10th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Eon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m.. and read prayers.
The following papers were presented : -
Alien Migration - Particulars of Aliens (exclusive of coloured persons) arriving in, and departing from, the Commonwealth from the 1st July, 1924, to 2lst December, 1925.
Ordered to be printed.
New Guinea - Ordinance No. 5 of 1926 - Advisory Council.
Senator FOLL brought up the Fourth General Report of the Joint Committee on Public Accounts.
Employment of Officers as Election Officials
.- (By leave.)- On the 21st January last Senator Findley stated that he had been informed that, in connexion with the election held on the 14th November, 1925, the Government had altered the practice previously in vogue regarding the treatment of officers of the Commonwealth Public Service who acted as election officials. The honorable senator suggested that for the first time the Government had paid officers for the services they rendered in connexion with the election, without making any deduction for the loss of time in the department. I promised that I would have inquiries made, although I felt sure that the statement was not correct.
– I said that I had been informed.
– In order that the Senate may judge whether that allegation is justified, I shall quote the instructions issued in connexion with the services of officers at the last three elections.. In connexion with the elections held in December, 1919, and December, 1922, the following instructions were issued by the Prime Minister’s Department, to apply to both permanent and temporary officers: -
All who have been appointed to act as election officials, and whose services can be spared from their usual official duties on polling day, to be granted leave of absence without any deduction from pay or from recreation leave. No extra holiday pay, or any other concession, however, to be granted to any officers called upon to work on election day.
The instructions issued by the Commonwealth Public Service Board in relation to the election of November, 1925, were -
Permanent officers -
If required beyond polling day to be regarded as on leave under regulation 50, if eligible, with pay, time to be deducted from recreation leave due or next recreation leave. If leave allowable under regulation 50 has been exhausted, leave to be without pay, or deducted from recreation leave, if due, and the officer so desires.
I may add that the principle of paying Commonwealth officers for their services on polling day, without any deduction from recreation leave, has been acknowledged since the election of 1914. I think that Senator Findley will realize that he has been misinformed in connexion with this matter.
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice - 1.Is it the intention of the Commonwealth Government to invite tenders for the freeholds of hotel premises owned by the Commonwealth in the Northern Territory?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : - -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
Joint Committee of Inquiry
Consideration of House of Representatives’ message (vide page 1212).
– On the notice-paper appears a contingent notice of motion in my name. I ask the permission of the Senate to amend it by omitting, in paragraph 2, the word “ three “ and inserting after the word “ Senators “ the names of the Senators who will serve on the committee, namely, Senators Payne, Plain, Graham, and Thompson. I also ask permission to amend the motion in clause 5 by omitting the words “ Friday,5th March,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “ Thursday, 18th March.” It will then read : -
That the Senate agrees to the appointment of a joint committee to inquire into the law and procedure in relation to -
Motion, by leave, so amended, and, as amended, agreed to.
Debate resumed from 3rd March, (vide page 1211) on motion by Senator Pearce -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I desire at the outset to express my’ disappointment with the speech delivered by the Minister (SenaPearce) in moving the second reading of the bill. The right honorable gentleman quoted extensively to show that Mr. Garden, who is secretary of the Trades and Labour Council in Sydney, is in some way connected with Russia, but, owing either to lack of time or inclination, he did not give the Senate any information concerning the bill itself. In this instance I am confronted with one of the most complex measures ever introduced into the Senate. It is well worthy of the closest attention of every honorable senator, yet I, like honorable senators generally, have to debate it without any information from the Minister as to its purport. From a political standpoint the Minister was very wise in adopting the attitude he did, because so divergent are the matters dealt with in the bill that if he had directed attention to what the Government propose to do under it, some at least of his supporters would have been inclined to analyse its provisions very closely. Evidently the Minister satisfied himself by endeavouring to show that there was some connexion between communism, Jock Garden, the Trades and Labour Council of New South Wales,’ and the Australian Labour party. The Minister may have satisfied himself to that extent, but in my opinion his utterances were only a re-hash of political speeches he delivered in Western Australia during the recent election campaign. I did not hear the speeches delivered by the right honorable gentleman during “that campaign, but I heard those of other Nation alists. It would appear that his speech yesterday was merely a repetition of his election utterances, consisting, I say it deliberately, of misrepresentation and falsehoods which were repeated by the Nationalist party and circulated through the press of this country from one end of Australia to the other. It was this misrepresentation and falsehood which led the Australian people to believe that there was in Australia a large number of dangerous revolutionaries who ought to be deported. This is a measure under which the Government. is to give effect to the mandate it received from the people. The Government received a mandate because it definitely promised the electors that it would deport Walsh and Johnson, and that if it had not the power to deport them under the existing law, it would take the power when Parliament met. I think that is a fair statement of the position as submitted to the electors on the 14th November last year. Parliament has since met, and we have had from the Minister the candid statement that the Government do not now intend to legislate against individuals. This legislation, we are told, is not directed against Walsh and Johnson, but, of course, the Government will deal with them if they are deemed a menace to the peace, order, and good government of the country. The Government, by its actions, is now saying that as the election has passed, there is no occasion to do what it threatened to do. The people of this country want more consistency from their elected representatives. If there is one senator opposite who during the election campaign did not promise that these disturbers of industrial peace would be sent outside the country, I should like to meet him.
– I am one.
– The honorable senator was not a candidate.
– I took a prominent part in the campaign.
– Yes, but I should like to meet a Nationalist candidate who during the recent election did not secure support because the Government promised that Walsh and Johnson would be deported. What happened ? The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), who expressed the opinions of the Nationalist party, when speaking at a great meeting, said that we were in a most dreadful position, and that the most drastic measures were required to deal with the situation. So threatening were these revolutionaries, he said, that ordinary methods were altogether useless. He appealed to the com munity to give him power to deal with them. During the debates in the last Parliament honorable senators opposite went to the trouble to pronounce the name Johnson as Johannsen, simply because he was born in Holland. What happened? The people gave the Government a mandate to deport these persons; but, in the language of the shearing shed, it has “fallen down on the job.” In the opinion of the Prime Minister and his followers, now that the election is over the danger of a revolutionhas passed. There is now no danger, business can take its accustomed course, and ordinary laws are now sufficient to deal with dangerous revolutionaries.
– The honorable senator considers this is an ordinary law.
– Yes, because if it is passed by Parliament it will be administered in the ordinary way. I shall endeavour to show that the methods adopted in Russia are very closely allied to this Government’s idea of administering the law. Although mistakes may occasionally be made under it, the system of law and justice that we possess is held in very high respect by every country. What is the principal reason for the success of the British method of administering justice ? It is that the law is passed by a representative Parliament, and is administered by persons entirely unconnected with its passage. The heads of departments do not specifically instruct the police as to the action they shall take. I can understand the attitude of the ‘ Government of Russia. Having wiped out what was, perhaps, the most wicked tyranny that the world had ever experienced, and that had continued for centuries under different Czars, it was confronted with the necessity of building up and enforcing its authority. It, therefore, had to keep in close touch with the administration of the law. In order to maintain his position and ensure the success of the revolution, the head of the law department had to institute prosecutions and order the immediate arrest of particular individuals. Such procedure is objectionable to us. We work under the British system of law and justice. Why, then, should a member of the Government be identified with every industrial dispute that is thought to be of sufficient importance to warrant his entry into it ? Where is the necessity of placing upon the Governor-General the onus of issuing a proclamation declaring that what hitherto has been lawful shall in future be unlawful ? Under a wise system, laws are passed that bear equally upon every individual. Every person in the community knows that, immediately he breaks a law, he becomes liable to punishment. That practice leads to a respect for law throughout the community, from the humblest to the highest individual in it. Senator Pearce yesterday endeavoured to make it appear that certain trade union officials claimed to be above the law. They are not the only offenders in that respect. I can point to certain Government members who, for their own purposes, a little while ago, passed laws that interfered with the liberty of individuals, and appointed officers who, at daylight one morning, took from his family a citizen of many years’ standing, and kept him in prison for a considerable time, bail being refused. The offence that he was said to have committed did not justify such harsh treatment, and subsequently the High Court declared the action to have been wrongly taken. Senator Pearce, the Ministerial head of the department which took this action, thought that he was above the law. He considered that he had merely to say, “ This man is an annoyance to the community, and I am going to keep him in gaol until I can send him out of this country.” The Government even went to the length of sending one of our naval vessels to Sydney to take that man away from Australia, but, upon reflection, that was thought to be a little too drastic, and it was decided to wait until the High Court had given its judgment in the case.
– That is not correct.
– Does the Minister seriously say that a cruiser did not enter Sydney Harbour prepared to take this man away from Australia?
– My information is that it is not correct.
– The Minister is so conveniently minded that he can decline to take cognizance of the evidence of his own eyes. The vessel was seen in Sydney harbour, and its course could be traced.
– There are always some naval vessels there.
– Senator Pearce thought that he was above the law. So did Mr. Bruce. If trade unionists imagine themselves to be in that position, they err in distinguished company. I want to have the law placed above individuals. I want to have stated in plain English what are offences, and what penalties are to be imposed if they are committed. It should not be left to the Government to proclaim what is a crime. That would be creating a bad precedent, which would be entirely opposed to the excellent British system of administering justice. It is an unnecessary affront to that very large section of the Australian people, the trade unionists, to apply to them the provisions of a Crimes Act. They are as law-abiding as any other section of the community.
– This legislation does not apply to them.
– I am sorry to hear the Minister say that.
– It is general in its terms.
– It applies particularly to trade unionists who engage in industrial disputes.
– Where is that provision in the bill?
– I shall show where it is. From the trade union viewpoint it is the most objectionable feature of the measure. An unjust, unfair, indecent reflection is cast upon trade unionists when their efforts to regulate industrial disputes are mixed up with crimes. They are renowned as a lawloving, law-abiding people. If we have just laws, properly administered, we shall have not only a well-governed community, but also a community that will support, government. But if, on the other hand, we follow the example of those petty tyrants who use force to impose their will upon the community, the community will soon become disgusted with the interference of the Government with individual liberty. Proposed new section 30,t provides - “ 30j. - ( 1 ) If at any time the GovernorGeneral is of opinion that there exists in Australia a serious industrial disturbance prejudicing or threatening trade or commerce with other countries or among the States, he may make a proclamation to that effect, which proclamation shall be and remain in operation for the purposes of this section until it is revoked. “ (2) Any person who, during the operation of such proclamation, takes part in or continues, or incites to, urges, aids or encourages the taking part in, or continuance of, a lockout or strike -
If I am engaged in a trade in which the conditions become so bad that I decline to work longer at it, that is not a crime. A law may be passed designating such refusal a crime, and punishing a man for it, but that would not make it a crime. The right to refuse work is inherent in every Australian-born citizen. A man cannot be compelled to keep his capital in a business if he wishes to end his association with that business. The Minister questioned the existence of the right to strike. That, of course, depends on the distinction one draws between the right to strike and the right to cease work. There is, it will be admitted, a slight difference between the two. According to this measure men work in conjunction with others. I favour arbitration and the infliction of penalties for breaches of arbitration agreements; but if I propose an arbitration law for the punishment of employers and employees who fail to keep their agreements, it is quite different from saying that it is a crime to leave off work. A penalty is imposed for the breach of an arbitration award, and provision in that direction, is very properly incorporated in our arbitration laws. I regard striking as little more than “ acting in conjunction with others.” If honorable senators of the Opposition could be induced by myself to refuse to participate in this debate. I do not think that the Government would be in a hurry to deport us: but, if we as individuals, declared that we refused to join in the debate, what would be the difference? I claim that there is no difference between 100 men collectively saying that they refuse to work on a particular ship or wharf and 100 men individually doing so.
– The point is that they must not prevent others from working.
– Unfortunately, this bill does not deal with that aspect of the matter. It is well known that industrial disputes never occur unless the men have a real grievance. I am well aware that the Minister imagines that unionism to-day is exposed to grave dangers, and that the present Government, with its superior powers, is trying to save unionists from themselves. Men like Senators Pearce, Duncan, Newland, and Lynch were keen trade unionists in their time. They were the same type of men as the unionists of to-day.
– I object to the honorable senator comparing us with Mr. Walsh.
– I quite understand that the Minister now believes himself to be a superior type of individual, but I am satisfied that the leaders of Labour to-day are just as able, competent, and honest as even Senator Newlandwas in his best days.
– I quite admit that, but all the Labour leaders are not alike.
– I admit that they are not all as good as Senator Newland was. All cannot expect to reach the same standard of perfection. While the present system of production for profit obtains, industrial disputes will continue, because the employer on the one side always wants a little more profit, while the employee on the other side desires a little more for his share in the profitproducing business.
– But are there not strikes nearly every day in States where Labour Governments are in power ?
– The smoothness with which the industrial machine has worked in Australia for years is most surprising.
– There I agree with the honorable senator.
– Any unbiased man must recognize that the unionists of Australia are most gentle in their conduct of strikes, considering the viciousness with which strikes are carried on in other countries. Australia has much upon which to congratulate itself in that regard. I realize, of course, that for electioneering purposes the Nationalist party endeavoured to depict Australia as the home of revolutionaries, who are so strong in numbers that responsible government is tottering, and is liable to meet its doom at any moment. But that is not a true picture. When I last addressed the Senate on this subject, I stated that, if the name of one person in the community who was threatening its safety in this way were supplied, I should be willing to afford an opportunity for an information to be sworn against him. Senator Lynch referred to a remark by the Leader’ of the Opposition in the other branch of the Legislature (Mr. Charlton) as being an admission that there were revolutionaries or extremists in thi3 country.
– The Premier of Queensland, as well as Mr. Charlton, made that statement.
– I am always accurate, I hope, in my remarks. No matter how serious the position may be represented to be, I adhere to my previous statement that if the name of any individual is supplied, I shall ask the person supplying it to swear an information against him. I would be willing to see him handed over to the police. Up to the present no such information has been supplied. Even if the Government will not proceed to put the law into operation, the law will operate automatically once a sworn information is supplied. The Minister read in all seriousness - and he is capable of being more serious than anybody I have met in dealing with matters before the Senate - a statement made some years ago by Mr. Garden that the revolution was staged. Nobody seems to be afraid of the bullets of the revolutionaries, although I admit that just before leaving New South Wales for Melbourne I looked into the matter of my life assurance policy.
– It looked like a revolution during the railway strike in Queensland.
– To the fevered brain of the Minister there may have been an appearance of it. In the statement about what Mr. Garden had said, there was a graphic description of his trip tr» Russia. Incidentally, I asked whether the Commonwealth Government had supplied the money for that trip, and the Minister denied it. It is unfair to Mr. Garden to make such a suggestion, and, furthermore, I have no proof that the Government, which keeps Mr. Garden in power, sent him to Russia. I may say that, if Mr. Garden is not paid for what he does in the interests of the Nationalist party, he deserves to be. because for long years he has been one of the most damaging opponents of the Labour party. I regard him as an able advocate of the Nationalist party. Whenever a political fight is being staged, it seems to me that the regularity with which he makes statements calculated to injure the Labour party is more than a coincidence. And because of that suspicion, possibly unjust to Mr. Garden, I was prompted to ask when Senator Pearce was speaking, whether the Government found the money to send him to Russia.
– Who keeps Mr. Garden in his well-paid Labour position?
– I do not know exactly what Mr. Garden’s remuneration is, but I understand that he earns a handsome salary as a most competent secretary of the Trades and Labour Council, Sydney. Where every one is your boss you need to be an up-to-date man to keep your job. Mr. Garden earns his salary as secretary of an organization which was in existence before he saw Australia. It is an organization similar to one with which Senator Pearce was connected some years ago in Western Australia. When the true history of Australia is written it will be found that the trades and labour councils have played a bigger part in improving the conditions of Australian workers than even Parliament has played.
– They were not affiliated with Moscow when I was connected with one of them.
– I have no doubt that in Senator Pearce’s mind, in those days they had all the virtues, and to-day they have all the vices. The workers of Australia are to-day no more affiliated with Moscow than they were in the days referred to by Senator Pearce.
– Does the honorable senator say that the Sydney Trades and Labour Council is not affiliated with Moscow ?
– I do. We heard Senator Pearce say that Mr. Garden and the communists influence so many hundred thousand people in the Labour movement in New South Wales. The extent of their influence on those unionists is not worth a snap of the fingers. Senator Duncan knows that;
Senator Pearce knows it. I have said on nearly every platform that a couple of policemen armed with batons could deal with those persons who are boasting about wanting a revolution in this country. There is no danger of a revolution in Australia. But I understand the Nationalist party and its methods of getting money out of the monied classes for political purposes. It has to create an atmosphere of revolution. It has to pretend that a revolution is possible. And when the pretence is worked up to such a pitch that earnest business men who have no time to take part in political affairs begin to fear that perhaps their businesses may suffer, the money rolls into the coffers of the Nationalist party. In fact, one Nationalist told me that at the last election, instead of his having to dip into his pocket to fight his campaign, the money was shovelled in to the war fund of the party, and there was sufficient of it left over to conduct another election.
– I am pleased to hear that.
– It is news to me.
– The statement was made by a prominent Nationalist who was elected at the last election. Heretofore he had had to dip into his own pocket for his expenses.
– Quite so; the money rolled into our funds, and the communists were rolled out of the Labour party.
– Yes. The Government made a definite promise that certain agitators were to be deported before the election. That is a point I wish to emphasize as frequently as possible. The Sydney Morning Herald of the 12th October, 1.925, a month before the election, reported that the Treasurer (Dr Earle Page) at Gympie -
Referring to the activities of the communists in this country, said that they were holding up shipping and holding back prosperity; but a board had been appointed to deal with strike leaders, and they would go out of the country before the election.
That is how the Government got its mandate. Senator Pearce said practically the same thing in Western Australia.
– I was present at the meeting at Gympie, and I did not hear Dr. Earle Page make that statement.
– And I said that, whether the men could be deported depended upon the decision of the High Court.
– I made this quotation on many platforms. I made it in the Senate a month ago. No one can accuse the Sydney Morning Herald of being a Labour paper.
– Like other newspapers, it is liable to make mistakes.
– Naturally, a gallant soldier like Brigadier-General Thompson brings his forces to the aid of Dr. Earle Page if he thinks that he is being pressed; but that paragraph appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on a Monday morning, and on the same day, when counsel for the defendants before the Deportation Board asked to have further witnesses heard, the chairman of the board refused to grant that request. The next day the case against Mr. Walsh closed down, and the case against Mr. Johnson was commenced. The report of the board was in the hands of the Government in time to enable it to carry out the declaration of Dr. Earle Page that these men “ would go out of the country before the elections.” Yet the Government did not give effect to it. The Prime Minister made the excuse that to announce the decision of the Deportation Board might affect the result of the elections, and he kept it in his own pocket. It angered me to find the Government treating with such inhumanity the wife and family of a man who was in prison. I said on the public platform that if Labour was returned to power the Government responsible for such conduct would be placed on trial for sedition in bringing the King’s laws into contempt. I am pleased to note thai the offence of bringing the King into contempt is defined in this bill as sedition. The action of the Government in regard to Messrs. Walsh and Johnson was clearly sedition. By this time, had Labour been returned to power, Senator Pearce would have been standing his trial for sedition, alongside other members of the Ministry who acted in an unlawful manner, dragging a man from his family, and while a civil case was pending, keeping him in prison and refusing to allow hint the ordinary right of citizenship - bail commensurate with the charge. By the way, I notice that, according to the bill, judges who call for extraordinary bail are to be punished. I do not know whether the Government is incensed at the decision of the High Court in noi allowing bail to Messrs. “Walsh and Johnson. I know that it is somewhat incensed at the court giving its decision according to the law and not according to the will of the Government.
– The honorable senator is keen upon the rights of the individual. Will he say something about the rights of the community in this case?
– I was returning thanks to my constituents on the morning when the High Court was to give its decision, and I said, “ Perhaps, even while I am speaking, a decision is being given that a man cannot be taken from his wife and children except according to the law.” That was the actual decision given by the court. Senator Lynch wants to know whether I can speak for the community and not for the individual. The liberty of the community consists of maintaining the liberty of the individual. When a Government is sufficiently worked up to wreak its vengeance on an individual, it inflicts injury upon the community. My charge against this bill is that it is introduced by a Government that is carried away by bias, unwarranted in the circumstances, against trade unionists. By their organization, their efforts, and their combination, the trade unionists of Australia have improved the conditions of the workers in this country, and enabled them to take a greater share of the profits of production than they could obtain in the good old days when Senator Pearce and Senator Lynch were good trade unionists.
– There was not a word said about the improvement of wages and conditions in connexion with the recent series of strikes.
– The strikes of 30 years ago were a great deal nearer to revolution than any strike since.
– There was warrant for them then.
– During the great shipping strike of 1890 Australia approached nearer to a revolution than at any time in her history. In Sydney at that time special constables by the hundred were sworn in. But we then had wise men at the head of affairs.
– There were then no arbitration laws.
– The conditions then prevailing caused the arbitration laws to be introduced.
– The “ Red Flag “ was not sung in those days’.
– If the honorable senator will read the words of the “ Red Flag “ he will , find that they are very inspiring. Moreover, they are set to good music. In those days, when there was no arbitration, and when revolution was actually here it was proposed to land British marines to quell the strikers. I. remember that it was said in New South Wales Parliament by the late Mr. W. P. Crick, “One British bullet, one dead Australian, and an independent Australia.” The members of the Cabinet were called to the bedside of Sir Henry Parkes, who was suffering from an accident, and when Sir Henry Parkes heard that it was intended to land marines, he said that he was the Chief Secretary and the responsible Minister in such cases, and that no order for the landing of marines could be given effect to without his signature. Today instead of men of the calibre of Sir Henry Parkes, we have puny men of the Pearce and Bruce type, who think that they can stamp out unionism by force. Every attempt to stamp out trade unionism by force will only spread a fire which it will be impossible to extinguish. British people will not submit to force being unjustly applied. We in Australia are Britishers, although I admit that we have renegades among us. There are men in this Parliament who, although they have come from Great Britain, are willing to legislate to have Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen placed on a different footing from the Australian-born citizens. Such men may sit in this Parliament holding exalted opinions of themselves, but, in my judgment, they are not true men. One of the iniquitous provisions of this bill is that which makes a distinction between Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen and persons born in Australia. For the first time in the history of Australia a line of demarcation is being drawn between Australian-born and British-born citizens of this country. Were this Senate in a normal frame of mind it would not permit this legislation to pass. I am not now advocating proBritish and anti-Australian ideas. No man in this Parliament has put Australia first to a greater extent than I have done. But I want Australians to be first because of their merits, and not because of a law which distinguishes between men born in Australia and men born in England. I ask honorable senators what benefit will accrue from legislation of this character.
– This bill only expresses that which is an international custom.
– I should have thought that this . Government would be one of the last to introduce legislation of this kind. What is there in international custom to warrant its introduction ?
-Brock man. - Every country must look after its own rubbish.
– Is it right that there should be one penalty for an offence in the case of men born in Australia and a different penalty for the same offence if the guilty person wasnot born in Australia ? Let us suppose that Senator Lynch and I have committed what Senator Pearce believes to be an offence. We are both taken before a judge, who, considering that we are equally guilty, imposes equal punishment upon us. That would be fair. But under this legislation, after sentence had been pronounced by the judge, the Minister could say that Senator Lynch, not having been born in Australia, must, in addition to serving the sentence imposed by the court, be deported to the country whence he came. But, because I am an Australian-born citizen he could not add to my penalty.
– It is a safeguard, and not a penalty. The penalty is inflicted by the judge.
– For the penalty inflicted by the judge to be increased or interfered with by the head of a department is unjust.
– One punishment is judicial, and the other political.
– Exactly ; and that is the danger. When a judge has heard the whole of the evidence, and has computed the seriousness of the offence, and passed sentence, it is unjust for any politician to say that he will add to the penalty. Honorable senators may split straws, and say that it is not adding to the penalty to send a man out of the country away from his wife and family, but if that is not adding to the penalty I do not know what it is. Let us look at this from the “ safety first “ point of view. Honorable senators, in their desire to punish certain trade unionists who persist in trying to improve the lot of their fellows, appear to be prepared to do anything. But will they benefit the community by saying that they are not. satisfied with the system whereby an impartial judge administersjustice according to law? If I had been told ten years ago that a law to distinguish between Englishmen, Irishmen, Scotchmen, and Australians would be introduced in an Australian Parliament, I should not have believed it.
– It is problematical whether such a distinction is constitutional.
– I think that I may justly claim to be a constitutional authority, considering the number of times that my views on constitutional matters have proved to be correct; and I say now that there is no power in the Constitution to pass laws which apply to one section of the people only. Senator Pearce will agree that if this law should be held to be unconstitutional in one part, it will be wholly unconstitutional and must go by the board.
– I think the honorable senator will find that what I have said is correct.
– Not at all. One section of an act may be held to be unconstitutional, but that does not necessarily make the whole act unconstitutional.
– The High Court did not declare the whole of the Immigration Restriction Act to be illegal when it said that certain portions were unconstitutional.
– Senator Pearce should know that at no time does the High Court decide more than it is asked to decide. There may be instances of. a state law, passed by a state with full authority to pass any legislation it wishes, having been proved to be unconstitutional in part only; but there is a great difference between a State law and a Federal law passed by a Federal Parliament, which must legislate within the limits imposed by the Federal Constitution. If it can be shown that any part of any law passed by this Parliament is nob within the powers conferred on Parliament by the Constitution, the whole of that law becomes of no effect.
– The arbitration law did not go out when it was decided that wecould not make a common rule.
– The fact remains that the High Court decided against the high constitutional authorities who advised the Government. Moreover, what the Government once decided to do, it has now decided not to do. Instead it has introduced this bill, which promises some extraordinary things. For instance, if one of Senator Lynch’s stud rams should wander on to a Commonwealth railway, this bill provides a penalty for the offence. Under the State laws, if a man’s stock trespasses on Government property, the animal, and not the man, is impounded. But here the Government has introduced a new idea. Clause 90 of the bill makes interesting reading for the owners of stock. It provides: -
Any person who, without lawful excuse (proof whereof shall lie upon him), suffers or permits any cattle or other live stock in his possession, custody, or control, to trespass or stray upon any land belonging to, or in the occupation of, the Commonwealth, shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty : Five pounds.
SenatorSir Henry Barwell. - The honorable senator is quoting from the wrong bill.
– I quote from the Crimes Bill of 1926, circulated by the Attorney-General, the Hon. J. G. Latham.
– The honorable senator is quoting from the memorandum prepared by the AttorneyGeneral showing the Crimes Act as it stands, and the proposed amendment of it.
– I am dealing with the Crimes Bill of 1926, circulated by the Attorney-General.
– The section just quoted is in the act to-day, and was passed by the Labour party.
– The Government and its supporters do not wish to accept the responsibility for a provision to imprison men who allow their stock to trespass.
– That was passed by the Labour party.
– The honorable senator does not hesitate to take any risk in making assertions; because something is considered unpalatable, he immediately says the Labour party was responsible for it. The measure from which I am quoting has been passed by the House of Representatives, and it bears on the face of it the fact that it has been circulated by the Attorney-General. I am discussing the bill and not the act. If I am wrong, I am prepared to take the word of honorable senators who have corrected me. Am I to understand that this measure is circulated merely for amusement?
– The honorable senator is quoting from a print of the principal act, plus the bill.
– That is not stated. The measure before me is entitled the Crimes Bill, and if it is not the one which is under consideration, I should like to be supplied with a copy of the bill actually before the Senate. I do not intend to take any risks with this measure. I now come to a clause in which a word is used which may be all right; but again I have that old-fashioned idea in my mind that in framing laws we should be particularly careful not to use any words or phrases which may be misinterpreted. I find in proposed new section 30a the following words -
The following are hereby declared to be unlawful associations, namely -
Any body of persons incorporated or unincorporated which, by constitution or propaganda, or otherwise, advocates or encourages -
The overthrow of the constitution of the Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage. “ Sabotage “ is a word which is yet too new in the English language to be incorporated in our laws. Although we may think that we clearly understand its meaning, it is quite evident to me that it may be quite easily misunderstood. In Syndicalism, by J. H. Harley, M.A., it is stated of “ sabotage “ that; -
It might mean dropping petroleum into the kneading trough. It might mean a short circuit in the electric installation. It might mean a nail in the wood to be cut by the circular saw. lt might even mean a gash in the capitalist’s chin by the action of a syndical razor.
That is . one authority, and shows what the word could possibly mean. I quote another definition from Funk and Wagnail’s new standard dictionary -
The act of cutting shoes or sockets for rails in railroad ties. 2. By extension, the act of tying up a railroad by malicious damage. 3. Hence any poor work or other damage done by dissatisfied workmen; also the act of producing it; plant-wrecking.
It is evident that, although the word has been in general use for the last ten years, it is not properly understood, and, therefore, should not be incorporated in our legislation. One authority even said that a person who performed his work too well - a man working on a cornice and occupying too much time in his desire to make it a work of art - might be accused of sabotage. “ Sabotage “ may have a different meaning according to the person who uses it; it certainly is not a word which has an unalterable meaning. I am warning honorable senators of the danger of passing a provision containing: such a term. This is not the time to discuss the measure in detail, but during the second-reading debate it is desirable to call attention to certain provisions which may need amendment. I move -
That all the words after “ That “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ this House is of opinion that the bill should be withdrawn with a view to redrafting, so as to eliminate the obnoxious clauses referring to industrial disputes, as such clauses, associated with the Crimes Act, are an unwarranted affront to the great bodies of organized labour.*
I submit that amendment with the object of deleting from this measure the insult offered to the trade union movement by including industrial disputes in a crimes hill. Industrial disturbances are regarded by every one, including those who participate in them, as inseparable from the conditions that obtain in this and other countries. It is unreasonable for any one to expect to see the time when employers and employees will operate in perfect harmony. [Extension of time granted.’] I thank honorable senators for granting me an extension of time. It appears that I have been following the example of the Minister (Senator Pearce), as, up to the present, I have been dealing only with general principles, and have not yet touched the provisions of the bill. As a representative of trade unionists - I know that honorable senators opposite also claim to represent them - I cannot support a proposal whereby those associated with industrial disturbances, which are inevitable, can be dealt with under a crimes act. There are two parties to industrial effort: the employer, who wishes to make all the profit he can, and the employee, who wishes to obtain as much as he can for the work he performs on the job. Bv our industrial laws we have gone a long way in the direction of smoothing out the differences between employers and employees, and the conditions which obtain to-day are not what they were, say. 30 years ago. Australia has led the world in industrial legislation, and, notwithstanding that some honorable senators opposite imagine that this country is in a dreadful condition in consequence of the action of agitators, persons who have travelled abroad have frequently stated on their return that the industrial conditions in this country are better than those in any other part of the world. The actions of employers have generally been of a most selfish nature, while, on the other hand, the employees have seldom asked for more than is sufficient to enable them to live decently. The employees have been paying out of their own pockets sufficient to enable the employing class to carry on their businesses. Senator Foll will admit that we are paying £6,0130,000 a year merely to enable the sugar-growers to make money.
– That is incorrect.
– What of the workers employed in the sugar industry?
– We pay more for our sugar to enable the sugar producers to cany on the industry, and although the Labour party supports such a policy, it is one which I personally do not favour. At present sugar consumers are paying an additional 2d. a lb. merely to enable the industry to be carried on.
– Not to the growers, but to those employed by them.
– That may be the opinion of Senator Foll, but if he will refer to the share market reports as published in reputable papers, he will fmd that the shares of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, which have a face value of £20, are selling at £50.
– The honorable senator is referring to the shares of refining companies.
– The sacrifice made by the people in the way of the payment of protective duties is merely a subsidy which enables the employers to carry on their business, and this is done to such an extent that shares of a face value of £20 are now bringing £50.
– That is in consequence of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company’s business operations in Fiji.
– I happen to know something concerning the business in Fiji. A very small quantity of Fijian sugar is imported into Australia.
– It goes to New Zealand.
– What is true of the sugar industry is true also of the production of bananas. In consequence of the protection afforded to the Hugh V. McKay Company, the farmers are compelled to pay practically double the price for their agricultural implements. The workers are willing to contribute from their earnings in order to enable the employing class to make money.
– But the honorable senator suggests that labour pays for everything.
– If the honorable senator thinks that the man on the land does not labour he has a lot to learn.
– The farmer is not a trade unionist.
– Largely he is. But his union-, in the shape of the Country party, has “ sold him a pup.” His representatives have been enticed to join the Nationalists, and now find that the Government in which they have representation is opposing their interests. The point I am endeavouring to make is that employees are willing to contribute money to enable the employers to make huge profits, but in doing so they are increasing the price of commodities. The Government with its majority is now saying that it will deal with trade unionists who are in any way associated with industrial disputes and that by act of parliament it will make them criminals. It proposes to take away from the worker theright to strike, but, thank God, it cannot take from any Australian workman the right not to work if he so desires. If it did so, we should have a nation of slaves. History records what has happened to countries which have endeavoured to carry on in such a way. I want to give honorable senators the opportunity to separate legislation that deals with industrial disputes from that which deals with crimes. When a division is taken upon my amendment, we shall see who are prepared to link up with crimes industrial disturbances that are always occurring in unions which are organized. If any honorable senator opposite considers that I am putting the case unfairly, I ask him to mention one instance, in the long history of trade unionism in Australia, of a union having asked for too much. Dreadful pictures have sometimes beenpainted in the endeavour to show that unions are rapacious, but every increase in wages, every lessening of hours, every improvement in the conditions of the workers, has been followed by the imposition of a little more rent, a little more interest, or an addition to the price of commodities. The employers have a hundred means of doing that. The hours of labour in New South Wales were recently reduced to 44 a week for the benefit of the working man.
– The higher cost of production is responsible for the rise in the prices of commodities.
– I have not the slightest doubt that a lessening of the hours of labour causes a fractional increase in the cost of production; but I am unable to imagine how a reduction from 46 to 44 hours a week can add 25 per cent. to the price of a meal, in a restaurant, when thousands of meals are served every day. I cannot conceive how the extra duty on imported spirits, that was imposed to protect the locally manufactured article, should cause the price of whisky to go up from 9d. to1s. a nobbier. The Government, in this bill, is following the wrong track. It appeal’s to be obsessed with the idea that Australia is marching Russiawards. That is just what the Government itself is doing in this legislation. There is a difference between British law and justice, and that which the Government proposes by this bill. British law and justice are administered apart from political influence, so far as that i3 possible. “We are now being asked to consent to the Government taking a hand in every industrial dispute, and treating as a criminal every man who takes part in such a dispute. If the Government will not be warned, it will continue to follow that wrong course only until the workers of Australia realise that they have had enough of it. Australia is inhabited by the most law-loving and law-abiding people in the world. One of their principal characteristics is their friendliness and their willingness to work in harmony and peace with their neighbours. Yet the Government is using every means in its power to place an indignity upon the labour organizations, knowing that that is the only satisfaction it can get! Although, in its appeal to the electors a little while ago, it claimed to be the only party of law and order, it received the support of but 570,000 persons in. New South Wales, whilst there were 500,000 who supported Labour candidates. I have taken the trouble to refute, so far as I have been able to do so, the utterances of Senator Pearce, because they wickedly misrepresent Australia in the eyes of the world
– In his opening remarks, Senator Gardiner expressed disappointment with the speech that was delivered by Senator Pearce. I was not disappointed. It was a most enlightening speech, and it made very clear to me the purposes of the bill. Without desiring to be in any way offensive to the honorable senator, I wish to say that I regard his speech as one of the most disappointing that he has delivered in this Senate.
– He lifted the debate to a very high level.
– I say that regretfully. Because of Senator Gardiner’s long experience as a Labour leader, and the very wide knowledge that he possesses of the many important matters that affect trade unionists and working men generally. I waited hopefully to hear from him a statement that would put the position clearly from the Labour point of view, and furnish us with material for continuing the debate; but he did not give it. Before he concluded, the honorable senator admitted’ that he had not addressed himself to the bill. The Senate purposely allowed him an extension of time to enable him to do so, but he did not avail himself of that opportunity.
– That was the worst part of his speech.
– He then descended to depths that I am pleased to be able to say he did not plumb in the earlier part of his speech. The attitude of the Labour party towards this measure cannot be easily understood, especially by one who has a knowledge of the trade union movement, and. of what trade unionism means. The statement is repeatedly made that the object of the bill is to destroy trade unionism in Australia.
– That is perfectly true.
– That is not its object. Senator Gardiner, in the concluding portion of his speech, prophesied what would happen to the Government when the trade unionists and the electors generally again had an opportunity of expressing an opinion regarding this legislation. That prophecy would have sounded more convincing had wc not heard similar prophecies previously. Just prior to the last election, when the Peace Officers Bill was going through this chamber, Senator Gardiner told us that the electors of Australia were anxiously waiting to bring the Government down with a more sickening thud than had been experienced by any Government that had sat upon the treasury bench. What was the result of the appeal- to the people ? The electors pronounced upon the very issues that are contained in this bill.
– Nothing of the kind.
– I remind Senator Findley that his leader, Senator Gardiner, admitted that the electors pronounced upon the majority of the matters that are contained in this bill. The Government has received a mandate to take whatever steps are considered necessary to preserve the trade, commerce, and industry of Australia.
– The Government was not given a blank cheque.
– The people of Australia showed that they had every faith in the Government, but that they would not trust the party of which Senator Findley is a member. This is an honest attempt by the Government to give legislative effect to the promises that were made during the election campaign. It is construed by the Labour party as an attack upon trade unionists. I have met many trade unionists who have road the whole of the arguments that were used in another place, and have come to a. decision upon them. Having been associated with the trade union movement for years, I say quite seriously that the great majority of the rightthinking trade unionists in Australia will welcome the bill, because it will give them an opportunity to release themselves from an impossible position. They realize who are their friends and who are not. They know that they are being driven to action in which they do not believe. Senator Gardiner is acquainted with the manner in. which trade unions are conducted. He mentioned the name of one man, who has risen to a high position in the trade union movement in New South Wales. I refer to Mr. Garden, the secretary of the Trades and Labour Council. He knows that the opinions which are held by Mr. Garden are altogether out of harmony with those of the great majority of the trade unionists of New South Wales. If a vote could be taken of the members of trade unions in Now South Wales, fully 00 per cent. of them would repudiate the opinions and the actions of Mr. Garden. Yet he is there as a director of trade unionism, and gives expression to opinions antagonistic to true trade union sentiments, because he and the men associated with him in the movement have been able, by the exercise of power altogether greater than their numbers warrant, to obtain and retain control of the Labour organization. I know that Senator Gardiner would like to get rid of Mr. Garden. If this bill ispassed he would be glad to see Mr. Garden dealt with under it. So great is the power of that individual, and those associated with him, that they are able to force themselves into the inner counsels of the Labour movement. One of Mr. Garden’s associates is a co-director with Mr. Lang, and other Labour leaders, on the board of the official Labour newspaper of New South Wales, the Labor Daily, and he is able to dictate in a large measure the policy of that newspaper.
Associated with him is Mr. Willis, and other men who decide for Senator Gardiner, and the rest of the Labour members of this and other Parliaments, what tie Labour policy shall be.
– How will the bill deal with Mr. Garden?
– We shall see about that later. We claim that he and his associates of the Communist party are a menace to the country in general, and particularly to trade unionism. They say that craft unionism has outlived its usefulness, and that there must be a big movement to take from the unions the control of their own organizations. Mr. Garden boasts that the Communist party is able to control the Labour movement, and that it has changed Labour’s objective.
– Then he is aliar.
– I suppose that it will not be denied by honorable senators opposite that the objective of the Labour movement has been changed. At one time the party stood for the maintenance of private enterprise, so long as there was no exploitation of the community by monopolies. But now it advocates the socialization of the means of production, distribution and exchange.
– It is the same objective as when Senator Pearce and Senator Newland were associated with the Labour party.
– Nothing of the kind. Senator Findley’s leader would not make such a. rash statement as that.
– I agree with Senator Findley that the Labour party has practically the same objective now as formerly. The conference that decided on the new objective qualified it by a declaration that there was no intention to interfere with private enterprise, unless it was found to be exploiting the community.
– But the new objective declares that private enterprise must go. We learn that, not from what the party opposite would call the cursed capitalistic press, but from reports in the Worker, and other Labour organs. Mr. Theodore opposed the new objective, and when the conference carried it despite his fervent protest, he said, “ You have changed the objective of your party. You ought now to change its name, because you are no longer a Labour party.”
– He added,” “You should call it the Communist party.”
– Yes. That is the opinion of a man who is still a leader in the counsels of the Labour party, and was sent by it to take part in a certain by-election now being held, to stem the tide that is flowing against Labour because it has in its ranks men who, Senator Gardiner declares, carry no weight in the movement. But they had sufficient weight,despite the opposition of Mr. Theodore, Mr. Lang, and other so-called leaders of Labour, to change the objective of the party. Honorable senators opposite tell us that the communists are few in number in Australia, and can do nothing to hurt the country. In fact, we are assured that it is a waste of time and energy to take any action against them. But I have pointed to something that they have done. Honorable senators opposite are now required, against their better judgment, to urge the people of Australia to support the socialization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. Such an alteration in the form of society could only be brought about by means of revolutionary acts such as those mentioned in this bill.
– What does the honorable senator mean by a revolution ?
– Taking by force what cannot be obtained by constitutonal means. The statement that the bill is an attack upon trade unionism is an insult to the industrialists of Australia. At whom is the measure aimed ? It deals with -
Any body of persons, incorporated or unincorporated, which by its constitution or propaganda or otherwise advocates or encourages -
the overthrow of the Constitution of the Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage;
the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth or of a State or of any other civilized country or of organized government; or
the destruction or injury of property of the Commonwealth or of property used in trade or commerce with other countries or among the States.
Are those objects identical with those of trade unionism ?
– Of course not. No trade union in this country will accept the statement made by the Labour leaders that the bill is aimed at the unions, since it is obviously intended to strike a blow at the organizations that seek to destroy trade unionism as we know it. And we have such organizations in Australia. There are the Communist party and the Industrial Workers of the World.
– And the Fascisti.
– I am not aware that there is a fascist organization in this country. Statements to that effect have been made repeatedly; but when we ask where and by whom this organization is carried on we cannot obtain any information. It is also stated frequently that the communists, in the recent campaign, were financed by the Nationalists.
– There is no doubt about that.
– We invite the honorable senator to prove his assertion. Who is the king of the communists in Australia to-day? It is Mr. Jock Garden. Although he is said by honorable senators opposite to be in collusion with the Nationalist party, he is still received in the inner counsels of the Labour movement, and his representative still sits on the board of directors of the Labour Daily. When funds were required to finance the Labour campaign in New South Wales and an appeal was made to the trade unions of that State it was signed by Mr. Garden. Yet we are told that this individual is receiving money from the Nationalists, because he is a communist. No doubt the communists are honest in their convictions, although we know that they are in the wrong. In that respect they are unlike most Labour representatives, who know that a number of the principles that they advocate are wrong, but have not the courage to say so. Honorable senators opposite know that the objective of their party is wrong, and they hope that it will never be carried into effect. Senator Gardiner admitted to-day that when the conference realized what had been done it added a qualification to the effect that, although its objective was the socialization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, it could not be put into operation at the present time, or even during the life-time of the members of the conference. They recognized that it might be thousands of years before the ideal could be realized.
– That objective is merely bird lime.
– Yes. What gleam of hope is there in it?
– Will the party opposite deport Messrs. Walsh and Johnson ?
– I am coming to that point. I am not one of those who stated during the recent election campaign that those men would be deported.
– But the honorable senator supported a bill that was introduced for that purpose.
– I supported a measure for the deportation of any persons found guilty of certain offences, and to-day I am supporting another bill that makes similar provision. The fact is that this Parliament made no set against Walsh and Johnson. Nor did the National party as an organization. Despite the assertions of Senator Gardiner, jio statement was made by responsible candidates of the National party, so far as I heard, that these men would be deported. We did say, as we have since said, that the law having been found to be faulty, other steps would be taken to preserve Australia from dangers which threatened it. No Government’ worthy of the name would be fit to remain in office it it did not take steps to protect Australia from a danger which threatened to involve it in all sorts of trouble. We now realize that it is necessary for the Government to have additional power to deal with any situation that may arise in certain industries, and certainly with what are called unlawful associations. Trade unions are not unlawful associations. They are lawful associations, provided for under the law of the land, and given the protection of registration under the Arbitration Court. The Government, which is now charged with making an attack on trade unionism, has never attempted to take away any of the rights - if we may so call them - or privileges enjoyed by trade unionists in Australia. The Arbitration Court is intact. The unions still retain their right to go to that court, provided they are registered, and secure awards improving their conditions of work or rates of wages. If 1 thought that this bill was an attack on legitimate and bona fide trade unionism, which has done so much to improve the conditions of the working classes of the world, and which is admitted by every om’ to be most necessary in. every country, my voice would be raised, and my vote would b? given, against it even if it were the l-“”* thing I did in this Parliament.
– Cut out the soft stuff.
– When we are listening to Senator Needham we shall hear a re-hash of all the speeches made in another place in opposition to the bill, and a lot of stuff that has no connexion with the bill. When the honorable senator invites me to cut out the soft stuff. I ask him to give more serious consideration to the real nature of the bill without pausing to consider the effect his words are likely to have outside. It is easy to look at a bill such as this with one eye on the measure and the other on the people outside to see what the consequences of one’s vote are likely to be; but when I speak to a measure of this sort I do it without considering what the feeling outside is likely to be in reference to myself. Senator Needham is not in that fortunate position. The Labour whip has cracked, and the word has gone out that this bill must be opposed, and that it must be said of it that it is an attack on trade unionists. Labour members dare not use any other argument. Wc shall hear it in every speech that is made from the benches opposite. In fact, Senator Needham will not be able to make a speech upon the bill unless he says that it is an attack on trade unionism; because that statement has been made so often by others, and it will have to be repeated by one who always says what others have already said. The bil] contains other provisions than those relating to unlawful associations. It regards as offences certain acts against the Commonwealth, and I feel quite sure that most of its provisions will have the unanimous support of honorable members opposite. It applies all round, lt applies to the employer as well as to the employee. It applies to lockouts as well as to strikes. If one section of the community is prosecuted for striking, another section can be prosecuted for locking out. Therefore the argument used by Senator Gardiner about the measure not being applicable all round is quite unsound. Like the provisions of the Arbitration Act, it applies to every one. It is an honest attempt to meet a serious position which has arisen. There is need to provide a law with effective penalties to prevent persons from forming unlawful associations and issuing propaganda seeking an extension of those associations and increased membership of them. This bill will fulfil a useful purpose. I am certain that if it is passed it will result in good, and will redound very much to the credit of the Government.
– I accept the challenge of Senator Duncan to speak on the bill, but let me apologize to him right away. I shall be able to say much that is original. I have listened patiently to the honorable senator’s attack on honorable senators of the Opposition. I have heard that attack previously. I have again and again heard the parrot cries which Senator Duncan has repeated, and if I am, perhaps, guilty of saying something which has been said before, knowing that it is true, I intend to say it again. Senator Duncan has said that we on this side of the the chamber are caucus bound.
– I did not use the word.
– At any rate, the honorable senator said that we had to respond to the crack of the whip. The honorable senator can quibble if he likes, but when he was Acting Government Whip he insisted on the crack of his whip being heard. However, I have a much more important matter to deal with than the quibbles of the honorable senator. I wish to reply to a few of the statements made by an honorable senator who occupies at least as eminent a position in this Chamber as Senator Duncan. I listened with a great deal of interest to the speech delivered last night by Senator Pearce, the Leader of the Senate. Whether I agree with the right honorable gentleman or not, I have always said that he applies himself to his task, and that his speeches are, at least, interesting. The Government will have no bother from honorable senators of the Opposition in regard to those provisions of the bill which deal with unlawful associations. Wo have always been against unlawful associations, and will continue to maintain that attitude. But I do not see the reason for including in the bill any provisions dealing with these associations, because already there is on the statute-book the Unlawful Associations Act of 1917.
– That has lapsed.
– I have been advised by the legal advisers of the right honorable gentleman that the Unlawful Associations Act of 1917, which isan amendment of the Unlawful Associations Act of 1916, is still in force. It relates to the Industrial Workers of the World, and when it was before the Senate it was not opposed by the Opposition, because we realize that any organization having for its purpose a revolutionary object or the destruction of constitutional government is anti- Australian and un-British. If the Minister (Senator Pearce) in replying to the debate will tell me that the Unlawful Associations Act of 1917 has lapsed, I shall accept his statement, but if it is still in force, as I believe it is, the Government could easily have brought down an amendment to extend its application to the communistic organization which Senator Pearce says is in existence in Australia to-day. If this organization is so powerful and so dangerous as was portrayed by the right honorable gentleman last night, why did not the Government, which has been in office for nearly four years, take action long ago to save Australia from this menace ? Why did it wait until the eve of an election to point out the danger of communism?
SenatorH. Hays. - That is why the election was held.
– I am glad that the honorable senator has let the cat out of the bag by admitting that the reason why the election was held was to terrorize the people of Australia, and make them believe that there was a “red” menace and a communistic danger.
– I did not say that. There is no cat to let out of the bag. The honorable senator challenged the Government to go to the country on that issue. He said the Government had no mandate to legislate for the deportation of these persons.
– Because of my stature I have always beencareful about throwing out challenges. I did not issue any challenge to the Government.
– But your leader did.
– I want to come down to facts. I am glad that Senator H. Hays admits that that was the reason for the election. If this danger existed four years ago, why did not the Government take action to arrest Garden and Zuzenko? Because it had no policy to place before the people. The Government waiteduntil the time was ripe to create a psychology. A bogy having been found in the persons of Garden, Walsh, and Johnson, legislation to deport them was introduced. The strength of the communists was exhibited last year in New South Wales, when at least seven communist candidates, including Mr. Garden, stood, for election to the State Parliament. Between them those candidates received 800 votes. That is the strength of communism in New South Wales. Senator Pearce has handed to me a copy of the Unlawful Associations Act 1917, section 2 of which provides that the act shall continue in force for the duration of the war and six months after. I take it that that act is not now in operation.
– No; it has lapsed.
– In that case I was wrong. I emphasize that we on this side have no objection to that part of the bill which deals with unlawful associations, except that the punishment of deportation -should not be added to any penalty imposed by the court. If there is an unlawful association in Australia - and that has yet to be proved - and if members of that association are thought to be guilty of an offence, I have no objection to their being brought before a properly constituted tribunal, and, if found guilty, punished. But I would not add deportation to that punishment. I do not believe in deportation at all. This bill imposes a double penalty; not only may a member of an unlawful association be imprisoned, he may also be deported.
– In America one man received a penalty of ten years’ imprisonment, to be followed by deportation.
– I do not intend to follow blindly any precedent established by the United States of America.
– Is the honorable senator opposed to the Immigration Restriction Act?
– The High Court has disposed of that aspect of the question.
– The original act provided for deportation.
– Perhaps Senator Pearce- thinks that I am opposed to that portion of our immigration -4aw which provides that undesirable immigrants may be deported.
– The honorable senator said that he was against, deportation altogether.
– I am not; but I am opposed to deportation for the offences mentioned in this bill.
– Then the honorable senator is in favour of deportation for one crime, and not for another, because under the original act an immigrant convicted of a crime within a certain period of his arrival .here may be deported.
– I desire to make it clear that any remarks I nave made regarding deportation are confined to this bill. Senator Pearce said that among the communists were sections and nuclei leaders, and that they met every week; he did not say how many meetings had been held in Australia, and who the nuclei leaders were.
– Does the honorable senator think that communists do not exist in Australia ?
– I have already pointed out the strength of the communists in New South Wales. Senator Pearce tried to connect the Collier Government of Western Australia with the Communist party. lie said that, during the British seamen’s strike, Mr. Collier was at last forced to act. ‘ The honorable senator must admit that Mr. Collier took every action necessary to prevent a disturbance.
– I do not admit that. For a time Mr. Collier took no action.
– The trouble at Fremantle was over in half an hour; but, had it not been for the action taken by Mr. Collier, the position might have become much more serious. I say that during the whole of the time that Mr. Collier has been Premier of Western Australia he has not only observed the law, but that he has done nothing to prevent the police from maintaining if. Let us compare Mr. Collier’s action as Premier of Western Australia in 1925 with that of Mr. Colebatch, who was Premier of that State in 1917, when the wharf labourers were on strike. The precipitate action of Mr. Colebatch at that time created a riot in which one man lost his life. Had it not been for the coolness and forethought displayed bv the Labour leaders in Perth and Fremantle, more lives might have been sacrificed. Senator Pearce, lifting up his eyes in holy horror, referred yesterday to a conference which was held in Sydney last September to consider the deportation law. He said that, after Parliament bad passed that law, members of Parliament and others attended that conference to defy it. He might have gone further, and have said that those members of Parliament were there to assist, if possible, in bringing about a settlement of the British seamen’s strike, which his Government made no attempt to do. I am not ashamed to admit that I was one of the members of Parliament present at that conference. During the last election campaign honorable senators opposite, including Senator Pearce, did not hesitate to circulate throughout Western Australia a photograph headed, “ The camera does not lie.” The director of the Nationalist campaign made it appear that, because the photograph showed me in the same group as Mr. Garden, I was a communist. Senator Pearce did not instruct the director of the Nationalist campaign to publish a photograph showing Mr. Bruce, the Prime Minister, in company with Mr. Garden when the latter, as amember of the transport group, approached the Prime Minister in an endeavour to settle the Australian seamen’s strike. Had Mr. Bruce been photographed in the company of Mi-. Jock Garden, we on this side should have had as much justification for referring to him as a communist as the campaign director had in describing me as a communist. Senator Pearce, however, took care that no such photograph was circulated in Western Australia. How degrading it would have been for Mr. Bruce to have been shown speaking to Mr. Garden! It is true that the conference to which Senator Pearce referred was held, and that it decided on a certain course in the event of action being taken to deport. Australian citizens. I, as a member of that conference, considered that the deportation law was unjust and tyrannical, and that it was being unjustly and tyrannically administered. For that reason I was prepared, not as a member of this Parliament, but as a citizen of Australia. to take my share of responsibility in the breaking of that law. I would do so again if the necessity arose. A considerable time of the conference was occupied in an endeavour to obtain an interview with the agents of the British ship-owners; and, after negotiations, a committee of this conference conferred with the agents, and endeavoured to settle the strike.
– How could the honorable senator, and those with him, settle it?
– At least we made an attempt, which is more than can be said of the Minister (Senator Pearce) or any other honorable senator on that side of the chamber.
– There was no general strike, because the wharf labourers would not come out.
– If that is the reason, the Minister is wrong in saying that the delegates attended the conference in an endeavour to bring about a general strike.
– I am guided only by the statement issued by yourselves.
– Our intention was to prevent a general strike.
– The honorable senator, and those with him, said they would take certain action if these men were deported.
– I admit that. I am not ashamed of attending the conference, and I would do so again if the necessity arose. What happened at Eureka? Were the Eureka miners law observers or law breakers? Did they break the law?
– There was no ballot then.
– That is an old “ gag.” I shall deal with the question of ballots later. The men at Eureka defied the law, and we are proud of Eureka Stockade. The Minister said that members of Parliament attended the conference to defy the law. In 1907, the Minister was the leader of a strike in Western Australia, although the men whom he was then leading were working under an award of the Arbitration Court of that State. .
– That is not true. The honorable senator knows it is not a fact.
– It is a fact. Notwithstanding the existence of an award, the timber workers went on strike.
– There was no decision.
– The Minister should look up the files. I think the Premier of Western Australia (Mr. Collier) stated the position correctly. If the Minister says my statement is not true, that is tantamount to calling me a liar.
– The honorable senator is only repeating Mr. Collier’s tarradiddle.
– I am endeavouring to put the position clearly. The Minister has said that members of Parliament who ‘attended this conference were defying a law of the Commonwealth.
– So they were.
-Iwas; and I shall do so again if I think a law is unjust and tyrannical.
– Who is the honorable senator that he should judge ?
– I am a citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia.
– And is every Australian citizen to judge for himself whether the laws under which he lives are such as should be obeyed ? If I broke a law I should expect to be dealt with under it.
– Why did not the Minister deal with me? If I was in the wrong in ‘attending the conference, why was I not arrested?
-Bkock man . - Because this measure was not on the statute-book.
– But the Minister said we were defying the law. The Government went to the country, and said that two citizens should be deported, but the High Court ruled that the law under which they were charged was unconstitutional. For what purpose has this dragnet measure been introduced?
– The general election was a drag-net.
– Yes ; but the electors were misled by a campaign of calumny and viciousness.
– That is a reflection upon the electors.
– I am not reflecting upon the electors. Slanderous statements were made to the effect that the members of the Labour party were communists, and that we were supporting communistic principles.
– The honorable senator is preaching communistic doctrines when he says he will defy the law.
– I would defy a law if I thought it unjust. The right honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Watt) suggested the other day at St. Kilda that a certain law should be defied. Is he a communist?
– He is a legal luminary.
– No, he is not; neither is Senator Drake-Brockman.I am prepared to take the consequences if I break any law.
SenatorH. Hays. - Does the honorable senator suggest that every Australian citizen is justified in breaking any law which he thinks unjust and tyrannical ?
– That is the honorable senator’s argument.
– An Australian citizen can break any law which he considers unjust; but must take the responsibility for breaking it. If I have broken the law, as the Minister contends, why have I not been arrested? .
– That is the honorable senator’s good fortune.
– The Government knows where I can be found. There is not the slightest doubt that this measure is a direct attack upon trade union organizations.
– Hear, hear ! Of course there is no hypocrisy about that !
– The records of the Labour party show that it has always been in favour of arbitration. There are times, however, when even arbitration may fail, and when men refuse to work. A workman has always the right to demand what he considers fair remuneration for his labour.
– But in doing so, he will not let the other fellow work.
– A man cannot be compelled to work when he considers the wages insufficient.
– The members of the honorable senator’s party claim the right to prevent any man from working when he wants to.
– If there is to be a law to make a trade unionist a criminal because he dares to ask for higher wages, or endeavours to improve the conditions of his fellow workmen, why should there not be also a law to punish profiteers who sell their goods at exorbitant prices? A workman has nothing but his labour to offer. His labour is his capital.
– No one has said anything to the contrary.
– This measure is framed with the intention of dealing with men who demand the best price for their labour.
– The honorable senator must believe in individual bargaining.
– I do not. The bill provides that if a member of a trade union supports any action for increased wages or improved conditions, and if, as the result of such action, an industrial disturbance occurs, he may be charged with a criminal offence.
– Where is that to be found in the bill ?
– In proposed new section 30j.
– That is a very farfetched interpretation.
– It is not. It is provided for in the proposed section I have mentioned.
– Will the honorable senator read it?
– I shall do so when the bill is in committee. Although under this bill action may be taken against men who desire to improve their conditions of labour, there is no mention of those who charge exorbitant prices for the articles they sell. A person who has goods for sale can charge what he likes.
– No. He charges what he can get.
– And he gets what he charges. If I were to seek Senator Drake-Brockman’s advice on a legal matter, he would make a charge which I should have to pay. If I wish to huy bread, or a suit of clothes, I have to pay the price demanded. Those who have money to invest demand a certain rate of interest.
– They get the market rate.
– They get the rate they demand. Who controls the money market?
– The rate of interest is fixed by the law of supply and demand.
– That is an old story. Those who have the money to lend control the rate of interest, and they charge what they like. During the great war, large sums of money were required to meet our war expenditure, and the “ money-bags “ said, “ We will lend you money provided you pay us a certain rate of interest, and free that interest from income taxation.” Whilst Senator Drake-Brockman’s men in France and Gallipoli were falling like flies, those who controlled the munition supplies said, “We will supply you with munitions provided you give, us a certain price.” That is an incontrovertible and irrefutable fact. The profiteer in Australia charged what he liked, and got what he asked. That happened in the case of food supplies and the rent which soldiers’ wives were charged. There was no control then exercised over them, and none is exercised over them to-day. So I say that if we pass a law which says to a member of a trade union, “ If you take a part in a meeting of your organization for the purpose of improving the position of yourself and your family-
– Oh, no !
– It is quite evident that the honorable senator has not read the proposed new section. Members of organizations are liable not only to imprisonment but also to deportation. Another feature of the bill is that the distinction between the Australian born and the non-Australian born, which was initiated by the Immigration Bill that was passed last year, is continued. Why should an Australian-born member of a trade union who has been found guilty of any of the crimes that are named in this bill be treated differently from a nonAustralian born member. The South African War was caused by the differential treatment of Briton and Boer. Do we want a similar experience in Australia? Why should we regard as aliens those who have been born in England. Scotland, and Ireland ?
– To which country would the honorable senator send an Australian born?
– I should treat every man equally under the law, and place the British born, in the same category as the Australian.
– He is.
– He is not. If an Australian-born trade unionist breaks the law, he cannot be deported.
– Does the honorable senator advocate the sending of Australians to the Pacific Islands?
– The honorable senator must not try to put into my mouth words that I have no desire to use. What I say is that no man should, under this law, be deported. If an offence is committed, let the offender be punished within Australia. The Government proposes to make ita criminal offence to be a member of a trade-union organization.
– That is absolute rubbish.
– That is the usual reply of a lawyer when he has no case. The bill manufactures crime. It says to trade unionists, “ If you do certain things, you are liable to suffer certain penalties.” There is not in the British Empire legislation of a similar character. The advantages the working men in Australia enjoy to-day have been won by organization ; they are not the result of concessions by employers or governments. Trade unionists have secured a lessening of their hours, an improvement in their conditions, and increases in their wages solely because they have had behind them their trade union organizations. This bill says to those men, “ If you do certain things you are liable to imprisonment and deportation.’’ At the recent elections the people were panicstricken because they thought that they were being stalked by red revolution. They were stampeded to the ballot-box, and they returned the present Government to power. What action does the Government propose to take after the bill becomes an act? The conditions at the present time are not different from what (hey were towards the end of last year.
– They are very much quieter in Western Australia.
– In Western Australia, there was a half-hour’s disturbance on the wharf at a certain period of the British seamen’s strike. I have here a table which proves that, during the years 1913 to 1924, fewerforking days were lost in Australia than in England, America, or South Africa. Where, then, is the necessity for the Government to alarm the people and to defame Australia by saying that this is a land of industrial unrest, in which revolution is imminent ?
– Did the honorable senator quote those figures during the recent election campaign ?
– I received them only about an hour ago.
– They are of no value; they are not proportionate to the population.
– They are proportionate to the population. The table sets out that Australia has 5,700,000 inhabitants; South Africa, 7,000,000 (of whom 1,500,000 are black); England, 35,500,000; United States of America, 117,000,000; France, 39,000,000; Canada, 8,500,000; and New Zealand, 1,250,000. England with six times the population of Australia, lost annually much more than six times the number of working days. I could quote extensively from two sets of tables to prove that we are industrially a more peacefulcountry than any of those I have mentioned. I hope that the Government does not think the passage of this measure will eliminate industrial strife. I have previously said that the Australian Labour party is, and always has been, an advocate for the settlement of industrial disputes by arbitration, but the time may come when all constitutional methods have been exhausted, and resort must be had to the strike weapon. The members of the Government should not lay to their souls the flattering unction that, having passed this measure, all will be well. I do not subscribe to the view that once this bill becomes an act the industrial milennium will have begun. The aim of all parties should be the prevention of, in addition to the settlement of, industrial disputes. The settlement process means loss of time and money, and sometimes poverty. During the election campaign the Government and its supporters promised to amend the industrial arbitration laws, and introduce the secret ballot. Often I have had difficulty in restraining unionists from using the weapon of the strike, because of the devious and costly path to the Arbitration Court, and because its decision is open to review by the High Court. The Government should accept the amendment submitted by my leader and withdraw the bill, with a view to re-drafting it and eliminating theobnoxious clauses referring to trade unionism. Attention should be concentrated on the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act with a view to making the path to the Arbitration Court straight and cheap, and making its decision final.
– Provided the honorable senator considers the decision right.
– And every individual concerned also thinks it right.
– I take little heed of supercilious observations of that nature. I have always extended to the Minister the courtesy of listening to his remarks, and I have never been so personal as to suggest that merely because he has made a certain statement it must be right. However, I cannot be responsible for his lack of courtesy. The measure seems to me to be crude and faulty. It is a jumbled effort to secure the object of the Government. If that object is to attack the trade unions, why has the Government not gone about the work in a simpler way than that adopted in the bill?
– Because that is not our object
– I hold the view that, in order to keep faith with the electors, the Government has introduced this measure to do, in a roundabout way, what was attempted by means of a measure that was held by the High Court to be unconstitutional. The bill is obnoxious; it is an interference with the liberties of the people ; it is an affront to the organized unionists of Australia; it is an insult to every citizen; and it is foreign to the principles of British justice. Therefore, I oppose the second reading.
– My treatment of this measure will be very brief, although there are sufficient considerations to warrant one in speaking at great length upon it. The very appearance of a bill of this description is sufficient to make the average citizen think seriously. On the one hand we have a form of freedom unsurpassed in the wide world t.o-day - a freedom that was the dream of our forefathers, and was gained for us as a result of much loving sacrifice. Side by side with the fact that we are in the full enjoyment of that freedom, we are confronted by the necessity for a crimes bill. It seems somewhat incongruous that this necessity should exist in a free democracy; but, unless there was ample warrant for the measure, I should not be found supporting either the bill or the Government that has brought it down.
If, as the Leader of the Opposition andhis lieutenant stated to-day, the bill was framed merely for the persecution of lawabiding citizens, it would be foolish to introduce it; but, fresh from the elections with a mandate about which I need not argue, we have an admision by the Leader of the Opposition that this was the paramount issue on the hustings. One may conclude, therefore, that there is, and has been for some tiro.’, ample warrant for such a bill. When an effort is made, without .rhynie or reason, to infringe the rights of the community, and make innocent people suffer because the party opposite has in its mind some objective, ill-defined or otherwise, the rights of the community must be protected, even though it may mean an infringement of the rights of the individual. Time after time the community has shown extraordinary tolerance, whereas individuals have been the aggressors. There are men in our midst who not only speak against the law, but flout it, and they are not checked. Senator Needham spoke about the time when men disobeyed the laws, but at that time the laws were made by a minority of the people. In my boyhood days obnoxious laws were repealed, for the most part, by breaking them whenever we had a chance. But the law of the land todayis made in accordance with the will of the people, spontaneously expressed at the ballot-box. When an individual declares that he is prepared to break the laws passed in a free democracy, he is guilty of sedition, and I am prepared to deal with him. When the laws of this country were made by a minority, there was no moral warrant for the majority to obey them. One had either to suffer in silence or to rebel against them. I admit that I favoured the latter attitude in days gone by, but now the position is entirely different. The sun of freedom shines. Nevertheless, we find men urging the people to trample on the. law. These persons should be made to obey it, or hold their peace. We find that in the conduct of their own affairs they are all-insistent that the laws made by themselves for the government of their own party shall be enforced and obeyed to the full. I am a living victim of the rigidity with which that rule has been enforced in the past. For insisting on the application of the referendum, one of the first planks of the party, I was expelled for all time from the party. Senator Pearce was also expelled for the same reason, for trying to put into execution a leading plank in the platform of the Labour party then and now
– The honorable senator was not expelled; he walked out of the Labour movement.
– We do not want to bandy words. I have heard ugly talk this afternoon about lying and misrepresentations. Why does Senator Hoare waste the time of the Senate by contradicting me when I am stating facts? But if he wants contradiction I shall give it to him in order that the truth may be made known to him. Senator Hoare’s statement that I was not expelled from the Labour movement has done duty for many a long day, because it serves to let the movement down lightly for the ignominy of its act in expelling Senator Pearce and others and myself. It is evidently ashamed of what it did, because now it seeks to ‘ ‘ crayfish “ out by saying that we left the movement, and were not expelled. Senator Pearce and I were members of the Labour party up to a certain point, till we came to the cross-roads. It is history now that when it was a matter of getting additional strength to support a national effort in another field, a stern endeavour was made to put into force the first plank of the Labour platform - the referendum - to get that additional force by means of compulsion.
– The honorable senator did not violate that plank; he merely tried to put it into force.
– Yes. I tried to make the Labour party observe its own platform and principles. For doing so my head was cut off - politically, of course; but the electors took it out of the sawdust basket at the Trades Hall and I am still living. I have great respect for Senator Hoare, because he is a more than passable sample of the party opposite, and he would not wilfully indulge in misrepresentation; but he is a victim, and a willing victim, of people more cunning than himself, who have put a. false face on things. I shall contradict the honorable senator by some precious documents. It takes a lot of trouble to get samples of these precious documents from the Public library. I think that all publications in this country should be copyrighted when they see the light of day, so that copies of them may be found in a national library. I am informed that librarians have been put to a great deal of trouble to get the precious documents I have with me to-day, which are reports of the proceedings of the Australian Labour conferences in past years. Senator Hoare says that I was not expelled from the Labour party. On page 4 of the first precious document in my possession, which is a report of the proceedings of the Labour conference held in Melbourne in December, 1915, appears the following motion moved by Mr. Scullin : -
That as compulsory overseas military service is opposed to tlie principles embodied in the Australian Labour party’s platform, all Federal members who have supported compulsory overseas military service, or who are members of any other political party, are hereby expelled from the Australian Labour movement.
The debate on that motion lasted for hours. To the everlasting credit of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) he voted against my expulsion.
– I do not believe in expulsion.
– The report of the discussion on that motion covers thirteen pages. At the end, when it was carried. Mr. Cornell, of Western Australia, wanted to know how he stood. The president said -
I rule that this motion covers whom it indicates. It applies to Messrs. Lynch and Burchell, who, in my opinion, have no further right to sit at the conference.
However, in case there was a spark of life left in any of us, the Labour conference, which met in Sydney in 1919, set out to do the job thoroughly. Mr. Molesworth, of New South Wales, moved -
That any member of Parliament, or conscriptionist, expelled for advocating overseas conscription shall not at any time, under any’ pretext, be readmitted to the Labour movement.
This was seconded by Mr. Willcock, of Western Australia, I am sorry to say, and was carried.
-(Senator the Hon. T. Givens). - How does the honorable senator propose to connect this ancient history with the question before the Senate ?
– You are quite right. Mr. President, in asking me that question. But I was trying to put mv respected friend, Senator Hoare, on the right track, avid show him that he was wrong in saying that we were not expelled from the Labour party. We were expelled in 1916, and to make sure that we were thoroughly expelled, a fresh effort was made in 1919.
– That may be so. But the honorable senator’s remarks must be relevant to the question before the Senate.
– My respect for the Senate is such that I want to see that whatever statements are made here are not astride of the truth, but right on the mark all the time. I do not say that Senator Hoare would deliberately attempt to mislead the Senate, but, for his edification, I have referred to this ancient episode. Senator Gardiner has saved a good deal of the time of the Senate by admitting that the people have given the Government an undoubted mandate. But I was very much surprised, and, in fact, I deplore, that a gentleman of his calibre and standing in this country should misconceive the public position as he has done. Senator Gardiner knows well that we would not have gone to the people so early unless we had been invited to do so by his colleague in the leadership of the Labour party. When a matter similar to that which is now under discussion was being debated in another place, Mr. Charlton said, “ Come out, come out, to your masters,” and this party, representing, as it does, a section of the people of the country, would be wanting in the ordinary elements of manhood if it did not respond to that challenge. Accordingly, it responded to it, and we went to those whom the honorable member described as our masters. I do not regard the electors as my masters. I treat them as my equals. I do not patronise them. I tell them plainly that if they think they can get a better man to serve them they can do so.
– Of course.
– If the honorable senator, and others at the head of the Labour party, adopted the same stand, there would be a healthier public opinion in this country. We went to the people in these circumstances, and there was one paramount issue at that election as Senator Gardiner has admitted. It. towered over everything else, like a Himalayan peak over an ant-hill in the Northern Territory, and it was whether or not constitutional law was to be observed in lim country. Nothing else mattered.
Left, right, front, or rear, there was nothing but that issue in the political scrimmage.
I have heard Senator Gardiner say that there are 90 per cent, of workers in this democracy of ours. I am not in the least inclined to dispute that contention. I believe that it is a very fair estimate that the idlers and wealthy men represent about 10 per cent, of the community. Some of these support the National party, aud some support the other side. What was the result when we appealed to the 90 per cent, on the 14th November last? Senator Gardiner takes pride in the fact that we are a discerning community; that no one can take us down ; that we are able to smell out a rat and expose it. But when the electors were appealed to under the leadership of Mr. Charlton and Senator Gardiner on the one hand, and Mr. Bruce and Dr. Earle Page on the other, what was the result? I am sorry that Senator Gardiner has said so much about lying and misrepresentation. We ought to be able to carry on these discussions without the too frequent use of those ugly words. I shall not mention what we said during the campaign, though possibly, being human, all of us did not adhere as strictly to the rules of veracity as we might have done. But let me give some samples of what was said on the other side. One statement was repeated here to-day. It was that the National party, by virtue of this hill, was out to smash trade unionism.
– There is no doubt whatever about that.
– Here we have it repeated, and, as we know, it was repeated all over Australia. A further charge was that we were out to reduce wages. Was there any substance in either of those charges? Another charge made here and elsewhere was that we wanted to introduce black labour into Australia.
– Hear, hear !
– Another charge was that we were aiders, abettors, and sponsors of the Lord Inchcape combine?
– Hear, hear!
– There we have it again. Yet these are the men who talk of lying and misrepresentation. I am afraid that poor old Ananias perpetuated his species, for there are some of his breed at large to-day engaged in the perpetual tormenting of their fellow men. The only effect these charges had on the overwhelming majority of the 90 per cent, of the workers of the country was that Senator Gardiner lost his seat, and Senator Pearce remained on the Government bench. And the reason was that the people will not be fooled. If you give an. average audience in Australia a garbled version of political affairs, will you not be put right by some one in that audience? Of course you will. As to the press being accidentally on our side this time, Senator Gardiner and Senator Findley both know that the support of the press counts for nothing. I do not think that its support on this occasion brought any political benefit to the National party. Both honorable senators recollect that when Labour was on top in Australia the press was against it. The argument about the press, therefore, carries no weight. We get. hack to the position that an intelligent and discerning democracy, on being appealed to, after hearing the pros and cons of the rival leaders, came to the conclusion that there was one party it could trust, and another it could not trust. That is the long and short of the story. No other construction can be placed upon it. Senator Gardiner says that his party is here by the vote of the workers of this country exclusively, but I say that that statement is not wholly correct. We on this side are here because the majority of the electors, including a majority of the workers, have placed us here.
When I see men denouncing laws which were passed for their special protection, I say that it is time to call a halt. Such men are neither the friends nor the champions of honest working men. During the recent election campaign, I frequently heard the people remark that they could stand existing conditions no longer. I have never patronized the electors, and I never shall, especially when I am told by some of them that they “made” me. So long as I have a head on my shoulders, and a pair of hands with which to work, I shall not thank such electors for electing me as their representative in this Senate. Rather should they thank me for representing them. In no other way can we obtain an independent Parliament. It is not right to patronize the electors and to remind them only of their rights. What about their responsibilities ? The balance between responsibility and privilege must be held fairly. Without striving, no right has ever been secured. Rights do not fall from Heaven like the manna of old ; they must be gained, and gained by proper means : otherwise they should not be enjoyed. Only that which a person earns has he any right to enjoy. It is time that we flung aside, or buried 1,000 fathoms deep, those, shibboleths and nonsensical fads, those erroneous beliefs that are doing, and have done, so much to mislead the people. Instead of accepting political shibboleths, people should think for themselves. One of the most hopeful signs of the last election campaign was that the electors did think for themselves. The moment people think for themselves, the doom of the impostor, the demagogue, the fakir, and the false leader is sealed. There are in this country men who think that only that which they advocate should be accepted by others ; that to their views the populace should bow down, all other views being anathema. That is not freedom. We read of men being expelled from organizations because they will not accept what others require them to believe. And the people who expel them boast of their democracy! I do not say that there are no good men in the Labour party today, but I do say that any such men in the party are overborne at every turn by others who have no good desires or ambitions. The test of sincerity is sacrifice. Many of the industrial leaders of to-day have made no sacrifice. Ask any ten of the leading men in the Labour organizations what sacrifice they have made in the interests of their fellows, and they will find it difficult to answer. Men come forward saying that they are leaders of the movement, whose views therefore are sound, and that against them no man shall raise his voice. Men who speak thus are usually men who have made no sacrifice in the cause of their fellows. While there are in the Labour movement men of good character and high calibre, the movement to-day is being given a false direction because of the. shortcomings of many of the men who have joined it during recent years. Shall we bow before them ? Never ! There can be no freedom under conditions which allow a man to be expelled from an organization because his opinions are contrary to the views held by men who have made no sacrifice for the common good.
– Has the honorable senator made any sacrifice ?
– Yes. I have done more for the Labour movement in one afternoon than the honorable senator has accomplished in the whole of his life. During the recent election campaign I visited an industrial centre known as Pilgrims’ Mill, where some 120 men are employed. I did not expect to be received with open arms, or to be embraced by the populace, but that was almost my experience. When I had finished my address1, an employee of the mill moved a vote of confidence in the National party, the Ministry, and myself. Another employee seconded the motion, which was supported by a number of others. Most of them, I believe, voted for National candidates. That was in an industrial centre where, in the past, the dogs were set on any candidate who did not belong to the Labour party. On this occasion, however, I was the hero of the hour. The reason why these men supported the National party was that the industrial unrest in Western Australia had hit them hard. Because for many weary months the boats had been held up at Bunbury, their produce was unable to reach the market. In Western Australia Nationalist candidates received a majority of 30,000 votes. That shows how the minds of the people there turned in the direction of stability.
Sitting suspended from 6.29 to 8 p.m.
.- I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
The only amendment of the existing law for which this bill provides is set out in clause 2, which reads -
Section 31 of the principal Act is amended by adding at the end thereof the following proviso : -
Provided that the widow of any member of the forces shall receive a pension amounting to not less than £2 7s. per fortnight.
That is the purport of the measure, and is to ensure that the widow of any soldier who served shall receive a pension of not less than the amount stipulated. The sum mentioned is already payable in some cases, but I am making it a minimum, so that the Government, when it has more money available, may increase it if it so desires. My attention was drawn to the necessity of such an amendment by a case of grave injustice to the widow of a soldier who served abroad until the termination of the war, when he returned to Australia unfit to follow his usual occupation. For a time he was a hospital patient, and later was treated as an outdoor patient, but he eventually died. His widow could 110 t get a pension because, under the present system, pensions are not payable to the widows of soldiers who lived a certain time after their return from abroad. That appeared to me to be such an unreasonable and unjust system that I decided to introduce thi3 measure, in which provision is made that the widow of every Australian, soldier shall be en titled, to a pension.
– Irrespective of whether he died from war service or not?
– Yes. I feel that if any loophole is left, deserving widows may be deprived of their rights in order to save a pound or two. I think the Minister will give me credit for not using this case for political purposes. I am willing to give him the name of the deceased soldier and the present address of his widow, so that the fullest possible inquiries can be made. If this man had died earlier, his widow would have received a pension, but because he lingered a little longer than the specified period, she has been deprived of that right. I regard that as a grave injustice.
– Is the reason given by the honorable senator that assigned by the department for the refusal of a pension ?
– Yes. I knew this man before he went to the war, and met him frequently when he was a hospital patient, and also when he was receiving outdoor treatment. Notwithstanding the fact that he died as the result of war service, his widow has not received a pension. I know that the Minister will object that this measure provides for the payment of pensions to all war widows; but why should they not receive pensions? In New South Wales, a most enlightened State, the Government has passed an act under which all widows with children receive a pension irrespective of whether their husbands rendered war service. It is not too much, therefore, to ask the Commonwealth Government to provide that the widow of any soldier who served in the forces be paid a pension. I realize that the Government is paying pensions to a large number of war widows, but I cannot see any grave difficulty in paying pensions to the widows of men who, although not killed in the field, returned in such a state that they never recovered their normal health.
– Did this man ever receive a pension?
– I think not.
– He returned from the front, became an inmate of a . hospital, and later was an outdoor patient.
– If his illness was due to war service he should have received a pension.
– Many persons are entitled to benefits which they do not receive. Some time ago a select committee inquired into the case of a man who it was considered had been unjustly treated, and as a result of an investigation the committee unanimously reported against the department. Although it is rather late in the day, I do not think the Senate will be opposed to granting pensions to the widows of soldiers who died after they returned from service abroad. Such an amendment of the act would not greatly increase the cost of our pension system. The sensible view to take is that every man accepted for service abroad was regarded as being perfectly sound. After passing a strict medical examination, this man went abroad, but died some time after his return.
– Can the honorable senator say whether he ever applied for a pension ?
– I cannot say definitely.
– The honorable senator cannot say if the soldier was in receipt of a pension ?
– I do not think he was.
– I cannot find in the act any time qualification such as the honorable senator mentions.
– It may not be in the act, but that is the method which the department adopts.
– From memory, I believe that if a man dies as the result of war service his widow is entitled to a pension irrespective of the period which elapsed before his death.
– The war was responsible for the illness which terminated this man’s existence, and I am satisfied that in declining to pay a pension the department is treating his widow unjustly. The position can only be met by an amendment of the act. If I hear of a case in which an injustice has been done I endeavour to have it adjusted, but as we do not personally hear of all such cases, it is only right to make provision to meet them by legislation. If the Government intend to oppose the bill we should have a vote and settle the matter, as I do not wish its consideration to bo unduly delayed. The issue is a clear one, and I trust that the measure will have the support of the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Pearce) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 4th February (vide page 661), on motion by Senator Needham -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– This measure, which was introduced by Senator Needham, proposes to amend the Commonwealth Workmen’s Compensation Act in one or two important details, and in particular the schedule of rates of compensation. The honorable senator’s action in bringing this measure before the Senate has drawn the attention of the Government to the matter, and it has taken the bill into consideration. The Government feels, however, that it cannot accept the measure in the form in which he has introduced it, although some of the departments have been asking that our rates be brought up to date. The act under which we are now operating is a pre-war measure, and as conditions have altered owing to the war, it needs amending. As a matter of fact, in the departments chiefly concerned it has been the practice to recognize that, judged by presentday standards, the rates in our schedule are inadequate, and in nearly all cases a higher compensation than that provided in the schedule has been paid, but only as an act of grace. During the present session it is the intention of the Government to introduce a bill in which the rates will be brought up to date! The Government cannot accept Senator Needham’s bill in its present form, and if he will withdraw it, and accept my assurance -that the Government will introduce another bill, he will have an opportunity to submit any amendments which he may consider necessary. In these circumstances I ask the honorable senator not to proceed with this measure. If he does, the Government will have to oppose it, as it contains some provisions which we cannot accept. It is better that the Government should introduce a bill, and that will be done when an uptodate measure has been drafted.
– The bill does not cover the whole field.
– That is so. The existing law needs reconciling with the provisions of the Superannuation Act, under which permanent members of the Public Service are entitled to certain pensions. In order to avoid a possible clashing with that legislation, the Government proposes to give the whole matter consideration, and during this session to introduce a bill that will be in accord with present-day opinion relating to workmen’s compensation.
– I thought that some other honorable senator might have spoken to the bill, but as there does not appear to be a willingness to do so, I am perforce compelled to close the debate, and invite the decision of the Senate. Senator Pearce this afternoon informed me of the intention of the Government, and his speech to-night confirmed the statement he made to me. I regret exceedingly that the Government has so curtly dismissed the measure from its consideration. I had hoped that the Minister would refer to the special features of the hill, but he did not do so. They arc not new to the laws of the six States of the Australian Federation, nor to English and American law, but they arc absent from the law of the Commonwealth, and they are, therefore, worthy of mention. . They are five in number, and they provide for - (1) Increase in the total amount of compensation. In that regard the Commonwealth is woefully behind the times. It is not even abreast of conservative England. (2) Compensation to a workman who dies from, or is affected by, certain industrial and occupational diseases. (3) Compensation for loss of, or injury to, an eye, a limb or part thereof, paralysis of limbs, or loss of mental power. (4 J Increase in burial and sickness expenses. (5) To ensure that an injured workman, shall receive not less than 50 per cent, of the weekly wage he was earning prior to injury. I thought the Minister would have stated that the Government proposed to incorporate some or ali of those features in the bill that it intends to bring down.
– How i-ould he?
– It is not in draft yet.
– I believe that iiic Government will bring down a measure. But the Minister might have indicated what, according to the Government, is wrong with this bill. He could easily have said whether any of those five features would he incorporated in or excluded from the proposed measure. I must ask the Senate to either accept or reject this bill.
– When the other bill comes along, if it is found not to include any of these features, could not the honorable senator move to have them included ?
– My request to honorable senators to vote upon this bill will not debar me from moving amendments to the measure that the Government proposes, t.o introduce. Having had the acknowledgment of the Leader of the Senate that our law is out of date-
– He thanked the honorable senator for having drawn attention to the matter. It would, therefore, have been a gracious act to withdraw the bill. One wonders if the honorable senator is seeking political points rather than looking after the interests of those who are injured or disabled.
– Senator DrakeBrockman is constantly imputing to honorable senators on this side the motive of political advancement. I hope that he will refrain from doing so in future.
– “What is the honorable senator’s motive?
– The Minister might at least have told the Senate what feature of the bill did not have the Government’s approval.
– How could I? Our bill has not yet been framed.
– If I had not introduced the bill the Government might not have given attention to this legislation, which is so far behind the times. I invite the Senate to accept this bill.
Question - ‘That the bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed (vide page 1308).
– Prior to the adjournment I was referring to the irregularities that have recently been growing up in our industrial and social life. The object of the bill is to cope with those irregularities. It is a small measure’, divided into two parts. It proposes in the first place to deal with unlawful associations - persons who form themselves into bodies for the purpose of making trouble for their fellow citizens, the society in which they live, and the Government which protects them. In order to fill in their spare time they purport to give some attention to the way in which other countries are governed. I feel that Australians have quite enough to do without looking into the affairs of other countries. These associations, therefore, should receive no encouragement, because they take the first step towards making Australia unfriendly with those countries in which plots are hatched for the overthrow of governments. Those who wish to embark upon world-wide schemes for the uprooting of society should not be allowed to put their unpleasant practices into operation in this country. A bill that tells these seditious persons, who are determined to uproot even the most beneficent government in the world, to mind their own business, is long overdue, and should be heartily supported. It is time that attention was called to this matter, because everybody admits that we have not a bad government in Australia.
– It cannot be said that we have a good government.
– The electors did not trust the party to which the honorable senator belongs, and that is why he is on the Opposition side. Australia has as good a government as the wisdom of the people demands. Like Solon, it may not always give the wisest laws, but it will give the wisest laws the people will bear. It is useless to say that no seditious movement exists in Australia. When a microscopic section of the people of Queensland told the exPremier of that State that they had no use for his Government, and no respect for its decisions, Mr. Gillies meekly submitted to their arrogant demands.
– And then he got out.
– It was a most just demand to which he acceded.
– That interjection reminds me of a friend of mine who was once called upon to act as an arbitrator in an industrial dispute. He acceded to every demand made by one of the parties, and exclaimed, with a wave’ of the hand, “I soon settled that question.” Of course, one can easily get over a difficulty in that way - Gillies fashion - by conceding that which is against one’s best judgment. The claims submitted to the ex-Premier of Queensland were not made against bloodsucking capitalists, but were made by government employees against their fellow citizens. At first Mr. Gillies refused to accede to the demands, but when he found that the position of the Government was hopeless he gave way. He afterwards said, “ I admit that these revolutionaries can upturn my Government.” He called on the people of Queensland to take stock of the position. That Government was brought to its knees and made the laughing-stock of the country. The Leader of the Opposition should whole-heartedly support the bill if he believes in majority rule, because the railway servants of Queensland are merely a microscopic fraction of the people of that State. This bill will deal with those rebellious elements that have so humiliated and dealt with the Queensland Labour Government. But the party opposite, which claims to be the chief, votaries of majority rule, are prepared to fight any effort with that beneficial end in view. We should deal with this subject as becomes a body of self-respecting and intelligent representatives of the people. These seditious practices are a fungus growth upon the body politic, and we should not supinely accept the dictates of a small minority. The Government is elected to govern, and its actions should not be a travesty of the name it bears. Talk about a Gilbert and Sullivan opera ! A government in a community of lawabiding citizens should not slink away like poor dog Tray, with its tail between its legs, at the first sign of trouble. Democracy, as such, is no permanent or stable state of society. By the acts of its false friends, more than of its open enemies, democracy has been brought to the dust. Aristotle said that the ban of democracy was not the agents of privilege, but the demagogues. There are those in our midst who, by the power of the tongue, persuade sections of the common people that they are ill-treated.
I believe that thebest way to settle a matter in dispute is to refrain from clouding it in unmeaning words. Therefore, I ask honorable senators to reflect upon the changed mental outlook of the present-day Labour party as compared with that of the party in days gone by. This bill intends to shut downon sedition in all its forms. Will honorable senators opposite tell me the object of the plank that lately appeared in a surreptitious manner in the platform of the Labour party, providing that citizens on completing their military training should retain their arms ? I have searched in vain for some reason for such a radical change in our defence system.
– What section is responsible for the introduction of that proposal ?
– It was adopted at a Labour conference in Perth some time ago, and no doubt, in a remote sense, its adoption is in itself a reason for the introduction of this measure. I am going to volunteer a reason for the Labour party’s acceptance of the new plank as to the retention of arms.I suggest that it is not desired that arms should be carried by citizens, on completing their training, for the purpose of shooting crows, sparrows, or kangaroos. That would be a useful purpose. Considering that half the population of Australia resides in cities, where there are no such pests, although there may be some political ones, I fail to see justification for any young man retaining his arms, unless it be that, under minority rule, means will be adopted to give the party in power a shock. At any rate, when representatives of His Majesty’s Opposition express the opinion that it is a sound policy, the people should seek the reason for the introduction of such an extraordinary proposal. The only reason for it is to put in the mind of a youngster the thought that the day may come when he will have to turn that self-same weapon on his fellow Australians.
– That is a wicked thought.
– Then let the honorable senator state the truth about it. It is no wonder that we have before us a bill of this description. This plank in the platform of the Labour party is the straw in the stream that indicates the trend of feeling whereby we have those manifestations of lawlessness which render this bill necessary. The witnesses I have called include Mr. Gillies, ex-Labour Premier of Queensland, who said that such a state of affairs exists, backed up by the reference of the Premier of New South Wales to unlawful associations. If further evidence is needed, let me call as a witness Mr. Washington Mathers, of Western Australia. He came across to the eastern States to represent the waterside workers, and on his return to his own
State said that the strike, in the so-called interests of the British seamen, was carried on exclusively for revolutionary purposes in Australia. Mr. Mathers is one of those honest men who will not be browbeaten, or made to come to heel, or have his lips sealed, or the voice of his conscience choked within him. He has not yet been dealt with like Senator Ogden has been, but I presume his time will come later on. When we see samples of lawlessness in tin’s country, and when decent folk, wanting to get about their businesses, and earn an honest living, are frustrated in their callings, is it not high time we asked, ourselves, “ Has not the community some rights? Have these arrogant individuals all the rights and the community none? Is that what democracy has come to ? “ Cannot I multiply case after case? Have not the producers of Tasmania stood in constant fear that the fruits of their year’s labour may rot before their very eyes because a few individuals choose to hold up traffic until their end is attained? Senator Gardiner was quite wrong in saying that strikes are always for the purpose of improving the social and industrial lot of the workers. There was no consideration for the social or domestic welfare of the unionists, or for their welfare in any sense, in the cases I have mentioned, which can be multiplied by the dozen. That being so, it is about time that sleeping, patient, lumbering elephant known as public opinion rose in its wrath and, lifting its big splayfoot, said to these unreasoning and lawless men, and those who stand with them - “Down in the dust you go, or get out of this country, because here we intend to work out our own material welfare, and we do not propose to be interfered with by spawn like you.” The time has come when this community should assert its rights. The assertion of its rights is contained in this small magna charta - this bill. I have heard Senator Gardiner say that because the workers have indulged in industrial disturbances, and thus made it possible to improve their lot, strikes should not only be suffered, hut countenanced by the Government of the day. I join issue with the honorable senator on that score. Does not the arbitration law - -which is Labour-made law - say that a strike is unlawful? To strike is an unlawful as it is to put your hand in a man’s pocket, or burn down his house. Yet we have not heard honorable senators of the Labour party denounce a strike. It is this tongue-in-the-cheek attitude of theirs that has caused this spirit of lawlessness in the community to burst into a conflagration. It has caused decent, lawabiding workers by the hundred thousand to say to their former leaders, “ You and yours are no good to us; we have voted Labour all our lives, but we shall not vote for them now and do not care a damn who knows it.” That was said over and over again during the recent election, and it accounts for the quarter of a million majority behind the Government to-day. I am tired even to the point of exhaustion in pressing home this point. Things would be different in this country if men in public life only did their duty. Unfortunately, there are public men who refuse to do their duty because they fear that if they did they would lose votes, and through losing votes lose their jobs. If they only dared to tell certain individuals that they are leading the workers on the wrong track things would be different. They admit it to you in the tram or in. the market place, but only in a low tone of voice so that they may not be overheard. On the eve of the last election Mr. Charlton did denounce as enemies of the Labour party those two men whose names I do not wish to further advertise, but the trouble was that he did it. too late. Ho only did it when he saw the outlines of his political funeral before him. He was like the chicken in the egg. When a man who saw an egg, and thought it would be a good thing to suck, cracked it, a chicken squeaked, but nevertheless he swallowed it saying “It is too late; down you go.” Mr. Charlton, like the chicken, spoke too late.
Turning now to what has been done to correct abuses that have occurred in the industrial field, I ask those who hold views contrary to mine whether they are aware that the troubles to which this bill apply in the interstate and overseas maritime carrying trade are confined to a very small section of our transport activity? Because of the limitations of our Constitution, we cannot deal with a dispute that does not extend beyond theimits of any one State. Therefore, a rebellious spirit can play up to its heart’s delight on the 4,000-miles-long coast-line of Western Australia, and this bill will not touch it. I should like to see it applied wherever these things happen in the industrial field - wherever men ‘to whom the doors of the Arbitration Court are open for the rectification of their grievances take the liberty to penalize e thers and rob them of their employment. I would have the Constitution amended to give this Parliament power to deal with such abuses. Apart altogether from the aspect of sedition and the overthrow of government, I was about to remark upon the disparity of the situation as we see it to-day. One section of the community, under the pretence of exercising an inalienable right, goes on strike, although the Arbitration Court is in existence to stop such a thing, and by so doing it can impose whatever penalty it chooses on society. Suppose another section did the same thing. Suppose the wheat-growers did exactly as the seamen have done for a long period. Suppose they said, “ Not a bushel of this wheat will leave the field until we get 10s. a bushel for it.” If the Government then came down and said, “You are doing something against society; you are guilty of an anti-social act; we shall pass a bill to compel you to sell your wheat at a certain price,” Senator Graham and his friends would support it in passing such a measure. On no ground could they refrain from doing so. But when a few thousand seamen, less than 1 per cent, of the total unionists of Australia, can make 100 per cent, of the trouble of this country by holding up its industries, its apologists, excusers, and condoners and every other sort of friendly accomplices are to be found, not only in this Parliament, hut outside under the canopy of latter-day Labour calling it “ fair play for the industrial leaders.” Fair play he hanged! If one body of men can go on strike and, although it has the Arbitration Court to appeal to, can use the weapon of the strike to blackmail society, the same right should belong to every other section in the community.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newland). - The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
Senator HOARE (South Australia) FS. 571. - At the outset, let me reply to some of the remarks made by Senator
Lynch in reference to myself. The honorable senator said that I was a new-comer in the Labour movement, and had not done much work for it before I came into this Parliament. I claim to have been a worker in the movement almost as long as Senator Lynch. As a lad, over 30 years ago, I helped to get the first Labour men, Mr. Archibald and Mr. McGillivray, into the Parliament of South Australia. Senator Lynch cannot go much further back than that, because there was jio Labour party in existence then.
– The honorable senator also . helped to put those gentlemen out.
– I was coming to that point. Not only did I help to put them in, but, later on, I helped to put them out. Senator Lynch say* that he got himself disliked and was victimized because he was an agitator for Labour, That was just what happened to me in several instances. Therefore, I have suffered like Senator Lynch and others in the early days of Labour. I had no desire to mention this, but the remarks of Senator Lynch have compelled me to do so in my own defence. The honorable senator also spoke of being expelled from the Labour movement, and I interjected that he was not expelled, but walked out of it. In 1916, Mr. Hughes presided over a meeting of the Labour party in the room in this building which is still occupied by the party. When members of the party disagreed with him, Mr. Hughes said, “ All those who agree with me follow me;” and Senator Lynch and others followed him out of that room. They immediately formed another party, and called it the National Labour party. They also formed another Ministry, in which Patrick Joseph Lynch was Minister for Works. I think this absolutely proves that the honorable senator walked out of the movement. Senator Lynch read some resolutions in an endeavour to prove that he and Senator Pearce were expelled from the party,, but the resolutions he quoted were carried months after he and Senator Pearce had walked out of the Labour movement. The honorable senator criticized the Labour party for advocating that military cadets should retain their rifles on the completion of their training. Should the Labour party again occupy the treasury bench, there will be very few rifles for the cadets to keep, because when wo come into power compulsory military training will be abolished.
– What is the reason for the desire that the cadets shall retain their rifles?
– Why did General Thompson and others want them to have rifles? On the 24th January, 1922, General (now Senator) Thompson, when speaking in reference to a strike in Queensland, said -
There is another aspect of the strike matter, and that is this. Have wo any machinery able to provide for armed forces? Is there any machinery to-day by which you can put your hand an some reliable force to put against the forces of-
Mr.R. Bowen. - Hooliganism.
General THOMPSON. - If you have a few regulars, it is wonderful what they can resist. Ihave seen 500 men in the shearers’ strike held up by 75 mounted infantry.
That shows how revolutionary some people outside the Labour movement are.
– That was for defence only.
– General Thompson wanted an army so that he could shoot or frighten the people. Honorable senators who charge the Labour party with advocating revolution should first set their own house in order. The AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Latham), in introducing the Crimes Bill in another place, said that he did not believe that the Labour party was controlled by communists; but it appears that many honorable senators of his party do not agree with that statement. At a recent Labour conference in Queensland it was decided, by 76 votes to 14, that before a person was admitted to the Labour party he should be required to sign an anti-communist pledge.
– That was after the election.
– Mr. Lang said the same thing before the State election in New South Wales, and the more he condemned the Communist party the more votes he received. The Minister quoted Mr. Garden as having said : -
The shadow of communism is over the Labour movement. All efforts to banish communism and communists are bound to fail. The good old times of playing at politics are gone. Revolution has stepped upon the stage.
If Garden really said that, he should have been honest enough to say that he was plagiarizing Mr. Harry Pollitt, the organizer “the international Communists in Great Britain. Garden and other men who admit that they are revolutionists cannot be classed as ignorant men ; they should know that the only way to bring about reform in Australia is by majority rule. Those who use other means to obtain reform will fail.
– They would not fail if they were first armed.
– Let any party go to the country with that policy, and it would suffer defeat. In Australia, which has the broadest franchise in the world, it would be foolish for any one to advocate reform by revolutionary means; true reform can only come by the education of the masses.
– Before the next election we shall have our own press.
– I hope so. Senator Lynch said this evening that the power of the press is insignificant, but on many occasions he has spoken of its power when charging the press with unfairness. Some years ago, the Age boasted that it had never lost an election in Victoria, that the side which it supported always won. In England, the Northcliffe press made the same boast. The press is the mightiest power on earth. During the last election campaign, the press of Australia was against the Labour party. The Age, to some extent, supports the Labour party in its attitude towards this bill, in that it advises the Government to be careful about deporting Britishers, claiming that they should be treated on equal terms with Australian-born citizens. We on this side do not oppose that portion of the bill dealing with unlawful associations. We believe that no organization has anything to fear so long as it does what is right; but that those organizations which are out to obtain their objectives by unconstitutional and revolutionary methods should be prepared to accept the punishment that may begiven them.
– Then why do honorable senators opposite oppose the bill?
– The reason for our opposition to the bill was explained by Senator Gardiner when he moved his amendment. We are not opposing the whole of the bill; our opposition is to only the obnoxious portions of it. We hold that it is not right to place in the hands of any government power which it may use against the interests of bona fide trade unionists. It has been said that the Labour party receives the support of the lawless element in the community. No section of the community has fought the Labour party more fiercely than have Messrs. Walsh and Garden. Would any true supporter of’ the Labour party speak as Mr. Garden did on the Yarra bank during the recent campaign? The Labour party has no greater opponent than Garden. I hope that the bill will bc so amended that it will bc more acceptable to the workers generally. If the amendment moved by Senator Gardiner is accepted, many of our objections will be removed. As the measure has been fully debated by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) and the Deputy Leader (Senator Needham), I do not intend to discuss it further. Although it has been passed by another place, I trust that the Government will accept the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition.
Debate (on motion by Sir Henry Barwell) adjourned.
Senate adjourned al 9.17 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 March 1926, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1926/19260304_senate_10_112/>.