2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the
Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, if he has any objection to lay on the table of the Senate copies of papers and correspondence connected with the proposal to build a new post-office at Cairns?
– I shall consult the Postmaster-General, and if he has no objection, I shall see that these papers are laid on the table of the Library. I may remind honorable senators that in some instance’s the papers called for are of a bulky nature, and take some time to copy. If Senator Givens is satisfied with this answer, what I have stated will be done.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
Regulation under the Post and Telegraph Act, Statutory rule No. 45.
Classification of the Public Service.
First annual report of the Public Service Commissioner.
Addition to financial and allowance regulations, Statutory rules, 1904, No. 43, and amendment of regulations, Statutory rules, 1904, No. 42.
The Clerk laid upon the table the following paper -
Return to an order of the Senate, of14th July, 1904, giving the quantity and value of imports and exports.
Motion (by Senator Clemons) agreed to-
That one month’s leave of absence be granted to Senator Sir J. H. Symon, on account of urgent private affairs.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act relating to the law of evidence.
Bill presented and read a first time.
Debate resumed from 28th July (vide page 3654), on motion by Senator Staniforth Smith -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, a Bill should be introduced by theGovernment to provide for a rebate of the duties paid on all natural products of the soil imported into the Commonwealth which have been grown in the islands of the New Hebrides, on land owned and occupied by British subjects.
– I think that Senator Smith is to be congratulated on bringing this question forward. It does not savour much of fireworks, and does not attract much attention; but “though it may be to some extent outside the ken of the people of Australia generally, it is ohe which, according to the way in which it is settled, may have important results, affecting the people of the Commonwealth, if not at present, certainly in the time to come. We cannot lose sight of the fact that though we are living in a continent separated from other parts of the world, and. are selfcontained, there are other nations whose possessions are in close proximity to us, and with whom we shall hereafter have dealings, we hope of a friendly character, but it may be of an unfriendly character. It is the province and duty ot this Parliament, so far as within it lies, to see that these questions are not made difficult of solution, by reason of carelessness on our part, or of inability to foresee the situations which may arise in the future. It is on this account that I think Senator Smith is to bc congratulated on bringing forward the question at this juncture. The relations of the Empire with other nations at present can be said to be distinctly friendly. No other nation has so far shown a disposition to acquire the New Hebrides by an act of aggression. Senator Smith has, therefore, taken time by the forelock in submitting his motion. In a pacific manner, by means of trade, the honorable senator proposes to prevent other nations having better facilities for acts of aggression in the future, or by reason of trade, putting themselves in a better position to act aggressively towards Australia. It will be noticed that the motion contemplates a rebate of duties only in the case of the natural products of the soil. I take it that the honorable senator does not propose that the. rebate should extend to goods manufactured in the New Hebrides. That puts out of the question all possibility of any person establishing manufactures in those islands, and being allowed to land his manufactured goods in Australia at a lower rate than goods of the same kind imported to the Commonwealth from any other part of the world. The articles on which it is proposed to allow a rebate of the duties are also largely articles which are not produced in Australia, or, at all events, not in very great quantities. The object aimed at is, of course, a practical application of the Monroe doctrine to the Pacific. I remind honorable senators that the Monroe doctrine as applied to America by the United States people has two phases. They laid down the principle that no other country should acquire further territory in America. They also laid down the principle that they would not themselves acquire further territory in America. They agreed to maintain the status quo so far as America was concerned. It seems to me that this is a very safe doctrine for Australia to apply to the Pacific. I do not think the time has arrived when Australia should seek to acquire territory in the Pacific. I do not think that we should at this time seek to acquire the New Hebrides as a territory of the Commonwealth. With Senator Smith, I am inclined to think that we were somewhat premature in acquiring New Guinea as a Territory of the Commonwealth. I think, however, that we can well apply the Monroe doctrine to the New Hebrides in that respect But we should not ‘ lose sight of the fact that the other phase of the Monroe doctrine is equally valuable in this connexion. That is to say, that while we do not desire to acquire the New Hebrides as a Territory of. the Commonwealth, we should see that no other nation acquires those islands, not because we wish to interfere with foreign nations, but simply because we wish to put it beyond their power to effectually interfere with us. The policy for Australia is to mind her own business, and, as far as possible to prevent other nations interfering with her business. Senator Smith has pointed out that there is a real danger of the acquisition of the New Hebrides by one of the European nations. That danger, as the honorable senator has said, does not arise from any aggressive attitude towards the British Empire on the part of that nation, but from the perfectly friendly and legitimate attitude adopted by that nation towards the people of this group of islands. While this nation has no claim upon these islands, and they are not its property, it has gone out of its way to make special provision to cater for the trade of the islands. The object of the action taken is to encourage French settlement on the islands, and to encourage settlers already there to become Frenchmen by naturalization, in order that eventually such a claim to the islands may be established by reason of their population that they will drop as a rich prize into the hands of the French nation. We cannot blame the French people for their action in this respect. It is a perfectly legitimate and admirable way of acquiring territory; far better than the old method of aggression. I point out, however, that it is open to any other nation to adopt the same legitimate method of trade. That being so, if the method adopted by the French nation leads to the permanent residence of French people in the New Hebrides we cannot blame them in the least, and we can only blame ourselves for not having availed ourselves of the same opportunities, and for neglecting to make use of the same facilities to prevent the islands becoming the property of the French people. I point out that the motion, as it is stated, will not involve the bringing into competition of the people of Australia with the coloured labour of the South Sea Islands. There is, therefore, no danger that the principle of a White Australia will in any way be impinged upon by its acceptance. The settlers whom it is proposed we should encourage are not coloured, but white settlers, and the object aimed at is to induce Britishers to settle permanently in the islands.
– How shall we know whether commodities sent here have been produced bv white or black labour?
– That can be very easily ascertained. We have Captain Rason established as the Government Resident on the islands, and there is no reason why we should not adopt the same method as the French Government employ in order to see that the produce on which they give a rebate was grown by French subjects. They_ require with each consignment a certificate from the French Lands Commissioner in the New Hebrides that the produce has been grown by French or by naturalized French subjects.
– But they employ the natives.
– They may employ the natives; but each consignment of produce must be accompanied by a certificate that it is the produce of French subjects or naturalized French subjects.
– We should need a staff of inspectors to watch these things.
– Not necessarily. The French officials go round the islands, and do this work in the ordinary performance of their duty. We have already a
British. Resident in the islands, carrying out precisely the same duties, with the exception that these trade regulations have not been established. All that is necessary is that arrangements should be made with the British Government requiring Captain Rason to give certificates for the produce of British subjects in the islands.
– Who would supply the information to Captain Rason ?
– He would get the information himself.
– From the people who grow the produce?
– He would be able to get it for himself. He will be living on the spot, and will be practically an inspector.
– If British subjects in the islands are allowed to land their produce free in Australia they may be trusted to take good care that no one who is not entitled to do so shall be allowed to compete with them.
– I propose to read to the Senate some statements which will show how unfairly the present competition is operating so far as British residents on the islands are concerned. In the Sydney Morning Herald of 21st July last there are the following notes from the New Hebrides group : -
On the other hand, the British settlers are being handicapped in every possible way, instead of receiving some amount of encouragement in their pioneering work. The maize and other products grown by the British in the . group are heavily taxed; indeed, the same duty is imposed upon Britishgrown maize in the New Hebrides as upon the products of foreign labour in foreign lands. The British settlers complain that they are being treated by their own people as outsiders, while their French competitors are being assisted in every way possible. The British Resident Commissioner’ in the New Hebrides group, Captain Rason, R.N., has done his utmost in the interests of the settlers, but the opinion is very emphatically expressed that, unless the Commonwealth Government can see its way to encourage them, French interests will ultimately predominate. The startling report that some of the British settlers in the New Hebrides propose to “change their flag” by becoming naturalized French subjects, in order to secure a market for their products, has been brought to Sydney by the Tambo. Other settlers, it is stated, who object to . swearing allegiance to France, contemplate disposing of their selections to their French competitors. The prospects for the British are reported to be very gloomy, and general disappointment is expressed at the apathy and want of sympathy on the part of the Australian people.
– Do you think it likely that that report is accurate?
-I have no reason to believe that the report is not an accurate statement of the facts, It cannot be disputed that the French. Government are allowing the products of the islands into New Caledonia free of duty, while the Australian Government, along with the French Government, place a duty on all the products of the British settlers. On the one hand, the Frenchman has a free market in New Caledonia, while the British settler finds both the Australian market and the French market closed against him. Any unprejudiced person will admit that this places the British settler in unfair competition.
– On general lines, the honorable senator does not take that newspaper as correct.
– -If it were a leading article, or an expression of opinion on the part of the newspaper, I should not quote the extract.
– The returns show that the number of British subjects in the New Hebrides is decreasing.
– Senator Smith applied to Mr. Wollaston, the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs, for a return showing the exports of products from the New Hebrides to New South Wales for the year 1903. From that report we find that the exports were as follow : - Raw coffee, £287; copra, . £9,252; maize,£8,434there is a duty of 20 per cent, on maize - crude indiarubber,£125 ; logs of timber, £246; tortoise-shell, £146; and other articles, . £170; or total exports, , £18,660.
– Did the honorable member mention bananas?
– There are no bananas mentioned in the list, and I suppose that none were imported in that year. It will be noticed that one of the main items is copra.
– There is no duty on copra.
– That is so; and another main item is maize, the duty paid on which amounted to about £1,800. It seems to me, therefore, that the only item which is of importance in the present connexion is that of maize, which is grown to some extent in the Commonwealth. So far as I can judge, maize is a very profitable crop in the States where it is produced ; but we have to import a large quantity, the Australian output being riot nearly sufficient to meet local demands. This is not a case of bringing a product into an over stocked market; and if the maize from the New Hebrides is shut out, the article will have to be imported from some other part of the world. Under the circumstances, we might seriously consider whether we could not make a rebate of the duty on this one item. As to the other items, crude indiarubber is not produced here at all ; while the timber logs imported are not such as come into competition with timber grown on the mainland. Tortoiseshell is not produced in any quantity in Australia; so that, as I said before, the principal item we have to take into consideration is that of maize. The motion contemplates only the natural products of the soil ; and the products of the New Hebrides are those which are suited to tropical climates.
– What does Queensland say to that?
– I think it could be easily shown that in the motion there is no danger to Queensland.
– Is there not a danger to any maize-producing State?
-There are two dangers. There is the very limited danger of maize from the New Hebrides coming into competition when the maize grown on the mainland is sufficient to supply the local market, and there is the other danger of the New Hebrides becoming a French possession. In looking at one danger we must not shut our eyes to the other. If by the means proposed we can do something to encourage British settlement in the New Hebrides, and prevent those islands becoming a French possession, we are justified in making some concession on the one hand to avoid a great danger on the other. We form part of an empire with a foreign policy, in the shaping of which we have no share. That foreign policy may at any time involve a rupture with France; and, if in the meantime the New Hebrides have become a French possession and naval station, the French Government will not take into consideration the fact that Australia had no hand in bringing about the rupture or the war, but will use that station as a means of aggressive action against Australia. We must not shut our eyes to those possibilities. While I regard the acquisition of the New Hebrides as unnecessary, still, if we can, without inflicting any damage on the Commonwealth, prevent the French getting such a hold as to amount to occupation, I think we shall be doing only our duty. The motion is limited in its scope, and will not, I believe, inflict any hardship. It offers the only method by which we can prevent the New Hebrides from becoming a French settlement. We know that with the opening of the Panama Canal in a few years, and in view of the growth of Japan as a naval power, the Pacific will be the scene of great naval activity in the future - the centre of disturbance will be shifted from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. In all naval warfare which might there occur, the New Hebrides must play a great part; and we shall be untrue to the best interests of Australia if we did not take whatever action we possiblv can in order to keep the New Hebrides neutral, or, at all events, to prevent the group from becoming a naval station for a Power which may at any time be hostile to this country.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).It is high time public attention was drawn to the position of affairs in the New Hebrides, where it is very clear our interests are losing ground. Fifty years ago the Presbyterian Church began operations in the New Hebrides, and since that time that body has spent a large amount of money, and has made great exertions, at all events, in the interests of civilization. I do not like the proposal to give a Customs rebate to British settlers. Such a course would open up a question which might cause a great deal of trouble hereafter. But we might do something to promote commercial communication with these islands. At the present time, , £6,000 per year is paid as a subsidy for a British steam-ship service in the Pacific. What is that sum compared with the , £18,000 per annum paid by the French Government as a subsidy in connexion with the New Hebrides alone? In addition to that subsidy, something like , £16,000 is allowed by theFrench Government to the French LandCompany, in order to assist settlers of that nationality. Those settlers have a free market in New Caledonia, and, under all the circumstances, it is no wonder that Australian and British interests are suffering.
– Does the honorable senator not think that that is a matter for Great Britain and not for Australia?
– Apparently Great Britain requires to be pressed by us. It is France which is paying these subsidies, and I certainly think that Great Britain ought to do more than she has done in the past. But the circumstances make it all the more important for us, in our geographical position, to strain a point in endeavouring to encourage British settlement in these beaufiful islands. Port Sandwicn and Havannah Harbor are two of the finest ports in the Pacific; and it is only natural that foreign countries should cast envious eyes upon them. We can well see what a menace the foreign occupation of these ports would be to Australia. We here cannot do very much ; but I understand that there is a proposal to increase the postal and commercial facilities at New Hebrides ‘and elsewhere in the Pacific, by a slightly increased subsidy.
– The best subsidy to steam-ships is freights, and these cannot be got at the present time.
– If steamships could be encouraged, by means of a subsidy, to reduce their freight charges, we might thus help both the settlers and ourselves. I understand that the Government are at present in treaty with a company to supply an increased steam-ship service ; and this matter is well worthy of consideration. I am not one who supports the spending of more money than is absolutely necessary, but I consider that money would be well spent, in endeavouring to increase our influence and advantages in the New Hebrides. If it be true that the advantages offered by the French Government are such as to induce British settlers to change their nationality, our interests would appear to be in great jeopardy ; because, if it comes to a question of the number of inhabitants who owe allegiance to Great Britain, we may find ourselves seriously outnumbered. The fact that British interests in the islands have been carefully looked after for the last fifty years, as they were even before that time, ought to have some weight with us at the present time.
– I beg to move as an amendment -
That the following words be added : - “ Provided that all such products be grown by white labour.”
– It is a black man’s country.
– There are only a few white people there.
– I do not fall in with the idea that we should encourage settlement in any country but Australia. We have on the mainland sufficient territory on which to settle . thousands of people without seeking for fresh lands outside.
– Not much encouragement is offered to people to come to Australia at present.
– What is the object of the motion? We are told that the idea is not to annex the New Hebrides, but to encourage British settlers to make permanent homes there. In the same breath, however, we are told that France is settling people on the land, with a view to the ultimate annexation of the islands ; and it is contended that we shall be very wrong if we do not give our settlers the same facilities as are afforded by France. Some speakers contend that for strategic reasons we should encourage settlement, because at some future stage a nation may there establish a naval and military base with a view to attacking Australia. I venture the opinion that if ever Australia is in any trouble, and has settlements thousands of miles away, such as the Nsw Hebrides, those settlements will prove a serious source of danger and inconvenience, rather than an assistance. In practice it seems to me that we should have to do with those islands, what I venture to think Great Britain would do with Australia if ever there was war with some great naval power - namely, let the islands look after themselves. Therefore, I think we rim’ dismiss from our minds the idea of any strategic advantage accruing from the acquisition of the New Hebrides.
– What we want to do is not to acquire the New Hebrides, but to prevent any other nation from acquiring the islands.
– I know that that is the desire of the honorable member, who, with the very best of intentions, is like those individuals who have been described as desiring to acquire the whole earth. There are some people who would not rest satisfied if they possessed half of the whole habitable globe. I cannot understand why it is that members of the Commonwealth Parliament and of the States Legislatures dj not see how ridiculous they must appear in the eyes of other nations of ihi world. Australia is a nation of some 4,000,000 people, with a territory 3,107,000 square miles in extent. Our territory is larger than that of the United Kingdom with 121,000 square miles; of France, with 201,000 square miles; of Germany, with- 212,000 square miles; of Russia, with 2,262,000 square miles; and of Austria, with 269,000 square miles. Yet we want to endeavour to annex the islands of the Pacific. . Senator Smith says that we. have no desire to annex the islands; but the whole object of the motion is 10 encourage British settlement in order that permanent settlers tHere may be able to appeal to us and to Great Britain for protection, with a view to annexation later on. .
– We wish to keep an industrial garrison there, in order to prevent any other nation from annexing the group.
– The honorable senator will find that if international events develop as they are doing, it will take Australia all it’s time to maintain its own garrisons. What was said prior to the war in Japan ? The Japanese were looking for new territory, and complaining of the selfishness and greed of Australians in wishing to keep thi.-; continent for themselves. They looked upon it as a piece of consummate impudence that 4,000,000 persons should desire to keep this great territory for themselves. I think that we made a great mistake in annexing the territory of British New Guinea.
– Does the honorable senator think that Germany should have got the whole of that island?
– If other nations are satisfied with the territory that they occupy, and the German nation, which has a territory of only 212,000 square miles, wants territory to settle on, it is quite entitled to take those islands.
– Will the honorable senator add to the security of Australia by allowing Germans to settle there?
– The Germans have settled that question for us, because they possess a portion of the island. We ought to be thoroughly satisfied with the territory that we have. I also view this question from the protectionist stand-point. I apprehend that the object of Senator Smith is to give the free-trade coach a lift if he can.
– This is not a fiscal question, but a national question.
– I view the motion as a protectionist who is extremely anxious to see Australia maintain its present position. I believe that the standard of comfort in Australia is higher than in any other part of the world. I am anxious to maintain that position, so that the conditions of existence for the working classes shall be immensely superior to the conditions prevailing in any other part of the globe. What is the use of our establishing a Factories Act, minimum wage laws, and other protectionist measures, if we are to allow the products of black labour in the New Hebrides to come into the Commonwealth at reduced rates of duty ?
– The motion refers to the products of the soil only.
– Does the honorable senator include maize? Is he able to tell the Senate that maize is grown absolutely by white labour in the New Hebrides? He knows that prior to March last the New Hebrides were one of the recruiting grounds for kanakas for the coloured labour plantations of Queensland. I ask the honorable senator whether he is not introducing the thin end of the wedge, so as to permit of the importation of the coloured labour products of India and other parts of the British Empire? If we give effect to the terms of this motion, how can we reasonably refuse to exclude the products of coloured labour in other parts of the British Empire ?
– How did New Zealand deal with its islands? Mr. Seddon is a protectionist, and, as the head of a Labour Ministry, he carried a proposal . similar to this one.
– I intend, whenever a proposal of this kind is made, to ask the Senate to add a proviso that the products shall be grown by white labour.
– Is there any white labour there?
– Negative the motion.
– I think it would be far better to negative the motion, but I propose to submit my amendment, and if it is carried, the motion, as amended, can be negatived. The national view for the Senate to take is that Australia ought to endeavour to encourage settlement in its own territory to the utmost extent in its power ; and that result cannot be achieved if it is to spend thousands of pounds in subsidizing a line of steam-ships to these islands, and in other ways encouraging settlement there. Senator Dobson has asked whether there is any white labour there. The probability is that the only white labourers there are the overseers, as was the case in Johannesburg some years ago. We are simply inviting capitalists, who have been alarmed, according to some persons, out of Australia, to invest their capital in land in the New Hebrides, put overseers there, and employ hundreds, perhaps thousands, of kanakas. We are taxing the people of the Commonwealth to pay a bonus to sugar-growers, who will employ only white labour. This is an absurd paradox.
– From time to time, Senator Smith provides very interesting topics for discussion in the Senate, and the latest is quite as interesting as any of those which preceded it. I admire the tactful and skilful way in which he has brought forward this question at the present time. No doubt he has made a very considerable study of the Pacific Islands, and might very well be dubbed the member for Oceana. He has stated that this proposal is brought forward with a view to ultimately securing this territory. I should think that Australia has already quite sufficient territory. I consider that by the time it is populated in an effective way, there will be very little need for us to go to the islands for further territory. This talk of acquiring more territory for the Empire than it has, reminds me of the statement by Mark Twain that the Britishers were about the only modern people who were mentioned in the Scriptures, for to them he took the following passage in the Scriptures to apply directly -
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Senator Smith wishes the Britishers, to inhabit every imaginable dry placein the earth. ‘ Therefore, he uses theargument about acquiring fresh territory asa reason why his motion should be adopted. The. real purpose of thismotion is not toacquire fresh territory, but to sneak in freetrade. At the last general election the honorable senator, in common with other freetraders, attempted to fight the battle of freetrade, but they went down very badly. Senator Smith issued in Western Australia a paper known as Federal Facts - a wild, hysterical screed that nobody heeded ; and, notwithstanding all his journalistic efforts, he went down so badly that not one free-trader was returned for that State.
– That is not correct. What about Senators Croft and Henderson ?
– They are labour men to the backbone.
– Are they not free-traders?
– We put fiscalism outside our policy.
– Why does the honorable senator talk about it if the party has nothing to do with the fiscal question?
– As a party, we have nothing to do with the fiscal question. There are many questions that we debate, and which we do not make part of our policy.
– Surely, if they are free-traders it is part of their policy.
– I do not know exactly what policy they are advocating at the present time, because we have their leader in another place, trying from time to time to get the protectionists to sink the fiscal question. Has Senator Smith considered that aspect of the subject? Has he considered the awkward position in which he will place his leader? Supposing that the intended coalition should come about, how would this attempt to raise the fiscal question operate? The honorable senator is very ill-advised in submitting his motion, unless he wishes to defeat the intended combination of the fiscal parties. I can only regard the motion as an attempt to bring in free-trade after having been beaten at the late elections. I intend to prevent any sneaking in of a fiscal belief which we fought and defeated in the country.
– I hope that the honorable senator will also be opposed to the Manufactures Encouragement Bill.
– I am quite as much opposed lo that measure as the hon.orable senator is.
– Not on the same ground.
– I do not know the grounds for the opposition of Senator Millen, but I shall oppose the passage of the Bill in almost any shape or form. In the interests of fiscal peace this motion should be withdrawn. We need fiscal peace, and if the Tariff question is to be raised, I shall insist upon our getting more protection. We are not going to have more free-trade. After the late disastrous results to the free-traders, Senator Smith should be the last in the Senate to raise the fiscal question, after the ignominious way in which his efforts at that time were defeated.
– A majority of free-traders were returned for Western Australia at the last election, as the honorable senator knows.
– If the fiscal question is to be discussed, I hope that it will not be submitted in a piece-meal way, but in a comprehensive way, which will allow the Tariff to be adjusted in accordance with the public wish.
– Sentor Higgs has made a palpable mistake in supposing that the idea of fiscalism entered into the mind of Senator Smith. This is purely an attempt to secure a strategic position. Who objects to Great Britain, big as it is, having little Gibraltar? That is a strategic position which we would not give up for any consideration.
– We do not object to Great Britain having the New Hebrides.
– I am not saying that the honorable senator does. The Panama Canal, when it is opened, will completely alter the state of affairs in regard to the New Hebrides ; it will be on the main route between Europe and Australia. We must be prepared for eventualities. Whoever heard of a nation waiting until certain things occurred before it prepared to meet them ? We must be prepared for emergencies. In’ my opinion, Senator Smith has been actuated by patriotic motives, irrespective of fiscalism. The two honorable senators who have talked about fiscalism are both protectionists. _ It is they who are raising the fiscal question, and not the free-traders. They are trying to draw a red. herring across the trail, to divert attention from the patriotic stand which Senator Smith is taking. For the last fifty . years British missionaries have been civilizing these islands. Probably some honorable senators are not aware of the many martyrs who have lost their lives in trying to civilize the aborigines. When Senator Higgs proposes that we should only sanction the introduction of articles grown by white labour, we might as well negative the motion at once. The white labour in the islands is infiinitesimal in proportion to the native labour.
– We cannot prohibit the islanders from working in their own islands.
– The object of Senator Smith is to establish a white British settlement there, and therefore the proposal is not. so illogical as it appears to be.
– We hope to do so ; but how are they to live there if they find n that the French producers can get advan tages at Noumea which they cannot get? To some extent this is a counter-move to the preferential tariff of . New Caledonia. Senator Macfarlane has informed us that there are two magnificent harbors in the New Hebrides. We know the importance that is attached to Port Arthur and Vladivostock, in the war between Russia and Japan. If there are equally good harbors in the New Hebrides,, what power will there be to prevent some opponent in days to come from occupying them, and raiding Austialia therefrom? I do not propose to refer to the question of mail subsidies. I think that Senator Smith has shown how greatly we are handicapped in that regard. France, and, if I mistake not, Germany, are subsidizing the mail boats in the Eastern and Western Pacific far more liberally than our Government does.
– What have the mail boats to do with this question.
– The mail boats are instrumental in maintaining intercourse between the New Hebrides and Australia.
– There are about three letters every year, and they are for Burns, Philp, and Co.
– To my mind that firm is losing thousands of pounds. Within the last few days I heard Mr. James Burns say that his firm had lost , £15,000 by running this service from patriotic motives.
– How do they make their dividends?
– They have other means of making dividends. They took over the New Hebrides Company, which was started from purely- philanthropic motives, and lost thousands of pounds. Some persons doubt the existence of such qualities as patriotism and philanthropy; they judge other men by themselves, I presume. I am not a believer in preferential trade. If I had my will I should not make any difference between British and French imports. This is not a matter of. fiscal ism, but a matter of possible national defence.
– For defence purposes the honorable senator would allow the French to have the same advantages as the British.
– I am not afraid to put a Frenchman alongside a Britisher, for I know who would come out best in the long run. Senator Pearce has given us some information with regard to- the Customs duties there. I suppose that Senator Higgs would object to the free admission of bananas. There is actually a duty of is. per cental imposed on bananas coming from the New Hebrides to Australia. It has absolutely ruined that portion of the trade from the islands, if that is any satisfaction to the honorable senator.
– Banana growing is a thriving industry in Queensland at present.
– But it is in the hands of Chinamen.
– The Chinese will not live for ever.
– We can leave the Chinese alone, and they will probably be more numerous than ourselves in the future, if honorable senators opposite go on as they are going.
– Not here.
– In the Cairns district, almost all cultivation is in the hands of Chinese. At the present time, the French own nearly twice as much land in the New Hebrides as do British subjects. In days gone by we were handicapped, and I suppose we are still handicapped in our trade with those islands. Our traders cannot deal in certain commodities in which French and Americans- are dealing. We cannot send firearms or spirits to those islands ; not that I am in favour of sending spirits, but I point out that in this way we are handicapped pretty severely already.
– I thought the honorable senator was a free-trader.
– Senator McGregor knows what I refer to. We do not allow our merchants to send firearms or spirits to the islands, whilst the French and Germans do. We are handicapped to that extent already, and we are now apparently to be handicapped still further by the refusal of honorable senators to allow the same facilities to our own people in those islands to bring their produce to this country as are afforded to French residents to encourage them to bring their produce to New Caledonia. I hope that Senator Higgs’ amendment will be negatived, and that the motion will be agreed to.
– This debate is particularly interesting from the fact that the speeches delivered by Senators Higgs and de Largie have illustrated how thoroughly those honorable senators failed to understand the drift of the agreement made with Burns, Philp, and Co., and submitted by the
Government they were supporting in 1902. It is necessary to go back to the date nl that agreement to understand the present condition of affairs, because it is clear that several honorable senators do not in the least understand how the present position has arisen. Sir Edmund Barton’s Government was inspired by the Monroe doc.trine, or, perhaps we should rather say by the Jingo doctrine, as applied to Australia, to lay as many fingers as they could on as many of the islands of the Pacific as possible, by encouraging the settlement of British subjects on those islands. The method they adopted was to propose an agreement with Burns, Philp, and Co., subsidizing them to the extent of ,£6,000 a year for a mail service with the New Hebrides, the Santa Cruz group, the Gilbert Islands, and the Ellice Islands. These groups of islands are scattered over perhaps a third of the Pacific Ocean, and the Gilbert and Ellice Islands are really so far away from this continent that the mail service provided for them could only be arranged for three times a year. However, the protectionist Government, supported by Senators de Largie and Higgs, arranged to contribute £6,000 from the funds provided by the taxpayers of the Commonwealth, in order to foster the national sentiment, and to prevent the people of other nations settling upon the islands of the Pacific.
– I spoke against the proposal, but the honorable senator’s argument does not prove anything, anyway.
– My argument proves that it is perfectly futile for Senators Higgs and de Largie to suggest that this is a fiscal question. Here we have the very Government which those honorable senators supported, pledged from the first to the Maitland policy and protection—
– Is the subsidizing of mail steamers analagous to the giving of a trade preference?
– I shall show exactly how it works out, if the honorable senator will but wait.
– They did it for the purpose of trade.
– Of trade both ways.
– They did’ it to encourage trade between those islands and Sydney, in order to make it perfectly clear that the influence of Australia extended over those islands. That was the object.
It was to extend the influence of Australia in the eyes of Europe. Honorable senators can read that .from the Hansard reports. I have a vivid recollection of the matter, because I was one of those who questioned the wisdom of the Government action on that occasion. I opposed the proposal strongly, and it was only after a very great deal of explanation from my honorable and learned friend, Senator Drake, that I was reluctantly compelled to withdraw my opposition.
– The two honorable senators to whom the honorable senator referred, did exactly as he did himself. They opposed the proposal.
– They may have opposed it, but they are now opposing the motion submitted by Senator Smith, which simply carries on the line of policy inaugurated by the Government they supported.
– Is this not a free-trade motion ?
– It is not a freetrade motion in any sense. I hope I have made that absolutely clear.
– The whole question has a fiscal tendency.
– The honorable senator has a bee in his bonnet. He sees King Charles’ head in everything. This question cannot be dismissed as easily as Senator Smith evidently thinks it can. I aim afraid that the weak point in his motion is that it deals with the question of the New Hebrides only, and it is quite impossible to limit any measure admitting the products of British settlers in the Pacific Islands free to Australia to the settlers in the New Hebrides. I say this for the very best of reasons, because we are continuing to pay this subsidy, and it is only in justification of the subsidy that it is possible to argue that the products of these settlers should be admitted free to Australia. I am not in favour of Australia interfering with these islands ; but if we are to carry out the policy logically, if we are to continue the payment of this yearly subsidy, and that money is not to be absolutely wasted, we must adopt some such motion as Senator Smith has proposed, but it should be applicable to the produce of all British settlers on the islands to which the subsidized mail service goes. What Senator Walker has said is perfectly true. I have looked into this question in Sydney, and I the result of the duty which we have placed on the products of the soil has made it absolutely impossible for white settlers on the islands of the Pacific to ship anything they produce to Sydney with profit to themselves. They used to - send produce to Sydney before the establishment of the Federation, because it was then admitted practically free. Now that duties are imposed it is impossible for settlers in those islands to make any profit on the shipment of produce to Australia and they therefore refuse to send their produce here.
– And therefore Australian citizens in Queensland give us our bananas instead of Fijians and New Hebrideans
- Senator Trenwith talks about Australian citizens, but I have the strongest objection to calling Chinese Australian citizens. They may have become naturalized, and I can quite understand the fondness of the honorable senator for this class of Australian citizens, because they abound in Melbourne; but I am not prepared at any time to recognise even a naturalized Chinaman as an Australian citizen.
– The honorable senator prefers an unnaturalized one somewhere else.
– I should like to see every one of them out of the country.
– I should rather have them here if we must deal with them.
– The honorable senator may not have been in Queensland, but if he looks into the question he will find that nearly the whole of the banana production in Queensland is in the hands of the Chinese. The fact remains that the so-called Australian citizens of whom so much is now made are Chinese pure and simple. I do not consider that it is worth our while to sacrifice .£6,000 a year; and, in fact, in my opinion, it would’ be much better that the subsidy should be dropped than that we should go on. in the way in which we have been going.
– It was only proposed to placate the Philp party in Queensland.
– Produce imported from Fiji must be taken into account, especially in connexion with the banana trade. It would be a most illogical thing to shut out the products of Fiji. We must also consider the question as applied to the importation of produce from New Guinea. I should like to ask honorable senators how they propose to treat the natural products of the soil of New Guinea ?
– This is not a fiscal question, and the honorable senator is discussing it on fiscal lines.
– The honorable senator desires to limit the scope of the discussion. He desires that we should discuss the question as applied only to the New Hebrides.
– The object is to prevent the French obtaining possession of the New Hebrides.
– The difference between New Guinea and the New Hebrides is that one is a British possession and the other is not.
– Am I to understand that Senator Pearce’s contention is that those who live outside of a British Colony should have advantages given to them in respect of trade with Australia which are not to be given to British subjects resident in a British possession?
– It is not possible that we can lose New Guinea, whilst there is a prospect that France may secure the New Hebrides.
– I do not think that that is an argument that should greatly influence us.
– The whole matter is a hash.
– It is a hash; but we should deal with the question as logical, and business people, and take into our consideration the whole of these islands, which produce the same products with the same kind of labour. As a free-trader I find it absolutely impossible to draw a distinction between the products of the New Hebrides and the products of any of the other islands to which we subsidise a mail service. Now that I realize that it is Senator Smith’s intention to limit his motion to the New Hebrides I cannot support it.
– The honorable senator does not understand it.
– I know thoroughly well what the honorable senator is driving at; but I fail to see how he can logically defend his motion.
– What is Senator Smith driving at?
– The honorable senator is bitten with a fear that the French in monopolising the trade of the New Hebrides will eventually become the owners of those islands; but I fail to see how we can apply to British residents in the New Hebrides conditions which we do not apply to British residents in the other groups of islands to which our subsidised mail service extends.
– The New Hebrides are the only islands in the Pacific which are not held bv a European power.
– In these circumstances I should like to know why we are subsidising a mail service to other islands. If we are to secure our influence in those islands^ and we are endeavouring to do so at an expense of ,£6,000 per annum; surely we should encourage our own settlers. I cannot see why this motion should be confined to the New Hebrides only. The question is the more important in view of the fact that we are to be asked to increase the present mail subsidy. It is extremely desirable that the whole matter should be ventilated, in order that honorable senators may know what thev are doing when the Estimates are before them. There will probably be a couple of lines in those Estimates proposing an increased subsidy, and it will then hardly be possible to debate the question. One point raised by Senator Higgs is that it would be impossible . to discriminate between natural products of the soil grown by British settlers and those grown by French settlers. I can assure the honorable senator that it is perfectly easy to exercise such a discrimination. The islands are very small, and everybody knows exactly what is being done there. Burns, Philp, and Co. have agents at every port of call, and they will know what products of the soil have been grown by English and French settlers.
– Would they not have an interest in deceiving us if the truth would in any way injure their trade ?
– The truth would very soon become known, and I do not think it would be to the interest of a firm such as Burns, Philp, and Co. to lend themselves to such a practice, though I must admit that what the honorable senator says is quite possible. I hope that I have made it clear that the motion should cover the whole of the islands to which we have subsidized a mail service, and that until that is done it is incomplete.
– I intend to support the amendment which has been moved by Senator Higgs. It is all very well for some honorable senators to contend that fiscalism should not have beenimported into this discussion. It is impossible otherwise to discuss the motion. The very words, “rebate of duties” used in it suggest fiscalism straight away.
– That is merely a means to an end.
– To my mind it is impossible to consider the question, except in the light of the amendment submitted by Senator Higgs. The taxpayers of Australia are now paying something like £90,000 annually in rebates on sugar for the benefit of sugar-growers in Queensland and in New South Wales, and for the purpose of enabling the sugar-growers, of Queensland chiefly, to do without black labour. I do not see how it would be possible under this motion to prevent the free introduction of sugar grown in the New Hebrides by black labour. The motion provides for a rebate of duty on natural products of the soil, and sugar must be so regarded. Senator’ Smith has shown himself in past discussions in this chamber to be an ardent advocate of the White Australia policy, and what might happen if this motion is carried can hardly have occurred to the honorable senator. It seems to me to be entirely illogical that we should ask the people of Australia to pay such an immense amount of money - and I believe the majority pay it willingly - to the sugargrowers of Queensland and New South Wales to enable them to do without black labour, and at the same time carry a motion which, if given effect to, would enable the planters in either ‘ of these States to utilize black labour in the New Hebrides for the production of sugar there, and then send it free into Australia.
– Only the sugar-cane would be entitled to rebate, under- the motion.
– That in itself would do a great deal towards upsetting the White Australia policy. We have been met by the counter-argument that we are not consistent in advocating the duty on bananas grown in . the New Hebrides, seeing that that duty only assists a Queensland industry, which is entirely in the hands of Chinese. It is, of course, a patent fact that’ in Queensland the Chinese almost solely have the banana production in their hands ; and that is regretted by every one who believes in a White Australia. That, however, is not a matter for the Commonwealth Parliament. So long as the Chinese are in
Queensland, and have the right to remain, there, they are citizens of that State, and the Commonwealth Parliament has no control over them: If. the State Government at any time like- to introduce legislation restricting the production of bananas or anything else by Chinese labour, that is a matter entirely for the State. We cannot remove the Chinese who are now in Australia; but if the Immigration Restriction Act is properly enforced, the Chinese will, in the natural course of events, die out; and the industries now carried on by them will fall into the hands of white men.
– What about the descendants of the Chinese?
– According to the only available statistics, there are not likely to be many descendants of - Chinese in Australia. I sympathize entirely with the object of the honorable senator who submitted this motion, which, however, places us in a great difficulty. The White Australia policy has been fought most bitterly in the’ Commonwealth Parliament, and has been subscribed to by the large majority of the people of Australia at both elections. This opens up a much more important aspect than -that presented by Senator Smith. As regards paying a subsidy to steamers to trade between Australia and the New Hebrides, speaking from memory, I think I voted against the payment of any subsidy; and I am quite in agreement with Senator Matheson that this is money not spent for the benefit of Australia. I trust that the amendment will be carried; and I suggest the difficulty in Senator Smith’s mind may be met in some way - probably by means devised by the honorable senator himself.
– Does the honorable senator think that, seeing the French and British people have taken possession nf the New Hebrides, the natives should not be allowed to work on the land ?
– So long as we have a White Australia policy, we should be acting in an entirely illogical manner if we allowed the products of kanaka labour to come into Australia duty free; and, that, Senator Smith cannot deny, is what the motion must lead to.
– What about the subsidy ?
– I have already said that I agree with Senator Matheson on that point; I should be in favour of doing away with the subsidy to-morrow. In my opinion, Senator Smith would not be doing any violence to his own feelings if he were to agree with the amendment.
– I should regret- to see either the amendment or the original motion carried. To carry the amendment would place the Senate, and also Senator Higgs, and those who think with him, in a false position. A very vigorous contest’ is going on between the majority of the Australian people and the minority. The latter think that any restriction, within or without the Commonwealth, with regard to race or colour, is unwise ; but the great majority urge that it is right we should keep Australia, of which we have taken possession, for the people of our own race. That is a defensible position, which commends itself to the judgment of a very large number of persons. The amendment is capable ot being used as an argument to show that we- want, not only our own, country, but also the other fellow’s country for our own people. That is an unwise position in which to place ourselves. There is an idea amongst honorable senators that the amendment might be carried as preferable to the motion. At the first hurried glance I held that view - that if we were to have one of two evils, the amendment of Senator Higgs presented the lesser. I am still somewhat inclined to that view, but, considering the false position in which it would place those who advocate a White Australia - considering the plausible argument which it would afford to our opponents to show that the demands of the advocates of the policy are unreasonable - it would be a tactical blunder to adopt the amendment. As to the motion, it has been said that it does not involve the fiscal issue. I am not one who is always going about seeking to discover covert motives on the part of those from whom I differ; and I believe that Senator Smith has no desire to raise the fiscal issue - that he has no desire, as has been suggested, to “sneak in “ freetrade undera disguise. But, undoubtedly the motion does raise the fiscal issue, and in a very undesirable manner. We shall be asked in the very near future, I hope, to consider the very important question of preferential trade within the Empire. Assuming that the policy of preferential trade is accepted - which I confess is my view - then will arise the question of what kind of preference shall be given. We shall then have to decide what shall be the degree of preference - whether we shall admit goods from other parts of the Empire free, or whether there shall be discriminating duties ; whether British imports shall still be subject to duties, but the imports of other nations to higher duties. Whenever that question comes to be discussed, it is ali important that we should be unhampered by any previous act of our own. If we carry a motion of the kind before us, it would have an extremely prejudicial effect in the discussion of the fiscal question. It would be said that, without consideration, we had given the right to persons not belonging to the same Empire, to send in their goods absolutely free of duty ; and that would settle the whole question in reference to preferential trade. We could not then make new conditions, or could only do so with great difficulty; and the issue is altogether too important to be determined thus lightly. And even supposing there were no great prospects of injury, such as I have indicated, the result of the motion must be infinitesimal. What practical increased settlement or advantage could be got by removing the trifling duties which are now imposed ‘on the products of the New Hebrides ?
– English settlers would be prevented from becoming French subjects.
– What I say is that the object to be gained is insufficient. I do not think that the motion would have the result of preventing British settlers in the New Hebrides from becoming French subjects. The advantages offered them by the motion are so slight that, in my opinion, no appreciable difference would be made in the settlement.
– Duty to the amount of ^3,000 was paid on one item alone.
– That proves that the New Hebrides settlers are sending their products here now. But, after all, £3,000 is a very trifling sum to expend in securing increased settlement .in any part of the world.
– That is what Senator’ Smith says.
– What I mean is that the sum is so small that the result would be practically nil ; I do not say that if we could secure increased settlement, the money would not be worth spending. Great consideration should be given to the suggestion by Senator Higgs that there is an urgent necessity to increase settlement inside the Commonwealth. If we have a shilling to spare for the purpose, we ought to try to induce settlement in Australia, and not in other directions.
– Then the honorable senator would cease the subsidy?
– Personally, I should do so; but I make that statement somewhat hurriedly without much consideration, because I have not looked at all the possible advantages of a subsidy. A subsidy, however, is very different from preference to imports; a subsidy is a preference to both exports and imports.
– With an object in view.
– I am dealing simply with that point of view. I have not sufficient knowledge to be able to speak with confidence, but it may happen that in the future the New Hebrides may develop into an important customer for Aus- . tralia, and, if that be so, the fact would be a strong justification for a subsidy, which, instead of being a preference to imports in our market, would be a preference in the New Hebrides markets to exports from Australia. Senator Smith has conferred some advantage on the Senate by introducing, with extreme lucidity, this somewhat obscure question. The honorable senator has directed the attention of Parliament to the matter, and to that extent has served a useful purpose. But I feel that Parliament would be acting extremely unwisely, in view of all the surroundings of the case, by taking any special action. It cannot be said that the fiscal question is not involved, because that and nothing else lies at the basis of the motion.
– My motion begins and ends with the New Hebrides.
– Parliament cannot deliberately adopt a new principle, and say that it ends anywhere.
– These are the only islands in the Pacific not owned by Europeans.
– That does not alter the matter. If we give to people on islands which do not belong to us a preference which we do not give to the people of the British Empire, we shall place ourselves in an extremely illogical position.
– The French give greater preference ito their colonists in these islands than they do to other French people.
– That might be an argument if the view were that we should do whatever the French do ; but that is not an argument which would commend itself, I am sure, even to Senator Smith. I rose to call attention to the great danger of taking any step in regard to import duties - any step which affects the fiscal issue in its essence - at this stage, which in the near future may involve us in extreme difficulty. I shall vote against the amendment, because I see in it much danger to the views which I hold, and I shall also vote against the original motion, which I hope will be negatived.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - Like Senator Trenwith, I have always been a strong advocate for a White Australia. I shall vote against the amendment, not because I have weakened in my belief in a White Australia, but because I believe that it does not affect that policy one way or the other.
– The reasons given by Senator Pearce against the amendment are “not, in my opinion, good and sufficient for any person who is imbued with the idea that we should maintain a White Australia, and do everything possible to encourage the white race.
– The views of Senator Pearce on that point are quite correct.
– That may be so, and my views may not be correct ; but I have as good a right as any one else to express them. Coming from a State which is more affected by the coloured labour question than any other portion of the Commonwealth, I ought to be in a very fair position to draw a right conclusion. It appears to me that some honorable senators hold the view that, while we should compel the producers in Australia to employ white labour only, still we should allow those who produce by coloured labour elsewhere to dump their products down on our shores as freely as they like.
– No one has said that; we are against both the motion and the amendment.
– I am now alluding to the attitude taken up by Senator Pearce, and, I believe, by Senator Smith. The number of producers in the New Hebrides who are British subjects is exceedingly limited. Even if the whole area of the islands were occupied solely by settlers of British birth they would not amount to a very large number, as Senator Smith admitted in his opening remarks. ‘ But, although the number of British settlers there may not be very large, they may produce a very great deal.
– The area is not big enough.
– I maintain that the area is very considerable. This Parliament in its wisdom has declared that it will only encourage production by white labour in Australia. That principle has been clearly laid down in regard to sugar. If this motion be carried, there will be nothing to prevent a small number of settlers from each taking up a very large area in the islands, and employing coloured labour in the wholesale production of sugar, and dumping down their product here to compete with our white-grown sugar.
– The motion refers to the natural products of the soil, and sugar is a manufactured product.
– The natural products of the soil may take very many forms. Raw sugar, for instance, is not usually styled a manufactured product.
– It has undergone a process.
– If the honorable senator is prepared to draw that fine distinction, then maize, to be a natural product, should be brought over on the stalk, and in the husk.
– What about copra?
– That comes in free.
– Copra does not, and is not likely to come’ into competition with any Australian product. According to the fine distinction, which Senator Pearce draws nothing is really a natural product.
– That is an economic term which is well understood.
– In its legislation this Parliament has laid down the principle that no encouragement shall be given by means of the Tariff or otherwise to the employment, or to the products, of coloured labour; and now Senator Smith proposes that we shall give to persons living outside our shores privileges which we deny to our own citizens. I maintain that we should not give to any person outside the Commonwealth a privilege, or concession, or favour . which the humblest citizen of the Commonwealth may not claim as his own.
– Does the honorable senator think that sugar-cane would be imported ?
– This proposal is not made for economic reasons, but to prevent a foreign nation from coming close to our door.
– No matter for what reason the motion is moved, it is bound, if carried, to have an. economic effect. At any rate, we should stultify ourselves by going back on the principle which we have laid down for our own citizens. Senator Smith proposes to allow the citizens of another country to do things which we do not allow our own citizens to do.
– In respect of what article ?
– In respect of products grown by coloured labour, and giving them a protective advantage.
– What products does the honorable senator refer to?
– The product may be maize.
– Where is it laid down in the laws of the Commonwealth that maize cannot be grown by coloured labour?
– The whole trend of our legislation is against the employment of coloured labour. I can well understand that if a person is very much in love with his own ideas he can easily find excuses for his action. Not only shall I vote for the amendment, but I shall vote against the motion if the amendment is made. . Senator Smith has laid it down as a principle, that the Commonwealth, if it be possible, should not allow any foreign nation to have any control over any islands within2.000 miles of our shores. That is equivalent to saying that, because we happen to be Britishers, we have a right to. grab all the country we can lay our hands on, but no other nation is to be allowed . to . extend its territory.
– We have at least as much right as anv other nation.
– Undoubtedly ; and we have exercised that right in a greater degree than any other nation. And yet the honorable senator advocates a doginthemanger policy. He says we do not want these islands for ours.elves, but we will not allow any other nation to have them. I wish to point out the utter absurditv of- one argument he used. He says that we must occupy every island, or at least prevent any other nation from having any control over any island within 2,000 miles of our shores. If, in pursuance of that idea, we ultimately “expand our boundaries soas to include the New Hebrides, that very act will compel us to immediately grab every island within 2,000 miles of that group.
Sena tor Staniforth Smith. - That is very absurd. I said within 2,000 miles of Australia.
– If we were to follow up that idea, we should have to tell Germany to immediately take her hands off New Guinea, and Holland to clear out of every possession in the Malay Archipelago, because all those islands are within 2,000 miles of the borders of the Commonwealth.
– They are more than 2,000 miles from Melbourne or Sydney, though.
– Melbourne and Sydney do not constitute the Commonwealth.
– They contain the principal population in the south of Australia.
– I do’ not take that narrow view of the Commonwealth - that
I it includes only Melbourne and Sydney, and that the interests of people outside those two great cities must be entirely ignored. We have quite enough to do to look after our own affairs, without meddling in foreign affair’s. We have quite enough to do to develop this sparsely populated Commonwealth, and to build up quietly and peaceably a nation, without developing a foreign policy. If we begin to meddle in foreign affairs we shall immediately run the risk of foreign aggression.
– Supposing that a foreign nation commences to meddle with our affairs ?
– It will then be time enough for us to meddle with them.
– If we desire peace we ought to prevent other nations from having facilities for attacking us.
– France, as far as I or any one else knows, has never yet laid aggressive hands on the New Hebrides, and if she did she has just as good a right to do so as either Great Britain or Australia, because that group is quite as close to some of her possessions as to Australia. Ifwe lay down the rule which” Senator Smith has enunciated, we shall immediately give a cause of offence to France, or any other nation which wishes to expand its territory in that direction. I do not think it would be wise for the Commonwealth ‘ to” go out of its way to give a cause of offence to any nation. The mother country may have trouble enough on her hands without the Commonwealth, which, comparatively speaking, has only a small share of the responsibility to bear, going out of its way to create difficulties for her. Recently, an attempt has been made to bring about a good understanding between the people of Great Britain and the people of France, and I am glad to say successfully made, because I believe that these two peoples should be the natural allies of Western Europe. If we pass this motion in its present form, we shall immediately create a difficulty, because it must undoubtedly be taken as offensive by France. Directly we give any cause of offence to a foreign nation, we shall become embroiled in all the quarrels of the old world, and it will be necessary for us to maintain an ambassadorial staff at every capital, in order to smooth over the difficulties which will continually be raised. These are some of the reasons why I am opposed to the motion. I hope that if it is to be carried at all it will be carried in the form which has been proposed by Senator Higgs. But if we reject his amendment, and carry the motion, we will stultify ourselves and our legislation, and proclaim far and wide that we are prepared to give concessions and favours to people who do not belong to the Commonwealth, but who, on the contrary, had so little regard for its welfare that they would not help us to develop its resources, but cleared out in order to be with their beloved coloured brothers. We shall help them to break down the White Australia ideal if we allow their black labour products to come in free, although we deny to our own people the right to produce by coloured labour. Senator Smith has said, I believe, that one of the principal products on which he desires that there should be a rebate of duty is maize. Everybody ‘knows that maize is about one of the least profitable of agricultural crops grown in Australia. The maizegrower has about the hardest time of any producer; he has a very precarious living. Large quantities of maize are produced in Queensland and New South Wales, and I believe that a considerable quantity is produced in portions of Victoria.
– Scarcely -any maize is grown in Victoria, very little in South Australia and Western Australia, and none in Tasmania.
– I suspect that that fact accounts for the magnanimity with which all the senators for Western Australia, except one, are so eager to throw the maizegrowers over to the tender mercies of the foreign producer who employs black labour.
– There is evidently one Simon Pure in the Senate - one senator whose motives are unimpeachable.
– When my motives are impeachable I hope the honorable senator will impeach them.
– I would never take the task on.
– I would not have questioned the attitude of the honorable senator if he had not gone out of his way to indulge in some banter at the beginning of my speech, and now when I return the compliment he seems to be somewhat offended and cannot take my remarks in the same good spirit in which I am willing to take his.
– I am only expressing my admiration for the honorable senator.
– I am quite independent of the honorable senator’s admiration or otherwise. Take the position of the maize-growers during the present year in South Queensland and New South Wales. In many portions of Queensland during the last season they made very great losses indeed. Owing to the prevalence of storms during the earlier part of the year, the crops of maize were thrown to the ground without cobbing, and the produce did not exceed one-fifth, or in some cases onetenth, of what ought to have been obtained. It was the same in other places. Yet the market value of the crop did not exceed is. 6di per bushel. At the present moment in Brisbane maize can be bought for is. gd. a bushel, and in Melbourne I believe it fetches 2s. a bushel. Yet it is proposed to take away from the maize-growers the small amount of protection they now have, and allow the products of coloured labour in the New Hebrides to come into contact with theirs. The maize crops in the New Hebrides may be very considerable indeed, because, a large part of the land is suitable for maize culture, and the people only grow it as a secondary crop while the cocoanut plants are ripening. If they are able to dump their maize down in Australia it will be considerably to the detriment of Australian growers who produce by means of white labour.
– The object is . to give the agricultural labourer a bit of a lift! . -
– I suppose it is thought that the agricultural labourer will be able to demand a higher price for his labour if the products of coloured labour are brought into competition with his.
– The wages paid in the New Hebrides are like those paid in New Guinea - a plug of tobacco per month.
– Yes, with an occasional chip hat thrown in for the gin ! I intend to vote against the motion altogether. I. trust that honorable senators, when the issue is plainly put before them, will vote in accordance with the principle which has already been laid down by the Commonwealth Parliament, with the emphatic approval of the people of Australia, that no encouragement shall be given to the employment of coloured labour, but that we shall do everything that is possible to maintain conditions such as will tend to build up a white Commonwealth. To do that it is absolutely essential to protect to the fullest possible extent the products of our white people from competition with the cheaper products of coloured persons elsewhere.
– I intend to oppose both the original motion and the amendment, but for somewhat different reasons from those which have been advanced by the last speaker. My principle reason is that the motion itself indicates a very important departure in national policy, which, I think, should have been introduced under the imprimatur of the Government. I fear that the honorable senator who has moved the motion did not sufficiently weigh the consequences and the principles, involved in it. It seems to be an unfortunate thing that during the present session, owing to the absence of other business, the Senate has been largely reduced to the position of a debating society. We have been continually debating abstract motions.
– That is rough on Senator Smith !
– I give the honorable senator full credit for the trouble he has taken in connexion with this subject. He has given us the benefit of information which honorable senators would not have been able to gather except by means of such speeches as he has made. But we should be careful to see the consequences of such proposals as that upon which he asks us to express an opinion. The question is a highly important one, and involves principles which the mover of the motion did not take into account, such as the question of preferential trade, which certainly ought not to be determined in regard to one small group of islands, although there may be reasons which would induce me to support that policy upon general principles. I do not say that I object to the principle laid down by Senator Smith, but my point is that the question is one of those with regard to which we should not be called upon to express the deliberate opinion of the Senate in the manner proposed.
– Surely the honorable senator would not tie the hands of the Senate in the event of the Government not bringing forward a motion?
– No ; no one has a right to object to any question being brought forward by any honorable senator who chooses to invite an expression of opinion with regard to it. My objection is that this is a large question of national policy, for which the Government, not a private senator, ought to be responsible. It ought not to be forced on the Government, but should be carefully thought out by them. It also involves an important fiscal departure. I am surprised that Senator Pearce, who is usually so logical, does not . see the effect of the motion upon the White Australia policy that has been affirmed by the people of this country. The motion would have very important results in that direction, and altogether it is sufficiently important to be introduced by a responsible Minister expounding a responsible policy.
Debate (on motion by Senator Croft) adjourned.
asked the Mini ster of Defence,” upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
– That is the cost one way, I presume?
– I presume that is the cost both ways.
I may add that the Government are not likely to have any information for some time to come regarding that question.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
August, that the Government of the Commonwealthhave offered to return to the Government of Western Australia for presentation to municipalities a number of obsolete muzzle-loading field guns at present in that State ; and that the Government of Western Australia have declined the offer on the grounds that the cost of sending the guns in question to the municipalities would be too heavy ?
– The replies to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
I may add, to complete the answer, that wherever the head of a Government in a State where there are obsolete guns does not take sufficient interest in them to make use of them, the Department will have noobjection to deal directly with the municipalities.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 10th August, vide page 4018) :
New clause (proposed by Senator Pearce) -
Part VI.A. - Trade Union Marks. 69a. In this part of this Act - “ Trade union “ means any trade union registered as such under the law of any State or any organization or association of workmen or employees registered under any law of the Commonwealth or of a State relating to conciliation or arbitration for the prevention “or settlement of industrial disputes; and “ Trade union mark “ means a distinctive mark or device adopted by a trade union for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.
– There is one objection to Senator Pearce’s proposal which I should like to submit to the attention of those who are inclined to support it. It is intended that the trade union mark proposed should be a guaranteeas to the conditions of labour under which the article to which it is affixed is produced; but it will be no guarantee whatever of the quality of the article, or of the material of which it is composed. So far as concerns the public knowing the conditions of labour under which an article is produced, I submit that that is provided for in the Bill with which we last dealt, namely, the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill. It is there provided that an article may bear upon it a particular description indi- cating the method of its manufacture. So that any person who makes an article may put upon it a description of the method by which it has been made, and that would include a description of the labour that has been employed in making it. The Bill goes on to provide heavy penalties to insure that that trade description shall be true. By means of the conditions imposed by the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill the public will be enabled to know whether an article has been produced under fair conditions. The object which Senator Pearce has in view is a praiseworthy one. I believe that nearly every person, in purchasing an article, would be prepared to pay a slightly higher price for- it if he had some assurance that the result would be to benefit the actual worker. A trade mark, as generally understood, is a mark put upon goods by a certain manufacturer in order that, if he wishes to build up a reputation for that article and to reap the benefit from it, he may do so in security. Nearly every man and woman, in purchasing certain articles, has a fancy for some particular brand. We have learnt, perhaps, that the manufacturer uses good material in the manufacture of the article. He puts a trade mark upon it in order that the reputation which he builds up may be preserved for his own benefit. I believe that it is a maxim amongst business men that money should not be spent in advertising unless an article is a good one.
– What about the money spent in advertising quack patent medicines ?
– I have no doubt that they have some good in them, or people would not buy them. People buy a patent medicine because they have used it before, and believe, at all events, that there is some good in it.
– They generally buy it because they have never bought it before.
– It is now proposed that trade unions may have brands of their own, which shall be put upon goods to indicate that those goods have been made under trade union conditions. But there will be no guarantee whatever as to the quality of the goods or the material that enters into their manufacture. I have spoken , of an ordinary trade mark used by a manufacturer with a view to build up a reputation for an article, and derive benefit from it. He wishes the articles he sells to be known as his. Therefore, he puts his brand upon them. But we have heard in the course of this debate of boots that contain no leather, and of woollen goods that contain no wool.. There may be manufacturers who are producing, those goods simply for the purpose of making money.
They do not care how inferior the quality may be, so long as they make large profits. A manufacturer doing that would say, “ I will employ union labour so that I may use the union trade mark.”
– The unions would not give such maufacturers the right to do so. They would not discredit themselves to that extent surely-
– The public would not be deceived because they would know that the label did not apply to the material, but only to the conditions of labour under which the article was manufactured.
– Such a manufacturer would not put any label of his own upon goods. No shoddy manufacturer puts his own label on his goods. He does not wish the public to connect him with them. If the Vice-President of the Executive Council is right, we have something else to contemplate in this proposal, and that is that the trade union holding the brand will not only insist that a certain class of labour shall be employed in the manufacture of goods to which their brand is applied,’ but will also insist that a certain quality of materials shall be used in their manufacture.
– I do not think there is any justification for such a statement.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council certainly said that no trade union would think of allowing the union brand to be put upon goods of a shoddy character.
– Not unless the maker’s name is also on the goods, that he might take the responsibility.
– There is nothing in these new clauses to show that that would be necessary. The class of goods to which I am referring are goods to which the owner’s name is not attached. What has been said only goes to show how incomplete the present proposal is, because in answer to the objection I have made, I get one explanation from the VicePresident of the Executive . Council, and another from Senator O’Keefe.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council is not responsible for these clauses.
– Quite so. I understand, from what took place yesterday, that Senator Pearce is satisfied that any manufacturer employing union labour, and complying with union conditions, would be entitled to put the union brand on his goods.
That being so, we have no guarantee as to the quality of the goods. If an unscrupulous manufacturer, complying with all the labour conditions, chooses to turn out shoddy goods, his shoddy may be distributed throughout the Commonwealth, under cover of the trade union mark.
– And the purchasers would know that the labour employed on the goods was guaranteed by the mark, and not the material used in their manufacture.
– Quite so; we understand one another on that point. I ask honorable senators whether that is not much better provided for in the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill which we have already passed? Under that Bill every manufacturer could stamp upon his goods the fact that they were made by trade union labour, and people who desired to have goods made by trade union labour could refuse to buy goods that were not so stamped. We should thus get exactly the result which Senator Pearce desires. That would be very much better than having a union trade mark which might be put- upon goods of a very inferior quality, and which might be used as the means of circulating shoddy throughout Australia, and particularly amongst the member of trade unions and their families, and amongst those who, without being trade unionists themselves, prefer to purchase articles made by trade unionists. I have pointed out that Senator Pearce’s desire can be better achieved under the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill than under his present proposal; and for the reasons I have given I think that this proposal might lead to unforeseen and very undesirable consequences.
- Senator Drake has touched the kernel of this matter in one of its aspects. Honorable senators are aware that many articles produced in Melbourne and exported from this State are produced under conditions arranged by law. Wages Boards meet in Victoria to determine the wages to be paid for the manufacture of certain articles, and the Victorian Factories Act regulates the hours and conditions of labour in their manufacture. In some industries a minimum wage is in force, and so on.
– That is only in some branches of industry.
– I intend to speak only of branches of industry of which I know something, and of a class of goods which I have been handling for the greater part of my life, and on which I can speak with some little authority. I find that, in spite of the legislation to which I have referred, these goods are produced in Melbourne in much the same way as they were produced previous to the enactment of that legislation, but under improved conditions for the employes, I believe and hope. So far as cheapness of production is concerned, it is much the same as it has ever been in my experience, which extends in the clothing trade over twenty-five or twenty-six years, during which time I have been dealing with Melbourne warehouses and manufacturers. All who are conversant with trade matters are aware that goods of various grades are required ; and if we require a cheap article now we can get it as readily as’ ever. It will be admitted that a cheap article is generally a common article.
– Is the honorable senator speaking of prices, or of the cost of production?
– I am speaking to the question now before the Committee, and the honorable senator will allow me to speak for myself. I hope I shall be able to express myself in such a way as to be understood.
– The honorable senator is posing as an authority on a certain line of goods, and I thought he ought to be able to explain whether he was referring to the price of an article, or the cost of its production.
– I dare say I shall be able to do so. I am not posing as an authority upon anything but the business in which I have had an experience extending over a quarter of a century. I was referring to the point properly raised by Senator Drake as to the quality of the article on which the union trade mark is put. I agree with the honorable and learned senator that the trade union mark proposed would be no indication of the quality of the article. There is necessarily, in accordance with the requirements of the public, as much rubbish produced in Melbourne as there ever was. There is as much shoddy manufactured here as ever, though it may be that those engaged’ in its manufacture are employed under better conditions. Indeed, I have good rear son for believing that they are.
– Does the honorable senator object to labour legislation again?
– I am speaking of its bearing on this question. It would be better if honorable senators who are members of the Labour Party were more -tolerant of the opinions of others, and were not so ready to assume that others are speaking against their views. So far as I know, the application of factories legislation to these industries has been beneficial ; but I am speaking of the effect of putting a particular brand or trade mark on certain articles. The purpose of a trade mark is to disclose the identity of goods which have some special quality, and som’e reputation previously earned. That would not necessarily apply to goods manufactured even under the very best trade union conditions. Those_ goods would not necessarily be any better than they would be if they had not been manufactured by union labour. The trade union mark would only indicate that they were manufactured under conditions approved by the trade union. Whether it is a good or a bad thing, honorable members will have their own opinion, but there are not many trade unions in Tasmania. It may be that some goods of Tasmanian manufacture may find their way into Victorian and other Commonwealth markets, and this proposal - which, to my mind, is entirely foreign to the Bill - may have a very unfair effect in connexion with those goods. The fact that they will not be marked with “the trade union brand will be an indication to the purchaser that they have not been made by union labour, and the implication will necessarily be that they are inferior to goods which are so branded, and ought not to be purchased. That may be exceedingly unfair.
– The honorable senator will find that the second part of the proposed new clause shows that the mark is not intended to guarantee the quality of the goods.
– The trade union mark may be used in a variety of ways. The honorable senator who, with the best intention, has proposed this series of amendments, said yesterday that no trade union would deny the use of its trade mark to manufacturers employing trade unionists on trade union conditions of labour. It is not necessary to argue that a trade union would not deny the use of the trade mark to which it has the sole right to a majority of manufacturers, although it might refuse the mark to one manufacturer. . ‘
– It would not do so.
– How can the honorable senator know?
– Because I have had personal experience of the working of the system in Western Australia.
– I have heard Senator Trenwith speak in the same way, but I have also heard that honorable senator and other honorable senators, when the occasion suited them, say that it is the unlikely that frequently happens. No honorable senator can take it upon himself to say that the trade unions will do this or that. What the trade unions will do can only be revealed to us by the future ; and the question is whether we should give them the power to do something which may prove to be exceedingly unjust. In Tasmania we have to rely oh our export trade very largely. We joined the Federation in the hope of having free-trade with the other States; and if we are here asked to enact legislation which may handicap us in the freedom of our trade intercourse with the other States, we cannot but view the matter seriously. It may be that we are not progressive, and that may be one of the consequences of our insularity ; but that is no reason why our manufacturers should suffer through having the products of manufacture in the other States marked in some way which would stigmatize; the products of our State as being inferior, or as being goods which for other reasons ought not to be purchased. I do not desire, as is often done by clergymen, to blame those of their congregation who are present for the absence of those who are away, but I think it is a pity that so important a matter should be dealt with when there is such a small attendance. In my desire to encourage trade unionism I am as strong as is any labour senator. I have always approved of trade unionism. In my opinion the combination and cooperation’ of people for their mutual protection and advancement is a perfectly right principle, so long as they stop at that. But when it is proposed to furnish such combinations with a power which may be used to the prejudice of others, we should pause and consider what we are doing. It appears to me that possibly these provisions might be utilized as a weapon to the detriment of Tasmanian manufactures, and that would not be in accordance with the Federal spirit, on the strength of which we entered the Federation. As a State which has a comparatively small representation in the Federal Parliament, Tasmania is entitled to consideration in this connexion.
– I desire to say a few words in reply to Senator Mulcahy. The honorable senator set out with a certain intention, and after promising much, he resumed his seat without giving the information which he said he would give. The honorable senator was referring to the cost of articles produced in this State,’ and I asked a question of him in order to elicit some information. He has told the Committee that he can now get articles at the same price as he paid for them before the establishment of labour organizations and Wages Boards in Victoria. That was presumably when the articles ought to have cost a great deal more than they did previously. I asked, by way of friendly interjection, whether the honorable senator referred to the cost of production, or merely to the price; because, between the two, there is a great difference. Years ago the price of those articles might have been much higher, though the cost of production was much lower than to-day. That shows an altogether different state of affairs from that which the honorable senator would like us to believe.
– That is not the case; I was not dealing with that aspect of the question.
– The honorable senator threw no light on the subject, though in reply to my interjection he promised to do so. My contention is that under the conditions prevailing to-day, with Wages Boards and other industrial organizations, articles can be purchased just as cheap as when they were produced under sweating conditions. This only proves that it was the employers or the middlemen who got the benefit of those unfair conditions.
– The honorable senator must recollect that the extension of machinery has cheapened production.
– As also has division of labour.
– I grant that those circumstances have had some effect. The object of the clauses proposed by Senator Pearce is not to provide labels indicating the quality of the articles, but simply te show under what conditions the articles have been produced. These two objects are quite different.
– The object of Senator Pearce is quite different from the object of the Bill.
– Trade marks are used to indicate an infinite variety of facts. Some trade marks show that the articles are the production of a firm or are composed of certain materials; others that articles are produced in a certain country, and so forth ; and I contend that Senator Pearce’s proposal is perfectly reasonable in a measure of this character. I should like to point out to Senator Mulcahy that in the manufacture of English broadcloth, which is perhaps the best of the kind produced, the poorest paid, labour in England is employed, while in the manufacture of inferior shoddy tweed from the north of England much higher paid labour under union conditions is employed.
– I have sold such cloths for a long time, and I am not aware that they have trade marks, though some of them may have.
– There are very few manufacturers who have not a trade mark of some kind or another. These trade marks, however, do not indicate the kind of labour employed, but rather the quality or kind of article. These are all matters which we have to consider when discussing whether a trade union label or mark shall be legalized by this Bill. There is no doubt that if a trade union mark were used, say, in Melbourne, it might have some effect on the industries of Tasmania, where trade unionism is almost an unknown factor. Senator Mulcahy may see in that view a danger to his State, the interests of which he is perfectly right in attempting to safeguard. But those who do believe in proper conditions of employment for men and women, have a right to see that safeguards are applied in that direction, and a trade union label is about the best guarantee that could be devised.
– I am sorry these clauses are sought to be introduced in a measure of this kind, to the object and purposes of which they are quite foreign.
– Why should not a worker, as well as. a manufacturer, have the right to stamp his goods?
– Nobody desires to stop a worker from stamping his goods ; most people, on the other hand, would rather encourage the practice. But why should we, by an Act of Parliament, give anybody the power to refuse to other persons the right to similarly stamp their goods? In this respect the clause appears to, me unfair, proposing, as it does, to give a special right to a trade union.
– Just as it is- proposed to give a special right to a manufacturer.
– A manufacturer uses a trade mark to’ describe the quality or make of goods which can be bought and sold every day in the week. The clauses which Senator Pearce’ . proposes will be used for the purposes of pressure, and under them, even an employer of union labour may be refused the right to use a label.
– No; the object of the clause is to give that right to employers working under union conditions.
– Every one who works under union conditions may use the label.
– But I might form a union of four or five persons, and yet be refused the right to use a label.
– It would not be the union, but the Registrar, who would then refuse the right. He would not register such a union.
– We are not discussing preference to unionists.
– It is preference of a kind ; otherwise why seek to force these clauses into a Trade Marks Bill?
– Does a manufacturer not get a preference by means of his trade mark?
– But a manufacturer might be refused the right to use a trade union mark under these clauses.
– Quite right, too, if he does not employ people under proper conditions.
– But the right to use the label might be refused owing to mere pique. These clauses will give the power, to bring pressure in order to dp a wrong to an individual, because, it may be, of some little dispute only indirectly connected with unionism. Such provisions have no right in this Bill.
– In what Bill does the honorable senator suggest the provisions should be put?
– In a Bill specially dealing with the subject. As to the cheap and dear articles, referred to by Senator de Largie, prices vary from day to day, and from year to year. Articles which were dear ten years ago are cheap now, and vice versa; the cost of an article is no evidence as to proper conditions of production.
– The tender regard certain honorable senators have for the well being of wealthy manufacurers or merchants is quite ramarkable, as is also the utter disregard they have for the welfare of the humble individual who is employed in the manufacture of the goods.
– That is an unfair and grosslv incorrect comment.
– I think I shall be able to show that my comment is absolutely correct.
– There has been too much of that talk altogether.
– That may be so, in the estimation of some honorable senators.
– And in the estimation of many people outside also.
– There are people who do not like to hear’ the truth spoken. But it is time we had the truth. In the past, by the ‘course of legislation introduced in this and almost every other civilized State, the interests of the vast majority have been sacrified to the interests of a miserable minority. The Senate was unanimous in supporting the proposal to grant trade marks to individuals or firms, in order to protect them in the fullest possible enjoyment of exclusive rights, as against piratical and unscrupulous individuals. Yet when we ask that the workmen shall have exactly the same rights, and be entitled to use a distinctive mark showing that articles have been produced under certain conditions, there is immediately a thunderstorm of opposition raised by the very men who were most enthusiastic in extending the protection to the private manufacturer or merchant.
– That is grossly wrong. Is this the sort of stuff that the honorable senator talks in Queensland? If it is, no wonder that he was at or near the top of tha poll.
– The question is whether I am speaking the truth or not. It is within the knowledge of every honorable senator and other person who has followed this debate, that my statements are absolutely correct, and cannot be denied by any one who has any regard for the truth.
– The honorable senator has heard some of us deny them.
– The honorable and learned senator will have to take the responsibility for the denial. The whole purpose of this Bill is to allow any person, firm, or corporation to register a certain trade mark to denote that the goods to which it is applied were put up by its cgvner in that form. That trade mark becomes an exclusive property, and cannot be pirated, and its owner must be protected in the use and enjoyment of all the advantages arising from its possession. It only denotes the fact that the goods are of a certain quality.
– It does not do anything of the kind. It cannot do so.
– A firm has a reputation for putting up goods of a certain quality or character, and the trade mark denotes that the goods have been put up by the firm, and possess the quality for which it has a reputation.
– No ;. it designates that the goods are the products of the labour of the members of the trade union.
– The firm relies on those goods to command a market, otherwise it would not put a trade mark on them. We ask that associations of men which have been formed for the purpose of trying to enforce fair and honest conditions for the workers who produce any description of articles shall have the right to register a mark which shall denote the kind of labour and conditions under which the goods were produced. That is just as fair and equitable a demand as that which has been made on behalf of the manufacturers that they should be protected in the use of their distinctive trade marks. Why should any difference be drawn between the two classes? Must all our consideration be given to the man who is in a good position and is, therefore, better able to safeguard his interests than a humble individual? We should be fair all round. It has been argued by Senators Fraser, Drake, and others that the trade union mark might be used as a sort of guarantee of the quality of the goods, whereas the definition which has been moved by Senator Pearce goes to show that it has nothing to do with the quality of the goods - - “Trade union mark” means a distinctive mark or device adopted by a trade union for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.
– What has labour to do with trade marks ? Nothing whatever.
– From Senator Dobson we get the same old argument, “What does it matter about the workers. Let us safeguard the interests of the big manufacturers.”
– That is a most unfair comment. Labour has nothing fb do with a trade mark.
– It will have if we can get our way, and we intend to make a hard fight. I hold the view that labour is entitled to all the protection which can be afforded to it, just as the manufacturers are. This is one means by which we can afford labour that protection to which it is justly entitled. It has been argued that this series of amendments is entirely foreign to the Bill, that even, although it might be desirable to have such provisions on the statute-book, yet they should be embodied in another Bill. I fail to see the necessity for placing these provisions in another Bill simply because a trade union mark is not on all fours with a trade imark. According to the Bill, a trade mark denotes that certain goods have been manufactured or put up by a person, or firm, or corporation. That is quite right. All we ask on behalf of the workmen is that they shall be entitled to register a trade mark which shall denote that the goods manufactured by them have been made under trade union conditions. If the people are tired and sick of trade unions it will be a great loss to a trade union to have a trade mark, because the people will fight shy of any goods so marked. If, however, the vast majority of the people, even, those who are not trade unionists, sympathize with the aspirations of labour, and prefer goods which have been produced under trade union conditions, the trade mark will be a very valuable factor indeed. It will wrong no one, nor will it throw a slur upon any one; it will merely record a solid fact. Is it not reasonable that trade unionists should be allowed to say that their goods have been produced under trade unions conditions? It has been argued by Senator Fraser and others that a great deal of injury might be done by the refusal of a trade union to allow a manufacturer to use its trade mark’; and that that course might be taken, even though the manufacturer was producing his goods under trade union conditions and employing trade unionists. Could anything be more unlikely to occur than that?
– Can it occur?
– It would be absolutely suicidal for a trade union to adopt that policy.
– If it can occur, it is wrong to give the power to the trade union.
– Directly a trade union refused to give a manufacturer the right to use its distinctive trade union mark, he would immediately say, “ I shall sack every one of your members whom I employ.” What advantage would it be to him to employ trade unionists, if the trade union were so asinine as to refuse to allow him to use its trade union mark? Immediately his request was refused, every member of the trade union would be sacked, or at any rate, the manufacturer would have that remedy in his hands ; and, furthermore, he could advertise from one end of the country to the other the fact that, although he was employing trade union labour, and complying with every demand of their trade union, they were so unjust as to refuse to allow him touse their, trade union mark. By taking that course he would effectually damn that trade union, and advertise his goods in a manner which a trade union mark would not do. It is idle to go out of our way to imagine difficulties which could hardly occur in practical experience, and which, if they did occur, would provide the manufacturer with a more effective remedy than we could devise. Senator Fraser also urged that a trade union mark might be used for the purpose of pressure. I do not know how it could be used in that way. It could exercise no coercion over the public. I am not quite sure that the honorable senator used the argument in that connexion, but that is what I understood.
– That is not the connexion in which I used the word “ pressure.” What I meant was that a manufacturer employing similar labour under similar conditions might be refused the right.
– Take the case of goods bearing a trade union mark. No pressure would be brought to bear on the public to buy those goods. They would be absolutely free to buy goods bearing a trade union mark, or not to buy them, as they pleased. If they preferred goods bearing the trade union mark, they would undoubtedly purchase “them. But if they did not like the mark they would buy others. Senator Fraser’s point, that the use of a trade union mark may bring pressure to bear upon an employer who is employing non-union men under fair conditions, is beside the question, because if the manufacturer found that the use of the mark was an advantage he would simply have to induce his men to join the union, and use the mark himself. We have an analogy in Victoria, which State has I believe, led the way in legislation of this character. I aim not acquainted with the details of the Victorian Factories Acts, but I understand that it involves distinctive marks being put upon certain goods which are manufactured by Chinese. Chinese goods are notoriously made by cheap labour under absolute sweating conditions, against which fairly paid labour, employed under decent conditions, cannot hope to compete successfully. According to the Victorian law those goods have to be definitely marked as being manufactured by Chinese. We propose, in these clauses to follow that example, and to insure, as far as we possibly can, that goods manufactured under fair and proper conditions shall bear upon the face of them a mark signifying to the general public that they have been manufactured under those conditions. That is an eminently fair proposition. If the public in any part of Australia choose to buy Chinese made furniture there is nothing” to prevent them doing so. As a matter of fact, many people in Victoria, in buying . furniture, notwithstanding the excellent intentions of the Victorian law, often have Chinese furniture palmed off on them, although they object to buy it. One argument that has been used against the clauses is, that in Victoria, where there are Wages Boards and Factories Acts, it is not necessary to have an enactment providing for trade union marks. But we are not legislating merely for Victoria. We are legislating for the whole Commonwealth. The fact that particular legislation may not be necessary in one portion of the Commonwealth is no argument against not passing a law which may be urgently necessary in other portions of Australia. Again, although Wages Boards and Factories Acts may insure fair conditions in Victoria, it, nevertheless, is necessary to have trade union marks in this State, because, although the goods may be manufactured in Victoria under fair conditions, of which trade unions may approve, yet they come into competition with goods produced in other places where fair conditions do not prevail. It is, therefore, necessary to have distinctive marks to enable persons, when buying goods, to know whether they have been manufactured under fair conditions or not. For ‘ my own part I am actuated by a desire to give fair play to the manufacturers as well as to the workmen. Therefore, I shall be very pleased indeed to see the clauses proposed by Senator Pearce embodied in the Bill. I feel sure that they will carry out the very admirable purpose that he has in view.
– I have to acknowledge at once that I am confronted with a certain amount of difficulty in supporting Senator Pearce’s clauses. Some of the legal members of the Committee have expressed a doubt as to whether the clauses can be properly inserted in this Bill. I hope that that doubt will be removed by some of the legal senators who will follow me. The main question appears to be an extremely simple one. If I go into a shop to purchase an article, is it not right that I should be able to know whether it was produced under trade union conditions and by union labour, if I so desire it?
– That can be secured under the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill.
– But that Bill has left the Senate, and there is no provision of this kind, in it.
– I think there is.
– I bow to the honorable and learned senator’s legal knowledge, but I do not remember any clause in that Bill which would attain the object which we have in view in so specific a manner as would the clauses proposed by Senator Pearce.
– The definition of “trade description “ in clause 3 would accomplish the object.
– It does not matter whether the object is accomplished by means of the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill or the Trade Marks Bill, so long as we have an enactment for the benefit of those who believe in trade unions. The fact that trade unions secure the right to register their marks would not necessarily mean that any person would be coerced to buy goods made under trade union conditions. A large number of people do not believe in trade unions. A large number do believe in them. But the whole question is that, if people desire to encourage trade unionism, they should have an opportunity, when they buy an article of furniture, to know whether it was made under trade union conditions or not. Senator Mulcahy referred to Tasmania, and his reference to the State which I have the honour to represent, constitutes my princi pal reason for taking part in the debate. I am very sorry to have to admit that in the State of Tasmania there are very few trade unions. Indeed, apart from the miners’, unions, we have none in the ordinary acceptation of the term. But I should like Senator Mulcahy to point out how any great injury would be done to manufacturers in Tasmania if this provision were inserted in the Bill. In the first place, we have very few factories in Tasmania.
– There are very important ones, though.
– I admit that the fewmanufactures that we have are very important, especially in regard to the fruit and jam-making industry.
– There is also the woollen industry, which will become more and more important.
- Senator Fraser cannot know much about . the woollen industry in Tasmania, or he would be aware that it employs very few hands. But that argument is rather in favour of the insertion of such clauses as these. Senator Mulcahy referred to the clauses as antiFederal. If we are to look at this matter in a Federal spirit, would Senator Mulcahy say that goods manufactured in Tasmania, where there are no Factories Acts, should be allowed to come into competition with goods manufactured in Victoria, where there is beneficent factories legislation? As a representative of Tasmania, I say at once that that is not fair, and I am surprised that my colleague should have said that it is un-Federal to insert these provisions because there are no trade unions in Tasmania. It seems to me that the un-Federal aspect of the question is on the part’ of Tasmania. I am hopeful - indeed I am fairly certain - that it will not be long before we have trade unions in Tasmania. The enormous advantages we have in respect to our water supply, which is unequalled in any part of Australia, are such that it may not be very long before we have large factories worked by the cheapest of all power - electric power. Trade unions will soon follow the establishment of industries. It has often been said that certain’ manufacturers in this State have removed their business to Tasmania in order to escape from factories legislation. The brush manufacturers have been mentioned in that connexion. I do not think that there are many operatives in the Tasmania brush trade. It is a small industry. But if the manufacturers removed their business from Victoria to Tasmania in order to escape from factories legislation, it is a thing which should not be countenanced by any means. To use the argument that these clauses are unFederal, ‘ because they would injure Tasmania, is to countenance the action of Victorian manufacturers who remove their business to Tasmania in order to escape from factories legislation, I am sorry to say that there are very few hands engaged in manufacturing industries in Tasmania, if we except those engaged in the preserving and jam-making industries.
– Is there a brand put on Tasmanian jams?
– Undoubtedly; and as a result Tasmanian jams bring a better price than do jams manufactured in other parts of the Commonwealth.
– Does not Senator Mulcahy consider that an un-lFederal action ?
– It would be a very good thing for the people employed in the industry if we had trade unions in Tasmania, able to put a trade union mark on the jam tins, to show that the jam had been manufactured under ‘trade union conditions.
– I do not believe there would be any more of the jam sold.
– The difficulty raised by Senator Mulcahy could be very quickly got over if these provisions were adopted, with a result also that many injustices would be removed. The Tasmanian manufacturers would only have to say to their employes, “ We wish you to form trade unions, that we may secure the advantage of a trade union mark, otherwise the products of our factories, upon, which your wages depend, will have to compete unfairly with the products of factories of the mainland.” Can honorable senators say that the employes would not jump at the chance of forming unions? Speaking generally, they do not form unions now, in many instances, because, as in other States, they are afraid of their employers. I submit that it is an un-Federal act for any one State in the Federation to allow manufactures to be’ carried on within it with an entire absence of proper conditions as to hours, wages, and general conditions of labour, and then to claim that the products of those manufactures should be brought into competition with’ the products of fac tories in other States worked under decent conditions.
– That is left to the States to decide.
– Where such legislation comes within our province it is for us to decide; and the sooner we pass such legislation as this the sooner shall we compel States, which have not taken such action, to carry factory legislation. I am using this argument because Senator Mulcahy has said that if these provisions are agreed to their operation may be prejudicial to the interests of manufacturers in Tasmania, who will not be able to brand their goods with a trade union mark to indicate that they have been manufactured under trade union conditions. The honorable senator has suggested that people in this State will not buy those goods because they will not have the trade union mark- upon them. There may be something in the honorable senator’s argument, but I point out that it is the State which refuses to legislate in the same direction as the other States of the Commonwealth that displays an un-Federal spirit.
– Does the honorable senator contend that a trade union label could be used on Jones’ jam as a trade mark?
– Has the honorable senator ever heard of two trade marks on the same goods? If a man has a trade mark, can he also have a label indicating the conditions under which the goods were made, and then call that a trade mark? I put it to the honorable senator’s common sense.
– I have seen two trade marks on certain articles. An instance of the kind was quoted in the Senate some time ago. Honorable senators will recollect that we were told that Nestles’ Milk is marked “Nestles’ Milk,” and in a different ink it is also marked “ Made for export.” Senator Dobson speaks of common sense, and I put it to his common sense to say what in the world there is to prevent a second mark being placed as a label on Jones’ jam?
– It is not a trade mark ; it is a trade union label.
– Very well, we do not wish to m’ake it ‘a trade mark.
– Then it does not come within the scope of this Bill.
– We wish to have a trade union label, a distinctive mark which will indicate to the purchaser that the goods have been made by trade union labour under trade union conditions; There can be nothing unfair in that if we have the power to do it. I do not claim to be a legal authority, and insist that we have the power, but if we have it, I hope we shall do what is asked.
– Suppose the label was “made under the Factories Act of Victoria “ ; how many trade unions would be entitled to that label ?
– Very nearly all.
– A hundred of them, and yet honorable senators wish to call that a trade mark.
– I do not desire to call it a trade mark.
– Then, we cannot have it in this Bill.
– I think that Senator Pearce is entirely justified in trying to have these provisions inserted in the Bill.
– We could not have a hundred men, each having the same trade mark.
– We could have a thousand men branding their goods “ Made under trade union conditions.” I am afraid Senator Dobson is using quibbles, which he knows there is not much in. Does the honorable and learned senator say there is anything impossible in a trade union registering a union trade mark, and having that mark applied to goods, in addition to any other trade mark?
– I say that it would not be a tra.de mark.
– My reply is that I do not desire that it should be a trade mark. I desire to have a distinctive mark indicating that goods have been made under union conditions of labour^ It does not matter to me whether Senator Dobson believes in trade unions or not.
– I have said a hundred times that I do believe in them.
– If the honorable and learned senator does believe in trade unions, I can understand that in purchasing an article he would like to give preference to one made under trade ‘union conditions.
– Then, has not the honorable and learned senator’ a right to know how he can get that article; and by what simpler method could he be given the information than that which is now proposed ?
– But we have not the power to do this.
– The honorable senator goes back to the legal question again, and I have admitted that I am not arguing the legal question. The question is whether an intending purchaser should be able to find out in the simplest possible way whether the goods he proposes to purchase have been made under trade union conditions. If he is against trade unionism he will look for an article that is not so branded ; but if he is in favour of trade unionism he should be placed in a position, when purchasing goods, to know those which have been made under trade union conditions. That would do no injustice to any one, and I think the Committee will do right in accepting the new clauses proposed by Senator Pearce.
Senator CROFT (Western Australia).I desire to support the proposals submitted by Senator Pearce, and I shall not occupy the time of the Committee for long, because much that I would have said has already been said by other honorable senators. For instance, I believe in a lot of the “ stuff “ which has emanated from Senator Givens. I may remind the honorable and learned senator who characterized it as “stuff,” that it is more acceptable to the people of Australia than is the high-class politics and logic of that Honorable and learned senator.
– I do not think the honorable senator quite knows what I characterized as “ stuff.”
– Senator Dobson, speaking to Senator Givens, said, “ Do you give them that stuff in Queensland?”
– Does the honorable senator recollect what Senator Givens was saying at the time?
– I know the sense of what the honorable senator said, and I agree with him. I speak as one who knows exactly how unions use their label or trade mark in Western Australia. I was a member of the Western Australian Operative Bootmakers’ Union, the trustees of which have registered a trade mark on behalf of the union. The mark consists of a design of clasped hands, and the. words- “ Made by trade union labour.” The- union allowed employers in the boot trade who employed trade unionists to use their stamp,- and, instead of trying to prevent a manufacturer from securing the use of the stamp, our main object - and I was a member of the executive at the time - was to get as many manufacturers as possible to use it. Obviously it was an advertisement for our union, and a means of organizing. After four years’ experience in the union I think 1 can say that we allowed any employer who employed union labour to use our trade mark. Senator Mulcahy has said that these provisions might injure Tasmanian industries, because there are no trade unions in Tasmania, and goods coming from that State to Victoria would not bear a trade union brand. There cannot be many classes of goods manufactured in Tasmania, or else Senator Mulcahy cannot be as patriotic as he claims to be, when he tells the Committee that he has during the last twenty-five years been purchasing goods made in Victoria. I think we can fairly assume that if a trade union brand was stamped upon boots made in Victoria, and not upon boots made in Tasmania, Senator Fraser would always purchase Tasmanian’ boots.
– I do not ask where they come from. I buy a lot of Tasmanian blankets, and I have found them to be very good.
– The honorable senator said a good deal about coercion, but what coercion could be used, and who would use ‘ it, I am at _ a loss to understand. I cannot imagine by what means coercion could be used. The only advantage I can see is that manufacturers, by using this stamp, will encourage people to purchase their goods, and thus help to popularize the latter. I believe the average citizen will purchase, and even give a higher price for goods manufactured under proper conditions. I hope and believe that this and the subsequent clauses will be carried. I ask legal members of the Senate not to urge, as an argument, that such legislation has not hitherto been enacted, but to assist us in showing how, in accordance with the wish of the majority, provisions of the kind may be enacted and enforced.
– I very much regret and deprecate the tone which has been assumed” in this debate by Senator Givens. I have the greatest respect for the opinions of that honorable senator ; but when he launches out at other senators, who are guilty of the audacity of differing from him, and charges them -with legislating in the interests of the wealthy mer chant, and disregarding the interests of the workmen-
– It was only too apparent
– When Senator Givens takes that line, he is, at least, doing himself a serious injustice. Certainly his attitude and his remarks are not in harmony with the best traditions of debate in this Chamber. I can assure the honorable senator (hat there are those who honestly differ from him, but who are equally honest, and equally anxious with himself to conserve the best and the highest interests of the workers.
– Then, all I can say is, that those honorable senators have a very peculiar way of showing their regard.
– If the honorable senator,, in his immaculate attitude, tells me that there is only one way of arriving at that end, and that that way is through himself, I must concede his argument. But there are those of us who have, at’ least, done something practical in the best interests of the community, in the enactment of humane legislation, as witness the Factories Act of Victoria, which he himself lauded, and which I had the honour to assist in passing. Yet, forsooth, because I do not see exactly with the honorable senator, I am to be most unworthily charged with disregard for a section of the community, and with being so callous in the discharge of my duty, as simply to represent classes and not masses. To speak frankly, I may tell the honorable senator that, in my judgment, at all events, the proposals before us will not prove of the value which he himself estimates.
– Union marks are of value without registration.
– If such marks are of value without registration, that value has not been demonstrated, at least in Victoria. Of course Victoria is only a limited portion of Australia, but if there is any value attached to such marks, there is nothing to prevent any member of a trade union, or the owner of any factory working under trade union conditions, branding all articles as manufactured under those conditions.
– But the mark may be pirated, and the honorable and learned senator refuses to afford protection.
– Persons who pirate such marks are selling their goods under misrepresentation. By common law, and also under the terms of the Fraudulent
Trade Marks Act, no man is at liberty to apply a false trade description to his goods.
– Who is to be the judge? Could a man not say that, in his opinion, the conditions under which he manufactured were fair?
– The Courtmust be the judge; but there are certain men prepared to take risks. This legislation can be of no value, at all events in New South Wales and Victoria, where the very first consideration has been given to the conditions of production.
– Only in some: branches of labour.
– In New South Wales any trade union is at liberty to go to the Arbitration Court and have the conditions of labour defined, while in Victoria all the leading tradeshave already availed themselves of the Wages Boards. By the Act, under which Wages Boards are established, trades which have not yet taken advantage of these tribunals,may, by a resolution of both Houses of the State Parliament, come within their jurisdiction. These clauses, as I say, would be of no avail in New South Wales or Victoria, where already the highest and best guarantee has been given for the protection of the workers.
– Does the honorable and learned member not see that goods manufactured under unfair conditions may come from- other States, and that no opportunity is given to the consumer to distinguish them.
– If the proposals of Senator Pearce would, as he desires, guarantee to the public that goods have been manufactured under fair conditions, I should assist him in passing them. The honorable senator has stated time after time that the object of the clauses is to give some guarantee that the goods are made under the conditions he desires ; but that object cannot be carried out by the means he proposes. The clause says that a trade union mark means a distinct mark or device adopted by a trade union “ for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.” Yet the honorable senator places it within the power of a body, which may represent a minority, to declare that only a limited number of trade unionists shall have the advantage of a particular mark.
– Not at all !
– Why “ limited number “ ?
– It is competent for the executive of a trade union to say who shall have the use of a mark.
– Not a bit of it !
– Does the honorable and learned member understand anything about trade unions?
– I am only reading the words of the clause proposed by Senator Pearce.
– The honorable and learned member is reading between the lines ; hundreds of unions may be affected.
– In legislating we have to look at what is possible, to say nothing of what is probable; and, under these clauses, it would be perfectly possible, in certain circumstances, for the executive of a union to confine the use of a trade mark to certain traders in the community.
– It is possible that this building may fall in.
– Under the clauses, as printed, it would be quite competent for the utmost tyranny to be exercised. Then we must not forget that there are men. who, for various reasons, which I need not detail, do not deem it necessarry to join trade unions, but who, in -their employment, may enjoy exactly the same conditions as are enjoyed by trade unionists. Yet, by reason of the fact that a trade union is able to authorize the application of some particular mark, the necessary inference is that goods which do not bear that mark are made under unfair conditions. In some cases that inference might be true, but in other cases it might be grossly untrue.
– Does the honorable and learned member not admit that if it had not been for trade unions those nonunionists would never have enjoyed fair conditions ?
– No one has a higher admiration for trade unions than I have ; and so long as they confine themselves to their legitimate functions, they are capable of doing enormous good, and shall have every encouragement, so far as I am concerned. I have no feeling in this matter, but simply want to show the view which I take. If Senator Pearce’s object is to give a guarantee to the public that the goods they purchase are made under fair conditions, he does not carry out that object by these proposals. If the honorable senator would permit a trade unionist, or any body of trade unionists, to go to the executive of a union, and demand as a right the liberty to use a particular mark, that would be an advance. But, further, I am of opinion that if another factory is working under union or fair conditions, it should be competent for the proprietor of that factory, or the workers, to obtain the advantage of the union mark.
– If workers are united, they are a union by that mere fact.
– That may, or may not be so.
– Let such people have their own non-union mark.
– Such a mark might be called a non-union mark if the honorable senator so desires.
– Call it a “ blackleg “ mark.
– It would be unfair to use the word “ blackleg,” because nonunionists may be as honest as unionists.
– They cannot be.
– I have yet to learn that honesty is confined to unionists.
– I shall prove it to the honorable and learned senator.
– The honorable senator is undertaking a big task. I am making no reflection on either unionists or nonunionists. I am arguing that if Senator Pearce’s object is to give the public a guarantee that goods are manufactured under fair conditions, then, unless the liberty to use the mark is extended to all who manufacture under fair conditions, the object will not be attained, but that, on the other hand, there may be established a system of tyranny which we ought not to sanction.
– How does the Lawyers’ Union treat a non-member ?
– In the interests of the public an unqualified man is not permitted to practise.
– This is exactly what we wish to provide for in the interest of labour.
– In the case of law, medicine, and dentistry, it is open to any person to qualify himself for practice.
– And so it is with a non-unionist.
– It has been remarked by Senator Givens that we have been busily engaged in sanctioning the use of trade marks by wealthy merchants only. But that is a great mistake on his part.
– By the merchant only.
– Any individual in the community who produces goods will be entitled to register a trade mark.
– Why not give that right to trade unionists?
– Every trade unionist in the community who produces an article will be at liberty to denominate that article by a trade mark if he chooses to apply for one, just in the same way as will the wealthiest merchant.
– It applies to only the man who puts goods on the market.
– It is not confined to any class. The producer of any goods will be at liberty under the Bill to have them denominated by a trade mark. It is incorrect for Senator Givens to suggest that the merchant has his trade mark simply for the purpose of showing the quality of his goods. A merchant cannot get a trade mark which will display the quality of his goods.
– I did not say that. What I said was that if a merchant were manufacturing or putting up any goods to which he applied a trade mark, his reputation would be sufficient to designate that they were of a certain quality.
– I would draw the attention of the honorable senator to clause 15, which reads -
The essential particulars of a registrable trade mark shall be one or more of the following particulars : -
A word or words having no reference to the character or quality of the goods and not being a geographical name used or likely to be understood in a geographical sense.
Consequently my honorable friend is wrong in his apprehension in that regard.
– The . honorable senator used the word “ quality “ in a different sense.
– I do not know the sense in which the word was applied. A trade union mark, such as Senator Pearce proposes shall be granted, will not indicate in any way the quality of the goods to which it is applied. It will not give a guarantee to the public as to the quality of the goods.
– The honorable and learned senator will admit that the quality of any goods is determined by two factors, namely, the labour and the material employed.
– That is so. But trade union labour may or may not be- good. It does not indicate any degree of skill or quality.
– Does it not?
– Necessarily it does not indicate any degree of skill. But it does indicate, and very properly indicate, that the article has been made under fair conditions. If Senator Pearce will frame his proposal so as to provide for the issue of a trade union mark, which will indicate that the article to which it is applied has been made under fair conditions, he shall have my support, but not otherwise.
– I experienced some pleasure in listening to Senator Best, when he disclaimed the idea that he came within the. category of those whom Senator Givens described, as being opposed to trade unionists because they were trade unionists. But the pleasure was somewhat short-lived. I should like to believe that there are no intelligent men to-day who would oppose any provision in the interests of trade unionists because they are such. But the opposition that’ has been hurled at the amendments moved by Senator Pearce appears in some degree to emanate from a feeling in that direction. If not, the opposition has conveyed to several of us a very false impression. It has been urged several times that something may be done by trade unionists to injure some other body if this Bill is made to provide that unions may employ some brand or mark to show that certain goods have been made by trade union labour. I do not apprehend that any danger can possibly arise from such a source. Trade unionists, like most other men, are engaged, in working for a livelihood. They certainly wish to have a fair show in their operations, and so particular are they in that respect that they are prepared to indicate to every person who purposes to buy an article which has been made by trade unionists that such is the fact. They wish to make their position so clear that they are prepared to placard it to the whole public. Any. one who looks at the proposed clauses carefully will be satisfied that they do not bear the limited construction that Senator Best endeavoured to place upon them, when he argued that the executive of a trade union might take control of a particular mark, and prevent its being used by a number of persons. There may be a hundred unions the members of which may all be engaged in particular trades, and each union may have a particular mark of its own. If that mark is placed upon the goods which trade unionists have made, surely no injury can accrue to any one. ‘ If fair conditions of labour prevail amongst employers who employ non-unionists, they can adopt some kind of non-union mark, and place that upon their goods.’ They can declare to the world that the goods have been made by non-union labour, if they so desire. We have no objection to any such thing being done. But we contend that it is right that trade unionists should be able to put a mark upon goods which they make, in order that the whole world may know that those goods have been made under union conditions. Persons buying those goods will have the satisfaction of knowing that they have been made under such conditons as trade unionists usually seek to have applied to their calling. A question has been raised as to whether this is the correct Bill in which a provision of this character may, with propriety and decorum, be inserted. I venture to say that any proposition that was put forward on behalf of trade unionists would have to encounter the same kind of opposition. Whatever Bill was before us, a doubt would be expressed as to whether anything in the interests of trade unionists could be inserted in it. I sincerely hope that the Committee will have no hesitation in saying that Senator Pearce’s amendments will not constitute an interference with people who are engaged in the manufacture of goods by giving them the right to impress upon those goods the fact that they were manufactured by union labour.
– I should not care to refer to the remarks of Senator Givens were it not for the fact that Senator Henderson and Senator Croft both seem to have misunderstood me. I understood Senator Givens - it was unintentional I am sure - to impute to me and to others that we were very anxious to pass legislation to help the rich trader, but that we would not extend the same justice to the working man. All I have to say is that I hardly think my honorable friend meant it in that way. If he did, we have a right to repudiate the assertion. We are all here to do the best we ‘can for the Commonwealth, and to pass legislation which is just to all classes. But .this is not a’ question of morality or of justice. It is purely a question of constitutional law. It is purely a question of whether we can legally incorporate these clauses in a Trade’
Marks Bill. As I have already- intimated to the Chairman, I intend to take his ruling upon two points - first that these clauses are outside the Constitution, and that we have no power whatever to pass them; and, secondly, I intend to argue, that the clauses do not come within the purview of the title of the Bill. I contend that the marks for which the clauses provide are not trade marks, but are really trade union labels. It is sub-section xviii. of section 51 of the Constitution which gives us power to deal with the question of trade marks. That power is simply conveyed in the two words “trade marks.” Unless the symbols referred to ‘ in Senator Pearce’s clauses are trade marks, I take it that we have no power with regard to them. I can find no other provision in the Constitution which enables us to. deal with trade marks, with the exception of that which I have just mentioned. But my most important objection to the clauses arises under any second heading - that what Senator Pearce proposes would not be a trade mark within the purview of this Bill, and, therefore, cannot be incorporated in it. A trade mark, as denned in these clauses, means - a distinctive mark or device adopted by a trade union for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.
But I say, most unhesitatingly, that that definition cannot, and does not, apply to a trade mark. It means a trade union label. A trade mark is defined as - some distinctive thing which points out that the goods are the goods of A B.
– Is that the constitutional meaning ?
– That is the definition given in Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary. I take it that when the Constitution and when this Bill mentions a trade mark they mean a trade mark within the purview of English law and English understanding. Any person who adopts a trade mark has certain common law rights and certain statutory rights. When the Constitution was framed, the term trade mark was used in the ordinary legal sense which we all understand. We cannot, by altering the title of a Bill, or by calling a mark a trade union mark when it is only a trade union label, make such a provision come within the purview of the Constitution or of this Bill. The trade union mark is to be used -
For the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.
What have we to do with labour? We all know perfectly well that questions affecting labour, industrialism, Factories Acts, Wages Boards, and arbitration - except in cases where disputes extend from one State to another - are left entirely with the States. Motions have been submitted in another place with the object of bringing the whole industrial life of the Commonwealth within the purview of the Constitution. But that has not yet been done. Yet my honorable friends opposite, for very good and praiseworthy motives, are trying to introduce that power by a side-wind.
– The object is to designate the products of certain labour. The people working in the Denton Hat Mills are working under the Victorian Factories Act, and the Victorian Wages Board settles the wages to be paid to them. If the Denton people desired to put upon every case or upon every hat - not the words “ Made under fair conditions,” because no Registrar with any sense would ever allow anybody to make use of the word “ fair” in such a connexion - but the words “ Made under trade union laws,” or ‘( Made under the Factories Act of Victoria,” would that label be placed on every hat or on every case? The fatal objection to the proposal is that nowhere in the Bill, or in the provisions submitted, is there any power to compel the Denton Hat Factory to put a label of’ any sort whatever on the goods produced in that factory.
– There is no compulsion at all; it is absolutely voluntary.
– These provisions will be absolutely useless without that. If the people working in the Denton Hat Mills were responsible for the’ hats, and they were the goods of the trade union, they could have their label ; but the workers in the Denton Hat Mills design, shape, and manufacture the goods exactly as they are told. They are not the goods of a trade union, or of the men who make them. The men who make them may be at work in the mills to-day, and may be dismissed on the following day ; and I say that, to provide that they should have a trade mark in order to designate that the hats are made by a particular class of men is labour legislation. It would be very proper legislation, no doubt, but, as I understand it, what is desired is that certain goods may be labelled “ Made under trade union conditions,” and that other goods may not be so labelled. It seems to me that trade unions have a per- feet right to make known according to law the fact that certain goods have been made under trade union conditions, but we cannot provide for that in this Bill. We have known to the law three things, first of all, trade marks, known in England and in British possessions since we have had constitutional Government. Then we have merchandise marks, under a Merchandise Marks Act, but no one can contend that a label “ Made in Germany,” or “ Made by Chinese Labour,” is a trade mark. It is a mercantile mark, and not a trade mark. Then we have a third class in trade union labels. These are three distinct things, two of which are creations of statutes, whilst a trade mark is a creation both of common law and statute. I contend that we cannot jumble all these matters, as is proposed, in this Bill. Let me point out to honorable senators how conflicting these clauses are, with the idea of a trade mark. The proposed new clause 69c provides -
A trade union mark shall not be registered if it is substantially identical with or so nearly resembles as to be likely to deceive a registered trade mark or a registered trade union mark.
How on earth can any trade union mark be likely tq deceive ? There are only about half-a-dozen such labels, for I cannot call them trade marks, that I can think of as possible. We might have a label tothe effect “These goods are made under fair conditions,” or “ These goods are made under the factories laws of Victoria,” or of any other State, as the case might be. We might have “ These goods are made under trade union conditions.” We might also say in the label, “ These goods are made under conditions laid down by the Arbitration Court.” I have indicated four possible trade union labels, and I should like to know how many other trade union labels could be suggested. Yet we have a proposed clause which can only be regarded as surplusage, or waste paper, that one trade union mark is not to be so much like another as to be calculated to deceive. Then the proposed new clause 69d provides -
Upon the registration of a trade union mark the trade union by which it is registered shall be deemed to be the proprietor thereof, and shall be entitled to the exclusive use of the mark for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.
I got an admission from some of my honorable friends opposite that a label, “ Made under the factories law of Victoria,” would possibly apply to one hundred unions. Am
I to understand that the first union which registered that as a trade union label would have the exclusive right to the use of that label? That is exactly what the new clause I have quoted says, and my honorable- friends opposite have admitted that there are a hundred unions in Victoria that would be entitled to use the same label.
– They have not said anything of the kind.
– I understood Senator Pearce, in reply to an interjection, to admit that there might be a hundred unions in Victoria entitled to the use of such a label, and yet the proposed new clause 69d provides that anybody who could find a Registrar fool enough to register a label, or so-called trade mark of that sort, would have the exclusive right to use that label.
– Would have a monopoly.
– Of course, it would be a monopoly.
– The honorable and learned senator . is a very young antimonopolist.
– Again, one of the essential elements of a trade mark is that certain rights are attached to it as property. It descends to- executors, it passes with the goodwill of a business, or the goodwill of goods, and it can be assigned just as one can assign a mortgage or a house. Yet in the proposed new clauses we have these words used -
A trade union mark shall not be assigned so long as its registration continues.
So that the honorable senator actually takes away from the trade union mark which he suggests an essential element of a trade mark. I turn to another definition, which has been quoted before. Kerly on Trade Marks says -
A trade mark is a symbol. which is applied or attached to goods offered for sale in the market so as to distinguish them from similar goods and to identify them with a particular trader or “with his successors.
How can fifty, one hundred, or one thousand men, working in a factory, be considered a trader? How can we consider the employe’s of a factory as the manufacturers or inventors of particular goods, when we know perfectly well that their labour, however skilful it may be, is carried on entirely under the direction of their employer ?
– But this is intended to distinguish goods the product of their labour from goods which are the products of the labour of others.
– We cannot have a trade mark of that description.
– The quotation the honorable and learned senator has just read proves that we can.
– I say that we cannot have a trade mark of that description. Senator O’Keefe regretted very much that there was no Trade Union Act and very few trade unions in Tasmania. Suppose the Government of Tasmania were to introduce an up-to-date Trade Union Bill, and were to incorporate in it just these proposed provisions, would not the State Parliament have the power to pass such a Bill?
– It would be overruled by the Commonwealth Act.
– The State Parliament of Tasmania has the power to regulate friendly societies) and the power to pass a law dealing with trade union labour, and I ask whether, in view of that fact, anything of this nature, which we introduced into this Bill, would not be ultra vires of the State Act? I venture to think that in dealing with trade union labour the State Parliament of Tasmania would be distinctly and absolutely in order, and if that be so, these provisions, if agreed to here, would be of no force or effect whatever.
– Under the Constitution we have no power to control a State.
– The honorable senator is perfectly right. We have to look to our Constitution, and we must admit that in this matter we are infringing the rights of the States ? Although Senator McGregor laughs at the suggestion that there is nothing in this Bill, or in the new clauses proposed, to compel the Denton Hall Mill to put a trade union label on their goods, it seems to me a splendid argument to show that we are here getting out of our depth. A trade union under these provisions might rush to the Registrar, and say, “ We desire to register this label. These goods were made under the Factories Act of Victoria.” But if Victorian manufacturers refuse to have, their goods branded in that way, they could do so, If, however, by a law passed by the State Parliament of Victoria, it was enacted that all goods sent out of factories in this State should be labelled, “ These goods were made under the Factories Act of Victoria,” that law would have to be obeyed. That is the best possible argument to show that the Federal Parliament, has no power in this matter, whilst the State Parliament has the power, and I believe it would be a right thing for the State Parliament to do. I do not think a trade union mark, such as that suggested, would be of as much value as some honorable senators appear to imagine, because factories laws govern the manufacture of goods in almost all of the States.
– I rise to a point of order. Senator Dobson has raised a point of order that these amendments are beyond the scope of the Bill, and are unconstitutional, whilst the whole of his speech is directed to proving that it would not be advisable to agree to them. I have only to refer to the honorable senator’s last remarks, that it might be inadvisable to have a trade union label used in connexion with such an industry as the manufacture of hats. I submit that the honorable and learned senator is entitled at this stage only to state his point of order, and when we have nad a ruling upon it it may be competent for him to discuss the advisability of- agreeing to the proposed new clauses. The honorable and learned senator is not entitled to . discuss the clauses on a point of order.
-I have not raised a point of order by interrupting another speaker; but, taking part in the debate on the clauses, I have incidentally during my speech raised two points of order, and with them I intend to conclude. When I was interrupted by “the honorable senator, I was using the best possible arguments in support pf the points of order, by showing that it was for the States, and not for the Commonwealth, to pass laws dealing. with trade unions and trade union labels. I gave an illustration to show that while the States have this power the Federal Parliament has not the power.
– Because it is not given to us by the Constitution.
– Will the honorable and learned senator look at subsection i of section 51 of the Constitution ?
– I would ask how, if a hundred different unions can register a label “ Made under the Factories Act,” or “ Made under trade union rules,” that can possibly be called a trade mark. How can any one imagine a score of people having the same trade mark. The whole thing is so clear to my mind that I will not trouble the Committee further. I now ask for the Chairman’s ruling on the two points of order, that these clauses are outside the Constitution and that we have no power to pass them; and that, they do not come within the purview of the title of the Bill.
– The grounds on which the honorable and learned senator has raised his points of order seem very obscure; and I have not yet been able to understand why he thinks the proposed clauses are unconstitutional. If he takes the ground that they are unconstitutional, all we have to do is to refer to section 51, sub-section xviii., of the Constitution, which provides that this Parliament, subject to the Constitution, has power to legislate in reference to “copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trade mark-s.” The honorable and learned senator does not contend that we have not power to legislate as regards trade marks ?
– Certainly not.
– Then it necessarily follows that once we legislate on this subject, the power to legislate is taken away from the States.
– As to trade marks, the power is taken away ; but this clause refers to trade union labels.
– Then the honorable and learned senator falls back on the contention that the clause does not come within the purview of the Bill. That, however, is a position which even the quotations he gave do not prove. Kerly points out that a trade mark, amongst other definitions, is something used to denote the labour employed thereon. I take it that the honorable and learned senator’s quotations are from text books on English law. which, of course, does not contain provisions of the kind which I propose.
– There is nothing about labour in any of the definitions T read.
– -I can quite understand that a text book on English law will not have any reference of the kind, because such legislation has never been passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The text-books give the meaning or definition derived from the legislation of the
United Kingdom. Will the honorable and learned senator contend that, under section 51, sub-section XVII., of the Constitution, it is not possible to pass legislation of this character?
– I say, certainly not.
– If that is the contention of the honorable and learned senator, he stands alone amongst the legal members of the Senate. I believe that Senators Best, Keating, andi Drake are prepared to admit that it is possible to pass this legislation under one or other of the headings in sub-section XVIII But Senator Keating objects to legislation of the kind being effected in this particular Bill, while Senators Best and Drake question the advisability of our passing such provisions. Senator Dobson stands alone in the contention that we have not the power under the Constitution.
– I doubt whether what is proposed is a trade mark under the Constitution.
– In my opinion, we have a certain amount of original power in regard to trade marks ; the question is, how far are. Ave hampered in making our ‘definition ? Can Senator Dobson say that the definition laid down by some of the textbooks is a definition adopted by the Constitution? How can the honorable and learned senator say that, when the framers of the Constitution inserted this subsection, they meant the exact words of the text-books as quoted to-night? Is that not one of the sub-sections which have to be interpreted, first by Parliament, and then eventually by the Judiciary provided by the Constitution? Are Ave to ha’j the Constitution interpreted by the Chairman of Committees, or, on appeal, by the President, or. on appeal from . the latter, by th Senate itself?
– That is why I took the second point, that this clause does not come within the purview of the Bill.
– If the argument is as I have stated, that is the position to which Senator Dobson is forced.
– I have a perfect right to take the second point, and I shall ask the President to decide it.
– So far as a trade union label is concerned, Senator. Dob’son seems to be arguing either Avith insufficient information as to what is meant by the clause, or Avith a deliberate attempt to misrepresent. He has put (forward the proposition that there may be a hundred unions, for which only one label will be available. Such a proposition is ridiculous.
– Does the honorable senator say that each union will have its own mark ?
– I say that each union will have an absolute right to apply for the registration of its own mark.
– It will only be a label.
– It may be a union of bootmakers, of tailors, or even of lawyers; and there are a thousand and one designations by which the unions can be differentiated. We can quite understand that Victorian unions might adopt the motto “ Made under Wages Boards conditions.”
– There might be fifty of such mottoes.
– Not necessarily ; there might be only one in a particular trade.
– There need not be any words at all on a device.
– That is so.
– What would be the meaning of a trade mark without words?
– There is as much room for diversity in trade union marks as in ordinary trade marks, to which Senator Dobson’s objection could just as reasonably be applied. A trade mark for butter might indicate that the article was made from pure cream or from Dobson’s dairy milk.
– The honorable senator has got hold of a bad argument. Could the man who milks the cows have a label showing that the cows were milked under fair conditions?
– I can quite conceive, after what has appeared in the press today, that a trade mark for butter might read, “ Guaranteed free from rats,” or “ native cats.”
– That would be the mark of the owner of the factory, and not of the men.
– Who but the owner of the factory would stamp the goods?
– But the honorable senator wishes to give the people who do the labour the right to use a mark.
– The honorable and learned senator might just as well argue that a maker of butter has no right to say that the article is produced from the milk of a particular dairy.
– The honorable senator is wrong there.
– The honorable and learned senator might just as well contend that a trade mark should only designate the last person through whose hands the article passes, though we know that trade marks sometimes designate the whole process which the article has gone through at the hands of, both manufacturers and agents.
– The honorable senator is talking about a butter factory owner, and not about the labourers.
– I am pointing out that the owner of a butter factory may by his trade mark designate the labour, the material - all that has been done by his predecessors in the course of manufacture ; and a trade union mark is precisely on the same plane. All that the honorable and learned senator has said against trade union marks could be urged with equal force against ordinary trade marks. And he has altogether failed to prove that the clauses are unconstitutional, or that they do not come within the purview of . the Bill. I am prepared to admit that so far as English law is concerned, a trade union label may not come within the definition of a trade mark; but we have power to legislate, and we can make such a label a trade mark within the meaning, of the Bill.
– In the first instance, Senator Dobson contends that the new clause is unconstitutional, and, secondly, that even if it be constitutional, it does not come within the purview of the Bill. These two objections really amount to one. The honorable and learned senator points out that we have no express power under the terms of the Constitution to legislate with regard to what is called by Senator Pearce trade union marks. We are told by the honorable and learned senator that under section 51, sub-section xviii., of the Constitution our powers are limited to “ patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks “ - that there is not included in that sub-section the words “ trade union marks.” That, in effect, is the whole of the honorable and learned senator’s argument, so far as exception is taken from the constitutional point of view. In order to substantiate the second objection that this clause does not come within the purview of the Bill, he quoted from Kerly, or some other text-book, the definition of trade mark, and he asks you, Mr. Chairman, to rule that in legislating here, under the powers of the Constitution, we cannot depart from the present conception of “ trade mark “ as held in England to-day. I would point out that the law with regard to trade marks in Great Britain, and in every other country in the world, has been a law of gradual growth. In the first instance, there was nothing to regulate trade marks but what is known as the common law. It is only in recent times that the Legislature has stepped in, and, recognising the right of individuals . to the sole user of marks which have been identified with their goods for a particular period, has, by statute, provided certain restrictions and regulations with regard to the use of such marks. Consequently, we have in Great Britain to-day an Act which has been adopted in several’ States of the Commonwealth relating to patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks. Is Senator Dobson audacious enough to contend that the Parliament of Great Britain, with plenary powers for the regulation of trade marks, could not to-morrow incorporate in a Trade Marks Bill provisions such as Senator Pearce has submitted?
– An absolute Parliament can do anything; but we have only limited power under the Constitution.
– A Parliament with plenary powers could do so.
– Certainly it could, and do a lot more.
– Undoubtedly. But the limit, which is placed by Senator Dobson on tEe powers of this Parliament does not rest on the Constitution, but on a definition given by a text writer of what is the present-day concept of the term “ trade mark.”’
– I did not rest my case on that.
– If the honorable and learned senator had not absented himself from the chamber he would have pursued my line of argument, and known that his two objections are reduced to one. I have pointed out that, under sub-section xviii. of section 51 of the Constitution, we have power to legislate in regard to -
Copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks.
What is the definition of “trade marks “ ? Is there a definition of the term given in the 7 n
Constitution, or in. the English Act? The only definition of the term that we have is one given by a text-writer; and, as I have pointed out, the law in regard to trade marks has been of gradual growth. In the first instance, it was entirely common law. Then, as things developed, the Parliament of Great Britain stepped in, and proceeded to regulate and consolidate a lot of common law, which is the result of judicial decision and common usage, and to say, “ These shall be the provisions regulating what are known as trade marks.” But as society proceeds and the complications of trade relations increase, the conception of a trade mark may alter to this extent : that it will necessitate the Parliament of Great Britain to’ legislate in a Trade’ Marks Act in the very direction that Senator Pearce is asking us to do, and then Mr. Kerly, Mr. Sebastian, and all other text writers, would have to alter their expression of the then present day conception of what a trade mark is. The Parliament of the Commonwealth is not bound by the definition which may be given by Mr. Kerly or Mr. Sebastian of what is the conception of a term applied to certain trade conditions which are altering with every day and every year. And that iswhere Senator Dobson’s objections to theseprovisions from the points of view of constitutionality and of being without the purview of the Bill are reduced to one. Whatis a trade mark? What definition of a trade mark are we circumscribed by in ourlegislative action? There is no definition but the needs and requirements of the tradeand commerce of the Commonwealth. Theseare the only circumstances which bind us-, in our legislative action, just as they bine? the Parliament of Great Britain in its legislative action in regard to trade marks, and we can choose to regard what, according to our local conditions, would not apply in another country as a trade mark. In this Bill we have no definition of a trade mark. Senator Dobson has told us in effect bv his two objections that we are bound bv the definition given in a text-book. Very well. If we are bound by that definition of what is the ordinary presentday English common law concept of a trade mark, where is the necessity for clause 5 of the Bill ?-
Subject to this Act or any Act of the Parliament, the common law of England relating to trade marks shall, after the commencement of this “Act, apply throughout the Commonwealth.
That common law is made expressly by this Bill to apply to our law, but subject to its provisions. That shows that we are not absolutely’ bound by the common law of England, and that the Constitution, which is for all time, is not to be read, subject entirely to the present-day common law concept of trade marks in Great Britain. In opposing the insertion of these clauses last night, Senator Dobson rested his objection mainly on the fact that he would not allow any legislative assistance to the .establishment of a label, containing the words, “ These goods are made by fair labour,” and he elaborated that as long as he possibly could, notwithstanding the fact that Senator Pearce and others informed him that they were not attempting to do anything which would mean the creation of such a specific device.
– Senator Pearce implied that they would.
– “ These goods are made under fair conditions.”
– I understood Senator Pearce last night to say that he wished to see the organizations able to get a label or device that would indicate to the people that the goods had been made under fair conditions.
– The honorable and learned senator did not hear him, for he indicated that those words would be used on the device itself.
– If my honorable colleagues will possess their souls in patience I have not the slightest doubt but that a perusal of the Hansard report of Senator Pearce’s speech will correct the impressions which they now entertain. What Senator Pearce said last night was that he wished to enable trade organizations to indicate to the public that certain goods, the product of certain manufacturers, were made under fair conditions. Senator Dobson seized that term, and wished to argue that the object of Senator Pearce was to have the goods branded with the words, “ Made under fair conditions.”
– Did I not understand Senator Pearce to read the words from the American or Canadian Act? That was a distinctive label.
– What was the label then? .
– There was no label mentioned.
– If Senator Dobson had consulted the law of New York, from which Senator Pearce read, he would have found that there is as much diversity as in the case of trade marks.
– These clauses are practically framed on the provisions of that law.
– But the honorable senator gave as an instance of a label the words, ‘ 1 These goods are made under fair conditions.”
– Not to my knowledge. Last night Senator Dobson rested the whole of his opposition on those words.
– No; that was part of my opposition.
– The honorable and learned senator was constantly complaining that the object of Senator Pearce was to have those words printed on . certain goods. But to-night he comes here, still in opposition to the clause, and says,; “I. cannot see how the Registrar would register such a device.” All he was afraid of last night was that the Registrar would register such a device, ‘and that certain people would get all the benefit of it. He has not got very much further out of the darkness, because now he can only recognise six possible devices - “ Made by Union labour”; “Made under- “
– Can the honorable and learned senator give us a few of his own ?
– I can give the honorable and learned senator a thousand.
– Give us two or three out of the thousand.
– The honorable and learned senator will get quite enough before I have finished. We have been asked by an honorable senator who is to be the judge of the persons to whom these, labels should be issued, and we are told that the whole position will be that the particular organizations registering these labels, devices, or marks will have a monopoly. I wish to show what Senator Dobson is responsible for having placed on the statutebook of Tasmania. I have no hesitation in saying that it is quite competent for a trade union to carry out in Tasmania the very object which Senator Pearce has in view. In the Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks Act, passed at the instance of Senator Dobson’s Ministry in 1893, I find this definition in the interpretation section - “ Design “ means any design applicable to any article of manufacture, or to any substance, artificial or natural, or partly artificial and partly natural, whether the design is applicable for the pattern, or for the shape or configuration, or for the ornament thereof, or for any two or more of such purposes, and by whatever means it is applicable, whether by printing, painting, embroidering, weaving, sewing, modelling, casting, embossing, engraving, staining, or any other means whatever, manual, mechanical, or chemical, separate or combined, not being a design for a sculpture or other thing within the protection of the Sculpture Copyright Act 1814.
In section 55 of the Act, I find this provision -
The Registrar may, on application by or on behalf of any person claiming to be the proprietor of any new or original design not previously published in Tasmania register the design under this part of this Act.
– Is “ Made- under a Factories Act “ a design,’ or is “ Made in Germany” a trade mark?
– Undoubtedly it may be made into a design, and I venture to say that it is quite competent to register in Tasmania such a design as Senator Pearce wishes to give power to a trade organization to register in the Commonwealth.
– Would they put “ Made in Tasmania “ as a trade mark under a Trade Mark Act?
– I am not aware that Senator Pearce desires to put “ Made in Tasmania,” or anything of the kind, as a trade mark. If he wished to register an article for the Tailors’ Union of Tasmania could he not as a design give a map of Tasmania with a pair of trousers drawn upon it?
– That would not show what he wants.
– Would that not show his object?
– Certainly; any distinctive design would.
– Any distinctive design that would indicate to people generally that these articles were made under certain conditions would effect his object.
– But how can you gel that indicated unless you state it as a label ?
– That is the trouble of Senator Pearce, and not of my honorable and learned friend.
– That is the trouble of the Bill, and that goes. to. the root of the whole business.
– If a copy of a design is advertised in a daily newspaper and it is announced that” it will be used by a trade union or organization to indicate to the public that certain goods are the product of union labour, is not that sufficient for their purpose? Section 56 of the Tasmanian Act provides for drawings to be furnished on application, while section 57 provides for a certificate of registration. Section 58 reads -
When a design is registered the registered pro. prietor of the design shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, have copyright in the design during five years from the date of registration.
– Would the honorable and learned senator call the device “ Made by Chinese labour “ a design ?
– I. am not responsible for the form of the design. I do not suppose that any of the trade unions would turn to the fertile brain of Senator Dobson for a design for a mark. I come now to section 66, and I venture to bring it to the notice of Senator Fraser, Senator Dobson, Senator Millen, and others who are so dreadfully afraid that a monopoly is to be given to trades unions by this provision. It says -
During the existence of copyright in any design
It shall not be lawful for any person without the licence or written consent of the registered proprietor to apply, or cause to be applied, such design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof, in the class or classes of goods in which such design registered, for purposes of sale to any article or manufacture or to any substance, artificial or natural, or partly artificial and partly natural ; and
It shall not be lawful for any person to publish or expose for sale any article of manufacture or any substance to which such design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof is so applied, knowing that the same has been so applied without the consent of the registered proprietor.
According to Senator Dobson, when he had light, as he provided by this statute, it would be competent for a person to register an industrial design. Having registered it, that person alone had the sole power to monopolize the design. He could license whom he chose to use it. He could refuse to license whom he chose. Yet to-day Senator Dobson stands here, and, when a similar power is asked for on behalf of an organization, he says that it is entirely outside the purview of this Bill, and that we are going to create a monopoly. He said, in addition, that if we pass this legislation, and designs are adopted by trade unions, and the use of a design is offered to the Denton Hat Mill, a union could not compel the mill to use it.
– How could they ?
– No one wishes to do so.
– Then how is the trade union label to be put upon goods?
– Manufacturers need not put the label upon their goods unless they choose. If a union registered a particular device, and could not get any one to use it, that would be the union’s trouble, not Senator Dobson’s. If any union chooses to take advantage of these clauses, and afterwards finds that no manufacturer is prepared to use its design. or mark, that is not our trouble. In many instances there will be people who will take advantage-of the clauses as long as they consider that it is to their interest to do so.
– The honorable and learned senator is ignoring the whole law of trade marks.
– Senator Dobson has forgotten what I said a few minutes ago. How difficult it is to argue under such circumstances ! I told him that, in my opinion, we have the fullest possible power under the Constitution with regard to trade marks.
– I say that we have not.
– I will take the honorable and learned senator step by step. I hope that the Committee will excuse my repeating .myself, but it seems to be necessary to do so. I say that we have the fullest possible power to legislate with regard to trade marks. What are trade marks? There is no definition of” trade marks in the Constitution. Our powers are determined not by what is the present day concept, according to the common law of England, of what a trade mark is, but by nothing more nor less than the needs and requirements of the trade and commerce of the Commonwealth.
– We have heard every word of this before.
– But Senator Dobson said just now that I had ignoredthe whole law of trade marks. I hope that he will endeavour to collect his thoughts on this question, and that he will ultimately recognise that we have the fullest power in this regard. If we choose to legislate with regard to a particular class of trade marks, and to make special provision for them, and to take those particular trade marks out of the operation of the remainder of the Bill, it is perfectly competent for us, and within our legislative power, to do so. Senator Dobson has told us, more than once, that the States have the power to compel trade unions to take out marks of this kind, and to compel the application of those marks to union-made goods. Yet this Parliament, according to Senator Dobson, has not the power to pass even permissive legislation to enable an organization or trade union to take out a particular mark to be applied to goods. The very fact that, at the present time, the States have the power to pass compulsory legislation, deprives us, Senator Dobson says, of the power to pass permissive legislation. I would again remind him, in order to enable him to see that we are not tied down to the ordinary present day common law conception of a trade mark, that clause 5 of this Bill says -
Subject to this Act or any Act of the Parliament the common law of England relating to trade marks shall, after the commencement of this Act, apply throughout the Commonwealth.
From the debate which has taken place I gather that Senator Drake’s objection to the clauses is that we are not dealing with designs. It is not a question of terms. There is not in this Bill nor in the Constitution a definition of what a trade mark is.
– Or of what it is not.
– - -We have no definition of a trade mark of any kind ; and rightly so, I think, because it is for us to leave the development of our trade and commerce to prescribe for us from time to time what particular marks in connexion with goods shall be regarded as trade marks within the terms of the Constitution. I hope, Mr. Chairman, that with regard to the constitutional point you will rule that Senator Dobson has raised an objection which I shall not say is frivolous, but which you are not prepared to entertain.
– I propose to - say only a few words, because the matter has been so fully- dealt with by Senator Keating. In dealing with a subject of this kind we have to look to fundamental principles. We have to look to the Constitution itself, which in section 51 enumerates subjects in the shortest possible language. It merely prescribes a skeleton ; and it is for Parliament, and subsequently for the High Court, to develop the Constitution in regard to those particular subjects. That remark applies not only to the subjects mentioned in section 51. Incidentally we have also the inherent power to make laws which are necessary or proper for the purpose of carrying out our determinations in connexion with those particular subjects. Indeed, that is more than an inherent power, because it is mentioned in the subsequent portion of section 51 that we have all the incidental powers that may be considered necessary for the development of the subjects enumerated in the section. If that is the principle upon which we have to work we have to look to another rule of interpretation, so far as constitutional matters are concerned - a rule that is always applied in the United States. That is, that we must beware of a narrow interpretation. The duty of Parliament and of the High Court is to give a broad interpretation to the terms of the Constitution. If we are to give a broad interpretation to the terms of the Constitution we must in that spirit seek to determine what is the meaning of the term “ trade mark.”
– You cannot take the heart out of a man and then say that he is a human being.
– We have to give an interpretation to the term “ trade mark,” and in order to do that we have to look to the very foundation of trade marks, their development, and matters incidental to them. Trade marks were originally designs for the purpose of distinguishing goods. On the top of that fundamental principle the Imperial Parliament enacted legislation which attached to trade marks other meanings than the term originally bore. The Imperial legislation determined, for instance, that a trade mark was to be considered and dealt with in connexion with the goodwill of a business. But that is not a fundamental principle. It is simply a feature with which a trade mark has been clothed by the Imperial Parliament. By virtue of the development of British legislation trade marks are owned by individuals in connexion with their goods. That property is the creation of British legislation. But 1 while we cannot disregard the colloquial or legislative meaning of “trade mark,” still at the same time, if we are to take a broad, view of the subject we have to look fundamentally to the design and object of trade marks, and from that stand-point we are at liberty to develop the meaning of the term.
– The opening paragraph of section51 says that we must do that.
– That is so. Section 51 commences with the provision -
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution have power to make laws for the peace, order, and goodwill of the Government of the Commonwealth with respect to -
Then it enumerates the subjects. Of course if the Constitution had attempted to mention the various powers that were included, or were to be given to the Parliament in regard to the subjects mentioned in section 51, treatises and volumes of unlimited extent would have been required. It would have been impossible to do it. But nothing is more interesting than the American Constitution in this regard, where the Courts have clothed these various subjects with meaning, and have developed them. Now each . subject in itself has a voluminous literature attached to it, showing the case law already decided in connexion with it, and the various powers incidental to it. The last subsection of section 51 is as follows: -
Matters incidental to the execution of any power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament or in either House thereof or in the Government of the Commonwealth or in the Federal Judicature or in any Department or Officer of the Commonwealth.
So that it will be observed that theduty is cast upon us to develop the powers intrusted to us. Therefore, if I start from the proposition that the fundamental meaning of a trade mark is that it is to distinguish one set of goods from another, then I have to inquire whether under the proposals now before the Committee, the intention is to distinguish goods, which are -sold under trade marks registered under these clauses, from other goods. What does the definition clause sav? It says that - “ Trade union mark “ means a distinctive mark or device for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.
The products, of course, are the goods of the members of a particular union. Consequently I say that where a differentiation takes place with regard to those particular goods, -which are the product of the members of a union, the mark of that union may be placed upon the goods. A fundamental distinction is thus created. We are asked now to say that the word “trade mark “ shall be taken to include a trade union mark, because a trade union mark is a distinctive mark or device adopted by a trade union for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof. On all rules of interpretation it would be most unwise for us to attempt to limit our powers in this direction. I conceive that a proper interpretation would bring a trade union mark within the term “trade mark,” as used in the Constitution, and I have no hesitation in saying that in my opinion we have a constitutional right to enact these provisions. That deals with the first point raised by Senator Dobson. The other . point as to the proposed provisions not being within the scope of the Bill is practically involved in the first. If this is a Bill intended to deal with the subject of trade marks, and if we are agreed that, a trade union mark comes within a proper interpretation of the term “trade mark,” necessarily it comes within the scope of the Bill. I could refer to many authorities in this connexion, but I shall content myself with the quotation of this passage from Story on the American Constitution -
But the most important rule in cases of this nature is that a constitution of government does not, and cannot from its nature, depend in any great degree upon mere verbal criticism or upon the import of single words. Such criticism may not be wholly without use ; it may sometimes illustrate or unfold the appropriate sense; but unless it stands well with the context and subjectmatter it must yield to the latter. While then we may well resort to the meaning of single words to assist our inquiries, we should never forget that it is an instrument of government that we are to construe ; and as has already been stated, that must be the truest exposition which best harmonizes with its design, its objects, and its general structure.
I say that the design, object, and general structure of our Constitution is to give us the fullest and widest power in dealing with the subject of trade marks.
– Otherwise we should require a new Constitution periodically.
– Otherwise the necessity for a new Constitution every few years would be involved.
– With regard to Senator Dobson’s first point of order, I must decline to give a ruling. I have an opinion thereon, but it is not my duty as Chairman of Committees to decide a legal point of that kind. It is not the duty of the Chairman of Committees to interpret any Act of Parliament or the Constitution. We have already had a ruling from the President of the Senate on that point, and I also direct the attention of honorable senators to the practice of the House of Commons. In Blackmore’ s Speakers’ Decisions, page 295, I find the following: -
Mr. Speaker does not answer questions on matters which members are equally able to answer. e.g., construction of Acts.
An honorable member asking Mr. Speaker a question relative to a proposed Bill, whether its introduction would not be an “ abuse of the privileges of this House such as ought not to be permitted.”
Mr. Speaker replied that “ the honorable member, and indeed every other honorable member of the House, is equally competent with myself to construe such Acts, and I must leave it to the honorable member to form his own opinion on the matter.”
With regard to the other point as to whether the proposed new clauses are within the scope of the Bill, I must say that, in my opinion, they are. The Bill is “ a Bill for an Act relating to trade marks.” As honorable senators who have already spoken have said, the question is what is a trade mark? We have already decided in the Bill before us, under Part III., “ Registrable trade marks,” clause 14-
A registrable trade mark shall consist of essential particulars with or without additional matter.
Clause 16 states that the additional matter which may be added to the essential particulars of a registrable trade mark shall be -
I think it is perfectly within the scope and powers of this Committee and of the Senate if it chooses to restrict the use of a trade mark to any particular trade or occupation. I consider also that it is within the scope and power of the Committee and of the Senate to include in the Bill any clause -which will permit to a registered trade union the right to use a distinctive label, such as a trade union mark would be. We may get some light as to what is the intention of the Senate by a reference to the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill, to which the Bill before us is a companion measure. If honorable senators will turn to the definition clause of the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill, they will see there that a trade mark includes a trade description; and a trade description in relation to any goods is defined to mean “any description, statement, indication, or suggestion direct or indirect,” amongst other things, “ as to the class of labour by which goods are made.- An infringement of the law carries with if a penalty up to ^100. There is provided a penalty of fine or imprisonment, and also a forfeiture of goods. I therefore take it that the new clauses proposed to be moved by Senator Pearce are distinctly within the scope of the Bill.
– I respectfully disagree with your ruling, and I hand in my objection.
In the Senate :
– I beg to report that Senator Dobson has taken exception to my, ruling that. some proposed new clauses submitted by Senator Pearce are not within the scope of the Bill. I hand to you, sir, his written dissent.
– It appears to me that the two objections taken to the ruling of the Chairman, or the two so-called points of order which have been raised, on investigation, resolve themselves into one, and it is not a point of order at all. It is a point of constitutional law. As I have formerly stated, and as has been the practice of the Senate ever since it has been in existence, the P/resident is not called upon to interpret the Constitution. In the Constitution itself there is provided a tribunal for its interpretation, and that is the High Court. It would be altogether beyond the scope of my powers if I were to assume to lay down the law as to what the Constitution means. The first point taken is that these suggested amendments are not within the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament, and that they are not covered by the sub-section of section 51 of the .Constitution, which gives the Commonwealth power to legislate concerning “ copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks.” That question really resolves itself into this : What does that sub-section mean j and what is meant by “ trade marks “ in that subsection ? If I were to . give an opinion upon that I should be in fact interpreting the Constitution, which I must respectfully decline to do. As to the second point, that these provisions are not within what is called “ the scope of the Bill,” I may be permitted to say that I took some trouble a short time’ ago to point out that that is not a proper way of putting such a matter. The House of Commons used to apply that test to .the powers of the Committee to make an amendment, but they found that it was not a test which worked well, and they adopted another. They gave ‘the Committee power to make any amendment “ relevant to the subject matter of the Bill.” We have adopted that test in our Standing Orders. Therefore, the test which we have to apply in this instance is: Are the suggested amendments relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill? The subject-matter of the Bill is the registration of trade marks. If these trade union marks are trade marks the suggested amendments are undoubtedly relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. That brings us back to the first point, which is : What is the meaning of the Constitution ; and what do the words “ trade marks “ mean as used in the Constitution? The two points raised, as I have said, resolve themselves into one, which is a point of constitutional law, and not a point of order. I agree with the ruling of the Chairman of Committees, and I am of opinion that if the Committee think fit these amendments may be inserted in the Bill.
In Committee :
– I should like briefly to reply to some of the points which have been raised during the debate. It has been said that trade unions will make use of these provisions as an instrument of tyranny. Anyone who views the matter in a reasonable light, and who has listened to the speech made by Senator Trenwith, must agree that for a union to attempt to use these provisions in order to tyrannise over an employer, would be to defeat the object of the trade union mark. The object of providing a trade union mark is to induce the public to buy goods made under trade union conditions. If the members of a trade union were to use the power of these provisions in a tyrannical fashion, the employer concerned would make that known, and public opinion, instead of being in favour of a trade union mark, would be against it. The sale of goods so marked would be limited, and that would deter other employers from using the mark. That should dispose of the objection which Senator Dobson brought forward under that heading. I think that was the only important point raised.
– What about the point I raised, that it might assist the sale of shoddy ?
– In answer to that objection, I have but to say that the public will recognise that a trade union .mark is not a guarantee of the materials from which goods are manufactured, but of the labour employed in their manufacture. Any employer who wishes to identify goods with his name, and also with the labour employed in their manufacture, will be able to put his name on the goods, as well as the trade union mark. If the public find that goods marked with a trade union mark, and also with the mark of the manufacturer, are good in material and labour, they will continue to purchase them. But if they find that goods marked with the trade union mark are not of good quality they will very soon know whose goods to patronize. The objection is thus met by the remark that the kind of thing feared will work its own cure.
– Having dealt with the matter from the legal aspect, I should like to say that I am going to support Senator Pearce in his endeavour to get those clauses inserted in the Bill. When Senator Pearce previously introduced this question, he desired on the interpretation clause to submit an amendment making “ applicant “ include . any organization. I pointed out then that if the honorable senator succeeded in carrying his amendment, he would not effect the object he had in view - that most of the provisions of the Bill would be found inconsistent with the proposed amendments, and I expressed the opinion that the proper place for such a provision was in an Industrial Designs Bill. At that time the amendments were not circulated, but simply read to us; and now, after more careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the term “ trade mark “ in the Constitution is “a term to receive an interpretation according to the varying conditions and requirements of the time as we progress. If we were bound by the interpretation put on the term by ordinary common law - that is by the common law of to-day - we should need a new Constitution every few years. I think the marks referred to in the’ proposed clause come within the term “trade mark “ in the Constitution, and that it is perfectly competent to insert those clauses in the Bill. As to the merits of the case, I point out to those who are opposed to enabling unions to register marks, that, under present conditions - I particularly draw the attention of Senators Dobson and Best, in order that they may see there is no fear of tyranny - where there is no registration by a union or organization, it is perfectly competent for those organizations in a voluntary way to take out marks and issue them to different traders. The object of these clauses is simply to give those unions who choose to take that step, some property in their own designs, so that nobody else may pirate them - to enable them, as organizations, to own the particular designs or devices, which at present must be taken out in the name of individuals, who may afterwards prove dishonest. The whole object of the clause is to enable organizations to adopt those marks with security to themselves, and to afford a certain amount of guarantee to the public. That seems to sum up the whole of the merits of the case. If Senator Dobson, or any other honorable senator, fears any monopoly on the part of an organization who registers one of those devices-
– I never mentioned a word about monopoly, or used that argument once.
– The honorable and learned senator used that argument no later than to-night. If the honorable and learned senator is afraid of this registration being used as an engine of tyranny-
– I never used such a word.
– Perhaps the honorable and learned senator did not use words so expressive, but he conveyed the idea that the unions would use the registration to coerce certain employers. If that is the fear of Senator Dobson, I suggest that he should add a further amendment to enable the Court, Law Officer, or Registrar, in certain cases and under certain conditions, where the registered device has been improperly used, to strike the pro- . prietors off the register.
– May I ask Senator Pearce whether he thinks this definition of a trade union mark is clear enough for the Court to determine? The clause says that a trade union mark means a distinctive mark or device “ for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.” To once more refer to the Denton Hat Mills, I ask whether the goods which leave those mill’s are not the product of the owner? Surely’ we cannot possibly say that goods manufactured for the owners of a factory are the products of the skilled workmen in that factory.
– Is the honorable and learned senator not confusing the term “ product “ with the term “ property “ ? The goods are the property of the owner, but are the product of the labour of the men.
– The owner of the factory may say that the goods are the product of his skill and capital, and that he employed men to make them.
– In that case the owner would not use the mark.
– But what I have read is an essential part of the interpreta- tion of the term, and I only ask Senator Pearce whether he thinks it is clear enough for the Court to give a reasonable construction.
– The meaning is certainly clearly conveyed to my mind as a layman, but I am not responsible for whether it does or does not convey the meaning to the legal mind.
– Supposing half the men in a factory were non-unionists?
– Then they would not be entitled to use the mark.
– But there might be 100 unionists in the factory.
– There might be, but they would not be entitled to use the mark.
– What a botch the whole thing is !
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Amendments (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That the following new clauses be inserted : - “ 69B. 1. A trade union mark may be registered by the Registrar on the application of a trade union.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “69D. - 1 . Upon the registration of a trade union mark, the trade union by which it is registered shall be deemed to be the proprietor thereof and shall be entitled to the exclusive use of the mark for the purpose of designating the products of the labour of the members thereof.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - I should like to ask Senator Pearce what is to be done in the case I cited before, when the proprietor, by registering, is entitled to the exclusive use of a mark ? We all agreed, I think, that, as there is a factories law in Victoria, a label issued under such law might be used again and again. The meaning of the clause, as I understand it, reading it literally, is that the first trade union which gets the right to register the mark will have the exclusive use of it. Does the clause not require modifying so as to enable all union’members who carry on business under the factories law to take advantage of the label ? If they choose to have different designs, let them do so. How Senator Keating proposes to cause a design of a horse, cow, or a pair of trousers, to inform the world that it means goods made under labour conditions or factories laws, I do not know.
– The designs can be advertised.
– It is certain that there cannot be many designs or labels which will be used by trade unions, and it would be a great mistake to legislate so that the first who registered could obtain exclusive use of a label which might be applicable to a dozen other trade unions.
– It is not necessary to have exactly the same design or the same words to convey the same idea. In Victoria, and, I think, in New South Wales also, most unions have a central council - a form of amalgamation - so that probably there will be one design for all the unions. That design might be put on furniture, clothing, boots, hats, and every . possible conceivable form of production.
– There would have to be a union of all the unions.
– So there is.
– The central or amalgamated executive, if I may so express it, will simply act for the unions, at the instance of the latter, and the design will probably be used by a hundred distinct organizations, the use being regulated by the executive. I see no difficulty in the matter. If more marks were wanted,, they could be arranged for, but, as I say, the probability is that one mark will serve, at any rate, for each State, and in some instances for the whole Commonwealth, some trade unions being not only amalgamated, but federated. If there was any danger in the arrangement, it ought to be welcome to Senator Dobson, because it would tend to break the system down by its own weight. I know that sometimes the most clear-headed laymen are altogether wrong in reference to legal matters, but it seems to me that no difficulty will arise. This is not a Bill to provide that there shall be a label showing that goods are manufactured in conformity with the provisions of the Factories Act, but merely a Bill giving power to declare to the public that goods are manufactured under certain conditions. But even if it were a Bill to provide for the registration of labels showing -that goods have been manufactured in conformity with the provisions of the Factories Act, I am not aware that it would not be possible for even a dozen trade marks to have, in some part, words which are used in other trade marks. If . it were not so, it would not be possible to have any great variety of marks. I understand that the validity of a trade mark is not decided by any particular part, but by the whole - by its distinctiveness from any _ other mark. A trade mark might, three-fourths of it, be similar to some other mark, and yet be completely distinctive, and, if it is sufficiently distinctive to’ be free from the danger of piracy, it satisfies the requirements of the law.
– Under the Bill an applicant has to disclaim all words that are common.
– Supposing that the Bootmakers’ Union desired to register as a mark - “ Boots made under the provisions of the Factories Act,” could not the Hatmakers’ Union” register “ Hats made under the provisions of the Factories Act,” and so on ad infinitum ? It seems to me that that would be sufficiently distinctive.
– I think that these are all trade descriptions.
– There does not seem to me to be any objection to some words which might be considered advantageous being used by quite a number of persons in connexion with distinctive trade marks. But in this instance it is highly improbable that there would be more than one trade union mark. I believe that One trade union mark would serve for all the unions in most of the States - at any rate, in two of them - and in some respects one trade union mark would serve for the whole Commonwealth.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - The clear-headed layman who has just resumed his seat has thrown considerable light on the point, but’ he has not quite answered my objection. I can understand that the hat or boot factories might form one union. I
But, supposing that one up-to-date factory, desiring, to take advantage of the Act, were to come along and register the words “ Made under the Factories Act of Victoria. “ When the other unions came along to register their trade union mark under this provision the Registrar would have to say “ No ; that section gives to the first union an exclusive right to the use of that label.”
– Has the honorable and learned senator observed in sub-clause 2 the words “ as long as it is not likely to deceive” ?
– Will it allow the same label to be registered over and over again ?
– As long as it is not likely to deceive.
– I “have not dealt with this question before, although Senator Keating thinks that I have. All I desire to insure is that we shall not give to any trade union an exclusive right to register a label which is really the property of every trade union working under the Factories Act of this or any other State.
Senator TRENWITH (Victoria).- I am reminded by Senator Guthrie of a fact that bears out the argument which I have used. In 1 89 1 a Trades Union Congress was held at Ballarat, and the question of a trade union mark was discussed. There was adopted for the whole of the trades of Aus. tralia one .design - “888.”
– But supposing that another union were to go to the Registrar first and ask him to register the mark ?
– My honorable and learned friend is supposing something which could not happen.
– It seems to me to be a most ordinary thing that a trade union should wish to get the benefit of the label.
– Supposing, for argument’s sake, that a trade union did rush in and register a mark which was desired by the whole of the trade unions, and thereby prevented them from using it. What would happen? All the trade unions would say, “ That is not our trade mark, and the object in. taking out that trade mark would be entirely frustrated.” For immediately a new trade mark would be designed for the trade unions which respected the wishes of their comrades.
– The honorable senator has’ not- quite caught the ‘point yet. Sup’-; posing that it” were done in the Ordinary’ course of business. The Registrar would: be debarred from giving the right of user to anybody else.
– What the honorable and learned senator suggests might happen is just about as probable as that we shall not have some sunshine to-morrow.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
– A clause has been drafted by Senator Walker to give effect to the views of those who have expressed the opinion very strongly that the object of these new clauses is to insure that goods shall be made under trade union conditions, as to labour and other matters. The clause, as it is drafted, is not exactly in. accord with some of the clauses which are being moved by Senator Pearce, perhaps not in accord with some clauses which have been carried ; but as it embodies a view which has been expressed by many speakers, it is right that it should be submitted to the Committee. What it proposes is that there shall be nothing to prevent an employer from having the use of a trade union mark if his employes are unionists, or if he pays the union rate of wages and complies with other conditions. I move -
That the following new clause be inserted - “69DA. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Part, no trade union shall refuse to authorize a manufacturer or employer who adopts the rate of wages and the hours of employment fixed in reference to the trade of such trade union under any law of the Commonwealth or of a State to apply if he so desires its union trade mark to the products of the labour of the members thereof employed by him or to the same kind of products of the labour of any employes not members of such union employed by him.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.”
It provides that wherever the trade mark is used on the goods it shall be an assurance that the hours of employment and the rate of wages are the same as those which are fixed by the trade union.
– Yes, but there are a hundred and one other conditions.
– Apprentices and boy labour.
– And girl labour.
– The trade unions provide for more. The ‘ whole question of the conditions of employment is involved in “ trade union cpnditions “ - in- cluding even conditions of apprenticeship.
– I understood from the discussion that the rate of wages and the hours of employment ‘were certainly the principal matters.
– The question of boy and girl labour is not involved.
– I beg the honorable and learned senator’s pardon.
– All that Senator Walker asks in the first part of this provision is that where any manufacturer is employing union labour only,, he shall have the right of insisting that this trade labour mark shall be put on his goods. I apprehend that no honorable senator, who has said that there will be nothing like a discriminating use of this trade mark, can object to that part of the provision.- In the second part of his proposal, Senator Walker wishes to give the same right to a manufacturer who is employing men who are not unionists, provided, of course, that he is complying with the law of the State with regard to the rate of wages and the hours of employment.
– I wish to point out the very serious objections to the proposed new clause. A manufacturer may employ in the same factory fifty unionists and fifty non-unionists. He may put the trade union label on goods which have been produced by the fifty non-unionists. In fact the proposal complicates the question so much that it should not be entertained for a minute. Senator Drake himself seems to be ashamed of the next portion of the clause, which ‘says, that a manufacturer shall be entitled to use the trade union mark if he pays the same wages and observes the same conditions as apply in the case of unionists. A number of honorable senators say that a nonunionist is as good a man as the unionist. A non-unionist may, in some cases, be as religious, as strong, or as good looking as a unionist. But still there is something which distinguishes a unionist’ from a non-unionist, and that is that the non-unionist is prepared to take wages and enjoy conditions of work which have been fought for by the members of unions. That is where the non-unionist fails. I am very sorry when I hear gentlemen like Senator Dobson and Senator Fraser say’ that they are in favour of trade unions. I know that Senator Dobson believes in unionism in the interests of the legal fraternity. But the moment trade unionists commence to -do anything, these same gentlemen object to them. So long’ as unionists do hot attempt to get butter at ‘ least on one side of their bread- so long as they are prepared to live on the meanest fare, to reside in the humblest conditions, and to crawl through life like insects or beasts - they are all right, and unions composed of such individuals would at once be taken by the hand by Senator Dobson and his friends. But so soon as these men combine and endeavour to improve their condition - endeavour to get higher wages, shorter hours, and to live under more civilized conditions - -these gentlemen lose all sympathy with them. The Russians would love the Japanese if they came with the rifles loaded with sawdust and pea soup. The Japanese would love the Russians on the same conditions. In the same way the gentlemen to whom I have referred love trades unionists so long as they remain docile. They have the same love for trade unionists as they have for their “ coloured brethren.” So long as the Chinese reside in Little Bourke-street, and Senator Dobson resides in Toorak, the “coloured brethren” are all right. I hope that the clause will be rejected first, because it will create complication ; secondly, because it will be unfair to those unions which go to the trouble to register their trade marks for the purpose of protecting their members; and thirdly, because it is in conflict with the clauses which we have already carried.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - This unfortunate infant which was abandoned in its youth by Senator Walker has been foster-mothered by Senator Drake. It is somewhat difficult to understand it.First of all it seems to me to be open to objection on the score of its youth. It has just been placed in our hands, and we are expected immediately to grasp, its meaning. It is a very complicated amendment, and we ought not to be expected to indorse its prinicples without having an opportunity to test their application. It proposes that no trade union shall refuse to authorize the issue of its trade mark to an employer - who adopts the rate of wages and the hours of employment fixed in reference to the rate of such trade union under any law of the Commonwealth or of a State.
That is to say, where that employer is compelled by the law of the Commonwealth or of a State to observe trade union conditions, he may make use of a trade union mark and a trade union is compelled to allow him to do so. But there is nothing to prevent that individual from getting a trade mark of his own. In that trade mark he could point out that his goods were being made under conditions that he was compelled , to observe, by Commonwealth or State law. There is nothing to prevent any manufacturer from doing that. The clause does not specify in what proportions the goods may have been manufactured by trade unionists or by non-unionists. It goes on to say that a manufacturer may, if he so desires, apply a trade union mark - to the products of the labour of the members thereof employed by him or to the same kind of products of the labour of any employes not mem. bers of such union employed by him.
That is practically a negation of the whole of the provisions which we have passed with regard to trade union marks. If a trade union mark is to be a trade union mark, it must be applied to goods which are a product of trade unionists. If it is to be a nonunion mark, let us . say so. It seems to me that the clause is unnecessary, complicated, and not in accordance with the clauses which we have agreed to.
– I wish to point out a discrepancy which is quite sufficient to kill this clause forthwith. Clause 69A says that a trade union mark must be a distinctive mark or device, adopted by a trade union for the purpose of distinguishing goods the product of the members thereof. But this proposed new clause provides that an employer may apply the trade union mark to goods which are the product of the labour - of the members thereof employed by him or to the same kind of products of the same labour of any employes not members of such union.
So that this new clause would destroy all that we have already done.
– That is often done in Committee.
– It is often done for the purpose of emasculating a Bill, but not to make a Bill effective, or to carry out its objects. We have decided that a trade union mark shall only be used for the purpose of designating goods made by the members of the trade union. Now we are asked to go behind that, and say that a trade union mark may be used to designate goods made by non-unionists. It is not necessary to argue on so ridiculous a proposal. If the Committee adopted it they would stulify all that was agreed to a little while ago.
– It is just as well that we should understand wHa’t this clause means. The object of it is very clear. It is aimed, amongst other things, at preventing the exclusive use of trade union marks by trade unionists. In bis remarks early this afternoon Senator Pearce told us that the trade union mark would necessarily guarantee to the purchaser of goods bearing that mark that they were manufactured under fair conditions- But what has been obvious during the course of the debate is that, no matter how fair the conditions under which goods have been manufactured, no matter what may be the rate of wages paid to employes, or the hours of their employment, and no matter how stringent the exclusion of boy and girl labour may have been in the factory in which the goods have been manufactured, if the one essential condition is lacking that the manufacturer does not belong to a trade union, every honorable senator in favour of these clauses is prepared to place upon these goods the’ stigma that necessarily follows when this preference is given to goods manufactured by trade unionists. Is that admitted?
– It is not.
– Why have not honorable senators opposite the courage to admit what they really propose? They will not admit it because they are afraid to do so; but they cannot fool me or the general public with the idea that what they are seeking for is that all goods shall be manufactured under fair conditions. I repeat that it does not matter how fair the conditions are, or how rigidly an employer may have conformed to trade union rules, if he does not join the trade union honorable senators opposite are prepared to deny to him the benefits supposed to be attached to the right to use the trade union mark.
– There is nothing to prevent him having a non-union mark.
– Yes ; but honorable senators are giving the public to understand that goods bearing the trade union mark are specially good. I am prepared to agree at once that the rules of trade unions necessarily guarantee good wages, fair hours of employment, and the proper exclusion of girl and boy labour. But why do honorable senators by these clauses say that it is only employers who belong to trade unions who should have the right to use the trade union mark?
– We do not say that at all.
– We want the employes to join the unions, not the employers.
– That is just the interjection I desired. The intention is to use these provisions as a lever to compel employers to employ only trade union men, because if they do not the goods which they manufacture will be beaten in competitioii by reason of the value attached to the trade union mark. The real object of these provisions is to get men into the trade unions. I have no objection to honorable senators, enforcing their views as strongly as they please, but I have an utter contempt for their cowardice in not admitting their real reasons.
– The honorable and learned senator is starting de novo. He does not know what has been said during the debate.
– No honorable senator will object to a mark which will place a stigma upon goods made under bad conditions. We absolutely prevent the importation of anything made by prison labour, and that is no doubt a good thing to do. But the result is, that similar goods, which have not the prison label, are given an advantage. Here we are adopting the converse practice, and I say that it will be necessarily unfair to many employers and their employes. This practice is being adopted for one reason, and for no other, and that is, to compel men to join trade unions. Will any honorable senator contend that an employer cannot be a fair and an honest man, and that an employé cannot be a man with a proper regard for the interests of his own class unless he joins a union? Yet that contention is the necessary corollary to the exclusive use proposed for these trade union marks.
– We have dealt with these points all the afternoon. The honorable and learned senator has been absent, and he expects us to go over them again.
– The honorable senator is not entitled to make a personal reference to me, and to say whether I have been absent or not. I have no wish to refer to private conversations, but when such a personal reference is made, I am bound to say that I was not present, because the Vice-President of the Executive Council assured me officially that the Senate would not be sitting after dinner.
– I said if this Bill were carried.
– There was no condition whatever mentioned. There is no reason why this measure should be rushed through. Has the Senate been so busy of late that the moment something which is of interest to honorable senators is “submitted, it should be rushed through with undue haste? Has the Senate, under the leadership of the present VicePresident of the Executive Council, been so conspicuous for work, or enhanced its reputation so much, by doing anything worth doing this session, that when such amendments as these are submitted, which individual senators can debate, and in connexion with which we may possibly suggest to the outside public that the Senate is doing something to justify its existence, they should be rushed through.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable and learned senator in order in discussing the work of the Senate in the way in which he is discussing it at the present time?
– I do not think the honorable and learned senator is out of order. A statement has been made concerning himself, and I think he is entitled to reply to it.
– I point out that the first part of the proposed amendment practically suggests the state of things I have indicated. It is aimed against the exclusive ‘use of the right to these trade union marks by trade unions, and the reason urged is that it is conceivable that fair conditions, which are demanded by, and which it is asserted exist in, trade unions, may be complied with by other people.
– Has not the proprietor of a private trade mark the right to the exclusive use of it?
– Yes, but honorable senators opposite are arguing that a union should have the right to the exclusive use of a trade mark.
– Why should it not as well as the proprietor of “Warner’s Safe Cure,” or “Pink Pills”?
– I do not agree that a trade union should have the exclusive right to this mark on the ground that it gives a guarantee that the goods to which it is attached have been produced under conditions of good wages and proper hours of employment.
– It is a guarantee that they have been made by the members of the union.
– At last I have got an admission.
– That has been said all die afternoon.
– I have said just now that honorable senators opposite are afraid to admit their real intention. It is now admitted by Senator Givens, who may, I suppose, speak for other honorable senators of the Labour Party, that the real object of these provisions is to give this exclusive right to trade unions, because they are trade unions.
– The right to use a trade union mark in the same way that a private manufacturer is entitled to the exclusive use of his private trade mark.
– Let me point out what this implies. It implies that every one must be necessarily satisfied with the trade unions. There is no appeal from them allowed.
– The public have the remedy in their own hands if thev do not like it
– The public have no remedy.
– The public are not compelled to buy these goods ; they can buy what they like.
– If that is so, what is the value of these provisions, and why do honorable senators desire to have these trade union marks?
– Why is the honorable and learned senator afraid of it?
– I am not afraid of it, but I am protesting against the proposal, because it represents class privilege. The contention of honorable senators opposite is still that the monopoly of good conditions of labour is enjoyed only by trade unionists. What can the object of these provisions be, but to induce every one to join a trade union? Honorable senators object to the use of the trade union mark by other persons, because they do not comply with their conditions in every respect. If it were proved to the satisfaction of Senator Guthrie that the goods submitted for sale by a certain manufacturer were, as regards the conditions of labour employed in their manufacture, made in every respect under trade union conditions, would the honorable senator give such a manufacturer equal rights with those which he now claims for trade unions?
– Certainly not; because this refers to trade unions.
– That bears out my contention that the claim that ‘the object of these clauses is to insure that goods shall be manufactured under fair conditions, must be withdrawn. They have really nothing to do with good conditions; they simply refer to trade unions, who are to be the sole judges of what fair conditions are. I desire that it shall be understood that honorable senators voting for these new clauses are voting for trade unionism pure and simple, and utterly irrespective of fair conditions of labour which may be complied with by persons who are not members of trade unions ; whilst honorable senators supporting the amendment are voting for the application of equal conditions to other people who may not belong to any trade union.
– I wish to make an explanation with respect to a statement which has been made by Senator Clemons to the effect that I informed him that the Senate would not sit after dinner. I had no intention that we should sit after dinner. I informed every honorable senator who spoke to me on the subject that this Bill would go through very quickly, because I anticipated that it would. I wished it to be quickly passed through Committee, because there has been a number of amendments made in it, and some questions have been asked with respect to those amendments, and I desired that the Bill should get to the report stage that we might have before us a clean print of it as amended. Then every honorable senator, seeing it as amended, would have a better knowledge of it than Senator Clemons seems to possess at the present time. When we have a clean copy of the Bill as amended before us, I should have no objection to its recommittal, if that were considered necessary.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- I desire to make ‘ a personal explanation in answer to what has been said by the VicePresident of the Executive Council. The honorable senator definitely and distinctly assured me that under no circumstances would the Senate sit after dinner.
– Then the honorable and learned senator must have misunderstood me.
Senator TRENWITH (Victoria).- I take exception to the aggressive and somewhat offensive manner of Senator Clemons. The honorable and learned senator has spoken of honorable senators who advocate these new clauses as being too cowardly to admit certain things which he said were obvious. I think that is altogether uncalled for. It is quite competent for us to point out evils in any proposed legislation without attributing evil intentions to those who think they are not evil. I think that Senator Clemons himself displays a certain amount of cowardice when he is afraid that he or some others who may be doing, as he says, everything that is required and fair, will not get the advantage of a trade mark . which has been registered by people, who, through very many years, have made personal sacrifices, and suffered social ostracism - who have in times past endured imprisonment - in order to secure what is now considered so desirable that it is thought people will purchase goods because these goods bear that mark. Senator Clemons wishes to obtain the use of this mark for people who have never made any sacrifices, or contributed towards the struggle in the past - except on the other side- but who at last, owing to causes over which they had no control, have been compelled to do by law what they would otherwise not have done. They are compelled, by a policeman standing outside, to comply with the law, and the honorable senator wants such people to have attached to their goods, a mark indicating that they have been produced by people who have made sacrifices in order to’ secure fair conditions, not merely for themselves, but for workers everywhere.
– Is the label to be given because of past history, or because of present conditions?
– The desire for a label did not grow to-day, nor yesterday, nor last year, nor the year before that. Trade unionists wish to indicate to the people who, it is . thought approve of trade unionism, that the goods they purchase are made under proper conditions. It is believed that such a mark will be an inducement to people to purchase ; and therefore the trade unionis desire to have exclusive ownership in their property.
– For what reason ?
– For the same reason that the proprietor of “ Warner’s Safe Cure “ would not allow the proprietor of “ Clemons’ Safe Cure,” though the latter might be just as good in every way, to use the name of “ Warner.”
– Is the mark given on account of past history or of present conditions ?
– It is given for both.
– Then, if an applicant has no past history, such as has been indicated, he is debarred?
– Such an applicant is debarred from no privilege which the law gives. There will probably be thousands of trade marks registered, each of which will be the property of some individual, or some corporation ; and it would be obviously unfairand illogical to ask that a corporation, which had registered and Become a proprietor, should, for some reason, be compelled to give the advantages of their property to some persons who had no right to it.
– The other side are advocating confiscation.
– They are advocating spoliation.. The object of a trade mark can only be to indicate a certain quality. If that quality of trades unionism has no special virtue in the public mind, then a trade union mark will not secure any advantage to the user; but if it is a fact - however stupid or illogical it may appear - that the public mind is fixed upon obtaining this particular quality of trade unionism in the products purchased, the public have a right, when they see the trade union mark to know that they get what they want. If we compel or allow” the application of a trade union mark to goods not made by trades unions, we shall by legislation be proceeding to deceive the public. I feel that the proposal to give an exclusive right in a trade union mark commends itself so completely to the majority of honorable senators, that there is no reason to doubt its adoption ; and I should not have risen at this stage had 1 not felt that the remarks of Senator Clemons were uncalled for and in extremely bad taste.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I regret having used the terms I did towards Senator Clemons. I used those terms, however, under the great provocation that after we had devoted time to dealing with the clauses one by one, Senator Clemons, to my mind, showed a disposition to re-open the whole question.
– I specially asked about this clause coming on. I quite understand that Senator Pearce was under a misapprehension.
Question - That the proposed new clause be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “69E. - 1. No person shall wilfully infringe the rights of the proprietor of a registered trade union mark.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - I thought that every member of the Senate would have voted for the clause which has just been rejected. All who spoke on it admitted that there was something in the point raised, but contended that it was not likely a label would be refused. Does Senator McGregor intend to submit a clause to cure the defect which I think is admitted ?
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - A number of honorable senators have gone away, and it is really of no use for us to proceed at this hour, and pretend that we are legislating.
Senator TRENWITH (Victoria).- I sympathize with Senator McGregor in his desire to make progress with the Bill, but I cannot help saying that it is not a good method of legislating to pass clauses pro forma for the purpose of printing them and inviting a recommittal. We ought, in Committee, to make the Bill as perfect as possible, and there ought to be very rarely a necessity for recommittal. I would suggest that as it is half-past 10 o’clock, and it is still early in the session, Senator McGregor should consent to report progress. I would point out to him that it is not wise at this stage in the session, when we have still three or four months before us, to so rush measures as to irritate or necessitate an honorable senator to leave the Chamber, because he must get home, although -he would like to take part in the legislation. We ought to do our work generally in the session before 1.1 o’clock at night.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania).- I do not think that Senator McGregor has any right to say that we are going to stop here until the Bill is put through. He might mention an hour when he is willing to adjourn. If he still adheres to the idea of stopping here until the Bill is passed-
Motion (by Senator Mulcahy) negatived.
That the ‘Chairman do now leave the Chair, report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania).- Will Senator McGregor be good enough to explain in what manner a trade mark or, as I prefer to call it, a trade label, of this description could be infringed? Can he give the Committee an illustration of an infringement ?
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That the following new clause be inserted - “ 69F. - 1. A trade union mark may be removed from the register for the causes and in the manner and by the person prescribed.
Clauses 70 to 89 agreed to.
Clause 90 -
If the King is pleased to apply to the Commonwealth any law of the United Kingdom for carrying into effect any arrangement made with the Government of any foreign State for the mutual protection of trade marks, then any person who has applied for protection for any trade mark in the United Kingdom or the Isle of Man, or in any foreign State with which the arrangement has been made, shall be entitled to registration of his trade mark under this Act in priority to other applicants, and such registration shall have the same date as the date of the original application in the United Kingdom or the Isle of Man or such foreign State as the case may be : Provided that such application shall be made within four months from such person applying for protection in the United Kingdom or the Isle of Man or the foreign State with which the arrangement is in force…….
– I move -
That the word “four,” line 16, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ six.”
This amendment is not very important. The object of. it is that a person in the United Kingdom wishing to apply for a trade mark in the Commonwealth may have sufficient time in which to make his application. The Government approve of the amendment.
– I should like to have a further reason for the alteration of four months to six. Senator Pearce knows very well that it does not take six months for a letter to come from England to any part of Australia.
– The time allowed under the State law is three months.
– I have no particular objection to the alteration, but I wonder that the Vice-President of the- Executive Council should agree to it, when it is evident that four months would be quite sufficent.
– In other provisions of the Bill it was considered desirable to extend the time. It is only fair that a merchant or manufacturer residing in England, wishing to register in Australia, should have an opportunity to do so. Although a letter might come in five weeks it might be necessary . for the merchant to get an answer from Australia, and then to write back again. There can be no harm in the extension of the time. An occurrence like the seizure of the steamer Malacca might delay the receipt of a letter.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- If the explanation which the Vice-President of the Executive Council gives is a good one, it is obvious that the extension of the time to six months is not sufficient. If it is desired that there shall be time for a letter to come from England to Australia, for a reply to be sent, and for another answering letter to be despatched, it is cutting it rather short to allow only six months. Inquiries cannot be answered at once in many cases. I wish to make it certain that the time allowed is ample.
– I understood that it was agreed that the remaining clauses of the Bill should be passed without amendment, and that there should subsequently be a recommittal.
– Can the honorable member discuss the adjournment on the amendment before the Chair?
– It is not in order for the honorable member to discuss the adjournment on this amendment.
– With due deference to you, sir, I think that I am in order.
– I wish to ask whether the honorable senator is in order in disputing your ruling without moving a motion ?
– No ; the honorable senator is not in order in disputing the ruling without putting his objection in writing.
– I was merely stating what I thought was in order. I understand that it was agreed that there should be a recommittal, and that necessary amendments should be made at that stage. I venture- to say that the clauses which have been passed were not understood by honorable senators, but were allowed to pass formally oh the understanding that they would be carefully considered at the recommittal stage.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 91 agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday, August 24.
Senate adjourned at 11 o’clock.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 August 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19040811_senate_2_21/>.