian who sits in this Parliament, has made strenuous efforts to defend him. Of course, the flute obbligato, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) assisted him in that defence. What an extraordinary piece of irony ! Here is a man watching activities in a democratic parliament when he has sworn to destroy this institution and everything that it stands for.

It is also interesting to observe the reaction of honorable members of the Opposition to the defence put up for this gentleman, Healy, by the right honorable member for Barton and the honorable member for East Sydney. Some Opposition members, of course, are whole-heartedly behind the defence, but, nevertheless, there are a number - a small number no doubt - on the other side of the House who greatly regret the fact that the Leader of the Opposition and such members as the honorable member for East Sydney have been galvanized into defending the actions and activities of this gentleman, Healy. To my mind, it would be equally strange if my friend, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), and myself were to be invited to go and watch the activities of the Kremlin. It would be, T suggest to the House, comparable in irony and stupidity.

Unfortunately, in this country, it is. becoming a little unfashionable to be bothered to attack communism. Peoplesay, “It cannot happen here. They aregradually breaking down”. But I pui. it to the House that no person with a grain of responsibility in his make-up can. look at the figures regarding the hours that have been lost on the Australian waterfront in the last ten years without a, genuine feeling of concern and, ultimately,, of regret. The leaders of the watersidefederation in this country are but members of a wider movement which has but one purpose - to embarrass thisGovernment and ultimately to destroy theinstitution of Parliament.

On the occasion of the last notable dispute in this country, which lasted for some weeks, the Waterside WorkersFederation went on strike because it claimed that it was not getting justice. I want to say that a pretty strong casecan be made out to substantiate the fact that the waterside workers may not be getting justice, but, by the same token, one is obliged to look at all the facts. The Waterside Workers Federation based its case in the margins issue before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court on. the following five grounds: -

Depreciation in the real value of themargin since it was fixed in 1948.

Change in basic characteristics of thework.

Submissions based on the economy of the stevedoring industry.

Comparative wage justice as between the industry and comparable jobs in other industries.

Change in general industrial standards since 1948.

It is interesting to note that the first ground was obviously a lost cause. Mr. Justice Ashburner had given a decision against it eight months previously. The fourth ground also seemed unlikely to succeed, as the waterside workers’ pay compared favorably with that of otherindustries taking into account the short hours worked. But grounds numbers twoand five held possibilities, and number three - submissions based on the economy of the stevedoring industry - appeared to be a winner since it involved the capacity of the industry to pay. It is interesting to observe that the union representative limited his case entirely to grounds one and four, reserving the right to proceed with the others if the court were against him on those two grounds. On the 13th October, Mr. Justice Ashburner delivered his reserved judgment, which went against the federation. At the same time, he stated that if the union representative wanted to proceed with argument relating to the other claims he was prepared to do so. It is a matter of historical fact that the union representative failed to proceed with arguments relating to the other grounds. That, in a flash, indicates the method by which these people work. To the person possessed of a grain of common sense it appeared reasonable that certain grounds for the union case could possibly have carried the day. Two grounds appeared to be weak, but it was precisely upon the two weak grounds that the union proceeded, ignoring the other three.

I put it to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that if the union was genuinely sincere in wanting to secure justice for members of the federation, in all conscience it would have proceeded with all the grounds and would not have limited its argument to two grounds. The strike which occurred, of course, was in accordance with the general pattern of things, designed to embarrass the Australian Council of Trades Unions, and embarrass moderate trade unions and inflame them. That strike was also designed to bring further into contempt all the processes of arbitration in the hope that members of the union would reach the stage where they would say, “ What is the use of proceeding with cases before the Arbitration Court? We can never secure justice “. That is the stratagem, the tactic, that is adopted.

This creature, Healy, who sits in this House at this moment, is responsible, ultimately, for this state of affairs and for this form of activity which can only be described, ultimately, as a form of treason. But we have the spectacle of the right honorable member for Barton - I do not suppose that it touches any spot of novelty - defending the actions and activities of Healy. It is an extraordinary state of affairs and one that is not appreciated by the great majority of the Australian people. I have heard it suggested, of course, that Jim Healy i* a lovable character - a benign, fatherly fellow, with a great sense of humour. That is characteristic of the claptrap that is talked about this fellow. Healy, on the contrary, is a tough, cunning, ruthless Marxist. Honorable members on the opposite side of the House may laugh, but one can only sympathize with them, so narrow is their outlook on these things. I repeat, he is a tough, cunning, ruthless Marxist. I understand that the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) has a great affection for extreme leftism in politics. I caution him noi to display too much of that affection in this House. Healy is an employee of Moscow and the sooner the great majority of Australians realize that fact and brand him as an employee of Moscow, the better it will be. He prescribes to the policy and programme of the Australian Communist party.

I refer now to the seventeenth congress report of the Australian Communist party which sets out, as it were, the full shooting match for establishing socialism in this country. I hope that every honorable member in the House will observe that it has this to say -

Assert this independence-

It refers to the restoration of Australian independence - by proclaiming .Australia a democrat!’republic.

I suppose that in more sensitive times thai would have been regarded as being a form of treason, but to-day it is regarded as being a form of progressive political thinking. Once again I point to the fact that the activities of the leaders of the Waterside Workers Federation are calculated to fit into a plan to bring about in this country crisis after crisis, and so to weaken the economy that the ultimate Communist objective can be achieved. 3 appeal to responsible opinion in this House to examine closely the records of disputes to which reference is made in the sixth report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, and to recognize the tragic effect of those disputes on the country’s economy, including the passing on to the consumers of increased costs.

One of the pivotal arguments that has been used again by honorable members opposite is that this bill represents another attack upon the workers. I ask Opposition members whom they regard as being a worker. Am I to understand that they themselves would not like to be classed as workers? Am I to understand that any person who does not work with his hands is not regarded as being a worker? Am I further to understand nhat the housewives of this country, who are the most put upon section of the community, are not to be regarded as being workers? It would be interesting to note the reaction if members of the Opposition went home to their wives and said, “ My darling, I am a worker, but you are not “. I submit that every person in this country works in one way or another, and that the use of the term “ worker “ to whip up class distinction is an anachronism which this House and this country could well do without.

I conclude by appealing to the House and to the country to recognize the significance of Communist activity on the waterfront and its effect upon the country. It is nothing short of being a tragedy, a crime, a blow against all decent and responsible people.


.- When one recognizes the seriousness of the bill that is now before us, and which we have been discussing for some time, one feels that to have to listen to a speech like the one made by the honor;ible member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) is beneath the dignity of the House. The honorable member spoke about the need for amicable agreement between the parties. He holds out the olive branch in a hand that is covered by a knuckle duster, while in the other hand he holds a big club behind his back. Yet he expects to obtain co-operation from the workers! He asks, “What is a worker?”. I agree with his statement that we are all workers, but the right way to approach workers is not the way in which the honorable member for Moreton approaches them. I suggest to him that he should go to the waterfront and inform himself about some of the conditions that the workers have to put up with. If he did so, he would be able to j peak with more credit to himself and more benefit to the country generally than is the case when he rises and indulges in a tirade of abuse. He referred also to the loss of man-hours as a result of disputes. I suggest that he should direct his attention to the number of man-hours lost through cargo congestion or employerinspired disputes. When one speaks about the waterside workers and what has happened over the last few years, one must remember that for many years the employees have been trying to obtain from Mr. Justice Ashburner a decision in relation to many matters associated with the waterfront industry.

The honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock) said we cannot stop progress, and that the Government would like to see greater progress on the waterfront. I suggest to the honorable member that, if any industry has suffered through the lack of progress, it is the waterfront industry. There has probably been plenty of progress on the profit side, but that does not benefit the wharf labourer. Reference has been made to the manner in which the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) has handled this and similar measures. 1 suggest that, supporters of the Government could take a leaf out of his notebook, because one thing that he has not done is to indulge in a tirade of abuse.

I oppose the bill, because I believe it to be harsh. It will not help to bring about a solution of waterfront problems; neither will it achieve a quicker turn-round of ships, which is the primary object for introducing the measure. It can only be described as a source of aggravation of the present position. It would be better if all honorable members tried to make a practical approach to the problem rather than indulge in personalities. It seems that it does not matter what degree of inefficiency exists as long as the wharfies are dealt with, and as long as the shipowners, whom the Minister has described as being the worst set of employers he has come across in the whole of his experience, are not interfered with. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) mentioned the terms in which waterside workers are described, and they certainly were not very complimentary.

After making a personal investigation of conditions on the waterfront, I was forced to the conclusion that, as far as the wharf labourers are concerned, it is a case of giving a dog a bad name and. it will stick to it. I am convinced that the greatest factors which operate against the turn-round of ships are the outmoded wharfs and wharfage equipment, congestion of transport and transit sheds in most States, the misuse of labour and equipment, and the shipowners themselves, because much of the shipboard equipment that is used to unload cargo is inefficient and unsafe. I say, therefore, that it matters little what is done about organization at the top level unless the Government speedily tackles and overcomes the practical problems associated with work at the ship side which cause such a large wastage of man-hours. My statement is supported by the Basten report of January, 1952, and by the interim report, dated the 28th February, 1956, of the Tait committee, paragraphs 59 and 60 of which read -

WAITING fob Cargo and CARGO Congestion.

In its investigation of the items which go to make up the unproductive time abovementioned, the Committee found that a substantial item was the time lost waiting for cargo to arrive at the wharfs and, at times, -congestion of cargo on the wharfs. In the view of the Committee, these are matters for the attention of management, and i:i this Report we do no more than record the fact that there has been a considerable loss of efficiency in stevedoring operations by reason of these matters.

The evidence we have received does not indicate that it should be the responsibility of the Statutory Authority to deal with these matters, but such Authority should be placed in a position that it has the right and the responsibility of, when the occasion demands it, calling attention of those responsible to the wastage of the use of the labour force on the waterfront when it is due to these matters.

It is somewhat surprising that, although the attention of the authorities and of the Government was directed to this problem four years ago, so little has been done to rectify these conditions since then, and it is also amazing that so important a matter was dealt with in such a meagre and dilatory fashion in the report. I feel compelled to say that the loss of 90 per cent, of what is termed “ unproductive time “ is beyond the control of the waterside workers and of their federation. This statement can be substantiated by my reading extracts, picked at random, from the records of the Melbourne branch of the Waterside Workers Federation. I have the originals of reports which will serve to convince disbelievers that the federation is as much concerned about this problem as are the shipowners or the stevedoring companies, and that it is the desire of the federation and of every waterside worker that the men be gainfully employed at all times. Here are some of them - 10th March, 1950. Five men picked up at 8 a.m. Saturday to receive cargo. Finished 8.3U a.m. because ship would not arrive at berth until the following Thursday. 9th March, 1950. Seven gangs ordered for Friday, 9th March. Four gangs ordered back Saturday, 10th March. The other three gangs were stood down until Tuesday, 13th March. 2nd March, 1950. Five men ordered for 1 p.m., timber vessel. No work performed. Ordered back for Monday, 5th March. Twenty nian hours lost. 2nd March, 195C. Cargo case of dates. Two gangs ordered for 2nd March (34 men). No work performed. Fumigation to be carried out. Men ordered to return on Monday, 5th March. These men could have been used elsewhere. This bad organization had the overall effect of losing 272 man hours. 1st March, 1956. Seven gangs (129 men involved ) . Ship “ Sidric “. Berth Outer East Station Pier. Start 8 a.m. Cargo arrived at 8.45 a.m. Portion of cargo checked and 4 gangs started loading at 9.20 a.m. One hundred hours lost. Two gangs start loading at 10.15 a.m. One gang put one sling in before dinner.

Sunday, 20th February, 1956. Two gangsordered. Sent home without work after J hour’s wait. Forty men. Time lost 10 hours.

Monday, idle until 10.30 a.m. Unloaded one truck of wool into ship, two trucks into shed. Twenty men. Time lost 30 hours.

Tuesday, unloaded 1 truck wool, 20 bales. Finished before 7 p.m. Kept until 11 p.m., lashing- deck cargo. Twenty men. Over 4(i man-hours lost here.

Those are taken from reports which delegates are required to make on any matters arising from stevedoring inefficiency. The matters referred to are not isolated cases. They are everyday occurrences and are the cause of much more lost time than can ever be attributed to stoppages caused by disputes. When speaking of disputes, it will be interesting to honorable members if I read the following letter, which refers to a dispute and demonstrates the manner in which it was handled by the Waterside Workers Federation - 1 wish to lodge a claim for payment of a full twilight shift, on behalf of gang 76 working on the City of Brisbane, inner East Station Pier, on October 12th, for wrongful dismissal by the United Stevedoring Company. Here are the facts of the case concerned. We were ordered to load bag hides into No. 4 hatch. When I requested that the usual washing facilities be provided for the men working on this cargo I was advised by the supervisor, Captain Tyrell, that the company would issue boilersuits, gloves, hot water and *ou p, but not towels.

Apparently they could dry themselves on the tails of their shirts -

When I pointed out to the supervisor that by the non-issue of towels it was a violation of a Board of Reference recommendation that towels be provided, he stated that he was acting on the advice of his superiors in his refusal. As no finality could be reached in our discussions, I ordered the men not to handle the hides. I then contacted vigilant officer Bull of the federation, who ordered me to notify the men to return to work immediately and he would negotiate with the company with a view of settlement of this dispute. I approached the supervisor and intimated to him that we wore prepared to start work, as the federation had informed me that a Board of Reference would be called to arbitrate in this dispute. He then informed mc that we were sacked. A Board of Reference was not convened, as we were dismissed, but Mr. Neill was contacted, who recommended that towels be provided. The company refused to reinstate the gang or make any provision for towels. These are the facts as they present themselves to me. We appeared before Mr. Neill, Chairman of the A.S.I.B. this morning, who exonerated us and ordered us to resume work on the twilight shift this evening. He strongly castigated the United Stevedoring Company on the action they had taken to settle this dispute. He even stated that if the company would not provide towels he would do so out of his own pocket. In conclusion, I “would like to state that all means were exhausted by myself and our union officials to settle this dispute amicably, but the company repulsed all our overtures.

The action taken by the Waterside Workers Federation in this matter is an example of its endeavours to keep the men on. the job, and this was only one of the many stoppages which may be attributed to the pettiness of shipowners and stevedoring companies. The pettiness of the United Stevedoring Company in this case can be appreciated only by those “who know how filthy is cargo of this type. It is not an uncommon sight to those who like to go to such places and can put up with it, to see hides which have been shipped from Queensland being unloaded in Melbourne, crawling with maggots, and yet certain authorities find it necessary to try to violate recommendations of a board of reference in relation to the rights of men handling such cargo. The ignorance of foremen and supervisors can very often be the real cause of disputes, and in order to emphasize this and to prove that disputes are not always the fault of the wharfies, I refer to an incident in connexion with the unloading of a certain injurious chemical cargo. In this case the request by the wharf labourers for gloves was refused by the supervisor on the ground that the cargo was not injurious. In order to settle the matter, the company to which this material was consigned was telephoned, and the information obtained was to the effect that the material was very injurious and that some of the company’s employees were absent from their employment having been affected by the handling of this product. This is another typical instance of how disputes occur, and these are matters about which the Parliament and the public seldom hear. They are the cause of many disputes which could be avoided by a little tolerance and understanding. This dispute was settled because the men and the supervisor agreed that the best course was to telephone the company and ascertain the facts. This was done within a few minutes, the matter was rectified, and the men resumed work.

I now desire to refer to general wharf conditions, chiefly in Melbourne, but which largely apply in all the principal” ports of Australia. During my investigation I saw obsolete, worn-out wharfs, and obsolete equipment of a type which has been in use for 60 years. Both the wharfs and the equipment are a danger to life and limb; in fact their condition is such that they are not only dangerous but also actually cause the loss of life and limb. I witnessed modern equipment being used on concrete wharfs, which could have been used to greater advantage on wooden decking, because the surface of these wooden deckings is so worn and broken that it is almost impossible for the sixwheel trolleys still in use after 60 years to be pushed over them. I was given instances in which cargo had been wrongly stowed under orders of an inexpert supervisor, despite the protests of the wharf labourers, who knew far more about the job than the supervisor. Those cargoes, of course, had to be moved later and stowed again correctly. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) told us this morning that on some occasions before cargo consigned to Fremantle could be unloaded at that port, the wharf labourers had first to unload cargo consigned to other ports. The same sort of thing is happening in Melbourne. Before the wharf labourers can get at cargo consigned to Melbourne, they have first to remove from the holds cargo consigned to other ports.

I witnessed the congestion in the sheds. [ saw tea sorted out for merchants which, although it was all of the same brand, was stacked in piles and was left there for days, taking up valuable space. Valuable wharf space is being used as storerooms for merchants. 1 saw men trying to find room in which to stack cargo that was being unloaded. I saw congestion causing cargo to be manhandled, when mechanical equipment could have been used. I saw the hopeless mess and congestion - it is an eye-opener to those who take the trouble to look at it - caused by motor transport and trains, due to bad supervision and the inability of the clerks to cope with deliveries. I saw a gang of men who had been kept waiting all day for a few bales of wool to arrive. They could have been used more gainfully elsewhere.

I saw men working in sheds where carbon black lay an inch deep on the floor. Every step that the men took caused it to rise and to make filthy their clothes and equipment. But where the wool wan stacked there was 3 inches of sawdust on the floor. The wool was of greater concern to the authorities than was the health and well-being of the workers. I saw the filth in the ships’ holds. I saw men working under conditions of danger to life and limb from slings and cargo which were being unloaded, when every step had to be made with caution if they wanted to escape injury to their legs, feet and ankles.

On the amenities side, some building is being done, but it is totally inadequate to meet requirements. At the present time, at certain places men are compelled to undress in lavatories. Amenities such as showers are few and far between, and are not of the capacity needed to meet requirements. New lavatories have been provided at the compound, after much agitation. The compound sported a couple of trestles and stools without backs. It would be a hot box in the summer and an ice box in the winter, yet it is supposed to serve the needs of many hundreds of men.

Now I turn to something which had never hit the headlines in this country and has never been raised in this House before. A mobile ambulance is in use. It was secured only after many urgent requests and much agitation, but it is in great demand. When I say that the ambulance is in great demand, I mean that literally and figuratively, because, in the last twelve months, there have been 12,000 reported accidents among 5,000 men. Yet we hear critical talk about unproductive time, and some members of the Government say that they want harsher measures to be invoked against the workers on the wharfs. It is common knowledge that sling loading has been increased - or, as I prefer to say, that further dangerous hazards have been introduced. I hope that the decision with regard to amenities will be much more favorable to the wharf labourers than the sling-loading ruling.

It is interesting to note that shipowners were fined recently because the life-saving equipment on their ships was entirely unseaworthy. Perhaps the authorities will take similar action against them in respect of defective cargo-handling equipment. While I am on the question of equipment, I shall refer again to the Basten report, which, although it was the fairest report on the waterfront ever produced by any man, seems to be conveniently overlooked by the Government. In his report of the 4th January, 1952, Mr. Basten stated -

Here and there the specialized equipment is not present or is not of the efficient type. Such deficiencies are apparent and are well under stood. They will, undoubtedly, be made good as soon as is practicable by those responsible for the provision of the equipment.

Although four years have elapsed since then, little has been done to remedy those deficiencies. Henry Basten went on to state -

There is another factor which has placed ah additional burden on the facilities provided by port authorities. The shipping services have themselves changed. The overseas vessel, before the war, steamed round the coast, calling at must of the capital ports to discharge some part of its cargo at each. The practice has been one of long standing, and the greater number nf berths provided by the ports was designed to meet this form of trade.

Now it is common practice for the ship from overseas tu discharge all its cargo at one or two ports only, lt is obvious that, unless a miracle of speed is attained in clearing cargo from the wharfs, the larger cargoes require larger transit sheds and more space adjacent to them.

We hear about time lost as a result of disputes. This matter was drawn to the attention of the Government four years ago. Mr. Basten continued -

Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane and Adelaide have all a number of berths suitable for handling the larger cargoes, but none of them has enough.

They have not enough even now -

Penalties on goods stored at wharfs as exist in Melbourne and Fermantle should be substantially increased and also introduced in all other ports. Severe economic pressure is the only practical measure to relieve congestion on the wharves.

Big business has, of course, prevented those measures from being put into effect. I suggest that, if we want harmony and co-operation on the wharfs, the first problem that we must tackle is the problem of improving working conditions there. If the Government were sincere in saying that it wants to do something for the wharf labourers, those matters mentioned in the Basten report would be the matters that we should be discussing now. I suggest that, in view of what was stated in the Basten report, the five recommendations of the “Waterside Workers Federation also should be incorporated in the bill. They are as follows : -

  1. The authority to be established to be given nil the arbitral and regulatory powers necessary for the proper organization and control of the industry.
  2. That the authority should have on it a divert representative of the federation, even if this means an increase in the size of the authority from three persons to five.

That is absolutely necessary. It would be absurd to have on the authority any one who did not understand the working conditions in respect of which he was called upon to adjudicate. The other recommendations are as follows: -

  1. That waterside employment committees he provided for in the new legislation and be set up by direction of the statute and not at the discretion of the Minister or the authority.
  2. That the keynote of the legislation should be the promotion of co-operation and improved conditions in the industry, and not sanctions.
  3. That provision be made to bring the standards on the Australian waterfront up to those existing in other countries, and in line with the model conditions prescribed by the International Labour Office.

If this Government genuinely desired to obtain efficiency on the wharfs, if it were interested in a quicker turn-round of ships and if its attitude were one of real concern for the economic position of the worker on the waterfront, as the Minister claimed, then the House, instead of discussing a bill of this nature, would be discussing a bill to give the Government power, as recommended in the Basten report, to impose heavy charges on goods left for more than 24 hours in transit sheds on the wharfs. We should be discussing the problems of the waterfront as they relate to defence measures, for it is true to say that ports and harbours and the facilities for handling cargo at ports are matters of major defence importance.

In conclusion, I am of the opinion that, the employment of casual labour in the manner indicated in the bill could be used as the thin end of a wedge for the employment of non-union labour in this industry. I say very definitely that the passage of the bill will not improve conditions on the waterfront. The only purpose that it will achieve will be to drive men out of the industry, thereby defeating the very objective that is desired. The major effect of the bill will be to worsen the conditions of the workers and also to worsen the relations between the federation and the employers. It will lead only to disruption of the industry, and no one on the Opposition side of the House desires to see that. The bill will be used as a weapon to smash the Waterside Workers Federation.


.- The honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mclvor) opened his speech with an attack on the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). He said that the honorable member for Moreton had attacked the workers. I was here during the whole of the time that the honorable member for Moreton spoke, but I did not hear him attack the workers at all. He attacked their leaders. We on this side of the House very seldom, if ever, attack the workers. Any attack that we make upon those responsible for industrial disputes is directed generally towards the leaders.

Mr Pollard:

– It is the same thing.


– When I read the Hansard reports of my speeches, [ always notice that members of the Opposition have interjected. The honorable member for Gellibrand adopted an extraordinarily unreasonable attitude to the bill. He said that it was designed to smash the Waterside Workers Federation and to drive workers from the waterfront. How does he think big business will handle its cargoes if it drives the workers from the waterfront? His remarks on that subject are indicative of the attitude which members of the Opposition always adopt to legislation proposed by this Government. Is there any logical foundation for a statement of that kind? Have we succeeded in breaking the Waterside Workers Federation? Have we succeeded in driving the poor, miserable wharfies from the wharfs and leaving them to starve? What nonsense! What humbug!

When the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) opened the debate for the Opposition, he said that this was a turbulent industry. The waterfront industry in most countries is turbulent. That remark can be applied to any industry where the union leaders are under Communist domination or are Communists. In every single industry where Communists are in control of the unions, there is turbulence.

Mr Pollard:

– Is the Australian Workers Union controlled by Communists?


– No, but it will be soon. As I told the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) the other day for years and years the Australian. Workers Union was a moderate trade union. Then compulsory unionism wasintroduced in New South Wales. As a result, the union, being unable to select its members, was subjected to Communist infiltration. Now there is a. line-up between the Communists and theAustralian Workers Union. Let us make no mistake. The Communistsdesire to destroy, to create anarchy, and to cause chaos. In Australia, they havebeen successful to some extent. Therewas an Australian-born trade union, leader, Mr. Harry Bridges, on the waterfront in America. Does the honorablemember for Lalor remember the trouble that he caused on the waterfront in America? Does the honorable member know that, after he went out of office, things settled down there?

In the course of this debate, Labourmembers have suggested that the members of the Australian Country party are always on the side of the management and always against the worker. Let me remind the House of what I said recently in seconding the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I stated -

The primary producer suffers acutely from the result of industrial trouble on the waterfront. He pays the enormous costs involved in shipping and stevedoring. On the onehand, the labour force is not working properly, and on the other hand the management is not watching to see that the exporter receives » fair deal in the matter of costs.

As I have said many times, under thc system of private enterprise, which permits people to make profits from their calling - which may be stevedoringthose who supply the means of makingthat profit should get a fair deal. It is perfectly all right to make a profit, but the exporter is entitled to ensure that thstevedoring companies give him a fair deal. I take management - and especially that on the waterfront - to task, because for the last 50 years it has not taken proper action to obtain peace in industry. I have had some experience in the management of men, and I feel that Australian management can be blamed for much of what takes place.

I have travelled fairly widely and have always been interested in waterfront activity. I like to see people work, because I like to work myself. I might add that on my side of the House there are many honorable members who have worked hard physically. I do not wish to boast, but I am certain that very few members of the Opposition have done as much physical work as I have done. I have seen good work performed on the waterfront, and have always said that the Australian is a first-class worker, but the honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mclvor) has told us of the terrible trials and tribulations which beset the Australian wharfie. I have watched the work done at some Australian ports and have been ashamed that those performing it were of the same sex as myself. The work done by some Australian wharf labourers is shocking to the traveller, though the great proportion of our wharf labourers are ordinary, capable workers such as one finds in any other industry. After all, the worker in Australian private industry can produce more than can the worker in a similar industry elsewhere in the world. Make no mistake about it; there is nothing wrong with the Australian worker, but in the Australian trade unions one finds, as I have said many times, restrictive practices. One finds “ go slow “ methods and such old, worn-out cliches as “working yourself out of a job “, “ working for the boss “, and so on. Friends of mine who, during the war, helped out on the waterfront in time of trouble invariably said that they enjoyed the work but found that if they worked too quickly one of the regular hands would say, “ Take your time from me “. That kind of thing is taking place to-day, and some one must pay for it. That some one is the Australian worker. The skipper of any ship, anywhere, will confirm that the Australian waterfront is the worst in the world. To overseas shipping people our waterfront is anathema. Whoever is at fault, that is our reputation. As has been stated in the report, both sides are to blame. The Government, incidentally, is said to be partly responsible.

The Australian worker is entitled to security of employment. As I have said previously, I am a believer in high pay, but no one should receive high pay unless he earns it. If he does not earn it, some other worker must foot the bill. Unfortunately, under this legislation, labour will still be employed on a casual basis. However, conditions will be much improved. I am afraid that we shall never have peace on the waterfront until the labour force is permanently employed by stevedoring companies, but custom cannot be broken too quickly, and the matter is extremely difficult to handle. The worker has the right to work for a normal, fixed period each week, and to be paid for doing so. On the other side, management also has certain rights - a rapidturnround of shipping, and efficient work on the part of employees. I believe that if we give security of employment we shall get improved work, for there are many decent men on the waterfront.

One has only to look at the changes that have taken place in the pastoral industry. In the old days the shearers were drawn from all classes. There was constant agitation for the improvement of living conditions and wages, and the provision of the amenities laid down by arbitration authorities. To-day, a new class of shearer is to be found in the industry. Until the political grievance that occurred recently, there was no interruption of the excellent relations that had existed between management and labour in the pastoral industry. In my opinion the same thing could happen on the waterfront provided there is on both sides a desire to achieve it. After all, when the rest of the unions are prepared to work they are entitled to a fair deal. I remind honorable members opposite of the philosophy of Mr. J ohn L. Lewis, the great American trade union leader in the coal-mining industry. He did not mind how many coal miners lost their jobs, because he knew they would find jobs elsewhere, but he saw to it that the coalminers left in the industry were working under the very best conditions. To show that his policy was right it is only necessary to mention that America sells coal to Europe, although American coal is produced by the. highest-paid coal miners in the world. Lewis’s philosophy was that people who lost their jobs in the coal-mining industry would easily get employment elsewhere owing to the fact that American coal is produced at a reasonable cost, a factor which would create more employment in industries depending on coal. lt is, unfortunately, a fact that sometimes wage workers in industry have to change their jobs as a result of the normal rise and fall in markets, and sometimes as a result of changes of conditions. I have great sympathy for those people but, in the long run, the system that we have is the best that we can have. Once go-slow methods and restrictive practices are adopted, somebody has to pay for them. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) always amuses me somewhat because of his habit of being very complacent and unctuous. Honorable members will recall that when he led for the Opposition in this debate he talked about the Labour Government’s magnificent legislation to deal with this industry in 1949. Yet the survey of strikes and stoppages on the waterfront which is published in the sixth annual report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board shows that from 1947-48 to 1949-50 about 600,000 man-hours were lost annually as a result of disputes. When the legislation of which the Leader of the Opposition boasts came into force, the loss of man-hours through disputes doubled and trebled. From 600,000 manhours lost, the figure rose to 2,200,000, and in 1954-55 it was 2,600,000. But the right honorable gentleman sought to leave us with the impression that that legislation was splendid and was more effective than anything we can do in the same line. That is wrong, and the facts prove it to be wrong. The Labour party’s legislation has not proved to be a success. The facts certainly do not support the Labour party’s contention that it alone knows how to deal with relations between labour and management.

A very important factor in the waterfront industry is the increase of costs brought about by waste of time. In May last year shipping freights were increased by 10 per cent. According to John Eddy, the Melbourne Hamid economist, that all-round shipping freights increase of 10 per cent, would cost Australia about £15,000,000 a year. That is very serious. Who pays that increased cost? It has to be paid for in some way or another.

As most of the money involved in the payment of shipping freights by Australia is reflected in our overseas balances, thai increase will accentuate our balanceofpayments problem.

I should like to compare shipping freight rates under which Australia labours with those of other parts of the world, for instance, South Africa. A report on shipping freight costs which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 6th June last year compared freight rates for fruit shipped from Australia to Singapore with the rates for the same commodity shipped to Singapore from South Africa. The freight rate from Australia to Singapore was 12s. a case for fresh fruit, whilst the rate from South Africa, to Singapore for the same commodity, although the journey is longer, was 8s. 2d. a case. That is to say, the rates charged for the freight from Australia were 50 per cent, higher than the rates charged on the longer haul from South Africa. The rate for canned fruit was £9 17s. 6d. a ton from Australia to Singapore against £4 13s. 9d. a ton from South Africa to Singapore - the Australian rate being more than double the rate from South Africa. That is the kind of handicap with which the Australian primary producer is faced. There can be only one reason for the fact that the rate from Australia to Singapore is so much higher than that from South Africa to Singapore, and that is that the turn-round of ships in Australia is slower, and that the stevedoring charges for loading ships are higher. There is no other way in which to account for the higher freight rates, which were about double in each of the instances I have given. We are at a great disadvantage because our export income depends almost solely on the export of primary products, as we have not yet sufficiently developed markets abroad for our secondary products. It is on the export of our primary products that the standard of living of the Australian people depends. If our exports are handicapped in overseas markets as a result of high freights, surely to goodness there is good reason to seek a remedy for the cause !

A ton of machinery could be shipped to Singapore from South Africa at a freight rate of £5 12s. 6d. last year. The same cargo from Australia cost £9 17s. a ton to take to Singapore. The rate from Britain to Singapore - the longest voyage - was £8 8s. 9d. a ton. Here is an indictment which can be laid only at the door of the waterfront industry, because shipping freights reflect costs on the waterfront. The cause of high shipping freights is, as I have said, slow turn-round and high stevedoring charges.

This morning I interjected - a thing I very seldom do, of course - when the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) was speaking. He said that it was impossible to coerce the worker in Australia. I say that the worker in Australia can be coerced and, in fact, has continually been coerced by trade union leaders. I have talked about intimidation in trade unions many times, and J. say that such intimidation exists on the waterfront. During a recent waterfront strike the Communists completely held Australia to ransom for three weeks. The waterside workers gained absolutely nothing from the strike - but the strike set back Australia’s earning capacity overseas, increased costs and reduced standards of living. Remember how 1,500 trade unionists marched to the Melbourne Trades Hall and tried to intimidate Mr. Monk, the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions. Immediately after the council withdrew its support of the strike, a plan of intimidation was put into practice and marches of trade unionists to various trades halls in the’ capital cities were organized. According to official Communist figures there were 1,500 men in the procession to the Melbourne Trades Hall. This is what happened in a free country - a whole lot of boneheads going along to intimidate some honorable official of a trade union organization! Most of the people in that profession were waterside workers. They marched. undisturbed to the Trades Hall and demanded to see Mr. Monk. That was intimidation of the worst kind. Undoubtedly, there is coercion of the workers in Australia.

The other day I saw an advertisement in the American news magazine Time, which listed the advantages of making shipments through the port of New Orleans. Here are some of the reasons given in the advertisement for shipment through New Orleans : - “ Lower inland freight rates to or from Mid-continent United States of America; regular sailings to all world ports; fast, safe handling - lower insurance rates in America; shipside delivery from eight major rail lines, 46 truck lines, 50 barge lines; savings up to 50 per cent, on freight forwarding charges; quick despatch - no terminal delays “. Can anybody imagine the port of Sydney advertising in that strain, wooing shippers with promises of “ cheap rates ; safe and rapid loading and discharge of cargoes handled by Mr. James Healy, ably supported by Mr.. Ted Roach”? Can anybody imagine any port in Australia advertising in that way? But in America, the country of much maligned private enterprise, port authorities advertise the advantages of shipment through the ports which they control. Until we get conditions here that make that sort of thing possible we shall always be at a disadvantage in meeting competition in the world’s highly competitive markets. I do not see why the rest of the country should work while other people do not make a fair effort. “Why are the rest of the people working? To try to increase the living standards of everybody! After all, that is what civilization does. In its curious way it works for all, and if one section of the community is continually holding the rest of the community to ransom, is it not about time that we tried to find a new form of legislation to ensure that at least such people will give the rest of the country a fair deal? This country has to live on its exports, but it has the disadvantage of tremendously long sea lanes and routes to cover in this world of highly competitive rates and highly competitive markets. If we are to survive and to raise the living standards of our own people, we must use every means to lower our costs and to compete with greater efficiency on the world’s markets. I am satisfied in my own mind that industries such as those with which I am associated and, for example, timber, in my own electorate, and other industries throughout Australia can compete with initiative and success. But these people on the waterfront are holding the country to ransom. The Leader of the Opposition did enormous harm when he made what I describe as his mischievous and inflammatory address on the legislation now before the House. If members of the Opposition thought more carefully of how the waterfront affects the lives and the interests of the people whom they are supposed to represent, they would give this measure their full support.


.- I join with other honorable members on this side of the House who oppose this bill. Before I discuss the measure, I should like to say that the speech of the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) was full of personal attacks and bitterness, but that we can put that speech down to his political immaturity. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) again referred to the control of the Australian “Workers Union. It was only as recently as the debate on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill that I replied to that stupid statement. The honorable. member for Hume referred to the increase in shipping freights and said that the trouble was due to something that was happening on the waterfront. He did not explain what he meant by the term “ waterfront “. Was it due to the shipowners ? Was it due to the stevedoring companies? Was it due to the waterside workers? He did not say whom he meant. He left it to the listener to form his own opinion on who was responsible for the expensive turn-round of ships in Australia. If the honorable member would use his influence with his party to have something done with regard to the increase in shipping freights, he would be rendering a service to the primary producers about whom he is supposed to be so concerned.

I have here a statement which contains extracts from the balance-sheets of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company over a series of years. The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company is a holding company for sixteen different shipping companies. Time will not permit me to go into the details fully, but the effective dividend on the 1949 capital of this company in 1951 was 24 per cent., in 1952 30 per cent, and in 1953 33 per cent. This country is being held to ransom by the shipping interests; yet the honorable member for Hume has the effrontery to talk about the costs on the waterfront without distinguishing who was responsible for those costs. The dividend of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company was 33 per cent, in 1953, and freights have increased since then. Yet he talks about costs. So much for the honorable member for Hume.

Before I deal with this bill - and J propose to deal with one or two of the provisions in it - I want to draw the attention of the House to the over-all picture that has been revealed during th, course of this parliamentary session. Early in the session, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) delivered his second speech on the economic position. He said the Government would take certain action to grapple with the problem of inflation, lt did - by giving inflation a further kick along the road, by giving it a further fillip - by increasing costs and by increasing the cost of living generally ! The next step that the Government took was to introduce legislation amending the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. That bill has been pushed through this House only to-day. The whole of the trade union movement in this country is opposed to that measure. In other words, the Government, which talks about cooperation in industry, introduced a measure to which the trade union movement is openly hostile. The amendments contained in it were supposed to promote peace in industry. The Government apparently does not realize the full implications of the amendments to that act, but it will not be long before it is fully aware of the effects of them.

Now this bill has been introduced. It is like the bill that amended the Conciliation and Arbitration Act; it is supposed to achieve harmony on the waterfront. In its over-all provisions, the bill has been designed to smash the waterside workers. There are no two ways about that. The picture we behold is, first, the economic plan increasing the cost of living; secondly, the Arbitration Bill attacking the trade union movement; and, thirdly, this bill designed for the exclusive purpose of smashing the waterside workers union.

In 1917 there was a great strike on the waterfront in this country and an attempt was made then to smash the Waterside “Workers Federation politically. Scabs were brought on to the wharfs in 1917, but the “Waterside Workers Federation survived. Then in 1925-26 we had the rotary strike. In 1928 came a great Australia-wide strike against the Beeby award. Again scabs were brought on to the waterfront. The Permanent and Casual “Waterside Workers Union was formed, and apparently the formation of that organization in 1928 gave the germ of an idea to this Government because it has inserted certain provisions in this measure. In 1928 an effort was made to smash the Waterside Workers Federation and the other organization was fostered to oppose it. The Waterside Workers Federation is still going on and progressing, despite the statement by the honorable member for Moreton that its members are Communists. There may be some Communists amongst the members of the Waterside Workers Federation but the great majority of waterfront workers are decent Australians and most of them are supporters of the Labour party.

Reference has been made this afternoon to this man Healy. Healy is returned to office time and time again by members of his own organization in a democratic method of ballot selection. So much for the twaddle peddled in this place about the Communist plan being implemented, or some other stupid statement, as that made by the honorable member for Moreton. As I said earlier, all those statements can be attributed to his political immaturity. In the days of 1917, 1925, 1926 and 1928 there were no Communists. They were all decent Labour men and decent unionists.

The Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, throughout its history, has endeavoured to improve the working conditions of its members and to obtain industrial justice for them. It will fight on and survive the attacks made on it by the Government by means of this measure, because it has survived greater attacks than any that could be made by this Government. Last week, after the bill had been introduced in this House, representatives of the federation told the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) that the whole purpose of the measure was to make a direct attack on the union. That should have been sufficient warning to the Minister of the feelings of the waterside workers towards the bill. It is obvious from that warning, that, if the bill becomes law as drafted, it will receive a very hostile reception on the waterfront. It not only will lead to industrial trouble but also will cost the waterside workers dearly and will seriously inconvenience the people of Australia. The Minister should have taken heed of the warning he was given. I understand from the press that he told the representatives of the federation that the bill was designed to preserve it. He either spoke with his tongue in his cheek or does not understand the bill that has been drafted for him.

According to the press, the Minister is supposed to have sought a conference with the Australian Council of Trade? Unions and the Waterside Workers Federation. According to the newspaper reports, representatives of both those bodies left the Minister under no illusion about the implications of this measure and the adverse effect it would have upon the federation. The Minister is reported to have said that the matters raised by the representatives of these two bodies at the conference would be considered by the Cabinet. If the Minister is honest and sincere, this can be only an insult to this House, which has been asked to consider clauses which may be deleted or drastically amended when the bill goes to another place. Either the Minister has hoodwinked and misled the representatives of the Australian Council of Trades Unions and the Waterside Workers Federation, or he has offered a personal insult to the members of this House by suggesting that the Cabinet will consider the suggestions made to him by the representatives of the workers. If the Minister were sincere, he would adjourn the debate and let us hare the

Government’s final decision about the measure. The fact that the debate is to continue seems to indicate that the Government does not intend to consider seriously the suggestions made to the Minister by the representatives of the Australian Council of Trades Unions and the federation. If it does intend to consider them seriously, why does it waste the time of this House?

I stated earlier that this measure is a direct challenge to the Waterside Workers Federation. The history of the federation shows that it can withstand, and has withstood in the past, many heavy attacks. It will continue to fight on, as I have said. Because the Government has embarked on a plan to break down general living standards, of which the attempt to smash the federation is only part, the federation will have the support of other trade unions in the fight which the Government apparently intends to take on with the trade union movement generally by means of this measure and the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1956, which the House passed earlier to-day. The measure now under consideration will add to living costs in the community. If the honorable member for Hume is really concerned about the effect of waterfront conditions on costs, why did he not raise his voice in the councils of the Australian Country party, to which he belongs, and state the implications of this measure ?

Clause 10 of the bill will constitute the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, which will have drastic powers to penalize waterside workers, but very ineffectual powers to control the shipowners. During the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1956. Opposition members indicated that Labour is strenuously opposed to penal provisions, and so it is with this measure. The Australian Labour party is hostile to such provisions. This bill contains punitive provisions which are loaded against the Waterside Workers Federation. They are perhaps even worse than the penal provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration “Bill 1956. Is it any wonder, then, that the Government it rushing towards a head-on collision with the federation which will occur imme diately it attempts to implement the penal provisions after this bill has become law? Clause 44 relates to the boycotting of waterside workers. If a boycott is directed against the trade unionist in order to prevent him from registering for work on the waterfront, a union or an official directing the boycott shall be liable to a penalty - £500 for a union, and £50 for an official. Clause 40 provides for the engagement of unregistered labour between 5 p.m. and midnight on working days and at any time on other days which are not holidays for waterside workers at the port concerned.

These provisions are designed to take away the inherent right to strike that the Waterside Workers Federation has had throughout its history. Does the Government think for a moment that the waterside workers will accept such provisions without a fight? The right to strike goes back to the very foundations of the union. It has always enjoyed that right. Apparently, the Government believes that, by providing for the imposition of heavy fines, and for gaol sentences in the event of fines not being paid, it will be able to prevent the waterside workers from exercising the right to strike which they have had for so long.

One of the worst features of clause 44 of the bill is that it interferes with one of the basic principles of British justice, putting the onus of proof of innocence on the accused. The accuser is not required to prove the accused guilty of the offence with which he is charged. The much-vaunted supporters of all British principles who sit on the other side of this House are evidently in favour of legislation which destroys a basic principle of British jurisprudence, which has been followed since Magna Carta was signed in 1215. If a person is charged with an offence for which the penalty is £50 in the case of an officer of a union, and £500 in the case of the union itself, the person charged has to prove his innocence.

In clause 33 the bill sets out the obligations of the employer, and it provides for a. fine of not less than £100 and not more than £1,000 for non-compliance with its provisions. The maximum fine in that case is double the maximum penalty provided for breaches by a union or one of its members. The employer’s obligations ure stated in the bill in very general terms. Past experience has shown that it is practically impossible to secure a conviction of an employer for failure to comply with legislative provisions, and the provision of these apparently steep penalties is evidently an attempt to convince the uninitiated public that the Government is favorably disposed towards the workers.

Clause 34 provides that the authority may initiate proceedings, in the event of an offence being committed by an employer, by way of summons before the Commonwealth Industrial Court. Clause 36 provides that if a waterside worker does not carry out his obligations he shall be dealt with differently. Clause 36 (1.) (c) reads -

Where, after such inquiry as it thinks fit, the Authority is satisfied that a registered waterside worker . . . has acted in a manner whereby the expeditious, safe or efficient performance of stevedoring operations has been prejudiced or interfered with . . .

Et then provides that the waterside worker may be dealt with by the authority. However, he is not dealt with by way of summons in the same way as the employer is dealt with. The authority may hold such inquiry as it thinks fit, or it may deal with him before an inquiry is held. That provision indicates another departure from an established principle of British justice, that every man is equal before the law. An employer has to be summonsed for an offence. Delays may occur, but the employer will suffer no inconvenience because of them. However, the poor unfortunate waterside worker who is charged with an offence may be suspended. In the distant future a hearing may take place, and he may be found not guilty of the offence with which he has been charged, but he will receive no compensation for the period during which he was suspended. Is it any wonder, as I said at the outset, that this measure must bring the Government into a head-on collision with the Waterside Workers Federation? I know something of the trade union movement, and I know something of the feelings of rank and file members of trade unions. If honorable members on the other side of the House want to know how the rank and file of the Waterside Workers Federation feel about this bill, I suggest that they read reports of the meetings that were held throughout Australia yesterday.

Clause 35 provides for the cancellation of an employer’s registration if he fails to do certain things, but the authority cannot deregister an employer if it is satisfied that that employer has failed to comply with one of its orders. It must make an application to the Commonwealth Industrial Court, which will decide whether the employer’s registration will be cancelled. The authority is empowered to suspend an employee out of hand, but when it wishes to deal with a shipowner or a stevedoring company it is a horse of another colour. Due process of law must be instituted in that event.

Before I conclude I should like to sum up some of the main features of this legislation, which will be obnoxious to all sections of the trade union movement, as well as to waterside workers. I feel, as I have said all along, that this measure will not produce the peace and harmony of which the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) has spoken. It will result in the creation and extension of industrial strife, and in a first-class fight between the trade union movement and the Government, particularly if the Government proposes to allow to work on the waterfront men who are not members of the Waterside Workers Federation, or to force the federation to admit certain employees to membership, or to permit the formation of another union in any port if the authority thinks that that should be done. The Government evidently intends that if the authority considers there should be another organization to cover the employees in a particular port, it may permit the formation of such an organization, in which case the members of the Waterside Workers Federation in that port would be placed at a definite disadvantage.

The bill provides that a waterside worker may be compelled to give evidence before the authority, and to answer questions even though his answers may tend to incriminate him. He may be compelled to give evidence against his workmates. The evidence must be given on oath, and if he does not tell the truth he lays himself open to a charge of perjury. The bill takes from the federation its traditional right to recruit labour. It permits interference in the domestic affairs of the union and with its rules, by forcing non-members of the Waterside Workers Federation to become members of that organization. That provision would be particularly repugnant to the federation in cases where the men whom it is sought to admit to membership have been classed as scabs by the federation. The bill provides for the recognition of bogus unions, and it paves the way for the formation of what are known in America as company unions. It permits the reduction of waterside workers’ earnings by the use of supplementary labour. If supplementary labour is used in a port, the average earnings of waterside workers in that port will fall below the basic wage. Does the Government think that the waterside workers will submit to this kind of treatment? It is idle for honorable members opposite to talk about peace and harmony in the industry. The bill also lays down penalties that are intolerable to any trade union. If a waterside worker it unable to pay a fine that is imposed on him he may be imprisoned.

I have directed attention to only a few of the objectionable features of the measure. I submit that the bill should be rejected, in the interests of industrial peace on the waterfront and the welfare of the community in general.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Jeff Bate) adjourned.

page 2936


In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Customs and Excise · Evans · LP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 4).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1956, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the sixteenth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-six, be further amended as hereinafter set out, and that on and after the eighth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-six, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff 1933-1956 as so amended. The Tariff proposals I have just introduced apply to artificial silk yarns covered by Tariff Item 392 (g). Under the Customs Tariff 1933-1956 these yarns are at present admitted free of duty under the British preferential tariff and at rates of duty of 121/2 per cent, under the interme diate tariff and 15 per cent, under the general tariff. It is nowproposed to provide for imported continuous filament acetate rayon yarn to be dutiable at rates of 10 per cent, under the British preferential tariff, 221/2 per cent, under the intermediate tariff and 25 per cent, under the general tariff. Provision is also made for this acetate yarn to he admitted under by-law rates of duty at the existing statute rates of free British preferential tariff, 12£ per cent, intermediate tariff and 15 per cent, general tariff. The tariff position in respect of other types of artificial silk yarn, for example, viscose and nylon, remains unchanged. The duty variations are set out in full in the comparative statement which has been circulated to honorable members. The proposed duties will have effect as from 9 a.m. to-morrow morning. The proposed tariff changes give effect to a recommendation made by the Tariff Board in a comparatively recent report. The Government has also adopted a further recommendation of the Tariff Board that the provisions of the Rayon Yarn Bounty Act, which are due to expire on the 31st October, 1957, be continued down to the 30th June, 1959, and, with that end in view, legislation will be presented to the Parliament in the near future. In order that honorable members may be fully informed of the circumstances which prompted the board's findings, I will table the board's report at a later stage. Honorable members are, of course, aware that the production in Australia of continuous filament acetate yarn is carried out by Courtaulds (Australia) Proprietary Limited. The capital employed in this section of the company's activities is approximately £3,000,000 and employment is given to about 200 operatives. The plant is situated at Tomago, in the Hunter River valley of New South Wales. At present, local production of continuous filament acetate yarn is assisted by the payment of bounty at the rate of 6d. per lb. Australian requirements are somewhere in the vicinity of 3,500,000 lb. per annum and though the local industry has the capacity to meet those requirements, it has not, in the face of duty-free imports, been able to operate at maximum capacity. There is a close price relationship between acetate and viscose rayon yarns. The Australian manufacturer of acetate yarn will, therefore, be unable to increase the price of his yarn without disturbing the normal price relationship between that yarn and viscose yarn which will continue to be admitted free of duty under the British preferential tariff. The proposed duty on imported acetate yarn will, however, make the overseas product less competitive with the locally produced acetate yarn and this, in conjunction with bounty assistance, should enable the local manufacturer to obtain a much greater share of the Australian market without any need to increase present selling prices. If, however, the local manufacturer takes advantage of the duty to increase prices to an unreasonable level in relation to the cost at which equivalent acetate yarns could be landed in Australia on a duty-free basis from the United Kingdom, the Government will ensure that the interests of users are protected by bringing into operation the provisions of the proposed by-law item, under which acetate yarn would then be admitted free of duty under the British preferential tariff and at rates of 12$ per cent, intermediate tariff and 15 per cent, general tariff. However, I do not anticipate that the necessity to take that action will arise. There was, I might say, some suggestion at the board's inquiry that overseas suppliers could defeat the object of the proposed protective duties by absorbing the cost of the duty in their selling prices to the Australian importers. This would, in simple terms, constitute dumping. I, therefore, wish to make it quite clear that if such practices are indulged in by overseas suppliers the Government will not hesitate to apply the antidumping laws at its disposal to protect the interests of the Australian industry. The establishment of the local industry on a sound economic basis rests on its ability to obtain a much greater share of the Australian market. The proposed tariff variations should, I feel, enable that objective to be attained. Its successful establishment will enable the Australian textile industry to obtain an important locally produced intermediate raw material at no greater cost than that which would apply if such material was imported free of duty. It will be the means of providing permanent employment for a considerable number of operatives in a decentralized area in the Hunter River Valley of New SouthWales and it will also assist materially to ease the pressure on our balance of overseas funds. I do not desire, at this stage, to proceed with a general debate on the proposals now before the committee. The opportunity for such a debate will be given to honorable members as early as circumstances will permit. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- On procedure as this is a matter of vital importance to the Australian textile industry and the workers, involving the future development of the industry. I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise **(Mr, Osborne)** whether it would be possible for us to have a discussion on this matter in the present session or whether he could supply some further information on the matter. If I can get a satisfactory assurance, I shall leave it to the Minister to deckle when we can have the discussion. {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE: -- I cannot give any undertaking that the debate will take place in this session. Any information that the honorable member seeks on this matter will be supplied by the Department of Trade or the Department of Customs and Excise. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 2938 {:#debate-27} ### CONTINUOUS FILAMENT ACETATE RAYON YARN {:#subdebate-27-0} #### Tariff Board Report {: #subdebate-27-0-s0 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
LP -- I lay on the table the report of the Tariff Board on the following subject: - {:#subdebate-27-1} #### Continuous Filament Acetate Rayon Yarn Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 2938 {:#debate-28} ### STEVEDORING INDUSTRY BILL {:#subdebate-28-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed *(vide* page 2936). {: #subdebate-28-0-s0 .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE:
Macarthur -- The honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** complained rather loudly about basic principles of British jurisprudence and British justice, right back to Magna Carta, and asked for protection for the Waterside Workers Federation. He did that in front of the leader of the Waterside Workers Federation, a gentleman named **Mr. Healy,** who, as far as we know, does not attach much importance to the basic principles of British jurisprudence and justice right back to Magna Carta. {: .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr Griffiths: -- How do you know? {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: **- Mr. Healy** is not here at the moment, but **Mr. Healy** is obviously here to watch. He is here to crack the whip over the anti-group members of the Labour party. He is here to make sure that they toe the line which is laid down for them by the left wing, or the Communist controlled wing, of the party. **Mr. Healy** is not in the House at the moment. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -i rise to order.I should like to ask whether the honorable member for Macarthur is debating the Stevedoring Industry Bill 1956 or is making side swipes at the Labour party which are contrary to the Standing Orders. {: #subdebate-28-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER:
Mr. Timson -- I think that the honorable member is in order in relation to his preliminary remarks, but I ask him to confine himself to the subject of the bill. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- Thank you, **Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker.** I do not think that Opposition members should become so upset because these things are known to everybody. It is of no use to try to keep them under the surface. We want to know what is actuating the honorable member for Kennedy in crying out for the adoption of the principles of British justice and, I suppose, of democracy, when behind him is sitting a man who is an avowed Communist and whose object is to destroy the freedom under which he now operates. I suppose it is understandable that Opposition members should become emotional when they are placed in such a dilemma, when they are fighting for the right of a Communist agent of a foreign power to endeavour to destroy the economy of this country, and when that man is protected by the very freedom that he seeks to destroy. That is the scene in this chamber to-day. That man has come here and has listened most carefully to every speech that has been made by Opposition members. Opposition members are aware that he is sitting behind them and is wearing that tolerant smile which is usually worn by Communists as though to indicate that he is saying to himself, "You poor fellows. Don't you know that communism is inevitable in this country, that we will take over, and that the first people to suffer will be the socialists ? " So the leader of the "Waterside Workers Federation has come here to watch the proceedings. Opposition members have become emotional, but we have not heard from them any constructive suggestions in relation to this complex and difficult problem. The Government has tried patiently - I think probably too patiently - over a long period of time to inject some decency into the situation, but the honorable member for Kennedy has issued the threat of a headlong collision, of industrial strife, and a smashing of the economy that we are desperately trying to build up. Why should there be such a collision? It would be for the purpose of enabling the party of which he is a member to achieve power. Everybody knows the importance of transport, particularly water transport, in Australia. It is known so well that mention of it ceases to be news. Of our national income of £4,000,000,000, we spend £1,500,000,000, or 37$ per cent, on transport alone. Soon, according to the Government of New South Wales, that expenditure will be increased by a further £12,000,000. As the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** has stated, transport costs are basic costs and are added at all levels, so that the expenditure of £1,500,000,000 to which I have referred is increased until it represents one-half of the cost of goods produced in this country. Coastal shipping transport facilities have been almost destroyed. In spite the investment of £9,000,000 in the construction of wharfs in New South Wales, in the area that I represent shipping transport has been destroyed by the depradations and the policy of the man who has been sitting in the chamber for some days. Cargo, instead of being transported by sea, is being transported over roads that have not been built to take such heavy traffic. Over the past six years, the Minister has tried to face up to this serious situation, yet when he enters the House with the findings of a committee, one member of which is a very distinguished representative of the trade union movement, he is met with a stream of hostile criticism. I venture to say that a good deal of bitterness and class hatred has been injected into the debate on this measure, which represents a constructive and important contribution towards the solution of Australia's economic difficulties. The Minister, in his second-reading speech, pointed out that, as far as possible, the bill seeks to implement the recommendations contained in the interim report of the Tait committee. The bill provides that a new statutory authority shall be established. The Australian Stevedoring Industry Board is to be abolished, and so it ought to be, because it has failed. The bill defines the powers of the new authority and transfers some of the powers now exercised by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court to the new authority. It also extends as far as possible, to other ports the system of transfers that operates in the Port of Adelaide. I think the Government has acted intelligently in including provision for a more extensive operation of the press and radio system of pickup, which it is believed has advantages both for the men and for the employer. It gets the men, at less expense and inconvenience to themselves, to the point of working operations earlier than if they came from the pickup centre. The committee also found in favour of the use of short gangs to handle hatches and beams in preparation for the day's work. We know that at the present time a gang comes on and spends half an hour of precious time in removing hatches and beams. In addition, the committee found in favour of the use, under controlled conditions, of supplementary labour to meet emergencies. Everybody is aware of emergencies that have occurred in the sugar and fruit industries in particular when loading has been held up. Stevedoring costs have been a contributing factor in the high cost of goods in Australia. The Minister and many other honorable members inside the House, and other persons outside, have directed attention to the fact that, over a period of years, handling rates have not improved but have deteriorated. **Mr. Arthur** Lowndes, in a paper that he prepared for the Summer School of Political Science, pointed out that by 1950 the rate of handling goods had fallen to less than 60 per cent, of the 1939 figure and that, although there was some temporary improvement at the end of 1952, the position deteriorated still further to a figure of 50.8 per cent, in the first half of 1955. That is a deplorable situation. Indeed, it is indefensible, when ib is remembered that trade unionists and primary producers are being exhorted daily to produce more in order to increase our export income. Such a situation is a result of deliberate action by waterside workers - it is stated to be deliberate by their leader, **Mr. Healy** - poor handling facilities at the ports, and various forms of mismanagement. That loading rates should have fallen by half over a period of years is degrading, shameful and shocking. The shipowners cannot be exonerated. **Mr. Lowndes,** when referring to that matter, stated - >The shipowners themselves, especially in the major ports such as Sydney and Melbourne, own the stevedoring companies and there is little question that the standard of managerial control and discipline leave much to be desired in many cases. Everybody is aware of that situation. One honorable member opposite cited the profits of an overseas company; I think it was the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Such companies are concerned with our exports and are important, but numbers of coastal shipping companies not only have not shown profits, but also in some cases have gone out of existence. In spite of enormous sums of money which have been spent on wharfs and installations, including £9,000,000 by the New South Wales Department of Public Works and a greater amount by the Maritime Services Board, these instruments of transport are not now in existence and the loading which they formerly carried has 1,een thrust upon worn-out rail and road systems which are able to handle it only at a cost many times the cost charged by the shipping companies. It is in teresting to note that of the estimated cost of transport in Australia of £1,500,000,000, only £50,000,000, or 3 per cent., is attributable to shipping companies. In spite of that, on a ton-mile basis shipping carries half of our goods. If that proportion were increased a great, service would be done to the Australian economy, but the gentleman who has been sitting in the chamber, **Mr. Healy,** the general secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, some shipowners, and the Maritime Services Board in my own State with all its handling facilities, have forced traffic away from the ships into the hands of interstate road hauliers, at very great cost to the Australian economy. I have read a report of the Australian Transport Advisory Council which stated that the cost a tonmile of transport by ship was less than Id., but the cost of interstate freight of some goods handled by motor transport was 3s. to 4s. a ton-mile. Honorable members may contest those figures, but they correctly represent average costs. Railways operate at a cost of about od. a ton-mile. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited has overcome the barrier formed by waterside workers by installing automatic loading facilities for its iron ore, transport of which costs the company .19d. a ton-mile. This company operates the cheapest transport service in Australia and uses ships for it? purpose. If this bill paves the way for better arrangements for shipping it will make a real contribution to the national economy. We have noted that ships, which cost only one-thirtieth of our national income, carry half of our transport load. We are unfortunate in not having inland water transport, because we have to carry goods over vast distances and so have to rely upon intra-state and interstate coastal shipping. Intra-state shipping has virtually disappeared, and road hauliers with big trucks which operate quite dangerously at high speed over roads not built to carry them, are handling the traffic. We are rapidly approaching a stage when Australian transport will be in a state of chaos. It was announced yesterday that the New South Wales Government is to increase fares and freights by up to 50 per cent. My information is that the New South Wales transport system is so inefficient that a 50 per cent, rise will not be sufficient to meet the position. {: .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr Griffiths: -- What is the cause of that position? {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- It is caused by the attitude of the party of which the honorable member who muttered is a member. That party believes in political control of the railways. Politicians cannot run a railway system, and so New South Wales has a system wherein railway sleepers are worn out and train crews on lines near Canberra refuse to operate at a speed in excess of 30 miles an hour diesel trains capable of travelling at 80 miles an hour, with the result that trains arrive at their destination as much as one hour and fifteen minutes late. The system is worn out and run down, but that is a system which has to carry the load when the shipping system breaks down. Waterside workers have so annoyed persons who send goods interstate that they do not try to ship the goods; instead the goods are transported on 15-ton trucks, which run across the border and, under section 92 of the Constitution, have recently not been subject to road taxes. In that way the movement of the goods is ensured. That is a dreadful situation, because shipping freights ought to be so much cheaper, although they are now six times as high as they were in 1939. The Minister has spent many anxious hours in the preparation of this bill. He has spoken to trade unionists, the leaders nf the Australian Council of Trades Unions, I suppose to **Mr. Healy,** and to the experts of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board and the Tait committee, and he has read reports, all with the object of trying to make an effective contribution to the problem. The Tait committee was composed of representatives from all sides, in the persons of **Mr. Tait, Mr. Gibson** and **Mr. Shortell,** a senior member of the Labour movement in New South Wales. They have charged the Waterside Workers Federation with having adopted frustrating policies, with delaying the pickup of men and all sorts of other actions. I believe that the members of the committee were unanimous in making these charges. As far as I can understand it, the bill seeks to abolish the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board. **Mr. Lowndes** has stated that the board has failed. From what I know of it, I believe that it had to fail. I believe that it was corrupted by what has come to be known as Evattism Somehow a situation developed whereby the gentleman who is now the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** was able to persuade the members of the board to his way of thinking and they implemented a policy of criticizing the shipowners by spurious means. I understand that at one stage it was a common practice for the board, or one of its officers, to send persons out in taxis to various post offices in Sydney to send to the Minister telegrams purporting to come from waterside workers. I understand that it was the practice of members of the board to write letters to the press under spurious names in criticism of shipowners. I do not say that the shipowners ought not to be criticized, but I do not think that an authority established to try to bring about good industrial relations should become a pressure group for some partisan side in politics or be partisan in any respect. It should have tried honestly to achieve better relations between all the parties in the industry. It did not behave as it ought to have done. It was not under the supervision of the Public Service Board. Supervision by that board would not have helped much, but would have acted as a brake upon the manner in which funds were spent. Those funds, in the form of added freights, become a charge upon every commodity in Australia. The Stevedoring Industry Board failed. It could not get port quotas filled and it could not get the ships loaded. A situation arose in Tasmania to which honorable members from that State have referred eloquently and strongly. There were not enough ships available to carry the Tasmanian fruit crop. The lag in loading Tasmanian timber increased until, T believe, 15,000,000 super, feet of timber were awaiting shipment. The price of potatoe.8 in Sydney will rise to 2s. per lb. shortly, partly because of the lack of ships serving Tasmania and the backlog of cargo awaiting shipment. Recently, there was a shameful and degrading strike by the waterside workers. At' first, they were backed by the Australian Council of Trades Unions, but later they were dumped, because that organization withdrew its support. The strike disorganized shipping services and caused cargoes to pile up on the wharfs. Even if that strike was not responsible for the present potato shortage in New South Wales, it must be admitted that other waterfront strikes during the last few years contributed. to the present situation by causing shipowners to withdraw ships from service and by deterring them from building other ships which could have been used to bring potatoes to Sydney now. We have reached the position when anybody with any brains will say, " Let us get potatoes somehow. Send an L.S.T. or a similar vessel to Tasmania for potatoes.". We cannot put up any longer with the ridiculous position that, although there are tens of thousands of tons lying in Tasmania, we are paying 2s. a lb. for potatoes here. A lack of potatoes disorganizes everybody's table. The potato is one of the most important items of our diet. Without potatoes, it is difficult to arrange a menu. When they are not available, everybody is inconvenienced. Some people are asking, "Why not send a battleship or an aircraft carrier to Tasmania to bring potatoes to the mainland ?". The honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson)** has a look of tolerant amusement on his face. Why should not that be done? {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -- You would not use a battleship to carry potatoes, would you ? {: #subdebate-28-0-s2 .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr TEF F BATE:
MACARTHUR, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Why not? The Labour party opposed the transfer of the Royal Australian Naval College to Jervis Bay for the sake of a few tourists. Why not send a battleship to Tasmania for potatoes, so that we could get things running smoothly again? Much less sensible things have been done in the past. If the bill is passed, it will make a contribution to the solution of the shipping problem. It will give effect to some of the valuable recommendations of the Tait committee. Goodness knows, we must do something to deal with the situa tion that we see in front of us now, although there is no need for panic or undue alarm. In New South Wales, a sum of £12,000,000 a year is to be added to fares and freight charges. Companies which have been doing well and which have played a valuable part in the promotion of conditions of full employment find that their profits are declining greatly. The sale overseas of Australian goods is being endangered by high costs of production. The volume of our imports greatly exceeds the volume of our exports. In general, the present situation should cause us some concern. There ought to be more efficiency on the waterfront, but the loading rate now is only a half of the rate that obtained about fifteen years ago. We commend the Minister for his hard work. I have said hard words to him, because I believe that this ought to have been done long ago. If I have any criticism of the Minister, it is that the bill was not introduced some time ago. Although it will not do all that is required, it does represent a step forward. The waterside workers, as we know, are under strong control. One of the members of the party to which I belong worked hard to bring them under strong control. I refer to the late right honorable member for Bradfield, **Mr. Hughes,** who built the Waterside Workers Federation. He considered that strong control of the waterside workers was desirable, because it would be better to deal with one or two men than with thousands of men, all thinking on different lines. He thought that that would lead to chaos. So the waterside workers comprise a strong group of men, but we do not want that group to be under the domination of a Communist. The fact that the waterside workers keep on voting **Mr. Jim** Healy back to power shows that nobody else has taken the trouble to study their problems and that nobody who is worth anything has opposed him. He has set out, in a brilliant manner, to ingratiate himself with the waterside workers, in the same way as other Communists have set out to ingratiate themselves with other workers. The waterside workers believe in **Mr. Healy,** because they are on a good thing now. {: #subdebate-28-0-s3 .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- Would the honorable member call a wage of £16 a week a good thing ? {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- The honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** has misled the House. A waterside worker is paid £18 10s. for working from Monday to Friday - and on Friday he knocks off just- after lunch. He gets another £3 10s. if he works on a Saturday morning, and another £8 10s. if he works on a Sunday. His time starts when he puts bis foot on the launch to go up the river to the wharf where he works. A waterside worker, when **Mr. Healy** allows him to work, is well paid. In any waterfront hotel in Sydney, we can find a waterside worker who will say, " I have got the best job in Australia. I do the least work and [ get the highest pay". But when a strike occurs, suddenly he becomes the worst-done-by man in the world. A car driver on the south coast told me something about waterside workers the other day. Let us get down to the vernacular in dealing with this matter. He was engaged to the daughter of a waterside worker, and it was proposed that the couple should be married in March. D:id used to take the young man to the local hotel, where all the waterside workers talked about the wonderful jobs they had. Then in February, when a strike occurred, they became, in their opinion, the worst-paid and the worst-off men in the world. The car driver did not marry the girl, because there was no money to pay for the wedding. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Why did not he sell the car? {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- He did not sell the car because he was employed only to drive it. We reach the height of absurdity when, although men admit that they are well paid and have an easy job, **Mr. Healy** can convince them that they ought to have more money and better conditions, and that they should use rolling strikes and full strikes to obtain them. The waterside workers are attacking the Australian economic system through low loading rates and strikes. Men such as the coal-miners and the waterside workers who indulge in Communist-led strikes eventually find themselves out of a job. In the northern coal-fields of New South Wales seventeen mines have closed, and in the western district field there are, I believe, only 700 of 2,000 miners in employment. I am open to correction on those figures. The Communists worked those miners out of a job. The honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti),** might be able later to correct me, but that is my impression. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- It is quite wrong. **Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER** **(Mr.** Bowden). - Order! The honorable member may not interject. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- The Communists will put the waterside workers out of a job, and then they will be obliged to come here in a pathetic state, as did the coalminers' leaders, and try to explain away what has happened. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-28-0-s4 .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON:
Port Adelaide -- I must apologize to the honorable member for Macarthur **(Mr. Jeff Bate)** for taking humourously his statement that the Government should send an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, or something of the kind, to Tasmania to get potatoes for New South Wales. I was interested to hear him blame the waterside workers for the fact that no ship was available to go to Tasmania and bring back potatoes for the plates of those who live in Sydney. My understanding of the position is that the shortage of potatoes in New South Wales is largely attributable to the great floods that have taken place in that State in recent times. We have been told how well the waterside workers have been working in New Zealand. If our waterside workers are to blame for the potato shortage why has New Zealand sent us an S.O.S. for that very commodity? That sort of argument, in a debate of this kind, can only be regarded as humourous. The honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Anderson)** said that the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** had blamed not only the watersiders but both management and workers, for the position on the waterfront, and added that he, too, thought that to be the position. If that is so, it is not reflected in the legislation that is before us. This bill contains nothing that could be said to cure the shortcomings of the shipowners. Its main aim is to deal with the waterside workers. I was anxious to ascertain the attitude of the waterside workers in my own electorate of Port Adelaide to the measure before us and as soon as it was presented to the Parliament I sent a copy to them by airmail. I also sent a copy of the Minister's second-reading speech as soon as it was available and stated, I am sending this material to you as I I understand that you are having a stopwork meeting next week. You will now be able to study the bill and the Minister's speech and be in a position to say what you think of the measure ". The honorable member for Macarthur has suggested that the local branches of the federation automatically do everything that the federal secretary tells them to do. I received last night a copy of the resolution that was carried at the stopwork meeting in Port Adelaide yesterday, after both the bill and the Minister's speech had been considered. The waterside workers had not then had an opportunity to consider the speech of the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt),** which was not given until last Tuesday night. I shall read the resolution so that it will be on record - >We, the members of the Port Adelaide branch of the Waterside Workers' Federation, who at this day represent the labour force in Port Adelaide, which is acknowledged by the present authority as having a working efficiency of almost 100 per cent., do most emphatically protest to the Menzies-Fadden Government, and to the Minister for Labour, **Mr. Holt,** who has seen fit to submit by way of the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956, a most vicious and unwarranted attack on the trade union rights of we, the members of this branch. We feel that the Minister, by seeking to take away our industrial independence, is completely ignoring the many other aspects of the Tait enquiry, such as cost, freight, profits, &e. We are further of the opinion that by inserting in the act a clause which makes provision to set up a supplementary pool of labour either for seasonal or emergency purposes is one which strikes at the very principles of the trade union movement and feel that by such actions the Government will create once more the chaos which was a characteristic of this industry from 1920 until 1940 and feel that, as an industrial organization, we cannot accept such a proposal, which would be intolerable under any circumstances. We further deplore the actions of the Government in increasing the penal provisions of the act against the workers, as compared with those against the employers and point out that better industrial relations have never been achieved by threats, intimidations, or by the passing of vicious legislation against a section of workers in industry. We feel also that the Government, by denying Federation members the right to defend themselves once charged under the act, is completely ignoring democratic principles and underestimates the value we place on such rights. Therefore, after considering the act, we demand that the legislation be withdrawn and bc recast on the basis of equitable treatment and justice for the workers of this industry. We feel that we will not be alone in the struggle which will be brought about by the implementation of this legislation, which is totally unwarranted, as it is intolerable, and that we extend this stoppage as a protest until 8 a.m. June 7th 56 and recommend our Federal Council to take all possible steps to enlist the support of the A.C.T.U., A.L.P., and other sections of the trade union movements and the public, in an endeavour to have this act amended in conformity with this resolution. > >S. GARRICK, Secretary. I have quoted every word of the resolation {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member should now read the editorial that appeared in to-day's Melbourne *Age.* It gives a more balanced interpretation of what is in the bill. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- The editorial in this morning's Melbourne *Age* was prepared by spectators. The resolution that I have read was prepared by the men in the industry. That is just the difference. Often, when big issues have been put to the House by this and other governments, I have taken up the newspapers and read the editorials. I have found that though one will comment definitely in one direction, another will be in complete contrast to it. Sometimes, of course, they are both wrong. I do not expect an editorial in the Melbourne *Age* to endorse a resolution carried by a mass meeting of members of the Waterside Workers Federation. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- The *Age* enjoys the respect of most trade unionists. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I often read the *Age* myself when I am going through Melbourne, or looking through newspapers. I can go through editorials and, as if I were still farming, turn the handle of the winnower and separate the wheat from the chaff. I do not condemn the Melbourne *Age* for its editorials. A student of economics may be taught by a (professor who, for years, has studied one line of economic thought. He almost invariably emerges as a disciple of that doctrine. But a student going to another university may be taught the theories of atn altogether different school of thought. I do not condemn any one for that, but it is wrong to suggest that honorable mem., bers should accept the opinions given in a particular editorial rather than those of -the men affected. Two or three years ago, when the Minister **(Mr. Harold Holt)** brought in ja bill to amend the Stevedoring Industry Act, fee gave employers the right to nominate the men who were to work in the industry. By way of interjection, I -said, " Before you do that, why not give the men a chance ? " From memory, he replied, " They had their chance and did not do it ". The Minister insisted on retaining that objectionable provision in the bill. I told him at that time that he would never be able to get that provision to work, and we know now that my prophecy was fulfilled because the Minister was prepared, at a later period, to (provide that the union should nominate the men to work in the industry. In fact, he has so endorsed my opinion that again, in this legislation, the right of recruitment reposes in the union and not, as in the past, in the empolyers. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Yet the honorable member and his colleagues contend that this is repressive legislation. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- Can the honorable member for Forrest **(Mr. Freeth)** name any other legislation enacted in this Parliament which does to any other section of the community, whether primary producers, employers or workers of any description, anything that compares with what this bill seeks to do to waterside workers? The honorable member asks whether this is repressive legislation. I do not know whether he was here when the honorable member for Kennedy (Mt. Riordan) was speaking. Had he been here he would have heard the honorable member for Kennedy quoting the relevant clause. I do not intend to go into such details, because I have not unlimited speaking time as the Minister and the Leader of the Opposition had. What I wish to do in the limited time available to me is to impress on the Minister and the House what I believe the effects of this legislation will be. I remind honorable members opposite that it could not hurt them any more than it hurts me to. see, when I can see, from the seafront near my home, ten or fifteen great ships tied up at anchor because all berths in the harbour are full. I am not happy to see passenger ships unable to get labour because of a strike. It does not matter who is responsible for a strike. Strikes are hurtful to the community, and. the people generally have to pay for them. I am not silly enough to think that the cost of a shipping strike is met out of the profits of the shipowners. If the loss ocassioned by a shipping strike is borne by the shipowners, in one year, then their charges in the following year will be increased in order to recoup them for the loss. So the effect of a strike on the waterfront is felt, not only by the strikers, but by the whole community, because everybody has to pay higher prices for the goods affected by the strike. I appreciate that fact, and I should say that the waterside workers generally also appreciate it; but they also consider that they are entitled to a reasonable deal in return for the work that they do. They do not want to return to the conditions that obtained many years ago. The honorable member for Kennedy read out to us the profits of the Orient line. Over the years, the profits of that company have risen to 30 per cent, or 40 per cent., very largely on watered capital at that. Does any honorable member think that the publication of a balance-sheet disclosing profits of that order will make Bill Smith work harder on the wharfs? Does anybody think that, when Bill Smith is loading or unloading an Orient line vessel, such profits will spur him on to ensuring that that ship is speedily worked. The earning of such huge profits by shipping companies will not make the waterside worker eager to hasten the turn-round of ships. That is why we say that an investigation of the. profits of shipping companies should bepart and parcel of any investigation of conditions on the waterfront. As long as one side of the industry, the employing side, is permitted to make immense profits, it will not be possible to make the other side, the employees, appreciate the fact that by going on strike they are penalizing other sections of the community. I am sorry that the Minister is not here at the moment, because I wish to say to him that he is attempting to bring about a state of affairs that was the cause of waterfront struggles many years ago. In the past, when trade was brisk on the waterfront and there was big money to be earned, outsiders were brought in to work on the wharfs. That was always a <ore point with the men. Those other men were brought in to work on the wharfs because there was not enough regular waterside labour. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- There was not a system nf port quotas in operation then. Air. THOMPSON.- Of course there was not. Honorable members should realize that when shipping is lean, waterside workers may get attendance money for perhaps two days, and work for three days in the week, and finish up with about £12 a week, which is below the basic wage, but when things are busy, and higher rates are available for work on intermediate or twilight shifts, and even higher rates for midnight shifts and for Saturday and Sunday work, other men are taken on and get the benefit of the higher rates. The regular waterside worker?! resent that. I know the minds of these men, because I have met them on the job and talked to them. Their attitude is that they have to do the hard work at ordinary rates in the lean times, but that outsiders gain the benefit of the higher rates in the busy times. Under this bill it is proposed that in busy times men from outside the industry can come in and earn birr money. The bill does not even provide that these outsiders have to work under the same conditions as watersiders. The honorable member for Forrest talked »h"Ut preference and registration. A waterside worker will be registered as such only if he is prepared to be a waterside worker available for employment on the waterfront all the time. In. order to receive attendance money, a waterside worker has to go along to a pick-up place and be available for work. If he were to take a job somewhere other than on the waterfront he would lose his registration. But the outsiders who, under this bill, will be able to take casual work on the waterfront will not be under that disability. They will be able to do as some other men have done,, unfortunately - work for the Government all day in a pretty easy job which does not take too much energy out of them, and then work at night for perhaps a big manufacturing concern. Some such people work during the day on one job and at night on another job for a different employer - and neither employer gets full value for the wages he pays. The Government is leaving the way open in this bill for people to do that at busy times on the waterfront, because the bill does not provide that workers from outside will not be able to work in some other job as well as on the waterfront. Again, I should like to refer to the nonsense we heard from the honorable member for Macarthur to-day. The honorable member said that because **Mr. Healy,** the general secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, was in the precincts watching the proceedings on this bill, we on this side of the chamber were jumping to the crack of the whip wielded by **Mr. Healy.** T think **Mr. Healy** is watching the proceedings at this moment but, whether he is here or not, **Mr. Healy** knows me well enough to know that I say what I believe, irrespective of who is listening to me. Why should we on this side of the chamber be accused of jumping to the crack of the whip because a trade union official is watching proceedings during the debate on an industrial measure? We have as much right to suggest that when banking legislation, or legislation which affects employing interests, or legislation of interest to television companies, is before us and representatives of banking interests or other interests are in the gallery, honorable members on the Government side are jumping to the crack of the whip wielded by those people. I think that there are representatives of the shipowners here now. Should I level «t honorable members opposite the charge that, in relation to this measure, they are obeying the dictates of those people, just as Che honorable member for Macarthur claimed that we were jumping to the crack of **Mr. Healy's** whip ? I do not question the honesty and integrity of honorable members on the Government side of the chamber, but I point out that it is known that many of them are either directly connected with big business or have big incomes derived from big business interests, which pay dividends of anything from 10 per cent, to 50 per cent. When we see representatives of shipping interests in the gallery, wc are entitled to say to Government supporters, " You are bound to stick up for them because they are from the section to which you belong". For ten years f was Whip in the State Parliament and on every occasion that a vote had to be taken on a question, whether it favoured the vested interests or the interests of the workers, not one of those opposed to Labour came over on to Labour's side. Honorable members on the opposite side of the House make statements that members of the Labour party are a lot of puppets who do only what some Communist or somebody else tells them to do. We are not doing that at all. Some of us here - not all of us - have done some pretty hard work in our time. C was rather interested when the honorable member for Hume said that nobody on this side of the House had done as much physical work as he has. If he has done more physical work in his day than [ have, then I should like to shake his hand and congratulate him on his ability. T do not take that sort of talk from him. Other members on this side of the House have done as much hard work as I have. *lt* is not a matter of merely going out with an axe and cutting down trees, although I have done plenty of that, and it is not merely a matter of taking a crowbar and digging a well through the hardest stone. That does not exhaust the classes of hard work. I have known the honorable member for 'Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey)** for the last 26 years and have seen the work he has done. If any man could work harder than that man hrs worked, then he is a glutton for work. Perhaps he has not done the physical work of cutting down trees, but I an. talking about the energy that he expendon the work that he has done. It ill behoves any honorable member to say here that members of the Opposition do not know what hard work is. We have worked in industry, with a pick and shovel, and on farms. We have done all sorts of work and we know the work that is done by the men on the waterfront. I have carted hundreds or thousands of tons of material to the wharfs for the waterside workers to unload and stack, ready to put it in the hold of a ship. 1 have been with lorries alongside a ship when men have been coming out of the holds with great big case3. I know thai on occasions they may not appear to work very much, but at the same time those people very often say, " Why should a member of Parliament get a rise? He does not do as much work as the basic wage worker does ". Such a man might come here and then say, *"I* went t" Parliament House and while I was there I saw quite a crowd of members just sitting in their comfortable seats. They never spoke a word and they never did anything at all." They might say, " My word, that is a soft cushy job, and look what they are paid for it". But they would not realize what is involved. In the same way, we do not always realize just what men outside are doing. I wish to refer again to what I said a few moments ago about the engagement of extra labour to work on the ships at night I do not know whether everybody realizes what that means. Honorable members should go down to a ship when the waterside workers are loading bales of wool and see how the bales have to be stowed correctly so that they will carry safely throughout the journey. Under this legislation, men who are not doing that work from day to day will be able to go down to the wharfs in the evening after the regular men have done their work. They will try to stack the cargo away, but the regular men will come back the next day to square things up. Mention has been made about the turnround of ships. Again, I was amused when an honorable member tried to convince us that the rate had been reduced to 60 per cent, and then 50 per cent, of the 1939 figure. But honorable members should realize how cargoes are handled. Two or three years ago, a big ship came to the Outer Harbour at Port Adelaide. When I went down there, not much cargo was coming ashore. I asked, " What is wrong?" The men said to me, "The whole bother is that they have put the stuff for Adelaide right down at the bottom. Chests of tea and other things have to come out first ". They had to shift other cargo off the Adelaide cargo before they could get it away. One of my friends said, " You know, it was dead funny. We were down at a boat going to England with wool. When we got there, we had to put the heavier stuff in the hold underneath the wool that came from Sydney ; we could not put it on top. We filled all the decks with bales of wool and then took other bales over the side and put them in the shed. After we got that out, we put this heavy stuff - lead or something else - in the holds and then we put the wool back again ". As the honorable member for Hume said, management has to carry some responsibility for the time taken in the turn-round of ships, and it is responsible for incidents such as the one I have mentioned. In that case, twothirds of the time taken to load that cargo was occupied in shifting other stuff out and putting it back again, but that was not counted. I can quite understand how the quantity of cargo that can be handled in a given time is reduced. This bill will not bring peace to the waterfront and it will not achieve the purpose that the Government desires. We all want to get a reasonable turn-round of ships, and enable the men to work under good conditions. I admit that, under the Stevedoring Industry Board, there have been improvements at Port Adelaide during the past few years, but quite a lot of other improvements could be effected and conditions could be made much better than they are. But this legislation will not do the job. I believe we are right when we say we will refuse to vote for this bill. If it is not put into operation, the existing arrangements will continue until something more satisfactory can be arranged. The Minister for Labour and National Service said that many of the provisions in this bill were framed in accordance with the views of the conference that he has had with th» Australian Council of Trades Unions. Some of them might be. Many of them would be quite satisfactory. I am not complaining about everything in. the bill. But there are provisions that will not cause the waterside workers tosay, " We are co-partners ; you are the employers and we are the employees. Werealize our dependence on one another to get the best that can be obtained for the people as a whole ". Instead of feeling that way, the men will have a deepseated determination to oppose the bill., not because of what their secretary may have said, but because of their knowledge- of the conditions under which they have to work- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's timehas expired. {: #subdebate-28-0-s5 .speaker-KIE} ##### Mr LUCK:
Braddon .- The honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson)** quoted a long telegram which he had received from the Port Adelaide branch of the Waterside Workers Federation. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -- I read it; I did nor quote it. {: .speaker-KIE} ##### Mr LUCK: -- The telegram he read would mean a great deal to the financial section of the Postmaster-General's Department, but it was not a great deal of help to the House in this debate. There is no doubt that the Port Adelaide branch does not make its own decisions ; decisions are made at the head-quarters of the Waterside Workers Federation. I have a telegram from the Burnie branch of the federation. It would appear that the smaller branches have not the same amount of money at their disposal for telegrams as the Port Adelaide branch because this telegram is a very short one-. It really says the same thing as the honorable member's telegram, but in a few words. It reads - >Members of the Burnie Branch W.W.F. solicit your support in the withdrawal of the Stevedoring Industry Bill and its redrafting with amendments as submitted by the A.C.T.U. It is signed " Burnie Branch ". I do not know who will submit the amendments on behalf of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, but I should think that this legislation will not be re-drafted and -amended by the Australian Council of Trades Unions. The Australian Council of Trades Unions has already given its approval to much of this legislation and, in fact, has given its approval to the legislation as it stands to-day. {: .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr Clarey: -- I disagree with that entirely. {: .speaker-KIE} ##### Mr LUCK: -- The honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson)** said Port Adelaide was one of the most efficient ports in Australia. The figures cited in the sixth report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, for the year ended the 30th June, 1955, do not support the honorable member's claim. The man-hours lost through disputes in 1954-55 were equivalent to 6.6 per cent, of the man-hours worked throughout Australia; that is approximately one hour for every sixteen worked. Port Adelaide lost through disputes a total of 213,047 man-hours, or the equivalent of 6.7 per cent, of the man-hours worked. This was more than the average for Australia. The honorable member for Port Adelaide and the honorable member for Macarthur **(Mr. Jeff Bate)** discussed the possibility of improving the transport of potatoes from Tasmania, and the honorAble member for Port Adelaide said, jokingly, that an aircraft carrier or some similar vessel could be used. Under existing conditions in Australia, if it were used, there would be a complete stoppage of shipping transport. Not only the waterside workers but also the seamen and all other workers associated with the industry would immediately stop work and say, in effect, " You cannot do this sort of thing. Our industry is a closed preserve. We have complete and absolute control of it, and no one is going to come into it from outside and deprive us of our legitimate jobs ". The bill provides for a statutory Authority - the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority - in accordance with the terms of the Tait committee's interim report, lt is unfortunate that the committee has not yet completed its inquiries, because it would be far better to have its complete report available before we consider this measure. However, the interim report certainly covered matters affect ing waterfront labour and the constitution of an authority to take the place of the existing Australian Stevedoring Industry Board. This new authority is to be established in an attempt to get back some sanity on the waterfront, where it has been lacking for a long time now. We have opposing sides in this House - the Government and the Opposition. There is more hostility on the waterfront than there is even in this House, and what amounts almost to hatred between the two sides has grown up. That is bad. lt is not in the best interests of Australia, and it must be overcome. *1* hope and believe this measure will assist materially in removing the hostility between employers and employees on the waterfront. I return now to the observations of the honorable member for Port Adelaide, who stated that this bill is totally opposed to the interests of industrial peace and is not necessary. In the sixth report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board, which occupies 36 pages, apart from the appendices, nineteen pages, or more than half, are taken up with the records of disputes and troubles at ports throughout Australia. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- They were caused by employers as well as by employees. {: .speaker-KIE} ##### Mr LUCK: -- It does not matter who causes the disputes. When they occur, the watersiders do not work, and ships are not turned round. A total of £900,00"' in wages was lost by the waterside workers in a stoppage of three or four week? recently. Most of the men in the union do not want to strike, but they are afraid to voice their opinions, even in their own union, as a consequence of the intimidation and pressures brought to bearon them whenever they oppose strike.and try to abide by common sense and reason. This state of affairs on the waterfront is intolerable. It must be remedied, and I hope this bill will do the job. Action is long overdue, and I think the Government is blameworthy for its inaction. No action was taken upon the Basten report; which was submitted to the Parliament about four years ago, although it recommended many of the proposals that have been adopted in this measure. They should have been put into effect long before this. Since World War II., the stevedoring industry has been marked by a decline of efficiency. In spite of the improved facilities for handling goods on the waterfront and the installation of additional equipment in order to increase efficiency on the wharfs, the rate of loading is now approximately 50 per cent, lower than it was in 1939. Stevedoring charges represent about 60 per cent, of shipping freight costs. Many of the stevedoring companies are owned or controlled by the shipowners or the shipping agents. The profits of the stevedoring companies make up only a very small part of stevedoring charges, which are swollen mainly by lost time, attendance money, sick pay and every other expense involved in the employment of labour. Many of the stevedoring companies could control ;ind discipline waterfront labour much more effectively than they do at present. F do not believe strong discipline should bc necessary, but many stevedoring companies and their agents in charge of stevedoring operations do not control their labour properly. I do not mean that they should insist on the employees doing what might reasonably be regarded as more than their fair share of work. But they should see that the men are at work on time. They should ensure that they return on time after the lunch break and that they do not stop work long before the proper finishing time. This would substantially increase the volume of cargo handled and would expedite the turn.round of shipping. Work on the waterfront is still on a casual basis. I believe we should now give more serious consideration to the introduction of a system of permanent employment, which was recommended in the Basten report. I believe that under a system of contract loading the waterside workers could earn as much, money as they receive at present. Many cargoes are suited to contract loading, and I am certain that, if the executive of the Wateraide Workers Federation of Australia and representatives of the shipping companies and the stevedoring companies cooperated, they could work out a contract loading scheme that would immediately increase the loading rate and expedite the turn-round of ships. The speedier turn-round of ships would enable the available shipping on the Australian coast, to move more cargo, and would do much to remove the present great difficulty of insufficient shipping. The reason why wehave not sufficient ships to move our goods is that the turn-round of ships inport is too slow. If it were speeded up. there would be sufficient ships on theAustralian coast to meet all requirements. The mechanization of our ports hasbeen carried out fairly well by this Government, but some ports have not proper amenities. There are seven ports within, my electorate at which are employed about 600 registered waterside workers. At themajority of those ports the amenities are inadequate, and the working conditions onthe wharfs are not conducive to efficient and speedy handling of cargo. I believethat the proposed authority should send representatives as soon as possible to all' these ports, in order to ensure that proper amenities are provided for the men whom we expect to work on the wharfs every day in the week. Great difficulty is experienced in increasing wharf space in the ports, and in» providing proper facilities for the receipt and despatch of cargo. Local authoritiesare unable to borrow sufficient money tocarry out the work of port improvement, and unless the problem is solved greater delays will occur in cargo handling thanare caused at present by the slow handling rate of the waterside workers. It is very difficult for a local port authority to borrow money to carry out necessary work, and then to find sufficient revenue to pay the interest on the loan and contribute to a sinking fund. It is very difficult for local authorities to repay as they fall due the short-term loans that they are able to obtain. Loans maturing in 15, 18 or 20 years are unsuitable for the purposes of port authorities. In the past, wharfs were built in a different manner from that in which they are built to-day. Pilings, for instance, were of timber. To-day, wharfs are built of steel and concrete, and will last much longer than they lasted in earlier times. Whereas a loan term of twenty years may have been reasonable in the years gone by, to-day the loan period should be 40 or 50 years. If that were so, port authorities would be greatly assisted in their efforts to increase port facilities to cater for the increasing number of vessels that use the ports. I suggest that this Parliament should be kept informed of what the State are doing in regard to their ports. After al!, *the* responsibility for ports rests with the States, but there is a growing tendency for that responsibility to be shifted to this Parliament. In many cases the slow turnround of ships, and the slow movement of cargo, are caused, to some extent, by inefficiency on the part of port authorities. The costs with which Tasmanian producers and manufacturers are burdened have increased tremendously in recent years because of the increase in freight rates. Shipping freights have increased from about fi a ton to about £7 a ton in recent years. Sea transport should be cheaper than other forms of transport, but it is costing more to transport goods by sea from Tasmanian to Victorian ports than it is to transport similar goods by road from Melbourne to Sydney. That is not a satisfactory position, and something must be done about it. The legislation now before the House provides that waterside workers may be transferred from one port to another. That could be done in my own electorate, but it is an uneconomic proposition. Men report for work, say, at Devonport at 8 a.m., and are sent to work at Burnie, which is 32 miles away. They start work at Burnie one and a half hours later. They leave Burnie an hour and 40 minutes before the finishing time, so that they may return to Devonport and finish there at the usual knock-off time. Out of the eight-hour working day they spend three hours in travelling, and less than five hours in working, because they also have time off for smokos. I have said previously that I see no reason why hatch covers should not be removed before 8 a.m. I can also see no reason why, in cases such as I have just mentioned, which arise only in emergencies, the men could not start earlier and finish later, and be paid travelling time to and from Burnie, so that they could work at that port for the full eight hours. I support this legislation. I have no doubt that it will be passed, and I have «o doubt that when it is put into opera tion there will be strife on the waterfront. The waterfront unions have already said, in effect, " Because we do not approve of this legislation, it is no good, and therefore it will fail ". 1 feel that this Government should oppose such an attitude. {: #subdebate-28-0-s6 .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr CHAMBERS:
Adelaide .- I find it very difficult to criticize the speech delivered by the honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Luck),** because I found it most difficult to understand him. I did hear, however, the old, old story about the slow turn-round of ships, and about the time that waterside workers take off for " smokos " and other breaks. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- The age of the story does not destroy its truth. {: .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr CHAMBERS: -- The honorable member, however, did not tell us about the time that directors of shipping companies take off to play golf, or the time that they spend in their clubs, and the time that they take off for their morning and afternoon coffee. Is it not fair and just that he should tell us of those things, too? When one sits constantly on thi? side of the House it is nauseating to hear the daily criticism of workers by Government supporters. {: .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr Anderson: -- That is not true. {: .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr CHAMBERS: -- It is true. I sit here day in and day out, year after year, and 1 never hear a kind word said about the workers by honorable member? opposite. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr HULME:
PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP -- It is a pity that thi' honorable member does not listen. {: .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr CHAMBERS: -- I do listen, and it is sickening to hear honorable members opposite declaring either that members of the Opposition are Communists, or thai all the organizations that represent Labour in Australia are under Communist domination. I suggest to Government supporters that if they travel to any Australian war cemetery in any part of the world and read the inscriptions on the headstones, they will discover a significant fact. Eighty per cent, of the Australian servicemen who bled for this country and laid down their lives represented the working classes. GOVERNMENT SUPPORTERS. Oh ! {: .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr CHAMBERS: -- Government supporters may say, " Oh ! " But what I have said cannot be denied. I have been in .this chamber when men have been going to the war. They have not been criticized in that period. There is no criticism of Communists in the various industries in Australia at times such as that. There is no criticism of the waterside workers or of any industrial organization. No! They are great heroes in those days and they are told that Australia will do everything for them when they return. But when they come back to this country, as they came back after World War I. and World War II., and return to their industry, they are called loafers. They are called Communists. They are told that they are lying down on the job. The honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan),** in this chamber this afternoon, showed conclusively that the shipping companies of Australia have never had better profits. At the moment, I see gentlemen who represent shipping interests sitting on the other side of the chamber, and they have every right to be there. As the honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson)** said in the course of his remarks, Government supporters have been critical because some representative of the waterside workers- {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- Who is he? {: .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr CHAMBERS: -- I understand, at the present time, it is the general secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- What is his name? {: #subdebate-28-0-s7 .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr CHAMBERS:
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I understand that it is **Mr. Healy.** The Vice-President of the Executive Council **(Sir Eric Harrison)** should not mislead himself and should not be foolish. I do not know whether Healy is a Communist or is not a Communist. But I do want to say that whether Healy were a Communist or were not a Communist, I 'am certain that he would be elected every time that he contested the election for the office of genera] secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation. Why? Evidently he is a good secretary. I take it that that is the reason why he is elected. He has a perfect right, as general secretary of theWaterside Workers Federation to be in this House, in the same way as representatives of the shipping organizations have a right to sit in a gallery of this chamber. It would be fair and decent if Government supporters would refrain from attacking the Opposition with respect to **Mr. Healy** and any one else who may be sitting in the gallery, because they have a perfect right to be here. The Opposition is not critical of any , representative of shipping organizations who* sits on the Government side of the chamber. The Minister is now interrupting me. I wish he would not be so rudeI realize that he does not like what 1 say. I know that if an honorable member says nice flowering things, a member of the Government will get up and say, "We appreciate the speech made by soandso ". I want to state the position a* I see it. Why has this bill come before the House at the present time? Did not the Government appoint a committee to investigate the wharf situation and the shipping situation in Australia? Why did! the Government not wait until the Tait report was completed before introducing this legislation? The Minister has nottold us. No member of the Governmenthas told us definitely why, at a certain) stage of that inquiry, the Government hasbrought this stevedoring industry bill! into this House. This is the strangepart, and I think it should be mentioned1 again. When the committee was gettingto the stage when it would report to theHouse on the profits of the shipping companies concerned, it was informed that such information was not required by the Government. Why? Because the Government knew that that part of the report would be attacked, not only by members of this House, but by the general5 public. So the Government has seen flr to bring in this measure which will not bring peace to industry in Australia, and" T am amazed that the Minister does not realize that. The responsibility for the irritation, of Australian workers lies on the shoulders of the Government. What has caused the irritation? Government supporters have spoken of increased wages, but the waterside worker and! every other worker in Australia have been irritated by the fact that the cost of living has reduced the value of wages. This Government has permitted costs to rise daily, as I have often said in this House, and it has been responsible for the greatest treachery that ever took place in the political life of Australia. When the Chifley Government decided to give the Australian people the right, per medium of the ballot-box, to record a vote in favour of the Commonwealth retaining control of prices in Australia, the supporters of the present Government, who were then in opposition, advised the people to defeat that referendum. It was from that day onwards that inflation increased to the extent that it has irritated every worker in Australia. So, the responsibility for the present situation lies at the feet of this present Government. The irritation has arisen from the fact that their wages cannot purchase the necessaries of life. Therefore, the Government must accept the responsibility for every industrial upheaval that takes place in Australia. If the Government wants to bring peace to industry, and if it wants to bring about a better understanding between the worker and the employer, it should first nf all make the wages earned by the waterside worker sufficient to purchase the goods required to maintain himself and his family. That is the kind of work that must be undertaken by this Parliament if it desires to bring peace into industry. This Government has never attempted to bring peace to industry through those means, and peace will not he achieved in any other way. Peace cannot bc obtained by introducing penal clauses: it cannot be obtained by bringing unregistered men into the Waterside Workers Federation. It cannot be expected that the Waterside Workers Federation, an organization that has a grand history in this country- Government Supporters. - Oh ! {: #subdebate-28-0-s8 .speaker-JWR} ##### Mr CHAMBERS: -- I hear the old howl of " Oh ! " I repeat that in periods of war when these men have worked round the clock on the wharfs there has been no criticism of them. But when the employers and the shipowners and those who derive benefits from the sweat and the hard work of the waterside workers want to increase their profits, then they always condemn the waterside workers. I would say to the shipowners and others who artinterested in shipping in Australia, if" they should be in this chamber at thismoment, " If you want peace in industry, if you want your ships turned around quicker, then give to the watersideworkers a greater interest in the industry that provides the profit for the shipping companies in Australia to-day". Thar is the solution. The Government mayintroduce its Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill and its Stevedoring' Industry Bill, but I maintain that peacein industry and a better understanding* between employer and employee will be obtained only if the worker is given a greater interest and a greater incentive.. and if he knows that he is really sharing in the benefits that his work on the waterfront provides. Throughout the world, the organizations that have sought and have obtained the goodwill of the workersare those organizations that share with their employees the benefits that are obtained. I shall conclude on this note: Let the shipowners and those persons who areinterested in the shipping combines of Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in the world, give to the waterside workers a greater share of the profit.that are derived as a result of their work on the wharfs. If that were done, and if the Government controlled inflation and the cost of living, there would be no need for arbitration bills or stevedoring industry bills. The employees would" know that they were shareholders in the very industry in which they are now working to provide the great profits that are being obtained by the shipping companies of Australia. *Sitting suspended from. 5.58 to 8 p.m.* {: #subdebate-28-0-s9 .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN:
Parkes -- Thebill that we are dealing with at thepresent time, which aims at a reorganization of the stevedoring industry, hasbeen described variously by members of the Opposition as a bill of danger to the union, a bill that is not in itself competent to deal with a big problem, a wicked bill and a bill that touches not in any way upon the things that have to be considered! in regard to the waterfront. But I am going to be more generous to-night in making an estimate of the bill. I look at it in another way. I think that honorable members will excuse me, and pardon me, and perhaps appreciate the point when I say that the only way in which I can describe the bill, after having realized that the script is by a **Mr. Tait,** Q.C., and that the preparation of the bill is by a combination of Bland and Holt, is as a piece of political theatre, and, of course, couched in melodrama to achieve something which by the very nature of itself could become not so much a melodrama as a tragedy. As a matter of fact, I see the bill in three well-defined acts. The first act is the Tait report, and ] want to throw honorable members minds back to the Tait committee, a leisurely group of investigators which was appointed to inquire into the profound and sometimes mysterious ways of the stevedoring industry. I think that one witness before the committee took six months to complete his story. The calm of that first act was suddenly shattered by the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** by means of a peremptory letter, which read, " Give me an interim report within a fortnight, or else". So the play quickened and the plot became more apparent to even the most uninitiated observer. This letter, which the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** read to the House, does not in any way display the well-known courteous approach of the Minister. It had probably been written by one of that comic combination, either Bland or Holt, and we have to guess which one. But apparently it was urgent that this Tait committee should cease its deliberations and bring down a report. The humour dies at that point, because, as was pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition and other speakers from this side of the House, it was that here began one of the worst things that could happen in contemporary politics. A statutory committee called, for the purposes of a short description, the Tait committee, investigated almost *ad nauseam* the wages of the worker, his conditions on his job, and his place in the economy. He was turned over and turned back again, investigated and doubly investigated, and at that stage, without any reference having been made to the profits of the shipping companies, which are certainly the second and the most important string in the bow of troubles on the waterfront, nothing was said, and to its eternal discredit this Government, like the swallow that built half a nest and never completed it, was prepared to bring in and force through this House legislation which will have far-reaching effects, based on a report which was only partially completed. The questions that arose, the requests by the union leader, **Mr. Healy,** and by other members of the unions, for facts concerning the profits of shipping companies, to counterbalance the employers' story, were completely ignored. The Minister seems to want a springboard, just as the ancient Archimedes wanted a fulcrum, against which to lever this measure into motion. He was prepared to accept half the story rather than ascertain the whole and absolute truth of the matter. "We come to a tragic situation, in which the interim report of the Tait committee was sub-edited for political purposes. There is no escape from that. The public knows already that the Tait report, an incomplete document, is the basis upon which the whole of this legislation is designed. It is only half a report and it deals in the most minute and probing manner with the worker and his conditions. Then, slap-bang, right at the moment when the committee was moving on to the consideration of profits of international capitalism and cartelization in the form of the shipping combines, it is called upon for a report. Half a story comes to this House, and upon that the Minister bases this legislation. Can any one expect us to support it, to believe in it, or to think that there is anything in it except the pay-off to the Government's backers? Because of the waning fortunes of the Government, it had to do something for its friends who put it where it is. The third act in this tragedy, comedy or melodrama, whatever one prefers to call it, is the bill before the House. I briefly go over what I said before. The Tait report is no basis upon which to rear this legislation, because it is not a complete report. The Minister's letter is a dead give-away in any language, that he wanted some action quickly. What was behind the urgency of his action, only he himself knows, but it does put a bad mark on his record as Minister for Labour and National Service. Having decided at this point to paralyse any further investigation by the committee, saying, " This will do me. I have all I want on the worker, and I do not want material in regard to the shipowner ", he brought the bill before the House. For the benefit of the Minister, who has just come into the House, I have been explaining the sequence of this extraordinary bill, and with his theatrical background L am sure that he will appreciate what t was saying in relation to a script by Tait and a bill devised by Bland Holt. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member introduces the comic element. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- I do, .just for the moment, because the posturing and semiposturing of the Minister has been suchas requires the offset of a little highlight of humour, but I promise the Minister that from this moment I shall be deadly serious. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- Deadly, at any rate. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- Yes. I shall be deadly and serious. Certainly the Minister would not expect me to miss that opportunity. I do not think that he should be sensitive about my recapitulation of events, because it is rather interest ing historically. The shipowners' bill, as this bill undoubtedly is, is part of a pattern. The Shipping Bill in another place is another part, the result of which will be that, for twenty years, the prospects of Australia having any of its own chipping will be paralysed by act of Parliament. This bill is completely ruthless and rotten. There is no doubt that it is part of the pattern of slow attrition to bring about the sale of the national assets of this country. Wherever there is an opportunity for the Australian, as an Australian, to rear his head, either through nationalization or some other instrument which may be monopolized and protected by government activity, the dead hand of the Government clamps down upon it. I made a note when the Minister was making his second-reading speech, a long and important speech, and I think that the remarks that I made then are still valid. I beg permission to quote them. I said that this bill is a shipowners' bill, designed to give to shipowners power to regulate and control stevedoring operations for the profit motive, and the profit motive alone, and not in the interests of the national economy. It will mean the eventual taking over of the bureau system by the shipowners and at some date in the future the complete abolition of the new authority, which will mean the breakdown of the Waterside Workers Federation, leaving the owners in complete control. Surely the people of this country will pause and consider what I am saying at this moment. Of all the pirates of civilization, the shipowners are the champions. From the days of the Phoenicians to to-day, by cartelization and monopoly, they have wracked through this country's economy, quite regardless of it. We are only a small spot in the ocean in the eyes of the great monopolies of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, the Orient' Line, and all the international shipping companies, and surely an Australian like the Minister would realize that. By what means and what manner he has been dragooned into u position in which he must put this miserable measure before us, I am at a loss to understand. I confess to being an amateur, an interested amateur, in regard to the waterfront. Probably on matters of detail and policy the Minister knows infinitely more about it than I do. But he must know, as 1 know, that the third party, so to speak, in the. waterfront struggle is the economy of this country. On one side there is the union. The union is fair game for a slap-down from the well-fed, the illinformed and those who take their opinions from the leading articles of antiLabour papers. The wharfie is fair game for them. By the same token, any trouble on the waterfront is a convenient portmanteau excuse for a conversation round the cocktail table, beginning " Those wretched wharfies ! " But if we look at the facts, they all point the other way. Let me return to the shipowners and their policy. They are no good for this country. I ask the fight honorable gentleman, as a responsible Australian and a Minister - a man aware that there are 3,000,000 square miles of territory in this country, that he and his predecessor have brought 2,000,000 new Australians here, and that our indented coastline extends over 13,000 miles - whether ho regards it as fair that we, in our own right as a people, do not own even a bum boat. That is a notorious fact. Because of that, the Minister realizes that this bill is a thing of patches. In his heart, probably he is quite ashamed of it. In this struggle we have, on one side, the waterside workers and their union; on the other side Ave have the stevedoring industry authority; and, at the base of the triangle, we have the shipping organizations. All Australians, irrespective of their political affiliations, need to watch very carefully where our economy is going, but the Government is going to remove two clamps on the rapacity of the shipowners. We are going to let the shipowner have open slather in this country, despite his notoriously bad record in other countries. His only answer to the problems of the primary producer is to increase freights by from *7i* to 10 per cent. His only answer to the claims of the union that something should be done to restore some kind of balance to the waterfront is complete inefficiency. His millions, his interlocking directorates and his enormous reserves make him superior to any local problem that we have in this country. Under the bill, some pretty desperate measures will be attempted. The first of them will affect the stevedoring industry authority. The Minister has made much of the new authority, but what is really proposed is a research organization - nothing else. The Minister has talked about the new interest that will come into the lives of the members of the authority and the added importance that will attach to the authority, but when we examine the bill carefully we see that there will be nothing of the sort. The stevedoring industry authority will lose its arbitral powers. For the time being, it will control and administer the allocation of labour, but its status will be reduced to that of a glorified research bureau, as I shall prove later. It is marked with an " X " for eventual abolition. In accordance with the desperately wicked plans of the Government - a government which proposes to destroy all publicly owned undertakings from the Commonwealth Bank downwards - eventually the authority will have to go so that the shipowners can move in. I turn now to what is to be done to the waterside workers. The best that Government supporters can do in this debate is to gibe at the secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, duly and democratically elected by Labour men, Communists and others. If we believe in democracy, we cannot have it sub-edited. We either accept democracy wholly or sub-edit it. No one knows that better than does the Minister. In his momentsof synthetic charm, ho addresses the man to whom I have referred as " Jim The Minister takes his advice in many matters because he knows that, in these peculiar circumstances, he is the brains of the waterside workers' organization. In that respect, the Minister accepts things as they are, but, despite warnings, he and his bureaucratic stooges intend to impose on the waterside workers conditions that will be intolerable to them. I do not believe that the waterside workers will accept them. Has not the question of the use of supplementary labour on the waterfront been thrashed out enough? There has always been a pull devil, pull baker tugofwar for the control of labour on the waterfront. In. future, the allocation of labour will be done by the authority, but we contend that, by all standards of pas performance, the union should be allowed to do it, as it is to-day. The Government comes along with clause 9, clause 30 and clause 41 of the bill - I shall discuss them fully later - and we find that they are all moves to impinge on the right of the union to do its job, although it is the most efficient body on the waterfront, as I shall show later by example and illustration. The Minister has talked about calling in supplementary labour to work on the waterfront when there is great pressure. His supplementary labour is to consist of certain people who like to do two jobs and want to work on the waterfront after 6 p.m., or the kind of man who may say on a Sunday, "It is not such a good day to-day, so I shall go down to the waterfront and clean out a few ships ". That is a completely and utterly fantastic idea. Wharf labouring is a dangerous game - a game for experts. It is a job which requires the sort of dexterity, if not skill, that the wharf labourer acquires over the years. The proposal to use supplementary labour is put completely out of court by the evidence that we have adduced. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- It is used in New Zealand. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- I think I shall be able to prove that supplementary labour could not be used effectively in the past and cannot be used effectively now. It was tried during the war years, when there was a desperate shortage of manpower, and also in the subsequent days of reconstruction. From 200 to 1,000 men were employed. They were known as reserves. They were given every possible help. They were organized on an effective basis. Each of them had his own number in the call-up. They had their own roster and their own assembly point. They had their own deck men and other experienced assistance. But, despite that, the scheme was a failure, although there were many effective individual workers. I am sure that the honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Anderson),** who is interjecting, would have looked very well in those reserves. I should have liked to be his stevedoring foreman. The cold historical facts, which I state for the benefit of the honorable member for Hume and the Minister, show that those reserves were a failure as a task force. We needed them urgently and vitally, but they were not effective. Member after member on the Government side, including the honorable member for Hume, rises in his place and talks about the indiscipline of the waterside workers. The whole of the system of control on the waterfront is loaded with penalties for men who do not obey the orders of their union. As I have said, the men in the supplementary labour force that was used during the war had a. special roster, special numbers and a special room to meet in. We cosseted them as much as we could. They were given deck men. They were taken by the hand to the ship's hold and there they were told to shift cargo. But they punched their foremen on the nose. On occasions, some of them were hopelessly drunk. They were ineffective, because they were not an organized waterfront force. They were just fellows out for a job. This is in the records. The facts recorded by the Stevedoring Industry Board show that they were not effective. They were absolutely hopeless. It is not only I who say that they were hopeless. The Stevedoring Industry Board agreed that they were hopeless; the union agreed that they were hopeless because of frequent assaults on foremen, drunkenness and dismissals for inefficiency; and - to clamp down this point a little harder in the Minister's mind - the country said that they were hopeless. They do not really want them. On one occasion a company held up a ship for 24 hours so that its cargo could be handled efficiently by members of the Waterside Workers Federation. This shows the fallacy of the phrase " slow turn-round " - one of the stupid, meaningless phrases that the Government is always mouthing. I come now to the king-pin of this argument, which the Minister will find extremely interesting. The Macquarie Stevedoring Company, which handles so many of these men, is owned and controlled by the Adelaide Steamship Company, which in turn has a protagonist for this bill in the person of **Mr. Haddy,** and, of course, **Mr. Haddy** loves the thought of a new task force and of a reorganization on the waterfront. He went on record as saying, " Do not send me any more emergency, or reserve, labour ". He said that he could not work the ships with them and did not want them. Does the Minister need any better illustration of the futility of an emergency force for the waterfront? **Mr. Haddy** said in his correspondence that he did not find these people as efficient as the wharf labourers. What conclusion does one arrive at about this emergency labour - this new task force - and all these pretty words for an ugly situation ? It is that the Government wants to create a " scab " union and that it has not the guts or the courage to get up and say that it wants to break the force on the waterfront. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- That is a rotten piece of distortion, and you know it. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- You want to call it communism and names of that kind. The Minister is either weak, stupid or wicked - he may take his own choice. This legislation together with the complementary measure now in another place, are the two worst bills that have ever come into this Parliament. In the circumstances I think that you, **Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker,** will excuse my anger on this subject. The Minister cannot answer the question of supplementary labour, and he knows that he cannot. His own performance before the Australian Council of Trades Unions was pitiful. I have it on good authority that he did not know anything about his own bill. He turned to the Australian Council of Trades Unions, his bureaucrats, or his legal adviser, the Attorney-General **(Senator Spicer),** and said, "What does that mean?" When he was told that it meant the worst he said, "We do not intend the worst ". Is that not so ? {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- No. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- According to my report that is so. Supplementary labour is the whole nub of this bill. It is a union-breaking job that you are bent upon and you should not be disturbed because we have put you back just where you belong. One simply cannot believe some of the inanities and wickednesses of the bill in regard to the waterside worker, in regard to the sugar ports and in regard to the loading of aluminium. The Waterside Workers Federation is prescribed on every occasion. It will be said, "You cannot have that. You cannot do such and such a job because there i? already suitable equipment on the wharf. Tt is not the sort of thing that you should handle." We find the same sort of thing right through the bill. Section 9 relates to this question of emergency - to the task force - to the new people who are being brought in from outside. In another capacity the Minister gets up and says proudly, "Well, we have 15,422 people wanting jobs in this country ". Then he says to an organization which has already 600 people on attendance money, " In the long run there might be an emergency so we have a task force waiting outside the gate ". The days of the bull ring are back again, and the Minister knows that the whole situation has got completely out of hand. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- I begin to understand why you have been in opposition so long. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- If it meant that m be in Government we had to do what you are trying to do to the workers of Australia we would prefer to be on this side of the House. One can have power at too great a price. Your day is coming quickly. Sections 30, 31 and 40 are equally wicked because they provide for the recruitment of outside labour to supplement the present labour force. **Mr. Monk,** the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, whom honorable members will agree is a moderate man and a splendid industrialist in every sense of the word, complained that this was a dangerous thing. He warned you. the intelligent amateur, that he, the professional, knew what would happen. What was your answer? "It is in the book. It is in the Tait report." What a stupid conclusion to arrive at. The Minister has missed the point of the warnings in all these matters. The third sufferer is the Australian people. My time is very limited, but let me tell the Minister that I, as an ordinary, humble member of the Labour party, believe that in due course we will settle the troubles on the waterfront, balance the economy and achieve an adequate turn-round of shipping by breaking down the miserable inefficiency of the stevedoring industry and arriving at some plan for nationalizing stevedoring. The people own the wharfs, and they own the products that go from this country. In due course they will come into their own. {: .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson: -- It will take a long time. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- Not as long as it will take for the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Howson)** to make an intelligent remark in this House. Why should the wharf labourer be bashed? Why should he be regarded as a different kind of citizen from the rest of us, just because it has become fashionable, and a habit, to deride him. When a blood bank is needed, the first place visited is the waterfront. If money is wanted for the spastic centre, again the waterside worker is the first to be asked to contribute, and the silvertails from Pymble, and all points north, sit back and listen to the jingle of the box that has been filled with the hard-earned bobs of thu waterside worker. There is nothing wrong with him. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 **Sir Eric** *Harrison interjecting,* {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- His Excellency, who is shortly to leave his country for his country's good, has not contributed to this debate except by way of interjection, because already he is dreaming of the duchesses that he will entertain and the Jeep bows that he will make to imperial Britain. In the few minutes remaining at my disposal, I should like to strengthen the case that I have made in regard to r.he inefficiency of stevedoring. Never mind the continual cry about the inefficiency of the worker; listen to these statutory declarations on the inefficiency of the stevedoring industry. That industry does not care because if the stevedoring side of shipping does not pay, the freights can go up 10 per cent. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** will agree to these freight rises, the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** will agree to them, and the supine members of the Government will agree to them because it is their bounden duty to support those who support them. I wish to refer first tothe Union Steamship Company, which is also a stevedoring company. On the 23rd March, 1956, at 1.30 p.m. the port inspector visited the *Kail oke,* a Union Steamship Company vessel. The vessel was discharging timber in bundles and when this inspection was made by the inspector - the person from whom power is being taken under this bill - he found that the labour was 25 per cent, short. Every hatch was short of the labour provided and in one case only one man was there, waiting for his mates to return. When this state of affairs was pointed out to the company, it could not agree as to where the men had gone. When the Waterside Workers Federation authorities came along the company representatives agreed that something had gone wrong with the man-power and that they could not control their own ship. On another occasion timber urgently needed for housing in this country was being unloaded and when the inspectors and the Waterside Workers Federation officials pointed out that the sling load should be bigger the company, of course, accepted that decision. But the stevedoring industry could not care less about these matters. The final illustration concerns a ship called the *Delos.* The waterside workers were asked for a team with which to man the vessel. They were told that it would be a four-hours' minimum job. The men were sent to a point, and the ship arrived three days later. When the Government is talking about this matter of inefficiency it should get clown to facts and find out where *the* real evil lies. The sloppy draftsmanship of the bill is surprising, the intention behind it is appalling and the people who are being charged under this legislation are completely innocent of any subversion of the Australian economy or the Australian people. It is fashionable to deride the worker. The percentage of Labourites in the Waterside Workers Federation is very much higher than the percentage of Communists, but the point of that is lost entirely on the Government. {: .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson: **Mr. Howson** *interjecting,* {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- The honorable gentleman, who has spent all his life ticking off his bank balance and going to Oxford and Kenya, would not know anything about this matter, but he is an earnest student and if he listens will eventually learn something. I would like to conclude on this note- {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- Make your bow to Jim Healy first. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- The right honorable gentleman will soon have what is called " political arthritis " from bowing to duchesses, and I wish him luck in his job. This is a wicked bill. It attacks the wrong end of this problem on the waterfront. If we examine the work of the watersider and of the stevedoring industry we shall find that the former only is efficient. Let us apply ourselves to the laziness, the slackness and the "Don't give a damn " attitude of the stevedoring industry and its big brother the overseas shipping interests, and we shall realize why this country is going down, why we are worried about our overseas balances, and why, under this legislation, there is no hope for the workers or prospects of peace on the waterfront. {: #subdebate-28-0-s10 .speaker-KCS} ##### Mr DRUMMOND:
New England -- We have been treated by the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** to a very fine exposition of the truth of a statement that I once heard made by a leader of an opposition to the effect that " the government is always wrong. If the government does not know it, the press is there to tell it that it is always wrong, and if it still does not apprehend that fact His Majesty's Opposition, or Her Majesty's Opposition as the case may be, is there to tell it that it is wrong". In expressing what he believes to be the point of view of the people he represents here, the honorable member for Parkes neither drew on logic nor took full cognizance of the facts. I doubt very much whether the viewpoint that he expressed really represents that of the people who sent him and the Opposition generally into this Parliament. Without wishing to traverse the ground that I covered a few nights ago during the debate on another measure, in which I cited comparative statistics of the loss of man-hours and wages through strikes and other stoppages, I say that nothing has happened in the past to convince anybody that industrial peace would be achieved by the beneficent rule of honorable gentlemen opposite, who say that when they get control of the Government benches they will do wonderful things, and will give the waterside workers and everybody else a fair deal. Statistics from official sources, which I quoted the other night, do not show that, when these honorable gentlemen had the power, they were able to attain the results they claim they will get - a claim made, no doubt, in the spirit of repentance for the evil works they did, and the failures to do that task, when they were in office. Of course, it is always the role of an opposition to be sure that if ever it gains power again it will do the things that it failed to dowhen it was in government. The incapacity of the former Labour government is instanced by what it did when it was in office, and I am quite prepared to leave the Opposition's claims to thejudgment of people who care to read the statistics that I quoted the other night,, and to people who recollect the industrial upsets which occurred under the allegedly beneficent rule of honorable gentlemen opposite. The measure relates to the stevedoring industry, and is intended to repeal certain other legislation including the principal act which, I think, is the 1949 act. 1 want to say at the outset that the right honorable member for Higgins **(Mr. Harold Holt),** who is Minister for Labour and National Service in this Government, no matter what the Opposition may say - and the last speaker said some very unkind things- {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr Edmonds: -- But I said some kind things about him. {: .speaker-KCS} ##### Mr DRUMMOND: -- No matter what »he Oppostiion may say, honorable members opposite know perfectly well that there has never been on this side of theHouse in a non-Labour government a man who has brought greater knowledge, sympathy and determination to bear on attempts to achieve satisfactory and harmonious working relations between the employer and employee sections of the community than has the present Minister. I make that statement without the slightest hesitation. I have sat in parliaments for 36 years, and I can say that I have never seen a Minister who showed such indomitable and unending patience in listening to the point of view of the Opposition as he has; and I am quite sure that when he meets industrial leaders in conferences he shows that courtesy and real desire to understand their viewpoint, and that real desire to arrive at a solution which, having regard to all the circumstances, would enable this community to function, not in warring fragments, but as a whole body of people with a sense of national responsibility. I have heard it said that the trouble with this country is that a very big section of the community has not grown up ; that as a nation we have not become mature enough, in our approach to problems; that we are inclined to tear our industrial and social fabric to pieces over matters which are relatively unimportant, and to overlook the world in which we live, and the dangers which threaten this country; that we have a complete lack of national drive and understanding of the necessity for gathering the forces in this community together so that we may establish the one and only claim that any people can have to any country - the right and title of effective occupation. When the tide is running against us, when we are threatened by forces which not only menace our very existence but, much more important, endanger the existence of those things that are the heritage of free men, the result of 2,000 years of struggle - the highest principles ever given to man - we are allowing ourselves to be diverted from the real purpose of our existence. That purpose is to establish here the continuity of those things which make for the proper development of democratic man - the retention of his right to free speech, free worship and all the things associated therewith. I do not intend to develop the theory of communism versus the rest of society to-night except in a more or less passing reference; but I do want to say that in our approach to this measure there are certain things that we cannot possibly overlook. I do not know who he is, but the man who sent to members of this House this pamphlet, a copy of which I now hold in my hand, is entitled to some thanks for bringing into direct compass the dangers by which this country is confronted as a result of the disturbance of its industrial relations. I have heard members of the Opposition refer to the fact that there are very few trade unions in this country which are under Communist domination, but there are men who sit on the Opposition side of the House who know better than I can ever know that the real danger is not control by Communists of trade unions and control over the purposes for which trade unions were formed. The real menace is a Communist stranglehold on the working of the essential industries of this country. Control by the Communists of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia and of the Seamen's Union of Australia gives the Communists the capacity to destroy or at least to cripple at this stage, the vital industries- which are so imperative to our swift development. Control of the Federated Ironworkers Association, and of other trade unions connected with the iron and steel industry, would be a further weapon in the hands of the Communists but, fortunately, the Federated Ironworkers Association is at present free from Communist control. The danger represented by Communist domination of our big key unions is well known to trade union officials in this country. Here we have in this pamphlet a statement of the objectives of the Communist party in promoting a certain waterfront strike. They read - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. To discredit the Arbitration Court and to promote support for the policy of collective bargaining. 1. To discredit those labour leaders who will not collaborate with Communists. 2. To expose the weaknesses of the Liberal Government and encourage the revolutionary spirit. 3. ) To stimulate workers' hatred against the existing order and intimidate the politically moderate middle class. 4. To establish a nucleus of Labour " Soviets " under Communist control. Is that an exaggeration of Communist policy? The pamphlet also includes a statement that is common knowledge. It was made by Lance Sharkey when he was general secretary of the Australian Communist party in *Trade Unions.* It is as follows: - >On page 23 Sharkey says - > >We fight against this Arbitration, relying on the unity and organization of the workers in the struggle to improve conditions and enforce collective agreements with the employers instead of legalised awards. Nobody, least of all myself, is opposed to people striving to get better conditions. If I were in a certain position I should certainly fight with all the means at my disposal. Because I am naturally inclined to constitutional methods, I would follow them. But it depends on the motive that is behind the action. Is the motive here really the motive of helping the workers? Is the motive here really the promotion of the good of Australia? Is the motive here something to make for universal harmony, for a national drive and a national spirit? If it is not, then it stands condemned in the eyes of every decent Australian. This is what Sharkey has to say about that - >In the meantime, until the majority of unionists are convinced of the role of Arbitration, Communists have to represent their unions in the Court in order not to lose contact with the masses and for tactical reasons, may temporarily support one form of Arbitration against another, i.e., Conciliation Committees, &c. That is the crux of the whole thing. There is no honesty behind its policy to assist the worker. I would give 100 per cent, marks to **Mr. Healy** or **Mr. Roach,** or anybody else if behind their activities and their fights for the working class, there were a genuine desire to improve the conditions of the people they are supposed to and actually do, lead. I would give them 100 per cent, marks because that is their job. No doubt there are abuses to which they could legitimately direct their attention. I do not. suggest for one moment that all the evil lies on the employees' side and all the unblemished purity lies on the employers' side. I have had my fair share of both sides of the question and I know perfectlywell that that is not the case. But when union leaders drag unfortunate men into a struggle for an ulterior purpose, when they drag men into a struggle against the better judgment of many of the best of them, because they know that they can get something worth while without that fight, when they throw misery upon thousands and thousands of homes and upon helpless children, when they bring about a state of chaos, when they undermine the economy of this country and when they prevent it from functioning effectively, then I say that they deserve the strongest condemnation that any decent Australian can possibly give them. That is what we have to consider to-night, and I regret that men whom I respect on the other side of the House are lending themselves to a captious criticism of this measure when they know, as they must know, that the Minister has made an honest attempt to deal with every section of waterside working conditions. We know perfectly well that there are times when the problem arises that, if the permanent membership of the Waterside Workers Federation is increased, a position is created that may get out of control. The Minister has endeavoured to avoid that position. He has provided that, under certain conditions, there shall be employed to meet a particular situation, men who can be retired and will not affect the real working conditions and continuity of employment of the waterside workers. Because he has done that, he has been held up to obloquy to-night and treated to invective and a dissection of his motives that reflects no credit upon the clarity of thought and the honesty of purpose of the man who made them. When we are faced with that position, it is hard indeed for the people outside who want to know the truth and who are entitled to know the truth. I come back to my original thesis, which was: What is political maturity? Surely political maturity is this, that the Government is attacked upon those things that are obviously wrong and that a member believes to be wrong because of his experience. But if an honorable member attacks it just to make a case for the sake of discrediting the Government, then finally he discredits himself and the institution that he is using for that purpose. I do not think for one moment that my friends who sit opposite are Communists. Far from it ! But 1 do think that when they use this parliamentary institution to put forward claims which cannot be sustained from the point of view of political maturity, they are creating in the minds of the people and in the press which uses their statement something that is used by those who have no love for Australia and no real reason to support it and to assist it in the work to which it has set its hands. When 3 think, as every decent Australian must think, of the great dangers that overshadow this land at the present time and which must be repelled by the development of this country, I regret that it has been found that those who should speed that process have not assisted it. We have the best of the world to-day and we have the best conditions possible. I believe that we have better conditions on the average than those in the United States of America, in spite of all that has been said. I believe that we have less abuse and a greater degree of general prosperity. We have a country that is without parallel in the world in its opportunities. Others know that and it is for us to take advantage of those opportunities. I do not propose - and I do not feel able - to engage in a clause-by-clause discussion with the Leader of the Opposition and his followers. I do not profess for one moment to have an intimate knowlodge of the legal technicalities of this measure. But nearly 40 years ago t worked for three weeks on the wharfs. It is not very long. I notice that my friend, the honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson J, smiles, l.n that time I suggested to the people who serviced the ships that it was not a fair thing to refrain from giving the men the chance to have a smoko in the morning and afternoon. I knew something of hurd work and I knew perfectly well that men would work better if they had this privilege extended to them. If a man relaxes for a while when he is doing heavy work - and it was heavy and continuous then - he will work better, he is happier and the employers are better off. Then, in 1936, I spent a few days at Darwin. I have heard the most horrifying tales about how the waterside workers " scaled " there. In my early life, I tackled pretty well everything and I have had some real experience of what hard work means. I watched those men at work and, having made allowance for the beat and the disabilities of a very hard climate, I came to the conclusion that they were doing a fair day's work. I was in State politics at the time and I wrote to the responsible federal Minister. I had not heard of that wonderful term " decasualization ", but without knowing it I made an attack on decasualization. I recommended to the Minister in charge of the federal department that one of the things he should do was to try to give those men some continuity of work. There was plenty of work available. The Botanical Gardens at Darwin at that time were a disgrace to Australia and those men at most got only one ship a week. The rest of the time they were hanging around waiting for a ship. I know enough of human nature to know that would rot the soul of any man, and, consequently, I recommended a badly needed rationalization of the work at Darwin to give those men a chance to earn a decent living and to retain their self-respect instead of loafing about. I am quite sure that, if that had been done, it would have been beneficial. I think that advice, unfortunately, was not taken at the time.** I have read the interim report of the Tait committee, and I am satisfied that it deals with a very difficult problem in the only human and sensible way it can be dealt with. I know some employers claim that they will not be able to employ their own team of employees under the proposed arrangements. It is a difficult state of affairs, and the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** has shown his broadmindedne.:s and fairness by refusing to be influenced by those employers and by accepting the Tait committee's advice that the industry should be so organized that the men engaged in it may take the next job offered according to the roster on which they find themselves. I can see no alternative to that practice in the light of my brief experience. I have considered the problem since, it is true, but the dramatic and graphic experience I had in Australia's uttermost port satisfied me that we can never hope to get a decent response from any man unless he receives more decent treatment than the men at Darwin received at the time I have mentioned. I congratulate the Minister upon his endeavour to meet the needs of the presentsituation. I do not intend to try to apportion blame for it. I shall simply cite some figures which I think are, unfortunately, true, and which are a reflection upon our whole industrial situation. A report of the Australian Overseas Transport Association on the factors that influence stevedoring costs in Australia, issued in August, 1954, dealt with the turn-round of ships and stated - >This shows that for oversea vessels only in the year ended December, 1953, complete port stoppages wasted £390,000, and indications for the first six months of 1954 are that a greater amount will be wasted in the year. In addition to this, shortage of labour and lack of berths in the first five months of the year has wasted approximately £547,000. In a period of less than eighteen months, almost £1,000,000 was added to costs. This helped to increase the cost of living of every man, woman and child in the community. The Minister mentioned that, in one day, £30,000 was lost by a stoppage. Every time this sort of thing happens, the wharf labourers, their wives and children, and every one else immediately suffers from the impact on the cost of living, because these losses and increased costs must be borne by the whole community, and they have cumulative effects in a highly organized society. If it costs more to land an article on the wharf, the sale price will be increased, and so the increased cost is passed on through the retailer to the consumer or final purchaser. No form of prices control can prevent that. The wool industry is perhaps Australia's greatest industry. It plays a very important role in providing the sinews of war. By " sinews of war " I mean the requirements for building up our economic strength, not necessarily for war on our fellow men, but for war on the problems of development in order to preserve our great assets such as water, great streams of which run to waste and in the process, tear up rich areas of land, and pour them as silt into the ocean, and in order to undertake hydro-electric schemes and other developments which mean so much to the country's future. We are wasting our opportunities to get on with those developmental works, and that waste is a real and heavy loss to the community. The pastoral industry, of which the wool industry is the major part, contributed approximately £490,000,000 to Australia's export income in the financial year 1954-55, and is the greatest single contributor to Australia's wealth. I do not attack the secondary industries, but the value to the country of secondary production must be assessed in the light of the fact that practically 80 per cent, of our imports are necessary to the efficient functioning of our secondary industries. If Australia's capacity to sell its primary exports effectively is destroyed, the stability of the great secondary industries will be threatened, and we shall find ourselves in a situation which is a classic example in the Communist theories and doctrines which afflict the world. I asked a question this morning about the egg-producing industry, which is seeking better handling methods on the wharfs in order to reduce losses on eggs, which are a most important commodity. These losses are the result of a refusal of the waterside workers to operate under certain conditions and to use fork-lift machinery which would have prevented the trouble. I do not propose to go into all the details of the matter. I do not profess even to know them. But I do know that tens of thousands of people work long hours to produce eggs for both home consumption and export. The heedless attitude of the waterside workers, who do not care about the losses caused by their handling methods, and who aci without any apparent rational reason, indicates that they are directed by a force which is not working in the be3t interest? of the Australian people. It is time decent unionists and decern employers were allowed to co-operate in an effort to overcome these problems. Whatever may be the faults of thi* measure, it should be beneficial. It if based on the interim report of the Tait committee, which is a fair report, if over there was one. It indicates the weaknesses of the industry in terms that even a layman like myself can understand. It indicates, also, that there is urgent need to cut through the tangle which, I understand, has delayed for six years the making of an award sought by the waterside workers. If it took six years to get an award in an industry in which 1 worked as a member of a union, I should be very touchy, irrespective of whether or not the union was Communist-led. The Opposition, by its refusal to assist the Minister in his endeavours to improve the situation on the waterfront, has done no service to the working community, and certainly none to Australia generally. {: #subdebate-28-0-s11 .speaker-KHQ} ##### Mr R W HOLT:
DAREBIN, VICTORIA · ALP -- The stevedoring industry bill that is now before this House can be said to be a truly amazing measure. If any credence can be placed in the statements made by the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** both in his second-reading speech and at the conference that he had with members of the Australian Council of Trades Unions and the Waterside Workers Federation in Melbourne last Friday, one can only conclude that this measure should be withdrawn and completely forgotten for the time being. It is blatantly partisan, favouring, as has been said by previous speakers, the shipping interests, and harshly repressive of the trade union concerned, and it is an affront to the whole trade union movement. The Minister has said on two occasions, both in the press and at the conference in Melbourne last Friday, that he would amend the measure extensively. In my opinion, aud in the opinion of all honorable members on all sides of this House, that statement is indicative of the dualism in government policy and of bad draftsmanship at a high level, which can have been caused, in the main, only by divided control and conflict within the Government itself. [ believe that the Minister has been as helpful as he can be to the trade union movement in this legislation, but even bearing that in mind, the best that can be said of this measure is that it should be withdrawn and, in fact, that it could not be much worse. Whatever the Minister's personal feelings are, he must, of course, accept responsibility for the decisions of his government. He cannot come into this House and hold himself out, and be held out by his henchmen, as a placatory and conciliatory Minister, when at the same time he brings down a piece of legislation such as this, for which he and his government must accept full political responsibility. Honorable members opposite talk glibly about partners in industry, and about co-operation, and they ask when we on this side of the House will understand that labour and capital must cooperate if they are to make progress. Can any honorable member on the Government side say that the hand of cooperation has been generously extended to the waterside workers by the shipping interests? Of course no honorable member can do so. This bill is indicative of the interest that the Government takes in the big shipping organizations. If the working conditions of the men on the waterfront are indicative of that goodwill, generosity and desire to co-operate on the part of the shipping interests, then one can only regard their attitude as so much hypocrisy. The honorabe member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** and the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth),** like most honorable members opposite, when they are bereft of any constructive and intelligent replies to just criticism that is levelled at the obvious weaknesses of this measure, resort to personal abuse of people who are not here to defend themselves. They refer to the threat of communism, which, in the main, is a creature of their own making, and has the same character and suspiciously the same physical characteristics as the Liberal party. Strangely enough, the- hogs that wallow in this offal of negativism are reactionary conservatives. Symptomatic of the progress of Australian conservatives are the utterances that come from time to time from the honorable member for Mackellar. One cannot fail to be impressed by the force with which he expresses his opinions, and the blatant manner in which he puts forward the opinions of liberalism, so called. One of his own forebears uttered the same sentiments 106 years ago as have been expressed by him and by the little gauleiter from Moreton in this House. **Sir Henry** Parkes, in the work entitled *Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History,* says - > **Mr. Wentworth** exhausted his great powers of invective in denouncing the new party of reformers as socialists, Communists, uprooters of law and order, and everything else for which a vile name could he found, though it included many of the most respected men in the country. {: .speaker-KJQ} ##### Mr James: -- How long ago was that? {: #subdebate-28-0-s12 .speaker-KHQ} ##### Mr R W HOLT:
DAREBIN, VICTORIA · ALP -- That was 106 years ago, and the same kind of remarks were made on Tuesday last by a descendant of that **Mr. Wentworth.** This kind of abuse is not designed to add anything constructive to the debate. We are used to hearing it, but it is a little nauseating when it is used purely as a means of covering up the mental, and in many cases moral, bankruptcy of the Government. We say that this bill is a shipping interests bill, and naturally we have reasons for saying that. Honorable members who take the least interest in politics are fully aware of the interest, by tradition, association and environment, that honorable members opposite have in the combines in the shipping industry, and those associated with the combine and its many ramifications throughout, the world. Can any honorable member opposite deny that he or any member of his family has a direct financial interest in the shipping companies, in the shipping industry and its various ramifications through our financial structure? I doubt it. I remind honorable members that in 1928 the then Prime Minister, **Mr. S.** M. Bruce, who was leader of a Nationalist party, later known as the United Australia party, and later still as the Liberal party, was responsible for the most repressive legislation that the workers in the shipping industry have ever experienced. It was known as the " dog collar " act. It was **Mr. S.** M. Bruce who was responsible for selling the Government shipping lines. That gentleman is to-day a codirector, with Lord Inchcape, of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, whose representative was present in this House on Tuesday last, f refer to the representative of the Oversea Shipping Representatives Association. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr Joske: -- No! {: #subdebate-28-0-s13 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr R W HOLT:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- Does the honorable member deny that the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, the Cunard Company and other large shipping interests are not represented by the Oversea Representatives Shipping Association? Of course, he does not. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr Joske: -- "What inference does the honorable member draw from the presence in this House of a representative of such an organization ? {: .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman: -- "We did not send a car for him ! {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr R W HOLT:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- I can quite understand the feelings of honorable members opposite in regard to one of their supporters, particularly when one considers the motives behind this legislation. This measure has been introduced with undue and improper haste, and, significantly, it has been introduced before the completion of the Tait committee's inquiry. Have not high profits and managerial inefficiency some bearing on wages and conditions of employment in the industry, and upon the efficient working of that industry? I quote from a report of remarks made by **Mr. Justice** Foster.' appearing in the Melbourne *Argus* of the 27th September, 1952- >The main cause of the rise in prices had nothing to do with wages, **Mr. Justice** Foster said during the hours-wages case in the Arbitration Court yesterday. . . . > > **Mr. Justice** Foster: The first remedy is in the hands of the employer - greater managerial efficiency. The article was published under the heading, "Remedy is with employer, says judge ". And yet the Government, in my opinion, has purposely brought in this legislation, and alleges that it is based on the Tait report. Despite what honorable members opposite say, this legislation is based on one section of the report and is designed to affect one section of the community only. The Tait report has made a number of references to wage injustice. Reference has been made to the efforts of the "Waterside Workers Federation to earn a just recognition of its wage demands since 1950 without avail. Does the Tait report make any specific recommendation in this regard? The Basten report made a far better recommendation and similarly points out the great difficulty in detail - the fear which exists on the waterfront and among all employers - when it says, at page 17 - >The first step to take towards the removal of undesirable practices and policies of the Waterside Workers Federation is to remove the fear that certain customs associated with casual employment in a time of too little employment will one day re-appear. In the same report, reference is made to the reason why men, in 1952, were not seeking employment in the industry. The report said - >During the year 1951 it became more difficult to recruit and obtain men for the industry. The evidence shows that a major cause is the low standard of amenities available in many places for waterside workers. I now add to that the gross wage injustice which has been inflicted on the waterside worker by the so-called form of liberal arbitration which professes to be conciliatory. Does this bill seek to give waterside workers any increased facilities for receiving wage justice? It does not. The lowest and most significant reason for alleging what is the motive for this legislation - the real motive behind this measure - lies blatantly and starkly for all honorable members to see. I refer to the third report of the Australian Stevedoring Board for the year 1952. There, the Australian Stevedoring Induscry Board, at page 17, makes a statement which reveals the blatant motive for this legislation. The statement is - >Employers who recently called for the abolition of the board are desirous of substituting an employer-controlled organization which could carry out the board's function as a labour organizer without being empowered to exercise discipline against stevedoring companies. So if employers desire amendment to the 1949 stevedoring industry legislation to confine the board's powers to the disciplining of labour only, we have seen how they obtained this goal, so they thought, in the Stevedoring Industry Act 1954. That legislation, of course, was defeated by the united action of all sections of the trade union movement. In other words, the trade union movement, recognizing the Government's desire to break the hold of the unions and to uphold the desires of their masters, the shipping interests, brought down a measure which was designed to smash all organized resistance on the waterfront as far as shipping interests were concerned. *I* say that this measure, which was deliberately designed by the Government to provoke trouble, failed because the bill in itself was inadequate. The Government had not properly drafted it again, thank goodness! The shipping interests did not then have the power, but I venture to suggest that had the Government had the power which this bill gives it, we would have been telling a different story to-day. There would have been no need, so far as the shipping interests are concerned, for the Government, their servant, to bring down this bill. Then we have the truly just strike which occurred in January of this year over the denial of wage justice. The honorable member for Moreton has stated it was the union's fault that the waterside workers were not granted a rise by **Mr. Justice** Ashburner. On the contrary, the union had taken all steps that it possibly could. The case waa heard by a judge who was prepared to fault its case and prevent it from obtaining a just recognition of its rights and wage justice on a technicality. Thus, indeed every argument that could be put up in this House against the present Government's system of arbitration would be of no avail by comparison with an argument such as that. I should think that the Minister and the Government would be sufficiently warned by the united action of all sections of the Labour party and the industrial movement on that particular issue. But no! It was not. The Government now seeks, at this stage, to achieve its design and purpose by bringing down another measure. The Australian Council of Trades Unions and the whole Labour movement on the occasion last January spoke with one voice. The shippers entered into a shabby deal whereby they sought to induce the waterside workers and their supporter, the Australian Council of Trades Unions, to barter away their hard-won working conditions for a rise to which they were already justly entitled. I refer to the claim for an extra 6d. which would have meant a rise of ls. The amazing feature of this whole system of negotiation was that the shippers and the stevedoring companies were able to obtain the support of **Mr. Justice** Ashburner so that the patient Albert Monk, the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, was forced to indulge in the sort of thing that the present Prime Minister indulged in in 1932 when he criticized the members of the bench. According to the *Age* of Tuesday, the 24th January, 1956, **Mr. Monk** said - > **Mr. Monk** said that **Mr. Justice** Ashburner ' had made it clear that whatever rate he may award, in a review of the case, would be offset by the value of conditions he would withdraw from members of the Waterside Workers Federation. I stress that that is wage justice *vide* the Liberal way, the conservative way, the reactionary way. If the Minister had then had the power that he proposes to take to himself under clauses 17 and 21 of this bill, a different story would have been told to-day and this bill would certainly not have been before the House, because there would have been no need for it. The only thing that could be said in favour of such action being taken by him then would have been, in my opinion, that the Minister would have called down the unified wrath of the whole Labour movement and trade union movement on his head and the head of this Government, and justly so. There would have been a short-lived general strike and a few more people would have interested themselves in the conditions of the waterside workers. Unfortunately, most people have to suffer before they realize the existence of any injustice in the other man's cause. If the Government were bona fide in its claim that the bill is designed to foster and encourage peaceful co-operation on the waterfront, this blatant exercise of arbitrary power under clause 21 would have been proscribed by safeguards. But the Minister has not sought to proscribe this clause 21 by any safeguards at all. Before an emergency was declared, if the Minister were sincere, one would have thought he would have required a unanimous recommendation and request from the Stevedoring Industry Authority or the authority set up under the bill. On the contrary, the Minister may declare an emergency at any time. In Melbourne on Friday last, he told representatives of the Australian Council of Trades Unions and the Waterside Workers Federation that he was very much upset about being accused of introducing a shippers' bill. The report of the conference states - > **Mr. Holt** heatedly denied that the Bill was a shipowners' measure because if they were only concerned with shipowners' views they would only need to repeal all the existing legislation. But, by including clause 21 and other clauses which tie in with it, he virtually does that. If the Minister is sincere in his statement that the bill is based on, and is in accordance with, the findings set out in the interim report of the Tait committee, where does the committee, in its report, recommend that the employer should receive favorable disciplinary treatment and that the employee should receive harsh and more summary treatment? T have seen no such recommendation in the report, yet the Minister says that the bill is based on the report. I refer in particular to clauses 35, 36 and 37. If we look at sections 23 and 24 of the 1949 act, we find a vastly different set-up. Clause 36 provides for summary treatment of a worker who commits a breach, but clause 36 provides that an employer may be dealt with in a much more leisurely way. The employer may be deregistered only through the leisurely processes of the court, whereas the waterside worker may be deregistered summarily by the authority. Under clause 37, an employee may appeal to the court - if he can afford to do so. {: .speaker-JLT} ##### Mr Ian Allan: -- Will the honorable member tell us what he would do? {: #subdebate-28-0-s14 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr R W HOLT:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- I suggest that the fair thing to do would be to apply the one set of conditions to employer and employee alike. I should have thought that the fair thing to do would be to provide for a summary suspension, after due inquiry, in relation to both employee and employer, and to provide that in either case the deregistration required the approval of the court. Moreover, an anomaly to which attention was directed by the Tait committee has been perpetuated in the bill. The bill provides that workersmay be dealt with for individual actsof indiscipline, but employers are no' responsible to the same degree for the acts of men who, on their behalf, normally maintain the relationship of master to. servant. The Minister has given an undertaking that clause 9 will he amended or that, alternatively, the definition of " union " in clause 7 will be amended. As clause 9 stands, the only interpretation that we can place upon it is that, as the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** has stated, it opens the way for the formation of a " scab " union which would not, by any stretch of imagination, be beyond the hopes of the Government and those persons who support it. Until the clause is satisfactorily amended so as to avoid that interpretation being placed upon it, it: stands for what it is. I have not time to develop the argument, but if we look at the combined effect of clauses 6, 18 and 19, we find that there are very many doubts about its constitutionality. Discipline is certainly necessary on both sides in all industries. Do the Minister and supporters of the Government think that the fact that the Waterside Workers' Federation is strong is a strange phenomenon? It has had to be strong in order to resist the onslaughts of the biggest combine in The world to-day other than the United States Steel Corporation. Injustices must be remedied regardless of who is involved. We are not concerned, as are the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** and the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth),** with who is behind the remedying of an injustice. We are concerned with the injustice that is to be remedied, and we shall try to the best of our ability to have it remedied and accept in good faith the efforts of those persons who are prepared to do likewise. We would even welcome the efforts of honorable members opposite. Unfortunately disciplinary action does not deal with causes but only with effects, and the denial by this Government of the fundamental principles of human associations and personal rights is the one thing that has made this legislation so unacceptable to us. Here again, the Government would do well to accept a warning from the whole of the trade union movement and the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour party. When this matter was discussed on last Monday at the annual conference of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour party, the following resolution was passed unanimously - >This Conference condemns the provocative industrial legislation introduced by the Menzies-Fadden Government in relation to the Arbitration and Stevedoring IndustriesActs. Conference declares such legislation to be antitrade unionist in character, destructive of better industrial relations, a further cause of strife and unrest in industry, and for these reasons urges that the legislation be rejected by the National Parliament. > >Conference congratulates the Federal Parliamentary Party on its uncompromising opposition to the measures. One Government supporter tried to capitalize on a weird creation of his own warped mind by referring to a division between the Australian Council of Trades Unions and the Waterside Workers federation. In reply I direct the attention of honorable members opposite to the following motion that was moved at the last meeting of the executive of the Australian Council of Trades Unions - >This Executive is of the opinion that the proposed Stevedoring Act introduced by the Federal Government into the Commonwealth Parliament contains provisions that are objectionable and unnecessary for the adequate performance of work on the waterfront. > >Following upon the interview we had with the Minister for Labour this afternoon, the Executive determines - > >that the Bill should be withdrawn and redrafted as put forward by the Executive to the Minister. That is the true attitude of the executive of the Australian Council of Trades Unions which supporters of the Government have tried to distort in an effort to create a wrong impression in the minds of the public. It is generally recognized by those persons who know most about the bill that it is incapable of being adequately amended. Let me say to supporters of the Government who resort to personal vilification of Opposition members that posterity will recall the name of the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** long after that of any reactionary Prime Minister has been forgotten. In times of crisis, the Leader of the Opposition has supported the rights of the individual against the encroachment of fascism on the one hand, and of communism on the other hand. He has stood firm for what he believes to be right - the essential freedoms of the individual. He deserves to be given credit and not to be vilified. Because of their appalling and abysmal ignorance, the action of honorable members opposite in indulging in vilification can be excused. {: #subdebate-28-0-s15 .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE:
Balaclava .- An understanding of this bill requires some knowledge of the background of the industry. The stevedoring industry is one in which, from time to time, there are great rushes of work, which are followed very often by periods of slackness, with the result that it has been impossible to find permanent employment in the industry. Consequently, there has been a desire to provide regular work for those persons who are employed in the industry and to ensure that those who have regular work shall receive adequate wages for the work they do. So a method was evolved of providing for what was known as a quota, that is to say, a labour force sufficient to do the work on the wharfs. The method was that the employers should accept as their workers on the wharfs those persons whose names were on the quota list and who were provided from the quota by the union. That is a system which depends for its proper working upon the ability and willingness of the union to fill the quota and provide the employees. That is the essence of the system. Let it be borne in mind that work on the wharfs is extremely important to the community as a whole. Failure to work efficiently and failure to turn the ships round quickly will result in a considerable hold-up in shipping and may do great damage in the community. Indeed, the situation may even become so bad as to cause a national disaster. Therefore, if this quota system can be made to work properly by reason of an adequate labour force being provided, it can enable the work on the wharfs to be done properly and the ships to be turned round promptly, and the community will not be sacrificed. In other words, the public interest is involved to a tremendous degree in the stevedoring industry. It cannot but be regretted that we have not had from the Opposition benches one word about public interest. "We have heard a great deal about attacks on trade unionism, but not one suggestion that any member of the Opposition realizes that the public interest is very greatly involved in the stevedoring industry. As a result of this system being considered necessary, the Stevedoring Industry Act of 1949 was passed. It provided for a board to administer the industry in the sense of provision of work, supervision of the labour force, and so on, and it provided also for the employment of unregistered workers, men from outside the union, at times when the union was not providing sufficient employees under the quota system. Since 1949, we have been working under that act. The Government decided - and, indeed, the Opposition was party to this in the sense that it was at the Opposition's request - that there should be an inquiry into the industry in order to ensure that work on the wharfs might be done more efficiently, because it was quite apparent that the quota system had broken down and was not working properly, that work on the wharfs was inefficient, that there were great delays, many stoppages and many strikes. The reason why the quota system broke down was that the union, instead of being willing to fill the quota, failed on many, many occasions to fill it, and, indeed, failed to recruit the men necessary for the purposes of the quota. Frequently, in many ports the number of men available to fill the quota was far fewer than the number required. The full quota of men could not be obtained. That was very often so in many ports. This was due to a deliberate union policy, and so strong was the union, aided by the fact of full employment, that it was able to prevent either the employers or the Austraiian Stevedoring Industry Board, the authority in charge of the industry, from applying the provisions of the act relating to the employment of unregistered labour. Those' are facts which appear from the report of the Tait committee, the committee of inquiry which was established to examine the conditions prevailing in this industry. The report makes it quite clear that the union had established a situation wherein it was so strong, partly due to full employment and partly to its own vigour, that neither the employers nor the board was able to secure the necessary labour force of unregistered men in order to assist in. doing the work on the wharfs, the assistance being necessary owing to the quotas not being filled. That is the background of this legislation. The reason why the union was so strong was that it was led by political leaders, leaders of Communist faith, who considered that it was not their duty to fill the quota but that it was their duty to have matters on the wharfs in such a state that they would have a monopoly of the labour on the wharfs. That appears from the Tait report. I noticed that the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** during his speech, objected to the term "monopoly of labour". He was not able to provide an adequate substitute, but I suggest an adequate substitute is that the union leaders had a complete stranglehold of labour on the wharfs, and because of that complete stranglehold they were absolutely strong. They dominated the situation and could use the position on the wharfs to their own political advantage. The first course they decided upon was at all costs to keep the numbers' of men available for work as low as possible, so that there could always be trouble and never would there be sufficient labour to perform the work. At the same time they prevented unregistered men, who would have been available, from being used in working the wharfs. They prevented them from being so used by stoppages, threats of stoppages, frequent strikes, and by generally holding over the employers the threat, " Unless you do as we say, unless you employ only the men that we decide you shall employ, we shall call a complete strike over the whole waterfront ". Under that threat the employers had to agree not to work unregistered men. Eather, they had to submit to not working unregistered men. That position is made perfectly clear in the report of the Tait committee of inquiry. I am stating the factual findings of that committee. It is to meet that situation that this bill has been brought before the House. lt has two objects. One is to establish an independent authority in place of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board to do the things which in the main that board was intended to do, but strong enough to be able to resist the union. Another objective of the bill - an objective of the Labour legislation of 1949 - is to provide a supplementary labour force. When honorable members opposite say that this is an amazing piece of legislation- {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- It is worse than that. Air. JOSKE. - We hear again the voice crying in the wilderness. We have heard the same voice crying in the same way so often that we know just how much worth to attach to it. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- You do not like it, do you? {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE: -- I know that the louder 13 the voice, the more vacant is the mind. This bill has been described as an amazing piece of legislation, but it aims to do two things which the Labour legislation of 1949 aimed to do, and it proposes that they shall be done in exactly the same way as was proposed by the Labour legislation - that is, by establishing an authority and providing for a supplementary labour force. So, if this legislation is amazing, the Labour legislation of 1949 must likewise have been amazing. An astonishing feature of this session of the Parliament is the way in which the Labour party is denouncing the Labour legislation of 1949 and earlier years, as I had the pleasure of pointing out to honorable members opposite earlier in these sittings. They are going back on what they have said and done in the past. Either they are ashamed of what they did in the past, or they are completely insincere in what they are saying now. I believe that their opposition to this measure is insincere, because we are making provision for exactly the same things that they aimed to provide in 1949. They aimed to set up an independent authority, which they believed would be able to control the waterfront. We are doing exactly the same thing. We are setting up the authority recommended by the Tait committee - an independent committee on which was a well-known and highly respected union representative. That committee was unanimous in recommending that an authority be established in exactly the way in which we propose to establish it. In providing for a supplementary labour force, we are endeavouring to do exactly what the Labour party did in 1949. We are providing for nonunion labour to fill gaps which the union fails to fill. It could be said that this industry should not be placed on a special basis. Already there has been one attempt to give it preferential treatment. It was placed on a special basis, a special authority was established and the union was given the right to supply the men, the employer being compelled to accept the men offered to him. It could be said that, as the union has had its chance but has fallen down on its job, we should revert to the old system, under which the employer had the right to engage and dismiss. In view of the failure of the Labour legislation, one could hardly have blamed the Government if it. had done that. If the Government had contemplated doing that, no doubt it would have provided for the continuance of the registration of workers, the continuance of rostering, and the continuance of tho payment of attendance money. If it had adopted the old system, it would have had tremendous backing from the community. However, the Government has said, in effect, " We established a committee of inquiry to ascertain the facts. The committee has ascertained the facts. We accept the findings of the committee, and we shall give the union another chance ". ft is useless for honorable members opposite to buck against the findings of the committee,, because they approved of - in fact, they insisted on - the establishment of the committee. So they cannot go behind the committee's findings. We are accepting those findings, and we are giving the union another chance. Whether the union deserves another chance, time alone will show. We are allowing the union to continue to provide the men. It has been said that the union is afraid of a supplementary labour force. Let me point out to this Communistcontrolled union and to those who represent it here to-day that, if the union discharges its obligation to fill quotas, there will be no need for it to fear that men of the supplementary labour force will be used. The responsibility for the proper performance of work on the wharfs rests, in the first place, on the union. If the union provides the necessary labour, the supplementary labour force will not be required. If the supplementary labour force is required, that will be because the union, once again, has fallen down on its job. The honorable member for Gellibrand **(Mr. Mclvor)** referred, this afternoon, to uncomfortable conditions on the wharfs. There is no doubt that there are many defects which should be cured. We have heard a great deal said in this debate about the strength of this union. It is, however, a. Communist-controlled union. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- That is not true. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE: -- There are times when even the honorable member for KingsfordSmith **(Mr. Curtin)** amazes me by the way in which he departs from facts. This union, with all its strength, is in a position to deal with bad conditions on the wharfs. If the union had directed its attention to curing bad conditions, instead of mischievously causing stop pages on the waterfront throughout Australia, very often for trivial reasons, one could have said to the secretary, " You have done a very good job indeed - a job of which you can be proud". But that is not the policy of the Communist. His policy is that unsatisfactory conditions should continue. {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr Edmonds: -- That is not right. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE: -- The honorable member for Herbert **(Mr. Edmonds)** had better not associate himself so closely with the Communists. {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr Edmonds: -- I do not want any advice from you about whom I should associate with. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE: -- You can associate with them, if you prefer. {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr Edmonds: -- Do not say that the union has not tried to cure bad conditions on the wharfs. It has tried. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE: -- This is one of the strongest unions in Australia. If it had desired to do so, it could have cured bad conditions on the wharfs, at least to a great extent. But it prefers that those bad conditions shall continue, because they cause a sense of grievance among the men who work on the wharfs. The Communists' view is that the workers should have a sense of grievance. They want dissatisfaction in industry generally. This is as clear an example of that as we could get, The honorable member for Gellibrand, by giving those instances of bad conditions, showed clearly in how many instances the union could at least attempt to cure bad conditions, but there is not the slightest evidence that it has ever tried to do so. It is well known that it will not make any attempt to cure those conditions, because that would be contrary to its policy. I want to deal now with something that was said by the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** in *the* course of his speech. He stated that the Tait committee had reported against the use of supplementary labour, and he referred to some preliminary remarks in the committee's report. That can hardly be regarded as a substantially accurate statement of the position. Let me read" what the Tait committee, in its conclusions, said about supplementary labour. It stated - . . the use of a supplementary labour force is not in itself a complete answer to the problem of peaks and flushes, whether normal or abnormal. On the other hand, we find that provided supplementary labour was available when required, that it could be organized and trained, and be subjected to discipline, and the circumstances and conditions for its use were so precisely prescribed that it would be clear that it could not bc used to the detriment of the legitimate interests of the regular Federation labour, then its use would contribute to the problem of peaks and flushes of shipping and, more particularly, as to those of an abnormal type. This bill faithfully observes the qualification in the Tait report, as to the conditions under which supplementary labour may be used. As I have already emphasized, if the union does not wish supplementary labour to be used the remedy is in its own hands. Let the union fill the quotas and provide the necessary labour. This legislation is on the same basis as was the Labour legislation of 1949 in that it provides for an authority and for supplementary labour, but it should do the things which the Labour legislation has failed to do. **Mr. £.** JAMES HARRISON (Blaxland) 9.52] . - For many years I have wondered what was the meaning of the old saying, " The law is an ass ", but after hearing another Liberal lawyer dealing with this legislation I have ceased to wonder. The honorable member is a representative of the people in this Parliament and he should know something about the legal technicalities and ramifications of this bill. If he has any regard at all for his profession he should realize that the bill writes down the capacity of the judiciary. He does not dare raise that question in this House. He has spoken of the single issue of the supplementary work force, and although he spoke to the 1954 measure, he has religiously avoided mentioning on this occasion that that bill was introduced by this Government to create the supplementary work force for the waterfront. The right honorable member, the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt),** and other Government supporters told us that the 1954 legislation would correct all the water front difficulties so far as supplementary workers were concerned. Has it done that? The Minister consistently tells us that he has more vacant jobs than there are unemployed, yet it is suggested that at this time, when workers are required in every phase of Australian production, we should set up a casual casual force - for that is what it amounts to. If, on the other hand, the Minister means that those who already work in industry from S a.m. to 4 p.m. should be encouraged to undertake a second job and work from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. as part of a supplementary labour force I tell him quite frankly that he is advocating that they scab on the workers of this country. Moreover, he is inviting the workers to put themselves in such a poor physical condition that they will be unable to do a fair day's work in either job. I challenge Government supporters to give the House an analysis of the average time being worked in the other industries in Australia, as compared with that worked on the waterfront, and then have the audacity to suggest that more overtime can be worked by those in industry in order to meet the requirements of overseas shipowners. The Minister speaks about this being an amazing piece of legislation but I say that it is the second of a series of measures which may brand this session as the most oppressive near-fascist period in Commonwealth parliamentary history. Let us, to begin with, look at what the Minister said in moving the second reading of this bill. I was rather intrigued to hear him use terms similar to those which he used in introducing another bill a little earlier in this session. One wonders how many more times the' Minister will introduce legislation dealing with arbitration, or affecting workers' conditions, and begin his speech in similar terms. This is what he said - >Over recent years we have had a sustained situation of- full employment, greatly strengthening the bargaining power of the trade union and the individual unionist. To a regrettable degree, Communists have infiltrated key sectors of our economy. The coal mining and waterfront unions are conspicuous examples of the way in which power ha* come into the hands of Communist official", to be exercised by them for the purpose that they serve. En the coal-mining industry we find men looking for work because Australia now has a surplus of coal. That surplus was achieved, not by machinery of the kind proposed in this legislation but by the appointment of a coal industry tribunal which was able to bring workers and management together and provide decent conditions on the coal-fields. Then, despite the presence of Communist leaders, Australia got greater coal production than ever before. The credit for that must, in the main, go to the State governments. Thank goodness they were Labour governments, or we should not have had the success that we did. It ill becomes the Minister to talk about the need for this legislation and, in doing so, mention the coal miners. He said further - >Then, we have a very much more active trade union participation in party politics than is to be found in most other countries . . . Any one who pauses and calmly analyses that remark alongside the Minister's outburst of last night, can only come to the conclusion that this Government has decided that so long as it panders to a certain line of political thought it will remain in office for ever. Apparently it believes that it can continue to get the preferences of the so-called nonCommunist faction which attempts to relate itself to the Labour party. If the Government thinks that it can remain in office at the expense of the Australian workers it has another think coming. The Minister's outburst last night, which ill became a Minister of the Crown, leads me to suggest as strongly as I can, that this attitude will finally lead to the Government being condemned throughout Australia for what it is. The Minister said further - >We have, in addition, a well-established tradition of solidarity on the part of the mcn at work which tends to produce a somewhat undiscriminating support for strike action, wherever it occurs. Some of these factors are good in themselves; some of them are bad in themselves. But, taken altogether, they create for this country a problem of great complexity and great difficulty. The Minister sets out in this measure to attempt to break the solidarity of the workers, by the weapon of legal sanctions, to be wielded by the new organization. The Government believes that, by using these legal sanctions, it can break the solidarity of the workers; but we throw that suggestion right back in the Government's teeth. It will never succeed in breaking the solidarity of the workers in Australia. That is the whole tenor of the Government's approach to this problem, excepting the attitude evinced by the last speaker on the Government side, who did not dare to deal with the main portion of the bill or to say whether the worker should have the right to strike or not. The honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Anderson)** would unhesitatingly take away the right to strike. The two industrial measures that we have been debating in the last few sitting days show that it is the design of the Government to break the will of the workers, to smash their freedom to decide whether they will work or not work. In support of my contention I propose to quote from *Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration in Great Britain* written by Ian G. Shaft and from *Strikes,* by K. G. J. C. Knowles. I invite honorable members to study these books. One of them refers at length to the building industry in Britain, which has set aside arbitration ever since the middle of last century, but has a fine industrial record - and neither the Minister nor any one else can tell me that the building industry in Great Britain is not completely unionized. The building unions in Britain have been complimented by the British Government because of their approach to industrial problems. Yet the Minister himself regards the building unions in this country as unions which should be tied clown in respect of employeremployee relations. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- Why do not honorable gentlemen opposite who are talking at the table give the honorable member for Blaxland a fair go? {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 **Sir Eric** *Harrison interjecting,* {: #subdebate-28-0-s16 .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I know that the Vice-President of the Executive Council **(Sir Eric Harrison)** is going to England, and I think that there he will learn something about decency in relation? between trade unions and the British Government. The books from which I propose to quote show the great difference between the employers in Great Britain and the employers in Australia who support this Government and force it to introduce this kind of legislation. I shall read this extract from **Mr.** Knowles's book carefully, because it is tremendously important. It is headed " The Right to Strike " and reads - >Nevertheless, the formal right to strike, legally admitted in 1824, is still jealously guarded. Strikes, despite all efforts to reduce them to the level of diplomatic relations, remain a form of warfare. '.No sane person would glorify warfare as such; though most would admit that the risk of war is sometimes worth taking, and even that ethics, as well as expediency, is involved - that it may in fact be " right " to make war rather than to endure a " shameful peace ". Few protagonists <f industrial peace have assumed until recently chat all clashes of interest can be resolved and nil conflicts composed by mere procedure. There I pause. In Britain there has been learned, over the last 25 years, as the honorable member for Hume would know if he studied industrial affairs in that country, the great truth that no longer can the workers be ruthlessly driven. As the Leader of the Opposition said the other night, " If you have a horse you must feed him and give him a day off occasionally ". Great Britain has found, as this Government will find too, that the worker cannot be driven to work. The extract continues - lint it is often claimed that the frequency and scale of strikes can be reduced without the formal " right " to strike being affected. The right to strike is, of course, part of the wider right of workers to have a share in determining the conditions of their work. In the words of the 1044 Industrial Relations Handbook, " the right to strike is bound up with the conception of employment as a civil contract between equals ". More precisely, this right has been insisted on, and won, as the main weapon of the worker to redress the balance of *in equality* implicit in his relationship with the employer. As Professor Cole has argued- And this is what Professor Cole had to say - >Employers and workmen may be, in the eyes of the law, equal parties to a civil contract, but they are never equal parties in fact. The workman, under contract, is bound to serve his employer; the employer is entitled to order the workman about. {: #subdebate-28-0-s17 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! Conversation in the gallery is far too audible. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Professor Cole continued - >The relation between them is thus essentially unequal. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! The two persons who are conversing so audibly in the gallery must remain silent. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- For the last ten minutes, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** disorder has been deliberately created while the honorable member for Blaxland has been speaking. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- **Mr. Deputy** Speaker's call for order had nothing to do with Ministers at the table or on the front bench. His remarks were directed to the gallery. Why is the Leader of the Opposition trying to make political capital out of something that is not a fact? **Mr. Deputy Speaker** was directing his remarks to the gallery, as the Leader of the Opposition ought to know. {: .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr Evatt: -- The Vice-President of the Executive Council and his colleagues ought to know better than to act as they have been acting, so I rise to order, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** For fifteen minutes the Vice-President of the Executive Council has kept up audible conversation. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- I wish to speak to the point of order, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** I direct your attention to the fact that the Leader of the Opposition consistently sits opposite to the microphone at the table and mumbles and interjects into it. He has been called to order for that very thing again and a sain. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- I, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** was also considerably disturbed when I was speaking to-night, by the noise from the Vice-President of the Executive Council, which he was purposely making in an attempt to disrupt the debate. I suggest that he display some good manners for the few remaining days he will be here before he leaves for his post in London. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- In answer to the point of order taken by the Leader of the Opposition, I am sure that the Vice-President of the Executive Council was not engaged in audible conversation when I called for order. The audible conversation which led me to call for order in the House emanated from the gallery, and it was those in the gallery whom I rebuked. The persons concerned apparently did not hear me call for order, and I again called for order to direct their attention to the fact that they were disturbing the proceedings. I remind persons seated in the gallery that they have no right to talk. They must sit in silence. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I can understand honorable gentlemen opposite not caring to hear the kind of quotation that I am making - not a quotation from Communists or Labour men, but from an eminent authority in Britain concerning the results of an examination of industry in a country which honorable gentlemen opposite should regard as the most important country in the world. The quotation continues - >The workman can do nothing to change the terms of employment without the employer's consent: the employer who wishes to change them needs only to give an order, which the workman is expected to obey. The employer, therefore, never needs to break his contract by locking out his workmen without notice. He issues an order, and they have either to obey it or go on strike in breach of contract, and thus put themselves legally in the wrong. That was said as a consequence of a broad examination of British industry. It is accepted in Britain that, instead of the kind of legislation being introduced in this country, good relationships between employers and employees should be encouraged. The worker is left with the right to strike because that gives him his redress. Let me continue with the quotation - >It is easy for employers to talk about the " sanctity " of the contracts, because they are seldom under any inducement to break them. But the workmen have sometimes to choose between breaking their contracts and breaking faith with their fellow-workers. That is a statement made by Professor Cole, not by the Communist Healy. Let me repeat it - . . breaking their contracts and breaking faith with their fellow-workers in such a way as to allow the employer to worsen the conditions of employment. Everybody knows that. This bill is determined to smash the workers, if the legislative enactment is carried to its full effect as provided in this bill. [Quorum *formed.]* {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I shall read that quotation again - >But the workmen have sometimes to choose between breaking their contracts and breaking faith with their fellow-workers in such a way as to allow the employer to worsen the conditions of employment. Under such conditions, workmen cannot be expected to keep their contracts: indeed . . . {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- **Mr. Deputy** Speaker,I draw your attention to the state of the House. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! Honorable members will take their seats and be quiet. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Professor Cole continued - >They would be wrong to do so, if it is in their power to resist. There is an authority that I ask any honorable member on the Government side to challenge if he can ! It was written in relation to industry in Great Britain, where they threw aside 50 years ago the type of oppressive legislation that this Government brings before the House to try to put the lash on the workers. The honorable member for Balaclava said that this act is the same as the 1949 act. I throw that back in his teeth. As a legal man he consistently comes into this chamber and makes statements that cannot be verified. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** it is quite impossible for members to hear the honorable member for Blaxland because of the continual conferences and conversations taking place all round this chamber. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! It has been that way most of the evening. When I ask honorable members to sit down and keep their seats, I expect them to do so, and there should not be any talking in the gallery either. {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I refer the honorable member for Balaclava to the bill because I do not think he has looked at it. I refer him particularly to clause 9. When we talk about monopolies of unions, we think in terms of what Government members say about trade unions. We think of the differences that have been created as a consequence of what the honorable member described as the right of employers to bring in their employees when they like. What do we get? I ask all Government members to stand in their places, if they will, and say that they wholeheartedly support clause 9 of this bill. First of all, the reference is to " unions " and not to a " union ". I throw it back in the Minister's teeth when he talks about the monopoly for the waterside workers. He brings to us a bill that has the deliberate intention of providing for unions, and mot a union, on the waterfront. The clause reads - >Where, after the commencement of this Act, ihe Authority establishes a register of waterside workers at a port, the Authority shall declare, by notice published in the *Gazette,* that an association of employees specified in the declaration is, for the purposes of this Act, the Union in relation to that port. It is a complete negation of everything that has been undertaken since the Conciliation and Arbitration Act was first introduced in 1904. Ever since then, there has been an obligation on the employees to show to the registrar reasons why a union should be created to cover their section. Ever since that has been the law, there has been an obligation on unions to observe the strictures that apply in respect of union membership. But when Ave get a scab act such as this - and that is what it is - we find that, without any regard to all that the law lays down about the creation of trade unions, Authority to set up a trade union i3 given to three people who are to be responsible to nobody, who may have no legal qualifications, who disregard the whole framework of the arbitration act and who have no regard for the conception of arbitration in relation to the creation of trade ^anions. Yet the honorable member for Balaclava says that we as a party are opposing the same type of legislation as we introduced in 1949. The honorable member knows full well, and so does the Minister who introduced this bill, that once legislation of this character is applied to the waterfront, a principle is established that smashes completely the fundamentals of trade unionism as recognized since 1904 in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Where do we go from there, having regard to the other repressive legislation that is introduced? The situation arises where a bogus union can be created by i;he authority, and can be responsible for a dispute. Scabs could be put there to create a dispute and, with that over their heads, the waterside workers' organization would suffer all the penalties that flow from the penal sections of the arbitration act. Yet, after twenty years in the trade union movement, somebody suggests to me that we on this side of the House, should accept that type of proposition without calling it an amazing piece of legislation. It is quite obvious to me that the honorable member for Balaclava, with all his legal qualifications in regard to divorce, knows nothing about, trade unionism or about the act that covers it. I turn away from that quickly because I want to say finally to the House that if the Government thinks it can create scab unions in sections of the waterfront, or in any section of transport in Australia and get a degree of understanding between employers and the trade union movement as a whole, then it has completely lost sight of even the employers' recognition of decent standards in respect of trade unions. If the proposition were put to any employer that he should have a right to create a union of his own, he would immediately say that the only time that we ever had that in the history of Australia - and I believe it is the only time - was the creation of a governmentunion in New South Wales during the strike in 1917. This bill is the same kind of legislation as that introduced by the anti-Labour government in New South Wales after the 1917 strike. If this Government wants all the difficulties, problems, fights, and strikes that followed the 1917 strike until the Hughes Government in the federal sphere, in 1921, honoured promises that it had made in 1919, it will certainly get them if it proceeds with this measure. Opposition members are opposed to the bill in its entirety. They believe it is legislation of the worst kind, especially since it is introduced at the same time as the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1956. It is designed, on the one hand, to break the trade union movement and, on the other hand, to create industrial unrest and throw up a smoke-screen in an endeavour to hide the Government's failure to balance Australia's economy in order to maintain decent wage standards. Everything points to that being its purpose. [ have in mind all the' time the *Tramway* case in Adelaide. I know that once a common rule of that description is laid down, it will become the standard for the rest of the workers in Australia. I would say, in conclusion, that the great majority of unions, and particularly my own union, which has not even one paid Communist or " Grouper " in office .in any branch in Australia, will reject this measure unanimously. All the unions will revolt against the action being taken by this Government in the same way that they revolted against the Bruce-Page Government in 1929, and, at the first opportunity, they will remove this Government from office because it has introduced this measure and the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1956. {: #subdebate-28-0-s18 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
Minister for Customs and Excise · Evans · LP .- It falk to my lot this evening, as it has done on other occasions, to follow the honorable member for Blaxland **(Mr. E. James Harrison)** in debate in this House. He has referred to his 20 years' experience in trade unionism. It is experience of which [ know, and which I respect. In general, [ have found that I can respect the moderation of his approach to industrial problems, but I have noticed that, when he speaks with sincerity as an acknowledged authority on something in which he believes, he speaks quietly and moderately, but that, when his heart is not in it, he begins to roar. I have never heard him speak more loudly than he spoke at the outset of his speech this evening. I noticed that he recovered his equilibrium only when he left the waterfront entirely and talked about the building industry in England, which he discussed, I think, for some twenty minutes. Towards the end of his speech his voice began to rise again when he turned to the so-called iniquities of this hill. If I understood him correctly, his objections were directed at the provision which permits the proposed Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, in certain circumstances, after certain declarations, and subject to all the safeguards which the law can devise, to recruit addi tional labour. He charged the Government with all the offences in the industrial calendar for daring to include such provisions in the bill, but he overlooked entirely the fact that the Stevedoring Industry Act 1949 contained a provision- in terms almost identical with those of sub-clause (2.) of clause 39 of this bill,, which seems to give him so much offence. The fact is that, in a casual industry,, which the stevedoring industry is, a union of casual workers, which the waterside workers are, cannot be given a monopoly of employment without, the community being given some right to insist that labour shall be available. That is the essence of the thing. All the arguments by means of which the honorable member for Blaxland and other Opposition members charged the Government with this so-called iniquity of providing means for the enlistment of non-union labour in extremities ignored the fact that this is a casual industry and that the Labour government included a very similar provision in the 1949 act. as any responsible government must do in the circumstances. We all know of the importance of seaborne trade in Australia. Again and again in the past, I have reminded the House that this is an island continent, with communities and industries strung around its long coast-line, and that it depends for its existence in time of war on seaborne transport, and for its prosperity in time of peace on efficient transport around the coast. I think our high costs are due largely to the fact that our sea transport is not efficient and that its cost is excessive. My friend, the honorable member for Macarthur **(Mr. Jeff Bate),** earlier to-day referred to an objective survey of the problems of coastal shipping in Australia made by **Mr. Lowndes, president** of the Australian Institute of Political Science, only a few months ago. It was an objective survey made by a man who has no personal interest in waterfront employment or in waterfront labour. He gave some illustrations of the increase of the cost of the carriage of goods by sea in Australia in recent years. I have drawn these striking illustrations from his paper: Before the war, the cost of sending general cargo from Sydney to Melbourne by sea was 22s. a ton. In 1956, it was 131s. 6d. a ton, or six times as much. We all know that costs have increased throughout Australia, hut they have not increased sixfold, or anything like it. This increase is entirely out of proportion to other increases. The South Australian Auditor-General estimated that the carriage of goods to South Australia by road instead of by sea costs that State an additional £15,000,000 a year. Let us see how big an element of these increased costs is represented by stevedoring costs. **Mr. Lowndes,** in his paper, examined the complete costs of two typical voyages on the Australian coast. Stevedoring costs - the costs of taking cargo out of the ship and putting cargo into it - amounted, in one instance, to 60.7 pe>cent, of the total cost of the voyage, and. in the other, to 67 per cent, of the total cost of the voyage. In other words, leaving aside the capital cost of supplying the ship, the cost of paying and feeding the crew, the running cost, and the cost of keeping the ship at sea, the cost of moving goods in and out of the ship amounted, in one instance, to 60.7 per cent, of the total and, in the other, to 67 per cent, of the total. These costs are entirely out. of proportion. I do not suggest that the restrictive practices employed by waterside workers on the Australian coast are the sole cause of these high costs. We know that there are many others. But the restrictive practices of the waterside workers are far too important a cause o'.' these high costs for the community to tolerate them indefinitely. Stevedoring has a bad industrial history in this country, and this bill is a moderate and sensible attempt to solve the principal difficulties in the industry. It ha.' been grossly misrepresented by the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, and l deeply regret to say that it has been grossly misrepresented by the Opposition in this House. It is not surprising that those who control the Waterside Workers Federation misrepresent this bill, because, as we know, it is a Communist-controlled union. I heard one lone voice on the Opposition side of the House deny that earlier. The voice is a well-known one, and its owner is still in his seat to deny it again if he wishes to. I say to hin. again that this is a Communist-controlled union. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- What rot ! {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE: -- The honorable member says, " What rot ! ", but he is the only one to rise to the bait. Let him make common cause with his friend, **Mr. Healy,** who has spent most of this week sitting in one of the galleries in thi? chamber. Let the honorable member stand alongside **Mr. Healy,** who will not deny that he is a Communist. I think the honorable member for KingsfordSmith **(Mr. Curtin)** would deny that he himself was a Communist. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Quite right. {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE: -- But, in this instance, he makes common cause with a wellknown and avowed Communist. It is not surprising that this Communist-led union should misrepresent the purpose of this bill, but it is surprising and pathetic that the Opposition, the rump of a once famous party, should make common cause with this Communist-controlled union. The public has an interest in this bill as well, however. Not only the Government, not only the Opposition, and not only the Waterside Workers Federation, but also the Australian public and the Australian economy are very deeply affected by this bill, and the public interest will be served by the Government's success in passing this legislation through the House and seeing that its intentions are carried out. Is it surprising that **Mr. Healy** and his associates who run the Waterside Workers Federation should misrepresent the bill ? What has he clone for his union and its members? They are not earning overmuch. The industry is not a very well-paid occupation. When one compares it with other occupations, one finds that a waterside worker does not earn a great deal, in comparison with other semi-skilled workers. The statistics on that aspect are available. They were produced during the inquiry of the Tait committee. The waterside workers are in constant trouble with the community, find no decent Australian enjoys having the hand of every man in the community raised against him. They are constantly being forced into the use of restrictive practices, and no decent Australian enjoys that. It is not a popular employment. There are many instances of people taking the first opportunity to get out of it. Let us consider the strike that occurred in February last, when the whole of the Australian waterfront was thrown idle. The union was seeking higher rates of pay. The employers were prepared to concede an increase, although admittedly it was not as much as the union asked for. However, they were prepared to concede some increase, but they demanded in return certain conditions, and the Communistled union would not agreed to those conditions. What were some of the conditions? Let us consider them, and see how this man, **Mr. Healy,** serves the interest of his union employers. One of the conditions was that the system of press and radio pick-ups should be introduced into the port of Sydney. It was already operating in the ports of Melbourne, Geelong and Hobart. That condition was not agreed to. What does the press and radio pick-up system mean to the worker himself? It means that instead of having to make a long journey to a pick-up centre, and there to wait until allotted a job, and then proceed to the wharf, no matter how far away it may be, and then start his work, he can be told by medium of the press or radio which ship to go to, and at which wharf it is berthed, and he can proceed there directly. It means less trouble and more money for him. It also means, however, that his Communist leaders cannot have the member gathered around, waiting about the pick-up centre disconsolately, ready to be addressed by them and subjected to their influence. What was another condition? It concerned the transfer of gangs, when work on a ship cuts out before the completion of a working day. The condition was that in such a case the gang employed on that ship should be transferred to another ship. That was another condition that was bitterly resisted by the union, yet it would have enabled the workers to earn more money in that week. Instead of having an incomplete day and' an incomplete pay-roll, they would harebeen able to complete the day's work. Another condition was that when overtime was not worked on the standard daysit should be worked on other days. That again meant more work and more money for the worker, but that also was resisted. Another condition was that supplementary labour should be available. That, too, was resisted, and I can prove to the House that that system is in the interests of the employee. If the regular work, force at a port is kept to such numbers that regular and constant employment isgiven to the registered waterside workersduring the slack times, supplementary labour must be available to deal with the flush periods. Therefore, a system of supplementary labour, properly controlled, is in the interests of the regular registered waterside worker, because it enables him to be sure of constant and regular employment during the slack periods. These are some of the things that the authority to be established by this bill will carry out, and they are in the interests of the waterside workers themselves and of the community. They are in the interests of Opposition members, as individuals and Australians, just as much as they are in the interests of Government supporters and any other Australian outside the Parliament. But this unfortunate rump of a once great party is led by the nose by this Communist leader, and it cannot realize that fact. Let us examine what the bill seeks to do. It seeks to follow the recommendations of the Tait committee. I have been through the report of that committee several times, to see precisely what its terms are, and I have made a summary of its recommendations for my own use. The report says, first, that there is a need for a bureau system to regulate employment in this casual and fluctuating industry. It says that that bureau must be able to fix quotas and to find supplementary labour- the matter about which the Opposition protests so seriously. The report suggests that the bureau should be able to increase the use of overtime and to avoid unproductive time. The methods of avoiding unproductive time that are -suggested include the use of the press and radio pick-up, to which **Mr. Healy** objects so strongly. It includes the system of gang transfers when work cuts out before the end of a working day. It includes the use of short gangs for removing hatches before the standard working hours. The committee recommends that the authority to be set up must have power to administer on the wharfs such matters as the regulation of gang sizes, rotation of hatches, the length and time of smokos and matters of that kind. The committee suggests that the authority must have means of maintaining discipline on the wharfs, without interfering with the right of an employer to discharge a man on the job. The methods of exercising discipline that have been suggested include the right to deregister a worker or an employer, the right to suspend a worker or an employer, and the right to fire. The House may notice, in passing, that the limit of fine that may be imposed on a waterside worker is £25, on another person for an offence against the act it is £100, and on an employer it is £1,000. The committee then recommends that the bill should define clearly the respective powers of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court and of the waterside authority. That the bill does, because the lack of definition of the powers of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board and of the court has been one of the principal causes of confusion and lack of leadership on the waterfront. That defect is being cured by this bill. I have given my own summary of the recommendations of the Tait committee, and those are some of the matters with which this bill proposes to deal. I ask the House again to consider the background of the people who made these recommendations. First, there is **Mr. Tait,** the chairman, a man independent of either of the parties on the waterfront. Then there was a representative of the Employers Federation, **Mr. Gibson,** and a representative of the trade union movement, **Mr. Shortell.** {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr HULME:
PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP -me. - A good man. {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE: -- I have not heard any comment about him, even from the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr. Curtin),** who has been seeking to interject. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- He is a very good man. {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE: -- The honorable member says that he is a very good man. It is a pity that honorable members opposite do not pay a little more respect to hi3 vieWs and recommendations, instead of denouncing them so noisily. **Mr. Shortell** is an executive member of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, and the president of the Labour Council of New South Wales. As I said previously, the purpose of this bill is to give effect to the recommendations of the Tait committee, and that is what it seeks to do. As far as I can follow the arguments of Opposition members in this debate, their principal objections have been to the methods of maintaining discipline, and they have drawn on their imaginations to an extraordinary degree in suggesting the kind of harmful use of power that is allowed under the provisions of this bill, but the fact is that any legal sanction in any bill provide0 against cases of abuse of power and authority or of misbehaviour. Opposition members might just as well say thai if an act provides a penalty of £5 for a contravention of its provisions, that means that every one who breaches its provisions will be fined £5, because to listen to them one would assume thai every waterside worker would be hauled before the authority and fined the maximum amount about once a. week. If penalties are to be effective, they must be so designed as to provide against extreme abuse of power or extreme misbehaviour, and to suggest that the penal provision? will be invoked every day of the week i? a plain attempt to mislead the community. The Opposition's other objection is related to the provisions of the bill enabling the authority to use supplementary labour. As I said earlier in my remarks, this is a casual industry. It is an industry in which the union has a monopoly of the supply of labour, and that monopoly is preserved and provided for in this bill. In such circumstances it is imperative that the authority, acting in the interests of the community and the economy, must have power to see that the labour is supplied if the union does not live up to its obligations. There is no escape from this. If we give a monopolistic right to a union in a casual industry, we must have some means of preserving the interests of the community, by ensuring that the union cannot abuse its power by withholding labour. That abuse of power, by the withholdin'g of labour, has been a major cause of the hold-ups on the wharfs and of the increasing costs in the industry. The provisions of the bill enabling the authority in certain circumstances to give employment to unregistered waterside workers are surrounded by the most elaborate safeguards I can recall in legislation of this sort. First of all, the authority must be satisfied that there is, for a considerable period ahead, the certain prospect of a shortage of waterside labour. It then must make a formal declaration to that effect and then, in case it has been wrong, the bill contains provisions that after such a declaration and after the employment by the authority of unregistered labour, any registered waterside worker is guaranteed a minimum payment per week to compensate him for any possible mistake on the part of the authority. I do not recall in my years in this House any piece of legislation which has so carefully and painstakingly preserved the interest of the unionist in his own regular employment. I hope the House will not forget this. As I pointed out before, if there is to be no means of raising supplementary labour on the waterfront, the registered force will have to be so big that it can cope with the average or something above the average of the ordinary amount of work available. That means that it has to be so big that the registered worker will often be short of work during the period when work on the wharfs is slack. We all know that this is a seasonable occupation with its flushes and slack periods. So which way do we want to have it? Do we want to have constant employment for members of the registered force? If we want that, in the national interest, we must have a means of supplementing that force when work is slack. On the other hand, if we are prepared to have a force of unregistered workers who will be unemployed for half the time when works falls off, we can provide a force which is big enough to cope with the average flow of work on the wharfs. As I said earlier in my speech, it is in the interests of waterside workers that there should be a satisfactory system of enlisting supplementary labour when work on the wharfs is excessive. This is an unusual provision, I agree, but so are the whole circumstances of waterside employment in these days. There is nothing usual about this industry and it calls for unusual and imaginative attempts to solve its problems. This bill, I think, provides this solution. At least, it merits a much more serious consideration from the Opposition than it has received. As I have said, this bil) is a moderate, middle-course attempt, but I believe that it needs defence, not only from the aspect of the Left, but of the Right as well, because there are many in the community who criticize the Government for continuing this system of an independent authority to control waterfront labour. This criticism is not heard in this House because the Opposition is so under the spell of this spell-binder, Healy, that it is unable to consider anything else but the extreme criticism that hp provides from his left wing standards. Hy own ideas on this matter of the waterfront have undergone a number of changes in the years I have been in the House during which I have taken a very keen interest in the problems of the waterfront. I thought, in my innocence, when I first came here, that government interference in this matter was a mistake and that it would be better for the Government to retreat entirely. Then I realized that there was an authority to administer and control the supply of labour on the waterfront. Then I thought that perhaps the authority could be run by the employers and the union in consultation with each other and that' there still was no cause for the Government to intervene. Slowly, as I continued to examine the situation, I realized that that was impossible. Then I wondered whether the arbitration court itself could carry out these functions. Both these matters about which I wondered in the past have been examined by the Tait committee, and both have been rejected for good reasons which the committee stated. So we come to this position : There is a need for an independent authority, established by statute, to enlist and regulate waterfront employment. That authority must have its powers in relation to the arbitration court most clearly defined. That problem this bill has attempted to solve. We on this side of the House do not stand for the owner or for the Communist leaders of the union; but we stand for the community. The Minister for Labour and National Service, I think, is to be commended for the fairness and restraint he has shown over the years in his approach to these problems. He is to be commended, I believe, for the moderation of this bill itself. Not only the waterside worker, but every man woman and child in the community has a deep interest in the success of this attempt to give a new deal to the waterfront in Australia. Every stoppage on the waterfront affects us all, not only the people involved in the stoppage but those whose well-being suffers by the stranglehold on the community which can be exercised by an immoderate union. There are difficulties enough ahead. Nobody would be so sanguine as to suppose that this bill provides the answer to all the problems of waterside labour for the future. But it is, as I said, a moderate and a middle road attempt to solve the problems for the time being of this diffi- cult industry. The Government needs the support of all men of good will in doing the nation's work in this respect. It is no use, apparently, appealing to the Opposition because it has committed itself to the support of the extreme left wing leaders of the Waterside Workers Federation. It is not much use appealing to the Opposition to give this matter consideration at this stage, but I do appeal to moderate people of good will outside the House to give the Government support and to try to make this sensible and moderate measure work. {: #subdebate-28-0-s19 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker** - Motion (by **Sir Eric** Harrison) put - >That the question be now put. The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.) AYES: 55 NOES: 32 Majority . . . . 23 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Question put. That the bill be now read a second time. The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.) AYES: 55 NOES: 32 Majority . . . . 23 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and committed *pro forma;* progress reported. {: .page-start } page 2984 {:#debate-29} ### ADJOURNMENT Anzac Hostel, Brighton, Victoria- - Devonport Waterfront - Import Licensi ng - Unemployment Benefits - Local Government Finance - Parliamentary Representations to Ministers. Motion (by **Sir Eric** Harrison) proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-29-s0 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
Wills .- I desire to raise only briefly the matter of the Anzac Hostel at Brighton, which is being closed and the inmates shifted, apparently for reasons of economy. I should like to remind honorable members of the actual terms of the act which was passed in 1937 in relation to the Baillieu gift. They are as follows: - >And whereas the donors agreed that the gift should be applied to the acquisition of hostels for permanently and totally incapacitated Australian soldiers and sailors and) desired that it should be a condition of the gift that when the purpose for which the hostels were required had been fully served, the hostels should be realized and the proceeds applied to provide University scholarships . . . The point to be stressed is that the act refers to the needs of permanently and totally incapacitated Australian soldiers and sailors being fully served. Section 4 (c) of the act provides that the hostel may be sold when it is - in the opinion of the commission, no longer required for permanently and totally incapacitated Australian soldiers and sailors. The Minister has released a statement to. the press, and I understand that he has undertaken to give the matter further consideration. I appeal to all honorable members to raise the matter and use their good offices with him to enlist sympathy for the thirteen men who are being transferred from the. hostel at this late stage.. The Brighton hostel is completely different from an ordinary hospital. If these men are transferred to Heidelberg, they will certainly receive expert attention and all the care that the Repatriation Department can give them, but there is a great deal of difference between a hospital, with its routine hours and discipline, and the restrictions imposed upon visitors, and a hostel of the type whch exists at Brighton. A very serious factor is that these men, having returned from World War I., and most of the persons who visit them are now advancing in years. Heidelberg Hospital is not ideally situated from the point of view of transport facilities. It is much more difficult to visit patients there than to visit people at Brighton hostel. Bus services are quite inadequate and recently there was a cessation of these services at week-ends. I believe that these men will have the sympathy of all honorable members in the simple matter of retaining this hostel until such time as there is compliance with the deed of trust into which the Commonwealth entered with the Baillieu family, when it was agreed that the hostels were to remain in use until the needs of these persons had been fully served. That will be many years hence. We constantly hear of problems of men of World War i. who, i believe, do not receive the same treatment from the Repatriation Department as their comrades of World War ii. The proposed reduction in the facilities available to them will be a serious blow. In particular, I appeal for assistance in the case of these thirteen men who, for an annual saving, it is said, of £9,400, will have their lives completely upset, and the routine they have developed in the face of their incapacity over many years changed. They will suffer a serious deprivation of the liberties and rights to which they have become rightly accustomed. {: #debate-29-s1 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot -- I had hoped that the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** would be in the House because the matter I desire to mention concerns his administration. Evidently, after the prolonged debates of the last couple of days on measures that required his constant attendance in the House, he has had enough. The matter I desire to concerns the facilities for waterside workers at the Devonport wharfs in Tasmania. I was unable to speak to-day in the debate on the Stevedoring Industry Bill, and we have recently had very few debates on the motion for the adjournment of the House. Indeed, this is the first such debate this week. In addition, question time has been restricted to half an hour. Therefore we humble back-benchers have been denied opportunities to bring before the Government the matters which we should like to raise. Recently a **Mr. Wallington,** of the Sydney branch of the Waterside Workers Federation, visited Tasmania and played a very important part in having certain fruit shipments made from Port Huon. He inspected wharf facilities in the north-west part of Tasmania and he visited Devonport, which has a very good working record. The waterside workers there deserve far better facilities than they have at present. I do not think that the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board hasspent Id. on the Devonport wharfs during the last four or five years, but I am open to correction in respect *of* that statement. The set-up is disgraceful. I should like the Minister to examine the problem and take it up with the Australian StevedoringIndustry Board before that body is finally disbanded and destroyed by the legislation which is before the Parliament. The board should examine theantiquated conditions and facilitiesavailable to the men at that centre. **Mr. Wallington** stressed that by modern standards, conditions there were shocking: even for Australian wharfs. The room where the men assemble is not big enough to hold all of them. It is an old, ugly, weatherboard building, stiflingly hot in summer and an ice chamber in winter. The office of the local secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, **Mr. Foley,** is a disgrace for any wharf. These waterside workers, because of their record, deservethe most up-to-date and modern conditions on the waterfront. The washing, facilities are antiquated. I have visited Devonport many times and I agree entirely with **Mr. Wallington** that conditions are absolutely shocking. I trust that the board will examine this matter. It might be the last decent thing it doesbefore it is destroyed. The waterside workers have fought for better conditions for a long time, but no one has listened to them, as so often is the case on the waterfront. At Beauty Point,, on the West Tamar, in my electorate, the board has provided for waterside workers an up-to-date assembly hall with all modern conveniences. That is amuch smaller Waterside Workers Federation branch than Devonport, which,, because it is an important port in the north of Tasmania, also deserves modern conditions. I bring this matter to the attention of the Minister in the hope that he will show his good'faith by taking prompt action. Duringthe last few days, he has talked a lot about conditions on the waterpront. {: .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr Bowden: -- So have you. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- I have not said a word on that subject until to-night, but [ am having my say now. I noticed that the honorable member for Gippsland **(Mr. Bowden)** was not in his seat when he interjected. I suggest, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that he turn off the hearing-aid that he is holding. For all I know, it might be tuned into the cricket match at Trent Bridge. I trust that the Minister will show his goodwill to this industry, as he has said so much about helping it, by having this matter investigated and dealt with promptly. The men at Devonport have good reason even to strike in protest against the conditions there, but they have not clone so. They have played the game, and now they deserve some consideration from the board. Conditions there are antediluvian. I shall not detain the House any longer, except to say that the lunch score at Trent Bridge was England none for 52. {: #debate-29-s2 .speaker-KIE} ##### Mr LUCK:
Braddon .- I should like to tell the House, particularly the honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie),** that for a number of years the Devonport Marine Board has been extending and improving the wharfs at Devonport. I understand that it is the intention of the board to allot for the new amenities building a much better position than that occupied by the existing building. I believe that this matter has already received the attention of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board and that it is intended, at a later date, to provide proper facilities for the waterside workers at Devonport. It is true that conditions there now are a disgrace to the waterfront, but, as I said earlier to-day, Devonport is not the only place where conditions are bad. I am certain that this matter will receive the attention of the new authority when the new legislation comes into force, if it has not been dealt with before then. {: #debate-29-s3 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- I desire to direct the attention of the responsible Minister to what I regard as a very important and serious matter. For some time this Government has been taking credit for making an energetic bid to expand the Australian export trade, and the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** has been sent overseas for that purpose. There has been organized in this country what is known as a world fair. It has been organized by two Australian women and is to be held in the Sydney Showground from the 26th July to the 4th August. Before the women embarked on their venture, they consulted, quite wisely, the responsible Ministers of this Government, who gave them every encouragement to proceed with the organization of the fair. Indeed, the Government organized a conference for them with the Chamber of Manufactures, the Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Traders Association. It also co-operated with the women through commissioners overseas, who gave information about the fair to the representatives of other nations who inquire! about it. But, strangely enough, a few weeks before the fair is due to open, the Govern ment has gone cold on the project and has left these two Australian women carrying the bag. There must be a reason for that. Let me tell the House what had happened so far. Twenty nations have expressed interest in this world fair. 1 understand that some of the most important nations of the world have booked space. But it is useless to have space at a world fair if you cannot display goods there. These women have applied for import licences to cover goods to the value of £20,000 from each participating nation. As twenty nations are involved. £400,000 worth of goods would be brought from overseas for display at the fair if licences were issued. Spread over twenty nations, that is not a very lara;e sum.. But the Minister responsible for the issue of import licences, who originally gave these women every encouragement, now refuses to issue the licences required. There must be a reason for this decision. I have an idea that some of the bie manufacturers of this country have become alarmed and that they are afraid that some of the nations that have booked spAre at the fair will display goods of a kind and quality that would compete effectively with their products. The Minister for Trade, in a letter, stated - >I can lint see that the benefits which the fair might have on the export drive would compensate for the cost of the special licences. Possibly twenty countries could be involved and, at the figure requested, this would be a further drain of £400,000 on our oversea sreserves. If this world fair were a success and encouraged trade with countries with which, at present, we do very little, if any, trade, that would be to the advantage of our export drive. The Minister went on to say - >It has not been overlooked that there may be enough overseas interest in the venture to justify my department maintaining an office at the fair, or possibly exhibiting. Evidently the Government proposes to have an office at the fair because it recognizes that there is a great deal of interest in it overseas. The Minister stated further - >I feel that the decisions on the promoters' requests must be made on grounds other than the export advantages to be gained from the fair. The. Government recognizes that there will be advantage to Australia's export trade, but says that the decisions on the request for import licences must be based on other considerations. What other considerations could there be? The Government talks a lot about its export drive. I should like the appropriate Minister to indicate the reason for the Government's change of attitude to this project. I did not know personally the women who were organizing this world fair, but I was assured that they had had some experience in that field on a lesser scale. This is their greatest venture. The Government cooperated with them up to the point of involving them in engaging the whole of the Sydney showground area. It helped them with publicity overseas and in other ways, but, when the issue of import licences was requested, it went cold on the project. There must be a reason for that change of attitude. While I have the opportunity to do so, I propose to direct attention again to the failure of Ministers to reply promptly to telegrams and correspondence addressed to them on important matters. I took up the case of a man who had a complaint against the Department of Labour and National Service and the Department of Social Services. He said that he was sent to take up employment in the country but when he arrived, he found that the job was non-existent. He had to pay his own fare and was never recompensed. He complained, and while the complaint is under consideration, his unemployment benefit, for some reason, has been discontinued. The only advice that the man has received is that it has been suspended pending an inquiry into his case. He has a wife and two dependent children. The inquiry has been in progress for some weeks, and during that time he has not received the unemployment benefit. On the 5th June I sent an urgent telegram to the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt).** It read as follows: - >Ee my letter 30th April case - Then I gave the name of the man - respecting unemployment benefit. You acknowledged representations communication dated 3rd May advising inquiries being madeNo advice since. However- Then I gave the man's name again - informed Lithgow office Department Social Services unemployment benefit payments suspended pending further inquiries. **Mr. ..............** assures me no work for some time neither has he refused any offer work. Has wife and two children to maintain. Hi* position desperate. Would like you to take immediate action in conjunction with Minister for Social Services restore payments unemployment benefit this case. There was not even an acknowledgment of that telegram. This unfortunate man is now without any means of subsistence. The Minister for Labour and National Service and *the* Department of Social Services are adopting a peculiar attitude in regard to applications for the payment of unemployment benefits. We have heard the Minister repeatedly talk about the diminishing numbers in receipt of the unemployment benefit as an indication that there is very little unemployment in the community, but the Minister and his department see to it that the number receiving the unemployment benefit is reduced to the absolute minimum. An illustration of that is provided by the case of a deserted wife who applied for a widow's pension. She was declared ineligible for either this or an invalid pension, although she is in very bad health. She then applied for employment without success and was told that, because of her state of health, she was in any event unable to accept regular employment. On this ground, she was refused the unemployment benefit also. If time permitted I could give other illustrations to the House of men who, though unable to undertake regular employment are quite prepared to do temporary work when their health permits. The Department of Social Services declares that, because such people are unable to accept regular work at any time, they may not receive the unemployment benefit. The Government ought to attend to these anomalies immediately, or declare that its policy encourages that sort of thing. {: #debate-29-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-29-s5 .speaker-KRK} ##### Mr McIVOR:
Gellibrand .- I wish to draw the attention of the Government to a matter of very grave concern which involves the health not only of the metropolis of Melbourne but also of every other metropolis in Australia. The state of affairs to which I intend to refer is probably to be found in every capital city. Both the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Bird)** and I have spoken in this House of the parlous financial condition of municipalities throughout Australia, because of their failure to obtain sufficient loan money to enable them to carry out capital works, especially those related to health. I should like to quote from a report of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of. Works, one of the health authorities of Melbourne. It will give every honorable member an indication of the state of that city's health amenities as a result of insufficient loan money. The report reads - >During the past five years the Board has submitted annual works programmes totalling £30,850,000 to the Australian Loan Council for its approval, but of this amount only £21,450,000 has been approved by the Council, the Board's proposed programmes thus being reduced by £9,400,000 during this period. > >This reduction has had the effect of creating a serious back-lag of water supply, sewerage and drainage works and aggravating an already serious position created by the war. > >With Melbourne growing at the rate of 14,000 houses a year and a corresponding industrial expansion, the sum of £10,000,000 is required in each of the next eight years to safeguard the citizens of Melbourne against serious hazards to health and a major breakdown in the services, and to restore the standard of service that was available to the community prior to the war. > >The demand for water and sewerage services by rapidly expanding large-scale industrial development in the outer areas of the > >Metropolis calls for considerable capital expenditure and unless these services are provided new industries may be lost to other States. > >During the past ten years the number of houses in the metropolitan area has increased by 120,000 and this has created a tremendous volume of work in providing water supply sewerage and drainage facilities. > >For the current year (1955-56) the Board submitted a programme to the Australian Loan Council through the State Co-ordinator of Works totalling £8,912,000, but it was authorized to borrow only £4,850,000. By using its own internal resources it endeavoured to arrange for a programme totalling £7,450,000, but in spite of using the whole of these resources the amount available for construction work will be approximately £300,000 short of this amount. > >For the year 1956-57 a programme totalling nearly £10,000,000 has been forwarded to the State Co-ordinator of Works, and it is vitally necessary for the Board to obtain approval for the borrowing of this amount if it is not to fall further behind in the provision of water supply, sewerage and drainage facilities for existing and new houses - it has no further internal resources available to supplement the authorized loan borrowing. > >During the past ten years the Board has provided the following services, viz.: - > >110,000 new dwellings, factories, offices, etc., have been supplied with water : > >60,000 dwellings have been provided with sewerage facilities at a cost of £8,000,000: > >Approximately 30 miles of drains (mostly 4 ft. to 7 ft. diameter) have been constructed at a cost of £3,000,000 : > >The construction of the Upper Yarra Dam and other large headworks, costing £15,000,000, which are necessary to meet the rapidly growing demands for water, have been brought within twelve months of completion. In spite of the above work, at the present time - {: type="a" start="i"} 0. the main sewers and the Spotswood Pumping Station which were constructed for a population of 1,000,000 are overloaded in wet weather, necessitating an immediate start on the amplification of the sewerage system, involving an expenditure of £5,500,000 in the next four years and a further £16,000,000 in the subsequent ten years. {: type="i" start="ii"} 0. Over 60,000 houses are unsewered, 40,000 of which are in areas which are 50 per cent, to 100 per cent, developed and 20,000 are in the fringe areas of partial development. (Hi) Drainage works to the value of £5,000,000 are required to prevent the flooding of houses in areas of poor natural drainage and to alleviate the insanitary conditions in many water-courses, particularly those draining unsewered areas. 1. Miles of reticulation water mains arc waiting to be laid as well as larger size mains to meet the growing demands of the various suburbs, especially the western suburbs which are the furthest from the storages and where there is an extensive industrial development. If the Board is to keep puce with the rapid growth of Melbourne it must be assured of obtaining sufficient capital to intelligently plan and carry out both its yearly and long-range programmes of work, and, as set out above, this involves an expenditure of £10,000,000 per annum for the next eight years. [ think that is a very serious state of affairs. I appeal to the Treasurer, and also to the Prime Minister, when he returns from overseas, to give some reasonable thought, in the preparation of the budget, to the plight of semigovernment bodies which need more funds to enable them to do the work with which they are confronted. Anybody who reads of the effects of infectious hepatitis, which is sweeping the country at the moment, can readily understand the need for assistance to local government bodies to carry out their work. I leave the matter at that in the hope that the Government will make some reasonable approach to the question of providing semi-governmental instrumentalities with funds to enable them to do the work demanded of them. {: #debate-29-s6 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Melbourne -- I wish to protest against the studied discourtesy which Ministers display towards honorable members in regard to representations made by them in debates on the motion for the adjournment of the House at the end of each sitting day, and also in respect of answers to questions asked by honorable members. There was a time when Ministers of State were not so discourteous. When I came into this Parliament in 1940 it was not only the rule, as it is now, and has been during the terms of office of all successive governments, that every Minister ought to be in his place at question time, but every available Minister did the House the courtesy of listening to the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House. I understand that when **Mr. Bruce** was Prime Minister he insisted on that custom being observed. Possibly the Lyons Government did the same. I know that the members of the Chifley and Curtin Labour Governments always were in their places during adjournment debates. But in recent times practically every Minister walks out of the chamber as soon as the motion for the adjournment of the House is proposed. To-night, only the Minister for Air **(Mr. Townley)** was present for most of the debate. There may be six Ministers in the chamber now, but they are only six out of a total of seventeen Ministers who are members of this House. There are two tourists, the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** and the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen),** so that leaves fifteen Ministers who ought to be here. However, even if they all were not here, the House is entitled to expect that what honorable members say during the adjournment debate shall be brought to the attention of the appropriate departments. But that is not done. It obviously is not done, because when members of this House make their representations they never receive a reply to anything they say. Only three weeks ago the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** spoke during an adjournment debate on the treatment meted out to two ex-servicemen of World War I. He has not received a reply to his observations, and probably never will. Questions are asked in this House, and the Ministers to whom they are directed say that they will make statements in reply to them at a later date. But, in most instances they never reply. There is no special secretariat attached to any department - surely there ought to be one attached to the Prime Minister's Department - to bring representations made by any honorable member on either side of the House to the attention of the responsible Ministers concerned. Is it the Ministers who are failing to do their jobs properly? Is it the departmental heads who are equally treating the members of this Parliament with the contempt which is being meted out? Who is at fault? It cannot be said that Ministers are inadequately supplied with secretarial staffs. There were never more bloated ministerial staffs than there are to-day. There was never a bigger staff in the Prime Minister's Department to record Cabinet decisions and to attend to all the affairs of that department than there is to-day. It is about three times as big as it was in the days of the Curtin Government and the Menzies-Fadden Administration when the war was at its worst. To-day, we simply cannot get replies to questions and representations. Honorable members should not have to beg for replies to their representations. Every honorable member in this House represents 40,000 electors. He puts a case for a person who makes representations to him. The person concerned may have any brand of politics, or none; but that person is a citizen of this country and, as a citizen, is entitled to equal rights with every other citizen. Whatever any honorable member says in this House should be treated with respect, and when a reply is given to his representations it should bc given promptly and the member concerned should be able to forward it immediately to the elector who sought his assistance. I have observed for a long time just how democracy is dying in this Parliament, how Ministers are treating the Parliament as if it were a useless and wearisome bore, as if it were a place that ought to be closed up quickly and ought to meet as infrequently as possible, as if it were an institution that could not help the Ministry to solve the problems of tin day. That is contrary to the whole principle of democratic government. Ministers have their rights and obligations, and must perform their duties to the best nf their abilities; but every member of this Parliament is of equal importance in the eyes of the electors. And it is not a question of seventeen Ministers in this place and five in another place carrying on the government of this country. This is a Parliament consisting of 60 members of the Senate and 124 members of the House of Representatives, and I hope that, when we meet again from September onwards, Ministers will give more regard to what honorable members put to them, and that we shall not find those on the ministerial bench continuing to treat honorable members with the scant courtesy and contemptuous disregard which mark their attitude to-day. {: #debate-29-s7 .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY:
Minister for External Affairs · La Trobe · LP .- I have not had the privilege of hearing everything that the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell)** has said on this matter, but I think I have heard enough of it to prompt me to say a few words on it myself. Apparently the honorable member for Melbourne has accused Ministers of discourtesy and dereliction of their obvious duty to attend to representations by members of the Opposition and, indeed, I would believe, by members of the House generally. Now that is a matter which touches me a little, and I should like the privilege of saying a few words in reply to the honorable member for Melbourne on it, because I believe, in respect of Ministers as a whole, and not only in respect of myself, that the honorable member's charge is unfounded and untrue. I wish to say that the task of a Minister in an Australian Government these days is not an easy one. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- It never was ! {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- Possibly it never was, but I should think that the whole tempo of government, possibly all over the world, but certainly in Australia, has increased enormously in recent years. I had the privilege of being a Minister in an Australian Government for most of the 1930's. We liked to believe in those days that there was a very great deal for us to do. The tempo, the stress and the strain seemed to be very high. But they were nothing to the tempo, the stress and the strain of public affairs, from the ministerial point of view, in the 1940's and the 1950's. The strain to-day is tremendous, and I believe that Ministers as a whole - I am not putting myself forward as a singular instance - are driving themselves into the ground in an effort to carry out their duties. Now, the honorable member for Melbourne may think that the whole of the business of a Minister is done in this chamber. That is very far, indeed, from being the truth. In fact, if a Minister were to spend any appreciable proportion of his time in this chamber he could not possibly do his job as a Minister. There are vast numbers of people to be seen by Ministers. There is an enormous volume of ministerial correspondence to be coped with. Speaking for myself - and I do not suppose for one moment that my experience in this matter is out of the ordinary - my mail ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 letters a month, and every one of those letters has to be dealt with. The Minister must cope with all of those letters. The greater part of them must receive the personal attention of the Minister. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- All I said was that the Ministers should be in the House at the adjournment and at question time. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- At the adjournment and at question time, and presumably at many other times as well. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- No, I did not mention any other time. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- If a Minister does his job as he should, he can spend only a very small proportion of his time in this House. He has a hundred other things to do. It is not dereliction of duty nor is it contempt for the Opposition, as the honorable gentleman suggested. It is merely that he has to put first things first. There must, of course, always be a Minister, or may be more than one Minister, present in the House, and I think there is. But the task of government these days in any country has become such that a Minister has to spend the great bulk of his time in his own office and not in this chamber, except when matters particularly effecting him ure before the House. If my friend from Melbourne were to cast his mind back to the days, now happily remote, when he was a member nf a government, he would realize that what he has said has been said from a party political point of view in an attempt merely to raise doubts in the minds of the uninitiated and of many people who inevitably are not acquainted with the business of government as it falls to Ministers these days. I do not like to say this of the honorable member for Melbourne because he does not suffer very much from this sort of thing, particularly when compared with his colleagues on the south side of the House. He would realize that what he has said is a party political comment and that it is very easy, very facile and possibly quite rewarding from his party political point of view. But that does not mean that it is the right thing to say. The old tag, that the business of an Opposition is to oppose, probably remains true, but I think that people who have had experience of the business of government and of opposition, in which I have not had the privilege of serving- {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- It will not be long now. {: .speaker-JWE} ##### Mr CASEY: -- May be, but I think it may be a little time. It is not quite as late as the honorable member thinks. Thinking people have watered-down the old tag to say that the business of an Opposition is to oppose when it is logical and defensible to oppose, and that does not include remarks that are made solely, as I venture to suggest that this was, from a purely party political point of view. {: #debate-29-s8 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor -- I have listened with considerable interest to the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Casey).** If he is trying to convince the people of this country that the burden of work on Her Majesty's Ministers to-day is heavier than the burden of work that fell upon His Majesty's Ministers during the war and post-war years, I assure him and his fellow Ministers that the people simply will not believe him, and that is all there is to it. The plain fact is that this Government has become arrogant with age. It has adopted the attitude that the representations of members on this side of the chamber, on the adjournment or at any other time, are not worthy of consideration. We are the objects of the contempt of Ministers, and they have no hesitation in expressing it. Let me recount an instance as an illustration. The Minister for External Affairs a few minutes ago said that it was untrue to say that members' representations on the adjournment were not dealt with. Only a few nights ago on the adjournment motion I mentioned the case of an airman. The Minister for Air **(Mr. Townley)** was not here; I would not expect him to be here always. The Minister who was in charge of the business of the House did not have the decency to reply to matters that were raised on the adjournment and to say, " In regard to the representations of the honorable member for Lalor, an inquiry will be made and we will see what can be done in the case that he has mentioned ". I was completely ignored. That does not matter to me personally, but it has a tremendous impact on the person who was involved in my representation. Whether the case was a good one or a bad one is immaterial. It was necessary for me to rise to my feet on the following night and deal with that problem again. That brought the Minister for Air to his feet and he did take some notice. He started his reply to me with a series of abusive remarks. He wanted to deal with things that were immaterial to the case that I had mentioned. The Vice-President of the Executive Council **(Sir Eric Harrison),** who is interjecting, can be very arrogant when it suits him, and so, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** can I. This Government has the greatest number of Ministers ever known in the Commonwealth of Australia. It is no use their trying to bluff members who had experience as Ministers during the arduous and dangerous years of the war by saying that their duties are more difficult than the duties of Ministers during the war and post-war years. I know what those difficulties were because I held one of the most difficult portfolios and I know that my successor has a difficult portfolio. But there is another aspect. If the comments of the Minister for External Affairs are true, that state of affairs is not unrelated to the tours undertaken by Ministers; it is not unrelated to their delight in travelling abroad. I would be the last to say that Ministers should not travel abroad, but the prolonged nature of their trips abroad causes heavy duties to be placed on the shoulders of those who are left behind. Their failure to pay attention to the representations of honorable members - there are some exceptions - is not unrelated to the fact that Parliament has never sat on fewer days each year than during the period that this Government has been in office. All members of this Government are concerned with is to call Parliament together, push the budget through, get the ancillary measures that are related to the budget on the statute-book, and go off on their duties in the various parts of the Commonwealth. They rush to Canberra and, so that they can rush off, apply the gag to free speech on every possible occasion. {: .speaker-KNX} ##### Sir ERIC HARRISON:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944 -- The honorablemember should not have reminded me. I move - >That the question be now put. Question put. The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.) AYES: 48 NOES: 25 Majority . . . . 23 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Question put - That the House do now adjourn. The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C.F. Adermann.) AYES: 49 NOES: 25 Majority . . . . 24 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.58 p.m. {: .page-start } page 2993 {:#debate-30} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS *The following answers to questions were circulated: -* {:#subdebate-30-0} #### Australian Journalists Association Award {: #subdebate-30-0-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that last year the Australian Journalists Association obtained an award which granted substantial increase to particular classifications of journalists? 1. Were the newspaper proprietors able largely to negative the work of the court by carrying out a reclassification of their staffs and down-grading numbers of their employees? 2. Did the newspaper proprietors, in order to prevent journalists attempting to maintain their status and wage level by seeking employment with a rival paper on their old grading, enter into an agreement for a period of twelve months after the date when the new award became effective not to employ journalists previously employed by another member of the organization ? 3. If so, will he state whether the method employed by the newspaper proprietors to defeat the decision of the Court contained in the new award is a form of contempt of the Court, and whether there is any course of action available to the Association whereby this injustice might be rectified? 4. Will he state whether it is within the law for newspaper proprietors to combine to defeat the will of the Court by limiting or abolishing the right of the individual to choose his own employment? 5. Is it considered that the action of the newspaper proprietors is at complete variance with their advocacy of a Bill ofRights to protect and preserve individual liberty? {: #subdebate-30-0-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On the 17th June, 1955, Conciliation Commissioner Blackburn issued his decision on claims by both employees and employers for an award covering salaries and working conditions of persons employed on metropolitan daily newspapers. The award itself was issued on the 25th July following a hearing at which the parties spoke to the minutes of the proposed new award. 2 to 6. I have no information available to me which would enable me to answer these questions. If the Australian Journalists Association has any ground for complaint arising out of its award the appropriate course would appear to he for the association to take up the matter with the conciliation commissioner now concerned with the industry. Australianfauna. {: #subdebate-30-0-s2 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr Osborne:
LP e, - On the 15th May, the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** asked a number of questions without notice concerning the export of Australian fauna. I now furnish the following answer to the honorable member's questions : - >The protection of fauna in Australia is under the control of the several State governments and it is the practice of the Commonwealth to administer export restrictions in close cooperation with the State authorities. Permission to export is granted only where the appropriate State authority has given approval to such exportation. In Victoria the appropriate body is the Department of Fisheries and Game and I am advised that such department does not approve the export of Victorian fauna, apart from aviary-bred birds, except to recognized zoological gardens. I have ascertained that there is in Victoria an exporter of fauna who operates an a fairly large scale. However, the fauna shipped by this person has to date been chiefly of South Australian and Queensland origin and in all cases the exporter has produced satisfactory authority for export from the relevant bodies in those States. I would point out to the honorable member that some birds and animals which are protected in one State may he regarded as vermin in another. In this connexion I instance the Regent Parrot, which is regarded as destructive of crops in South Australia but is protected in Victoria. I have no knowledge of the reptile "project " referred to by the honorable member. However, insofar as the Victorian fauna authorities are concerned the export *at* reptiles is not restricted as they are not protected. The present control over the export of fauna has worked satisfactorily for many years and 1 do not feel that there is any call for action to disturb the existing position. {:#subdebate-30-1} #### Immigration {: #subdebate-30-1-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP n asked the Minister for Immigration, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the net gain in immigration since tin: last census was taken? 1. What percentage of this gain came from the British Isles? 2. What were the countries of origin of the balance and what was the number from each country? {: #subdebate-30-1-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is impossible to calculate accurately, over a short period, the net population gain from migration. The Commonwealth Statistician does publish figures of " permanent arrivals " and " permanent departures " but in the short term these can be quite misleading, particularly when related to movements between Australia and individual countries, if not interpreted with some knowledge of what they in fact include. " Permanent arrivals " include all those people coming to Australia for the first time and those Australians who have been abroad for a year or longer who intend to remain in Australia for twelve months or longer, irrespective of their eventual intentions. Similarly, " permanent departures " cover all those who have been in Australia for twelve months or longer and are leaving Australia with the intention of being away for twelve months or longer, irrespective of their eventual intentions. One of the weaknesses of this system is that many Australians going overseas either overstate the intended duration of their stay abroad, or revise their plans after they have departed and, although they have indicated that they will be away twelve months or longer (and thus have been counted as " permanent departures"), return to Australia in less than twelve months (and thus are counted as "temporary visitors returning "). On the statistics, therefore, many more Australians are counted as " penna lieut departures" than as "permanent arrivals ". Furthermore, they not infrequently change their place of intended residence, and may, for example, be recorded as departing for the United Kingdom and returning from the United States of America. Particularly in respect of British people, who of course include Australians, therefore, " net permanent migration " figures are liable to be most misleading. Over longer periods, however, with the aid of census and by comparison with statistics of total arrivals and departures (including so-called "temporary movement") reliable figures of true population gain through migration can be obtained. Using the " permanent arrivals " and " permanent departures " figures, with their deficiencies, " net permanent migration " during the eighteen months from the 1st July, 1954, to the 31st December, 1955, was 133,047, based on 184,838 "permanent arrivals" and 51,791 "permanent departures ". The true population gain through migration may be up to 15,000 higher than this, the majority of whom would be British. 1. For the reasons already stated, it is not possible to calculate how much of the true population gain came from the United Kingdom. During the period in question, however, " permanent arrivals " from the United Kingdom numbered 51,181. British from other countries were 27,027, giving a total of 78,208. 2. " Permanent arrivals " from other countries during the same period were - The honorable member may be interested to learn that figures released by the United Kingdom Board of Trade show that in the post-war period until June, 1955 (the latest date for which such figures are available), total migration to Australia from the United Kingdom has been only slightly below the combined total going to the three other main British receiving countries - Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. For the latest available period, the six months ended June, 1955. these figures indicate that Australia received 48.1 per cent, of such movement, compared with- These figures speak for themselves, particularly having regard to the fact that, in common with New Zealand, Australia is at a disadvantage compared with the other countries because of its greater distance from the United Kingdom. Australia is taking as many migrants from the United Kingdom as possible at the present time and numbers are limited only by availability of suitable accommodation. By far the greater percentage of migrants from the United Kingdom have gone to accommodation provided by friends and relatives under personal nomination arrangements. It is the Government's policy to encourage migration from the United Kingdom in the greatest possible numbers. If more Australian residents could be induced to nominate persons living in the United Kingdom, it follows that it would be possible for them to come here in greater numbers. The essential factor in such nominations is, of course, the provision of accommodation. In addition, as many families ns possible are brought out under the Commonwealth Nomination Scheme, in which case accommodation provided under Government arrangements i.i the first instance. However, the number of such migrants is limited by the availability of hostel accommodation. The position is, therefore, that whilst the policy of the Government is to ensure the maximum British intake within the overall immigration programme, such intake is to a large extent governed by the availability of accommodation, both private and Government arranged, which can be provided for them. At the present time the Government is taking full advantage of the high rate of applications for migration to Australia in the United Kingdom by using all suitable shipping and accommodation available. Every available berth on commercial shipping lines serving Australia from the United Kingdom is at present fully booked for British migrants. In addition, the *New Australia,* which we own with the British Government, is being used exclusively for the transport of migrants from the United Kingdom. We have, moreover, recently experimented with chartering foreign shipping in order to increase our British intake. As further evidence of our desire to do all within our power to attract and assist migrants from the United Kingdom, I should mention that we pay about 85 per cent, of the fare of each assisted migrant from the United Kingdom compared with 21 per cent, of the fares of assisted migrants from other areas. Finally, it is of interest to note that of the 1,031,508 permanent arrivals, Australia has received between October, 1945, and December, 1955, 490,014 or 48.2 per cent, were of British nationality, a clear indication of the Government's determination to foster and maintain the predominantly British character of the Australian population. Cotton. {: #subdebate-30-1-s2 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Minister for Primary Industry · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP n. - I refer to the question asked by the honorable member for Lilley **(Mr. Wight)** on the 23rd May, regarding the problem of disposal of 1,000 bales of cordage and bedding cotton carried over by the Queensland Cotton Marketing Board from the 1955 crop, and the possibility of imports of cheap cotton from overseas countries being restricted. I am now in & position to inform the honorable gentleman that in view of the fact that supplies of Australiangrown cordage and bedding cotton are available for purchase, the issue of import licences for these types of cotton has been stopped.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 June 1956, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.