2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers,
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON laid upon the table the following papers: -
Addition to regulations, Military Forces, Statutory Rules 1904, No. 65.
Amendment of financial and allowance regulations, Military Forces, Statutory Rules 1904, No. 68.
The PRESIDENT reported the receipt of the following telegram by His Excellency the Governor-General from the Secretary of State for the Colonies: -
His Majesty’s Government cordially appreciate assurances of sympathy expressed in resolutions of Commonwealth Parliament communicated in your telegram of 28th October.
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to take any steps with the view of obtaining the consent of the Imperial authorities to the coinage of silver by the Commonwealth?
– Negotiations have been proceeding with the Imperial Government on this subject for some time, and it is expected that an arrangement, by which the Commonwealth will receive the profit on the coinage of silver used in Australia, will shortly be completed.
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
In view of the despatch dated 14th July, 1904, from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, stating that the Imperial Government have doubts as to it being desirable that they should enact legislation regarding a Metric System of Weights and Measures, which would apply to the Colonies as well as to the United Kingdom, and stating that the subject should preferably be dealt with by the Colonial Legislatures, is it the intention of the Commonwealth Government to introduce at an early date legislation towards that end?
– This matter will require full consideration, and attention will be given to it as early as circumstances will permit.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South
Australia - Attorney-General). - I move -
That, in addition to the days of meeting set forth in the Sessional Order of the 3rd March, Tuesday of each week, unless otherwise ordered, be a meeting day of the Senate during the present Session, at the hour of half-past two in the afternoon, and that on such day Government Business takes precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions.
If substantial progress be made this week with the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill in Committee - a result which I feel sure honorable senators will assist in bringing about - it may not be necessary to sit on Tuesday next, but that event will depend entirely upon the progress that we make.
– I am willing to go out of ray way to meet the convenience of honorable senators as far as possible, in order to avoid sitting on Tuesday ; but I am afraid that I cannot consent to give up altogether the day allotted to private business, because some matters of very great importance indeed are waiting to be dealt with. For instance, there is a matter to be dealt with to-morrow afternoon, which is, I think, of very great importance. - it is certainly important to one individual - and which has been postponed from time to time. I would not agree to the abolition of the day for private business if it involved an injustice to any individual.
-Col. Gould. - Why not deal with that matter after the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill has been disposed of? There will be a day or two to spare then.
– It is a matter of very grave importance indeed.
– I think that the honorable senator in charge of this business is willing to postpone its consideration, and has expressed himself accordingly.
– I should be sorry to learn that Senator Higgs had agreed to do anything of the kind. Honorable senators have not been called upon to meet so often in this session that they can fairly object to sit once or twice on Tuesday until certain progress be made with Government business. I do not think it would be a great inconvenience to them,to meet once or twice on Tuesday. I should protest against the day for private business being done away with in order to avoid sitting on Tuesday.
– Although we who come from distant States are quite willing to meet the wishes of the representatives of New South Wales, still, it is too much to expect us to give up Thursday afternoon until the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill has been dealt with. I imagine that if it were passed, there would be a disposition on the part of some honorable senators to take another adjournment until other business had been received from the House of Representatives. I think that the Senate is in a mood to put the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill through as speedily as is consistent with due discussion, and that, therefore, it will not be necessary to take away the day set apart for private business. I am willing to fall in with the suggestion that Tuesday afternoon should be set apart for private business for the remainder of the session. That would allow honorable senators from New South Wales to come over on W ednesday if they did not feel much interested in private business. I would point out that the private business which is set down for to-morrow is not of an academic nature. One motion is of very great interest to a citizen, who has, I think, been kept out of his rights for a very long time. I hope that the senators from New South Wales will not press their objection. At this period of the session a Government has found it necessary to take away the day set apart for private business. But I think it is recognised by the present Government that private business should receive some consideration, because of the repeated adjournments which have taken place during the present session.
– I hope that the motion will be carried, but I do not expect the Senate to sit on Tuesday unless it is absolutely necessary. I feel certain that the Attorney-General, if he finds that the business has been pushed forward, will not insist upon our sitting on that day. I hope that, for the present, honorable senators will be allowed the privilege of dealing with private business on Thursday for a week or two. I trust that the motion will be carried, because it ought to be within the power of the Government to ask the Senate to sit on Tuesday if circumstances should so require.
– No one is more desirous than Senator Gould of securing every opportunity to promote the quick despatch of public business, and I am sure that it is not from any desire on his part to whittle away the time at our disposal, that he has made the suggestion which he has offered. I think he will see, especially after what Senator McGregor has said, that there is no need for much apprehension on his part with regard to this motion, which is usually moved at this period of the session, and which will only have the effect of enabling us to sit on Tuesday if necessary, and from my point of view it may be absolutely necessary. I hope it will not be considered that the motion is being passed with the intention that it shall not be observed. If satisfactory progress be made with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, however, it may not be necessary to ask honorable senators to sit on Tuesday next, and it will always be open for us to adjourn from Friday to Wednesday. It may be that within a week or two we shall be obliged to follow the usual course, and take for Government business the time which is now set apart for private business. If that necessity arises, of course, other opportunities may be afforded for the consideration of private business. Through the courtesy of honorable senators who have private business on the notice-paper for to-morrow, we hope to be able to proceed directly the Senate meets with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I shall be glad to take into consideration the transference of private members’ business to another day, if that should be found more convenient.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 28th October, vide page 6296) :
Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 - “ Industrial dispute “ means a dispute in relation to industrial matters -
arising between an employer or an organization of employers on the one part and an organization of employees on the other part, or
certified by the Registrar as proper in the public interest to be dealt with by the Court - and extending beyond the limits of any one State, including disputesin relation to employment upon State railways, or to employment in industries carried on by or under the control of the Commonwealth or a State or any public authority constituted under the Commonwealth or a State ; but it does not include a dispute relating to employment in any agricultural, viticultural, horticultural, or dairying pursuit ; “ Industry “ means business, trade, manufacture, undertaking, calling, service, or employment, on land or water, in which persons are employed for pay, hire, advantage, or reward, excepting only persons engaged in domestic service, and persons engaged in agricultural, viticultural, horticultural, or dairying pursuits;
– During the discussion on the second reading of the Bill some excellent reasons were given why we should consider the advisability of embracing within the term “industrial dispute,” any dispute in relation to employment upon States railways, or to employment in industries carried on by or under the control of the Commonwealth, or a State or any public authority constituted under the Commonwealth or a State. The question of including Slates servants under the Bill was debated at length in another place, and as we know, brought about a Ministerial crisis. The clause, as we have it now, is in a modified form, as compared with the form in which it was at first desired to pass it. So far as one can judge from opinions which have been expressed, it is beyond our power under the Constitution to include in this measure States employes of any kind. Employes under ,the control of the Commonwealth are of course in an entirely different position, and we have a perfect right to deal with them as we think fit. We recognise also that each State has a perfect right to frame whatever laws it pleases for the control of its own employe’s. In the State of New South Wales railway employes are entitled to take advantage of the provisions of the New South Wales Conciliation and Arbitration Act, but the Parliament of that State has determined that its employes shall have that right. It is a different thing for the Commonwealth Parliament to say what terms .the servants of the various States may accede to. Each State Government is entirely dependent upon the Estimates which may be passed by the State Parliament for the payment of its servants. We know further that it is a rule that the Crown is not bound under any Act of Parliament, unless the intention to bind the Crown is specifically mentioned. It should be borne in mind that in this clause an attempt ‘ is being made to do that which many consider is unconstitutional, and it might be condemned from another stand-point, as to the propriety or desirability of our interfering in States affairs to a greater extent than we are strictly entitled under the Constitution.
Honorable senators are aware that when the States agreed to form the Commonwealth it was understood that they should retain the rights of what are termed “sovereign States,” and that no powers should be taken from them beyond those specifically transferred to the Commonwealth by the Constitution. It was never dreamt for a moment that the Commonwealth Government . would attempt to take such a step as is being attempted in this Bill. There can be no doubt that the control of States servants is a matter which was regarded as being entirely within the powers of the several States under the Constitution. We have no power over the railways of the States. The States, under the Constitution, may give the Commonwealth Government the power to control their railways, and if they did so this Parliament would have the right to bring railway employes under the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
– This Bill does not ask for the control of the railways, but for the control of industrial disputes.
– We are asked under this Bill to take control of the States railways servants.
– No; of the means of settling industrial disputes. What about the honorable and learned senator’s statement that he wished everybody to be included under this Bill ?
– What I said was that I would not give a preference to one class of the community against another.
– The honorable and learned senator said that every man should have the benefit of the measure.
– I am perfectly well aware of what I said, and to what it was applicable.
– The honorable and learned senator did not mean it, that is all.
– Senator Givens will have an opportunity to make his speech later. I understand that honorable senators wish to direct my attention to the fact that the Bill can only apply to State railways servants where a railway dispute extends from one State into another. I am well aware of the purposes of the measure, and that we have no power to deal with disputes which do not extend beyond the boundaries of any one State. But I point out in the first place that we are here attempting to deal with State employes, who owe their primary duty and responsibility to the States by which they are employed. Under the Constitution we have no right whatever to interfere with the rights of the States in these matters. When I am reminded that we can interfere where an industrial dispute extends from one State into another, I say that it will be impossible for honorable senators to bring forward a case in connexion with State railway employes where an industrial dispute will extend beyond the boundaries of any one State, unless that result is produced by artificial means or by means of some kind of conspiracy. By no legitimate means whatever can a dispute amongst the railway, employes of any one State be extended to those in another State. A dispute occurred some time ago in the railway service in Victoria, and if there had been a Conciliation and Arbitration Act passed in this State that dispute could have been referred to the Court established under that Act. In that case the dispute was not one which extended beyond the boundaries of any one State. ,
– It threatened to do so.
-Col. GOULD. - There might have been a strong feeling of sympathy with railway servants in Victoria exhibited by railway servants in the other States.
– There might be sympathetic strikes.
-Col. GOULD.- It is not intended in this measure to deal with sympathetic strikes. If it were, we might have railway men in England turning out and saying to the Imperial authorities, “ Here is a Colonial Government treating its servants unjustly, and we shall not work here until the matter is rectified.” They might take such a course in order to bring pressure upon the Colonial Government in the interests of its service.
– Suppose the Queensland Government had sent railway employes to assist the Victorian Government in the late strike, what would have happened then ?
-Col. GOULD.- It is true that railway servants in Queensland or any other States might have come to Victoria.
– That is not the point. The point is that the Secretary for Railways in Queensland offered at the time to send some of the Queensland employes over to Victoria to take the place of the strikers here.
-Col. GOULD.- Did he send any of them?
– He was prepared to do so, and he tried to get them.
-Col. GOULD.- He did not send any to Victoria ?
– Only because they were loyal to their mates.
– Suppose he had sent any Queensland railway employes over here?
– There would have been a strike in Queensland.
– Then the Queensland Government would have been the proper authority to deal with its own servants. This Senate is not entitled to legislate with regard to States railway servants. We know that for some time past the relations between the States Governments and the Commonwealth Government have been considerably strained, and we do not desire that the relations between them should be any more unfriendly than we can help. Honorable senators are aware that if we asked the States for powers which are not already given to us under the Constitution, not one of them would be found to have sufficient confidence in the Commonwealth Parliament to accede to the request. It is a most deplorable circumstance that our- legislation and administration should have been of such a character as to bring about such a condition of affairs.
– Certain members of the Commonwealth Parliament are continually decrying Commonwealth legislation, because it does not suit them.
.- We find that kind of thing everywhere. We know that members of States Parliaments decry State legislation because it does not suit them. This is not a question of the feeling of individual members. I contend that the States, in their executive capacity, are dissatisfied with Commonwealth legislation.
– The honorable and learned senator contends that we have not the power to legislate in this direction. If so, what harm will be done?
.- My contention is that we have not the power.
– If we have the power we should exercise it.
– My contention also is that if we had the power it would be inexpedient and undesirable to exercise it. Those who think that it is desirable and expedient to legislate in this way suggest that we should pass this legislation, and leave the constitutional question to be settled by the High Court. But I contend that- unless we have a reasonable cause to believe that we have the power we claim it is not any part of our duty to throw upon the High Court the responsibility of saying whether our legislation is right or not.
– What is a reasonable cause ?
– I say that there is no reasonable cause in this instance.
– The honorable and learned senator expresses the opinion of only one legal mind; other persons equally prominent in the legal profession, hold a different opinion.
.- I am well aware of that, but that is no reason why I should not express my opinion. I believe that the majority of honorable senators are agreed that we should pass a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill on lines which will not cause unnecessary difficulty and trouble in its administration. Honorable senators opposite have every right to their own opinion in the matter, and I shall not .quarrel with .them .because it does not agree with mine.
– The High Court is the only authority that can settle the difference between us.
– My contention is that we need hot go to the High Court. I believe that if honorable senators will carefully examine the Bill, and will read the opinions expressed by legal members in connexion with it, they will find that the contention I am submitting is borne out, and that we have not the power to legislate in this direction. The question of expediency is another question upon which each honorable senator will hold his own opinion. I think that it is inexpedient to include State servants under this Bill. I move -
That the words “ employment upon State railways, or to,” lines n and 12, be left out.
That amendment can be discussed, and, whether it be agreed to or negatived, the moving of a further amendment dealing with employes in industries carried on by a State or a public authority constituted by a State may be left over for consideration at a later stage.
– I have a perfect right to hold and express my opinion in opposition to that of Senator Gould. I have no fear of this provision so far as the constitutional aspect of the question is concerned, if it be submitted to the High Court, or to any other Court. I do not see how any discrimination can be made between those working for a Railway Commissioner and those working for any private individual. Senator Gould and many other persons are continually endeavouring to make it appear to the public that this provision is an attempt to take the control of their railways out of the hands of the Governments of the various States. We know that in almost every instance the States Parliaments have done that already. For the sake of good management and’ everything else of the kind, they have removed the control of the railways from parliamentary influence.
– But not from State management.
– They have placed them in the charge of Commissioners. When a Railway Commissioner raises or decreases the salary of a platform, porter by 6d. per day, Senator Gould might just as well raise his objection with respect to the powers of the State Treasurer, because a State Treasurer may very often not have time to take into consideration how the State Railway Commissioner is going to deal with the employes under his charge. If it is our intention to pass a law relating to conciliation and arbitration, the law we pass should be as comprehensive as it can possibly be made. All working people, whether they are working for a State under a commissioner, boards, or any other authority, should be placed in exactly the same position as workmen and workwomen employed by private individuals We have a right in this Parliament to pay just as much attention to the balance-sheets or estimates that may be made by a private individual as to those made by the Treasurer of a Slate. Private individuals have to take everything into consideration just as have States Treasurers. When we have evidence, not only in Victoria, but in Western Australia, of the damage that can be done by employes in connexion with the Government railways, it is right and proper that those employes should come under a Bill of this kind. We -must also recognise that until a dispute extends beyond the boundaries of any one State no cognisance can be taken of it by the proposed Conciliation and Arbitration Court.
– The honorable senator has already pointed out how easy it will be to make a dispute extend beyond the boundaries of a State.
– That does not matter. When a dispute extends beyond the boundaries of any one State, there is no power to deal with it, except a Commonwealth tribunal. How could the Government of, say, Victoria, deal with any dispute in Queensland or Western Australia? How could the Governments of any of the other States deal with a dispute in Victoria? When any dispute of a serious character on a railway, or in connexion with any other industry carried on by a State, extends beyond the boundaries of that State, it is a very wise provision to have a court which can interfere and prevent great loss and damage such as have been caused in the past by strikes and lockouts. I do not think there is any great necessity for arguing this matter at length. Those who work for a State have as much right to be considered as have those who work for private individuals; and State employers, such as Railway Commissioners and public boards, have as much right to be considered as have private employers, We should never lose sight of the fact that an Arbitration Court is not for the purpose of increasing wages, or always altering the conditions of labour of the working classes. It will have to consider the interests of the employers, and every right-thinking man must recognise that conciliation and arbitration is as much to the advantage of those who employ as of those who are employed. It is for that reason that I should like to see this Bill made as comprehensive aspossible.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I propose to give a vote to retain the clause as it stands at present. I shall not give that vote merely for the purpose of refraining from any alteration of the Bill. Honorable senators know that on previous occasions I have always spoken up for the right of this Chamber to impress its views on any measures submitted to it whatever the consequences may be. The reason that I propose to vote as I have indicated is that in many of the States we have had a clear expression of the view of the Parliaments that it is desirable to set up some tribunal to deal with disputes between employers and employe’s. Seeing that the States Parliaments have expressed that opinion, I cannot understand how logically they can object to the creation of a tribunal to deal with disputes arising between Governments and their employes. Further, in my own State, there has absolutely been created an Appeal Board to deal with such disputes, and I can only interpret that as a belief on the part of the Legislature of New South Wales in the desirability of at least giving the principle of arbitration a fair trial in regard to railway servants. For that reason I propose, as I say, to vote to retain the clause as it is. Whether or not, such a clause will be found ultimately to be constitutional is a matter on which I do not propose to express an opinion. The question has reached that stage at which competent authorities have expressed such different opinions that the only course is to wait for some appeal to the high authority which has the determination of matters of this kind.
– I do not wish to stand in the way of honorable senators discussing this clause. Undoubtedly, there are a variety of aspects from which the matter is extremely important. I do not deny that there may be varying views differing from my own, and perhaps differing, even from the extent in which the words now appear in the Bill. It might be convenient if I now state - and in doing so, assist in shortening discussion - the attitude which I propose to take. I cannot accept the amendment. I ventured to deal with this particular point at length when moving the second reading, and therefore it will be unnecessary for me to now exhaustively argue the matter. But there are one or two points on which I may permited to say a word at this stage. One great gain of inserting the words in the shape they now are - namely, by expressing their inclusion in the definition of “ industrial dispute” - is that it brings clearly forward on the face of the Bill the point on which opinions differ, and on which it may be necessary hereafter that the decision of the High Court shall be obtained. I make that remark because it has been suggested - and I think not at all unreasonably - that if the language of the Constitution is capable of including railway servants, it is unnecessary to add words providing for their inclusion under the Bill. That view is undoubtedly, as a matter of argument, well founded, but we all desire - at any rate, Parliament, I think, desires to, in the first place, indicate its intention by the insertion of these words. We cannot, by the words, enlarge the scope of the Constitution, and if the railway servants are not included-
– There is an end of it.
– There is an end of it, and the High Court will determine that there shall be an end of it. If railway servants are included by the Constitution, then the insertion of these words does not enlarge the construction placed on the words of the Constitution.
– But if the words are not inserted, a special case will have to be stated for the High Court.
– That is not exactly the way I should put the matter. What the honorable senator has said substantially expresses my view, because it is really another way of saying what I have already said, that the great advantage of inserting the words is to bring the point in dispute absolutely and clearly to the surface, and indicate the desire that if it be constitutional, the Bill shall be so extended.
– It will insure an immediate interpretation of the clause.
– None of us can be certain absolutely as to what is or what is not constitutional. That is a point with which I dealt at some length when moving the second reading. Neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate is the judge on the subject. I hold the view that unless, in an absolutely clear case, on which there is great unanimity, it would not be a very safe course for Parliament to set itself up to determine on a doubtful question what was or what was not constitutional.
– Are we not doing that bv inserting these verv words?
– No; we are not. We are merely expressing here the wish of Parliament. But that wish does not make constitutional what would be unconstitutional without the inclusion’ of the words. But we raise the point, and, as I say, we, with great advantage, bring it to the front and make it absolutely clear what the position is.
– We are also expressing the wish that the railway servants shall be included.
– Certainly, and the constituencies have already’ expressed ‘that wish. I am bound to say that the result of the last election which took place at the; end of last year; was the, return of a majority of representatives in favour of the inclusion of railway servants within the ambit of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. If that be so, should we be justified in eliminating these words when the High Court may decide that their insertion is constitutional ?
– Should Ave shut the railway servants out if we did not insert these words?
– In any case, the honorable senator will see that we must relegate the matter to the tribunal which is constituted under the law for the purpose of determining constitutional questions.
– Let the dispute, if it comes along, do that
– -But the insertion of the words, it will be noticed, does not add one iota to the constitutional or unconstitutional position. But there is the distinct advantage that it raises the question, and shows that Parliament desired that the railway servants should be included ; and this desire being put in express terms will facilitate the determination of the constitutional question when the necessity arises. I may point out that we cannot have the matter determined any more rapidly by the insertion of the words than we could if they were left out. The High Court does not deal with abstract cases, but only with concrete instances as they arise. The inclusion of the words does not make the position any more constitutional, but it does keep constantly -before the people of the country the particular point which, when it is sought to bring the Bill into operation, may give rise to a concrete question being stated in terms which can be dealt with by the High Court. There are two principles - inclusion and exclusion’. The principle of inclusion has prevailed irrespective of the constitutional question ; the principle of exclusion has failed. As we know, all the force and power of the Deakin Government were unbale to exclude this provision as a matter of political determination. The only question left is as to whether or not this provision is constitutional, and if it is clearly constitutional, there arise those other questions. Laws are made to be altered when found insufficient or inexpedient, and if the provision is declared to be unconstitutional, then, as Senator Dawson says, there is an- end of the matter, and the will of the people which has been expressed cannot be given effect to, because the Constitution, which is their highest charter, has not been made wide enough to carry out their desire. On these grounds, in addition to those I elaborated at some length on the second reading, I cannot accept the amendment, against which I must vote if it be pressed to a division.
– I think, with Senator Gould, that we should not try to create particular difficulties, or to thrust on the High Court questions for decision unless those questions arise in the natural order of things in the carrying out of the laws we pass here. The AttorneyGeneral is now arguing that we should insert in. this Bill words which will create a question for the High Court to decide.
– That is not what the Attorney-General said.
– That is what the contention practically amounts to.
– That is the only deduction I can make from the remarks of the honorable and learned gentleman. Here is a provision which will give rise to an immediate dispute as to whether or not it is constitutional.
– No, that cannot be so.
– As we say in Ireland, “ Never say good day to the devil until you met him.”
– There must first be a dispute extending beyond the borders of a State. .
– The honorable senator is forgetting that little word “ prevention,” which is most important in the interpretation of the Constitution. I shall vote for the amendment, and I want my reasons to be clearly, understood. I do not vote for excluding railway servants from participating in the benefits of this Bill, but I vote so that if they have a right to come under the Bill they shall not hold that right to the exclusion of any other section of public servants.
– But Senator Gould says that public servants cannot come under the Bill unless they are expressly mentioned.
– Why should we either specifically or impliedly exclude any one section of public servants? Will the Attorney-General tell us what would be the effect if this matter were. left quite open? Would any branch of the Public Service be excluded, or would all branches be in cluded? No doubt that is a matter which must be decided by the High Court, for the reason that everything depends on the interpretation of the words “ industrial dispute.” We, by this Bill, are presuming to give an interpretation of those words, and we can give what interpretation we like. But if we ask the’ High Court for an interpretation, the Judges will not take into account what was the intention disclosed during the debates at the’ Federal Convention. When a Judge has to interpret an Act of Parliament he reads that Act as it appears within the covers, relying solely on the wording, and not on the debates which may have taken place on its passing. We all know what was really intended by the Constitution, but the, Chief Justice and his colleagues will know judicially nothing of what was said at the time, but only of what appears in the Act itself. It is their interpretation of “industrial dispute” which will govern the case, and our inter- *pretation is so much waste paper. We are trying to acid an interpretation by specifically including one class of public servants, who happen to have the largest voting power. If railway servants are included - and I would not try to exclude them directly or indirectly- all other public servants, whatever their status, should also be included.
– Irrespective of “ industry?”
– What is industry ? The honorable and learned senator cannot tell us what “industrial dispute” is until the High Court, in view of this Bill and the Constitution, has determined. It is that interpretation by which we shall have to abide. I am not going to vote to expressly include or exclude any one class of public servants. The labour members, to be logical, should vote with me for the elimination of the words.
– How about the opinion of the Attorney-General, that the Crown is not bound unless specifically mentioned ?
– Those are nice legal points which I do not presume to discuss, and I cannot say I follow the reasoning of the Attorney-General in his arguments.
– According to the mover of the amendment, we exclude public servants, if we do not specifically mention them.
– The AttorneyGeneral has told us that we cannot alter the constitutional aspect of the question.
If they are constitutionally included they are entitled to the benefits of this legislation, and we have no right to exclude them from its application. If they are not constitutionally included, we have no power to include them. Let us leave to every man his right to come under the measure, and participate in its benefits, subject to the decision of the constitutional question by the High Court.
– I think that Senator Mulcahy will find that honorable senators sitting on this side will be only too happy to assist in making the Bill as comprehensive as possible. There has been much discussion on the constitutional point, and in view of the distinct line of cleavage which exists, we cannot do better than leave this question to the determination of the High Court. Whether men are engaged by a State or by private employers has, I think, nothing to do with the case. So long as they come in their occupations within the definition of “industrial,” the Bill should apply to them. The only difference of opinion which can arise is as to what is an industry and what is not. I feel sure that if railway servants were excluded very curious complications would arise when a dispute extended beyond the limits of a State. In Western Australia, for instance, the Midland Railway is owned by a private company. Now, if States servants were not included within the operation of this measure the Arbitration Court would have power to deal with a strike on a privately-owned railway, but would have no power, according to the contention of some honorable senators, to” deal with that dispute when- it extended to a government railway. I hold that the dispute would be just the same when a train was on a government line as when it was on the Midland Company’s line. Why should not men who work for the Government receive the same consideration in these matters . as men who work for private employers? Has a carpenter or a boiler-maker, or an engine-driver on a private railway any better. right to claim the advantages of this legislation than a man who is working for a State?’
– What about the thousands of quill-drivers who draw from _£i.2o to £150 a year?
– The question to be considered is not who the employers of the men on strike are, but whether the strike extends beyond the limits of a State: Having made it perfectly clear to my consti tuents that I was obliged to support the inclusion of States servants, I have no option but to adhere to my pledge. What is good or bad for the private employ^ is equally good, or bad, for States employes. It has been alleged that the officials of trade unions have brought about strikes, in order to maintain their footing. It is suggested that when we advocate this measure we are anxious to continue industrial strife. But I contend that all men ought to come within its operation.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).The point of view that strikes me is that public officers are the servants of the Crown, and that as the States House we ought to uphold States rights. We ought not to attempt to take away the power of the Crown to deal with its own servants.
– I feel that a very great mistake was made when civil servants or railway servants were specifically included in the Bill. At the same time I hold that it would be a greater mistake now to exclude them.
– We should not exclude them by not mentioning them.
– At the start, I took up exactly the same position as my honorable friend.. But to exclude States servants now would convey the impression that Parliament had considered the question of including them, and decided that it was undesirable that they should be included. That is the impression which would be attached to their exclusion now. My view is that if we have the constitutional power to deal with States servants - and I cannot see anything in the Constitution to say- that we have not - it is not necessary to specifically include them any more than any other class of servants. We have merely to legislate for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes which extend beyond ,the limits of a State. That would include all persons with whom we have power to deal. In view of the fact that there has been a discussion on this question throughout Australia, and that persons, both inside and outside Parliament, have expressed very strong opinions as to the expediency of including States servants, I submit that to specifically strike them out of the clause .would be tantamount to saying that on full reflection we thought that they should not be included in this legislation. Therefore, I shall vote for the clause as it is. It is extremely desirable, if possible, that States servants should come under the provisions of the Bill. Senator Macfarlane has said that the Senate, as the States House, should be careful not to infringe States rights. I might argue that as the States House, we should be careful to extend all possible privileges to the States. When a dispute arises, why should a State employer be deprived of the advantage which a private employer has, or why should a State employe be deprived of the advantage which a private employe has ? I venture to say that all the advantages in connexion with this legislation are not for the working people. Much as I feel that in all past times the working people have had very hard treatment, I think it would be extremely unwise to pass a law which would give advantages to only working people, and none to other sections of the community. The great thing to be said for this arbitration movement is that it aims at securing justice in all industrial disputes, and if it happens that justice rests with the employer an assurance is given that justice will be done to him, and that he will not be injured.
– They do not think so.
– I know that they do not. All through history they have had the power to dictate their own terms, whether just or not, and many of them deplore the fact that the power to act unjustly is being taken from them. I donot pretend that they represent a majority of employers. I do not believe that the majority of employers are opposed to this Bill. I think that they are anxious for machinery to settle disputes on a basis which would be equitable and final for some considerable time.
– The State employers are not.
– I do not know who the State employers are, except that I am one, and my honorable friend is one. The citizens of a State are the State employers. The Parliament of a State is the citizens’ agent, and sometimes the citizens’ agent seeks for powers which they would be very unwilling to grant. Sometimes the citizens’ agent, in dealing with the citizens’ servants, acts in such a manner as to bring disgrace upon the citizens, and I think that the citizens are not desirous that their agent should retain that power, and that it is extremely expedient that there should be a properly constituted tribunal having the confidence of the citizens of Australia, to maintain the citizens’ honour in the treatment of their servants when sometimes their agent in Parliament is not disposed to do what is honorable and fair. I have in my mind a very distinct breach of faith on the part of the agent of the citizens of a State: I feel confident that the great majority of the citizens were very angry at this breach of faith, which was made without consulting them, in the middle of a Parliament. If this measure were passed and such a condition arose again, the citizens would have the assurance that the Government would notbe permitted to outrage justice, and bring dishonour upon them as State employers, and that the dispute would be submitted to the judgment of an impartial and competent tribunal. It is continuously urged with very great vehemence, if not with force, that States servants are greedy men, who are continually struggling -for further concessions, and seeking to bring improper influence to bear upon Members of Parliament. In one State the vote of civil servants has been taken away on that ground.
– They have a special constituency.
– They have a vote.
– They have another kind of vote. So great was said to be their influence, that it led to special legislation in connexion with their vote. They deplore, and I deplore, that their old vote has been taken away, and that their new vote is absolutely useless. They have what are called representatives in Parliament, but these gentlemen have no weight, and therefore the vote of the civil servants has been taken away. The point, however, is that they were alleged to have exercised influence pernicious to the well-being of the State. If that be so, the appointment of an Arbitration Court would relieve the State Government and Parliament of very serious embarrassment, because when civil servants were attempting to bring such pressure to bear, the authorities could say, “ If you have any grievance or difficulty, if you are not fairly treated, there is a properly constituted tribunal to which you can appeal.”
– If they could get the servants of another State to agree with them.
– I am assuming that it is a dispute which has extended beyond the limits of a State, and it is of no use to assume anything else, because it is only in such cases that this legislation could operate.So far from being an embarrassment to the States, this measure might be a real advantage both to the State as employer and to State servants as employes, and certainly in no case could it be a disadvantage. This Parliament owes it to itself^ and to the people, that it should do nothing unconstitutional. I do not believe in the doctrine of doing, a thing without regard to whether it is constitutional or not, and leaving it to the High Court to decide. That is extremely wrong. We should assure ourselves, as far as we can, that everything we do is in accordance with our constitutional powers, and I think that we have so assured ourselves in this There is very little, if any, doubt, as to our constitutional right in the matter. There is a good deal of ground for discussion as to the expediency from the Federal point of view of our so acting, and on that alone, it seems to me, the main argument against the provision rests. Senator . Dobson, who is a lawyer, and should be an authority, say’s that if we have the power constitutionally it is through an oversight. He contends that it” the Convention had known that it was extending such a power, it would not have done so, and that if the power exists, in consequence of an oversight, it is extremely inexpedient to use it. As to its being an oversight, I think that Senator Dobson is wrong. 1 had the honour, in common with the honorable and learned senator, to be a member of .the Convention, and I think that if there had been any doubt in the minds of its members, and the question had been raised, the Convention was so determined in its opinion that the settlement of industrial disputes should be by arbitration, and not by industrial war, that it would have specifically included disputes between States and their servants.
– I do not think that the Convention considered anything but the maritime strike.
– I think that if constitutionally we have not this power, that is owing to an oversight and mistake on the part of the Convention. But there can be no doubt that we have this power. The words of the Constitution are definite and specific enough. We are given the power to legislate for “ the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes that extend beyond the limits of any one State.” That seems to me to be clear enough, and under it the only question that can arise is -. What is an industrial dispute?
– The honorable senator overlooks the contention of the AttorneyGeneral that .the Crown is not bound, unless it is specifically mentioned.
– I heard the AttorneyGeneral put a question to an honorable senator who was speaking as to what would happen if the Court gave a decision against a State, and the State refused to obey the decision.
– Senator Dobson is alluding to what I said in moving the second reading of the Bill.
– I do not remember the point.
– That the Crown is not bound.
– Because the Crown is not specifically mentioned. That is the view Mr. Isaacs urged.
– That is an intensely technical point, which I shall not pretend to discuss.
– Had the Convention that point before it? Did it ever dream that States employes would be included ?
– I have no recollection whatever of our right to deal with States servants being discussed. My point now is that, in the language of the Constitution, States servants are not specifically left out or included. The extent »of our power is shown by the general expression that we may legislate for the settlement of industrial disputes. There is no specific statement as’ to how far we may legislate. There is , a general power of legislation in regard to industrial disputes arising within the limits of the Commonwealth. If our interpretation of the Constitution is wrong the High Court will decide the question. We are not, in this respect, in the same position as are the States Parliaments or the Imperial Parliament. The Imperial Parliament is the custodian of its own Constitution, and, subject to the Crown in certain respects, the States Parliaments are the custodians of their own Constitutions; but we are living under a written Constitution given to us by the Imperial Parliament, in which our powers are distinctly defined, and wherever any doubt arises as to the correct definition of our powers the matter is referred to the High Court - the tribunal which the Constitution itself has provided. The Constitution is in the hands of the
High Court, and we are bound by its decisions. Therefore, as we cannot see clearly that in agreeing to this provision, we shall be acting unconstitutionally, and as, so far as we can see, it appears that we shall be acting constitutionally, our legislation should be in the direction that experience has taught us is expedient. Within the last few days, and I might even say within the last few hours, an international difficulty has arisen, in connexion with which the peace and prosperity of the whole British Empire is involved.
– And of the whole of Europe, perhaps.
– The whole British Empire is sufficient for the purpose of my argument. At the outset our interests throughout the Empire were seriously imperilled, and there was a strong feeling of dread - not of fear, in the sense that if circumstances warranted Great Britain in going to war we should be worsted in any trouble - but of dread that, on account of what might perhaps have been a mistake, Great Britain might be involved in a disastrous war. We all breathed with very much greater freedom, and we all very much rejoiced when we knew that that dispute had been referred to arbitration.
– To voluntary arbitration.
– That, of course, raises an entirely different question. My point just now is that, amongst the people throughout the whole British Empire, which encircles the globe, and on which the sun never ceases to shine, there was a complete feeling of relief when it was decided that this matter should be submitted to the arbitrament of a properly constituted tribunal rather than to the arbitrament of force and of arms. If that be so with reference to an international question, is it not equally important with reference to domestic questions within the nation? Senator Walker has said that this international dispute has been referred to voluntary arbitration, but the honorable senator will agree that the reference of the question to voluntary arbitration has led to a feeling of relief.
– Hear, hear.
– Suppose the nations concerned had not volunteered to arbitrate, would not the feeling of pain, tension, and dread have remained ? If it is a good thing that voluntary arbitration shouldtake place, is it not also a good thing, if it is practicable, that persons should be compelled to arbitrate?
– Not necessarily.
– I agree that arbitration should be voluntary, and arbitration with a great many people is voluntary. I think that honesty should be voluntary, and with all decent people it is voluntary. I am sure that it is with Senator Walker.
– It is not only voluntary with the honorable senator, it is an instinct.
– Yes, I should say that it is an irresistible instinct with the honorable senator. But Senator Walker does not object to the institution of a police force to compel persons to be honest who will not be honest voluntarily.
– To punish them if they are not honest.
– To punishthem when they are detected in dishonesty with a view to compelling others to remain honest. That is the main object. When some person has departed from honesty, we catch him and put him into the right path, and we hold up his punishment as a lesson to other persons who might be inclined to depart from the right path. I say that there is as much reason for compelling people to do right in one direction as in another. Honorable senators will agree that voluntary arbitration breaks down just where arbitration is most needed. Where two people are of about equal strength, and both are doubtful as to which will gain the victory in a struggle, they will volunteer to arbitrate, but if one man is strong and his opponent is weak the strong man will refuse to arbitrate, and it is in just such a case that we require the power to compel arbitration. There are a great many instances within my recollection of voluntary arbitration, and though I know of some very successful instances, I do not know of a single complete success achieved by voluntary arbitration. I remember an arbitration case which occurred in South Australia, and which no doubt the AttorneyGeneral will recollect. In 1885, just about Christmas time, when people were looking for peace and good-will amongst men, the bootmakers of Adelaide went out on strike. They declared that nothing would induce them to go back to their work unless the whole of their demands were conceded, and the employers declared that thev would sell the buttons off their shirts before they would give in. There was a strike which promised to last for a very long time. In consequence of intervention, voluntary arbitration was decided upon, and, after a sitting of the arbitrators, lasting for nearly a fortnight, a decision was arrived at which gave general satisfaction, and the conditions agreed upon continued in force for eleven years. Some persons would say that that is evidence in favour of voluntary arbitration, but that is just what it is not. The dispute was settled satisfactorily on terms which lasted for eleven years, but, as a matter of fact, the bootmaking trade is now in a more chaotic condition in Adelaide than in any of the other States. The difficulty is that the moment the people concerned chose to set aside the decision arrived at, there was no power to compel observance of it. Voluntary arbitration was all right, and did everything that’ was required, until the persons concerned quarrelled with the decision arrived at.
– They have not quarrelled in the north of England for eleven years.
– I am speaking of another dispute in. connexion with which a settlement by voluntary arbitration lasted for eleven years. But that was only while the parties to the settlement were in good temper, and as soon as they quarrelled the whole thing fell to pieces like a house of cards. If it is good that peace should prevail for eleven years, surely it is better that there should be some power to compel the continuance of peace? We are all agreed that it is good that people should refrain from industrial war, and we should all be agreed that there should be a power provided to compel people” to refrain from industrial war. What I urge in this matter is that the States servants have been included. I think it is right that they should be. I think they’ would have been included if they had not been specifically mentioned, but as they have been specifically mentioned, to strike them out now would lead to the impression that after deliberation we considered it undesirable that this legislation should apply to ‘them.
– I feel called upon to give the amendment my support. I regret exceedingly, in the interests of the railway servants themselves, that they have been included in the Bill. As one who is in full sympathy with the objects of the Bill, and who has advocated its principles for a great many years, I desire to say that if a provision of this kind could in ordinary circumstances be included in such a measure, I should be pleased to see that done. But there are grave constitutional reasons why such a provision cannot be included. Senator Trenwith has said that he thinks it is undesirable that the railway servants should be specifically mentioned in the Bill. I agree with the honorable senator, and surely the Bill would be more in harmony, with his views if we were now to exclude them? I urge their exclusion particularly on grounds of expediency. -I do not propose to enter upon a lengthy dissertation on. the question whether this provision is constitutional or otherwise. That question has been fully threshed out, and there appears to be a substantial difference of opinion. Shortly, my own view is that this Parliament has constitutionally no power to specifically include States servants in this Bill. Apart from other reasons which might be suggested I urge this view on the grounds stated by the . Attorney 7 General, that if it had been intended to give the Commonwealth Parliament power to interfere with States servants, then the State itself, being a representative body of the Crown in the same way as is the Commonwealth, it was essential, following all recognised principles on this subject, that the Crown should be specifically mentioned.
– Then why were -not words used excepting the States, as in other instances ?
– I am dealing with the Constitution as we find it. This view wai urged with great power and force by Mr. Isaacs some time ago. I am very glad to find that the learned Attorney-General, who is another recognised constitutional authority, takes the same view. According to my humble judgment, the Commonwealth Parliament is not justified in including States servants in this measure. If we have the right to include States servants, and they are not- specifically mentioned, it will be within the- power of the High Court to deal with” the matter afterwards. So far with respect to the constitutional aspect.
– That is one point of view, but there are others.
– Of course, I urge these views with the very greatest respect, because I admit that other persons of high constitu- tional standing have expressed different opinions, which are entitled to respect. The more important aspect of the matter, to my mind, is that of expediency. There is a contract between the Commonwealth and the several States. The States have surrendered to the Commonwealth certain specific powers, and, so far as my knowledge goes, in surrendering those powers, the States, as represented by their Parliaments, had not the remotest idea that they were surrendering their right to deal with their own servants or to manage their own affairs. The Commonwealth had certain specific powers delegated to it under the Constitution.
– And one of them is to legislate in reference to industrial disputes.
– The States have, on the other hand, reserved to them the remnant of power. In other words, such powers as have not been specifically delegated to the Commonwealth are reserved to the States. I take the view that the State, as an employer, is in a vastly different position from an ordinary employer. I know it has been often asked why, if an ordinary employer is to be compelled to arbitrate, should not also a State employer? But I look at this matter from a different stand-point - from the stand-point of representative Government. I recognise that the several States which constitute the Commonwealth are sovereign States, and each within its own specific ambit and jurisdiction has absolute power. The States Parliaments are appointed and Created by the people, and each Parliament has the management of its own servants. Consequently, it will be a serious blow to representative government if we, bv this indirect means, filch their powers and impose taxation on the States.
– And some of the States have already created Arbitration Courts.
– The States have a right to create such Courts. If a State sees fit to create an Arbitration Court to settle differences between the State and its servants, it does so by a voluntary act.
– But a State cannot create a Court to deal with all- disputes.
– I am aware of what the honorable senator is about to say - that a State cannot deal with disputes which extend beyond its jurisdiction.
– And that is exactly where we want Federal jurisdiction.
– That is the essence of the whole question.
– Undoubtedly; but, first of all, a State within its own limits has power to deal with its own affairs.
– Hear, hear ! And this clause does not take away that power.
– New South Wales, Western Australia, and other States have already created Conciliation and Arbitration Courts.
– Victoria took away the right to vote from the public servants.
– A State has a right to create an Arbitration Court for the settlement of differences with its own servants. And, according to my view, they should be left to manage their own affairs as they think proper, without interference. I urge this attitude as a matter of prudence. It would be an anomalous state of affairs if a State were to have some outside body imposing additional taxation for such a purpose, whether the State itself approved or otherwise. There is, I take it, a contract between the Commonwealth and the States, and the States would regard this provision as a deliberate departure from it. The contract was that the Commonwealth and the States should each manage its own affairs, the railway servants being within the control of the States. It will be seen from the Constitution that wherever the States are to be bound they are specially mentioned. I dare say there are some five or six matters on .which it ls intended to bind the States, and in each case the States are specifically mentioned. In my opinion, it was .never contemplated - and I am dealing with the aspect of expediency at the present time - by the States, or by the States Parliaments, that the States should part with the power to control their own servants. If that had been suspected for a moment it would have made, I have no doubt, a very substantial difference in the terms of the Constitution.
– Why did Mr. Deakin, in his Bill of 1903, exclude the railway servants ?
– I think it was very unwise to mention the railway servants at all, but I dare, say Mr. Deakin, excluded them on grounds of expediency.
– But they were excluded.
– Because, no doubt, Mr. Deakin recognised that their inclusion wouldbe a, source of great soreness and friction as between the States and .the Commonwealth.
– If their inclusion was unconstitutional, there was no need to mention them.
– I admit there was no necessity to mention the railway servants. But the honorable senator who interjects was a member of the Government which did specifically exclude railway servants.
– The matter was controversial, and I think the desire of. everybody was that is should be made clear whether it was or was not the intention of Parliament to include railway servants.
– Whether that was the case or not, I think that, on the ground of expediency, Mr. Deakin and his colleagues were fairly justified in the action they took. They recognised at once that if railway servants were included, as now proposed, it would be a source of serious friction. In my view, the inclusion of the railway servants is opposed to the spirit of the Constitution. Personally, I have the kindliest feelings towards the States public servants ; and I am not speaking in any way derogatory of them, or with a view of - depriving them of a means of settling disputes. But I feel that if their affairs are to be settled by arbitration it should be by a tribunal within each State.
– A State can settle disputes within its own borders only.
– Of course,’ and disputes in regard to States servants should not be permitted to extend beyond a State.
– Then why make all this bother about this provision?
– On the ground he urges Senator Givens ought to consent to the exclusion of States servants. Why should the honorable senator persist in including those servants ?
– Because we have an opinion that railway disputes may extend beyond a State.
– In my judgment, from a constitutional point of view, and certainly on the stronger ground of expediency, States servants ought not to be in- eluded. Their inclusion is totally opposed to the spirit of Federation, and calculated to create friction.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that a general railway strike would be preferable to the inclusion of the railway servants?
– A general railway strike would be most disastrous, and the States should, at the earliest possible moment, particularly in view of what has transpired, create tribunals for the settlement of disputes of the kind.
– But no State could do so.
– Every State has the right to do so.
– How could New South Wales legislate for Victoria, or vice versa?
– I am very sorry I have not made myself clear. My point is that every State should settle those questions within, its own borders. First of’ all, it is extremely unlikely, in my view, that a dispute of the kind would extend beyond the limits of any one State, and, next, from the point of view of representative and responsible government, disputes should not be allowed to. extend beyond any State. If they did extend, each State should be allowed to deal with them so far as they affect that State alone. That, 1 say at once, is one of the essential features of representative government. As we have left all the elements of representative government and sovereign power to the several States in regard to those matters-
– Except the settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of a State.
– As we have left the sovereign power of legislation to the States Governments in regard to the railways, the necessary inference is that we should also permit, in the spirit of the Constitution and of Federation, the management of those railway servants to remain with the States. I present those views because I am a very strong Federalist, and because as a member of this Chamber, it is my duty to conserve the rights of the States.
– The honorable and learned senator did not take much trouble to tell the electors so last year.
– I did take that trouble. Throughout the length and breadth of Victoria I strongly urged, at every meeting I addressed, the inadvisableness of including railway servants within the operations pf such a measure as this.
– The honorable and learned senator did not convert the Victorian people, anyhow.
– The honorable senator must be aware that the Victorian people, by 100,000 votes, were good enough to return me to represent them. I .want honorable senators to understand that I am urging these views in full sympathy with the’ principles of the Bill. I hold that it is a great mistake, in the interests of the public servants themselves, to attempt to include them. Their control is essentially and in all respects a State matter.
– Would the honorable and learned senator object, on the same ground, to the appointment of an InterState Commission to regulate fares and freights on railways.
– Of course not. An Inter-State Commission is specifically provided for in the Constitution.
– And so is conciliation and arbitration.
– But the two matters are on an entirely different basis.
– I do not see that.
– First of all, the powers of an Inter-State Commission are specifically mentioned. One of the objects of Federation was to do what an Inter-State Commission is supposed to do. But, so far as the States’ railway servants are concerned, I contend that it was never intended that they should be included. The whole inference to be drawn from the Constitution is that, as the railways were left in the hands of the States, the control of the railway servants was also.
– There are two instances in which the control of the railways may be interfered with by the Commonwealth - for defence purposes, and under the power to regulate fares and freights.
– The two instances referred to are specifically mentioned in the Constitution, having regard to remote contingencies. But here is involved the question of the management of the railways.
– The fact that those powers are mentioned shows that they are all the powers which are to be exercised.
– That emphasizes my view that where the States are intended to be bound they are specifically mentioned, and the whole spirit of Federation, and of the Constitution, is in that direction. (The difficulty of enforcing an award of the kind should not be altogether overlooked, though for the moment it is a point which it is not necessary to deal with fully. Honorable senators will readily see that if the peaceful tribunal which it is proposed to establish should order that the railway servants of a State must be paid an additional sum of£10,000, and if the State Parliament, which consists of the representatives of the people–
– Of some of the people.
– The representatives of the whole of the people.
– That is of no consequence.
– A State Parliament does not consist of the representatives of the people to the same extent as does the Commonwealth Parliament.
– I am dealing with the State servants of Victoria for example. If the Parliament of that State refused to vote the £10,000, how could the award of the Court be enforced?
– Public opinion would compel the State Parliament to abide by the award.
– Public opinion expresses itself in Victoria through the State Parliament, and should not be defied by the Arbitration Court.
– But public opinion in Victoria also expresses itself through the Federal Parliament.
– The honorable senator’s argument about public opinion does not apply.
– Could the amount not be deducted from the sum returnable to the State?
– I think not, because the Arbitration Court will be a judicial tribunal, and it will not devolve on the Commonwealth Government to enforce its decisions in that way.
– Is the honorable and learned senator not a reflection of public opinion in Victoria?
– Yes, and, as reflecting the public opinion of Victoria, I should exclude railway servants from this Bill.
– Senator Trenwith reflects public opinion to an even greater extent than the honorable and learned senator, and yet he would include railway servants.
– But Senator Trenwith has expressed his regret that railway servants have been included.
– The honorable and learned senator is slightly misrepresenting me. I say that it is a mistake that railway servants should have been included. If I had had anything to do with the preparation of the Bill I should not have included them, because I consider that they would be included without specific mention. However, as they have been specifically included, I am opposed to these words being struck out.
– I also regret very much that the railway servants should have been specifically mentioned. It appears to me. that the unfortunate friction already existing between the Commonwealth and the States will be accentuated in a direct way by this specific interference in State affairs.
– I am not quite sure that I caught Senator Best’s exact remarks when he rose to address himself to the question. Do I understand Senator Best to say that he intends to vote for the provision as it stands, as against the amendment ?
– I intend to vote for the exclusion of the States railway servants.
– Every senator ought to make himself perfectly clear on this point by a plain, outspoken statement. We have too often in this Chamber an honorable senator stating that he will take a certain action if -the question goes to a division, and yet, while he is on his feet, showing reasons why the course he advocates should be defeated.
– But I slated my intention at the very outset.
– I mentioned the matter because I was not clear what the honorable and learned senator did state. It appears to me that the opposition is not so much to the inclusion of railway servants as to the whole principle of the Bill; that the real underlying motive of the opponents of this particular provision is antagonism to the Bill. The desire is to see the whole measure defeated, and my genial friend, Senator “Walker, is, I have no doubt, in exactly the same position -as other honorable senators who have addressed themselves to this question. Some very peculiar reasons have been given. Senator Mulcahy at first announced that he intended to support every proposal that would extend the benefits of this measure to any person in the Commonwealth. But this afternoon, he went on to point out that he intended to vote for” the exclusion of the railway’ servants, giving as a reason that they ought to be excluded because there are some other persons in the Public Services of the States to whom it is not proposed to extend the benefits of the measure. According to that line of reasoning, Senator Mulcahy and. Senator Best are brought into direct conflict with the Government. The Attorney-General dis tinctly stated this afternoon that after all, the main issue between the contending patties was . whether we should proceed by process of inclusion, or by process of exclusion; and that after giving the matter careful consideration, the Government had come to the conclusion that it would be better to include the words. He added that if we had the constitutional power to include, it was right that they should be included, and that if we had not the constitutional power, their inclusion would not give them the force of law. It appears to me, therefore, that there is a distinct advantage in including the words. The Attorney-General agreed that it was better to proceed by the method of inclusion. Senator Mulcahy says, however, that because all the States servants are not included, none should be included. He might as well say that because the miners are not specially included, the shearers should be specially excluded. Would it not be more honest and straightforward to say, “ I am entirely opposed to the principle of compulsory arbitration,” and vote to throw out the Bill, instead of hacking it about in this long drawn out and painful manner ?
– Does the honorable senator think it is constitutional to include the States servants?
– Unlike Senator Fraser, I am not a bush lawyer ; unlike Senator Best, I am not a duly qualified lawyer ; unlike the Attorney-General, I cannot pose as a constitutional authority. But I claim that I can fairly well grasp the meaning of what I read, and the information in my possession is that, notwithstanding the high eminence of the Attorney-General,” and the scarcely less high eminence of Senator Best, and’ a few other legal luminaries who grace the Federal Parliament, there are other men equally eminent and able to speak with authority on this point, who do not agree with those legal gentlemen.
– Would any one of them back his opinion for ,£50 ?
– I would draw the Chairman’s attention to the fact that Senator Dobson has made a. statement that is decidedly against all parliamentary practice, is not provided for in the Constitution, and is certainly not in accordance with the Standing Orders., I would remind Senator Dobson himself that the Melbourne Cup race took place yesterday. Whether the gentlemen to whom, I have referred would back their opinion for £50 I do not know, but would Senator Dobson back any opinion ofhis own for £50?
– Every one admits that there is room for great differences of opinion.
– What appeals to me as a layman is that men who are well qualified by reason of their training and knowledge to express an opinion, differ with regard to this point. We have established a tribunal to which we can refer disputes of this nature. The High Court has been constituted to interpret the Constitution. Is our Constitution to be interpreted by a majority in either House of this Parliament, and not by the High Court ?
– For that reason the words in question should not be included.
– It is a reason why I think they should be included. The honorable and learned senator, though he sometimes poses as a great radical and a democrat, has a tendency, when he is in a majority, to draw himself into the lawyer.
– I am not in a majority on this occasion, am I?
– I do not know. It seems to me to be remarkable that, after we have gone to great trouble and expense in establishing a High Court for the interpretation of our Constitution,and to prevent us from going outside our powers and authorities, immediately a question arises which admits of doubt, the legal gentlemen say that it should not be referred to the tribunal constituted for the purpose. I may be met with the contention that if the Constitution covers the matter, whether these words are included in the Bill or not is of no importance. But that is the very reason why I think they ought to be retained in the Bill. Following the excellent example given by Senator Trenwith in regard to the trouble that has arisen over the Dogger Bank incident, I wish to reply to the interjections of Senator Walker and others, who said that the reference of that case to arbitration was voluntary. But that is the real weakness of the situation. It may be satisfactory that the British Empire and the Government of Russia should have agreed to refer that incident to arbitration, but let honorable senators consider a little further, and read the news published by the enterprising daily newspapers, and they will realize that the feeling of securityis merelytemporary, and that there is a possibility, purely owing to the voluntary nature of the tribunal, that if the settlement is not considered satisfactory, and the decision goes against the Russian Government, they will not carry out the recommendations or findings, and war will be inevitable. Had the Hague Tribunal possessed compulsory powers, but were it able to enforce its awards, there would be perfect certainty as to the result. It is a perfectly monstrous thing to say that because a man enters the Public Service of any State he ceases to have citizen’s rights. A man who is working for the general public on the railways has just as much- right to full citizenship as the man who is engaged in any other occupation. In Victoria the public servants have, to some extent been deprived of the ordinary rights of citizenship. Their livelihood, the conditions of their work, their remuneration, their hours of labour, and everything connected with the services they render to the States, are points upon which they have a right to appeal to Parliament, or to any institution created by Parliament, for redress. The railway man who is doing his work for the general public, ought to have as free a right to appeal to this tribunal as any shearer who ever sheared a sheep; or any man who ever managed a bank - and “ bursted “ it.
– After the excellent speech of my honorable andlearned friend, Senator Gould, I expected that we should go to a division within a few minutes. The question that has arisen is of very great importance. Are the States of this country sovereign States, or are they, not?
– They are, except for the thirty-nine subjects that have been handed over to the Commonwealth; one of which is the power to legislate with regard to conciliation and arbitration.
– The States have a right to control their own officers. The police are no more States servants than are the railway men, and we have no more right to assume control over the railway men than over the police. I shall certainly support the amendment. An interesting point has arisen in the course of the debate. Suppose a dispute arises in one of the States, and extends into another State. What is to prevent the two States establishing a voluntary tribunal to settle the matter?
– There is nothing to prevent them,- and there is nothing to compel them. We want to compel them.
– I am in favour of voluntary arbitration, and I see no reason why two States in that position should not voluntarily submit the matter to a Court and abide by the judgment. There is a sore feeling in the State which I represent on account of the tendency of the Federal Parliament or Government to intrude upon States rights. That feeling is growing. I have always been an ardent Federalist, and I exceedingly regret that this feeling should be growing. We, in the Senate, are in a special sense the representatives of the States, and I maintain that it is our duty to safeguard their rights in every possible manner.
– On behalf of the State which I represent I wish to enter my protest against what I deem to be an exceeding unconstitutional provision. My honorable friend Senator Trenwith has advanced in his very clear and logical speech one or two arguments in favour of retaining the words in the clause. He bases his case upon the provision in the Constitution, with which we are all familiar. But the honorable senator must have forgotten the axiom upon which the whole of our Constitution was framed, that we cannot bind the Crown without specifically mentioning it. Before we can take away any Crown rights it is necessary to mention them in the Constitution. My honorable friend will not pretend that when sub-section xxxv. of section 51 was placed in the Constitution there was any intention to extend its meaning as it is now attempted to extend them. We had in our minds the maritime strike, and we wished to prevent the recurrence of such a struggle. We had the question of the Crown being bound before us over and over again. I submit that the Convention would not have had the faintest idea of putting in the words “conciliation and arbitration “ if it had been thought for a moment that’ the intention was to infringe the rights of the States as is now proposed. We have so right to interfere in a direction in which the States are supreme and absolute. I say without fear or hesitation that had such a state of affairs been contemplated I do not believe there would have been a dozen men in the Convention who would have voted for the provision.
– There is nothing in the speeches which gives that impression.
– The honorable senator is perfectly right. But the framers of the Constitution had before them certain principles of law and government, certain basic principles, on which they thought they could get unity in Australia. These principles were in the air, and cannot be gathered by turning over the pages of Hansard.
– In the debate the honorable and learned senator is the only delegate who mentioned the maritime strike.
– We were all full of the maritime strike, and but for that event, I do not think that the provision would have been suggested to the Convention. Senator Trenwith asks, “ If this law be good for one set of men, why is it not equally good for another set of men, and if it is good to refer disputes between private employers and workers to an Arbitration Court, why is it not also good to refer to that Court disputes between a State and its employes?” There are .two very good reasons why that should not be done. I think he will agree with me that a State is not an employer within the accepted meaning of the term. Although a State may make a profit out of a railway, or a post-office, still, it never began the business with’ the idea of making a profit. An employer invests his capital with the sole idea of making as much profit as possible. It is to his interest to buy the labour of the weaker worker as cheaply as possible. It is to his interest to. be indifferent - of course, some of them are not - to the ambition, prosperity, and comfort of his workers. He has the selfishness of human’ nature on his side to induce him to make a hard bargain with his men. In the case of a State, however, we have exactly the reverse. It is well known here that there is not a single member of a State Parliament who will not listen with a sympathetic ear to the tale of a State employe, and bring it before the House of which he is a member. I have known a Select Committee to be granted to look into the alleged grievances of one humble man. I have known alleged grievances to be brought before the House session after session until a Select Committee was granted. The argument that a State will not do justice to its employes is one which I have never found to be tenable. It is a fault with our Governments, I think, that they do greater justice to .their own employes than to men outside the Public Service. I believe that the employe’s of a State get more advantages and concessions than do any other portion of the community.
– Therefore, the honorable and learned senator should vote for their inclusion in this Bill.
– No, I am trying to point out that a State, as an employer, does not want to, be watched, or coerced in this way. Senator Best has referred to responsible government. Whenever the members of the Labour Party have a point to gain they depreciate representative government. To listen to their arguments, one would think that democracy has been an absolute failure. I believe that it is only an experiment, and that in some cases it will be a failure. In his speech, Senator McGregor spoke as if it were a failure. But if we are to have a system of responsible government, and it is to be a success, what about the cry that we hear week after week to have a referendum or compulsory arbitration? Does the honorable senator mean to say that one Judge can do greater justice to the servants of the State than its own Parliament, whose members have been elected by the votes of railway and civil servants? What is the meaning of all this unrest and dissatisfaction with democracy ? I deny that any Arbitration Court would do greater justice to the employes of a State than its own ‘ Parliament. I can quite conceive that under some awards the States employes might not get what their State Parliament would be willing to give them. I can quite understand that a Judge might look upon these matters with a more judicial mind, and have regard to the taxpayers as well as the employes. I know that a great many Members of Parliament, when we are discussing these questions, think only of the employes, or clients who have briefed and instructed them as to their grievances ; they never seem to care about the general taxpayers. I am inclined to think that, under this clause, the Arbitration Court would every now and then be a good thing for a State. But whether it would be a good or bad thing for a State,I believe that this provision is an infringement of the rights of the States. I have to be loyal to the rights of .my Senate, and also to the men who sent me here, and if ever the wages of the employes of Tasmania were raised by an award, I should go heart and soul for” the State, and do everything I could to prevent a gross violation of, if not the letter, certainly the spirit of the Constitution. I should do everything I could to prevent the High Court or any other power from infringing the basic rights of my State, which its people thought they were retaining when they accepted the Constitution Bill. Senator Pearce has said that if the Arbitration Court did increase the wages of railway servants it would not be interfering with the States. How he could persuade himself to utter that remark I do not know. One State may be going down the hill, as Tasmania was on one occasion, while another State may be going up the hill. And are we to say that the Arbitration Court is to settle the wages of the employes of the two States ? The first thing I had to do in Tasmania, when I got into office, was to reduce the wages of the civil servants. I took z per cent, from the ‘police and railway men, 10 per cent, from other civil servants, and 22% per cent, from myself. That was retrenching on a progressive scale, and doing a fair thing to both poor and rich. While I, as Premier of Tasmania, was engaged in carrying out that policy, another State was raising the wages of its employes. Do my honorable friends contend that it is expedient or right to allow the Arbitration Court to decide in these matters, and then to fix a common rule ? If the railways of one State are paying very badly is its Government to be compelled to pay its railway employes at the rates which prevail on the most profitable railway systems in the Commonwealth ? We should get into no end of trouble if that provision were in force, but I believe most firmly that it would be ruled to be unconstitutional. I regret that Senator Dawson is out of the Chamber at the present moment. I should be very glad if he would bring to me any lawyer who would be prepared to back up his illogical opinion for any sum he likes to name. I object to honorable senators coming here and attacking the lawyers on the other side. I have read their arguments, and I am inclined to think that not one of them (believes that they would hold water in the High Court. I do not believe that any honorable senator has the pluck or courage to back his opinion for the benefit of any charity which may be named. This is merely a dodge for pretending to the democracy of Australia that they are going to vest this Court with a very wide jurisdiction, when that is absolutely forbidden. by the Constitution.
– I rise to oppose the amendment. I take it that the purpose of the Bill is to do justice to every man in the Commonwealth who comes within its purview. A man, whether he be employed by a State or. by a citizen, is a worker. I had hoped that Senator Mulcahy would carry out the intention which he expressed in his secondreading speech, and that was to do all he could to make this measure apply to every wage-earner. I am quite prepared to assist ‘him in that direction. Surely it ought to be the duty of this Parliament to see that a tribunal is created which will afford to every wage-earner an opportunity to have his grievance redressed in a fair and just manner. The ‘constitutional aspect of this question has been rather strangely represented. A layman is apt to become very fogged as he listens to the legal luminaries expressing decided opinions. One of them was prepared to back his opinion to the extent of, I suppose, ,£50. That, I should think, is the first occasion upon which a lawyer has been prepared to back his opinion at the expense of any one but the public. It is quite clear that the legal members have grave doubt as to - whether this Parliament does or does not possess all the power which is requisite to make this legislation sufficiently comprehensive to reach every worker in the community. In the first Bill that was introduced, we found Mr. Deakin, whom we all respect as a lawyer having a clear insight into most constitutional matters, endeavouring to make sure that the Federal Parliament, should not have the power to extend this provision to State servants, by putting this clause into the Bill -
This Act shall not apply to the public servants of the Commonwealth or of a State or of any public authority constituted under the Commonwealth or a State
Does not that prove that from the moment the Constitution was framed, it dawned upon the minds of legal authorities that this provision of the Constitution was intended to reach all wage-earners in the Commonwealth through- the medium of an Act of Parliament? It was on this account that one of the constitutional authorities endeavoured, so far as he was concerned, to place the matter beyond all doubt by clearly specifying in the Bill itself that it should not so apply. Senator. Dobson has argued that a State Government differs from a private employer, inasmuch as there is no incentive on its part to harshly treat any of its employes. The honorable and learned senator has himself shown the extent to which his argument lacks wisdom by pointing out that he has known a case where, for three years, a complaint was brought before the Parliament of a State in order to rectify a grievance suffered by a State employe, and that ultimately a Select Committee was appointed to deal with the matter. Surely we have no ambition to-day to see men’ who are suffering from a grievance begging a Parliament for three years to appoint a committee to inquire into it. What we should .desire to do is to deal out justice to men when their case calls for justice. When Senator Dobson contends that a State Government should not be regarded as an employer, and that private employers should be bound by the law simply because their chief incentive is to earn a profit, my contention is that the employe is the same man all the time, whether he is employed by a private employer seeking his own profit, or by a State Government, which may have no need to’ seek profit. If an employe” has a grievance the provisions of the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Bill should be extended to him, no matter by whom he is employed. I am prepared to support that principle every time.
– There has been so much said elsewhere during the last six months on the subject of arbitration that I do not intend at this stage to add to any material extent to the flood of oratory which has been poured out on the subject. People are getting thoroughly tired of hearing the word “arbitration” mentioned in connexion with our public affairs. I hope that this discussion is not an indication of the nature of the whole of the debate which will take place in Committee on this Bill. I trust that we shall not have second-reading speeches on other clauses of the Bill. . I hope that, as we have committed ourselves to the principle by passing. the second reading of the measure, we shall not now discuss the relative merits of voluntary and compulsory arbitration. I rose to say that I hope Senator Gould will not succeed with his amendment. After what has taken place elsewhere in connexion with this matter, we can safely leave the Bill as it stands at present in this respect. If, as Senator Gould contends, we have not the power constitutionally to bring within the purview of this Bill the railway servants of the several States in the case of an industrial dispute extending beyond the limits of . any one State, the provision we are making to that effect will be absolutely inoperative, and the first time advantage is attempted to be taken of it the High Court will be called upon to intervene, and will decide we have exceeded the powers given to. us under the Constitution. Senator Mulcahy has suggested that we should leave the matter unmentioned. It would seem to be impossible to do that. From what Senator Henderson has quoted, it would appear that Mr. Deakin, when Prime Minister, proposed to provide expressly for the exclusion of States servants from the operation of the Bill. Now, on the other hand, it has been pointed out that the principle of exclusion has been abandoned and the principle of inclusion adopted. And I think it is only by doing one or the other that we can get this matter brought before the High Court in a proper way, so that the real question shall be properly determined without the introduction of any side issues whatever. Believing that we should not interfere with the present form of the clause, I am opposed to the amendment. 1 wish to add to my remarks a few words with reference to what Senators Dobson and Macfarlane have said with regard to State rights. Both those honorable senators appear to believe that if this clause is carried in its present form it will in some way or another impinge upon what are vaguely known as State rights. What are State rights? It seems to be absolutely impossible, notwithstanding the fact that we have a written Constitution for the Commonwealth and written Constitutions for the various States, to absolutely delimit those particular prerogatives which are referred to as State rights. We must always remember, in connexion with this Bill, that it is a measure to provide for conciliation and arbitration in connexion with only one particular class of disputes - that is, disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. As the several States have embarked in various industrial enterprises in the past, and will continue no doubt in the future to remain engaged in those enterprises, and perhaps to take up others, every one of the States which form the Commonwealth, which constitutes a union of States as well as a union of people, must be obedient in the union as States to the spirit of the Constitution. The spirit of the. Constitution, while conserving to the States their rights’ forthe proper discharge of their sovereign functions, at the same time provides that there is one right that no State in the Union shall have, andthatis the right to injure any other State. It is quite conceivable that one particular State in connexion with its railway policy may so administer its affairs, and another State may act in conjunction with it, so that a dispute extending over the area of those two States, in connexion with their railway administration, may arise. It might be that, as a consequence, they would not only be affected injuriously themselves, but others of the States, even the most remote from them in the Commonwealth, might be prejudicially affected - not directly perhaps in connexion with their railway administration, but commercially and otherwise - and the Constitution undoubtedly carries in it this spirit that no State, no matter what right is reserved to it, shall have a right divine to injure any other State. It is only to avoid any such contingency as that, that those who believe in the insertion of this provision are so strenuous in their endeavour to secure its enactment - to prevent any State saying at any particular time that because it is a sovereign State, and has secured under the Constitution all its State rights, one of them is to do what it pleases, reckless oftheconsequences to any other State, and that it may in the exercise of its supposed sovereignty in these matters have the right, not only to detrimentally affect itself, but to injure one or more of the other States with which it has entered into a union. In discussing the matter, it should be remembered that we can only impinge upon State rights when we interfere with the rights of the State with regard to itself and its own citizens’, in the discharge of those functions of sovereignty, the exercise of which could not affect any but the citizens who form the State.
– Is not the honorable and learned senator discussing points which can only be authoritatively settled by the High Court?
– Undoubtedly. I have already admitted that. I am endeavouring to emphasize, as far as I possibly can,that, in discussing the question of the conservation of State rights which are only vaguely known in my opinion, it should not be forgotten that they comprise only those rights of sovereignty in the exercise of which a State may act without prejudicially affecting the rights of the citizens of an adjoining State, or of any of the other States forming the union.
– The control of its own railways?
– No State can possibly control its own railways without in some degree affecting persons in an adjoining State connected with it by the railway system.
– That is a matter for the Inter-State Commission.
– Would that apply to Tasmania?
– Undoubtedly. We are transporting mails throughout 1 the Commonwealth, and we rely upon the Railway Departments of the States in carrying out that work. We have in the Post and Telegraph Act provided that the PostmasterGeneral may transport mails through any State by means of the railway system of the State. If the State of Tasmania, for instance, which is isolated geographical Iv from the other States in the Union, chose to take up a certain position in regard to its railway system, it might prejudicially affect the interests of very many people on this side of Bass Straits having commercial relations with Tasmania. I say that it is impossible to consider the question of States rights without remembering that whatever rights may have been reserved to the States, no State has the right to do anything which will prejudicially affect or injure the interests of any other State in the Commonwealth.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - Senator Keating’s speech might have been delivered had we been considering the propriety of framing a new Constitution. He takes up a position as though the Commonwealth were the parent of the other States and the Commonwealth Government had a right to supervise the action of the States.
– To play “grandmother ‘ ‘ to the States.
.- That is so. The rights of the Commonwealth are perfectly defined within the limits of the Constitution. We know that the Constitution has specifically preserved the rights of the States, as shown in the following section: -
Every power of the Parliament of a Colony which has become or becomes a State, shall, unless it is by this Constitution exclusively vested in the Parliament of the Commonwealth, or withdrawn from the Parliament of the State, continue as at the establishment of the Commonwealth, or as at the admission or establishment of the State, as the case may be.
It is quite impossible for us to pass “grandmotherly” legislation unless we have powers specifically given to us under the Constitution ; and the whole burden of the song now is how far we may go with this present Bill.
– We are given power under section 51 of the Constitution.
-Col. GOULD. - Senator Trenwith spoke in a similar way as to the “grandmotherly” position to be taken up by the Commonwealth. I have here one or two word’s which were used by Senator [Trenwith, and in which I understood him to be alluding to the great railway strike in Victoria. Senator Trenwith said that the Victorian Government should not be permitted to outrage justice - that is to say, that the Government of the State should not be permitted to do what the Commonwealth Government might regard as an injustice to the citizens of that particular State. Honorable senators who take that view are very wide of the powers of the Commonwealth; and -they can never too clearly realize the fact that our powers are limited to a far greater extent than are the powers of the States Parliaments. I am well aware that subsection xxxv., of section 51, gives us power to deal with conciliation and arbitration, and the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. But we are now discussing the question of the inclusion of the States railway servants within the operation of the Bill.
– My argument was that the theory of States rights set up by the two honorable senators,’ to whom I was alluding, would not deprive us of any powers under that section.
.- But the honorable and learned senator’s argument went further, and. if anything, it meant that the Commonwealth ought to exercise a supervisory influence over the legislation of the States.
– Certainly not.
.- The Constitution gives us power to deal with postal matters, which were the only matters alluded to by the honorable and learned senator, and railway rates and charges will be placed under our control when we see fit to appoint an Inter-State Commission. Until then. Tasmania, or any other State has the right to charge whatever fares and freights it likes, and to give preference to its own people, even to the injury and detriment of other States. At present we are powerless to interfere. The Commonwealth Constitution shows how we may interfere, but until we take action under the particular section, we cannot move in the matter. And the same holds good with regard to other branches of administration. Any State may pass what legislation it likes, injurious though it may be in its effects on other States, and it cannot be interfered, with, unless the power is given within the thirty-nine articles of section 51. We are proceeding on a false basis and assumption when we attempt to apply to the matter at present under consideration, arguments such as have been advanced by the two previous speakers. I admit that when Senator Trenwith’s attention was called to the fact that the railway dispute in Victoria could not have been dealt with by a Commonwealth Arbitration Court, he at once said that, of course, the strike would have had to extend to another State. We know that at that time, sympathy was felt with the Victorian railway employes, by the railway employes of other States, and there was a strong desire to exercise some kind of influence in order to obtain for the former what was considered to be justice. If this Bill had been in existence at that time, with the ingenuity which Senator McGregor has led ns to understand will be exercised, there would have been an energetic attempt made to extend the dispute beyond the limits of this State.
– The honorable and learned senator surely does not credit the Labour Party with any ingenuity?
– I have no doubt the Labour Party are like the heathen Chinee - very simple. Had that Victorian strike been thus extended beyond the limits of the State, it would have been done dishonestly - by means of a conspiracy. I know perfectly well how a dispute may be made to extend. The suggestion of Senator McGregor, in the course of his second- reading speech, showed that if, for example, the bootmakers of Victoria were in receipt of 45s. per week, as against 40s. paid in New South Wales, and the latter desired an increase, the federated union would strike for a wage of ’50s. Thus the dispute would be made to extend beyond the limits of any one State, and would come within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. In the face of such facts, we ought to be particularly careful in dealing with this legislation. We shall make a mistake if we attempt to interfere with the sovereign rights and powers of the States ; and I speak as a man from a State in which the railway servants come within the jurisdiction of a Conciliation and Arbitration Court. That Court, however, is created, not by the Commonwealth Parliament, but by the Parliament of New South Wales, and thus becomes the special agent of that Parliament.
– And the Parliament can revoke the Act.
.- If the Stale Parliament of New South Wales comes to the conclusion that the Act is not acting fairly and justly they may repeal or amend it. But the State Parliament would have no power in regard to a Commonwealth law. The proposal is really that we shall thrust ourselves on the States and determine their industrial disputes without regard to the opinion of the States - we say, it may be, that we shall increase the expenditure of the railways from ^2,000,000 to ^2,500,000 by increasing wages irrespective of the wishes of the State Parliament.
– Does the honorable and learned senator not know that the railway strike in Victoria cost the Commonwealth a considerable sum of money ?
.- If the honorable senator says so, I accept his statement;, but what right would we have had to say to Victoria that she should not
Settle her own dispute, and that we should settle it for her?
– That is not proposed in the Bill.
– But we pass a. Bill in the belief that strikes or troubles may extend from one State to another. What is the good of including State railway servants unless we .believe there is a possibility of causing a railway strike to so extend ?
– Did the Victorian Government not ask the railway servants of other States to run the railways here during the strike?
– I do not know. We will assume, for the sake of argument, that that was done, and that railway servants from Queensland came here under the authority of their Department. It would be a matter for the Government of Queensland to deal with if they found that their employes were unduly and improperly interfering with another State. Of course, if railway servants chose to remove to other States, their respective Governments have no control; and certainly that could not be taken as a dispute extending beyond the limits of any one State.
– If the railway traffic were entirely dislocated by a strike, does the honorable and learned senator say that the Commonwealth should not interfere ?
.- That would be a most serious position, but we should have no right to interfere. As regards the respective rights and powers of the Commonwealth and the States, they are as utterly distinct as are the rights and powers of France from those of Great Britain. We shall make a serious mistake if we attempt to legislate in the way proposed. An honorable senator has said that if it is good for the private employer to come under the Bill, so must it be good for the State employer. We declare that we are not going to deprive a citizen, or any State, of rights ; but has any State of the Commonwealth come forward, and asked us to legislate in this way?
– The railway men have asked us.
.- But has any State, as an entity, asked us?
– The States are represented here by senators.
– What authority has the honorable and learned senator for saying that the States Governments are opposed to this legislation?
.- I speak with the authority of a! representative of a State,’ who holds views as to the construction of the Constitution, and the expediency of such legislation. I have not had an opportunity to go before the electors since that Bill came before Parliament, but Senator Best has, and he was returned triumphantly in the State in which . this was a burning question.
– Senator Best was returned along with three other senators on the opposite side.
– Is it not reasonable to suppose that a large proportion of the railway men questioned whether it was desirable, for an apparent benefit, to risk’ much more serious consequences, and that they, therefore, voted for
Senator Best? The moment we attack the integrity of the States, we are sapping the foundation of- the Commo.iwealth. This Commonwealth Parliament would never exist if the States were to turn round, and, because they had entirely lost confidence in it, declare that they would remain no longer members of the Commonwealth. The States railway servants are in a measure their own employers; and ‘have power to assist in returning members to Parliament, from whom they can obtain justice. There is no such power with the employes of a private employer; and therein lies the distinction. Whatever our fiscal views may be, we have now interState free-trade, and it is necessary, as far as possible, to place employers on a common footing, so that none may reap advantage by sweating, or other similar practices. There is reason why the principle of arbitration should apply equally to private employers, but as to the States railways, I cannot understand, unless there is a sympathetic strike, how a dispute could come within the terms of the Constitution.
– Did New South Wales not filch the Queensland trade some time ago by the reducing rates all round?
.- The honorable senator alludes to the fact that there is a war of rates. New South Wales is not the only offender. Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland, whose railway systems join with those of other States, have done the same thing. Goods can be carried to the port of Melbourne from places on the New South Wales side of the border at a cheaper rate than they can be carried from the southern side. The Inter-State Commission is intended to meet cases of that kind. I contend that there never can be a sympathetic strike of railway servants which can come under the purview of the Arbitration Court. Mr. Higgins, who was Attorney-General in the late Government, has expressed the opinion that disputes of that kind would not be disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State, within the meaning of the Constitution.
– That is peculiar, seeing that he himself drafted a clause on the subject.
.- Mr. Higgins may have drafted it, as the Government thought that the provision ought to be made, but it does not follow that his own legal opinion was in favour of it. With regard to the arguments adduced by the Attorney-General in favour of retaining the words, I recognise to the fullest extent that every member of a Government who takes up a measure, no matter what his own individual opinion may be with regard to particular provisions in it, must stick to it. But the honorable and learned senator has told us in his second-reading speech that he is doubtful with regard to this provision. Yet he says we can leave the matter to the High Court. If honorable senators will carry their minds back to the AttorneyGeneral’s second-reading speech, they will recollect that he raised the points - “ Is this provision expedient “ ? and “ is it constitutional “ ? His argument was entirely against the expediency of it. I will quote his words. He said -
There are three considerations. The first is, is it expedient? The second is, would it be operative - I mean in respect of the public servants of the States? And the third is, is it constitutional ? I am going to take the same course as my friend Mr. Deakin took, and say that in my humble view as it originally stood in the Bill the provision was not expedient; and that the reasons applicable in respect of individual ordinary employers do not apply in the same spirit to a State or to State employment. Private employers are moved by self-interest in respect of their labour bargains. A State is not supposed to be moved by self-interest. It is under the eye and control of its representatives, and, in point of fact, the States servants are really their own employers. … A Railway Department is equally a State Department, and it is equally a department contributing to the revenue of the State. . . . It is under the control of Parliament, which) is elected on a franchise which these public servants are entitled to exercise.
The argument was pursued through portions of the remainder of the speech. It is a matter of great regret to me that certain honorable senators are placed in the position of having to father a measure which I would rather see them opposing. I trust that honorable senators will realize that this is a question of the utmost importance, and that they will consider it from the point of view of whether it is desirable, expedient, and constitutional.
– I rise merely to say that the other House has, during a long period, threshed this matter out with great thoroughness. It is an open question whether the inclusion of railway servants within the scope of this Bill is constitutional. But that isa matter that can be satisfactorily settled elsewhere. I propose to vote for the Bill as it stands. Whatever opinions may be held as to our constitutional right to include railway servants, as we have constituted a High Court to settle such matters it is better to leave it to that tribunal than to attempt to thresh it out in the Senate, and to bring about a conflict between the two Chambers, that could not tend to the satisfaction of any one.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out, be left out - put. The Committee divided -
Ayes … … … 10
Noes … … … 22
Majority … … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the words “ but it does not include a dispute relating to employment in any agricultural, viticultural, horticultural, or dairying pursuit,” lines 16 to 18, be left out.
I think that no class in the community, whatever pursuit they may be following, should be specially exempt from the operation of this measure. The classes mentioned in the words which I desire to omit have as much right to ask for protection as any other class in the Commonwealth. If the Bill is good for one section, I fail to see any reason why it should not be good for others. Possibly I shall be met by the statement that these classes of people are not organized. If they are not organized the effect of omitting the words to which I object will not interfere with any present arrangements, but it will provide that if at any time those engaged in these pursuits become organized, and are registered, they can claim the benefits of the measure. One of the great considerations that has appealed to the masses of the people in favour of having such a measure for the settlement of industrial disputes is the great loss that is entailed by the settlement of disputes by the ordinary methods of strikes or locks-out. That applies with great force to the .mining, pastoral, and manufacturing industries. But it applies with still greater force to the industries which are mentioned in the words which I desire to omit. Because, after- all is said and done,’ the great object of this legislation is to have in existence a legal tribunal to settle disputes, so that during the. process of settlement commercial transactions may not be paralyzed and trade dislocated. If there were no such Court to appeal to, and a dispute were to arise, it would be a very bad thing indeed for the employers, particularly for those engaged in agriculture. It would be a most disastrous thing to an agriculturist, especially when his crop was ripe, if he had not the means of getting his work carried on continuously.
– Is there any union among these farm labourers?
– No. I presume that there is a serious intention, either to place this measure permanently on the Statute-book, or to give it a fair trial. Even though there may be no organization of the men engaged in these industries, still we do not know when they may be organized. We do know that in many countries, particularly in other portions of the Empire and America, the persons who follow these pursuits constitute a great body of organized labour.
– Why not give this legislation a trial in the case of those pursuits which appear to be most suitable for the purpose ?
– I have a very strong objection to a system which has grown up in our legislation, and that is not to carry out a principle in all its details as far as experience teaches us it is wise to go. We place on the Statute-book a measure for a certain purpose, and then from time to time it is amended, until one gets absolutely weary of trying to ascertain what the law is. Very often this timidity on the part of legislators, this tinkering with legislation, is a fruitful source of income to lawyers. I take it that it is not intended in every session to have a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill brought down. We desire in this measure “to go as far as we possibly can to provide for future requirements. I believe I am right in thinking that the Attorney-General does not intend to accept my amendment. If I understood him aright in his second-reading speech, he said that he intended to have the whole Bill without alteration.
– And nothing but the Bill.
– It is quite competent for the Committee to say whether- it is wise at this juncture to include this class of employes. I presume that if the Committee in its wisdom accept the amendment it will not mean that the honorable and learned senator will quietly “chuck” the Bill under the table. Its whole purpose, I take it, is to regulate industry as far as it can be done by controlling disputes until they are settled by means of machinery, which experience has taught us is wise and beneficial. For this reason I urge honorable senators to accept the amendment.
– In what State are such employes included in a Conciliation and Arbitration Act?
– I do not know, nor do I care whether they are included in any State Act. I disagree with the proposition that before we make a move in any direction we ought te fortify ourselves with the expressed opinion of any one State or all the States.
– For practical reasons three States in their legislation have left out this class of employes.
- Senator Dawson has put the amendment as well as I think it can be put, and he has hinted at what I now confirm him in saying I propose to do, and that is to oppose the omission of these words. My honorable friend has said that I intimated in my second-reading speech that I was going for the whole Bill, and I think Senator Givens added “ for nothing but the Bill.” I do not wish to go over the grounds on which I made that statement, but I may mention that it was made because I am extremely anxious that this Bill, in undoubtedly the best form possible, should Become law this session. Therefore, although I do not say for a moment that any honorable senator should be induced by that statement to refrain from moving amendments, still I hope that every honorable senator will give me the same credit in seeking to resist amendments on that ground, as well .as others which I may urge. If it rested solely on that consideration I might take the course I propose to take. But there are other and strong reasons which I think will commend themselves to honorable senators in not seeking to alter the Bill by striking out these words. My honorable friend has said that these employes are not organized bodies, and he has very frankly admitted that, as far as present circumstances are concerned, if this Bill were to come into operation they would not be affected by its provisions at the present time.
– But supposing that later on they did organize ?
– My honorable friend has suggested, perfectly fairly, that if at some time in the future these employes did become organized - in other words, should the necessity arise - there would be in operation this measure, within whose scope they might come. That is the only argument which can be used to induce the Committee to alter the Bill by striking out these words. I think I may fairly ask my honorable friend to consider that if associations were established in these pursuits it would be perfectly competent and natural that some amendment of the law, if it were thought wise, should be made. But I would ask my honorable friend whether he thinks it is well to risk the very large scope which we have obtained by seeking to strike out these words, so as to make the measure extend to a particular class of individuals who are not now or likely to be within its provisions. It seems to me that the wisest course is for us to be content with such things as we have. We are getting by this Bill, I think, an enormous area within which we can operate. Is it not wise for us to abstain from making it large - prophetically large, so to speak - with respect to a class which we are not now expecting to come within its operation, when we shall have an opportunity, after we have had experience of its working, to amend the law and bring in any other class ?
– Why not bring every one within the scope of the Constitution ?
– I am going to tell my honorable friend the reason why we should not. 10 l
– The honorable and learned senator argued in that direction in his second-reading speech.
– Why should we refrain from including any one?
– I think there are some excellent reasons why we should exclude certain persons.
– We should refrain from specifically including, too.
– I am proceeding step by step. In the first place, we have this Bill with a very large scope. Why should we strain our powers in order to bring in some employes and employers who are not contemplated by its provisions, and upon whom it would not operate if we included, them, by omitting these words? In the second place there has been no demand for the inclusion of this class on the part of the electors of Australia. There has been an issue which I frankly admitted, and which has had great force with me, and that was in respect to the 1 ail way servants. That was a distinct issue which was put before the electors, I believe, in all the States, but certainly in Victoria, and to such an extent that a majority was returned to give effect to it. But this other question was not raised.
– The honorable and learned senator knows the reason why.
– The electors of Australia have not expressed any judgment or given any verdict in respect to the inclusion of agricultural, horticultural, dairying, and viticultural labourers. But they have spoken as to railway servants.
– Have they given any verdict in respect to the exclusion of railway servants ?
– No; but they have given a verdict as to the inclusion of railway servants.
– Or exclusion.
– My honorable friend is quite right. The electors of Australia have given ro verdict as to the inclusion of agricultural .labourers, who are not in a situation, as Senator Dawson frankly admits, to be brought within the operation of the Bill at the present moment.
– But they were included in the Bill as it was originally drawn and introduced by Mr. Deakin.
– By not being excluded
– I do not accept that view.
– The only persons who were excluded were domestic servants.
– Does my honorable friend propose to include domestic servants ?
– Why not? I would give everybody the advantage of the Constitution.
– My honorable friend is going to amend the Bill by including domestic servants. But the honorable senator said in the Bill for which he was responsible as a Minister that they should be excluded.
– The honorable senator held office as VicePresident of the Executive Council.
– I was not in the Government when the Bill was introduced.
– The honorable senator joined the Government in order to give effect to the Bill as introduced. Surely we should not play with our responsibilities in that way? It is frankly admitted that there is no trade union, to put it shortly, amongst those engaged in this industry at present.
– Then the amendment will do neither good nor harm.
– Then why should we alter the Bill?
– Why should we not?
– Why should we resist something which was carried in another place simply for the fun of the thing?
– Because we may be excluding some persons who should be included.
– My honorable friend is putting his view on two different grounds. As Senator Dawson has said, so far as we are aware, there is no trade union amongst those connected with these industries, and such a provision as is proposed would be quite inoperative. Senator Playford says that it would do neither harm nor good, and that is his reason for suggesting our interference with the provision as inserted in another place.
– I do not put that as my reason. My reason is that if they have constitutionally a right to be included we should not exclude them.
– I can give one or two reasons why they should not be included. But I desire at present to emphasize what Senator Dawson has said with regard to such a provision not becoming operative immediately. I say with reference to that, it is better that we should wait. Do not let us risk the substance for the shadow.
– We should wait until somebody is killed before we pass a law against murder?
– No; we are told that this provision cannot be operative at present, and I say that we ought to see how it will be operative within the enormous area which we propose it shall cover, and if we are satisfied with its operation within that area, we can, if expedient, amend the law by enlarging its scope so as to take in those engaged in these industries. Another point I make is that there has been no demand throughout Australia for the inclusion of agricultural labourers.
– Why “ agricultural labourers”? Why not “those following these pursuits “ ?
– That is what I mean. Of course, I include employers as well.
– The honorable and learned senator has suggested merely an agricultural labourers union.
– I put it in that way merely for. the sake of brevity. Of course, the provision would apply to employers as well as to employes. I say, in addition to all that, that the conditions surrounding pursuits of this nature are altogether different from those connected with the other industries to which legislation of this kind would apply. They differ not only in different States, but in different parts of the same State. There is, it seems to me, no employment in which it is so essential that rates and conditions of employment should be left to employer and employe as that connected with these particular pursuits.
– On those lines we should hardly ever have any organization.
– I do not. think that it is possible. I think that the reason why there has been no unions in connexion with these pursuits is that it has been impossible.
– It has been found possible in Great Britain.
– The conditions there are very different. I live in a neighbourhood in which there are a great many market gardeners. How is it possible for any .tribunal to fix hours of labour which will be applicable to market gardeners ?
– We might fix so many hours a week.
– We could not fix even so many hours a week. On some days it may not be possible to do any work at all.
– I fixed so many hours .a week.
– The honorable senator might do so with respect to some men, but it could not be done all round. In connexion with market gardening, it is the owners of the farms .and their families who do the bulk of the hard work. There are very few wages men employed in the industry. On one day those who are engaged in market gardening may do little or no work, whilst they may have to work the whole of the next day, and perhaps through the next night. They have to get their produce out of the garden, and rr.ay be travelling all night to and from the market. How could we regulate that kind of thing?
– In just the same way as we propose to regulate the work of seamen, who are included in the Bill.
– The work of the seamen is regulated by watches, and I advise the honorable senator to ask Senator Playford whether he thinks market gardening could be carried on by watches.
– There are no watches on board ship when there is no opportunity to carry them out.
– This work is in a totally different position. If Senator Guthrie were in the midst of these pursuits, he would see that it is absolutely impossible to have a fixed number of hours, either for the day or week, in connexion with this industry. Something of the kind might be clone with ordinary labourers in that industry from 7 o’clock in the morning until 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon ; but these do not represent all who are engaged in this industry. We know that a farm is not like a factory, and in the great majority of cases it is run by the farmer and his family. He may have one or two men employed, but the number is very small as a rule, and ‘there can be. no comparison made between employment on a farm ‘and in a factory. It would, for instance, be absolutely impossible to make a common rule applicable tt) jan industry which is so differently affected by climatic io l 2 conditions. We know that those producing from -the soil .have to consider climatic influences and various other conditions which go to make their returns extremely uncertain, and there is a timidity amongst the great .body of persons engaged in the cultivation of the soil about any .interference, whether we satisfied ourselves that it would be beneficial or not, with the conditions of their labour. I ask honorable senators whether they desire to spread - alarm amongst the producers of this country. Have the farmers or their employes asked for anything of this kind? If they ‘had, I should be the first to say that their request for legislation should be considered. But they .have not asked for it, and why should we alarm them and fill them with timidity in regard to their pursuits by legislating in this way, when they do not desire anything of the kind? All that the farmers desire is to be. left alone, and we ought to leave them alone.
– That is all that employers generally ask.
– Those who are employed by farmers ask the same thing.
– My honorable friends opposite know perfectly well that the great :bulk -of the farming done in this country, is done by the farmers and their families, and yet they propose to legislate in respect to a condition of things which does not exist, because it is admitted there are no -unions amongst these people now. We should not legislate in order to bring a class of persons who have not asked for it under a form of legislation which I think we shall find would only fill them with alarm, and make them timid in the future.
– The honorable and learned senator proposes to go further and specifically exclude them
– We do, because we desire that there shall be no doubt that they are excluded. We say that if they desired to be under the operation of this Bill, they would have asked for it. So far as my experience goes, they have not asked for it, because they do not want it. I am with Senator Dawson that, if a condition of things arose which rendered it desirable and possible that those engaged in these pursuits should be brought under the operation of this legislation, we could amend the Bill.
– The honorable and learned senator is giving his case away badly.
– I say that we could amend the law if people .engaged in these pursuits asked for its amendment.
– The same argument might be used with respect to all the contentious clauses in the, Bill.
– Every one admits that this is but experimental legislation. We all hope to realize our highest ideals ; but we do not know that we shall. Surely there is nothing to be gained by extending the experiment beyond what is immediately necessary, beyond the large area within which it is hoped the Bill will be found to work effectively, for the benefit of persons who have not asked for it, who do not desire it, and who might be greatly alarmed by it? With regard to dairying and farming work, it seems to me that it would be impossible to apply any general rule to those engaged in these pursuits. There are very few hands engaged in them, and with the exception of the land and implements, the farmers themselves have very little capital invested in the industry.
– What about the butter factories. Why should they not come under the Bill. They form a part of the dairying industry?
– I think we shall have enough to do with the scope of the Bill as it is before us. lt seems to me that it would be very much better to carry out this experiment as efficiently as we can, in respect of the industrial area already covered by the Bill, without extending it to the extent suggested by the amendment. I am quite sure that if we could poll those engaged in agriculture and similar pursuits, we should find that the vast majority of them would be wholly against being brought under the operation of this Bill. We shall, I think, be doing a much more effective piece of work if we pass the Bill in the form in which it has come to us.
– The Attorney-General has very conclusively shown why Senator Dawson’s amendment should be carried. The., honorable and learned senator first of all pointed out that it is impossible for the Bill to apply to persons engaged in these pursuits. If that be so, it was absurd to provide that it should not apply to them. That should bc obvious.
– There must have been a lurking suspicion that it might be applied to them at some time or other.
– The next proposition put forward by the AttorneyGeneral is that there has been no demand for this legislation on the part of those engaged in these pursuits. How does the honorable and learned senator know that? The Bill as submitted to the electors did not contain the present provision, and the, electors asked for the Bill as submitted to them. There has therefore been a demand for its application to those engaged in these pursuits. The honorable and learned senator’s second proposition is, therefore, as strongly in favour of the amendment as is his first. But beyond that, it seems to me there is more reason why arbitration should be applied to the agricultural and primary producing industries than to any other.
– It will never apply.
– Possibly it may not, but if it could-
– “If it could.” Hear, hear !
- Senator Mulcahy is on the horns of the same dilemma as is the Attorney-General. If arbitration cannot apply, why need we say that it shall not? If it can apply, why should we say it shall not?
– To prevent any doubt.
– I shall show, if I can, why it is desirable that arbitration should apply to those industries. There is nothing more important at harvest time to the farmer than expedition. Supposing, if it were possible, that agricultural workers united, and at harvest time resolved on a strike. Would it not be dreadful to have such an event happen just when the corn was shaking over millions of acres.
– The corn is reaped by machinery.
– No machine has yet been invented which will work by itself at command. Although there are not so many men required now at harvest time as there used to be, still those employed may be, I think, numbered by tens of thousands. I do not pretend to say how many there are ; but supposing them to be organized, what a disaster a strike would be at the only time at which they could effectively strike.
– One might as well suppose there may be an earthquake.
– We cannot pre vent earthquakes by legislation, but we can prevent an agricultural strike.
– Such Van event is almost inconceivable.
– That used to be said in regard to the shearers and rouseabouts.
– I think that such a strike is a highly improbable contingency, but it is absurd to say that the Bill shall not apply in a case where, if occasion arose, it would be more necessary almost than in any other industry, and would be followed by more beneficial results.. Arbitration is advocated as a means of settling disputes, not only between individuals, but between nations, and yet it is contended that the principle should not be applied to certain persons. Why? Are those persons to be deprived of the benefit of a principle which is good, or is the principle held to be a bad one? If the principle is a good on?, it should not be denied to anybody. If honorable senators are afraid that the application of the principle would injure farmers, why should those engaged in other industries be injured by its application?
– I think we should find that the farmers would consider they had been injured.
– The farmers have never said so, and to suppose that they will is a gratuitous assumption. To use the Attorney-General’s own words, there has been no demand on the part of the farmers for exclusion or exemption from the provisions of the Bill. It is said, in effect, that while we believe this legislation to be beneficent, Ave ought to prevent certain persons from enjoying its beneficent effects. That is a position so illogical and absurd that I do not want to be a party to it. Arbitration is a humane, scientific, and reasonable method of settling differences between individuals, and no person should be denied its advantages. If the amendment goes to a division I shall vote for expung’ing the provision now in the- Bill. Agriculturists, viticulturists, and horticulturists are as much entitled to the benefits of the Bill as any other section of the community, and it would be a monstrous injustice to exclude them.
– The Attorney-General, in opposing this amendment, advanced three principal reasons. The first was that there was no demand for it; the second was that’ there were no organizations of agricultural, horticultural, and dairying labourers, and that, therefore, the provision would be ineffective; and the .third was that if there had been a demand for it, and if there were any ““organizations by which the provision’ could be brought into force, the conditions of these industries in various parts of the Commonwealth were so varied, that it would be almost impossible for any Court to make an award. I think I have stated the AttorneyGeneral’s objections fairly, and I intend to deal with them briefly. With regard to his contention that there was no demand for the inclusion of this class of industries, I may point out that when the Bill was before the electors, they were not excluded.
– This particular Bill was never before the electors.
– It undoubtedly! was ; and when the Attorney-General instanced the fact that there was a large agitation for the inclusion of the railway servants, he must have known that it was because there was an express provision for excluding them, that the agitation for their inclusion was commenced. I am one of those’ who believe, in common with a great many other honorable senators on both sides of the Chamber, that any law which we pass, in the hope and belief that its provisions will be beneficial to the community and to individuals, should not be confined to any particular section or class. But here it is proposed to exclude about one-half the population of the Commonwealth. As Senator Trenwith has asked, if this is a good Bill, why should we prohibit those engaged in any industry from the benefits to be derived from it? On the contrary, if it is a bad Bill, it should not apply to any section whatever. The Attorney-General himself, in his eloquent speech in moving the second reading of the measure, pointed out the immense advantages and benefits that onehalf the population would derive from it.
– We should frighten the farmers out of their wits if we included this provision.
– We should do nothing of the kind. I propose to endeavour to show that there is no class of the community which will benefit so largely from this measure if the amendment is carried, as the farming and agricultural sections.
– We cannot convince them of that; that is the point.
– When we were before the electors at the general election, I and many other honorable senators made this particular question a vital one, and there was no section of the community which gave us a larger and more enthusiastic support than the agricultural class. This subject was placed fully before them. In my view, there are no industries which can be more easily brought within the purview of the Bill than the agricultural, ‘ horticultural, and dairying industries.
– Come ! come !
– Senator Dobson is ready to condemn before he hears the argument. That does not show a judicial frame of mind.
– Does the honorable senator think that I have not been considering this matter for the last few years?
– The honorable and learned senator has not heard my argument, yet he immediately condemns it. That is hardly the attitude which we should ex-, pect from a gentleman of his high legal training. The reason why I think that it is more easy for these particular industries” to be brought within the purview of the Bill than honorable senators seem to think, are these. Take the agricultural industries, conducted upon the borders of any two States. Neither the farmers nor the labourers on either side of an arbitrary line, drawn across the map, recognise any such line. It does not exist to their imagi-nation, nor to their knowledge in a practical sense, because some of their farms extend into both States. Or a man may have a farm on. one side of the border, and another farm on the other side. They are continually carrying on the processes of their industry on either side of the line. Neither does the harvest recognise an arbitrary boundary line. The harvest occurs at the same time on either side of the border. If, at any time, we were to have a great agricultural dispute when the harvest was ready to be reaped, such a strike would be the most disastrous - that we could possibly conceive. It would lead to a cessation of labour at a most critical time, and the damage done would be almost incalculable. If the harvest is not completed when the grain is ripe, immense harm is done. If we had no means to prevent such a strike, the effects might be most disastrous, not . so much to the labourers themselves as to the farmers. Therefore this Bill would be in their interests, and would insure that at a critical time no dispute would occur which would have the effect of causing a cessation of work. Honorable senators opposite may urge that if a dispute should occur- atharvest time it would not be settled soon enough to allow the work to be proceeded with. But let me remind them that there are provisions in this Bill which prevent men from going on strike while a dispute is awaiting settlement. The matter is referred ,to the Court, and work goes on just the same. Therefore, if the beneficentprovisions of the measure are extended to every section of the community, the farming section especially will obtain the security that their labourers will not be taken from them at a critical time, owing to a dispute between them and their employes. It is’ extremely likely that if a dispute does occur at or near the borders of any one State, it will subsequently extend over the border into the other State. Therefore, there are no industries in the Commonwealth which would have more to gain from this measure than the agricultural, horticultural, and dairying industries. They should be specially singled out for mention, rather than especially excluded. The Attorney-General urged that we should -wait and see if there is any necessity for specially including these people, and should observe how the measure works out amongst other industries. That is a very peculiar doctrine to come from a lawyer. If it is sound, we should have no law whatever applying to any section of the community until we had seen it working amongst a particular section. Following the same line of reasoning, it might be said that we ought not to pass a law against murder until we had seen some special necessity for it. We should not pass any law whatever until a disaster which demanded the law had occurredThat is what the Attorney-General’s contention .amounts to if it is worked out to its logical conclusion. If he had not been indulging in special “pleading for a particular view, he would not have put forward such an argument. As a matter of fact, themain object of this Bill is to prevent an industrial cataclysm which would have the effect of doing damage in any particular industry, or of shutting up industries from which the people derive employment. But how is it to have that effect if industriesare to be excluded from its operation ? To wait until a catastrophe occurs before bringing into existence the machinery .to deal with it would be a very mistaken policy. I think that the Attorney-General, in his cooler and calmer moments, will” coincide- with that view. The honorable and learned senator pointed out that, we can amend the Bill afterwards if it is necessary to do so. But why should we make two bites at a cherry? Why should we wait until a catastrophe occurs before proceeding to amend the measure. Cannot we make wise and thoughtful provision to cover such cases? If, as the Attorney-General says, such disputes are not likely to occur at all, where is the harm in making the- Bill applyto every industry? He also says that if we pass the amendment we shall endanger the Bill. I do not know whether he meant that the Government would take up particular attitude in case the amendment was carried. But the Senate should not be influenced by such a consideration, iven if the Attorney-General meant that the Government intended to pursue a certain course in the event of the amendment being carried. We owe a duty to our constituents, to the States, and to ourselves. It is our duty to make this as good a Bill as possible, and to insure that its good intentions are not nullified by amendments which have been made in it by interested parties in another place. The provision which Senator Dawson’s, amendment proposes to eliminate was not in the original Bill. As the other House has exercised its right to insert this amendment for particular reasons, whatever they may be, we shall be exercising our undoubted right if we insist upon eliminating the provision “because we believe it to be right to do so in the interests of the community. The Attorney-General also said that we should be content with what we have obtained. I am not content with what we have obtained, and I hope, that I never shall be contented, because I am one of those who believe in the glorious gospel of discontent. It has been pointed out, I believe, by the rabid conservatives in Great Britain and Australia that the great fault of the labour people is that they are never content with what they have obtained, that as soon as they get one reform they immediately reach out their hands for more. I hope that that will always be a characteristic of the Labour Party. I trust that they will never foe content with any amount of reform until thev get the fullest fruition of their highest aspirations. The Attorney-General also said thai we are giving too large a scope to the Bill. It has been pointed out by Senator Trenwith that if it is a good Bill it cannot be given too wide a scope. If its action is to be beneficent it cannot be given too wide a scope, but if it is a bad Bill it should find no place on the statute-book. The Government are fathering the Bill. They say that its action will be beneficent, and, therefore, I contend that we should see that its scope is as wide as we can make it, so that the largest number of persons possible may share in the advantages it offers. In his final argument, the Attorney-General said that in these industries the conditions are so different3 that it would be impossible for any common rule to be laid down or for the Court to give an award. Let me briefly point out that there must be somebody to decide a dispute, or else its settlement must be left to the old arbitrament of a strike or lock-out. The agricultural, horticultural, and dairying industries are in just the same position as any other industry. There must be somebody to give a fair verdict. If there is no tribunal in existence we shall have exactly the same state of things occurring as the AttorneyGeneral predicted in regard to other industries. We shall have a cessation of work and incalculable destruction of wealth. All the attendant evils which have continually assailed other industries will assail these particular industries unless they are included in the operation of this measure.. Any judgment which would be obtained from the Arbitration Court would be infinitely preferable to a. decision which would be arrived at when the employers and employes were in a state of war. The Judge, with his associates, would take into consideration all the difficulties which surrounded the industries, and having considered all the facts in the light of the evidence they would, undoubtedly, be. in a position to arrive at a decision which would inflict less hardships on the two parties than would otherwise be arrived at. It is speciallly important that an industry which is so dependent upon reliable labour at critical portions of the year should be placed beyond all fear of having its operations paralyzed by a great, industrial dispute at a critical time. The Attorney-General also said that a farm is not like a factory, where the hours of labour are regular. A great many farms are like factories. As a matter of fact, there are many farms which are partly farms and partly factories.
– T do not know of any.
– I know several sugar plantations which are partly factories and partly agricultural farms. What about tobacco-growing plantations and dairy farms ?
– Does not the honorable senator believe in encouraging the peasant proprietor?
– How many men does he employ? None.
– Very often a peasant proprietor employs a good many persons. Very often it is absolutely necessary or essential for him to employ a good many persons at a critical period. I do not think it necessary to say much more about the amendment, because it is pretty well agreed that there shall not be one law for one section of the community and another law for another section.
– By his vote in the last division the honorable senator has just said that there shall be.
– By my last vote I did not do anything of the kind. I merely wished to include every man whom we are allowed by the Constitution to include. I desire to give the fullest enjoyment of the benefits of this legislation to everybody to whom it can be constitutionally granted. It is monstrous to suppose that if the legislation is to be beneficent one-half of the community should be deprived of its beneficent action, and that if it is to have a detrimental effect upon industries it should be forced upon the other half. I know that Senator Mulcahy will vote for this amendment, because he has already signified his intention in unmistakable terms.
– Leave me to make up my own mind.
– I feel quite certain the honorable senator will vote for the amendment. We can also claim a vote from Senator Gould, from whose second-reading speech I quote the following passage: -
No one who believes in liberty and freedom would debar any individual from the opportunity of earning an honest living.
– And of having the benefit of the Bill.
– And of having the benefit of the Bill.
– Hear, hear ! We shall pin you down to that.
.- Every man should have the benefit of the measure.
There could be no more unmistakable language than that.
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well that I was talking about preference to unionists.
– The honorable and learned senator said that “ every man should have the benefit of the measure,” and therefore we claim his vote for this amendment, so as not to make one-half of the community outcasts and pariahs. I have been pointing out the enormous advantages which would accrue to agriculturists from their inclusion in the Bill. I wish now to say a few words on behalf of the agricultural employes. There is no class in the community which has been so little considered or cared for as the agricultural labourers. There is no worker who gets a smaller wage or works for longer hours than the agricultural labourer. Of all the labourers in Australia he is the poorest and most down-trodden. He has to travel with his swag in search of work. He travels from place to place, and takes a week’s employment where it can be obtained. He follows the harvest from one endof the country to the other. Is he to be deprived of the benefits of this legislation? Undoubtedly not. I have more faith in the good feeling of honorable senators than to imagine that they would perpetrate any such injustice as that. It would be of incalculable benefit to both employers and employes in these industries if they were included in the Bill, and therefore I shall vote for the amendment. I hope that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will see the propriety of voting for the amendment, so that the measure may be passed in the form in which it was when it was introduced by the Deakin Government, of which he was a member.
– I intend to support the amendment. I expected to hear more argument from the other side as to why it should not be passed, but apparently its opponents are at the end of their tether, so to speak. It is a matter of common notoriety that the agriculturist and agricultural labourer all the world over are the hardest worked and perhaps the most down-trodden members of the community.
– It is a very healthy occupation.
– Yes, and that is one reason why I am anxious that the number of men engaged in it should be very largely increased. Believing as I do that if the benefits of Factory and Arbitration Acts were extended to the industry it would lead to that result, I shall support every step taken in that direction.
The Attorney-General, in introducing the Bill, pictured in glowing terms the benefits which would accrue from it to those brought within its scope. He told us how it would almost bring down the_ New Jerusalem amongst us. Yet, believing it to be such an excellent thing, the honorable and learned senator has the hardheartedness to shut out from its benefits practically one-half of the community engaged in probably the most important of all our industries’ I see no consistency in such an attitude. The Attorney-General asks whether we are going to frighten the lives out of the farmers. I know that the farmer is an exceedingly timid individual. I dare say that there is no more conservative being in the country than the average farmer. He is something akin to the Scotchman of whom some one said that before he could understand a joke it was necessary to perform a surgical operation upon him. It is unfortunately too true that (before the average farmer can be got to grasp any improvement in agriculture, in his methods of work, in the implements he uses, or even -in the form of government under which he lives, those who desire to improve his condition must do a great deal of organizing and agitation-
– And education ; and therefore I say why frighten him?
– And education. We have been educating the farmer. Honorable senators who were returned to represent Queensland at the last election received a great many votes from farmers, and I can assure the Senate that we did not cover up our policy. We have no dagger up our sleeves. Whatever the evils of the Labour Party may be, we cannot be charged with going .about in the guise of conspiracy.
– Honorable senators of the Labour Party go about more like roaring lions.
– As Senator Playford says, we go about like roaring lions, but I hope not with the object of seeking whom we may devour.
– Does the honorable senator allege that others* go about in the extraordinary manner to which he has referred ?
– I am telling honorable senators what candidates for the Senate did at the last election in Queensland. T was one of them, and. I did not hide my light under a bushel. I told the farmers that I believed a measure of this kind would benefit them. I believe it would, and that is why I advocate it. I ask again, why should this very large and important section of the community be shut out from the benefits of this legislation? The Attorney-General says that they have no organization. There is an easy remedy for that. I find that in Victoria the farmers are organizing. They have Farmers’ Leagues everywhere, and if the employers of labour in the farming industry can organize, why not the employes in that industry? Senator Symon has said that it is impossible to apply hours of labour or conditions of work to farmers. I do not believe anything of the kind. My-, experience is quite to the contrary.
– The honorable senator should have some experience in our State amongst the market gardeners.
– I know the model State, where a large number of farmers are trying to eke out a precarious living on very poor soil, and where the average wheat crop yields about 3 bushels per acre. I propose to deal with the matter as exhaustively as I can from my own particular stand-point. The Attorney-General has said that I have had no experience of farming in South Australia, but I do not see that there can be any difference between South Australia and the other States so far jas agricultural labour is concerned. In. the State of Queensland, and in Victoria, unfortunately the farm labourer, and the farmer for that matter, begin their work before sunrise, and do not leave off until long after the sun has set. I knowalso that this labour is continuous throughout the week.
– That is an awful exaggeration.
– Senator Playford suggests that they do not get up before sunrise, but I know that they do in. my own State, in Victoria, and in New South Wales. Perhaps the sun does not rise so early in South Australia. The average hours, worked by the agricultural labourer and the small farmer are those I have mentioned. They start before sunrise, and they do not leave off until long after the sun has set.
– No, no; I have been a farmer, and I know what farmers do.
– I am aware that Senator Playford is himself an excellent employer, and treats his men properly ; but if the honorable senator will ask the ordinary agricultural labourer how the ordinary “cockatoo” farmer treats him, he will soon find out what the real conditions of agricultural labour are. We hear a continual complaint that men cannot be obtained for agricultural work. What are the reasons? The reasons are the long hours, the low pay, and the generally unfavorable conditions. I remind honorable senators opposite, who are so anxious to see this Bill made law. without the inclusion of agricultural labourers, that by passing a measure of this kind they are actually holding out a premium to our young men to come into the towns and flood them with” laBour instead of remaining in the country.
– It is protection that does that.
– I do not propose to-night to enter into a debate with the AttorneyGeneral on the subject of protection and free-trade. I say that we ought to reverse the policy which we seem to have adopted hitherto. We know that country life is healthy, and we should try to make it so pleasant and so profitable that our young men would scorn the idea of coming into the towns to work.
– And we are to do that by a magic Act of Parliament.
– We can protect the monopolist by Act of Parliament. We can give men an opportunity to acquire large fortunes by Act of Parliament. _ I say that we can also better the conditions of the masses by Act of Parliament, and what is more we are going to do it. What we ought to do is to try to make the conditions of country ‘life so pleasant to our young men and young women that they will scorn the idea of coming into the foetid atmosphere of the town. They will scorn the idea of taking Government billets, of getting behind counters, and engaging in various unhealthy occupations in big cities, and will prefer to root themselves to the soil of the country. E-it so long as we segregate our agricultural labourers, so long as we make of them a class apart, shut them out from all the benefits of legislation of this character, just so long will the exodus from the country continue. Some honorable senators may think that I am straying from the path to some extent, but this’ question seems to me the most vital which can engage the attention of the Legislature. We hear politicians talking continually about the need for population, and lamenting the fact that the population of Australia does not increase as it ought. I lament that fact just as much as does any one else, but I say that right here we have the cause - the people are being driven off our lands into the town. The population of the towns is swollen to undue proportions. In, Australia to-day about 48 per cent, or nearly one-half, of the total population live in our large cities, though how they live Heaven knows - I do not. This is a most unhealthy state of affairs, which I think should be remedied, at the very earliest opportunity. When the United States of America was at that particular period of her history that we stand at now, when her population was somewhere about 4,000,000, only 3 per cent, of the population lived in the great cities, and the remainder were settled on the land. That is one of the reasons why the United States has become one of the greatest and most prosperous nations on the globe. If by legislation of this character we can make the lot of the agricultural labourer pleasanter, easier, and more profitable, and can induce settlement upon the land, will we not be doing a good thing?In doing so whom will we injure? I say that we will injure no man except one, and I do not care how much I injure him. We shall injure, probably, the land monopolist. We may injure also the money monopolist.
– The middle man, and the butter bonus man.
– I am not particularly careful about them ; my concern is for the great mass of the community. The Attorney-General, in introducing the measure, quoted a verse from Mrs. Browning’s beautiful poem, “ The Cry of the Children.” Has the honorable and learned, senator never heard’ about the cry of the children of tender age in Victoria, who are dragged out of their beds at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, sent out to the milking shed, worked there for three or four hours, and then after breakfast bundled away to school, to fall asleep over their lessons ? Has the honorable and learned senator never read of them ?
– No, never.
– Why is the unfortunate farmer placed in such a position that he has to sweat his own children to get a living?
– -When would the honorable senator have the milking done ?
– I will answer the honorable and learned senator later. I want to drive this nail home. The farmer is placed in this position because he is the slave of the land monopolist.
– Not he. There are hundreds of farmers in this country who farm their own land for one who is the tenant of some other person.
– In _ many cases they have paid very high prices for their farms, and in a great many cases they have had to borrow money from the banks at high rates of interest to enable them to buy their farms.
– We cannot remedy that.
– And to enable them to carry on they are compelled to drag their little children out of their beds at that ungodly hour of the morning. Not onlydoes this happen before the children go to school, but the movement is repeated after they come home from school, and with the result that at the very earliest opportunity those little children shake the cow-dung of the farm off their feet, and get away from it. I say that wherever sweating goes on in the farming industry the monopolist is to a large extent responsible for it. If we can pass a measure of this kind, and apply it to the farming industry, it may take something out of the pockets of the monopolist, but undoubtedly it will put a great deal more into the pockets of the farmer, of his children, and of his labourers, and also into the revenues of the country.
– It will not touch the question of early milking by the farmers’ sons and daughters.
– Is the son or daughter of a farmer not just as much an employ^ as a stranger would be? Should any father be permitted to work his own flesh and blood for those long hours, and submit them to harder conditions than he would a stranger.
– A Factories Act is required to deal with that.
– We cannot afford to overlook any section of the community. We cannot allow a father- to overwork his own children.
– The honorable senator is not dealing’ with the Bill at all.
– The whole question arises on this Bill.
– An Arbitration Bill will not touch the circumstances referred to j it will not touch the farmers’ children.
– I hold a contrary opinion. In any case, if we can get at the labourer and the farmer himself, as I think we can under the Bill, it very naturally follows that we shall be able to embrace the farmer’s children within its provisions.
– We cannot get at the farmer, but only at the farm labourer.
– We can get at the farmer, too.
– And we shall not be able to get at the farm labourer when the Bill is put into practice.
– A similar argument is brought forward in opposition to all factories legislation.
– But there is a similar provision in the New Zealand Act, and it has never been availed of there.
– The farming community are expressly excluded from the New Zealand Act.
– Not at all ; they are included, bust they have never availed themselves of the provisions.
– In any case, the New Zealand Act has never been made to apply to them.
– The Act applies, but the farmers will not apply it.
– If the farming community are . included in New Zealand, the law is a dead letter, so far as they are concerned. We find that landed monopolists in New Zealand reap a great deal of advantage from factories legislation, with the result that land has become very dear, and the. agricultural industry is largely overcapitalized. If this state of affairs is allowed to continue, ruin, or something akin to it, must inevitably result. We find that in Victoria, also, the agricultural industry is being- very largely over-capitalized, and why? Because the owners of the land are taking to themselves all the advantages of the various aids which have been given to the industry, How many fortunes have been made out of the butter industry, for example? Consider how the price of land has increased in Victoria since the butter bonus was first instituted. And then compare the wages of the agricultural labourer now with the wages paid before the bonus was paid. We find that, while the land-owner has- benefited very materially-
– And the middleman in the city.
– Exactly ; while the land values of the one and the profits of the other have doubled, trebled, and in many instances, quadrupled, the wages of the labourer have remained at a standstill.
– The wageshave gone down, if anything.
– That is so. Every piece of legislation hitherto passed has been twisted by the land monopolist to his own particular advantage. We should like to see the ordinary citizen get some benefit from this kind of legislation ; and I long ago came to the conclusion that unless we extend such measures as we are now discussing to the rural population, we shall never have any reform worth considering. What will be the result if we differentiate between one class of the community and the other - between the townsman and the man who lives in the country? The drift into the towns will go on increasing until something like a crisis will inevitably occur. The whole question will then have to be reconsidered, and legislation, probably of a much more drastic character than one cares to think of now, will have to be passed. Would it not be much better to “ take the bull by the horns,” so to speak, and deal with the question now? Let us give this particular section of the community the benefits of the measure. Either the measure is a good one, or it is a bad one. If it is a good one, apply it to the entire community ; if it is a bad one, do not endeavour to place it on the statute-book. The AttorneyGeneral drew a harrowing picture of the life of the ordinary agriculturist or market gardener. The honorable and learned gentleman pointed out that on some occasions the market gardener is laid idle owing to the weather. I do not know how market gardeners in South Australia treat their employes, though I know that in some places the latter are paid for full time, while in others the rule is no work, no pay. The honorable and learned gentleman pointed out that after a day of idleness, the farmer and his men may the next day have to work double time.
– Day and night ; and then it is usually the market gardener or his son who does it.
– If a man has to go to market, I suppose the time occupied is considered a portion of his week’s work.
– Those market gardeners are the hardest worked men I know, and this Bill does not touch them.
– I know it is a very slavish occupation.
– For twelveyearsI was a market gardener, and used to work from seven in the morning till eight at night. Then I went to sleep until one o’clock in the morning, when I had to get up and go to market, not returning till, perhaps, four o’clock in the afternoon. That used to occur three times a week.
– The honorable senator would not dare to ask an ordinary employe to do that sort of work.
– Yes, I would ; but I should pay him well for it.
– It is all right, if the honorable senator is prepared to pay overtime.
– That is always done.
– It would hardly be fair to ask an ordinary labourer to work those hours for a very small wage.
– He never is.
– We desire agricultural labourers to be brought within the operation of this Bill, so that they may be protected against unduly long hours and unfair conditions. Senator Givens urged that the passing of this measure in the form we should like, would give the farmer some security at harvest time, and I think that a very strong argument. Just consider what loss there would be to the individual farmer in the case of a strike when the corn was ready for reaping. Not only the farmer, but the whole people would suffer, owing to the loss in railway revenue and in other directions. This measure provides for the continuation of work during a dispute, and for a settlement in a proper fashion after the harvest has been completed. So far as I can see, the farmer ought to welcome a measure of this character. It, no doubt, will insure a continual supply of labour during the time it is most wanted. I believethat the representatives of Tasmania are very strong in their opposition to the inclusion of agricultural labourers. I had a letter from the tight little island only this morning, giving me some details of the wages paid there to agricultural labourers, and I can assure honorable senators that those wages are so small - so miserable and wretched - that I am almost ashamed to repeat the figures in the Chamber.
– Give us the figures and the name of. the correspondent.
– I shall not give the name of the correspondent.
– Is he afraid of his identity being disclosed?
– If the honorable and learned senator will not take the evidence of my correspondent, I can give some evidence of my own on facts I ascertained when I happened to be in Tasmania. I found a married man and his wife, who had a large family, working for £26 a year and two rations per day. The man had to get up long before the sun, and was at work for a considerable time after the sun had given up for the day, so far as Tasmania is concerned. His wife had to look after the poultry and the cows - in fact, was kept going the whole day, from morning till night.
– Why did they not go elsewhere ?
– Honorable senators can easily conjure up for themselves the picture of an agricultural labourer, his wife, and several children living on the handsome sum I have mentioned. I have been told that a common wage for agricultural labourers in Tasmania is 8s. a week and found.
– Does the honorable senator say that those labourers “ live “ on that wage?
– No; they exist on it. I found that land was very highly priced in the particular districts where those wages are paid, ranging from £8 to £10, and, sometimes, reaching£15 per acre. At some places£15 an acre were paid. The land monopolist was making a very good thing of it, and probably the money-lender was also doing very well. But certainly the man who did the work had a very hard living indeed.I submit that, if any State in the Union requires the application of this measure, Tasmania is that State. But every one of them needs it. The agriculturalist everywhere, as I have pointed out, is the poorest, most wretched, most miserable member of the community. He appears to be the prey of everybody. The farmer is the prey of the landlord, or of the land monopolist, and of the money monopolist, and the labourer is the prey of the farmer. It is high time that the good sense of the community came to the rescue of these people. We ought to drag them out of the river of disaster, even against their own desire.
– How will the farmer benefit if you increase the wages of his labourers, and do hot increase the profits from his farm?
– The honorable senator thinks, no doubt, that that question is a very great puzzler, but it is one of the simplest questions that has ever been asked in the Senate, and I intend to answer it. Let the honorable senator go down to Carrum and buy potato land at £100 per acre.
– That is swamp land.
– Swamp land is very good if it is drained. Men pay as. much as £100 per acre for land at Carrum, and I ask Senator Playford, who knows more about farming than any man in the Senate, whether it would pay to grow potatoes on land which cost £100 per acre ?
– Decidedly not, but what has that got to do with the question ?
– It is the very cheapness of labour which enables the farmer to pay a high price for his land, and a high rate of interest to the usurer. We require to legislate in such a fashion that the land monopolist will not get so much for his land, and the money monopolist will have to take a lower rate of interest. Then the labourer will be able to get higher wages for his work. Senator Playford believes that we cannot legislate in this direction. I believe thatwe can.
– We cannot, by legislation, alter the interest on money, any more than we can fly.
– We can increase the competition.
– What competition ?
– I have endeavoured to explain it to honorable senators. The land monopolist and the money-lender have everything in their favour. As much as £20, £30, and £40 an acre have been paid for land for wheat-growing. Does Senator Playford believe that that will pay?
– Wheatland can be bought for £2, £3, and £4 an acre in our State.
– In Victoria£30 and £40 an acre have been paid for grazing land. Why have these high prices been paid ? Simply because there is a corner in land in Victoria.
– There are tens of thousands of acres of grazing land available in South Australia.
– But, look at the wretched climate of South Australia. There is scarcely any rainfall. The wheat yield in South Australia is the smallest in the whole Continent. I give the people every credit for having made the very best of their opportunities, but South Australia is, as far as I have been able to learn, a comparatively poor State, with a limited area of good land, of which, undoubtedly, the people have made the best use. In any case, I contend that, owing to the disorganized condition of agricultural labour, and owing to itshaving no defence against the aggression of the employers, that kind of labour has been the very worst paid in the whole of Australia. The land-owner has bee, able to get a higher price for his land on that account.
– What has this to do with the question?
– It has everything to do with the question-. I have no doubt that the honorable and learned senator would prefer that I should deal with this question from a surface point of view, but I want to probe into the heart of it. I want to show if I can why agriculture is a failure, and why our young men drift into the towns. I am trying to put my finger on what I believe to be the sore spot. 1 do not believe that this Bill will do everything that I desire, but there are other measures which will be brought forward in due time which will cure the evil eventually, which will effect a revolution, which will make Australia what it ought to be, and what nature intended it to be, a land flowing with milk and honey, and yielding all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life* Some people think it is impossible to procure this by Act of Parliament. I d’o not agree with them. I think that if we had ihe richest country that ever the sun shone upon or the rain fell upon, and if that country were allowed to drift into the hands of a few monopolists, the people who lived in it would be only slaves.
– As they are- in. England.
– As they are in England. There you have one of the finest countries on the face of the earth ; rich agriculturally, rich from a mineral point of view, rich from every point of view you like to consider. Yet, because of monopolists, because of. bad laws, the people are in the most abject condition.
– Is the honorable senator discussing the supplementary measures which he thinks are necessary, or the clause ?
– I think that what I have said has a pertinent bearing upon the question under discussion.
– Let us have the millennium, and let us help it on by having a division on this amendment.
– I am not hindering the millennium. I am trying to help it along, and I am sure that I shall find an able and very willing assistant in the honorable senator himself. I can remember the time when he was one of the most hardened conservatives in the Senate. But his term of office has been a great education, .to him. It has liberalized him, and, to a great extent, made quite a different man of him. “ Evil communications,” it is said, “ corrupt good manners.” Similarly, healthy communications have the very opposite effect; and I can only attribute the improvement in the honorable senator, and his- bearing towards social questions, to rubbing shoulders with the party to which I belong. As, for Senator Dobson, he is past redemption. We- have ‘given up the hopeless task of persuading- him ‘that anything new can be good. In any case, I have said enough to make it clear why I support the amendment.
Senator- PEARCE (Western Australia). - I wish to give the Committee some actual rates of wages as paid in the agricultural and kindred industries in Victoria, in order that the country may have the facts placed before it, and be enabled to judge whether this class of labour has been well treated in the absence of such legislation as we propose to pass. Senator Dobson is never tired of telling us that if we rely on the justice and generosity of the employers, we shall need no legislation to insure that employe’s receive fair treatment.
– I do not think any one has said that.
– In the Age of 12th October, 1904 - and these facts are but a repetition of what can be seen in any issue of that journal - under the heading of “ Situations Vacant “ there are certain interesting advertisements. I will quote a few -
Man, milk, useful, farm, 15s. keep; places recommended.
Men, two farm hands, for Yering, 15s. ; men for vineyard; milkers, 15s. National Labour Exchange, 396 Lonsdale-street.
Those advertisements show what employers ate offering. I will quote a few to show what men themselves are offering to work for. These advertisements indicate the condition of the labour market in these occupations -
Man, ploughman, team-driver, used all farming implements, waiting; 15s., 17s. 6d.
Man, first-class milker, used farm work, wants engagement; 15s., 17s. 6d. ; recommended.
Man, young, first-class milker and farm hand, 17s. >6d. ; another, 15s., -waiting, go anywhere; recommended. Reilly’s, 391 Lonsdale-street.
Married couples, used farming, milking, general work, want re-engagement; ^55 to £6$.
Milkers, first-class, used farm work, waiting; go anywhere,; 15s. to 20s.
Milkers, two, three, or four, first-class, want place together; recommended; 17s. 6d.
Here is a ploughman, who wants an engagement -
First-class hoise driver, used all farming machinery, 17s. 6d. ; another, similar, 15s. ; go anywhere.
Ploughman, any furrow, used all implements, team driver, milk, waiting; 15s., 17s. 6d.
It does not follow that if we bring agricultural labourers under the scope of this measure, we shall raise wages all round immediately. I would draw particular attention to the fact that the wages in this industry, if brought under the scope of the Bill, could only be fixed at what the industry could afford to pay. The Court would hear all the evidence as to the conditions under which the wheat was grown and sold, and allow what had been proved to be a fair wage to the industry. An individual employer in a State would not be able to pay ten shillings, or twelve shillings, or a pound less than other employers in the State were paying. All employers should pay what the industry -is able to pay, and for that reason we contend that this class of labour , should oe brought within the operation of the Bill. We knowthat we cannot by legislation fix the prices at which the farmers shall sell their produce. We recognise that it would be possible to raise the wages to such a standard that farming could not be made to pay. But, undoubtedly, the conditions which Senator Stewart has mentioned do exist in
Australia. ‘ Owing to the operation of the land-owner, the land is so dear that the land-user has to over-capitalize. Generally he has to borrow the money, and the interest charged has to be set off against i.is produce, leaving so much the less for the wage fund. Then we come to the question of the middle man. We know very well that, owing to our anti-socialistic friends, the farmer is not given, as he ought to be, the opportunity of selling his produce through a State Export Department. He is in the hands of the middleman. .
– He would not get any more if he did that. It is the price in the world’s markets which rules.
– There was a time in South Australia when the export of lambs was in the hands of the middle,man. But the Labour Party came along, and proposed the establishment of a State Export Department. I have it on the evidence of members of the National Defence League that during the last year or two, owing to its operation, chey are getting more for their lambs than ever they dic! in previous years.
– There was a tremendous export of lambs apart from the State Export Department.
– The fact that there is an alternative method has had the effect of making the middle-man disgorge a little more of the profits than he used to do.
– Surely the seven successive droughts upset that argument?
– No. because the agricultural districts in South Australia have not suffered from drought during the last three or four years. It is our antisocialistic friends who would leave the farmer in the hands of the middle-man, who bleeds him to that extent that he cannot pay a living rate of wages to his men. But, as Senator Stewart has pointed out, this is not the only manner in which we should propose to deal with these industries. We should propose such measures as would .give the farmer a greater share of the profits, and thereby enable him to pay higher wages. ‘ We should place his produce on the European market, and charge him with only the cost of landing it there. We should prevent the middleman from sweating the farmer and living upon him, as has been disclosed, by the revelations before the Butter Commission.
We should prevent the middle-man fro r getting, as one firm got in this city, £50.000 in one deal from the butter factories in this State.. That is the reason why milkers in this State are getting only 15s. per week. Senator Symon has said that it would be absolutely impossible to fix the hours for farm labourers. He knows very well that it is impossible to fix the hours. The Court would not ask any person to do that which was impossible. It would have to be shown that the thing was impossible. Even in the extreme ‘case quoted by Senator Playford it would not be impossible to fix something like a reasonable hour. It is feasible that on one day a nan might be asked to work for twenty-four hours, but still there are times when an allowance, could he made, and the man could be given time off, which would compensate him for the long hours he had worked. In my opinion, it is a reflection on the farm labourers and the “farming industry to make this exception, and so place a brand on this class of labour, as if it were unworthy of being treated equally with other classes. It is branding them as a sort of mean white labour. Take a farmer and a pastoralist working side by side. Honorable senators are saying to the pastoralist, “ We shall give your labourers a means by which they can compel you to go to the Arbitration Court and have their wages fixed by its award.” But to the farmer working alongside that pastoralist they are saying, “ We shall exempt you and your labourers from the operation of this legislation.”
– Does the honorable senator think that it is being done because we look upon agricultural labourers as inferior men ?
– Whatever may be the motive which is actuating honorable senators, that, at any rate, is the appearance which it bears.
– Then why make this invidious distinction? I hope that the Committee will carry the amendment. I do not wish it to be said that the Senate, without consideration, reversed the decision of the other House. There was considerable discussion on this question in the other House, and those who were successful in putting this brand on this class of labour, were not slow in imputing all kinds of motives to their opponents. We do not intend to be silent here. We propose to state the reasons why we ask the Commonwealth to place this class of labour on an equality with every other class of labour to which the Bill relates.
- Senator Stewart seems to think that honorable senators on this side of the Chamber were silent because they had no arguments to produce against the amendment. But Senator Pearce has, I think, taken the right view of the matter, and it lies with Senator Dawson and his friends to show why this class of labour should be included within the operation of the Bill. The truth of that statement will be found in the fact that we have three States in which these men are excluded from the operation of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– They are not excluded by the Act of any State.
– That only shows that coming down as we ought to do, to the practical side of the matter, there is not one State which has attempted to apply the principles of this legislation to agricultural labourers.
– Because there is no necessity lor it.
– I believe that in some instances, a necessity for its application may be found. It is quite likely that there is a certain amount of sweating going on in this industry, as in every other. But the reason why it has not been applied is because it is quite impossible, for practical men to apply it.
– It has never been referred to the Court yet.
– I should think that the evidence that this legislation is not very much wanted is to be found in the fact that there has been no attempt to form a union of agricultural labourers, or of farmers.
– There is a union in England.
– We are not talking about England, but the Commonwealth.
– I am showing that it is practicable.
– Although the Labour Party has been “going strong ‘ for years, although such Bills have been before us for ten years, there has not been die formation of a single union in order to enable the Court to act. I would remind Senator Stewart that the Bill could not possibly apply to the great mass of small farmers throughout the Commonwealth. We all know that the only way in which a small farmer can carry on his operations is by getting the labour, with the exception of perhaps one month of the year, of the members of his family. Therefore, the humble land-owner or tenantfarmer never could be advantaged in any way by this legislation. I would also point out to Senator Stewart that, throughout the States in which dairying is carried on to any extent, all the disputes which might otherwise arise have practically been put an end to by carrying out the labour on the share system. I do not believe that the dairying industry would ever come under the operation of this legislation. I believe that the dairymen who are working on the farms - and I have spoken to some of them within the last four weeks - are perfectly contented, because they are doing well and increasing their stock of wealth every week - perhaps more rapidly than the land-owner is. In some of these States, the men get one-third of the milk with everything found in the way of utensils and horses and the cows are got in for them. In other States a man gets onehalf of the milk produced, and has to provide the horses and some of the utensils, to get in the cows, and to find labour as best he can. The more the work can be confined to the members of their own family, the better it is for them. But if outside labour is required, the owner is not concerned in its provision. The men who carry out the work on the share system have to find the labour for themselves. Therefore, it will be seen at once that whether this provision was applied or not - and I think it could not be applied successfully - the very men whom my honorable friends opposite wish to help would be outside its operation. Senator Stewart also said that it might injure the large land monopolist, and that he did not care if it would. Here, again, he is quite out in his facts. The greater number of the large land monopolists are pastoralists, whose shearers would come under this legislation, and who, therefore, would be subject to its provisions. If the honorable senator would visit some of the large land monopolists, as he calls them, and as I have had the pleasure of doing quite lately, he would find that a certain proportion of their estates is devoted to pastoral pursuits, and that if they did not fro in for agriculture they let the farms on an agricultural rent. What could be fairer than that? I have always been in favour of that policy. I think it is a miserable system that enables a man who lets his land for£100 or £500 a year to demand his rent in sovereigns. Although a drought or other circumstances over which there is no control have madeit absolutely impossible for the unfortunate tenantfarmer to pay his rent, still his kit and horses and everything he has are at the mercy of the landlord. When honorable senators visit some of the large estates in Victoria they will find that Senator Stewart’s arguments disappear. Let me now take his great argument, that he would like to make the conditions of the land workers so pleasant and profitable that they would all stop there, and men would be attracted from the town to the country. He says that if we do not pass this amendment we shall be absolutely inviting men to leave the country and come to the town. I think that the boot is on the other foot, and that if we make this amendment we shall positively attract young men from the country to seek employment in the towns, in which there is not sufficient work for those already there. It is quite certain that the farmer has to live a most toilsome life, and that his hours are exceedingly long. I fancy that some of Senator Stewart’s acquaintances would not care for the hard work which the farmer or agricultural labourer has to do. But the moment we tried to apply a uniform rate of £1 per week and found to all the farm hands in the Commonwealth, we should find that scores of them would not be able to afford that wage, and would get rid of their men and keep their sons and daughters at home. We should find that many old men who love the country, and are not accustomed to the town, would not be paid 20s. a week, and would therefore be sent away. I desire to say, with a full sense of my responsibility, that I honestly believe that so far from giving more employment and bettering the condition of workers in these industries, the strict application of the provision proposed would have the effect of raising the wages of some, but would mean the absolute dismissal of scores of men who are now perfectly content and happy in the work in which they are engaged. We know that there has not been a single union formed of those engaged in these industries. No attempt has been made to apply Factories Acts and similar legislation to them, and why should we now put the cart before the horse, and instigate them to agitate and to form unions, and create unrest in order that they may be brought under this legislation? While the leader of the Labour Party, in whom we all have confidence, is trying to persuade the members of the party that one step at a time is a wise policy, his humble followers are unable to appreciate his advice, and are going to extremes. They are now trying to carry this legislation to an extreme to which it has never been carried yet. They are flouting their leader, and insisting that we should go the whole hog.
– He accepted this amendment, excluding agricultural labourers.
– He did not.
– He voted against it.
– What I mean is that he did not make it vital, as he did preference to unionists.
– That only goes to show that his practice as well as his theory is to take one step at a time.. I can refer honorable senators to some of the conditions which apply to agricultural servants on farming land in Tasmania, with which I am acquainted, and I say that we should find the greatest possible difficulty in classifying farm labourers. Some men attend to a garden and also to horses ; others attend to general agriculture and also to horses ; others again attend to two or three different branches of agriculture, and a dozen different classifications of agricultural labourers would be required. Senator Stewart appears to have had a conversation with some farmlabourer’s wife, who informed him that herself and her husband got 10s. a week and found. It is quite likely that if we could get at the truth of the matter the wife had really no duties whatever to perform. She may have helped her husband to feed the poultry, which would not be very hard work, and she possibly got some of the eggs for doing so. She may possibly have helped her husband to milk the cows, and possibly got some of the milk for that work. It is impossible to be guided by such generalities, and we should be given the details when such statements are made. I have been acquainted with many farm servants, I have talked with them and have seen them at work, and I have had themselves and their masters as clients. I have found that a man may be a good hand at pruning trees, and may get a little extra money on that account. Another man may be a good hand at grafting trees, and may get something extra for that”. A man may perhaps get 15s. a week in wages, but he may be given the use of a beautiful plot of ground no greater in extent than the floor of this Chamber, and on that he may grow fruit-trees, from which he may make £20 a year. On some farms, men are engaged solely in ordinary agricultural labour, and side by side with them there may be orchardmen. On the farms in New Norfolk, and on the Upper Derwent, we find the hop men. Some of them may be sweated at 15s. a week, but we may find their wives and children employed in binding the vines to the poles, and making £20 a year in addition to the man’s wages. We may find them all perfectly happy and contented, and that in the total result some of the farm labourers are saving money, whilst’ some of their employers are every day getting more and more into the hands of their bankers, their lawyers, or mortgagees.
– Does the honorable and learned senator contend that those conditions are peculiar to the agricultural industry ?
– -They apply to a greater extent to the agricultural industry than to any other.
– The same varying conditions of occupation are to be found in the mining industry.
– I am pointing out that there is a great diversity in the work of men employed on farms. If we go into a boot factory, or any other factory, we shall find men working at the same class of work, and there is no difficulty in applying uniform conditions to them. We cannot apply uniform conditions to men working in various branches of the agricultural industry. Honorable senators opposite must be aware that if it had been possible it would have been tried long ago. The very fact that there are no farm-labourers unions is proof that it is impossible to apply this class of legislation to these industries. We should leave those employed in them alone, and if this legislation is proved to work well, as applied to other industries, it will not take long to run a Bill through Parliament to apply it to the people engaged in .these industries. Senator Pearce was over-stating the case when he said that we should be branding these men if we did not include them. I say that they have already branded themselves as non-unionists, as men who desire to be left alone, as men who like to work not in the Godless, but in- the Godly hours of the early morning, and do hot care for the work in towns after dark. I would ask our honorable friends opposite whether we are to have this condition of unrest always? Are we not to be content to find a remedy for evils that exist, and. is it to be our1 duty to imagine evils, and to try to find; remedies for ‘the grievances of men who have not complained? We are living in a world of unrest and discontent. I am aware that a great many besides Senator Givens believe in the gospel of” discontent, but that is no reason why we should have more of it, and why we should go out of our way to create discontent. It is no reason why we should interfere with the great primary industries of the Commonwealth in all their various branches, including fruit-growing, horticulture, and hop-growing. ‘ I ask honorable senators to imagine for a moment all the vast army of labourers engaged in these varying occupations brought successfully under an Act under which a Judge of the Supreme Court, who knows nothing whatever about their work, is to decide the intricate relationships which shall exist between the employer and the man he employs in these industries.
– After the homily we have had on the delights of long hours, getting up early, and going early to bed, I am inclined to become a dairy farmer myself. I cannot understand why the honorable and learned senator who has given us the homily, does not practice what he preaches, because, if war-paint indicates anything, he is not going to follow his own advice to-night. I am glad to know that honorable senators opposite believe that it is the duty of those who . support . this amendment to give reasons why it should be agreed to. The Government are quite consistent in taking up that attitude, because I find from the Age of yesterday that a deputation of persons who are likely to be affected bv the amendment, if it is carried, waited this week on the Minister of Trade and Customs. The Minister was asked bv a. deputation of land-owners, farmers, and so-forth. to grant bonuses for the production of flax, hemp. and other plants that can be. grown in Australia. I find that in his reply the honorable gentleman was very sympathetic, and practically promised the deputation that he would look with favour on their request. He said that he had always been an advocate of the State encouraging industries suitable to the climate and soil of Australia.. But if honorable senators will carry their minds back a few weeks they will remember that the Minister of Trade and Customs advocated, something quite the opposite to that. The honorable gentleman was then posing as an anti-socialist, but when his farming friends came before him, asking for the assistance of the State in the way of bonuses, he was good enough to inform them that during the recess he would give their request every consideration in the hope thatwhen the Government met Parliament next session they would be able to deal with the matter. If that is the policy of the Government, the Attorney-General will be acting in conformity with that. policy by agreeing to the amendment. If the Government desire to be consistent, and do not desire to be charged with being guilty of that most heinous of all political offences - class legislation - they must agree that the poor toiling labourer is as .much entitled to encouragement and assistance from the State as is the big farmer and land-owner. We know that both States and Commonwealth Governments have done everything possible to assist, this particular class, but so far they have done nothing for the protection of those on the lower -rung of the ladder in this particular industry. When we were dealing with the Tariff, everything possible was done, so far as the imposition of duties was concerned, to assist the productions of the soil of Australia. For instance, we put. duties an arrowroot.
– What has this to do with. the question?
– I submit that it relates, to the question before us, because if there is any desire that we should be consistent, it must be admitted that if it is right that we should give protection to the employing, class in- this industry, we should not withhold it from those they employ
– This provision applies to both.
– I grant that, but if we are to exclude from this measure all agricultural labourers, labourers in orchards, in vineyard’s-
– Or in cane-fields.
– Or in canefields, as- Senator Dawson reminds me, then the action we took in imposing certain duties under the Tariff was one-sided. There would, be protection for- the landowner, and none for the agricultural labourer, and that would be class legislation- of a kind to which I do not think even the Attorney-General would agree. Let me enumerate a few of the items on which substantial duties have been paid in order to encourage production. On hay and chaff there is a duty of is. per cwt. ; on bacon and hams, 3d. per lb. ; on broom millet and corn and millet, 4s. per cental ; on butter and cheese, 3d. per lb. ; eggs, 6d. per dozen ; fruit and vegetables, 3d. per lb. ; vegetables, 20 per cent. ; bananas, is. per cental ; oatmeal, id. per lb. ; corn flour and maizena, id. per lb. ; preserved milk, is. per cwt. ; and there are duties on many other similar articles. Those are all protectionist duties, imposed for the benefit of the employing class. There is also, I observe, a substantial duty of £5 per ton on sugar.
– The duty is £3 if the sugar is grown by coloured labour.
– I am speaking of white labour only. If we do not wish to have this class legislation, so much decried by honorable gentlemen on the other side, we must, if we are consistent, adopt the amendment.
– This is not class legislation.
– The legislation we have already passed will prove to be in the interests of a class, if we do not follow it up with a measure which may be regarded as the logical outcome of a Tariff imposed in the interests of the higher class of producers and land-owners, so far as the items I have enumerated are concerned. If that is so, we are to-night attempting to complete that legislation by giving a certain amount of protection to the” labourer.
– The duties are imposed in order that the employer may pay better wages.
– That is so. Sufficient has been said to show that this class of labour is the very worst off in Australia ; the conditions surrounding the agricultural life are such that the unfortunate labourer is undoubtedly the poorest paid man of any class in this country. If we find that this state of affairs obtains - and I think it is glaring enough for any one to see it - there is no doubt as to what we should do. This is the only opportunity we have had to assist the farm labourer, and I hold that if we allow the opportunity to pass, we might fairly be charged with neglecting the most helpless class in the community.
– There was an opportunity to help that class during the drought, but nothing was done.
– The drought did not give us the opportunity, though I dare say that out of consideration for the employers, some of the duties were made higher than they otherwise would have been. The drought is over, and now we ought to give the labouring swain some of the advantages which have been given to his employer. Senator Gray has the reputation of being a good employer of labour, and I do not see how he can possibly oppose a fair and reasonable proposition of the kind. I have heard it said that those who are employed by Senator Gray regard him as an ideal employer; and I ask him, in common honesty, to extend the conditions he provides for his own men to those unfortunate fellows who up to the present have not enjoyed them.
– I want to give them prosperity, and then we shall get along.
– Prosperity will come. I have quoted figures showing that, so fa.r as the primary industries are concerned. Australia is absolutely the most prosperous country in the world.
– Senator Pulsford knocked the’ honorable senator’s arguments “kite high.”
- Senator Pulsford did not touch my figures. I challenged the honorable senator time and again, but he knew full well that the figures were so carefully compiled that he could not possibly refute them. I do not know any class Who have been so neglected in our legislation as have been labouring agriculturalists. In the old country in the past, an attempt was made to organize the agricultural labourers, but, unfortunately, that fell through, and the result is that they are still sunk in the “slough of despond.” We find that in many of the States in Australia the agricultural labourers are in a somewhat similar condition. When I was in New South Wales a few years ago, I know that the wages of a labourer for any of the “ cockey “ farmers was said to be little more than 5s. a week, and I could not help contrasting that figure with the 15s. quoted by Senator Pearce as paid in. Victoria. I dare say, however, that Senator Pearce quoted the “ top-notch “ wage. At any rate, I know that much smaller wages are paid, and I should be failing in my duty if I did not do some, thing to put this class of labour in a better position. I am firmly convinced that these primary industries are capable of paying a much better rate of wages. It has been proved in every instance that the better paid labour is the more productive, and the more productive, the more profitable it isto the employer. From every stand-point, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose by realizing the fact that the agricultural labourer has been long enough in astate of serfdom; and by placing him in a better position we shaft be doing a good work for Australia.
Senator PLAYFORD (SouthAustralia).I recommend Senator Stewart to study a few works on political economy, when he will find that no legislation can possibly either lower or raise the interest on money. If he thinks that by including the agricultural industry within the operation of the Bill the rate of interest will be affected throughout the community, he is altogether under a mistaken idea. Neither will the proposal he advocates have the effect of lowering the price of land. When a man has a piece of land he will not, unless unable to pay the interest on a mortgage, sell at any other than the highest price. I am sure that if Senator Stewart were the owner of a few hundred or a thousand acres of land he would get as high a price for it as he could obtain.
– Then why talk about the high price of land, and complain about land monopolies?. Senator Stewart talks about land at Carrum Swamp, which, I believe, is State land drained at the expense of the State.
– No; it is privatelyowned land.
– David Syme has a good slice of it.
– It is magnificent soil, which can be irrigated and brought under intense culture, and is close to a big market. It is used for growing not only potatoes, but all kinds of vegetables. I know that£100 an acre canbe got in the Mount Lofty range for swamp land properly cleared and under cultivation, when water is laid on so that it may be irrigated during the summer months. That land also is not used for growing potatoes only, but also all sorts of vegetables for the supply of the market at Adelaide, Port Pirie, and Broken Hill. I see nothing outrageous in the idea that for a piece of land of considerable fertility at Carrum Swamp the owner should ask £100 an acre, nor do I see anything exceptional in the belief that the man who gives£100 an acre, and properly cultivates that land, will not only make a living, but be able to save a little money.
– That price can be got for rich gully lands in the hills near Adelaide.
– I have five acres of such land under intense irrigation, and I would not sell it for £100 an acre to any body . I do not want to go into the question whether the agricultural labourers throughout the States are in such a miserable condition as has been described. I do not believe that they are, though I have heard all’ sorts of statements about the low wages and so forth. I know nothing of what is done in this connexion except inmy own State, and I know that in South Australia wages are very fair. The ordi- nary agricultural labourer, as a single man, is paid £1 a week and his “tucker.”
– That is better than in Victoria.
– That is paid to young men from sixteen to eighteen years of age, and for younger men the pay is 15s. or thereabouts, according to ability and strength. The wage given to agricultural and horticultural labourers throughout South Australia is a fair living wage, sufficient to give a man all the necessaries and some of the luxuries of life. Henry IV. of France desired that every one of his subjects should be able to have a fowl in the pot on Sunday. The poorer peasantry of France, in consequence of that expressed wish, regard Henry IV. as a man deserving the greatest commendation, and they have revered his memory ever since. However, we will leave that subject alone, as I know that the Government are anxious to go to a division. The real point at issue is whether we should, by express enactment, exclude agricultural and horticultural labourers from the operation of this Bill. The measure is founded on the Constitution, which says that we have power to make laws in regard to matters of the sort. Whether agricultural labourers will take advantage of such a law, or whether they will leave it severely alone, as in New Zealand and New South Wales, does not weigh with me in the slightest degree. Where the Constitution gives us the right to pass laws relating to industrial disputes throughout the Commonwealth, we have no right to exclude any class of the community. To do so is to make an invidious distinction. It is of no use to argue that the agricultural labourers will not take advantage of the- measure. I believe that they will not do so for son.e time to come: They may in the future. But it is unfair when the labourer who carries a hod for a mason or a bricklayer, the labourer who helps the carpenter, the labourer who’ is cracking stones on the road-side, and the ordinary navvy, are. brought under the operation of the Bill to make a distinction, and say that the agricultural labourer and the grazier’s labourer shall be excluded.
– Would the honorable senator include domestic servants?
– I am -willing to include them-. I do not believe that we should exclude any one. I. argue from the principle that the Constitution enables us to pass an Act for the purpose of preventing and settling industrial disputes throughout the Commonwealth; and I contend that we have no right to make an exception. The measure should be made to apply all round. Therefore, I shall vote for the amendment.
– I find myself in a rather awkward position. In my opinion, honorable senators on each side of the Chamber are- rather inconsistent. But I agree with what Senator Playford has said, that we ought not specifically to exclude any person or class. I intend to vote just as I should have voted if a provision had been put in the Bill stating that such and such a section of workers, horticultural, agricultural, or viticultural, should be included. I should have voted against that specific inclusion of a section, and for the same reason I shall vote against the specific exclusion of a section. That is to say, I shall vote for the amendment which leaves the Bill open, so far as concerns the classes referred to. I differ from some honorable senators, for whose opinion I” have the highest regard. It is a matter of principle with me, that if this Bill is to effect any good, we do not need to say that its benefits shall not be applied to any particular class.. Some of my honorable friends have voted for the specific inclusion of a particular branch of the public servants of the States. There is no escap? from’ the deduction that, inasmuch as. it was necessary to include one branch of the service specifically, the’ others are excluded. We have wasted a considerable amount of time in arguing this question, because I doubt very much whether the measure will have any practical effect upon the large section, of workers who are engaged in the agricultural and horticultural industries. I do not intend to be a party to any legislation which says to any class, “ You shall not come in.” Let us give- them their chance. If the Bill can be made operative it is our duty to make it so. We have affirmed the principle of the measure, by passing the- second reading, and if the principle is a good one, let it apply to every section.. Australia has affirmed the principle, and it is our duty not to make invidious, distinctions-
– With regard to the argument of the previous speaker as to the specific inclusion of a certain class of public servants, I would point out that there is a reason why they should be specifically included, assuming that we have the -constitutional power to include them. The reason is that they are servants of the Crown, and in order that the Crown shall be affected by this legislation, it is necessary that the Crown servants shall be specifically named - always, of course, assuming that we have the constitutional power to include them in this way. I agree in the main with what has been said by the last speaker in the remainder of his remarks. When, the Bill’ was introduced in another place earlier this year, this specific exclusion was not contained in it. Australia has affirmed, so far as we could ascertain, the desirableness of passing a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill for the settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any State.
– Was it made a vital question?
– I believe it was vital in- the greater part of Australia. At any rate, we were notified that this proposal was part of the; policy of the Government,, and it was affirmed by a majority of the electors. So far as can be ascertained, Australia said nothing as to excluding from the measure various branches of. industry. The legislation, was introduced, and no exception of this character was proposer! in it. When the Bill was in- Committee in. another place, an honorable member representing a constituency mainly given up to horticultural and agricultural pursuits, succeeded by a narrow majority in getting this provision, inserted..
– There was a large majority.
– At any rate, it was done in Committee. There- was no manifest justification for it. It was not jus- tified by the voice of the people at the polls. Senator Pearce has quoted from a daily newspaper some advertisements showing that farm hands in some of these branches of employment are offered 15s. per week and keep; and on the other hand, he has quoted advertisements to show that persons are offering their services for similar wages. These advertisements show that to a large extent employers and employed are agreed with regard to the wages that shall be paid in the industry. That is a sufficient reason for assuming that a dispute is not likely to occur. Senator Dobson has referred to the fact that there are no unions in existence affecting agricultural and horticultural labourers, and he has argued that those engaged in these industries will not be able to take advantage of the Bill. But that is no reason why they should be excluded from its operatio’n. The Bill lays down general principles to meet all classes of cases as they arise. Senator Dobson has pointed out that the persons engaged in the industry desire to be let alone, and that in New South Wales they have not taken advantage of the Act. They have not taken advantage of it in New Zealand either. That fact goes to show that the condition of affairs in these industries in those States is such that it has not been considered necessary either by employers or employed to invoke the jurisdiction of the tribunal established to settle disputes between them.
– There are no unions, so thev could not invoke the Court.
– -There are no unions, it is true ; but if there were matters in dispute between employers and employes, unions would quickly be formed to enable them to come in under the jurisdiction of the Court. If no effort has been made to establish unions, although cases of hardship exist, it goes to show the bad state of affairs that prevails in this class of employment, and that the allegations’ made are in the main true. We may assume that even if we pass the Bill without these exemptions, the industries will not be subject to the harrowing restrictions that Senator Dobson would have us believe will result. It seems to me, however, that the “ honorable and learned senator is afraid to give even an opportunity to those who are engaged in these industries, to avail themselves of the provisions of the measure, even though thev may consider they have grievances which should be remedied by resort to a Court of the character which we are establishing. Senator Dobson has alluded to the peculiar condition of affairs that prevails in some branches of agricultural industry. He has spoken of the hop gardens in the vicinity of New Norfolk, in Tasmania, and of the terms upon which agriculturalists are employed. But surely we can trust the Court, when it is created, to ascertain quite as fully as the honorable and learned senator has done, what the conditions of the industry, are. The Court will surely be a body in which we can have confidence, and we can trust it to determine in the best interests of all those engaged in the industry, and in the best interests of the parties, any dispute which may occur, and be submitted to arbitration under this measure.
– I have listened carefully to what Senator Keating has said, and also to the speeches of those who urge that there should be. no exemptions in the provisions of this Bill. But Senator Dawson himself, in submitting his amendment, allows one exception to be made in the case of domestic servants.
– Domestic servants are specially excluded.
.- The honorable senator is perfectly correct in what he says, and I presume that later on we may have a proposal to include domestic servants.
– It is quite likely.
– There is no amendment placed on the contingent noticepaper to indicate that there is any such intention.
– The honorable an’d learned senator did not put his amendment on the contingent notice-paper.
.- No, but I indicated in my second-reading speech what I intended to do. If honorable senators on the other side are determined to give the benefit of this legislation to everybody they will have to oppose the exclusion of domestic servants. When they get . to that stage that they talk of an industrial dispute in relation to domestic servants which extends “beyond the limits of a State they have reached an absurd position. I dispute the contention that the electors of the Commonwealth” have, expressed an opinion in regard to this legislation. I admit that the members of the various unions in the States have urged that these labourers should be included in the legislation, but I dispute the contention that they represent a majority of the people in the States. I do give great credit to the trades unionists for the indefatigable way in which they have improved their position. I recognise their determination to make the influence of trade unions extend as far as possible, in order that it may absolutely control the Government and the Parliament. But I submit’ that the unionists on the other side - the employers - are not anxious to see this legislation passed. I admit the force of the argument that it is desirable to have some legislation of “this character, but I contend that it ought to be limited in its operation. Senator Givens improperly strained the effect of my remarks when he quoted that portion of my speech in which I alluded to the question of granting a preference to a particular class. I take it that honorable senators on the other side wish to pass the Bill. If that is their wish they ought to look at all the surroundings, and see how this ques-. tion was dealt with in the other House. It was not by a narrow majority or a catch vote, but by a distinct majority, that the other House determined to exclude agricultural labourers from the benefits of the Bill. Do honorable senators, with a full knowledge of all the circumstances, intend to insist upon this amendment? If that be their intention, are they prepared to stand by an opinion from which the other House dissents, and send back the Bill? Senator Pearce. - Certainly.
– It will be a case of changing the Government, then.
.- It will not be a case of changing the Government. If the other House dissents from our amendment, are honorable senators on the other side prepared to stand to their guns, even to the extent of sending its members to the country? If they are prepared to do that, well and good, but I have a very shrewd idea that certain honorable senators who are very valiant at the present stage will be prepared to back down by-and-by. If this is a matter of vital importance, as honorable senators appear to insist that it is-
– We do not say that it is vital.
.- What is the good of making the amendment, and saying to the other House, “ If you do not-care to accept this amendment we are prepared to back down “ ? It will make the Senate look absurd if that course be adopted. If honorable senators are going to stand to their guns and they can carry their amendment, well and good.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that the vote in the other House was really an honest vote ?
.- I do.
– The honorable and learned senator does not think that it was a vote purely to harass the Government?
– It was absolutely. There were fourteen men who wished to kill the Bill at any cost.
.- There was a very strong vote, and the honorable senator knows that honorable members interested in agricultural constituencies were the strongest of its opponents. There is a field open to those honorable senators who wish to extend the influence of trade unions to agricultural labourers. I object to an amendment which would leave it open for a tithe of the agricultural labourers to form a union and try to impose conditions upon all the men employed in the agricultural industry. What was the effect of the decision given in the Arbitration Court in Sydney in the case of a glass bottle manufacturer, who took five skilled but nonunionist artisans from Melbourne in order to establish his industry ? A little time ago a common rule was passed, not merely that unionists should have a preference, but that nobody but unionists should be employed in this industry. The five non-unionists were specially skilled men, and no men could be obtained amongst the unionists with the same skill.
– So the employer said.
– And so the evidence bore out.
– The’ honorable and learned senator as a lawyer has no faith in the Court?
– I as a lawyer have faith in the Court, but I know that it has to follow certain rules which are laid down for its guidance, and that the Parliament which made the rules is to blame whereever any difficulty of that character arises. I warn honorable senators that they are trying to ride this principle to death. They are trying to ride it so hard that they must either do themselves or the industry they desire to assist a great deal of injury. They are taking steps day after day in order to make Australia look more ridiculous before the world. Surely we wish people in other countries to believe that our legislation is based on wise prnciples? Surely we desire to attract people to this country, and not to drive people away from it ? Australia, with a petty population of about 4,000,000, ought not by its legislation to prevent people from coming here.. We are in need of population. I -believe that if we had a larger population we should have fewer unemployed people in our midst. If we would make the country attractive men would come here and establish industries.
– We want higher protective duties.
– It appears to me that a number of honorable senators wish to put a ring .fence round Australia, and to warn off the whole world, so that we may live amongst ourselves, only I as an Australian do not ‘ wish to see my country kept as a petty preserve for a few individuals. I am prepared to welcome people here from all parts of the world, and to enable every man in the country to make a comfortable home. I would urge honorable senators to consider very carefully before they determine upon making this amendment.
– 1 think that we might well leave the discussion of preference to unionists to another occasion. Honorable senators on this side have been asked to say whether they will be prepared to stand by their vote on this amendment. I hope that they will. If I were not prepared to stand by the vote 1 shall give I should not vote for the amendment. When I was addressing the electors in the agricultural districts of Queensland I expressed my opinion on this subject. I told the farmers that if they employed men they should pay for their labour as other employers did, and receive the benefits of this legislation. I am prepared to stand by what I then said, no matter what the consequences may be. I believe that in the great majority of cases it will be found that the agriculturists are beginning to realize that they are receiving considerable benefits from legislation, and are prepared to make some payment for those benefits. Senator Dobson asked whether we understood that in Tasmania many agricultural labourers were getting richer, while their employers were getting poorer. i I do not know that that condition exists particularly in the agricultural industry. It seems to me that it exists in all the industries which would come under the operation of this Bill. Take the pastoral industry. During the drought the men were getting their wages. Hundreds and thousands of pounds have been lost in that industry during the last few years. In the sugar industry also large sums have been lost, but that is no reason why the wage which was fixed should not be paid. I do not know of an industry in which in many cases the employer is not losing money. In mining, shop-keeping, and other classes of business that state of things exists. It is argued against the amendment that there is no union of agricultural labourers. The reason why they are not organized is because up to the present they have been isolated. The men engaged in the pastoral industry have been organized simply because they come together in large numbers, and by organization have been able to improve their condition. In agricultural districts it has not been possible to do much organizing work, but a large number of small agriculturists belong either to the shearers’ union or the labourers’ union in connexion with the shearing industry. Whether we shall be able to get agricultural labourers organized at the present time or not does not matter. All that we say in this amendment, if passed, is that if a time should come when they may be organized they will be entitled to receive the benefits of this legislation in the same way as other people. I would ask whether honorable senators on the other side are going to leave out all persons who are not organized? Now the majorityof general labourers have no organization, although they form the biggest body of workers in Australia. I suppose that honorable senators do not mean to leave them out of consideration. Again, do they intend to leave out of consideration the very large number of persons who are employed in shops ? In a considerable portion of the Commonwealth shop assistants have very little organization. Our desire is that ultimately these persons should get the benefits of this legislation. When they do organize they will have an opportunity to come under its provisions, in the event of their organization extending from State to State, and a dispute arising which is likely to extend beyond the limits of a State.That is the position, and we think that the same reasoning should apply to the agricultural labourer. The course which honorable senators opposite have suggested has been the course adopted in connexion with almost all legislation of this kind. If we refer to the legislation dealing with compensation to workers in case of accident we shall find that in the first instance agricultural labourers were always excluded. They were excluded from this class of legislation in England and also in New Zealand. When the New Zealand Act had been work. ing for four or five years, and it was discovered that in many cases agriculturists were suffering because they were not included, both in England and New Zealand the law was amended, and the agricultural industry is now included in the industries to- which it applies. There was no reason why, when that legislation was first passed, its benefits should not have been extended to agricultural labourers ; but it was only after accidents had. occurred in connexion with agricultural pursuits that an agitation was got up to have agricultural labourers included in that legislation. To-day they -are so included. In answer to the statement which has been made by Senator Dobson that persons engaged in agricultural industries are not included in the industrial legislation of Australia, we have only to remind the honorable and learned senator that, as a matter of fact, they are included under the Conciliation and Arbitration Acts which have been passed in New South Wales, in New Zealand, and also in Western Australia. Let me point out to Senator Gould the difference in this respect between New South Wales and Victoria. In New South Wales,’ it is possible for agricultural labourers to organize and to- obtain an award from the New South Wales Arbitration Court, regulating, their hours, rates of wages, and general conditions of employment. In Victoria, those engaged in the agricultural industry are altogether excluded from the benefits of the operation of the Wages Boards provisions of the Victorian Factories Act. So that on one side of the border, between Now South Wales and Victoria, there is no protection of law extended to the agricultural labourers. They can be taken advantage of in all directions. They may be compelled to live and work under unfavorable conditions, and their wages may be kept down to a minimum; whilst on the other side, of the border, men engaged in the same occupations are enabled to organize, and by an appeal to- the Arbitration Court can obtain a decision fixing their wages and the conditions generally under which they shall work., So that Senator Gould, who has said so much about interfering with State rights, is, by proposing the exclusion of agricultural labourers from the benefits of this legislation, putting his own State at a disadvantage when compared with Victoria.
– Not at all. The State Parliament of New South Wales considered that it was a fair thing to include agricultural labourers in this legislation, and if the State Parliament of Victoria considers that it is fair- that they should be included in such legislation, it can deal with the matter.
– I am pointing out that the Parliament of New South Wales has considered it a fair- thing to bring agricultural labourers within the benefits of this legislation.
– Under a Court of its own constitution, not under a Court constituted by the Commonwealth Parliament.
– There can be no question that when those engaged in the agricultural industries in New South Wales can, by organization, secure fair wages and proper conditions of work, and those engaged in the industries in Victoria cannot obtain fair wages and proper conditions, without a strike, Senator- Gould, by refusing to agree to this amendment, is assisting to place those who are engaged in the agricultural industry “in New South Wales at a disadvantage as compared with those engaged in the same industry in Victoria:
– Under Commonwealth legislation, there could be no remedy where a dispute was confined to one State.
-If there is a dispute likely to extend beyond one State under’ this Bill the Governor-General is given power to bring in the people interested as parties to the dispute.
– Not if the dispute is merely “ likely to extend “ beyond the limits of any one State. It must have actually extended beyond those limits.
– Is not this a Bill for the prevention of disputes?
– It is for the prevention of disputes which extend, beyond the limits of any one State, not of disputes which are merely likely to extend beyond those limits.
– That is so; but I have no- doubt that if on one side of the border of two States a law is in force which enables labourers employed in the agricultural industry to secure better conditions and wages than can be secured by labourers engaged in the same industry on the other side, a dispute arising in the industry in the first State will very soon extend to the second.
– Not unless the employers in the one State combine with the employes in the. other, which is not very likely.
– I think it would not be found difficult to get the employes in both States to combine.
– In any case, the best men would go where the best conditions are to be obtained, and the duffers would remain in the State in which the worst conditions existed.
– Hear, hear: So much the better for New South Wales.
– -It will be impossible to administer a law of this description, unless it embraces all who are engaged in agricultural work. We should have some definition of “agriculture.” We may have a man holding a large area of land, and raising sheep, not only for wool, but for. the market, and on the other hand we may have a farmer occupying a farm of 400, 500, or 600 acres - and there are plenty such in Queensland - buying sheep and fattening them for market. Is it contended that the employes of the man who is growing sheep for wool, and for market, are to come under the provisions of this Bill, whilst the employes of the other man, who buys sheep and fattens them for market on lucerne paddocks which’ he cultivates, are not: to be brought undeits provisions ? I should like to know where the line ds to be drawn ? . Will honorable senators say that this measure is to extend to the employes of any man who is farming 100 acres, or of a man who is farming not less than 1,000 acres? In Queensland we have numbers *ot men who farm from’ 320 acres up to 1,500 or 1,600 acres, whilst some have farms running up to 4,000 or 5,000 acres. Is it because a man sows lucerne, with the object . of fattening sheep for market, his employes are not to be brought under the provisions of this law, whilst the employes of the nian who is running a big area and growing sheep for wool and also for market, or for sale, to the men who top them off for market, are not to I come under this legislation ? I do not see how it will be possible for honorable senators to draw the line. In connexion with other industries it seems to me that the difficulty will be found to be very much the same. A man may be running a cattle station on which he may have 3,000 or 4,000 head, and honorable senators may say that his employes must come under this legislation. He trusts only to the natural grasses, and is not able to carry on his area nearly so many head of stock as may be carried by a man holding a. smaller area of cultivated land in the settled districts. A man in the settled districts may run 200 or 350 cows on a dairy farm, and are we to be told that his employes cannot be brought under this legislation, whilst the employes of the man outside who, in all probability, is not doing nearly so well, although they may not have to work so long or so hard as those engaged on the dairy farm, are to be included in this legislation ? Let honorable senators take another case. A man may be conducting a dairy farm and carrying on the operations of milking, running the milk through separators, and sending the cream to a factory. The men’ em. ployed on the dairy farm and in the factory are to be excluded from the operation of this Bill, whilst those engaged in every other factory in the district are to come under it. The Boll refers to “dairying pursuits.”
– The honorable senator does not think that that includes a butter factory ?
– I think that it includes a butter factory and a cheese factory. Is it to be said that the men . who are doing the work of a dairy farm, milking, working the separators, and carrying the cream into the butter factory, are to be excluded from this legislation, whilst the men who take charge of the cans of cream as they are passed through the door of the factory, are to come under it ? That would not be either reasonable or just. It seems to me tha”t it is not possible to draw the line in connexion with this matter, and the whole of those engaged in agricultural and dairying pursuits must ‘be included.
– The honorable senator believes that a sugar mill as connected with the sugar industry ?
– Undoubtedly it is.
– The AttorneyGeneral does not believe that.
– Is a creamery to be shut out and a butter factory included under this legislation? Surely no one supposes that when a creamery is established in the centre of a number of dairy farms, it cannot be considered as connected with the dairying industry? Those employed in the creamery are just as much engaged in dairying pursuits as is the lad who runs the cows up in the morning. The creameries and butter factories are under the factory legislation of the States. They are subject to inspection. The boilers used for the supply of power are controlled by State legislation in just the same way as are the boilers used in connexion with any other kind of factory. And yet it is suggested that the men engaged in these factories are not to be given the protection of the law, which is extended to the employes in every other factory in the same district. Senator Dawson has called my attention to the position with regard to the sugar industry. There we have men employed in an agricultural industry, in cultivating the land, planting the cane, cutting, stacking, and carting it, and where are we going to stop ? Are we to stop at the men who feed the rollers in the sugar mill ? Surely the operations of the industry extend to the crushing and to the manufacturer of the sugar ? It does not seem to me possible to say that a distinction in this respect can be made between those who are engaged in growing the cane and those who are engaged in the manufacture of the sugar. I do not know how the proposal would work under certain circumstances. Every one knows that pig raising is one of the most important by-industries of dairying; indeed, many dairymen make more money by means of the by-industries than by the milk utilized for butter. The grower, feeder, and breeder of pigs will be exempt from this legislation, as will the man who drives the pigs to the factory, whereas the man who slaughters the pigs will come within its provision. Queensland representatives know that formerly it was only in the west of that State that those employed in the pastoral industries were organized. On the Downs, which cover hundreds of miles devoted to the squatting industry, it is only about three years ago that it was found possible to organize the employes. Before that time the payment for shearing was 2s. 6d. per hundred lower there than in any other part of Queensland, the wages at Barcoo, and in similar districts, being £1 per 100, as against 17s. 6d.per 100 on the Downs. The reason for this was that the small agriculturalist on the Downs used to go out for the shearing, returning to his holding at the close of the season. What would be the position under such circumstances? An agriculturalist, who, as a shearer, belongs to an organization, will come under this Bill when engaged inthe shed ; indeed, we are told that it is partly because of strikes in the shearing and seafaring industries that this legislation has been introduced. It is well known that the small agriculturalist usually has to employ men at the busiest time of his own harvest; and the curious position will arise that while he works for another man as a shearer, he will come under the Bill, but the same advantage will not be shared by the men whom he employs. These are practical questions, not only in Queensland, but in the other States. The payment for shearing was kept down in Victoria, as compared with the other States, owing to the similar fact that the small agriculturalists went into the sheds, returning to their holdings at the close of the season. If a man, under these circumstances, gets the benefit of a measure of this kind when he is employed, the benefit ought to be given to those whom he employs. I do not see how it is possible, however good the intention, to draw the line when we know that agriculturalists are for a good part of the time engaged in other industries.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out, be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland).- I move -
That the words” excepting only persons engaged in domestic service, and persons engaged in agricultural, viticultural, horticultural,or dairying pursuits,” be left out.
This, to a large extent, is a consequential amendment on that we have just carried, with the difference that domestic servants are here excepted. I need not reiterate the arguments in regard to the consequential amendment, but merely confine my few remarks to the domestic servants. Those servants are mostly females, and, above all, we should give them every opportunity to enjoy the beneficent effects of this measure.
Senate adjourned at10.47p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 November 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19041102_senate_2_23/>.