2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to ask the Attorney-General whether he has any objection to lay on the table of the Senate the report of the Departmental Committee appointed by Senator Dawson as Minister of Defence to deal with certain defence matters, and also a memorandum by the General Officer Commanding the Military Forces on the report of that Committee.
The papers have been laid on the table of another place, but are not at present available to honorable senators.
– There is no objection to lay them on thetable.
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice-
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
Motion (by Senator Higgs for Senator
Givens) agreed to -
That there be laid upon the table of the Senate a return showing the reclassification of the Warrant and Non-commissioned Officers of the Instructional Staffs, Defence Department (by States), according to the provision made on the current Estimates now before the House; giving in each case -
Date of appointment to Staff.
Years’service on Staff.
Whether on engagement from Imperial
– I wish to point out, in reference to notices of motion, Nos. 3 and 4, standing in the name of Senator Lt.-Col. Neild, that they are not altogether in order. It will be observed in the first place that two matters which have no relation to each other are mixed up in notice of motion, No. 3. The Senate is asked to affirm that the conduct of MajorGeneral Sir E. T. H. Hutton towards Senator Lt.-Col. Neild, is a contempt of this Senate. That is a proposition which stands by itself, but in the same notice of motion the honorable senator also wishes the Senate to affirm that all evidence received by Select Committees on privileges, should in future be taken on oath or affirmation. That is a general proposition which has nothing to do with the conduct of the General Officer Commanding, and a notice of motion, embracing two matters, which have no relation to each other, is not in order. For that reason alone I should decide that I ought not to put section No. 2 of notice of motion No. 3, but there is another reason why it ought not to be put. The Senate has already affirmed the proposition in question by carrying the second reading of a Bill providing that Select Committees may take evidence on oath. Standing order No. 126 provides that where the Senate has resolved any proposition, either in the affirmative or the negative, that proposition shall not be again debated. There is, therefore, no necessity for the honorable senator to ask the Senate to affirm a proposition which has already been affirmed. But there is yet another point, namely, that the two notices of motion seem to cover the same ground. I think they are an infringement of the rule that the same question shall not be twice debated. In notice of motion No. 3 the honorable senator asks the Senate to affirm that Major- General Hutton - has been guilty of a breach of the privileges of this Senate, and has committed a contempt of Parliament - in consequence of his recommending - that Lt.-Col. Neild be placed upon the retired list of the Military Forces of the Commonwealth, partly in consequence of speeches delivered by him in this Senate ; and (2) attempted to interfere with Senator Neild in the discharge of his duties as a senator.
That is a general proposition. The Senate is invited to review the whole of the proceedings of the Committee, and the matters into which it inquired, and to affirm the proposition that the General Officer Commanding has been guilty of contempt. I have not seen the evidence in print, but I think I am right in presuming that the letter of 3rd March, 1904, to which reference is made in notice of motion No. 4 forms part of the evidence taken before that Committee. Therefore, if Ave discussed these two matters, we should, first of all, discuss the general proposition of which the letter of 3rd March, 1904, forms a part.
– That was a speech, not a letter.
– It appears to me that notice of motion No. 4 asks the Senate to discuss one of the details of a proposition which we should have already considered. I therefore propose not to put section No. 2 of notice of motion No. 3, and not to call on No. 4 at all.
– Before you give a definite ruling, Mr. President, I think you will permit me to point out–
– I have given a definite ruling.
.- Then I sub mit with very great respect that, inasmuch as the matter had not really been brought forward, your ruling was in advance of information bearing on the subject. I wish to say at the present stage that, as the printing of the evidence of the Select Committee is not yet complete, I am not in. a position to proceed to-day with either of these notices of motion, whether they be in order or out of order. I desire, therefore, that they shall’ be postponed. I think that you will not strain your authority so far as to rule out of order a motion to postpone a motion in advance of any statement of facts. I do not dispute the accuracy of your judgment if it be applied, if you will permit me with great respect to say so, at the proper time.
-The notice of motion was called on, and I did not know that the honorable senator wished to postpone it.
.- You rose, sir, before I had any opportunity to take the action that I desire, namely, to move the postponement of notice of motion No.3.
– Perhaps it will shorten the debate if I now state that when these notices of motion are called on, if the honorable senator wishes to proceed with them I shall rule section 2 of notice of motion No. 3, and also notice of motion No. 4, out of order. If the honorable senator does not proceed with notice of motion No. 3, the other motion will of course be in order.
.- Exactly. I quite admit the accuracy of your ruling as to the second part of notice of motion No. 3, but when I gave the notice the second reading of the Bill providing that Select Committees may take evidence on oath had not been affirmed by the Senate.
– That is so.
.- It will be seen, therefore, that I was not out of order in giving notice of this motion ; but in compliance with what you have indicated, Mr. President, I shall ask leave at the proper time to withdraw the second section, as being wholly unnecessary, in view of what has transpired. I presume that in moving the postponement of the notice of motion, you will not allow me to alter the terms of it?
.- I therefore move -
That notice of motion No. 3, private business, be an order of the day for the 24th November.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That the report of the Select Committee appointed to inquire into the case of Major J. W. M. Carroll be adopted.
As honorable senators will recollect, the Carroll Committee was appointed to inquire -
Having made a careful and lengthy investigation into the statements made in responseto requests by Ministers of Defence for grounds and reasons for retrenchment, your Committee are of opinion -
The Committee went to a very great deal of trouble to ascertain whether the reasons given by the General Officer Commanding were sound or unsound. They spared no pains ; they heard some fifty-six witnesses in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. The witnesses were not, as is very often the case in inquiries by Select Committees, allowed to give their evidence without being sworn, and in my opinion the evidence and the demeanour of witnesses are certainly much more satisfactory when the oath is administered. Major J. W. M. Carroll was retired on the 31st December, 1902, having received prior notice to that effect from the General Officer Commanding. Sir John Forrest, who was then Minister of Defence, wrote to Major-General Hutton, on the 1 2 th November, 1902, asking him to look into the case of Major Carroll. As honorable senators will see at page 15 of the minutes of evidence, Sir John Forrest wrote -
It is not fair that the career of a man should be ruined by the official opinion of any one, and it is easy for a Commandant to say that this man or that is not much good, when perhaps he is little good himself. Great care is necessary in retrenching to act justly, and I am fearful in some cases we may not do so. I feel sure these are your feelings also. Please, therefore, let me have good grounds for my actions in Carroll’s and all other similar cases.
Major-General Hutton replied to that letter with a series of statements which have been alphabetized by the Committee, from A to N. in which he stated that Major Carroll had been found unsatisfactory, and that his services could be dispensed with without detriment to the forces’ of the Commonwealth. Sir John Forrest had written to Major-General Hutton, after an interview with Major Carroll, and when Major Carroll approached Major-General Hutton with a view to being attached to the Somaliland expedition, the General Officer Commanding said to him, in effect, as honorable senators will see from question 413 - “ You have been to the Minister behind my back, and you will get no more employment in my time.”
– That was some time after the letter was written containing the reasons ?
– The letter containing the reasons was written on the 14th November, 1902, and Major Carroll appears to have approached Major-General Hutton after that- letter was written. When MajorGeneral Hutton addressed Major Carroll in that way, Major Carroll seems to have determined to approach members of Parliament, and of the House of Representatives principally, with a view to getting an inquiry into his case. Members of the other Chamber who were thus approached saw the Minister of Defence, Sir John Forrest, and there were many interviews, and a great deal of correspondence, over a period of several months. Members of another place appear to have pressed for an inquiry, and Sir John Forrest wrote again to MajorGeneral Hutton on the 3rd July, 1903, some eight months after his first letter, and inclosed a precis of the case of Major Carroll. Sir John Forrest in his letter of that date states -
As Major Carroll is still in the prime of life, ;T cannot understand how he was recommended for retrenchment, when officers of less service, and no more experience, were retained. I must, therefore, have good reasons for such exceptional treatment, because, so far as I can see at present, he does not appear to have received either consideration or justice. The whole question will probably be brought before Parliament, and, if it is, I feel certain a Select Committee will be appointed to investigate the matter; and unless I receive reports that will satisfy me, I shall have to appoint a Commission to inquire into the whole case, and thus anticipate Parliamentary action.
Major-General Hutton replied on the 16th July, 1903, in a letter from’ which the following is an extract -
My views as expressed to the Minister personally and in private and confidential correspondence are clear and to the point, and I have nothing to add to my recommendations as regards this officer. The case was dealt with by me on dts merits, with all the facts before me as regards his past and present services.
Major-General Hutton also said that nothing, in his opinion, could be more unfortunate to Major Carroll’s interests than an investigation by a Select Committee. Sir John Forrest does not appear .to.have been satisfied, and he wrote on the 18th July, 1903, as follows: -
General Hutton, Queensland Club, Brisbane.
Re Carroll. - His case has been taken up by member House of Representatives, who will probably move Select Committee to inquire into cause of retrenchment, unless information supplied is satisfactory. It is necessary that good reasons be shown for retrenching him.
Major-General Hutton replied on the 19th July, next day, to the effect that further inquiry confirmed him in the opinion he had expressed in his letter of the 14th November, 1902. Major-General Hutton also said in that letter that Major Carroll had made three mis-statements.
– Both of those letters were written from Brisbane?
– Honorable members will see the letters on pages 28 and 29 on the minutes of evidence. Iri the letter of 19th July Major-General Hutton said -
You will observe that by your letter of 15th November, this officer has clearly made three misstatements. … I should be sorry to impute any wilful intention on his part to state what was not true, but his conduct in this respect confirms the impression which I held, and which is similarly held by Brigadier-General Finn and by Lt.-Col. Neild, that Major Carroll has shown unmistakable signs of eccentricity, which may or may not have been caused by his recent services in South Africa, but which, in any case, show that his qualities as an officer are such as to render it undesirable that he should be retained in the service, especially at an exceptional period, when only those officers are retained who are likely to be of great value to the Military Forces of the Commonwealth.
Further correspondence followed, and there is no doubt that a great deal of credit is due to Sir John Forrest, for the manner in which he endeavoured to secure justice for Major Carroll. Possibly the reason that nothing was done was that a change of Government took place. Mr. Kingston resigned the office of Minister of Trade and Customs, and there was a redistribution of portfolios, Senator Drake becoming Minister of Defence. Senator Drake continued the correspondence, as members will see at pages 31 and 32 of the minutes of evidence, and he asked the same questions as had Sir John Forrest, ‘ as to the reasons and grounds for Major Carroll’s retrenchment. Major-General Hutton repeated most of the statements as to the reasons and grounds, as may be seen from his letter of 14th September, 1903. In that letter he invited the then Minister of Defence to place the facts before the member of the House of Representatives who had the case in hand. A few days afterwards there was another change of Government, when Sir Edmund Barton resigned and Mr. Deakin became Prime Minister, with Mr. Austin Chapman as Minister of Defence. Mr. Chapman also went into the case, and. after careful consideration, he came to the conclusion that Major Carroll rendered good service in South Africa, and that he was a good and zealous officer on whose character no imputation of any kind rested.
– That was after Departmental inquiry.
– Shortly after that there was another change of Ministry, when Mr. Watson became Prime Minister, with Senator Dawson as Minister of Defence. Honorable senators will recollect that it was shortly after the Watson Ministry took office that the motion was submitted in this Chamber for the appointment of a Select Committee. As I have already stated, the contents of Major-General Hutton’s letter of the 14th November, 1902, have been alphabetized for convenience from A to N, and other statements made in subsequent letters have also been alphabetized from N to S. The first statement in the letter is, as marked by the Committee : -
Then there is the following : -
The Select Committee attached some importance, as honorable senators will see from the report, to the evidence of Dr. R. J. Bull, bacteriologist at the Melbourne University. When Major Carroll was retrenched, it appears he went to the University with a view to studying bacteriology, so as to improve himself as a veterinary surgeon. Dr. Bull, when asked whether he thought there was anything in Major Carroll’s mental qualifications which would prevent him from acquiring knowledge at his age, replied, “I do not think so at all.” He was asked, whether he thought there was any reason why Major Carroll should not acquire knowledge during the next ten or twenty years, and in reply he said -
I should say that he is good for the next twentyfive or thirty years, so far as I can form an opinion.
With regard to Major-General Hutton’s next statement - that the date of Major Carroll’s appointment to the Federal Forces was 1st February, 1899 - the Committee found that it was quite incorrect. The date of Major Carroll’s first appointment to the Federal Forces was 2 1 st April, 1888^ as may be seen from the Queensland official books and records.
– Major-General Hutton states that in the same letter of the 14th November.
– That is so, but the honorable and learned senator will see that the statement is not made in the same terms. There is a bald statement here that the date of Major Carroll’s appointment to the Federal Forces was 1st February, 1899, and if Senator Drake will look at the records of the Queensland Defence Force and the Queensland Blue Books from year to year he will find that that statement is not borne out. In the Blue Book of Queensland for 1899 there is at page 999, under the heading “ Defence Force,” the following entry : -
A Battery Permanent Force ; John Walter Maxwell Carroll, Lieut, (prov.); date of appointment to present office, 24th November, 1888; annual salary, 10s. per diem ; date of first appointment under Government of Queensland, 21st April, 188S.
This matter is of some importance to Major Carroll, because if the date of his appointment to the Permanent Force was 1st February, 1899, then his claim that he had fourteen years’ service in the Queensland Force was absolutely misleading and incorrect.-
– Who was making the false statement there?
– The Committee found that Major-General Hutton’s statement (b) was incorrect. With regard to statement (c)
That Major Carroll was reported to MajorGeneral Hutton as being a poor instructional officer by Brigadier-General Finn -
I may say that Brigadier-General Finn’s evidence is somewhat inconsistent. When before the Committee, he said in answer to question 879 that he had informed Major-General Hutton that Major Carroll was only a fair instructional officer and had much to learn. He also told the Committee that even if retrenchment had not been compulsory, he thought he would very soon have had to get rid of Major Carroll, or words to that effect. The Committee had to decide whether Brigadier-General Finn’s oral evidence was of more value than a written document of his under date 12th November, 1902, in which he said, in replying to the question set out on the form for the annual confidential report on officers, that Major Carroll was fit for active service ; his health was good ; his general ability good ; his professional general requirements good ; his practical proficiency in drill and in the field, as an instructor fair, and improving in infantry drill ; his professional zeal, considerable, but sometimes misdirected ; his smartness in performance of duties sufficient ; his horsemanship good ; and in answer to the direction “ Capacity for command, and describe following traits,” the Brigadier-General’s report was - “ 1. Judgment, fair; 2. Tact, fair; 3. Temper, very good; 4. Selfreliance, possesses; 5. Power of commanding respect, possesses.” But he adds to that report that -
The Officer Commanding the Seventh Regiment considers he does not possess this, while the Officer Commanding the Eighth Regiment informs me he does.
– -Is there not some reference in the evidence to a private note on that report giving the meaning to be attached to the words “ fair and moderate “ ?
– There is a small printed line on the confidential report to the effect that the description “ fair “ will not be taken to be satisfactory in those matters in which an officer can improve himself.
– Has that a general application or a special application to Major Carroll?
– It is a general instruction given to the officer who makes the confidential report. If he puts the word *’ fair “ as describing an officer’s general ability or professional general requirements, that will not be accepted as satisfactory in those cases in which the officer can improve himself. In Brigadier-General Finn’s report on Major Carroll, the word “ fair “ appears opposite, the words “judgment” and “tact.”
– The note to which I refer, is mentioned, I find, on page 76 of the report.
– These are the exact terms of the note. “Fair” and “moderate” cannot be accepted as satisfactory in regard to any qualifications in. which an officer can improve himself by more attention to and study of his profession.
– Does it appear who made that note?
– That is a printed instruction on the report form.
– But I notice that at question 1516, the Chairman of the Committee says, with respect to it, “ I observe this private note.”
– It is a confidential line on the confidential report form. The question in my mind is whether it is reasonable to claim that because the word fair “ in the report on Major Carroll ap pears opposite “judgment” and “tact,” the report as a whole is an unsatisfactory one.
– Unsatisfactory in those two particulars.
– But are those traits qualifications in which an officer canimprove himself by more attention to and study of his profession? A man’s judgment is something which to a large extent he’ inherits. Tact is also something which comes to a man from his natural disposition. I do not feel disposed to say that the report as a whole was unsatisfactory to Major Carroll, because Brigadier-General Finn states that his general proficiency was good, and his general ability was good. However, Major Carroll while in New South Wales was Instructional Officer to the 7th Regiment New South Wales Rifles English Rifles, and the 8th Regiment New South Wales Irish Rifles. Only one officer of those two regiments came before the Committee and said that Major Carroll’s services in New South Wales were not satisfactory. That was Captain Kirkland of the 7th Regiment. Major R. B. Cropley, and Lieutenants Davis and Parker gave evidence in Major Carroll’s favour. Major Cropley under examination said that from what he had observed, he had every confidence in Major Carroll, and looked upon him as a good man and a good officer. Lieutenants Davis and Parker gave evidence to the same effect, as honorable senators will see at page 20 of the ‘report, or at questions 3768, 3520, and 3875 of the evidence. The evidence of the officers of the 8th Regiment, commanded by Lt -Col. J. P. H. Murray, a gentleman who has lately been appointed to the chief judicial position in New Guinea, was very much in Major Carroll’s favour. Lt.-Col. Murray spoke most highly of him. He said that he had observed Major Carroll on many occasions giving instructions; that he appeared to have a very good knowledge of infantry drill, ‘£0 be a very good instructor, and to have the gift of imparting instruction to the men. That evidence will be found in answer to question 2163. He also said that he was very sorry to lose Major Carroll as instructor of the regiment. Major F. B. Freehill, who was officer commanding the 8th Regiment in the absence of Lt.-Col. Murray, in answer to question 3304, said that he regarded Major Carroll as a very capable officer. Captain H. D. L. Wood and Captain J. P. L. McCall also gave evidence to the same effect. The
Committee had to place the evidence of four officers of the 8th Regiment, and of the three officers of the 7th Regiment, who have been mentioned alongside the evidence of Captain Kirkland of the 7th Regiment, who said that as far as drill was concerned, he thought Major Carroll’s services were not to the advantage of the regiment, that he could not say that he had confidence in Major Carroll, that the orders that he gave were generally wrong ; they were unnecessary, and they were not correct. That evidence will be found in answer to questions 2639, 2696, and 2707. As honorable senators will see, the evidence in Major Carroll’s favour was overwhelming, and the Committee could come to no other conclusion than that his services while in New South Wales as Instructional Officer to the 7th and 8th Regiments were satisfactory. Statement D in Major-General Hutton’s letter of the 14th November was to the effect that Lt.-Col. Neild, who was Major Carroll’s immediate commanding officer in the 7 th Regiment, made a special point of coming to Major-General Hutton in Major Carroll’s regard.
– That is not a fact.
– And stated that he was perfectly useless as instructional officer. When the General Officer Commanding was asked, “Do you propose, to call Lt.-Col. Neild,” he said “Certainly not.” Major Carroll expressed no wish to call Lt.-Col. Neild. The Committee would have been glad to hear his evidence on the point, but in the first place he was, I believe, at Thursday Island, and in the .next place the Committee had determined not to call witnesses. We allowed Major-General Hutton to call his witnesses, and Major Carroll to call those whom he wished to testify in his behalf. In fact, the Committee called onlyone witness, and that was Sir John Forrest, the ex-Minister of Defence.
Senator Gray. Why did not Major Carroll call Lt.-Col Neild?
– I do not know. As to whether Major Carroll was perfectly useless as an Instructional Officer the Committee refer honorable senators to their remarks on statement C. Statements E and K of Major-General Hutton’s letter were -
That his (Major-General Hutton’s) own opinion was that Captain Carroll was of little value to the Forces generally, and that his services could be dispensed with without detriment. . . . That, as some officers had to be retrenched, he (Carroll) was in all respects one whose services could, with advantage, be dispensed with.
As to Major-General Hutton’s opinion, we had the evidence of Colonel Tom Price, formerly Commandant of the Queensland Defence Force. Colonel Price was asked -
Of your own knowledge, are you aware that two Queensland officers have been retained who, in your opinion, are not as qualified as is Major Carroll ?
Colonel Price replied -
That is my opinion. My reason for that opinion is that Major Carroll has seen service in South Africa. He has been through various trainings in England - the certificate just quoted proves that - (Question 5360) - whilst the officers to whom I refer have seen no active service, and have had no training whatsoever of the kind which Major Carroll has had in a large military centre. . . . One of the officers to whom I refer has gone through a class and failed twice. I know I had him up before me once, and he failed twice before passing a common class that Sergeants-Major pass.
Honorable senators will recollect Sir John Forrest’s very reasonable contention that it was not fair that Major Carroll, an officer who had seen active service, should be sent away, while officers, who had seen no active service, and were junior to him, were retained. That also is the opinion of Colonel Tom Price. Lt.-Col. Joseph H. Adams was also called1. He was asked -
Do you consider it a loss to the Defence Force that Major Carroll should be retrenched?
And he replied -
I consider that such officers as he are essential for the good management of the Force. .
Again he was asked - ‘ “
Of your own knowledge, do you know of officers in ‘the Defence Force in Queensland who. might better have been spared than Major Carroll?
And he replied- r
I am quite sure there are a dozen of them. I formed the highest opinion of him as an instructional officer. (Question 5196).
Lt.-Col. A. J. Thynne was even more emphatic. He said -
I may, perhaps, best give you my opinion of Major Carroll in tills way. When, about eighteen months ago, I was asked by MajorGeneral Hutton to again take command of the Queensland Rifles, I agreed to do so on certain conditions, and one of the requests which I made to the General at that particular time was. that Major Carroll should be allotted to me as my Adjutant. I told Major-General Hutton that Major Carroll had qualifications for the work I wanted done which no other officer that I was aware of had to the same extent. (Question 5499).
Lt.-Col. Thynne said also that when he made this condition Major-General Hutton said that he might not be able to arrange it as he had something else in view for
Major Carroll. This representation by Lt.Col. Thynne was made at the time when Major-General Hutton was in Brisbane inquiring into the retrenchment matter.
– It was just before Major Carroll went to New South Wales, I think.
– But Major-General Hutton had apparently made up his mind at that time that Major Carroll was a person whose services ought to be dispensed with. I think that the evidence of officers who knew Major Carroll well is of greater value than Major-General Hutton’s opinion regarding him. Another statement in Major-General Hutton’s letter was -
That Captain Carroll joined the Queensland Permanent Artillery in 1888 as an officer on probation for three years, at the end of which time he was found unsatisfactory, and was placed on the unattached list.
There is a qualification in that statement. It would appear that Major Carroll joined as a probationer, was found unsatisfactory, and! that his services were dispensed with. Now, not a single witness - and this was a very important part of the Committee’s inquiry - who knew Major Carroll during the period 1888 to 1891 came forward and stated that Major Carroll’s services were unsatisfactory. Some witnesses came forward and said that other men had told them that his services were unsatisfactory. But evidence of that kind is never accepted in any court, and the Committee did not see their way to accept it. Colonel Plomer, who was Acting Commandant of Queensland, and who was evidently regarded as a most important witness, as he came to Melbourne to give evidence on Major-General Hutton’s behalf, said in reply to a question, “ I have had very little dealings with him (Major Carroll) personally.” He was asked (Question 1566) “ Did you ever have occasion to find fault with. Major Carroll?” Colonel Plomer said. “Not myself.” He was asked whether he had ever had an opportunity to observing Major Carroll’s qualification as a military officer, and he replied “ that he had formed his opinion from the statements of other officers.” Question 1652 reads as follows : -
But you cannot, from your own personal knowledge, give us an opinion with regard to Major Carroll’s military capacity as an officer? - Not as observed personally myself.
This officer was under examination by the Committee for several hours. He said that he had searched the record’s in Queens land concerning Major Carroll, and that he found that Major Carroll was absent from parade on the Thursday prior to the 16th November, 1899; that there was a deficiency in his mess accounts in 1890 ; that he was absent from parade at 6.30 a.m. on 3rd January, 1890; and that he did not return Major Grieve’s salute on the 16th November, 1894. There is no doubt that three of these alleged offences might be considered as trivial in the case of so young an officer as Major Carroll then was. The alleged offence which appeared to me at the time to be most serious was that there was a deficiency in Major Carroll’s mess accounts, but Colonel Plomer pointed’ out that there was no desire to suggest dishonesty on the part of Major Carroll in regard to this deficiency. Honorable senators will observe that this was one of the records which induced Colonel Plomer to give his opinion that Major Carroll’s services from 1888 to 1 891 were satisfactory. There was a deficiency of £18 in his wine account.- I must say that when I first heard of this I thought that it looked rather bad for Major Carroll. It looked rather the worse for him, because Colonel Plomer said that he did not suggest dishonesty, and he also said that amongst the officers in Queensland^ Major Carroll had always been nicely spoken of in his personal capacity. The question was put -
That is to say, you never heard anything against his character?
And Colonel Plomer replied -
His character, never. I may say we were all very fond of Major Carroll.
So that that testimony would rather strengthen the opinion that Major Carroll had been guilty of an offence. Here was an officer who liked1 him, and did not care to bring forward anything against him. When the Committee got to Brisbane, it was veryfortunate for Major Carrol that Lt:Col. Adams came forward on his behalf as a witness. He was asked -
Did Major Carroll keep the mess accounts satisfactorily ?
He replied -
Except at one time, and then I was aware of what happened previous to any inquiry into the matter. I know all about it, because I saw what was going on. (Question 5198:)
The evidence proceeds -
What did you know?- I knew that those under him were taking advantage of his absence from duty to give grog away. Grog had to be paid for or entered against the person getting it. I was at the time a member of the Committee managing the mess, and to my knowledge the person’ in charge had been giving grog away without being paid for it or without putting it down.
Lt.-Col. Adams was then asked
Are you able of your own knowledge to state that the loss was not due to gross carelessness on the part of Major Carroll?
He replied -
I saw nothing during the investigation at which I was present to point to the fact that Major Carroll had been careless. I was under the impression then, and I am now - I knew the grog had been given, and was not charged to members of the mess.
Major Carroll was the mess secretary, and during his absence officers appear to have gone in and obtained grog and made no entry of it.
– Was this on only one occasion ?
– I do not quite understand the honorable senator’s question. I believe that this practice extended over some days, and, perhaps, months. An inquiry was held’ by the Mess Committee, of which Lt.-Col. Adams was a member.
– Is he not an elderly gentleman ? I think I knew him in Queensland.
– He is. Those who know him are aware that he was a strict disciplinarian, and gave the closest attention to his duties.
– Is he a professional military man?
– He occupied the position of Quartermaster-General. It seemed to me, to say the least, very peculiar that when Lt.-Col. Adams was under examination in Brisbane, not one question was put to him by the representatives of the General Officer Commanding. Lt.-Col. Adams was asked -
What is the duration of 3’our military experience? - I was for a short time in Her late Majesty’s 72nd Regiment at home, and in other places. I joined No. 1 Company of Volunteer Rifles on the 1st April, 1867, and I have been connected with the forces in this State ever since, in every rank. I was gazetted Q.M.G. in March, 1SS0.
No questions were put to this officer by the representatives of the General Officer Commanding, and there was absolutely no attempt to shake his evidence. In reading over the evidence taken at Brisbane on my return to Melbourne, it occurred to me that if Lt.-Col. Adams had held an inquiry some record of it should be obtainable. I therefore caused a letter to be sent to the Defence Department, asking to be supplied with the report of that Committee. Will honorable senators believe that, although the Defence Department had repeatedly told us that all the papers concerning Major Carroll were before us, the entry concerning the result of this inquiry was .not submitted to us? That entry goes to show that the Committee decided to write off ?10 of the deficiency, and that it did not censure Major Carroll, but actually appointed him secretary of the new Mess Committee. I cannA understand Colonel Plomer’s action in this matter. He went through the records, and discovered a deficiency in Major Car.mi’s accounts, but he did noi bring thi* finding of the Committee before us. lie did not tell us as a set-off against this deficiency that ?10 had been written off - probably for the reason suggested by one of the Committee - not did he tell us as a setoff against the statement that the man’s services were unsatisfactory, that he had been appointed secretary to the new Mess Committee. I must confess that I do not like the part which Colonel PIomer has played in this matter. He wrote a letter dated 8th August, 1903, to the Deputy AdjutantGeneral, Head-Quarters, Melbourne, stating that -
Sir, - In reply to your telegram of the 7th instant, “ A “ 5, I have the honour to supply the following information : - 1. Major Carroll did not pass for Lieutenant in Artillery in June, 1888, or any other date. He resigned as a Probationary Lieutenant in February, 1891.
The statement that he had not passed in June, 1888, is quite untrue, for the entry in the Queensland seniority rolls proves that Lt. -Provisional J. W. M. Carroll was promoted on 26th January, 1889.
– What is the reference to the extract read by the honorable senator from Colonel Plomer’s evidence?
– The honorable and learned senator will find a reference to the matter at page 269, and the letter is given as Appendix B3. In an advertisement in the Government Gazette of that date it was stated that the appointment was to take effect from 24th November, 1888. Colonel Plomer also told the then Commandant of the Queensland Defence Force, Colonel Price, that Major Carroll had never passed as a captain in the Artillery. The evidence shows that, as a matter of fact, he was appointed on 17th February, 1898, according to the seniority roll, and that Colonel Plomer was aware of that fact. As president of the Board appointed to destroy certain letters, Colonel Plomer destroyed a commu- nication from the Under-Secretary of Queensland stating that Lt. Carroll was to be appointed captain. Evidence as to this will be found on pages 29 and 30 of the report. Colonel Plomer stated that he destroyed this letter because it appeared to him to be an absolutely superfluous document, in view of the notice which appeared in the Queensland Government Gazette of 26th February, 1898, Vol. 69, No. 53.
– There is no doubt that he was appointed captain, but is there not a question as to whether he passed his examination ? The statement made by Colonel Plomer was not that he had not been appointed captain, but that he had not passed.
– Lt.-Col. Adams says, in his evidence, that when Major Carroll came before him he passed well, and Senator Drake, as a military officer, will know that a notification in the Government Gazette that an officer has been promoted to the rank of captain is accepted by every court, military or otherwise, as evidence that he has passed for that rank, unless, as in the case of Lt.-Col Lyster, he has received promotion for special services recognised as valuable.
– There is no doubt that it ought to be so; but that fact makes it the more remarkable that the question whether he passed his examination has not been raised.
– Colonel Plomer is on the horns of a dilemma. He admits that the letter which he destroyed from the Under-Secretary, stating that Lt. Carroll was to be gazetted captain, was sufficient evidence on the point, and that it was not necessary to keep the letter itself.
– But it does not follow that he had passed his examination.
– Does the honorable and learned senator mean to say that Major Carroll was appointed captain without having passed his examination?
– I ask whether there is not a doubt raised on that point.
– I do not think that there is. It may be that in some cases an officer receives promotion without passing an examination, for certain special and valuable services; but whatever view we may take of Lt. Carroll’s promotion to the rank of captain, the fact that he was so promoted must be recognised as evidence that his services were not unsatisfactory. Colonel Plomer admitted that, having found in the Government Gazette a notification that
Lt. Carroll had been promoted to the rank of captain, he should have known that that officer must have passed his examination, or rendered some service which was considered of sufficient value to warrant his promotion.
– What is the number of the question relating to this matter?
-Question 2324. It may be convenient at this stage to draw attention to a very singular feature of the case. WhenMajor Carroll was retrenched he wrote to the Department, asking for the records of his career, and was informed in reply that some of his records had been destroyed. It was stated that while some of the records had been destroyed, others which were considered to be superfluous had not been preserved. I would draw the attention of Senator Drake to Sir John Forrest’s precis of the case of Major Carroll, in which it is shown that after the Department of Defence had stated that certain correspondence relating to Major Carroll could not be found, a further request was made to them, with the result that they discovered certain letters. They were then asked to make another search. They did so, and found more correspondence. The Committee had occasion to ask that certain papers be furnished, and was informed in reply that it was already in possession of all the papers relating to the case. But honorable senators will be surprised to learn that, after the Department of Defence had stated in black and white that there was no evidence that it had received certificates showing that Major Carroll had performed certain services in England, the Committee, while in Brisbane, discovered the Queensland seniority roll. That roll is referred to in Lt.-Col. Lyster’s evidence at question. 5913, and it appears that it had been in the possession of those very men who were instructed to inquire into Major Carroll’s case, and find out his record.
– I suppose it is the quarterly list of officers ?
– No; it is a book. entitled the Queensland Seniority Roll, which is a check, I understand on the Government Gazette. In. that roll, there is the entry, as shown by question 5904 -
Carroll, John Walter Maxwell, 24th November, 1888; Lieut.; Captain,17th February. 1898; Unattached List, 7th February, 1898; Government Gazette, 26th February, 1898. This officer was placed on the Retired List, Queensland Defence Force Division, on 3rd December, 1896: He attended several courses of instruction from time to time with the Imperial Regiments, and obtained certificates. He was subsequently placed on the Unattached List, Queensland Defence Force, with the rank of Captain.
The strange part is that those officers who had this book in their possession, denied to the last that “ Captain “ Carroll received certificates and said that all the records went to show that certificates had not been received.
– The entry only states that Captain Carroll obtained certificates.
– But there is the record that “ Captain “ Carroll had obtained those certificates and the entry is in Captain Forsyth’s own hand writing. Lt.-Col Lyster, who was Brigadier-Major during 1888-9, when Major Carroll was in Queensland, was asked - 5905. In whose hand-writing is that? - I think it is Captain Forsyth’s, who was a clerk in the office at the time . . 5909. Can you tell the Committee how Captain Forsyth came to write in this volume the entry beginning - “ This officer was placed on the Retired List?” - Probably by my direction, because this book was under my control. 5910. If you told Captain Forsyth to write the entry - “ He attended several courses of instruction from time to time and obtained certificates,” from what source would you get that information ? - It must have been from information supplied to the Commandant.
Major Carroll’s whole contention is that the information, with the certificates, went to the Commandant in Queensland. The certificates, however, could not be found, although efforts were evidently’ made to trace them ; and it was then said that they had never been received - that there was no record to show that thuy had ever been received’. The Committee came to the conclusion that the statement that Major Carroll’s services were found unsatisfactory in Queensland from 1888 to 1891, is inaccurate and misleading. The next statement is as follows: -
Statement G. - That ir. 1897. while in England, he (Carroll) made himself useful to the then Premier of Queensland, Sir Hugh Nelson, who, < 1899, gave him his commission with the Permanent Forces of Queensland.
The inference to be drawn from that statement was that Major Carroll had performed certain services for the Premier, who, on that account, and not for military reasons, gave him his promotion. Sir Hugh Nelson was examined before the Committee, and was asked the question -
Is the following statement regarding yourself and Major Carroll true - “It appears that in 1897, when in England, he made himself useful to the then Premier of Queensland, who in 1899 gave him his. recent commission with the Permanent Forces of Queensland ?”
Sir Hugh Nelson replied
There is no foundation whatever for it. You see it contradicts itself. In the first place, I never saw Major Carroll in England ; I did not know him ; and in the next place I was not Premier in i8gg.
– Is that Sir Hugh Nelson’s sworn evidence?
– Yes. The Committeeare bound to regard statement G as inaccurate and misleading. The next is -
Statement H. - That he (Carroll) was sent toSouth Africa almost immediately after (his appointment in 1899) as Adjutant, under the command of Lt.-Col. Aytoun. That he again proved unsatisfactory and unsuitable for the responsible duties of Adjutant, and returned to Queensland.
As to the statement that Major Carroll was unsatisfactory in South Africa, it is undeniable that Major W. Deacon, CB., gave strong evidence against him. Major Deacon said that he found Major Carroll perfectly useless as an officer, which is, of course, very serious condemnation. But the Committee had to consider that while Major Deacon found Major Carroll perfectly “ useless “ as an officer, he allowed Major Carroll to hold most important positions’. He allowed Major Carroll to take charge of the advance guard, and to go on outpost duty. He also recommended Major Carroll, as provost marshal, to Colonel Gallway. Major Deacon suggests that he gave Major Carroll those appoint-., ments in order to get rid of him ; but there was the striking fact that he allowed Major Carroll to be in charge of the advance guard, that is, the screen which is expected at any time to come in contact with the enemy. Against Major Deacon’s evidence, we have .that of Lt.-Col. Spencer Browne, which commences at question 5229. Lt.-Col. Browne, Captain Parker, Captain J. W. “Berry, and Captain Gehrman say that so far as they know, and they had opportunities to judge, Major Carroll’s services in South Africa were not unsatisfactory. The next statement is-
Statement I. - That he (Major Carroll) subsequentIy. returned to South Africa on leave, and was attached, in one capacity or another, to the Royal Artillery until recalled to Australia by’ the Commonwealth at the termination of the South African campaign.
On this, the report of the Committee states -
This is not a fair statement of the facts. When Major Carroll returned from South Africa bes rejoined his regiment, the Fourth Queensland Imperial Bushmen (Q. 36), and was appointed squadron leader by Major Deacon (Qs. 685 and 689). He was appointed as provost marshal under Col. Gallway (Qs. 515 and 516), and while in that latter position he met with an accident, and he went into hospital two days before the contingent left for Queensland - (Q. 36) - on leaving the hospital he was attached to the Royal Field Artillery (20th Battery, R.F.A.); he commanded the Twentieth Battery R.F.A. during that period of1901 when Major King was in command of the column. (See appendix B, No. 3)
Whilst attached to the Twentieth Battery, R.F.A. , Captain Carroll was promoted to the rank of Major by Lord Kitchener. There is some confusion as to this promotion. It is claimed that officers who remained in South Africa received promotion because they were willing to extend their services, and not because of any particular capacity as military men. But, if Major Carroll was so useless and unsatisfactory as was stated, he would not have been attached to the Twentieth Battery of the Royal Field Artillery. Honorable senators will remember that at that time, 1901, officers in command had had considerable experience of the men under them, and were not likely, two years after the war had commenced, to attach a “duffer” to the Twentieth Battery. The next is -
Statement J. - Captain Carroll is unmarried.
On this, the Committee came to the conclusion that in the event of enforced retrenchment, it was fair to retrench unmarried men, providing the married officers were equal in ability and experience, and also that no unmarried officers of less ability were retained. Statement M of Major-General Hutton’s letter is to the effect that -
Major Carroll had never represented his case to General Finn or General Hutton, and that if he had submitted his grievances to the Minister of Defence he had committed a serious breach of military discipline.
There is no doubt that Major Carroll did wrong in going to Sir John Forrest. He states that Sir John Forrest was known to him, and that he approached him, not as Minister of Defence, but as a private gentleman, and said that it was very hard that he should be retrenched. He stated his case, and Sir John Forrest, in his breezy way, said, “I will look into the matter.” To be candid, this action on the part of Major Carroll in seeing Sir John Forrest may possibly account for what happened to him afterwards. Major-General Hutton seems to have taken very great offence at it, for he said to Major Carroll, “You have been behind my back, and you will get no more employment in my time.”
– Was not that after the letter of the 14th November, in which the reasons for Major Carroll’s retrenchment are given? .
– Yes, it was; but I say that in all probability it was Major Carroll’s action in going to Sir John Forrest which led to the subsequent happenings.
– But was not Major Carroll retrenched before the interview referred to?
– He was. I do not wish for a moment to suggest that it was because he went to Sir John Forrest that he was retrenched. What I am suggesting is that what happened to him afterwards - the closing of the door against him absolutely - was probably due to the fact that he went to Sir John Forrest.
– Was there any evidence that Major Carroll’s complaint was forwarded to the Minister, or was it pigeonholed? They have a habit of pigeonholing documents.
– His statement was placed before the Minister by Major Carroll himself.
– Was it placed before the Minister through the ordinary channel ?
– No. His case never reached the Minister, because he asked that it should be decided by the highest military authority, and in the opinion of Sir John Forrest, who was then Minister of Defence, the highest military authority was MajorGeneral Hutton. With regard to the next statement N -
That the officers mentioned in the Minister’s note had all of them qualifications to place them in the category altogether above Captain Carroll; that Major-General Hutton could, if the Minister wished, give the particulars of them all - but, in the face of what he had stated in the case of Captain Carroll, he could scarcely conceive that the Minister would think it necessary.
The officers mentioned in ‘Sir John Forrest’s letter were Captain Dowse, Captain Pinnock, Captain Forsyth, and Captain Darval.
– It is rather a pity that their names should be brought into the case, because those officers had no opportunity to show what their qualifications were.
– Unfortunately it is necessary to bring those officers under review. .They were brought under the notice of the Minister of Defence, and it was pointed out that they were junior to Major Carroll both in length of service and experience. Major-General Hutton says of them that they possessed qualifications superior to those of Major Carroll ; and if Senator Drake considers it very hard that their names should merely be mentioned I should like to know what terms the honorable and learned senator would use with regard to Major Carroll?
– Evidence has been given that in some respects- they are inferior to Major Carroll, and they have had no opportunity to show what their qualifications are.
– Of course the Committee took the statements, which were verified, that Captains Dowse and Darval have not seen active service, and the)’ took into consideration the fact that all four officers were junior to Major Carroll in the service. They might be very good men, but in the opinion of Lt.-Col. Kelly, an officer who was in very high command, a man who has seen active service is infinitely superior to a man who has not seen active service.
– If he is equal to him in other respects, of course.
– Lt.-Col. Kelly was asked (Question 6052) -
Given a condition of enforced retrenchment, would you retrench an officer who has seen active service or one who has not?
And he replied -
The man who has not gen active service would have to go.
– Were the four officers junior to Major Carroll married men ?
– The Committee took no evidence on that point. With regard to statement O -
That the case of Major Carroll was the subject of much personal discussion and consideration between the Minister of Defence and the General Officer Commanding as well as the subject of exhaustive private correspondence dated 12th and 14th November, 1002.
Any one who reads the evidence given before the Committee must come to the conclusion that Major-General Hutton’s letter of 14th November was far from being exhaustive of the facts concerning the career of Major Carroll. For some reason or another, many of the facts were not mentioned at all. Statements P and Q are to this effect -
The Committee came to the conclusion that if Major-General Hutton had all the facts before him as regards Major Carroll’s past and present services, then the case was not dealt with on its merits. If he had not all the facts before him, the Committee cannot believe that he investigated Major Carroll’s case “upon the spot, with infinite care,” as stated by him in his reply to question 346. Major-General Hutton takes all responsibility, in the following letter, written to Senator Drake as Minister of. Defence, and referred to in page 8 of the Minutes of Evidence : -
After careful inquiry and personal investigation, I considered it to be in the public interest that Major Carroll should be included among those officers whom it was considered advisable to retire. I was well aware at that time of every circumstance connected with the officer in question, both as regards his previous service in the Permanent Artillery of Queensland, his efforts at improved military training and education on his part in England, of his services during the campaign in South Africa, and finally, of the work done by him as a general and instructional Staff Officer since his return.
The Committee came to the conclusion that Major-General Hutton ignored the facts as regards Major Carroll’s past and present services. Statement R was to this effect -
That Major Carroll had clearly made three misstatements - (1) that he had “asked General Hutton’s permission to see the Minister, and that General Hutton had no objection “ ; (2) that “ when the Minister had asked Carroll if he had placed his case before General Hutton, Carroll said he had fully done so”; (3) that “Carroll told the Minister of Defence he had fourteen years in the Queensland service.”
There is no doubt that the first two statements - are inaccurate. On the evidence Major Carroll had not Major-General Hutton’s permission, and he had not placed his case before him. With regard to his statement that he had had fourteen years in the Queensland service, the Committee examined, in Brisbane, Major W. G. Cahill, Under-Secretary of the Department of Justice in that State, and a military man of considerable experience, and also Lt.-Col. A. J. Thynne, who stated that he helped to pass the Queensland Defence Act, and both those gentlemen agreed that Major Carroll is entitled to say that he has had at least twelve years’ service in the Queensland Defence Force, and possibly fourteen years’ service. He joined in 1888 and resigned in 1891, and went to England to undergo a course of training in several military departments. He had made arrangements with the Queensland Defence Force that he should be kept on the Unattached List. He was for several years on the Unattached List, and in 1896 he was struck off and placed on the Retired List, wherehis name remained for the period of some fifteen months. When he discovered that he was on the Retired List he wrote to the Queensland authorities, and his name was reinstated on the Unattached List. The witnesses who were examined in Brisbane agreed that, if it was a mistake on the part of the Defence Force authorities in Queensland to strike Major Carroll’s name off the Unattached List, he had a right to count the time during which he was on the Retired List as service. There can be no doubt that Major Carroll had very good reasons for believing that he was right in claiming to have had fourteen years’ service in the Defence Force when he made that statement to Sir John Forrest. The most serious statement made by Major-General Hutton concerning Major Carroll was that made in one of his later letters, written eight months after 14th November, 1902, in which he said -
That he (Major-General Hutton) would he sorry to impute any wilful intention on Major Carroll’s part to state what was not true; but Major Carroll’s conduct in this respect confirmed the impression which he (Major-General Hutton) held, and which was similarly held by General Finn and Lieut.-Col. Neild, that Major Carroll had shown unmistakable signs of eccentricity which might or might not have been caused by his recent service in South Africa, but which, in any case, show ‘that his qualities as an officer are such as to render it undesirable that he should be retained in the service.
That seems to me to be a most serious statement to make, and it is the more serious because it was made in a confidential manner. There was only one meaningto be attached to it, and that is the meaning which was attached to it by the Minister of Defence at the time, the Honorable Austin Chapman, which was that Major Carroll’s brain was affected, and that it could be only the condition of his brain which would make him eccentric. Such a charge as this is one which it is sometimes very hard to disprove. “It certainly had an effect upon the members of the Commonwealth Parliament. I remember that when Major Carroll came to me, having been unable to get members to take up his case, and to inquire into it, that I invited some members of this Parliament to assist in an inquiry, and’ they suggested that it was a mistake to take up the case. They said practically that this man was out of his mind. Honorable senators know how a Member of Parliament will hesitate about taking up the case of any man, and more especially will they hesitate before taking up the case of a man who is deemed to be a little bit “ off his head,” or who is suspected to be a faddist. It was a most cruel, and, as the evidence shows, a baseless thing to say about Major Carroll. The Committee examined several witnesses without securing a trace of evidence with regard to Major Carroll’s alleged mental incapacity. MajorGeneral Hutton, Major Deacon, BrigadierGeneral Finn, Major MacLagan, and Lt.Col. Chauvel were asked to give specific instances ofMajor Carroll’s eccentric conduct, or to mention any expression on his part that would lead them to believe that he was not perfectly sensible. They could not give specific instances. They spoke of their impressions. Major MacLagan said he had formed the impression that Major Carroll was eccentric because he once saw him waving his arms about when standing easy on parade, and he was called to at tention by Colonel Bayley - improperly called to attention, as I understand, because the troops were standing easy at the time. A man cannot be said to be eccentric because he stretches his arms at such a time. Major MacLagan himself said that such a thing might be done by any one. That was the class of evidence that was adduced to prove that this man was out of his mind. We examined Lt.-Col. Foxton, Lt.-Col. Browne, Lt.-Col. Adams, Lt.-Col. Thynne, in Brisbane; Colonel Roth, the principal medical officer for the State of New South Wales, and Major Mullins - men who were associated with Major Carroll, and who stated that there was nothing in his conduct or demeanour that would in any way lead them to believe that he was eccentric.
– Did Major-General Hutton bring forward any evidence in support of his statement?
– No; he simply said, “ Major Carroll gives me the impression that his mental balance is not all there.” Personally, I did not know Major Carroll, except that I had a nodding acquaintance with him, until this case commenced. After the case began I had frequent opportunities to meet him. He was under my notice every day the Committee sat; but I did not discover anything in him which would lead any one to believe that his mental balance is not all that it should be or that he is eccentric. I say again that the statements to that effect were most cruel and absolutely baseless. I understand that Senator Neild, who desires to say a word or two on this matter, is called away on urgent business, and therefore I do not desire to make any further remarks at this stage. I hope that the report will be adopted. It is fair that it should be adopted, and I trust that the Government will carry out the wishes of the Senate as expressed in the report. A great wrong hasbeen done to this man. It was unfortunate that any officers had to be retrenched, but if retrenchment was necessary, the last men who ought to have been retrenched were those who, like Major Carroll, had seen service. He has undergone training in England, he has acquired considerable military knowledge, he is an enthusiastic student of his profession, and he has seen active service in South Africa. Active service surely fits a man in a special degree to be an instructor. If retrenchment is necessary, whoever has 10 go, it seems to me that the services of a man like Major Carroll should have been retained.
– Can the honorable senator say any thing in regard to Major Hooper not coming down as a witness? Was there not some difficulty about his travelling expenses ?
– Major Hooper was to have been called as a witness. He was at Charters Towers. Captain Niesigh, who represented the General Officer Commanding, stated that Major Hooper sent a telegram to Colonel Plomer to say that he did hot care to make a statutory declaration concerning Major Carroll, unless called upon by the Select Committee. The Committee then decided to inform the representative of the General Offi cer Commanding and Major Carroll, that they ought to frame questions which could be sent on to Major Hooper, and be answered in the form of a sworn declaration. In the meantime, when Major Hooper refused to make a statutory declaration unless called upon by the Committee, Major-General Hutton sent a telegram through his officers to Major Hooper, calling upon him to make a statement concerning Major Carroll, for the information of the General Officer Commanding. When the General Officer Commanding received that statement, he handed it to the Committee. The Committee sent up the questions to Major Hooper, and we received a wire from him stating that he declined to make a statutory declaration, because hedid not consider that the Select Committee had power to order him to make one. When Colonel Plomer was under examination, and submitted Major Hooper’s written ‘ statement, he was asked, “ Was this statement made voluntarily?” He said, “No.” “Was it made under compulsion?” He said “Yes.” He was asked “ What would have happened to Major Hooper if he had not done this?” Colonel Plomer said that he did not know. He was asked “ What would you, as an expert, have done with Major Hooper if he was under your command and refused to make this declaration?” He said, “ I suppose I should have put him under arrest.” So that, when Major Hooper, after stating that he would make a declaration when called upon, refused to make a statutory declaration when he was called upon, the Committee came to the conclusion that he was not a witness whose evidence could be relied upon ; or, rather, that he was giving his evidence under compulsion. We came to that conclusion more especially as we had before us Captain Woodyatt, an officer who gave his evidence under oath, and who said that he was present in Charters Towers when Major Hooper, at a valedictory gathering, commended Major Carroll for his services as an officer while he was in Charters Towers.
– Is it not a fact that Major Hooper did not come down to Melbourne because his travelling expenses were not forthcoming?
– Captain Niesigh asked that the Committee should call Major Hooper, but. as I have already stated, we were notcalling witnesses. We were not making ourselves responsible for the expenses of any witnesses. When we were in Brisbane we said we would wait there four days, in order that Major Hooper might be brought down. Captain Niesigh informed the Committee that the General Officer Commanding wanted him to be called, but the Minister of Defence would not agree to pay the expenses of any witness not called by the Committee. That is the reason, I suppose, why Major Hooper was not brought down. We did not choose to call Major Hooper arid pay his expenses, on account of his peculiar action in first refusing to make a statement, and when called upon by the Committee to do so, saying that we had no power to order him. But he could have made a statement without any trouble whatever if he had been prepared to substantiate what he said. He could have sworn an affidavit before a justice of the peace, and forwarded it to Melbourne. But the Committee would not consider his written statement, because it was not sworn to, as was the evidence of other witnesses.
– I beg to second the motion.
– I have very little to say, but I wish to offer a word or two before I leave to fulfil a public engagement. I regret that circumstances did not permit me to be called as a witness in this case. I find, however, on the first page of the Committee’s report the following words, which appear to be founded upon a statement written by MajorGeneral Hutton -
I have not been able to go through the whole of the evidence, but I find that MajorGeneral Hutton is reported as having given an answer to a question in which my name is again introduced. Question 419 reads as follow : -
You have said that Lt.-Col. Neild made a personal complaint to you respecting Major Carroll? - He asked to see me after having forwarded certain written reports to General Finn, because he thought it proper to bring under my notice the eccentricities of this officer.
I wish simply to say that while, of course, I could have given any information as evidence if the Committee had asked me, I cannot give such information here concerning anything that came to my knowldge, or anything that happened to me in an official capacity.
SenatorFindley. - But the honorable senator supplied reports to the General Officer Commanding.
– They are in existence somewhere. I make no reference to those reports, but I wish to say that I did not communicate with Major-General Hutton, that I did not ask to see him, and that I did not see him in any such manner as alleged. During the three years that Major-General Hutton has been the General Officer Commanding in the Commonwealth, I have only seen him at his office twice. On one occasion I saw him at his request, in order to discuss the impropriety of a senator who was an officer, speaking on military matters. On the other occasion - withoutgoing into any particulars - I was informed that the General Officer Commanding wished to see me in reference to my view as to the permanency of the Volunteer movement in New South Wales. It was at that interview, when the matter which he had sent for me to discuss had been discussed, that a short conversation took place - not at my solicitation - not at my request. It was started by MajorGeneral Hutton asking me something about Major Carroll. What the conversation was, of course, I cannot state here, but, at least, I am justified in stating that it was not such a conversation as the evidence leads the reader to believe.
– Then Major-General Hutton was telling lies ?
.- People’s memories are sometimes at fault. In these matters, my memory is very clear. I wish to add this : that so far as I know anything of Major Carroll, he is an exceedingly enthusiastic, courteous officer and gentleman. He laboured under a serious disadvantage in New South Wales in this respect - that without any preliminary training, he was brought to another country where the regulations, and as far as I can see, the methods were entirely different, and before he had any opportunity to gain a knowledge of local conditions he was supposed to discharge instructional duties”.
– The honorable senator is very complimentary to-day in his references to Major Carroll, but in the report which he furnished, and which was put before the Committee, he was very uncomplimentary to him.
.- If the honorable senator turns to my report–
– I know what the honorable senator committed to writing.
.- What I wrote remains. A man may be a first-class pilot at Port Phillip Heads, and yet be of no value at all as a pilot at Port Jackson until he has had an opportunity to become acquainted with the local conditions. It is the same all through. A man may be a magnificent pilot in Brisbane River, but of no earthly use in Torres Strait.
– Has not a knowledge of tides and rocks something to do with a man’s capacity as a pilot?
– Not altogether. In making these observations, I am not seeking to undervalue
Major Carroll’s ability as a soldier. I have no desire to make any further reference to the case, for the very good reason that I have had some personal connexion with it; but I wish to deny absolutely that I perpetrated an outrage on military discipline by going to the General Officer Commanding. I should have had no right to go to him, so far as military usage is concerned. The proper officer for a regimental commander in New South Wales to go to is the State Commandant, and I take it that the General Officer Commanding would not allow a regimental commander to pass over the head of that officer. I did not seek the interview that is alleged, nor did I make such representations as are conveyed in the evidence.
– Has the honorable senator read the whole of that portion of the evidence bearing on the comments which he is said to have made in regard to Major Carroll’s fitness?
– I have read a good deal, if not the whole of it. I wrote a certain minute upon representations made to me, and it is quite possible that those representations were not as strictly reliable as they ought to have been. It is clearly stated that the minute in question was written upon certain representations that were made to me. I may have been misled, although I do not know that I was.
– Can the honorable senator say who made those representations to him?
.- If I were a witness before a Select Committee the position would be different, but I cannot disclose administrative details in the Senate.
– The honorable senator knows that Major Cropley and others gave evidence in Major Carroll’s favour.
– But this does not relate to a question of drill. At the time in question the infantry drill of the Commonwealth was upside down, and it remained in that condition for something like twelve months. The drill for one month was altered at the next School of Instruction, and I did not know myself what the particular drill was in many cases It was a period of transition.
– Is the honorable senator referring to what he reported upon as a huge joke?
– -The honorable senator is referring to an incident set forth in a minute which I said was written upon representations made to me. I was not present, and do not pretend to say that I was. I wrote the minute on representations in which I had confidence at the time, but I cannot possibly say, in this Chamber, whether I was misled or not. My object in rising was simply to say that the allegations as to the representations made by me are so entirely erroneous that it is my duty to contradict them.
– Does the honorable senator think that the General Officer Commanding was wilfully misrepresenting him?
– I cannot say what was in his mind. I can hardly imagine that he would do otherwise than state what he believed to be true at the time. Some persons make random assertions, and the statement in question may have been a random one.
Debate (on motion by Senator Drake) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Higgs) proposed -
That the adjourned debate be an order of the day for 24th inst.
– If I am in order, I should like to say that I think the AttorneyGeneral should give us some reason for proposing to adjourn the debate.
– The debate has already been adjourned, so that the honorable senator cannot deal with that matter.
– The report and minutes of evidence cover 275 pages, and it is only due to Senator Higgs himself that honorable senators should be afforded an opportunity to consider his speech.
– I trust that, in fairness to the officer concerned, a full opportunity will be given the Senate to discuss and finally dispose of this case as speedily as possible. I am informed that it is the intention of the General Officer Commanding to leave Victoria on the 15th inst.
– His absence or presence cannot affect our decision in any way.
– The case has been pending for a very long time. Major Carroll has been put to very much expense and subjected to great anxiety, and in justice to him I think we should not allow the case to be hung up any longer than is absolutely necessary. If it be allowed to remain in abeyance after the 24th inst. the probability is that no finality will be arrived at during the present session.
– I desire to ask the Attorney-General, for a reason which I shall name, to afford the Senate an early opportunity to deal with this case. The honorable and learned senator knows very well that it is one of the first principles of British law and jurisprudence that there shall be no unnecessary delay in providing a remedy for any grievance under which a person labours. The AttorneyGeneral said the other day that the Parliament was the highest Court in the land. We have now before us a specific case, which has been hanging fire, so to speak, for an exceedingly long time. The officer in question has appealed to us, and we shall do him a palpable injustice if we delay the consideration of his case, and fail to treat him in accordance with what has been the recognised practice of British law for all time. The case has been pending so long that it must have been a source of much anxiety to Major Carroll, and it is the duty of the Government to afford the Senate every facility to deal with it at the earliest date. At present it may be discussed only during the time allotted to private members’ business, and, as the Government are not prepared to proceed with its consideration to-day, they might very well devote to it a day which would otherwise be given up to the consideration of Government business.
– I would cordially indorse what has been said as to the necessity for dealing with this case without delay. I am at a loss to understand why the debate should have been adjourned. The report was laid on the table of the House some weeks ago, and it is only reasonable to surmise that honorable senators have made themselves familiar with its contents. In viewof the fact that the Government were not prepared to proceed with the case this afternoon, I think it is only reasonable that they should afford us an opportunity to deal with it on some day other than thatregularly set apart for private members’ business.
– I quite realize that, as Senator Givens has said, it is desirable to deal with this case without delay. We are bound to arrive at a speedy decision on every question.
– Why should we not deal with the case to-day?
– I shall tell the honorable senator. Judging by the apparent heat evinced by some of my honorable friends opposite, it seems necessary that we should have an opportunity to calmly and deliberately consider the exceedingly valuable and able speech to which we have listened from Senator Higgs. The Select Committee’s report covers 275 pages, and we have also listened to an exceedingly able speech by Senator Higgs, which has been the result of much study and careful examination of the evidence. So far, I have only read about one-fourth of the report. I felt that the proper thing to do was to wait until Senator Higgs had stated his case, crystallized the evidence, and pointed out those portions of it which bear upon the report of the Committee that we are asked to adopt. Surely that is reasonable.
– But the honorable and learned senator’s suggestion of some ulterior motive on our part is not a fair one.
– I did not suggest any ulterior motive, but if the honorable senator desires me to put the position plainly it is this : Some honorable senators, including Senator Dawson himself, have made interjections showing that they have formed a favorable opinion in the direction of the Committee’s recommendation.
– I have seen the whole of the papers.
– Exactly. The honorable senator has probably come to a conclusion, and it may be a right one. But there are two parties to be considered. On the one side we have Major Carroll, who is entitled to absolute justice at the hands of the Senate, while on the other hand we have the military discipline of the country to consider.
– I must ask the honorable and learned senator not to discuss the general question.
– Then I shall merely say that no members of an assembly more fully appreciate the spirit of fairness than do honorable senators opposite, and that in a matter of this kind–
– That is the stickingplaster. We are satisfied.
– Then I shall say no more.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland).- I wish to remind the Senate that there is a great deal of business set down for our consideration on the 24th inst. I should be very glad if the Attorney-General, should he find that considerable progress has been made with the business before the Senate-
– I was going to say that very important business remains to be dealt with.
– I wish to know whether, in the event of our being unable to deal with the whole of the private members’ business set down for consideration on the 24th inst., the honorable and learned senator will give us an oportunity to consider this case on a day which would otherwise be devoted to Government business. We may conclude our consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, within the next day or two, and I suggest that if we meet on Wednesday next week, the whole of the Thursday might be devoted to private member’s business.
- Senator Higgs has put the position very fairly before the Senate, and I do not think he has any reason to feel that I have no desire to expedite whatever business may come before the Senate. But it is impossible to make any promise. I shall, however, as early as possible, take the whole of the business into consideration, with a view to suggesting a course to be followed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 9th November, vide page 6697) :
Clause 55 -
Provided that no such organization shall be entitled to any declaration of preference by the Court when and so long as its rules or other binding decisions permit the application of its funds to political purposes or require its members to do anything of a political character. . . .
Upon which Senator O’Keefe had moved by way of amendment -
That the following words be left out - “ Provided that no such organization shall be entitled to any declaration of preference by the Court when and so long as its rules.”
Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia). When progress was reported last night, I was advancing a few reasons, from a miner’s point of view, why the proviso to clause 55 should not remain in the Bill. I asked honorable senators, particularly honorable senators from New South Wales, to glance at the industrial history of that State, and to endeavour to realize the fact that large numbers of men there follow an occupation which has practically compelled them to take political action almost from the inception of trade unionism. The remarks which apply to New South Wales in this connexion, also apply closely to the other States, with the exception that in New South Wales, there have been left permanent records of negligence on the part of those who controlled the great mining industry - records which show an absolute disregard of human life, and human welfare. Under such circumstances, I cannot conceive how honorable senators from that State can conscientiously raise a voice foi the retention of a provision, the aim of which is to prevent men from remedying existing evils, and insuring safety and fair play in the future. Of course, the suggestion may be advanced that miners are not contemplated in this legislation j and it is evident that in the minds of some people, there is an idea that the Bill is intended to operate in regard to two particular bodies of men only - the seamen and the shearers. On this point the AttorneyGeneral has entirely eschewed the role of prophet, as other honorable senators may well do, and be prepared to accept the practical facts Of life as presented to us under the growing conditions of Australia. One reason urged for the retention of this provision is that trade unionists use their funds for promoting active political organizations ; indeed, some honorable senators have gone so far as to say that coercion is used by trade unions to enforce their demands.
– I have beenconnected with trade unionism a long time, and if Senator Gray had had any connexionwhatever with the movement, he would spurn the idea of giving utterance to such a suggestion.
– But it has been done. The Registrar of the Arbitration Court it* New South Wales would not register the Shearers’ Union because of a tyrannical provision in their rules.
– “ One swallow does not make a summer.”
– And even in that case the union altered the rules.
– That is so. During my long connexion with tradeunions I have never known other than the most legitimate action on the part of both members ‘and officers. From a political point of view we have done just what all organizations do - we have endeavoured topersuade every member, by candid logic, that his welfare lies with his own people - that it is to his advantage to vote for parliamentary representatives who are most likely to promote and conserve his interests. Every honorable senator who is opposed to the omission of this provision does exactly the same sort of thing. For instance, there is Senator Dobson, who is so energetic in stumping “Victoria in the interests of the phase of politics he represents, that he cannot sleep a,t night. Even at 6 o’clock in the morning, we find him abroad and active in propagating his cause, and, to my own knowledge, he has kept himself busy in this way to as late as 10 o’clock at night. There are senators opposite who would deny the trade unionists the right to actively promote and advocate the cause which they have at heart. Such honorable senators claim that as employers and supporters of employers they may carry on propaganda work, and devote to it whatever funds thev choose, but they would prevent workers endeavouring to convince their fellows as to the right course of political action to be pursued. They would prevent us from persuading our fellow- workers to return representatives most likely to promote their interests.
– Not as citizens
– Yes, as citizens. It is said that if we persist in using political means, a new order of things will be created - that every effort of the trade organizations, which have been built up, will be absolutely nullified. We are told that if we wish to obtain the benefits of this Bill - a Bill introduced for the public welfare - we shall be compelled to give up the dearest traditions of trade unionism.
– That is not a fair “.ay of putting the matter.
– It is absolutely a fair way. It is the only way which the language of the provision permits, and it is based on absolute facts. As to coercion, I never knew any member of a union to be compelled to vote for Tom, D:ck, or Harry. The trade unionist is usually a squareheaded man, whom no senators would be likely to lead by the nose or drive. As a rule, trade unionists are men, of independent thought, who have pi ofl ted by the wise teachings of experience, and they know that if they desire to better their conditions they have to depend on their own efforts. Hence trade unions are, and must be political : and I should protest against any denial that they are political organizations.
As has been clearly pointed out here, the rules of the old unions prohibited discussion of political questions at meetings of the members, and they had to set aside, their constitution and rules to enter into the political arena, from which their very existence was inseparable.
– Will the honorable, senator tell us why they passed those rules referring to politics?
– That I could never tell the honorable senator. But in the days of old, as I remember reading in a book - and I suppose the honorable senator has read the same kind of thing - a great many employers in the old land, when organization of labour first took root, made it a condition of their forced recognition of unionism that the members of trade unions must not enter the political life of the country. I am sorry to say that, though the old employers have gone, some of their tory ideas still prevail. Though the Legislature of the country had recognised the right of combination, the employers refused to recognise that right, and when at length they did so their recognition was based upon the condition that trade unionists must not take any political action, but, as of old, they must doff their hats, and record their votes for the squire of the parish, or for whomsoever he thought it necessary they should vote.
– The Trades Hall is the home of unionists, and yet the authorities of the Trades Hall disclaim that they form a political body.
– They discuss politics at every meeting.
– They have formed a distinct body, the Political Labour Council, which is a political organization.
– The other body does not discuss party politics, but it discusses other politics at every meeting.
– I am only stating a resolution of the Trades Hall Council.
Seantor Givens. - This provision would prevent them discussing a measure which had no party political character.
– The Trades Hall Council may be able to give verv good reasons for their disclaimer. I can give no good reason for it, and I shall not attempt to do so. But I can give, and I’ think I have given good reasons why trade unions are political organizations, and why they should continue to remain so. I have ‘said that unfortunately the idea to which Senator Gray has referred, still prevails, and if we take the case of The Amalgamated Miners’ Association, who have passed this exclusive rule, what do we find’? The whole of the members of that union have discussed the Mines Bill which is now before the State Parliamen: of Victoria. How could they avoid doing so? I ask honorable senators to consider the conditions under which miners have had to labour, and are labouring still. Their lives absolutely depend upon the proper ventilation of the mines in which /they work, and the general provisons mad.e for their safety. Honorable senators must see that miners’ associations must continue to be political organizations. As their industry changes, it is necessary that new provisions should follow each change. In New South Wales, before eighty-two human souls were blown into eternity, everything in connexion with the management of mines was considered to be right. You might go into a mine, and find that you had to carry the , man who had been walking alongside of you to the main air-course, in order that he might be resuscitated after having lost consciousness by reason of the noxious gases he was breathing. Men were carried out of mines time and again in an unconscious condition, but that was an ordinary matter. By political efforts we were battling for the betterment of those conditions, and to what extent did we succeed? Let me inform honorable senators that the records of the New South Wales Parliament will show that we had a Bill for the better regulation of mines before that Parliament for twenty -two years. When did we succeed in carrying that measure? In the year 1892, shortly after members of the Labour Party had been returned to the New South Wales Parliament.
– We put that measure through in Tasmania without the assistance of any labour organization.
– Very likely. I am sincerely glad to hear it, and I hope that Senator Mulcahy took a part in it because such legislation is worthy of the efforts of any man. I point out that while the New South Wales Parliament was considering whether that legislation should be passed, the Bulli colliery was blown up, eighty-two human souls were launched into eternity, and forty-seven widows and over 170 children were left to the care of a cold world’s charity. All this was simply an in memoriam of the bad laws which then existed, and the carelessness and apathy of people in. power in neglecting to insist upon better conditions for miners. Can honorable senators imagine for a moment that miners will give up their desire to form political organizations, or can they conceive of any men following such an occupation being prepared to subject themselves to such a condition of things as I have described, in order that they might obtain this preference which has already been conceded as an absolute and logical right to which a unionist is entitled as a man, and in view of the status which he holds in our civilization? We say that to attempt to force such a provision upon these men is almost a crime. It is asking men whom they know cannot possibly give up their right to political action, to surrender all the power which they have had to insure the betterment of their condition, in order that they may become once more merely the slaves of circumstance. I tell honorable senators candidly that there is not one miner throughout this vast Commonwealth who will allow any one to interfere with his political rights.
– Nobody desires to do so. As a citizen he will have the same rights as any other man.
– What is the meaning of this provision? As Senator Dobson told us last night, this is the price that we, as a Senate, are asking our masters, the people outside, to pay for preference. Is it the price of their deliverance? If it is, I am satisfied that they will prefer to remain in the slavery in which they stand to-day, rather than accept any such deliverance. It would be a gross neglect on our part as legislators to allow such a provision to pass, when we know that it will be harmful in its effects, that it will nullify the operation of this measure, and that it will result in men remaining unorganized, and we shall be as liable as we have ever been to industrial disturbances. I trust from the remarks of some honorable senators who have opposed what we desire, that their opposition does not go so far as to influence them to endeavour to uphold conditions which are recognised to be harmful and unworthy of the age in which we live.
– I have listened with very great interest to the speeches of honorable senators opposite on this question. It seems to me that they have overlooked the special scope and intention of this measure. The whole of their arguments have been addressed to the gross injustice that will be done to existing trade unions if this particular clause is allowed to remain as it stands. Honorable senators appear to have entirely overlooked the fact that it would be absolutely futile for existing trade unions to attempt to register under this Bill, because it deals only with disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. That is the whole object and scope of the Bill. Honorable senators opposite have made speeches which would be amply justified if we were dealing with such a clause in a Bill applying to arbitration in a State, and my sympathies in such a case would be entirely with them.
– Let the honorable senator take the case of a union ‘that is federated throughout Australia, and utilizes its funds for political purposes. Would not that union be liable to punishment under this Bill ?
– I am coming to that point. The whole of the arguments of honorable senators so far have been with respect to the injustice which would be done to existing organizations if this clause were allowed to remain. Numbers of existing organizations have been mentioned. The honorable senator, who hals just salt down, has mentioned the miners’ association. Others have mentioned other trade organizations, and have endeavoured to prove that none of the existing organizations would dream of registering under the Bill. With that postulate I entirely agree. I do not suppose that any existing trade organizations will dream of registering under this Bill while this clause remains. If they did, they would undoubtedly lose rights which they already possess in the States.
– What about the seagoing class, whose life is regulated by Federal legislation?
– The seamen and the shearers form an exception. But there are no other unions that would think of registering under the Bill.
– The miners would.
– No miners’ association would benefit from the Bill, because there could not be a dispute of miners extending beyond one State.
– It would be quite easy to bring about such a dispute.
– If it were worked -in a certain way, yes.
– Does not the honorable senator think it likely that the miners will form an association extending ‘all over Australia ?
– In this Bill weare deliberately attempting to force all the members of the community to join one of two classes. My desire is to force the employers into general employers’ unions, failing which they will fail to get the benefit of this Bill, and to force all the employe’s, in their own interests and in the interests of the community, into general unions of employed. But, in order to do that, I certainly most strongly feel that to use the funds of those two classes for political purposes would be improper.
– How would the honorable senator stop the employers from using their funds for political’ purposes?
– In exactly the same way as we should stop the employes. It would work in exactly the same manner.
– How can we stop the employers from carrying on political action?
– We cannot stop them individually, any more than we can stop the employes individually. It is the funds of the associations that we are concerned with.
– How can we prevent the funds of an employers’ association being used for political purposes?
– In exactly the same way as we can stop the funds of an association of employe’s from being used for such purposes. I do not see any difference.
– What funds does the honorable senator mean?
– The funds which are formed from the subscriptions of their members. If we are going to force all the members of the community in their own interests to join these organizations, it is certainly essential that the subscription should be made as low as possible That subject is not dealt with bv this clause, but I touch upon it incidentally.
– If an organization had a special levy would the honorable senator prevent that from being used for a specific purpose?
– Undoubtedly. It would become part of the funds of the organization. I want to make these associations as nearly akin to registries as I possibly can. , That is my point. I want them to be nothing more than registries of either employers or employed. I do not desire that any side issue, any benefit society issue, or any political issue shall be interposed.
– The honorable senator wishes to commence de novo.
– I want to commence de novo, and that is an essential feature in the successful working of this measure.
– The honorable senator is looking for something that he will never get.
– My chief supporter in favour of the view which I adopt is Senator McGregor himself. I listened to the honorable senator’s speech - and it was a most able speech - with the very greatest interest. He led me to take an entirely new view of this subject.
– Senator McGregor did nor get much support for the view which he expounded in his second-reading speech.
– He received support hot only from other honorable senators, but from the Chairman of Committees. I will make one or two extracts from Senator McGregor’s speech. He said -
When an association is registered under this Bill it will not be an association of Victorian workers, New South Wales workers, or the workers of any particular State. Honorable senators must see that if the measure were carried tomorrow there would have to be a complete reorganization and amalgamation of the different workers in each of the States. Can honorable senators not see the necessity for that? It is merely what must come about before legislation, such as this, can have any effect.
I am most anxious to see this legislation become effective, and the more I look into the subject, the more thoroughly I agree with what Senator McGregor said on that occasion. I submit, therefore, that agreeing with him, as I do, and having his support, I can claim the support of his party.
– We did not agree with him.
– The honorable senators only dissent from their leader now.
– We said at the time that we did not agree with him.
– I did not take it that honorable senators opposite dissented from their leader at that time. Indeed, the statement which I have quoted was cheered by Senator Higgs, who said, “Hear, hear.” Therefore, I can claim his support. He went on to speak of the combination of all the railway associations in each State, “so -that the federated organization would have a grievance, and the dispute would be an Australian question.” I submit that no interference whatever need take place, in existing organizations.
– But the honorable senator is advocating that there shall be two organizations.
– There must be an absolutely new registration. I strongly object to the term “ trade union “ in this connexion, because the organizations are not termed “trade unions “ in this Bill. They are to be organizations for a specific purpose. The existing trade unions and benefit societies will be left untouched, without the diminution of a single one of their privileges. The members of trade unions will be the people who will have to fight’ in the future as they have done in the past, and a splendid fight they have made for the rights and privileges of the working man.
– The honorable senator’s scheme means that an industrial organization and a political organization would have to be kept separate.
– It simply means the fresh registration of every individual in a new organization created under this measure, and worked under regulations approved of by the Registrar under this measure. Those regulations would absolutely debar any use of the funds of the associations either for political or for any other outside purposes. The organizations would simply he registries defining those who are entitled to the privileges of preference in employment, the result being that -there would be a general inclination to join them. The last speaker before he sat down said that there was no case on record of any political pressure being brought to bear upon members of a union. I have here a cutting dealing with rule 57 of the Australian Workers’ Union. That was a union registered under the New South Wales Act.
– Has not that rule been annulled?
– It was disapproved of by the Court. The fact that the rule had to be withdrawn, illustrates the drawbacks that will arise from political questions being introduced in connexion with these organizations. That is one of the things that we should be particularly anxious to avoid in this Bill. Rule 57 was as follows: -
Any member of the Australian Workers’ Union voting or working against the selected labour candidate approved of by the union shall be fined the sum of £3.
That rule was at first accepted by the Registrar in New South Wales, and was registered under the Act ; and’ it was only on appeal that the Judge - I think it was Mr. Justice Cohen - ordered it to be struck out.
– Clause 60 of this Bill gives the Judge ample power.
– Quite right. I have nothing further to add, except that with the object of making these organizations simply registries, I shall oppose the amendment of the existing clause, which I think is a good one.
– Will the honorable senator keep his mind open until he has heard arguments?
– I do not want to see the force of the clause diminished in any respect. I believe that any amendment will be in the direction of weakening it. Although I am always ready to listen to arguments on a debatable point, I do not think that any argument addressed to the diminution of the force of this clause would have the least weight with me.
– Before I cast my vote I wish to say a few words showing the exact position I take up in regard to this clause. Our honorable friends of the Labour Party pleaded with very great force for preference to unionists, and urged that if it were denied them the Bill would be practically useless. It is necessary for us to see what that really means. What are unions? We are informed by Senator Henderson that they are political bodies. That is admitted, and I ask myself what must be the effect of granting preference to unionists? I voted for the principle, believing that under certain conditions they deserved some little protection by way of preference. But if, by granting that preference, we are going to practically compel a large number of persons who do not belong to unions at the present time to join political associations under the name of trade unions, we shall do that which we have noright to do, and should not do under any circumstances. We have no right to induce or compel any man to join an association of a political character. Honorable senators of the Labour Party urge that the position I take up is not a correct one. Have we any right to compel a man to join an association of a political character?
– Not of a party political character.
– We have no right to pass legislation which will have the effect of compelling a large number of persons to join trade unions that are really political associations.
– And to join them on pain of loss of employment.
– There can be no doubt that that would be the effect of granting preference to unionists, if the clause were not passed as it stands. Directly the Court gives a decision granting a preference to members of an industrial association, those who are following a trade or calling to . which it relates, will find it unmistakeably to their advantage to join that organization. They will recognise that by joining it they will have an opportunity to secure employment which they might otherwise fail to obtain. That is the whole position in a nutshell. We cannot get away from it. We have no right to force men into political organizations, and we have the admission by Senator Henderson that trade unions are political organizations.
– What is a political organization ?
– The honorable senator says that trade unions are political organizations.
– They are just as much political organizations as are the churches.
– Honorable senators of the Labour Party say that it is a fact that a trade union is a political organization
– I say that it is only partly a fact.
– And because my argument, based on that admission, is too telling, they now say that their unions are no more political organizations than are our churches. No church with which I have had any association has been apolitical organization. A great many of our clergymen will’ not discuss political questions. My father was a Baptist minister, and as such in the early days of South Australia was stationed at Mitcham. I was then a lad of thirteen or fourteen years of age, and I well remember that at that time there was a great fight as to granting State aid to religion. The parties were divided into two forces : those who believed in State aid to religion, and those who did not. The former had a blue flag, while the latter had a blue and white flag. I was one of those who did not believe in State aid to religion. Young as I was, I was taking some interest in politics, and I well remember obtaining possession of a blue and white flag and carrying it on to the roof of our stable, where I set it on a little pinnacle. My father deliberately ordered me to take down that flag, because he would not allow anything to be displayed on his premises showing that he believed either in the blue of the one side or the blue and white of the other. He always contended that ministers of religion should keep clear of political conflicts, and therefore he would not allow the flag to be hoisted. As a matter of fact, however, he voted all right. He was in favour of the abolition of State aid to religion, and the flag would have merely indicated that the occupants of our house, at all events, did not believe in the principle. I know that all ministers of “religion do not refrain from taking part in politics.
– I would remind the honorable senator of the number of petitions which churches presented to the Senate in favour of the provision in the Post and Telegraph Bill prohibiting letters addressed to “ Tattersall “ being sent through the post.
– That was a question of morality.
– Then there were the petitions against the Divorce Bill.
– There,’ again, the question of morality came in. Honorable senators may say, if they please, that it was a political matter, but at the most it was of a merely quasi-political character.
– And unions are only quasi-political bodies.
– The honorable senator will whittle them away in the course of the argument until they have neither soul nor body left.
– That is what the honorable senator is trying to do.
– No; I am simply arguing for the recognition of fair principles. We have agreed to give preference to unionists, and that fact will in- duce large numbers of men, from motives of self-interest, to join unions, but we have no right bv legislation to compel any one to join a political association. We cannot get away from that. My honorable friends of the Labour Party are silent so far as that point is concerned. We should not do anything that is unfair. There are many persons in the Commonwealth who are not unionists, and we have no right to force them to join unions. If I were a working man I certainly should be a member of a union. It is a mistake for a man not to belong to an organization that is really looking after his own interests ; but I would not, by Act of Parliament, compel any one who might think differently to join any political association.
– Can the honorable senator imagine any union absolutely without politics.
– I think we can have unions for purely trade purposes, that do not devote their funds to assisting or supporting any political party.
– That is another matter.
– It is not proposed that a man, simply because he is a trade unionist, shall play no part in the political life of the country. It is not proposed that he shall not exercise the franchise, take part in political meetings, or form one of an association designed to gain what he believes to be an improvement in the law.
– Yes, it is.
– No; we say that preference shall be granted to a union only if its rules be such as will prevent it being a political organization as well as a trade union.
– And will open its door for every man to come in.
– Exactly. Honorable senators may talk about old and young trade unions, and about what” has been done by them. We all admit that good work has been done by unions both in England and Australia, but we know that all the improvements which have been made in our social conditions have not been brought about solely by these organizations. I do not suppose that the late Lord Shaftesbury, who worked for the abolition of child labour in the manufacturing districts of England, belonged to a trade union. I should rather imagine that John Bright and Cobden did, and yet we know that they were opposed to anything of the kind.
– “ Freedom of contract “ was their cry;
– They belonged to that miserable Manchester free-trade school which has clone so much harm in many directions, and will do more, if the people of England are not careful. I want to deal out justice. I want to treat other men as I desire them to treat me. If I were a non-unionist, and the organization relating to the trade in which I was engaged ‘were granted a preference, with the result that I could not obtain employment unless I joined it against my will, I should consider myself a martyr.
– The honorable senator would not like to sell his political freedom for employment.
– If I were starving, I do not know what I should do. I shall vote in what I believe to be the right direction. Honorable senators must admit that it would be manifestly unfair to compel persons to join organizations which are acknowledged to be of a political character.
– There is nothing to compel them to join.
– They would have to join for the sake of their bread and butter.
– There is nothing to compel them to join, except motives of self interest. As Senator Best has said, they would have to join these organizations for the sake of their bread and butter. But honorable senators of the Labour Party say, in effect, that a non-unionist should not have a chance to get employment while there is a unionist out of work. That is rather hard on the non-unionists.
– Would the honorable senator’s Government have passed the Employers’ Liability Act had not the unionists been behind it?
– We passed it, not because the unionists were behind us, but because we believed it to be a just and proper measure. The knowledge of the fact that the unionists supported it did not affect me in the slightest degree, nor did it affect the right honorable member for Adelaide.
– Who moulded public opinion on that question?
– The agitation for the measure was carried on by the trade organizations.
– I do not think there was much agitation for the measure in South Australia. We made it part of our policy, because we thought it a proper measure to pass. Our attention may have been called to it by trade organizations, for which we thanked them.
– Does not the honorable senator think that it is perfectly legitimate for a trade union to support the enactment of a measure like the Employers’ Liability Act?
– No member of a trade union should be compelled to contribute to a fund which is employed for purposes of which he does not approve.
– Must not every association be governed by majority rule ? There is always a minority against the spending of funds for any purpose.
– The clause gives preference to a particular class of persons who are members of trade- organizations, but it does not give preference to the employers.
– Yes ; they have first claim on union labour.
– A great many of them might like to be without that concession, and it will never be acknowledged as one. Preference, is given to members of trade organizations, but right and proper conditions are attached. As preference is not given to employers, the conditions do not apply to them. If the trade organizations do not ask for preference they will be perfectly free. It is only if they ask for preference that those conditions will apply.
– Will the honorable senator read the latter portion of the first sub-clause ?
-“ Or require its members to do anything of a political character.”
– That provision would prevent members of trade unions from taking action, such as the supporting of the Employers’ Liability Act, which the honorable senator thanked the trade unionists of South Australia for doing.
– They must not take action of a political character as an organization ; but there is nothing to prevent its individual members from joining any other organization for the accomplishment of political or other purposes. In England organizations have been formed and leagues established for the purpose of carrying what are thought to be reforms.
– Free-trade, for iri st since*
– Yes. Any one may join those leagues if he chooses to do so. Their members work together to secure their object, and, having accomplished it, disband again. There is nothing in the clause to prevent members of trade unions from taking similar action.
– Nor is there anything to prevent them from taking corporate action in such matters, so long as they do not ask for preference.
– That is so. We grant preference under certain conditions, one of which is that the organization asking for it shall not be a political organization.
– That means that the existing trade unions cannot obtain preference. The conditions imposed in the clause would smash up any trade union which desired to obtain preference.
– Unions are affected only so far as they have a political purpose. Unions applying for preference are not to spend their funds for the furtherance of any special political object. By providing for the granting of preference, we are practically forcing large numbers of persons to join unions, but we have no right to compel them to join political associations.
- Senator Playford has laid down the principle that we should not compel persons to join political organizations. The question is, are unions political organizations in the sense that persons joining them might be compelled to sacrifice their political convictions ? The honorable senator denied that the church of which his father was a member would, under any circumstances, take part in political matters. Churches, however, hold land, which they sometimes desire to sell, and to obtain power to sell they have often to come to Parliament.
– That would be parliamentary,not political action.
– To ask Parliament to assent to a private Bill is not to take political action.
– I consider that the act would be a political one. Senator Playford misconceives, in some measure, the intention of those who wish to strike out the clause. I should be very glad to agree to a provision which would prevent trade unions from coercing their members in any direction involving the expenditure of funds for political purposes. Senator Playford referred to the fact that a Government in South Australia, of which he was the head, passed the Employers’ Liability Act. A kindred law is that which provides for the inspection of boilers and machinery, in which those chiefly interested are trade unionists, the men who are working in proximity to the machinery. They occasionally, in self-defence, have to call the attention of Ministers of the Crown to the fact that the law is not being properly administered. Would that be, a political act?
– If it can be made clear that certain kinds of political action may be taken by trade unions, we may arrive at a solution of the difficulty. But the language of the clause is at present too wide for the purpose. I should be delighted to adopt any language which would prevent trade unions from compelling persons to join their ranks, and afterwards requiring them to vote on certain political lines. The clause, however, speaks of the application of funds to political purposes. What is a political purpose? The words are so difficult to define that litigation would take place in connexion with every conceivable action of a trade union for the enforcement of exising laws. Suppose that in the opinion of certain shop employes, the Early Closing Act was being flagrantly violated, and they appointed a deputation to wait upon the Minister to bring the facts under his notice, the loss of wages involved in the loss of time being made up to the members of the deputation out of the funds of the association, would that be the application of funds to political purposes ?
– I should think that no Court would hold that to be a political act.
– And the clause itself would not justify such an interpretation.
– Thepoint ought to be made clear. In my opinion suchan act would be a political act within the meaning of the clause, and it is worth while finding out exactly where we stand. Suppose, for argument’s sake, that the law at present in existence was,in the opinion of people employed in shops, inadequate for their protection - that it did not give the protection intended when the legislation was passed - and that they waited as a deputation on a Minister or the head of a Government to ask that a specific amendment might be made. Would that be a political act?
– I should think not.
– Certainly not.
– Undoubtedly it would.
– I should think no Court in the world would hold that to be a political act.
– The AttorneyGeneral is an authority, and his opinion is entitled to very serious weight, in the opinion of laymen, at any rate. I certainly had an entirely different view until the Attorney-General made his statement, and I still think there are a great number of innocent actions, in. a political direction, which should not make a society a political organization. I am anxious to insert such words as will clearly prohibit what we all believe to be improper political action, and which will leave free from liability a great many actions which might be called political, but which are not political in the sense we have in our minds. For instance, it would be monstrous for an organization to pass a resolution that every one of its members should vote for A, B, or C. Indeed I would go further. It would be monstrous for an organization to have power to compel its members to vote for some special political principle and bind all its members to advocate that principle. Take, for instance, free-trade, or, what is better, protection. No society should have such a power as I have indicated. Senator Playford argued, and, I think, fairly, that preference should be given to unionists.
– That is an evidence that Senator Playford is changing his mind.
– I do not think so. Senator Playford. I. believe, always considered that preference should be given.
– Under conditions.
– But Senator Playford thinks there is power in trade unions to coerce persons in political matters, in regard to which all men ought to “have the greatest possible liberty of action. In that view I agree; but if the clause is left as at present it will absolutely take away preference under all conceivable circumstances. It is quite impossible for a trade union to make itself so completely nonpolitical as not to render itself liable at’ some stage or other in respect of some resolution or action of a political nature. The essence of modern legislation is to interfere with the action of the individual in the interests of the whole.
– Why did the old trade unions provide in their rules that politics were, not to be discussed ?
– The reason is very obvious. If the honorable senator has read the history of trade unionism he ought to know that, to start with, the old unionists had no votes.
– Unionists had votes ten years ago.
– There were no old trade unionists ten years ago.
– But that provision is yet in the rules.
– That may be, but the rule is not observed. There is no labour organization in Australia of ten years’ standing that has not during that period taken, some political action, though I do not mean the sort of political action contemplated by Senator Playford. I have been a member of an industrial organization for over thirty years, and I have never known any effort to be made to coerce me in connexion with my political convictions. No doubt a large number of my fellow-unionists and myself held political views in common, but we never dreamed of coercing a man who differed from us politically. But the organization of which I am a member has repeatedly had to interview Ministers of the Crown, and has more than once had to ask for specific legislation.
– Wages Boards, for instance.
– That is a case in point.
– All such action would have come within the meaning of this provision.
– That is what I am afraid of. There is, I believe, an intention on the part of some one to move an amendment, with a view to substituting some words to prevent an organization from taking advantage of the Bill, or of the preference clause, if it subscribe to a political party.
– Hear, hear ! That is a different matter altogether.
– Such an amendment seems to me very reasonable.
– I have had no notice of any such amendment.
– I think there is an intention on the part of some honorable senator to take such a step.
– At present the desire of honorable senators opposite seems to be to strike out the proviso altogether.
– I think that would be the better course, seeing that there is no need for the proviso. In my opinion, there is no danger such as that anticipated, but if there be any fear on this score, I am willing to go as far as anybody in providing against the suggested possibilities. Words might be inserted to the effect that no organization shall permit its funds to be expended in the support of any particular political party, or in the support of any particular candidate; and I think that would cover the whole ground.
– This is a regular cold douche for honorable senators opposite !
– I do not know anything about that ; I am. merely expressing my own opinion. The proviso, to my mind, is useless, because it is unnecessary, and even if it be necessary, it goes further than it ought to. I know there are some who do not agree with me that it is unnecessary, and I shall assist those who think it is necessary, to make it effective and to meet any danger they contemplate. But I ask them to assist me, and others who agree with me, to remove from the proviso its objectionable comprehensiveness, if I may so express myself. I strongly urge on those who think that trade unionists could, and would, coerce their members into voting against their convictions, to endeavour to Revise some means of prevention, without giving the wider power in the clause which would practically render it impossible for any organization of which I have any knowledge, to take advantage of the preference provision.
– I protest against the retention of this proviso. I am perfectly satisfied, after the instances given by Senator Trenwith, that the supporters of it express the intention of its original framers. The answer given by the Attorney-General did not, I think, satisfy Senator Trenwith, or the Committee generally, because all the honorable and learned ‘ gentleman said was that in his opinion no Court in Australia would hold that those instances come within the prohibition. But the Attorney-General, as a lawyer, expresses only his own opinion. We are now once more asked t’o trust the Court - to wait until the Court has let us know the meaning of ;he clause. From the slight opposition that we have heard expressed in words - because we realize there is, and always will be, strong opposition to legislation of this character from honorable senators opposite - we can only draw the inference, particularly from what has been said by representatives of New . South Wales, that the great fear is of the political power possessed by trade unions. I have no doubt that the trade unionists in New South Wales have awakened to a sense of the mistake they made in not exercising their power more freely at the recent general election.
– They did their best.
– Had they done so, many gentlemen now members of this Chamber would have been in private life to-day ; and as a native of New South Wales, I must express my sorrow at the apathy of the trade, unionists. The freetrade horse, which has been so successful in the past, has now been driven to death; and at the next general election, another and a greater issue will be raised, and I believe the .result will be that either myself, or the representative who succeeds me, will meet many of the present honorable senators as respectable, quiet, law-abiding private citizens. I am sorry that Senator Playford has left the Chamber, because I desired, through the Chairman, to address a few remarks to him. That honorable senator has expressed his intention to vote against giving trade unions political power.
– What Senator Playford holds is, that if trade unions have political power, they ought not to have preference.
– Senator Playford voted for giving preference, but now intends to support a clause which will entirely take away any preference. And Senator Playford has a more intimate knowledge of the objects and aims of the Labour Party and trade unions than have most honorable senators who do not belong to that party. As I say, Senator Playford’s action will take away preference.
– He. is a sensible man.
– I have no doubt that that is Senator Walker’s opinion. In Western Australia, the Amalgamated Workers’ Association extends throughout the goldfields, and from the. earliest days of the gold-mining industry, that union has been an active force. It developed from a union of workers for industrial purposes into what was practically the first roads board. It was the first body with a political committee to advocate the construction of roads and bridges, the first to ask for the creation of municipalities, the first to advocate the erection of State batteries, and the first to advocate a Mines Regulation Bill. It was the body which, associated with the local Trades and Labour Council of Kalgoorlie, raised what is known as the “ Fresh Air Fund,” for sending children from the gold-fields on visits to the coast. It is such work as this that Senator Smith is going to make impossible for trade unions by the retention of this clause. I am afraid that the organization will look askance at Senator Smith if he votes in the direction he has privately indicated.
– Is the honorable senator threatening Senator Smith?
– No; but the honorable senator must take his chances. Senator Smith has to thank the Amalgamated Workers’ Association very largely for the position he holds to-day in public life.
– Would ‘the honorable senator have Senator Smith vote against his convictions?
– lt is my opinion that any man who comes here to exercise what he calls his own personal convictions, when he knows that they are in opposition to the general opinion of the electors, does not represent the electors. He represents only himself. There are at least three honorable senators opposite who, since I have been a member of the Senate, have not in their speeches represented the democrat -c sentiment of the electors of New South Wales, and Senator Smith, in taking the course which he has indicated, will not be representing the people of Western Australia.
– I am a truer democrat than is the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator who says that is the gentleman who has been trying to teach us old trade unionists all about trade unionism, although he has never been a member of a trade union in his life.
– I know as much about them as does tha honorable senator.
– The honorable senator knows nothing about trade unionism, and very little about democracy. The Attorney-General might answer this question: Would it be a political act on the part of a union, or the members of a union, if a resolution were passed, say, by the Brick-makers’ Union -
That, in the opinion of this union, an eight heu rs’ day should obtain in this industry.
– I should think not. Why should they not express an opinion on a social matter such as that?
– The clause provides that an organization shall not be entitled to any declaration of preference if its rules “ require its members to do anything of a political character.” When the chairman of a meeting of the members of a trade organization says, “ Those who are in favour of an eight hours’ day will hold up the right hand,” is not that political action ?
– What is there political about that? Other people may hold a different opinion, but I should not view that as political.
– There is nothing in this clause to guarantee that it would not be regarded as political.
– The Court will decide that.
– The Court is directed that the rules must not require the members of an organization to do anything of a political character.
– The Court has to interpret what that is.
– If we were to plainlystate in the Bill what we think it is, we could do without this proviso.
– When I desired honorable senators to retain the provision for a majority to secure preference, they would not do so, and they said, “ trust the Court.” Why not trust the Court in this case? I point out that what we are dealing with is the omission of the proviso. We are not now dealing with the amendments which have been referred to. Honorable senators have not paid me the compliment of telling me anything about their amendments.
– There is one other point to which I should like to refer. ‘ Senator Gray has ‘asked why the old trade unions passed rules prohibiting their members from taking part in political matters. Similar rules exist in some cases to-day, and the reason for their adoption is that, unless in the case of a union formed at the time of a strike, when employes determined to form a union, they sought the consent of their employer, because they knew that if they did not do so they would be victimized. The secretary of the proposed union was sent round to the employer to consult him in the matter, and he would say, “ Send me a copy of your rules, and I will let you know what
I think about it ; “ and, so far as I can read, the employers invariably insisted that there should be no reference to politics, unless of a prohibitive character.
– The pioneers of unionism said the same.
– They did say the same, under the influence of their employers. But in the old country, at the time of which Senator Gray speaks, the workers had no votes at all. I wish to record my views against the retention of this proviso, and I shall vote for the amendment.
– Senator Croft seems to me, rightly or wrongly, to be under the impression that a representative of the people should be a mere delegate. I beg to inform the honorable and learned senator that I take a very different view. My views on the subject were expressed personally at various meetings I held in New South Wales. I have never altered them from that time to the present, and the electors paid me the compliment of returning me to the Senate at the top of the poll. What right, then, has Senator Croft to say that I do not represent my constituents? After the very conclusive speeches delivered by Senators Matheson and Playford, our honorable friends opposite should see that organizations ought to be registered under this measure merely for the purposes of the Bill. But the cat is now out of the bag. andwe have been given to understand that what honorable senators opposite desire is a political, and not an industrial Bill. If I remember rightly, Senator de Largie and some other honorable senators have said that every organization is more or less political.
– I have not spoken on this clause.
– I said that, and i included every bank, every church, and every club.
– I beg to inform the honorable senator that scientific, medical, and art societies are not political.
– They frequently ask for grants from Parliament.
– That is not political action. Charity organization societies educational societies, and social clubs are not political.
– Undoubtedly they are, and some of them are now in trouble politically.
– I belong to various clubs, the members of which represent all kinds of political views.
– As a rule their rooms are used as committee rooms for parliamentary candidates.
– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon. I belong to a club in Sydney, and during the Federal campaign I was very unpopular with its members because of my Federal views. But our political views do not affect us in any way. I decline to believe that the churches are political.
– Yes, every one of them.
– Did the honorable senator read the report published in the Age of the meeting of the Orange lodge in Melbourne, when the members claimed that Mr. Reid was all right, because he was “ a good Protestant,” and declared that the Labour Party was dominated byRoman Catholics ?
– I did not.”
– It did not suit the honorable senator to read that.
– As a matter of fact, I am not in the habit of reading the Age. After the eulogy which honorable senators opposite have passed upon trade unionism, I remind them of what we in New South Wales had very good reason to remember, that it was the trade unions that introduced what was called “ picketing,” a system by which people were prevented from going to their work because they did not belong to the unions. What advantage does the community derive from “ picketing “ ? I remind honorable senators also that the proviso to which they object applies to employers and employes alike, and we have not heard any one say on behalf of employers’ unions that they object to be kept out of politics. We know that many of the members of employers’ unions are manufacturers, and there are protectionists and free-traders amongst them, and they are not united politically.
– They have gone so far as to select candidates for Parliament.
– Some of them may have done so. Under this measure what is desired is the registration merely of organizations of employers and employes, and there should be no necessity for preference. It is an old story that “ Threatened lives live long,” and in view of what has been said by Senator Croft, some of the representatives of New South Wales in the Senate will probably prove the truth of the saying. In the late elections for the Senate in that State, the Labour Party put forward a very strong man in the person of Mr. Arthur Griffith. He was supported by the protectionist party, and notwithstanding that fact he was nearly 80,000 votes behind my honorable friend Senator Gray, who was third on the list of those elected.
– Did he have any of the big Sydney papers behind him?
– I understand that the Labour Party have ten or eleven organs representing their views throughout Australia, and Mr. Griffith certainly had in the Bulletin probably the most powerful paper in Australia behind him. The debate has shown that trade unions are now more political than fiscal societies, and I have therefore been delighted to find that Senator Playford on this question is going to vote right.
– After having perused the clause under discussion, and having listened to the arguments adduced by its supporters, I have been forced to the conclusion that an insidious attempt is being made not only to weaken the forces of trade unionism, but also, if possible, to check the progress of the Labour Party throughout the Commonwealth.
– I have just left a full blown democrat, who says that the clause offers a fair compromise.
– Jealous and, in some instances, alarmed at the progress which the trade unions and political labour bodies are making in every State of the Commonwealth, the supporters of this provision, in this Chamber and outside of it, apparently believe that they will be able, by its means, to place fetters upon the unions, and a political padlock upon the lips of every democrat in the Commonwealth. They have expended all their energies and all their money, and have invoked the assistance of the capitalistic press throughout Australia in a vain effort to bring about such a result.
– What difference will the provision make to them?
– I will show the honorable senator. I ask what possible chance would the trade organizations have of improving the condition of their members, and also of non-unionists, unless they were in a position to bring political influence to bear. All the privileges which working men and working women enjoy to-day have been won by the efforts of the political labour organizations. The very fact that we are able to hold meetings as trade unionists is due to the political action that has been taken by labour organizations in years gone by. Up till 1870 trade unionism had not been legalized. And it was not until 1894 that the trade union organizations were placed upon a proper legal footing in all the States of the Commonwealth.
– They were legalized, but they had not been specially legislated for.
– Within the last century a number of workmen in Great Britain met in accordance with an Act of Parliament, which gave them permission to do so, and endeavoured to arrange for united action with a view to securing an advance of wages. They partially succeeded, but some of their number were indicted for conspiracy, and were transported to Botany Bay for a term of seven years. A great agitation resulted, strong protests were made through political channels against such unjust treatment being meted out to these men, and not long afterwards free pardons were granted. In 1893 the memorable Broken Hill strike occurred. A number of men concerned in that strike were indicted under the old conspiracy laws of George III., and some of them were sent to gaol. After they had served their term of imprisonment, they were returned by an overwhelming majority to the New South Wales Parliament.
– I cannot see the relevancy of these remarks.
– It does not follow from that that they are not relevant.
– Until 1893 it was nor possible for men to freely meet together, and discuss matters connected with the wages and conditions of labour to which they had to submit because they were liable to be indicted upon a charge of conspiracy. At the outset I made bold to say that this provision was an insidious attempt to place fetters upon trade unionists. Not very long since sweating prevailed to an alarming extent in Victoria. The trade organizations, however, by means of public meetings and the expenditure of their funds, focussed public attention upon the evils that existed, and were eventually able to secure the passing of a Factories Act, which afforded immense relief to thou- . sands of men and women. If there had been upon the statute-book a Bill containing a provision such as that now under discussion, it would not have been possible for the trade unionists to carry on such an agitation, or to spend their funds in doing so. I shall read some extracts from the report of the Victorian Chief Inspector of Factories, Mr. Harrison Ord, for 1902, in order to show honorable senators what has been accomplished by legislation in the direction I have indicated. Honorable senators may gather from the facts which I intend to present to them, some idea of the immense advantages that have been conferred upon the workers by means of political influence brought to bear by the trade organizations. If the trade unionists are to give up their right to strike, and if they are not to be able to participate in any political movement for the advancement of the workers, what a huge price they will be called upon to pay for the high-toned Bill which is now offered to them.
– The honorable senator is adopting a very strained interpretation.
– It would not be possible for a trade organization registered under this measure to engage in any political movement for the advancement of its members.
– If they did, they would only be deprived of preference.
– They would be deprived of nearly all the rights they now enjoy. “
– The honorable senator wants to squeeze the orange dry.
– I want nothing of the kind. All I desire is that trade unionists shall be permitted to enjoy in the future the rights which they are able to freely exercise to-day.
– The honorable senator has very little sympathy with nonunionists.
– I feel sympathy for every working man, whether he belong to a union or not.
– Give the non-unionist a crust.
– Trade unionists have been accused of want of sympathy with those outside the pale of their organizations ; but there is no ground for that accusation. Honorable members must know that non-unionists have shared in the benefits which have been secured through the trade organizations, and that but for the unions, they would be in a very much worse position than they are to-day. The Factories Act came into operation in Victoria in 1895, and at that time it was said by its opponents that it would be inimical to the well-being and happiness of the people, would impede progress, cause factories to be closed, and throw men and women out of employment. The same thing is said to-day by the supporters of the provision now under discussion.
– What about the Sunshine Harvester works ?
– Most of the Victorian labour members are protectionists, and I believe nearly the whole of the members of the State Legislature belong to the same fiscal faith. The Labour Party believe in protection being given, not only to the manufacturer, but also to the workmen. They believe that any benefits that may be derived by the manufacturer should be shared by his employes.
– Is it not a fact that 500 employes in the Sunshine Harvester Works petitioned against the adoption of the award of the Wages Board ?
– I am informed that some of the employes signed the petition under pressure. I cannot conceive of any working men willingly signing a petition in favour of abrogating the Factories Act, which has afforded them the protection they were so long denied. The proprietor of the” Sunshine Harvester Works desires more protection, and I say that if his request is to be granted, the workmen should receive some advantage in the shape of better wages and improved working conditions generally.
– He will probably go to the Argentine.
– Where is the poor capitalist to find a permanent haven of rest? Every time that advanced labour legislation is proposed, on every occasion that an attempt is made to place humanitarian laws upon the statute-book, the question is asked : “What will happen to the poor capitalist”? - that winged creature who seems to be able to flit hither and thither just as he wills. He will find some difficulty in securing a permanent place of rest, because labour legislation is being enacted throughout all the zones that belt the globe.
– We are now dealing only with the clause relating to the unions which are to obtain preference.
– And I am endeavouring to show that, whilst it is proposed to give preference to unionists, an attempt is being made to rob them of all the rights they now enjoy, and which have been won after years of struggle.
– The unionists are not to be denied any privileges unless they want preference.
– If the honorable and learned senator had his way he would give neither preference nor votes to unionists.
– I should give them votes, but certainly not preference.
– In Tasmania today there are many men who have not votes, and I trust thehonorable and learned senator will do all he can to confer that privilege upon them.
– When the honorable and learned senator was Premier of Tasmania he said that the country was going to ruin.
– Probably that was owing to the fact that the honorable and learned senator was at the head of the Government. According to Mr. Ord’s report, in 1895 there were 2,573 factories in Victoria,in which 36,000 hands were employed. In 1896 there were 3,370 factories, and 40,000 hands; in 1897, 3,739 factories and 45,000 hands; in 1898, 3,777 factories and 45,000 hands; in 1899, 3,895 factories and 49,000 hands; in 1900, 4,050 factories and 52,000 hands; in 1901, 4,238 factories and 56,000 hands; and in 1902 4,252 factories, with 59,000 employes, male and female. A prediction was made that the Factories Act would bring about disaster, but these figures prove that the prophets were altogether astray. For many years in Victoria a number of trades had to contend against manifestly unjust conditions and vile competition. For years and years the Chinese had a monopoly of the furniture trade. A number of Australian-born men walked about the streets of the various cities in the States while the Chinese were employed every day, including Sunday, and were not complying with even sanitary conditions. The Furniture Trade Society held public meetings in almost every suburb of Melbourne, and so rivetted public attention upon the evils of this competition that they were able to secure the passing of an Act which did give them a measure of protection, because to-day the Chinese are supposed - I do not think the law is rigidly observed in some cases - to observe the eight hours principle, are not permitted to work on Sundays, although they dodge that provision not infrequently, and are compelled to observe sanitary conditions, and brand all their furniture “ Chinese made.” If this Bill had been in existence, would it have been possible for the Furniture Trade Society to carry on that political agitation? No.
– Not if they wanted a preference.
– Just so. Would it be possible for (the Builders’ Labourers Society to carry on an agitation in favour of the passing of a Scaffolding Act in order to safeguard human life ? Are they to be deprived of that privilege? Recently, a deputation from the Builders’ Labourers Society waited upon the Government of Victoria and desired that there should be appointed an inspector who should properly supervise the scaffolding which was put up by a number of contractors; some of whom have more consideration for profit than for human life.
– This Bill would not affect that.
– Under this Bill they would not be allowed to carry on a political agitation in favour of the passing of a Scaffolding Act, or to expend their money for that purpose. Honorable senators who are supporting this provision in the Bill are thoroughly aware of that fact.
– I am sure that I am not.
– I trust that the honorable senator will be made aware of the fact before this debate is concluded. I ask honorable senators to listen to an account of what took place at the deputation to which I have just referred. One member of the deputation, who, for fear of getting the sack, wished his name to be suppressed - instanced a suburban job on which he was employed. One of the scaffolding poles used in this job was like a fishing rod. He was called to hoist a heavy girder with a rope, the strands of which were “ played out.” . He asked the clerk of works if he would not condemn this work, and the clerk said it was out of his line. If it was bad building material he would be able to condemn, but he had nothing to do with the rope, though he admitted that it was rotten. The winch used in the same job was almost in pieces, and was so old that it must have been used in Noah’s Ark. The barrel had to be levered over. The clerk of works, however, would not condemn it. The same speaker went on to say that when the contractor had run out of scaffolding cords he had been sent to the grocer’s for clothes lines. He had seen a scaffolding pole “ footed “ on to the joist of the floor sixty feet from the ground. The pole was not even nailed down.
Do honorable senators think that such a practice as that should be permitted to be continued ?
– I should think that the clerk of’ works was mad.
– But he had nothing to do with it.
– He was responsible for it.
– He was not responsible, because there is no Act giving that measure of protection to the men who are engaged in this trade. We have had brought under our notice recently, sad cases in which a number of hard-working men have lost their lives from the use of defectice scaffolding. In the baking trade in this State sweating was rampant. Men were working under insanitary conditions for as long as ninety hours per week, and in some instances for 30s. The Bakers’ Union placarded Melbourne, expended union funds, and carried on a political agitation in condemnation of the evils of sweating, and because of that agitation they were brought under the provisions of the Factories Act. I could cite other unions which have been engaged in similar work, and which have been benefited because of the agitation which they carried on. I wish to show from the report of the Chief Inspector of Factories the advantages which have been gained by unions from carrying on a political agitation. As regards the boot trade, Senator Trenwith has dealt exhaustively with some instances which happened to himself as a boot operative and trade unionist. His case is typical of many others. Some few years ago, in Victoria, men who had served a long period to the boot trade, were getting, in some instances, wages which were inadequate for a youth. Like other tradesmen who desired to be brought under the provisions of the Factories Act, they carried on an agitation, and it resulted in their betterment. In 1896, before the determination of the Wages Board came into force, the average wage was £1 6s. rod. for males and 13s. 4d. for females, the general averag being £1 3s. 2d. After the passage of the Factories Act, and in the year 1892, the figures indicate an average increase of 5s. id. per week to each employe, as compared with 1896. It must be remembered that the permanency of this Act depends entirely upon united, vigorous political action on the part of all trade organizations. It depends upon the “eternal vigilance” of unionists and non-unionists to see that the Act is not evaded, and is kept on the statute-book. The brushmakers are also under the provisions of the Act, because of their political activity. In 1891, before the determination of the Wages Board came into force, the average wage for the trade was j£i 3s. id., while in 1902, after the determination had been in force for a few months, the average wage was £1 6s. 7d. These figures indicate an average increase of 3s. 6d. to each employe in the trade. A few years ago it was very difficult to bring about an organization . of the men employed in the butchering trade, but by incessant energy and zeal on the part of those men who desired to help on their fellows, a fairly strong organization, numerically and financially, was brought into existence, and by reason of their political activity, the butchers have been brought under the provisions of the Factories Act. In 1900, before the determination of the Wages Board came into force, the average wage for the whole trade was £1 17s. 8d. In 1 901 it was £1 1 8s. 8d., while in 1902 it was £2 os. 4d., showing an average increase of 2s. 8d. to every employe-, as compared with 1900. Take the clothing trade. In 1896, before the determination came into force, the average wage for the whole trad’e was £1. In 1901, it was £1 2s. nd., while in 1902 it was;£i 2s. 5A, showing an average increase of 2 s. 5d. to each employe, as compared with 1896. In 1900, lief ore the coopers engaged in political activity, the average wage for adult males was £2 2s. per week, while the average wage for all males was £1 15s. 7d. per week. In 1902 the average wage was £2 9s. for adult males, and £2 3s. 5d. for all employes, showing an average increase of 75. for adult males, and of 7 s. iod. for all the employes, as compared with 1900, before the determination of the Wages Board came into force. Let me now take the case of the engravers. It is quite true that in this calling a large number of men were not employed, but they were employed under conditions which seemed to them unsatisfactory, and for that reason, they set to work, and at last were brought under the provisions of the Factories Act. In 1900 the average wage for the trade was £1 16s. nd., while in 1902 it was £2 9s. iod., showing an average increase of 12s. 1 id. to each employe, as compared with 1900, before the determination came into force. I shall now quote some figures to show the improvement which has been made in the furniture trade from a pecuniary, sanitary, and living point of view.
In 1896, before the determination of the Wages Board came into force, the average wage was £1 9s. 7d. for all males, and 14s. id. for females, the general average being j£i 9s. id. In 1902 the average wage was £2 is. 56. for males, and 19s. 5d. for females, the general average being £1 19s. 6d. The average, wage of adult males was £2 11s. id., and of females £1 2s. 4d. As compared with the rates for 1896, those figures show an increase of 10s. 5d. per week to every person employed in the trade. We know that they cannot maintain these improved conditions unless they engage in political work, as the supporters of the provision in this Bill well know. Are trade unionists, some of whom have been victimized and boycotted, being asked to pay a fair price for this so-called preference to unionists’ provision? Take the plate-glass workers. In 1900, before the determination came into force, the average wage for all males in the trade was £1 7s. 6d., and for adult males, £2 3s. 3d. In 1901 the average wage for all males was £1 15s. iod., while the average wage for adult males was ^2 10s. 4d. In 1902 the average wage for the trade was £1 15s 8d., and for adult males, £2 9s. 4d., showing an increase of 8s. 2d. to each employe, as compared with 1900. In the pottery trade, before 1901, the average wage was ,£1 8s. id., and for adult males it was £1 17s. 7d. In 1901, under the determination of the Wages Board, the average wage was £1 15s. 9d., and for adult males £2 4s. 6d. Last year the average wage for adult males was £2 5s. 8d., and the general average for the trade was j£i 1 6s. 4d., showing an average increase of 8s. 3d. for each employe. In the bookbinding trade in 1901, before the determination came into force, the average wage for all males was ^1 ns. id.; for all females, 11s. 7d., the general average being 19s. 9d. Last year the average for all males was £1 12s. 4d. ; for all females 12s. 6d. ; the general average being £1 2s. id. These figures indicate an average increase of 2s. 4d. for each employe in the trade. I come next to the printing trade. The agitation for factory legislation in the printing trade, commenced in the first instance by the employe’s, received the active support and cooperation of the employers - that is of those, who desired to recognise fair working conditions. The employing printers had for a long period to contend against boy-labour and cut-throat competition. They desired, in order to minimize, if .not absolutely to prevent that cut-throat competition, to be brought under the provisions of the- Factories Act. In 1901, before the determination of the board in the printing trade for the metropolitan district came into force, the average wage for all males was £1 17s. 2d.; for all females, 13s. nd. ; the general average being £1 16s. iod. Last year the average for all males was £2 os. fid. ; for all females, 13s. id.; the general average being £1 19s. These figures indicate an average increase of 2s. 2d. for each employe in the printing trade in the metropolitan district. As for the printing trade outside the metropolitan dis.trict in 1901, before the determination came into force, the average wage for all males was £1 11s. id., the general average being -£i 11s. Last year the average wage for all males was £,1 17s. 8d., the general average being £1 13s. id. These figures indicate an average increase of 2s. id. for each employ^ in the printing trade outside the metropolitan district. I hope that I have not wearied honorable senators by these quotations from an official report, but I felt justified, in making them, desiring to show honorable senators that what they are asking the trade unionists to do will never be done. They are asking the unions to agree to be brought under the provisions of this Bill, so that-they shall not be enabled to strike, but shall at the same time be debarred from engaging in any political action as organized bodies. Trade unionism and political organization seem to me to be inseparable. They go hand in hand in almost every country on the face of the earth. But here, in a socalled democratic country, an attempt is being made to throw back the cause of unionism to the condition in which it stood 100 years ago. So far as I am able to exercise a vote arid to raise my voice, I shall give no assistance in any such direction. Personally I should like to see the provision knocked out altogether. Those who express so much sympathy for the poor non-unionist never show any regard for him, except on occasions like these.
– Has the honorable senator any sympathy for the unfortunate employer ? .
– The so-called “ unfortunate “ employers in the State of Victoria have, in many instances, desired to be brought under the operation of factories legislation. Many of them are men who are imbued .with humanitarian principles, who desire to pay their men fair wages, and to work them under reasonable conditions, with reasonable hours. But they are severely handicapped by employers who do not wish to recognise fair labour conditions, and have no desire to pay decent wages. The cry about the unfortunate non-unionist is a mere bogy. The nonunionists are not at all likely to be frightened by it. In the majority of cases nonunionist working men and women invariably record their votes for, and do all they can to return, Members of Parliament who do not desire the retention of provisions df this kind in Acts of Parliament. The poor non-unionist is like the poor widow of whom we heard so much at the time the agitation for factories legislation was in progress in Victoria. We never heard of the poor widow or of the old and slow worker until the Labour Party desired to make better conditions for unionists and non-unionists alike. Every labour senator, as I said on a previous occasion, has been returned by the active support and by the votes, not on’ly of unionists, but of non-unionists; and if to-morrow the nonunionists of this country had to choose between voting against capitalistic conservative candidates such as those who seem to desire to retain this provision in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill and a labour man who desired to extend the principle of trade unionism, their votes would undoubtedly be recorded for the Labour Party. I have said sufficient to convince those who are open to argument that this provision is pernicious and that it is intended to be harmful and destructive of the growing labour movement. Because I feel that such is the case, and because I am satisfied that many of the supporters of it are the enemies o’f the labour movement, I desire to see it struck out. I am convinced that the great body of the working men and women of this country, unionists and non-unionists alike, will agree that in our desire to strike out this provision we are actuated by a wish to promote their happiness and well-being.
– The earnest deliverance of the honorable senator who has just resumed his seat would be justified if the basis upon which he made it was correct. But, as a matter of “ fact, the honorable senator has completely evaded the provisions of this Bill. He has indicated to the Committee that a deliberate onslaught on trade unionism is intended. At times the honorable senator’s “speech approached violence in his resentment of this alleged onslaught. If his statements were in the remotest degree justified by the provisions of the Bill, the honorable senator’s deliverance would be praiseworthy; but, as a matter of fact, probably every honorable senator is prepared to admit at once the valuable work that has been done not only in Victoria, but in the other States, by trade unions. It is not necessary for Senator Findley to enumerate the agitations which ‘have resulted in the passage of Factories Acts, and to enlarge upon the splendid work achieved by the Wages Boards in the State of Victoria. We admit it all. We admit the many advantages which trade unionism has secured to the workers generally. But the proposal before the Senate does not in the remotest degree attack or injure any trade union. Every union will be at liberty to carry on under its State law, in precisely the same way as at present. The unions are not debarred from political agitation such as they have hitherto carried on. The very spirit of the Bill is that they shall be permitted to continue as in the past, and shall not be in any way prejudiced. There has been an agitation on the pari of the workers generally, and on the part of those who sympathize with them, in favour of this Bill, and I- should have thought that the members of the Labour Party would be the most earnest in their desire to pass a reasonable measure, even if it meant the expenditure of a little trouble, in order to achieve the advantages and benefits of compulsory arbitration. I wish to point out to them that they can keep their trade unions at work if this provision is passed, but they are invited by the Bill to eliminate the political complexion of their unions for Federal purposes only. The members of the unions can federate if they like. There is very little trouble attached to duplicating the unions, and if they amalgamate, the variouspolitical organizations which have been associated with them in the past, and which are largely constituted of the members of the unions themselves, can be continued.
– The honorable and learned senator advises us to evade this provision then?
– I advise the unions to carry out the spirit of the provision and the spirit of the measure.
– Suppose the members of- a union become shareholders in a political newspaper? Suppose such a newspaper were owned by an organization?
– An organization formed for the purposes of registration under this Bill must not participate in the running of a political newspaper. That is the spirit of the clause, but trade unions, which are shareholders in the political newspapers to which my honorable friend refers, will continue, as in the past, on the share registers. In order to participate in the great advantages of this measure, all that the trade unions are asked to do is. to register an organization “pursuant to this Act.” The definition of an “ organization “ is “ Any organization registered pursuant to this Act.” That means to say, that some other body to be called an organization–
– It must be a union, although it will become an organization after registration.
– It may be an organization irrespective of its being a union.
– It may or may not be a union. It must at all events be an organization, consisting of not less than 100 members. The union element is completely eliminated. All that trade unionists are asked to do - and they will readily do it - in order to gain the advantage accruing under this measure is, so to speak, to duplicate their unions, and make them organizations. Whether they are made organizations by duplication or otherwise, is a matter of no moment. They have simply to register an organization in order to secure the privileges conferred by this Bill.
– Surely the honorable and learned senator cannot believe in the policy of this clause, when he shows us how it may be evaded.
– I am showing honorable senators how it may be complied with. I am pointing out to the honorable senator that it will not be necessary to disturb in any way the trade unions which have done so much. I argue that they should be permitted to remain intact, but that the members of them under this clause will simply have to go to the small trouble of creating an organization in the spirit and terms of the measure. Surely nothing could be fairer or more reasonable? I admit, as honorable members opposite will admit, the difficulty of exactly defining the words “political purposes.” It is quite impossible to define them. If, with my honorable friends opposite, I could arrive at any satisfactory definition, I should gladly do so; but they recognise the difficulty as well as I do. It is all very well to say that the words “ political purposes “ mean political party agitations and operations. If that were their meaning honorable senators opposite would, perhaps be more or less agreeable to such a provision. . But they do not know exactly what the words “ political purposes “ mean, or where they might land them. The argument they seek to adduce in that respect, however, may also be fairly advanced from an opposite stand-point. As a matter of fact, the only object is to protect those who do not happen to belong to a trade union from undue oppression, and to give them the same fair freedom of conscience and action as they have hitherto enjoyed, notwithstanding all the great advantages of being associated with unions. I have sought to demonstrate, although, perhaps, I have not done so, to the satisfaction of Senator Findley, that whilst I admit all that he has said with regard to the value of trade unions, this Bill does not in the remotest degree attack those unions or discount their advantages.
Question -That the words proposed to be left out, be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That after the word “ rules,” line 3, the words “ compel or require any of its members to vote for or subscribe to the funds of any political party “ be inserted.
It has been asserted during the debate that this clause is an innovation, and that we do nor find its parallel in any Conciliation and Arbitration Act in operation. The last division has gone against honorable senators on this side, and whilst we recognise that in giving away anything in this regard we are temporizing with the principle that the political rights of any section of the community should not be interfered with by law, we feel that it is necessary to do something to minimize that interference as much as possible. Before unionists would be able to take advantage of the principle of compulsory arbitration, they would be compelled, under the clause as it stands, to give away some of their rights as citizens. We are all anxious that that invasion of principle shall be avoided as far as possible, but we recognise that the argument, that by granting preference to unionists we may force men .to join unions whose political faith differs from that of the original members, deserves some consideration. I think it has been admitted by every honorable senator who has spoken that it is impossible to arrive at a reasonable definition of the words, “ political actions.” The difficulty was clearly pointed out by Senator Best, and I agree with him that the ramifications of these words are so great that it would be almost im possible to embody in the Bill itself any satisfactory . definition of them. Every society in Australia, whether it be a trade union, a religious body, or a medical league, participates more or less in politics.
– There are some societies which have nothing to do with politics.
– Can the honorable senator name one?
– There is the medical society, and other scientific societies.
– When this clause was being debated in another place, two members of the medical profession showed that the British Medical Association interfered in political matters to such an extent that it actually had a parliamentary committee. Why does it require such a committee, if it takes no part in politics? The honorable senator must see that even the medical societies dabble in politics just as every religious sect does.
– The medical societies deal not with political, but with .sanitary matters.
– The honorable senator is quibbling. All this goes to prove the difficulty of defining the words “ political purposes.”
– Surely the honorable senator does not say that the churches are political associations?
– Certainly they are. The Congregational Union and the Roman Catholic Congress, which met a few days ago, as well as the Presbyterian General Assembly and the Anglican Convocation, which may meet a week or two hence, have as much to do with politics as they have with religion.
– I am sure that Senator Fraser will admit that every church deals with the educational question in some form or another.
– And with the divorce laws.
– Senator Dobson has reason to know that they certainly take an interest in the’ divorce laws. It cannot be denied that they take part in politics. It has been argued that men might be forced into unions to support a political party. The members of the Labour Party should be the last to do anything of that kind. Political liberty has been fought hard for by the party to which I belong, and we recognise the unfairness of compelling by law any individual to support any political party. We hold that political liberty, should be given to every member of a union, and the amendment which I have moved will, I think, meet all the reasonable objections of those who had scruples about supporting our last amendment, for fear that it would allow members of unions to be forced to support political parties. Under my amendment, no member of a union will be required to subscribe money for, or to vote at elections for, any political party. That is as reasonable a safeguard of the political liberties of members of unions as can be looked for. We must not, however, take from the unions the right to move in any political direction they may choose, so long as they do not force their members to support any political party. I would remind Senators Smith and Matheson of the actions of the organizations in Western Australia with which’ they are familiar. In that State the trade organizations, with other public bodies, take a hand in almost every public movement. Senator Matheson will remember that the trade unions of the gold-fields, together with the trade unions of the coast, the municipal councils, friendly societies, road boards, and even some of the churches, took a hand in the work of the Separation League, of which he was president, and which forced the hand of those who were opposing Federation.
– Hear, hear !
– The honorable senator proved himself friendly to the principle of arbitration years ago in Western Australia, before this Bill was introduced, and I ask him would it not be unjustifiable to soframe this clause that the trade unions registered under the Bill would be unable to take action similar to that to which I have just referred?
SenatorMatheson. - The unions of which the honorable member speaks would not dream of registering under this measure, because it applies only to disputes spreading from one State to another.
– That is so, but the unions will register under it.
– To what end?
– To secure the settlement, by arbitration, of disputes extending beyond the boundaries of any one State.
– They would have no status unless they were federated unions.
– I do not agree with the honorable senator. So long as a union has 100 members, it may register under this Bill, whether it is or is not affiliated to unions in other States. Senator Matheson, while Mayor of Kalgoorlie, presided at a convention in that town whose object was to secure the extension of parliamentary representationto the goldfields. At that convention there were represented trade unions, municipal councils, road boards, friendly societies, and other public bodies. A trade union registered under the Bill could not take that action. Honorable senators must see that if we prevent the unions from interfering in matters of this kind, we shall be doing great injustice. There are many social reforms which have been agitated for by trade unions. The ventilation and sanitary condition of the mines of Victoria is. perhaps, as bad as are to be found in any part of the civilized world, but if the Amalga mated Miners’ Association, which has always declared that it has nothing to do with party politics, were registered under the Bill, it could not set going an agitation for the better ventilation of the deep levels of Ballarat and Bendigo, and at the same time take advantage of the preference which is offered. These seem to me good and sufficient reasons why honorable senators should consider if they will act wisely in opposing the amendment. I appeal to them not to allow their party feeling to so influence them that the Bill will be useless. So far as Western Australia is concerned, not a union there is likely to register under the measure. At any rate, they do not require it so much that they will be willing to prevent themselves from taking political action in order to secure the advantages which it offers, since the State Arbitration Act is sufficient for the settlement of their disputes. They are not likely to be affected, whether the Bill is passed or thrown into the waste paper basket.
– Will the amendment accomplish all that honorable senators desire ?
– It will, to a great extent, remove the disabilities which the Bill places upon trade unions.
– Then it satisfies honorable senators?
– It is a matter of taking half a loaf or nothing at all. We have been defeated on our original proposition, and we recognise that in proposing this amendment we are, to a certain extent, temporizing with principle ; but we are prepared to accept it rather than allow the clause to pass as it stands. I think that the amendment is a reasonable one, and one which should meet with consideration from reasonable men.
– I am glad to know that the acceptance of the amendment will make the clause acceptable to my honorable friends.
– A little more palatable, that is all.
– It is a pity that a day and a half has been spent in trying to get the proviso struck out, when the moving of the amendment a little earlier would have saved the discussion.
– We should in any case have attempted to strike out the proviso.
– I see no reason for striking out the proviso if the half-loaf argument is to prevail, and honorable senators are content to allow the organizations to be half instead of wholly political. In the first place, I should like to know why it is proposed to insert the amendment after the word “ rules.” If the words “or other binding decisions.” are left in, and the operation of the amendment is confined to the rules, the object in view could be defeated by the passing of a resolution.
– A resolution could not override rules.
– A resolution would operate where the rules were silent. . The amendment has been inserted most adroitly, so that if the rules do not compel or require the members of an organization to support a political party, a resolution may be passed to accomplish that purpose.
– We have no ulterior motive of that kind.
– Then I should like Senator de Largie to withdraw the amendment until we have dealt with the words “or other binding decisions.” Then we shall get to the gist of the matter.
– There can be no objection to that.
– It seems to me that that is an answer to this particular amendment. It would be idle for us to spend time in debating a provision, the essence of which could at once be evaded by the passing of a resolution.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia). - I have no objection whatever to accept the suggestion of the AttorneyGeneral. I assure the honorable and learned senator that I attach to the word “ rules ‘ ‘ the same importance as does the average trade unionist. At meetings of trade unionists the rules of the union are referred to with as much solemnity as though they were the Holy Scriptures themselves. Honorable senators can rely upon it that trade unionists will stand by anything which appears in their rules, but they do not attach the same importance to what might be called resolutions” or binding decisions. I omitted the reference to binding decisions in my amendment, because the same importance is not attached to them by trade unionists.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral prepared, on behalf of the Government, to accept the amendment if submitted in the form suggested ?
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move-
That after the word “ decisions,” line 4, the following words be inserted - “ compel or require any of its members to vote for or subscribe to the funds of any political party.”
Senator TRENWITH (Victoria).- I gathered from the tone of the AttorneyGeneral’s remarks, that it seemed to him that, if Senator de Largie included the words “ or other binding decisions ‘ ‘ in his amendment, that would be sufficient. The honorable and learned senator has said that that is not so. I have no quarrel with him on that account. I point out that all along it has been claimed that there was a danger that if preference were given to trade, unionists by an award of the Court, the effect would be to compel persons to become unionists, who would not otherwise do so, and in view of the fact that unions are political organizations, persons who joined them would be compelled to subscribe to political doctrines in which they did not believe. Surely Senator de Largie’s amendment removes any possible danger of that kind? If it is agreed to, any organization which, through its rules or other binding decisions, permits its funds to be used to support any political party, or. permits its members to support the election of any party candidate, will be deprived of any preference we give under this measure to trade unionists. The amendment will not prevent trade unionists from doing these things but it will prevent them from’ getting preference under this Bill if they do them, and that is all that is sought.
– So it has been said.
– That is all that can be achieved by the clause as it stands. But as it stands the clause is so comprehensive and far-reaching that no person can tell exactly what its limits are. The amendment submitted by Senator de Largie is explicit and definite, and any one can see at a glance exactly what it means. The question for us to consider now is whether . it goes far enough to remove the danger’ which exists ‘in the “minds of some honorable senators. I have several times said that I see no danger, but I admit that it is reasonableon the part of those who do that provision should be made to guard against it. I venture to submit that if the declarations of those honorable senators are bond fide, and if the danger which they profess to see is of the character they describe - and I do not doubt their professions for a. moment- the amendment will cover all that the)’ desire, unless they wish to go to the extreme length indicated in some of the speeches of this afternoon. I have ventured to submit some instances in which political action of a certain character is absolutely imperative, in connexion with every organization of which I can conceive, but political action of such a character as to present no public menace. I mentioned instances which are typical of hundreds, and possibly of thousands of instances which may be eked, in which organized bodies might be called upon to take political action, and with respect to these instances, the Attorney-General said that this .proviso would not apply, as the political action to which I referred would not be political action within the meaning of the clause. I have no desire to twit honorable senators who contend that there is a danger, which the clause is required to meet, with insincerity, but I admit that the danger they have presented, and the evils which they have contended might result if there were no restriction upon the political action of trade unionists, will be sufficiently guarded against by the amendment. Under the amendment trade organizations, by their rules, or any other binding decisions, must not permit-
– “ Compel,” not “ permit.”
– It does not matter which word is used - to permit the operation of a binding decision is to compel.
– “ Permit “ is the word used in the Bill, and I do not know what objection there can be to its use in this amendment.
– Speaking for myself, I would say that if it would satisfy the Attorney-General and honorable senators who object to the position taken up by myself and others, I should have no objection to the use of the word “ permit “ in the amendment, but it must have reference to the special’ form of political action contemplated. What I object to is the extension of the proviso to any and all political action. That would be too wide and far-reaching, and under such a proviso we should never know when we would be safe. I desire that whilst providing a safeguard against the dangers which have been suggested, the proviso on which we agree should not extend to what we might all admit is perfectly legitimate political action. I earnestly beg of the AttorneyGeneral to give consideration to the amendment, and I beg honorable senators on this side who have opposed the striking out of the proviso to consider whether - now that the Committee has not been able to agree to the omission of the proviso - it would not be a fair, reasonable, gracious, and safe thing to accept what those who desired to strike out the proviso are willing to substitute for its vague, indefinite, and far-reaching terms. I hope we shall be able to settle this question on the basis now laid down. The amendment involves restrictions deplored by some of those who are prepared to vote for it, but, speaking for myself, I have no regret about that. I think that the danger which has been suggested does not exist, but I .say that if there is the shadow of a danger that persons may be coerced or tyrannized, it should be removed. The amendment will remove every possible danger that might arise under the clause as it now stands.
– I can assure my honorable friend that I respond most cheerfully to his appeal to consider the amendment, as I’ hope I shall consider every amendment submitted in a Bill of this character. At the same time, having arrived at a very strong conviction on the various points of controversy in the Bill, it will take a good deal of argument to unsettle my mind or induce me to deviate from the words of the clause which. I think, are very well considered. My honorable friend has come one step towards me-
– I have been that far all the time.
– I felt that I had an ally, to a certain extent, in my honorable friend. He has expressed1 the position very well in saying that he sees no reason why the word “permit” should be objected to.
– The honorable and learne’d senator would not permit a man to do what he wanted to do.
– I always allow a man to do what he wants, unless it is something illegal. I cannot see why there should be any objection to the word “permit.”
– The rules of the unions do not permit, thev compel.
– We heard from Senator Dawson that there was no such thing as compulsion.
– This is a compulsory measure.
– If a decision is binding, and it permits, it is obvious that the vice of the political association to which this provision is directed must still exist. I am sure my honorable friends are perfectly sincere in their advocacy of this amendment, and I should have been glad if they had been candid enough to tell me of their intention to move the amendment, so that I might have given it fuller consideration at an earlier stage.
– The honorable and learned senator would not have accepted it even if we had inserted the word “ permit.”
– No; and I shall give my reason for that. I want honorable senators opposite to respond to an appeal similar to that which was made to me by Senator Trenwith, and consider whether they should not withdraw the amendment. I think that they will agree with me that, in view of their own arguments in favour of striking out this provision altogether, their amendment would be absolutely worthless, not from their point of view, but for the purposes for which the provision was inserted in the Bill. I think that it was Senator Dawson who said that there was no compulsion in the rules of any of the organizations, either to subscribe to the funds or to support any particular political party.
– That is so.
– If so, the amendment would be inoperative.
– In some of the States the rules are compulsory.
– I think that my honorable friends must see that the amendment is merely words, and nothing more. At present we are asking for bread, and my honorable friends are offering us a stone; we are asking for something that will preclude the possibility of compulsion being applied to any man - any nonunionist - to barter his political freedom for bread.
– Does not the amendment cover that ?
– No. I cannot understand why an effort should be made to restrict the operation of the provision - if it is to have any operation at all - to organizations which have rules compelling members to vole for or subscribe to the funds: of any particular party, and why it should not be made equally applicable to organizations which are political, because they permit their funds to be used for political purposes. It seems to me that if an organization has political as well as industrial objects, the vice in that respect is just as great and is just as much to be guarded against if it permits its funds to be used as if it compels its members to subscribe for such purposes. I think that Senator Trenwith has rather misconceived the whole purpose of this provision. Its object is–
– To kill the unions.
– No; it is not. Perhaps it will be convenient for me at this stage to say a few words in reply to some remarks which fell from Senator Dawson yesterday. He asked whether it was intended to destroy the Labour Party as a political organization, to sweep away any semblance of political organization - whether it was intended to destroy the political Labour Party as such. I assure honorable senators that there is no such intention. I tried to make that clear yesterday, and Senator Playford made it absolutely plain in the course of his interjections, and the speech he delivered earlier this afternoon.
– Every word that Senator Playford said this afternoon applied equally to preference.
– That may or may not be ; I do not think so. Every trade union and association is entitled to make its organization political as well as industrial. It is entitled to enter into political fights as much as it pleases, to spend its funds, if its members permit, as freely as it likes in support of the Government on the one hand or of the Opposition on the other. My honorable friends must remember that they are now His Majesty’s direct Opposition, and (hat every trade association which is, as they say, a political association as well as an industrial organization, is an instrument not only of political propagandism, but of party political strife, and would be used, as it may be perfectly right that it should be used, for the purpose of promoting the interest of the political party which was working in the direction it desired. This Bill is not intended to destroy the political character of the unions or their political power. But we say, “ If under this Bill you become an organization for the purpose of securing an industrial award, and you ask for preference, you are not entitled to that preference if your organization is political as well as industrial.”
– In any sense political.
– That is a matter to be determined. All this clause does is to define as far as it can - the definition is difficult - an organization which is political as well as industrial. Consistently with this amendment, the unions have a political status altogether untouched. An organization might be an active political association, because, provided that it had no rule compelling or requiring its members to vote for or subscribe to the funds of any political party, it might permit its funds to be used for political purposes, and to be expended for the purpose of any electoral campaign in aid of its own party purposes.
– Unless any member objected.
– This is not a question of compulsion. The question is, “ Is the organization, political in its character? If it is, preference cannot be granted to its members.
– That is what we want to obviate.
– What honorable senators want to do is to insure that where there are two men applying for work, one being the member of an organization and the other not, the latter must surrender not only his industrial, but also his political, interests to the organization before he can be permitted to obtain employment.
– We are not saying anything of the kind.
– My . honorable friend draws an inference different from that which I deduce. I desire to emphasize what was stated by Senator Matheson this afternoon. It must be remembered that an organization under this Bill is not an existing organization - it may consist of the same members - but must be subject to registration under this Bill, and as an organization for the purpose of the Bill it has no business to be political in any sense of the term. I cannot understand the contention that it should be political, or have any political object. I do not agree with the further extension of the idea expressed by Senator McGregor as to the necessity of having Federal organizations all over the Commonwealth, but ‘ everybody must agree that under the Bill there must be registration, and that registration is complete if it is effected in conformity with the terms of the Act, which requires, in the case of employes, the association of at least 100 persons. What I wish to point out is that, consistently with this amendment, an organization may be an absolutely political body, the only reservation being that if the rules compel the members to vote for or subscribe to the funds of any political party they shall not enjoy preference. If honorable senators are prepared to go that far they ought to go the whole length, because the question is whether the objects of the organization are political.
– There would be two sets of rules, one set to register, and one set to work under.
– That is another matter. I am not going to discuss how they will deal withthe Act when it is in force. The kind of political party at which the proviso is directed may co-exist with the amendment, and the effect of the amendment will be to defeat the whole object of the provision which we have been debating all the afternoon.
– I can see now that there is not much compromise about the Attorney-General .
– What room for compromise is there? Absolutely none ! My honorable friend’s idea of a compromise is to ask for everything, and to give nothing.
– No, we are framing a law to prevent any influence of a party nature being exercised in politics.
– But your amendment will not prevent it. My honorable friend must see that any organization which permits its funds to be used for party purposes is just as much a political organization as if it had a rule compelling a member to subscribe to party funds. The funds which are referred to in his amendment, are not the funds of the union, but of an outside political party.
– To the funds of any party.
– Does not my honorable friend see that he leaves the funds of the organization untouched?
– Notat all.
– May not the funds of the organization be expended for political purposes?
– Not according to the amendment.
– Undoubtedly they may.
– We say that if they are, there is no preference to be given.
– Nothing of the kind. The amendment is limited to an organization having a rule to compel or require any of its members to vote for or subscribe to the funds of any political party. Supposing that a man makes his contribution to the union, and its funds are permitted to be employed for party purposes.
– He is contributing to funds for party purposes.
– Is it not interfering with his political liberty?
– What we desire to do is to withhold preference in those cases where it would have the effect of compelling a man, for the sake of getting employment, to become a member of an organization that is not only political but industrial as well. .
– If the union funds were used for political purposes, surely they would be the funds of every individual member.
– That is not my honorable friend’s amendment, and if he says that he cuts the ground from under his feet, and there is no reason why he should not support the clause as it stands. I admit the difficulty of definition. In many cases, the English language is not capable of securing an absolutely scientific definition of many things. We can only get as near to it as we can. This proviso is simply a definition of the political character of the organization which is not to have preference.
– We want to make it so.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON It is merely in effect a definition of what shall be considered a political union, associated with its industrial character. If, in addition to being industrial, it is also political, we say that preference shall not be given. It is free to exercise its political powers in any direction it pleases, and to spend its funds as it pleases, but the moment it asks for a preference then this proviso will operate.
– Our Australian Labour Federation is partly industrial and partly political. We have an official newspaper, which is partly industrial and partly political, and to which each member subscribes a shilling per year. Will that fact debar us from getting a preference?
– I do not see why the members should not have a newspaper.
– They cannot have an official newspaper and get a preference.
– We all admit that it is impossible for anybody to follow all these ramifications and express a positive opinion with regard to the construction of this provision. We all know what the object is. Senator Turley referred yesterday to certain statements about roads and bridges, and he was kind enough to hand me a copy of the newspaper from which he was quoting. He was choosing isolated matters of public interest which had to be dealt with.
– They were only a type of hundreds of others.
– They were only a portion of a programme. We know what “political purposes” are in the ordinary acceptation of the term. We can only put in a provision wide enough to enable the Court to put its finger on a particular vice, if it exists.
– If in this Bill we direct that any political action is to be tabooed, the Court will take the most minute political action, and say that it is a political act, and that, therefore, the organization cannot get a preference.
– No, the Bill merely gives a general direction to the Court.
– “ Do anything of a political character.”
– Exactly so ; but it is to be by rules and binding decisions, which have to be construed as written documents. This clause will have the effect which was intended in another place, and that is to prevent a preference being given to an organization which is not merely industrial, but also political.
– And which coerces its members.
– No. How are we to define coercion ?
– Did not the honorable and learned senator say “ who sold his political conscience for a living” ?
– No; I said “ who sold his political freedom for his employment.”
– Must he not be compelled to do that?
– He goes into the atmosphere. Now what are these organizations? My honorable friends on the other side are rilled with dread and anxiety lest existing trade unions in the States should be deprived of all their political power. The provision does not touch them in the slightest degree.
– They could not send in a petition to the Senate?
– Of course they could. They could support my honorable friend, and I hope that they will support me next time I go before the electors, with all the force of their organization. There is nothing in the measure to prevent that support from being given to me. The organization which is referred to is an organization for the purposes of this Bill.
– “i. arching of a political character.”
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.Exactly, but we are making a new organization, though it may be composed of the same members as the old one, for a particular purpose. .
– Does the honorable and learned senator hold with the view of Senator McGregor that it is necessary to have a national organization?
– Partly, I do.
– What the AttorneyGeneral means is that a union may have two sets of rules, one set to register, and another set to work under.
– No; what I mean is that the Seamen’s Union in South Australia, if it is a political; as well as an industrial union, is not interfered with in the slightest degree. It may be used as a political organization to-morrow. But when they, or a hundred of its members, register as an organization under the Act, I presume with a different set of rules, then, if they form a political organization, they can get no preference, and there is no reason why they should. The view I take of the amendment is that it does not touch the object aimed at by the proviso, that consistently with the amendment, if it were included in the proviso, the vice would still exist. If, as I understand, the carrying of this amendment will involve the omission of the remaining words, it will be simply substituting something which will destroy the whole effect of the proviso.
– It is substituting something which dennes.
– It defines nothing. The rule, or binding decision, will never be made, because the object will be attained by permitting the funds of this organization to be used for political purposes. The object is not gained in any way ; it is a- political evasion.
– What the honorable and learned senator objects to is not permitting, but binding.
– It is a binding decision.
– Personally, I do not object to this clause being inserted. But the difficulty is that, by his friendly receipt of the amendment, as he heard it, the honorable and learned senator led us to the conclusion that if some alteration was made it would not be objectionable.
– That alteration was immediately made.
– My honorable friend entirely misunderstood1 me.’
– I confess that I did, and I think that Senator de Largie did, too.
– I am certain tha: Senator de Largie could not have understood anything of the ‘kind. I now wish to draw attention to the manner in which the proviso came to be inserted as it stands. I promised to make this clear yesterday, and I will do it now. I should have done it before when Senator Dawson appealed to me on the point; but I hardly thought it worth while to have two discussions in connexion with it. My honorable friends opposite must recollect that this position does not affect the rights or privileges of an organization, subject to the question of preference, in any respect whatever. I have shown, and Senator Best and Senator Matheson have also shown most plainly, that it does not touch the existing rights of unions so far as their political organization is concerned.
– But the GovernorGeneral can proclaim any existing organization an organization under this measure.
– That provision practically applies to cases where there is no existing organization.
– Honorable senators who advance that argument must refer to the definition clause. An existing association may register as an1 organization under this Bill. That is clear. It undoubtedly has that privilege. It may take proceedings before the Arbitration Court in order to assert its rights, and have justice done to it. It may obtain an award, and may obtain preference. But if it is a political organization, or has a political purpose, it cannot get preference. That is all. It is simply a question of whether it is to be entitled to the privilege of preference or not, the preference being as between two men, the one a member of the organization, and the other not a member. The man who is not a member of the organization must go to the wall as regards employment, or he must become a member of the organization in order to be placed upon the same level as a member of it. If he is opposed to its political platform, supposing that it has a political platform, he must sacrifice his principles to that extent for the sake of being put upon the same level as his fellow, who is a member.
– That will not be so if Senator de Largie’s amendment is carried.
– I think it will be so even in that case. That being the state of things the amendment originally proposed was that no such organization should be entitled to submit any industrial dispute to the Court. That was a very far-reaching proposal. For my own part, I say frankly that I only desire that this Bill shall, as far as possible, make it clear that no man’s political freedom shall be in any way entangled or affected by any provision of the Bill. The highest and most precious possession we have is our political freedom. What I have explained was what was originally proposed.
– The honorable and learned senator’s party voted solidly for it.
– I wish to point out who are the men to whom we are indebted for the words as they stand. During the debate it was said by the present Prime Minister, that the object of having some such provision in the Bill was - to let the judge know before he exercises his own sweet will upon the subject that there shall be no element of choice as between politics and bread.
That is how it was put. Mr. Isaacs said -
Does my honorable and learned friend limit his remarks to the question of preference?
The present Prime Minister said “I Bo.” Then Mr. Isaacs said. “I agree with him.” The idea of inserting this provision as a condition of preference, is the idea of Mr. Isaacs, and his friends, who cannot be said to be out of sympathy with my honorable friends opposite. Senator Givens said, yesterday, that those who supported that proposal did so with a view to stem the progress of the Labour Party, or something of that kind. It was said that it was intended to draw the chains tighter, and to infringe upon the privileges of the trade unions. My honorable friend Senator Stewart, said, “ I cannot say who invented this, but whoever invented it must have been inspired by malignity, and by a desire to emasculate the clause.” That is very strong condemnation to use concerning Mr. Isaacs and Mr. Groom. It is a very strong condemnation of those who said this was a fair thing. When Mr. Isaacs had given expression to that idea, it was taken up by Mr. Groom, who moved the amendment to strike out what had been previously proposed, that political organizations should not be entitled even to go to the Court or to institute a suit ; and he proposed to substitute merely the words as they stand now, depriving the unions of the privilege of preference if they were political organizations. When that was done, my honorable friend the then Prime Minister, Mr. Watson, said that he accepted “ the spirit “ of that amendment. The amendment having been moved, Mr. Watson again said that he was prepared to accept an amendment - which would have the effect of preventing preference being given to unions if they have in their rules anything relating to politics which is likely to detrimentally affect any persons who may desire to join them.
When Mr. Watson was challenged as to what he really meant by the “ spirit “ of it, he said, in reference to its being a matter of phraseology -
Quite so. I have already said I will accept the spirit of it. What does that mean?
So that these words are not the words of those who are in opposition to my honorable friends opposite, but theyare the words oftheir friends and allies; and I think that we are entitled to assume that words of that character are to be taken as fully expressing the intention of all parties.
– The amendment was carried by one vote.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.Against those who were opposed to preference altogether. I do not wish at present to say any more.
Senate adjourned at 9.59 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 November 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19041110_senate_2_23/>.