2nd Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister if he will .endeavour to ascertain whether the States Governments are prepared to avail themselves of the advantages which it is proposed to offer under the Bonuses for Manufactures Bill, in connexion with the production of iron from Australian ore. In the event of their not being so disposed, will the Prime Minister consider the desirableness of taking further action, instead of allowing the matter to remain in abeyance?
– The Government propose to again approach the States Governments, and ascertain whether any of them have came to a conclusion different from that conveyed to the Federal Government some time ago. In the event of any Slate Government being willing to take action under the Bonuses for Manufactures Bill, on the lines suggested when the Bill was first under consideration, the Government will be quite prepared to assist in passing the Bill without delay. If none of the States should care to avail themselves of the measure, the matter will be again submitted to the Cabinet for consideration.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether, in view of a possible early dissolution, he has taken into consideration the practicability of giving to Queensland the extra representative to which that State is undoubtedly entitled?
– I can assure the honorable member that the matter will be fully considered and dealt with by the Cabinet, if events take the shape which he has indicated
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General whether he has received a further offer in connexion with the mail service between Great Britain and Australia; and, if so, whether he will state from whom the offer has been received, and if it is for a weekly service, or for one alternating with a service already in existence ?
– No such offer has been received.
– I wish to know from the Minister of Home Affairs whether it is true that orders have been issued from the Electoral Department to destroy all the ballot-papers used in connexion with the Riverina election held on the 16th December last ; and, if so, whether the Minister will take steps to prevent their destruction, seeing that they may be required?
– I have not heard anything with regard to the matter. I would ask the honorable member to give notice of his question.
– Will the Minister make inquiries, and-, if not too late, give orders that the papers shall not be destroyed ?
– I shall make inquiries as to whether the papers have been destroyed, .and at the same time ascertain what is the usual practice in such matters.
Mr.’ BATCHELOR laid upon the table the following paper: -
Report by Mr. T. Pridham upon the water supply and water power for the proposed Federal Capital site at Dalgety.
RETURN OF ORIGINAL PAPERS.
– In compliance with an order of the House, ali the papers in regard to the appointment of the Commissioner of Patents were laid upon the table on the 22nd March last. The papers supplied were the originals, not copies, and the Department of Trade and Customs are now anxious to have them returned. A strict compliance with the Standing Orders and Parliamentary practice would prevent papers, which had once been formally laid on the table, being returned. As, however, it appears impossible that the papers I have referred to will be further required by the House, I propose, with the concurrence of honorable members, to authorize their return. While upon this question, I should like to point out to the House that, when members desire to peruse papers, which, on account of their bulk, and the consequent cost, it is considered inadvisable to copy, they would probably . be equally well served by the Minister placing them on the Library table, instead of on the table of the House. There would then be no difficulty in their return as soon as members interested had perused them. At the same time, when for any reason it may be found necessary to lay original papers on the table of the House, I should propose, with the approval of the House, in future, to allow thiem to be returned, if applied for, in any case where it appears improbable that they will be further required by honorable members.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– These questions should have been addressed to the PostmasterGeneral. The answers are as follow : -
5- The line was opened on 18th January, 1904; revenue to 31st May, £Sg 183. 8d.
I may add that the construction of this Une was authorized by the Cabinet of which Sir John Forrest was’ a member.
LETTER SORTERS’ OVERTIME
< Mr. CROUCH (for Mr. Chapman) asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Whether any overtime payment is made to officers engaged in sorting mails in Queensland ; and, if so, on what scale?
– The answers to the.hon- ‘orable member’s questions are as follow : -
SALE OF DUTY STAMPS.
asked the Postmaster General, upon notice - .
Whether he will endeavour to make arrangements with the Government of Victoria so that duty stamps may be kept for sale at all postoffices within the State?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
Arrangements were made some time since, at the request of the Government of . Victoria, for the sale of duty stamps at all the Victorian post-offices that are in charge of officers of the Postmaster-General’s Department. As the sale of such stamps is not included in the work to be performed for the Postmaster-General’s Department at post-offices under the contract or allowance systems, and is not paid for by his Department, the matter can be arranged for between the State Government and the persons in charge of such offices, either directly or through the PostmasterGeneral ; but in either case it would necessarily involve terms acceptable to the persons who might be asked to undertake the work.
PUBLIC SERVICE INCREMENTS.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Whether any long-service increments have recently been granted to any officers in the Post - Office Department in any of the States?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Long-service increments legally due under State law, and not dependent on classification, have recently been paid to certain officers in the Postmaster-General’s Department, Victoria. This Suite is the only one in which provision of the kind exists.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice- -
Their use forbidden i the Postal Department. “ The functions of this Department being purely civil, no recognition of any kind can be given to military titles;” and that the men had no right to have such titles recognised, represents his views on this subject?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
How many officers comprise the Military Staff of the Commonwealth?
– I have been supplied by the Minister of Defence with the following answers: -
The Head-Quarters Staff consists of eight.
I might add that I am informed that the preparation of a return setting forth the actual amount paid away in travelling expenses would, if called for, involve some expense, inasmuch as a. great number of vouchers would have to be examined.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– I have been supplied by the Minister of Defence with the following answers: -
Yes. 2. Yes.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 3rd June, vide page 2016) :
Clause 4, as amended -
In this Act, except where otherwise clearly intended - “ Industrial dispute “ means a dispute in relation to industrial matters -
arising between an employer or an organization of employers on the one part and an organization of employees on the other part, or
certified by the Registrar a* proper in the public interest to be dealt with by the Court, and extending beyond the limits of any one State, including disputes in relation to employment upon State railways, or to employment in industries carried on by or under the control of the Commonwealth, or a State, or any public authority constituted under the Commonwealth or a State. “Industrial matters” includes. . . . being or not being members of an organization, association, or body. “ Industry “ means business….. or employment on land or water in which persons are employed for pay, hire, advantage, or reward, excepting only persons engaged in domestic service.
Upon which Mr. Robinson had moved, by way of amendment -
That after the word “ State,” line iS, the following words be added: - “But it does not include a dispute relating to employment in any agricultural, viticultural, horticultural, or dairying pursuit.”
– When the Prime Minister agreed on Friday last to progress being reported, it appeared to me that I should .have to crave the indulgence of the Committee for an hour or more, whilst I dealt with various statements made by Ministers and their supporters, that were still fresh in the memory of honorable members. I may at once state, however, that I do not propose to detain the Committee at any such length. On this side there are still a considerable number of honorable members who desire to address themselves to the amendment, and, no doubt many other honorable members of the Opposition will be anxious to explain the extraordinary position taken up by them in opposing it. Had I spoken on Friday last I should have called special attention to the remarkable attitude of the Minister of External Affairs in regard to the subject of early rising. The honorable and learned gentleman declared when discussing the amendment, that he never rose early if he could avoid doing so, and that he did not intend to resort to the practice. In making that resolve he somewhat tends to jeopardize the important Ministerial, position which he occupies. He evidently desires that before he rises the world shall be well warmed for his reception. It was mentioned by him that in his early youth he retired from a lucrative position that he held in Queensland, because his employer desired that he should rise at what appears to me to have been a reasonably early hour having regard to the necessities of his situation. He disagreed with his employer on the question of early rising, and left his service. As he spoke, I endeavoured to contemplate what might have happened had the honorable and learned gentleman remained in that employment, and it seemed to me that we should possibly have seen him to-day sitting on this side of the House as a large landed proprietor. The energy and force which he displays as a Minister would have brought him into prominence as a land-holder had he devoted himself to such a situation in life. Judging from the manner in which he deals with those honorable members whose views he does not share, I shudder at the prospect of what might have happened had he continued his connexion with landed property, and his employes not risen at a proper time, while he himself was resting and waiting until the world was well warmed foi him to go out and do his work. I feel perfectly satisfied that he would have been one of the first to insist that those whom he employed should rise betimes to do the work which was necessary in connexion with his estate.
– What does the honorable member think is a fair time for getting up?
– It depends a great deal on when one gets to bed. I have always been an early riser. I rather like to see the morning develop itself, and, except when protracted debates here compel one to go to bed later than is right or proper, I am always an early riser. If the Minister of External Affairs had not come down here, but had continued his connexion with that ancient employer in Southern Queens- land, I feel perfectly certain that no one on either side of the House would have insisted more strongly than he would that his employes should rise early, and he- would have seen the practical necessity for the rule. He referred to the remarks of the honorable member for Gippsland as if that honorable gentleman had been speaking a lot of claptrap. I may inform the Minister that in Victoria that honorable member is regarded as an’ authority on the subject on which he spoke. It is a piece of presumption and impertinence, that when the honorable member for Gippsland gives expression to views which are the result of a lengthened, practical and successful experience, he should be assailed and described as talking claptrap.
– It is the other way round.
– No; there are honorable members on this side of the House who can speak with long practical experience, and I believe that the majority in the Chamber prefer to listen to those who can speak with knowledge on a subject. I think that if it were the practice for honorable members to address the House as the result of their experience in particular matters, it would be very greatly advantaged. The Prime Minister sat in this corner for over three years, and I had the pleasure of sitting beside him for that period. There is no one in the House who possesses a greater personal regard for the honorable gentleman, because of his fairness, his clearness, and his good judgment than I do. But I do not think that in any speech he got nearer to claptrap than he did when he replied to the honorable and learned member for Wannon. The question before the Committee is one of such grave importance that it ought not to be lightly dealt with; it should receive serious consideration at the hands of every honorable member. I understand that, if the amendment is carried against the Prime Minister, he will accept the verdict of the Committee, and will not consider it necessary for him -to consider his position. That is, I think, an addition to one or two other inconsistencies which the party occupying the Treasury bench have displayed during the last few weeks.
– The honorable member must be hard up for an accusation.
– It is an inconsistent position for them to occupy;. and, in order to show that, if they are sincere, it is necessary for them to regard the amendment as a vital one, I shall submit some statistics which I have taken from the latest edition of Coghlan. I would urge on the Prime Minister the inconsistency of his position if he does not regard the amendment as a vital one. The late Ministry regarded as absolutely vital- and it was so considered by the Committee - a proposal that railway1 servants should be brought within the purview of the Bill, and also a proposal that” it should include all those engaged in industrial pursuits, so far as it was possible to do so within the limits of the Constitution. I find, from Coghlan, that those who are engaged in transportation and communication number 122,159 persons, while those who are engaged in agricultural pursuits number 276,095 persons.
– Is not the honorable member mixing up employers and employe’s ?
– No, as the honorable gentleman will see if he refers to page 903 of the book. Those who are engaged in dairy farming and poultry work number 43>592 persons, making a total of 320,047 persons. I believe that a great number of honorable members are of opinion that the shearers should be included in the Bill, and if it were not for them and two other kindred organizations, there would be no object in the measure at all. If I were to add the shearers, I should be adding 67.812 persons ; b.it i prefer to leave them out ; so that the clause before the Committee will affect - excluding the pastoral interests - 320,047 persons, whereas the other parts for which honorable members opposite fought so hard, and which, if carried, the late Prime Minister regarded as so important and vital, affected only 122,159 persons. On that ground alone it seems to me that the Ministry should attach much more importance to this subject than they evidently do.
– The honorable member should recollect that this is the proposal of the late Government.
– I quite recognise that. Let me glance at the revenue produced by the railways, and compare it with the productive value of the industries affected by the present proposal. I find that the gross Australian railway revenue for 1902-3 was ^10,470,580. I state the gross figures in order that there may be no misunderstanding, and no unfair statement concerning the effect of the figures. But what do I find to be the productive value of agriculture for. the same period? I find that the value of agricultural products amounted to ^20,207,000; and the value of dairying and poultry was £10,808,000 - making altogether £31,015.000.
– What does that prove?
– It proves that the Government are not attaching to the question now before the Committee the same amount of importance that they attached to the idea of bringing the railway employes under the operation of the Bill.
– Whatever the figures prove, they certainly do not prove that.
– They certainly do, if the honorable gentleman will pardon me for correcting him. I have not included the pastoral production for 1902, the value of which was £21,000,000. Including the pastoral production, the total value of the agricultural, dairying, poultry, and farming industries amounted to £52,000,000 ; as compared with a gross revenue from the railways of £10,470,580. The productive value of the interests concerned by the proposition now before the Committee is surely of such serious importance that we should determine that nothing shall be done to injure them. Next let me refer to the capital value involved.’ Upon this point I may say that Coghlan, so far as I was able to ascertain, is not as definite as he might be in distinguishing between city and suburban property and agricultural lands. But it will be obvious that that is not important as affecting what I wish to point out. I find that the capital value of the railways is £129,490,000. The capital value of the land of the Commonwealth, exclusive of Government lands - that is to say, including only lands which have passed into private hands - amounts to £350,281,000; the houses and buildings are valued at £277,514,000. and the live stock at £85,048,000. I quite recognise that there is not a sufficient distinction in these statistics to indicate which are urban lands and which are rural properties; but surely anything which affects such enormous interests should be regarded by honorable members opposite as vital. I do, therefore, respectfully submit these figures to the Committee/for consideration. Turmoil, trouble, friction, and delay of our parliamentary work were caused last session by the proposal relating to the railway servants, which was regarded by the late Government as vital. It was also regarded by honorable members opposite - as was indicated by their actions - as vital. I never heard that they went to the late Government, whom they defeated, and said, “ We do not wish you to retire ; we do not regard this proposal as vital; on the contrary, we consider it to be so unimportant, that we do not think it is desirable that the Government now in office should be displaced, and that we should take their places.” If that is the case, surely, altogether apart from the agricultural interests that are affected by the amendment, the Government should say distinctly whether or not they intend to regard the present proposal as vital. If they do not regard it as vital. I venture to think that I have sustained the position with which I started, that the honorable members opposite, in this respect, have added another to several inconsistencies which their previously homogeneous party has displayed during the last week or two. I recognise, of course, that one can only generalize from the figures which I have quoted. I endeavoured, this morning, to get from the Government Statist’s office, in Melbourne, a closer subdivision of the figures ; but I found that the officials could not supply me with the information I desired. Here, I may remark, that the sooner this Government, or whoever occupies the Treasury benches, takes the Statistical Department into their hands, in order to see that the statistics of the Commonwealth are placed upon a uniform basis, the sooner wa shall be able to go to some authority from whom we can obtain figures knowing them to be trustworthy. Surely the Government might consult the various States with a view of taking up this matter. It ought to result in a saving of expense.
– I am merely explaining the difficulty which I have had in getting closer figures.
– Closer to the subject?
Mr. KNOX. am very close, and very pertinent to the subject.
– I am trying to see how.
– What I feel is, that it is a defect that we are not able to get statistics of a closer character than those which I have given to the Committee. But I hold that those figures even in their present form incontestably display that we are not dealing with a mere municipal or State matter, but one involving gigantic interests. The figures are enormous. Yet here are we, seventy-five members of the Federal Parliament - or rather about half that number - forcing this position upon these great industries, proposing by what it is intended to do, to depreciate values, by placing this further imposition upon the producing interests, and upon the property which is used in connexion with them. Another most inconsistent contention, admitted, I think, by the Minister of Home Affairs, and by other honorable members opposite, is that the provision would not prove operative. If it will not prove operative, why should it be included in the Bill? Are our laws to be only so much worthless printing and paper? We should not be asked to pass laws unless the intention is that they shall become operative. For instance, our conciliation and arbitration law should be such that any foreign investor or any man desiring to spend money in the Commonwealth should be able, on perusing it, to learn the conditions which will attach to his investment if he takes up land in Australia. If the provision is to be inoperative, why, in the name of all that is sensible, should the Ministry oppose the amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for Wannon ? When I was last in London I visited the offices of the High Commissioner for Canada, and I saw there a busy hive of men actively engaged in securing the publicity of information which would be of benefit to people .who desired to settle upon the lands in Canada. They were doing everything possible to induce good, honest workers to emigrate to Canada. So far from imposing restrictions, such as that proposed here, they were offering every inducement to people to settle in the Dominion. It is an absolute travesty upon honest statement for honorable members to talk of making efforts to bring population to Australia, when at the same time they are attempting to place these obstacles in the way of their coming here. There are people in the old country who read our Acts of Parliament. In the little towns and villages of England and Scotland there is always some man who takes the trouble to read up these questions, and he is the man who guides his fellow-villagers, and who will really determine whether or not a few of them will emigrate to Australia. Many honorable members who know London well are aware that in the centre of the living and throbbing city the representatives of the Canadian Dominion have a great office, and another in the West End. I have seen at those offices a crowd of intending emigrants seeking information before going out to settle upon the lands in Canada. Those in charge of the offices were good enough to supply me with the literature they distri bute broadcast in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and I have much pleasure in laying specimens of it upon the table for the information of honorable members who may desire to learn what kind of literature it is. Let honorable members listen to what Canada offers to fanners.
– Is this really germane to the subject?
– I think it is most important. I desire to impress upon honorable members that whereas the present Government are proposing to impose burdens on the farmers, whom they say they desire to come to Australia, the Canadian Government imposes no such burdens upon those who are prepared to settle in the Dominion.
– What is the burden?
– The burden to which I now refer is that proposed by the provision submitted to the Committee, under which the farmer in Australia will have the men looking after his cows and horses entering into combinations for the purpose of upsetting all his farming . operations.
– Not merely entering into combinations, but being forced into them.
– The honorable member for Wentworth is quite right in what he says, but I am not now dealing with that phase of the subject. I shall deal with the forcing provisions by-and-by.
– I ask the honorable member whether his remarks are quite germane to the amendment? It is competent for him to draw a parallel between ‘ proposed legislation here and that in any other part of the world ; but I fail to see that the advantages offered by Canada, or by any other country, should be quoted in detail, as against a supposed disadvantage arising from the amendment. If the honorable member can show that in the literature which he has now presented to the Committee there are distinct . evidences of a desire on the part of the Government of Canada, or of any other country, not to include in their legislation such a provision as that proposed to be included in this Bill, I shall hear him. thiess there is some such connexion suggested, I must ask the honorable member to adhere strictly to the order of debate.
– I am very anxious to adhere strictly to the rules of debate, and I shall accept your direction. I venture to think that during the earlier discussion of the whole question, you have allowed such remarks to be made.
– That is a reflection upon the Chair.
– In regard to wages and other matter dealt with, I wish to contrast the advantages offered to settlers in Canada with those offered to settlers here. This is the connexion I wish to show : If we have to compete against certain advantages offered under the law in- Canada, we have no right to impose these further burdens upon any one who may desire to take up land in Australia. I think it is proper that I should be allowed to refer to those advantages.
– I ask the honorable member to proceed, and I shall judge of the relevancy of his remarks when he makes them.
– Why this “ stonewall?”
– First of all, Canada offers to farmers a free grant of 160 acres of land. I do not propose to take up the time of the House by reverting to the other advantages offered, such as equal taxes, free schools, and free-trade between the different provinces of the Dominion. But I am sure the Chairman will admit that I am in order in calling attention to the fact that in Canada intending settlers are promised no irksome laws. It is set forth that there are no irksome game laws - excepting, of course, as regards the necessary close seasons - and Canada is described as a free country, with religious and political liberty. The latter point may be beyond the question now before us; but, in Canada, a home is offered among fellow-British subjects loyal to the Crown and to British institutions, and proud of the British flag. I commend to honorable members this detailed information which will, no doubt, astonish them, as showing the efforts now being successfully made by the High Commissioner and his officers in London, to encourage immigration. I do not wish to disguise from myself, or from anv other honorable member, that conditions in Canada are, probably, not on all-fours with conditions in Australia. But my point is that we here are adding burden on burden, by such clauses as the Government haVe introduced into this Bill, instead of offering every facility to immigrants. A similar proposition by the late Government would, at this period of the debate, have received the same opposition that the present proposal is receiving. But I am disposed to think that the honorable gentle man then at the head of th e Government, and his Ministry would, with one or two notable exceptions, have been amenable to reason. They would have seen the force of the arguments which have been used by practical men like the honorable member for Gippsland, and they would have at once capitulated and admitted that it was entirely unnecessary to further burden the great agricultural and primary industries of the Commonwealth. I am afraid that I should be traversing ground which you, sir, might think objectionable if I were to show what the facilities in Canada are - what a man starting with £100 may do, and what he may secure for himself. I could show that the Canadian Government are asking a self-reliant people from Great Britain to take up land in the Dominion - that they are asking people to go to that country, to be independent, and not to be pampered and supported by Government regulations, which compel them to do this or refrain from doing the other thing. What the Canadian people want are strong, resolute, forcible men, who, . unlike my friend, the Minister of Home Affairs, are not afraid to get up before the world is warm. The men who are asked to go to Canada are men who get up. early and who feel that they have to undertake a strong, active, vigorous life, with the full determination to overcome all difficulties. But what have we in Australia? By various Acts of Parliament and other regulations, which will emanate from the present Government, and which were even proposed by the late Government, the virility, strength, and purposeful - ness of our people are being undermined. I am proud to say that I am privileged to regard many amongst honorable members of the other side as my closest friends, and I hope that friendship will long continue. But I beg of them to consider that the proposals which they now advocate will sap the life-blood of the people.
– No, no.
– My friend, the honorable member for Barrier, is not so good or strong a man to-day as he was when I knew him first, and when he first knew me.
– He is stronger.
– Does the Prime Minister really think that the honorable member for Barrier is stronger?
– Rather; he is very “strong.”
Air. KNOX. - The honorable member for Barrier may be strong enough in caucus, but I am speaking of his fibre, which I regard as the basis of everything. I ask honorable members to take the trouble to read some of the papers to which I have referred, and I have no doubt they will be perfectly astonished to see the facilities and advantages which the Canadian Government offer broadcast to the people of Great Britain. On the other hand, we in Australia are pleading for population, and at the same time, by Acts of Parliament and other restrictive measures, we add burden after burden. Early in the debate, last week, a proposal was made that the employes with whom I am now more particularly concerned should be paid by the hour. I regret to see the effort being made to divorce the common interests which have always existed - in farm life, at any rate - between employer and employed. The honorable member for Barrier, who comes from the old country, knows that the interests of the farm employes there were the interests of the owner. But what are we proposing to do ? It is proposed that a man shall be regarded simply from the point of view of what he can do in an hour. Are we to turn our men into simple machines, instead of their having a common interest in the work in which both employers and employed are engaged? If we proceed with these proposals we are on the high road to a divorce in that social life which, after all, is the greatest bond of union between us as a people. We are trying, by these proposals, to make more marked the line of division between what are called the classes and the masses; and that, in my opinion, is highly undesirable. The interests in farm life are so interwoven as to be mutually dependent, and it is highly desirable that the employ^ should take a real interest in the stock and the various products on which the fortune of his master and his master’s family may depend. What is the proposal underlying many of the suggestions now before us? It would appear that we are to have a new scheme for estimating the reward of labour. A man on a farm, who has to rise at 4 o’clock or 6 o’clock in the morning, is to be paid for the period of the day for which he is at work in the early hours, and for the other part of the day he is to receive no reward whatever. Surely it is far better for the employe1 to feel that he is a trusted servant of his employer, and that he has an interest in the undertaking in which he is employed, rather than that he should be told he is to get so much per hour? This divorce between the common interests of the employer and employed is a very serious matter, and it is one deeply involved in the proposal before us. It has been said that this provision will not prove operative; but in this connexion there is a point which I should like to emphasize. My friends on the Government side, although recently they may have appeared somewhat inconsistent in the surrender of one or two points, are consistent in this : that, if there is anything in the Bill which they can apply, they will apply it ; they will not allow it to remain inoperative. They may say that it will not be put into operation because the farm servants will not combine, but, unless I under -estimate their capacity, they will take steps to overcome that difficulty, and I am in fault in my estimate of their ability if they do not succeed. All my actions here have tended to the encouragement of the primary producers of the Commonwealth. I believe that the basis of our national .wealth is the produce of the soil, and the more we hamper our primary producers with fiscal or other legislative burdens the more shall we retard the development of the country. On that ground alone I would urge honorable members on this side of the Chamber to stand firm by the amendment, and I appeal to honorable members opposite to try to realize the importance of the figures which I have submitted. We are dealing with interests valued at hundreds of millions of pounds. Here are we, a body of seventyfive members, rushing to thrust down people’s throats-
– The action of the Committee in regard to the amendment can hardly be described as “ rushing.”
– The word “ industry “ is being made to apply in as comprehensive a sense as is allowed by the Constitution, and the Government have no right to complain if a question of the magnitude and importance of that now under consideration is fully discussed. If the ‘ provisions of the Bill are not carefully administered, there will be such a convulsion of the monetary interests of Australia, such an interference with our value conditions, that I do not know what will be the end. The magnitude of the interests at stake is so great that I appeal to the Ministry to make the amendment a vital question. They should let the country know that to a consideration as unimportant as that suggested they wish to subordinate millions of pounds worth of property, to a provision which, they admit, cannot properly be brought into operation. Let them give the country to understand that they will stand 01 fail by the Bill as it stands, or let them accept the amendment. I thank the Committee for their courtesy in hearing the few remarks which I have had to make. I think I have not exceeded the limit of time which I set myself.
– I had hoped that we would come to a division last week; but, as it now appears likely that every member of the Committee will speak, I have decided to occupy a short time in saying a few words myself. ‘ I am opposed to bringing the farmers and farm labourers under the operation of the Bill, and I shall, therefore, support the amendment. I would, in the first place, ask the Prime Minister whether, if the clause as it stands is carried, it will apply to the labourers and others employed on sugar plantations.
– Yes, in the case of a dispute contemplated by the Constitution. The provisions of the measure will apply only in regard to disputes contemplated by the Constitution. If the clause is carried as it stands, it will apply to all classes of agricultural labourers.
– With the permission of the Chairman, I wish, at this stage, to make a short personal explanation. On Friday last the honorable member f >r Kennedy referred to the debate which took place in 1 901, when the Pacific Island Labourers Bill’ was under consideration, when he said the labourers 011 the sugar plantations, who are none other than farn labourers, were termed drunkards and loafers. As I took a very active interest in that measure, I thought that possibly the honorable member might refer to me. I regret that he is not now in his place, because I wish to most emphatically deny that I used any such terms in relation to the workers on the sugar plantations of Queensland. I know that they are as sober and industrious as any other body of men.
– They were always unreliable, according to some honorable members.
– I intend to touch upon that point. The honorable member for Kennedy said that these_ men had also been characterized as unreliable. I believe that I made use of that term. I was then referring to the fact that the desire of the sugar-planters to retain the kanakas was not due to the cheapness of such labour, because, as I maintained, one white man could do the work of three kanakas. I pointed out, however, that at certain times of the year, when a delay of two or three days would have most disastrous results, the kanakas were considered more reliable than white labourers, because the white workers would probably want extra pay, or a few days’ holiday. ‘ That was the only connexion in which I made use of the term “ unreliable,” and that was the only sense in which I said that the kanaka was more reliable than the white labourer. I did not refer to the white labourers as drunk: ards or loafers, nor did I hear them socharacterized during the debate. We all know that less than three years ago special legislation was passed relating to the class of labour to be employed upon the sugar plantations of Queensland. The planters considered that they were subjected to very great hardship in being deprived of the kanaka labour to which they had been accustomed for. many years. Now we propose to place them under further disabilities by bringing them within the scope of the Bill. The planters have not, so far, suffered to any great extent from the reduced supply of kanaka labour, because at the time the Pacific Island Labourers Act was passed there were in the Commonwealth 60,000 coloured aliens, of whom many thousands have gone to Queensland, and are now finding employment on the plantations, to the exclusion of white men.
– Dr. Maxwell does not say so.
– I am speaking of my own knowledge. I have seen the men at work. These aliens are much more dangerous than are the kanakas, because they are keen competitors of white men. If measures had been proposed to secure the deportation of these coloured aliens, together with the kanakas, I should have supported the Bill, heart and soul!
– The .honorable member might have mentioned that fact.
– I did mention it. I distinctly asked the Prime Minister if he would make the provisions of the Pacific Island Labourers Bill apply to other coloured aliens, and I told him that if he did so I should support him. The Labour Party, however, lost a very good opportunity of taking effective steps to secure what they desired, namely, a White Australia.
– It is a pity that the honorable member did not move an amendment. If he had done so he would have obtained strong support.
– I am not aware that any strong desire has been expressed by the people of the Commonwealth for a measure such as that before us. I do not know that the farm labourers have ever asked for it. They have not complained of bad treatment. As a rule they become members of the farmers’ families. The onlycase mentioned by the Prime Minister was that of a little boy who was found lying sound asleep on the road, alongside his milk cans. That would be a very good place for him to sleep, if he were out of the way of traffic, because it would be in the open air. My two sons always sleep in an open verandah, because they feel all the better for taking their rest in the fre”sh air. ‘ I very much regret that the Government have decided that farmers shall be brought under the operation of. this measure. As a class they have many difficulties to contend with. Many of them take up land which is thickly covered with forest trees, or dense scrub, and they have to expend much labour and money before they can obtain any return. They have droughts, noxious weeds, rabbits, and low prices to battle against, and they deserve every consideration at our hands. Just now the prices obtainable for farm produce are ‘ very low, and very few, if any, of our agriculturists are making a decent living. Two years ago I paid as much as 7 s. del. per bushel for corn, and no doubt this was a good paying price for those farmers who had that commodity to sell. It is very unfortunate that honorable members, who know very little about the difficulties with which farmers have to contend, should show a disposition to throw obstacles in their way, and discourage men from going upon the land. The Prime Minister would be wise if he withdrew the provision in its present form. My honorable friend may smile, but I feel sure that he will not succeed in carrying it; at any rate, .1 hope not.
– Why not let us take a vote at once and settle the question?
– What ! and stifle discussion?
– Surely the honorable member does not desire that the debate shall occupy very much more time?
– It has been admitted by the Minister of External Affairs that the provision now under discussion will “never be brought into operation.
– The Prime Minister said the same thing.
– If that be so, why should we cumber the Bill with it. It is, however, ridiculous to talk about the provision not being availed of. As soon as the Bill becomes law, the duty will be cast on every labour agitator to at once establish unions throughout the country districts, and take the fullest advantage of the facilities offered by the Bill.
– They did not do it in New South Wales.
– Notwithstanding that, I venture to say that the labour organizers will commence operations immediately the Bill becomes law, with a view to bring any disputes which may occur within the purview of the proposed Arbitration Court. This will create much bad feeling between the farmers and their employes. The labour leaders have given themselves up to the work of organization, and many of them have good billets, at salaries of from £4 t0 ^£5 Per week, with the prospect of securing election to Parliament. I maintain that it will be their aim to multiply unions throughout the rural districts. The provision as it stands will give rise to the greatest ill-feeling between employers and employes. I am sorry that, as the result of my experience and observation of trades unionism throughout Australia, I have to say that, from the inception of the movement, no desire for peace has been evidenced by labour leaders and organizers of trades unions. That is the last of their objects. They are always placing imaginary grievances before trades unions, and really favour disputes, because their very life’s blood depends upon them. They endeavour to persuade the workers that their conditions ought to be improved, for they know that if peace and contentment prevailed among them their occupation would be gone, and that it would be necessary for them to become workers. It is because of this knowledge that they invariably do their best to stir up agitation and foster disputes between employers and employes. This provision has- not been placed in the Bill for the benefit of the farmers. It is class legislation. I doubt whether -it will confer a benefit on any section of the community, but its object is to improve the condition of farm labourers, who are far more numerous and much more likely to vote for labour candidates than are the farmers.
– The right honorable member for Swan inserted this provision in the Bill.
– The honorable member is not on this occasion- speaking the truth.
– The right honorable member for Swan apparently forgot himself for the time being in agreeing to this provision.
– The honorable member for Hume has absolutely misrepresented my attitude in regard to this provision. If he speaks the truth he will say that, as a member of the late Government, I was wholly opposed to it.
– It was inserted in the Bill by the Ministry of which the right honorable gentleman was a member.
– It was, perhaps, agreed to by the honorable member for Hume j but it certainly was not accepted by me.
– I am. aware that the provision was framed by the Government of which the honorable member for Hume was a very prominent member.
– I was always opposed to it.
– The right honorable member should not disclose Cabinet secrets.
– Unless the amendment be carried, farmers will have no voice in the management of their own affairs. This is evidently the object of the Labour Party in regard to employers generally. They apparently consider that all that it is necessary for employers to do is to pay the highest wages that they can be induced to give. Employers will not be allowed to engage whomsoever they desire, because under this Bill a preference may be given to a unionist. Is that reasonable ? Every man will be forced to become a unionist, otherwise he will be unable to earn a living for himself and his family. Many good men, on conscientious grounds, object to become members of unions or even of benefit societies, but unless they join trades unions, they will be forced, under this measure, to remain idle.
– The word used is “ preference.”
– The Judge may give a preference to a trade unionist.
– Quite so. I wish, now, to put before the Committee a cablegram from Auckland, dated 31st May. It reads as follows : -
A deputation from the Railway Servants’ Society yesterday asked the Minister for Railways that preference of employment should be given to members of the society. Sir Joseph Ward replied that the Government could not agree to that for a moment, as it would be most detrimental to the service. Every employee was judged on his merits.
These are the words of a capable man. I am acquainted with Sir Joseph Ward, and would not have expected any other reply from him. Every employe should be dealt with on his merits. If the Government succeed in their opposition to this amendment, their next proposal will be the impositon of a heavy land-tax. It has frequently been urged that, by means of a land-tax, provision might be made for a Commonwealth system of old-age pensions. There is already a land-tax in Victoria and Queensland, and, I believe, in other States ; and I venture to assert that the farmers of Queensland could not bear any additional taxation.
– When was the Queensland land-tax passed?
– I am referring to the taxation imposed by the Divisional Boards and various country councils of Queensland. The State is divided into shires, or divisions, and I know, to my cost, that there is a land-tax in operation there. I repeat that the next proposal made by the Government, will probably be the imposition of a heavy land-tax. Such a proposal has been advocated for some time past by members of the Victorian Labour Party, and they have a representative touring tha country, and putting the proposition very prominently before the people. The following letter dealing with “ Labour Socialists and Farmers” appeared in the issue of the Argus of 1st August, 1903 : -
SIR - Will you kindly allow me to comment on the speech of Mr.. Tom Mann, who is reported to have said, in answer to a. question, that he would put such a tax on land as to make the farmers glad to get rid of it. Should not this in itself be enough to rouse the tillers of the soil to a sense of their duty to themselves and their children to combine to defeat the aims and objects of the party for whom Mr. Tom Mann acts? After many years of toil, the farmers of the heavy forest timbered country of Gippsland and elsewhere, farmers of the Mallee who have lost their all through the drought, and are still striving to make homes for their families, the backbone of the country, are told that they should be taxed off their homes. - Yours, &c,
A WORKING FARMER.
North Mirboo, July 30.
One of the planks in the Labour Party’s platform is a proposal to impose a heavy tax that will have the effect of driving persons off the land. Is it not possible for the Government, instead of wasting the time of the House in this way, to introduce some useful legislation? Cannot they bring forward legislation that will tend to attract to the Commonwealth capitalists, and others who will be prepared to establish industries that will provide work for our great army of unemployed ? We need more avenues of regular employment. We all desire to see the workers receiving wages as high as it is possible to give, and working under the best possible conditions ; but the certainty of regular employment all the year round is far better than the promise of high wages. Instead of doing anything to bring about that desirable state of affairs, we are driving capital from Australia by means of socialistic legislation.
– That is only a nightmare.
– I only wish that the honorable member were correct. It is not a nightmare ; it is something more substantial. It has been made known throughout Australia that last year no less than ^5 .000,000 were withdrawn from Australia, and money is still being withdrawn from the Commonwealth. ‘ Investors will not risk their capital in a country where there is so much uncertainty, not only as to the return of their money, but even in regard to the- payment of interest on it. I regret that the Government should be occupying the. time of the Committee in this way. The Parliament has now been in session for three months, but during that period we have , simply been wasting time. Practically nothing has been done. The proposal that farmers and farm labourers shall be brought within the scope of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court will place another obstacle in the way of agriculturists. I trust that the Prime Minister will see the wisdom of withdrawing his opposition to the amendment. Let us proceed with the con’sideration of the Bill, and endeavour to make it a useful measure. I recognise that we should provide for conciliation and arbitration ; but I do not think that men should be forced to join any union or, as an alternative, run the risk of being unable to obtain employment. In November and December last I addressed a great many meetings of my constituents, sometimes making two, and even three, speeches in one day, and I made up my mind at the outset of the campaign that I should not touch upon the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill unless I was asked to do so. I was generally provided with sufficient material for an hour’s speech upon this matter, but I desired not to discuss the question unless it was introduced, and only once was I asked the simple question as to whether I was in favour of conciliation and arbitration. I at once said - “ Certainly. I think that every man who has the interests of his country at heart must be in favour of some legislation that will assist in settling any kind of dispute.” The man was quite satisfied with my answer; but I said to him - “You appear to be satisfied with my reply, but do you not wish to know something else?” Another man, who was perhaps a little more wide awake, said - “ Yes, I wish to know whether you are in favour of compulsory arbitration ?” I said - “ I am glad you said so, because I do not wish you to misunderstand me. I desire you to know exactly what I think on that question. I am not in favour of compulsory arbitration. As a free-born Briton, I refuse to be compelled to do this or that when I am the responsible party,, and have to provide the capital to carry on the business and pay the wages of the men.”
– In agreement with the last speaker, I can re-echo a statement which we have heard very frequently. Almost every individual is. in favour of arbitration, ‘ and most individuals whose intellect is not specially clouded, are in favour of compulsory arbitration under some conditions. Previously, when discussing this matter, we urged persistently that any Government should ‘be reasonable. It is absolutely essential that consideration should be given to those who are working in industries in the city, under special conditions, and who are experiencing special troubles and privations; but all legislation must be reasonable. If any Government go beyond the bounds of reason, they alienate the men whose support they require, and instead of getting a gradual evolution in legislation, we come to a dead stop; we cannot do even as much as the reasonable man desires should be done. I am not one of those who believed that the advent of the Labour Party to power meant immediately a very horrible state of things. I know that a number of estimable people imagined that the Prime Minister was a gentleman with a stiletto in one hand, a charge of dynamite in his pocket, and, possibly, two or three pounds of arsenic about him. After the present Government had been in power for a week or two, these men were astonished when they woke up to find their heads on their shoulders. They were astonished to find that they still possessed any land, that they still had their cattle, that neither the land, nor the cattle, nor the goats had been nationalized, that, in’ fact, nothing had happened. It appears to me that, with a vast programme, such as the Government have, it was not possible to have an absolute realization at once. Why, sir, think of the great question of land nationalization ! Or, again, of the great question of arbitration with regard to cows, horses, and other property. If, after living to the end of this Parliament, not merely to the end of this session, the Government have perfected a scheme for the nationalization of goats, they will have done as much as” we can expect of them, and it will be a good record. I am dealing with the agricultural industry, and every honorable member knows how great a part the goat plays in connexion with that industry. Some speakers find reason for opposing the proposed arbitration in connexion with agricultural industries in the records of the past, whilst others find it in modern experience. Some, for instance, quote the Amana Society in the United States; others’ make reference to that evangelical gentleman, the Rev. Dr. Dowie, who was recently here, as an example of what compulsory arbitration and land nationalization do in such a place as Zion City. But, passing away from those statements, let us endeavour to find examples from history. You know, sir, that if we discuss this question from personal reminiscences, how difficult it becomes. We are never weary of pointing out the danger of establishing theories on our own experience. We have in this Parliament seventy-five different personal theories with regard to almost any question under consideration. So, sir, I have gone to history for those stories which have stood the test’ of time, and intend to give a few quotations from’ the history of ancient Rome as to the effect of arbitration, the common rule, and some other matters in connexion with agri- cultural industries. You, sir, as a classical scholar, will be able to. see at once various defects in my translation. I have taken only a broad and literal translation, showing the agrarian troubles of the’ time, and the effect upon them of arbitration, the common rule, and such-like things. We should not be controlled by the experience of the past ; that would be idle. We are a progressive people - an evolving people. We must endeavour, as far as possible, to be influenced by the history of the past just as far as it appeals to our reason, and no further. With regard to these old records, some of them appear to have been effaced. That is not an unusual thing in politics. Something of the kind has happened quite recently. Although I have taken only a literal translation, still I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to get the sense and wisdom of the legends. The first matter of importance that struck me was the effect of arbitration and the common rule on such a project as an exploring party looking for agricultural land ; and in the death of Horatius may be found a singular reference which comes pertinently home to us to-day.
– He kept the bridge.
– The story to which the honorable and learned member refers is known to most of us, and, in order to identify the individual, it is necessary for me to say that the Horatius I refer to is not he who went across the bridge with two companions, and upon whom those on the other side played a dastardly trick. They cut down the bridge, and Horatius, not finding himself very comfortable on band, took to the water. It is the story of a descendant of this Horatius that I wish to tell, and it can be found in the old manuscripts. There is always a doubt of the authenticity of a story, but I have no doubt in this case.
– Is this the story of Quintus Horatius Flaccus ?
– That remains to be seen. Now, the story of Horatius, junior - as we will call him, to make the story clear - is this, as told in the Forum. It appears that the ancient Romans, desiring to get some information with regard to the corn supply in Capadocia, had sent an exploring party to make inquiries. The explorers were accompanied by a walking delegate named Clodius.
– “ Milo “ would be a better name for the walking delegate.
– I cannot tamper with the story that was told to the people of Rome, assembled at the Forum. Antoninus, young
Horatius, and Clodius went to Capadocia, and while they were travelling it grew late. The party were only two hours away from comfort and rest; but they were Roman citizens. You will remember, Mr. Chairman, the Roman motto, civis Romanus sum - wherever a Roman citizen was, the laws of Rome applied’.- They would not break the laws of Rome ; and as the hour for leaving off work had arrived, they determined to camp where they were. They camped just as an exploring party led by my right honorable friend the member for Swan might have done. But in the night a dust-storm arose, and the party were smothered by the sirocco, with the exception of walking delegate Clodius. Mrs. Horatius, the mother of the young man, wanted to ‘know how it was that Clodius returned alone. He said that he was the only unionist among those forming the party, and therefore he had during the night exercised his right of preference by commandeering all the water which his companions had. Dentatus here intervened. He, as the manuscript says, approached the question in the conservative way, and suggested that young Horatius had endeavoured to join the union before he started with the exploring expedition. But it appears that Horatius was blackballed because he had not hair of the right colour; and Antoninus could not get in because the books of the union were closed. So a tumult arose, and Mrs. Horatius declared that her boy had not had “ a fair show.”
– What is the original Latin for that phrase?
– It is idiomatic. Clodius arose and pointed out that he did not care whether the other members of the party had endeavoured to join the union or not. That had nothing to do with him. What concerned him was that, being a member of a union, he did not allow them to break the common rule, and was entitled to the preference. Then the manuscript goes on to show the patriotic and friendly way in which Clodius met the question, by a prompt demonstration on the part of a body of men whom he had there. I cannot quite translate the term that is used in the manuscript, but we might use the word “ push.” There was a demonstration by a “ push,” after which peace was eventually restored. Now, instead of using the word Capadocia, honorable members may apply that story to the experiences of my honorable friend the member for Swan. He knows how impossible it would be to apply the common rule to an exploring expedition. I will take one incident from the manuscript with regard to the dairying industry, which is of great importance to the people of Australia. You, Mr. Chairman, will remember the remarkable trial df Catulus v. Coriolanus. I am using these names phonetically, out of consideration for my audience. The case, which is to be found in the records, is one in which Catulus summoned Coriolanus before the Roman Arbitration Court. . The defendant had nothing to do with Geelong, notwithstanding the similarity of his name with that of the constituency of the honorable member for Corio. It appears that the Romans had some trouble with the warlike Volscians. The attacks of these warriors gave rise to a great deal of alarm in ancient Rome. The Roman people sent to Coriolanus, asking him to come and defend them against their enemies. He came, leaving his dairy under the control of Catulus. On returning he discovered that four of his best cows were suffering from milk-fever. Honorable members can take a dairy in any part of the world, and they will ‘find that the effect upon the proprietor on making a discovery of that kind is just the same. Cicero in his fifteenth philippic makes the whole matter perfectly clear. He delivered one of his greatest orations, on the occasion to which I am now referring, and he described those cows with as much detail as the honorable member for Gippsland himself could do. He described the milk halo, the escutcheon, the thin tail, the well-developed milk veins, and all the rest of it. So far as I can see from Cicero’s description, the cows kept by the ancient Romans were very much like our own shorthorn cattle. They were, in fact, just like the cattle with which the honorable member for Gippsland or Illawarra has to do, and such as will be found in the south coast district of New South Wales. They were almost as good as the cattle in my own electorate. I am endeavouring to point out how important the dairying industry is to Australia, and incidentally indicating how important it was to the people of Rome. Indeed, it seems to have been more important to the people of ancient Rome than to us, because there was such a dearth of cows there that some of the most illustrious men were reared on wolves’ milk. You will remember, Mr. Chairman, how Romulus and Remus are described by a poet historian -
Thou “that art sprung from the war-god’s loins, And hast tugged at the she wolf’s breast.
The case came before the Roman Arbitration Court. Catulus said that the mishap to the cows had arisen because the milking machine got out of order, and there was something wrong with the engine. He said that he had milked up to 4 o’clock, and then, being a Roman citizen, and realizing that he was under the Roman law, he had knocked off work. He would not milk a cow after 4 o’clock, no matter how much damage might be done to any other man’s animal. Coriolanus granted that the facts might have been as Catulus stated them - that the machine might have got out of order, and that his servant had probably acted according to law. But his indignation at the loss of his cows was such that he assaulted Catulus. There was a remarkable finding of the Arbitration Court. In those days in Rome it - so said the Court - did not much matter whether he killed Catalus or not. That was not material, because there were plenty more like him. But the Court was astounded to find that a man like Coriolanus should, under any circumstances, have expected the man to break the laws of his country. They said further, that they would impose a penalty for not using union cows - cows that gave an intermittent supply ; cows that did not milk on Sunday. It was of no use for Coriolanus to urge that he could not get cows of that description. The plain answer to that was that if he could not he should give up dairying. He did not use that class of cow, and he was fined, the penalty being two talents. I mention this incident to show that this sort of thing has happened before. One more instance, with regard to the pastoral industry, and I shall then have finished with the historical research which it was necessary to give to the question.
– The pastoral industry is not affected by the amendment.
– I meant to say that I would refer to that part of the dairying industry which relates to the herding of the cows. Horses are required for that, and they require to be broken in. Even members of the Labour Party could not ride horses unless they were broken in. I ask the attention of honorable members to this very remarkable case, which will be found in the records. The matter came before the
Arbitration Court in this way; Herminius, the head of the Horse Breakers’ Association in Rome - I desire to be perfectly exact on this matter, and to keep strictly to absolute facts - Herminius, the head of the Horse Breakers’ Association in Rome, sued Sempronius for an offence - to wit, that he did ride a buck-jumper after legal hours. From the evidence, it would appear that Sempronius was a very reasonable and genuine man, and on coming before the Court he granted everything. It seems that Mr. Walking Delegate Peritonitis was on the cap of the fence. He was taking no risks, and was not worrying very much about work, ‘but had a stop-watch in his hand. At 4 o’clock all work of that kind ceased by law. It was illegal by the common rule to be on a buckjumper after 4 o’clock. Sempronius granted that Peritonitis had told him to get off the horse, but the manuscript points out that just then the horse did incontinently commence to - I had some difficulty in discovering an accurate translation of the Latin term used, but it would seem to be “root and buck” - and Sempronius could not get off. He was face to face with a dilemma. To obey the laws of his country would be to break his neck, and he honestly told the President df the Arbitration Court that he preferred not to break his neck. The finding of the Court, according to the manuscript, was this - That in any circumstances, should obedience to the laws of his country hang in the balance with his death, a Roman citizen should accept his death rather than disobey the laws of his country. For breaking the law, in this instance, Sempronius was laid under a penalty of one talent. I will quote no further reference as the result of historical research, and honorable members will see that although the translation may appear to be somewhat loose, as far as possible the spirit of the manusciipt is preserved. The manuscript goes on in such a way that it is clear there was very great difficulty in securing cows that would obey the laws of the country - intermittent milkers and cows, the flow of whose milk stopped directly the law said it should stop. As a consequence, the chemists of the time were hard at work to discover a remedy. A remedy was discovered in the shape of a microbe, and its application was by inoculation. They were getting on very well, but it was a difficult matter to keep up the supple of the microbe.
Honorable members should read the statements which Cicero makes in regard to that. They clearly show that the microbe was as rare as is radium in our days. It could be found in abundance, so the manuscript explains, in a certain place at certain times, but these did not happen often. As far as I can understand, the time when it could be got in its full virility, strength, and usefulness was when May Day fell on the full of the moon. With respect to the place at which it was found the manuscript is very faulty, as I shall be able to show to honorable members later on. They will find a reference to “ Yarra,” and though the “ B “ is quite clear, whether the reference is to “Yarra Bank” or to “Yarra Bend,” I cannot quite make out. Having said so much with regard to ancient history, and again warning honorable members that I feel they ought not to be guided absolutely by these historical precedents, I desire to make a passing reference to more modern times.
– I suppose the honorable member will lay the papers on the table ?
– If the Chairman requests me to do so I shall have pleasure in laying the papers on the table of the House later on. The members of. the present Government are entitled to everything that a Government should have, so long as they can stop where they are. They are representa<tive of a number of men whom we had in New South Wales a little while ago. They have the same policy and the same principles - that is to say, that industry and everything of that kind is of no importance at all in connexion with the great social problems they propose to solve. I remember that the agricultural industries of New South Wales were under consideration. I desire at no. time to make more than a passing reference to what happened in the colonies before Federation. I prefer to allow the dead past to bury its dead. But the Labour Party - now known as the Ministerial Party - had determined to destroy all the primary industries in New South Wales. We appealed to them as strongly as we could not to do so, and what reply did we get? That what we asked was impossible. The working men in my own electorate, and in various other parts of New South Wales, came down to Sydney and appealed to those who are’ now so much interested in the farming industry not to destroy their homes and the industries which they had developed so well. They asked to be spared. The caucus said - “ We must consult the executive before we can give you a reply.” The members of the executive, I understand,- although not connected with Parliament, and drawing no salary, govern Parliament from outside. They determined to consult the executive. We can divide all humanity into two, the workers and the worked ; and the meeting between the new aristocrats and the working men who came down from my electorate was a truly remarkable meeting. These workmen from the north had never seen their new masters, the new aristocrats, previously, and a large number of those gentlemen never had an opportunity of meeting a working man. The surprise was mutual ; still neither succumbed, and eventually the question was submitted to the executive. This was the question of the life of the industries as they are before us to-day ; not merely the question of legislating for them in the direction of conciliation and arbitration; but the question whether they should or should not be absolutely destroyed. This brings me closely to the point under consideration. One would have imagined that the executive would take an interest in the fostering of native industries. The executive, to whom it was submitted, consisted of an ambassador from the Hairdressers’ Union, an ambassador from the Closeshavers’ Union, the emperor and chief of the Shirt-stud Union, an ambassador from the Tobacco Pouch Union, and a delegate from the union for the promulgation of “sparklets.” I am credibly informed that the executive was thus constituted ;. and it may be admitted that they were perfectly honest, straightforward men. But what was . the reply ? The reply simply was, “ What are your industries to us ? We who work in the city live on you hayseeds in the country, and under no circumstances shall we alter our policy to please you. It suits us to destroy industries, and we shall destroy them; it suits us to cut at the root of the sugar industry, the timber industry, the dairying industry, and other industries, and you hayseeds may go back to your country districts : we Sydney men control the situation, and you can look after yourselves.” There are men in this House who know that that was the reply given to the working men of the north by men who were fiscal atheists - by men who had no knowledge of or belief in anything but their own social programme and ideas. What has been the result? Throughout all the farming districts in New South Wales, almost without exception, the men in the country have ever since insisted on returning their own local men, who have a knowledge oft country industries, and whose object it is to develop those industries to the fullest extent. These men in the country believe that an industry cannot be safe unless it is in the hands of those who know and respect the people engaged in it. I think I have made it clear that I do not approach this question idly. I have gone as far as possible into historical research, and have also brought my own experience to bear, and hope I have given every man, .whose intellect is not unduly clouded with personal antagonism or political bias, quite sufficient reason why the amendment should be accepted.
– I do not propose to follow the example of the honorable member for Richmond, and go into mythological ancient history, but rather to deal with what I think may possibly be the future of Australia if we go in for much more legislation of the character now before us. I venture to say that if this proposal to include all rural workers were submitted to a poll of the people to-morrow, farmers and workers generally from one end of the continent to the other would be opposed to ic. In my opinion, the Labour Party would rot get very much support from any farming centres for their present proposal. When we come to look into the matter of industrial development, it seems to me that nothing is more likely to discourage industrial enterprise in rural pursuits than a clause of this character. What we should do is, not to put further disabilities on producers from, the soil, but to remove the manifold disabilities already existing. We ought to create greater facilities for pro’ductive enterprise, not only in rural pursuits, but in all other pursuits. Not only in Victoria, but in New South Wales and the other States, industry suffers from over-legislation. As I said on a previous occasion, we should do good to the producing interests of every class throughout Australia if we could get rid of much of the legislation already passed. In regard to the particular clause before us, I fail absolutely to understand why the Ministry wish to press it. I cannot understand why the Government insist on including in the Bill this particular class of labour, in the absence of any apparent necessity. It may be possible, though it does not seem very probable, that disputes in rural pursuits may extend from one State to another. It may be possible that, through the medium of organizations hereafter to be created, a little dispute in one place may be magnified, and assume such large proportions as to gradually extend beyond the limits of a State. But that is so remote a possibility that I do not think it is worth consideration, especially when we have regard to the fact that, in the case of small farmers, the work is principally carried on by members of the family. Can we conceive of a dispute between the members of a family so engaged, as likely to be taken to the Arbitration Court? That view has already been put before the Committee, and in reply it has been contended that, in such a case, the powers of the Court would not be brought into force - that it is not likely such a contingency will arise. But if such a contingency is not likely to arise, where is need for making provision for it in the Bill ? That, to my mind, is an argument for exclusion, rather than for inclusion. I claim to be just as anxious as any member of the Labour Party to see the best possible conditions for wage-earning classes, producing classes, and all other classes. I claim to be just as anxious to see the best rates of wages, and the best possible conditions for workers. In my opinion, at any rate, the proposals of the Labour Party tend, not to improve industrial’ conditions, but to make them worse than they have been heretofore. It may be that, in one or two instances, a slight improvement is observable. But when we come to generalize, and have regard to the whole of those engaged in all the various industrial enterprises, can we honestly say, after thirteen years of direct labour representation - most of that time with legislation under the direct control of the Labour Party - that the condition of workers is better than it was before Labour had direct representation? I do not think that that can be said. On the contrary, it seems to me that the conditions are considerably worse in a number of cases than they were thirteen years ago; and that is one of the greatest arguments against legislation of this character. It is not because the intention is not good; I admit that the intention is all that can be desired; but the reason for the failure is found in the fact that the methods are wrong.
– Does the honorable member think that shop employes are worse off than they were fourteen years ago?.
– I have already said that there may be isolated cases, where, possibly, a slight improvement is noticeable. But we cannot look at one particular class only in an argument of this kind. We have to look at industries as a whole, and the undeniable proof is before us thai there are thousands more unemployed now than at any previous time, and that people are leaving the shores of Australia to-day in greater numbers than ever before. That is a very bad outlook for the future progress and prosperity of this country. This exodus is due, not to the niggardliness of nature, or to any failure of her bounty, but mainly to misdirected legislation. The Prime Minister, speaking against the amendment, said -
I do not say that the dairy farmers are getting fat at the expense of their employes. Those who really take the cream are the landlords, and every increase in the cost of production will be borne by them, because it will be paid for out of the rent.
That statement contains an absolute fallacy, which the honorable gentleman would not have enunciated if he knew anything about the economic law governing these matters. The effect of the provision under discussion will be to create so many difficulties that small farmers will be crowded out. An Arbitration Court can fix minimum rates of wage, and minimum hours of labour, but it cannot force employers to give employment on terms which are unprofitable. No man will employ another when he finds it unprofitable to do so. The effect of the provision would be to make agriculture and dairying unprofitable for small farmers, and they would, therefore, be crushed out of the business, while the men with large capital who would remain would pool their interests, and thus establish a monopoly, limiting their output, forcing up prices on the consumer, and restricting the amount of employment for labour. Therefore, all that the Government would have done would be to increase the number of unemployed. The Minister of External Affairs spoke the other day of the influx from the country into the cities. In New South Wales the Government, moved by a laudable desire to uplift the wage earners, established a minimum rate of wage. But it was seen that the economic law of supply and demand which governs rates of wages, rates of interest, rents, and kindred matters, cannot be disregarded. It is only by a study of economics that one can intelligently approach and effectively deal with ques tions of this kind. ‘ The effect of establishing a minimum wage in New South Wales was to attract to Sydney in thousands agricultural labourers, and even small farmers. Thus the rural industries were neglected, while the number of unemployed in the overcrowded city was further increased by those who came from the country. Furthermore, only those who were expert in their trades, the best workmen, who could devote most brains, energy, and skill to their callings, were employed, and they were compelled to accept the minimum wage, which gradually ceases to be the maximum wage also, in a general sense. The provision in this Bill would have a similar effect. What we should do is to deal with the primary cause of industrial troubles ; but that the Labour Party- and Ministry do not propose to touch. In New South Wales I have travelled through miles of as fine agricultural country’ as one could wish to see, all held by one individual, who probably does not employ one man to every 1,000 acres. Away out beyond these agricultural areas are to be found farmers struggling under the most adverse conditions. Sometimes farms are perched on the top of barren mountains, which are accessible only by passing through good but unused agricultural land. Ought we to place additional disabilities upon the owners of such farms ? Not only are they now handicapped by their remoteness from markets, and the poorness of their land, but they are heavily taxed upon everything that they use. The Ministry do not propose to remove any of their burdens. They do not propose to remit the taxation upon agricultural machinery and implements, fencing wire, clothing, and the other requirements of the farmer. Neither do they propose to reduce freights. All they propose is a further interference which will mean the ultimate extinction of the small farmer.
– What power have we to reduce freights?
– To show the Government that they have that power, I should have to enter upon an economic discussion, which I do not think is justifiable at the present time. There are, however, men in the ranks of his party, such as the Minister of External Affairs, who know as much about these matters as I do. The Minister of External Affairs the other day accused me of sacrificing principle, and I ask him, therefore, whether, as a free- trader, he is prepared to propose the lemission of the duties to which I have referred ? I do riot think he will do so, but, if he does, he may count upon the support of at least one member of this House.
– He would require the support’ of more than one.
– If Ministers had addressed themselves to the consideration of the causes of the distress, not only among rural workers but among those engaged in all other occupations, and had endeavoured to strike at the root of the evil, there would have been no need for Arbitration Bills or other measures which merely deal with effects. If they had spent half the time which has been devoted to this measure in dealing with the causes of low wages, dearth of employment, and enormous wealth on the one hand, and extreme poverty on the other, they would have been better employed, and might have succeeded in rendering some real service to the cause of industrial emancipation in this country. I intend to support the amendment.
– I have much pleasure in supporting the amendment, to add to the definition of “ Industrial dispute “ the words - ‘ But it does not include a dispute relating to employment in any agricultural, viticultural, horticultural, dairying, or pastoral pursuit.”
It would appear from the speech of the Prime Minister that he is in favour of bringing farmers within the scope of the Bill, because many landholders receive high rentals for the valuable lands farmed by their tenants. He stated that he knew of land that -was held under rentals ranging from 30s. to 40s. per acre, and that it was owing to the high rentals they had to pay that farmers were unable to give their labourers reasonably good wages. I am reminded that the district represented by the honorable member for Barker includes the rich land about Mount Gambier, from which the owners derive a rental of £1 per acre. The tenants who have been fortunate enough to secure such land have done so well that many of them have retired on a competence. It is because the land is valuable that it commands a high rental, and owing to the same cause the farmers are well able to pay high rates. The Prime Minister says that legislation of this kind is directed specially against the landlords. Pro visions similar ,to that now under discussion are to be found in the New South Wales and New Zealand Arbitration Acts, but no advantage has been taken of them by the agricultural labourers. There is no likelihood of any contest between farmers and their employes extending beyond any one State; and I ask Ministers, why we should bring the agricultural industry within the scope of the Bill? Why does not the Minister sitting at the table act upon the advice which I tendered, him on a former occasion - and which he has followed in one case - and by dropping the provision which .would bring farmers within the scope of the Bill, endeavour to improve the measure as much as possible? The Bill is bad enough, but it would be much worse if its effect were to harass farmers, drive men out of employment, and inflict still greater hardship upon the small children to whom he has referred. . If the Bill were passed in its present form, and hard-and-fast rules were imposed upon farmers, many of them would probably have to dismiss their hands and make their children do all the work. Another effect would be to increase the cost of living of other workers: The Labour Party claim to represent the working classes. Why do they not manifest a desire to benefit the masses, instead of adopting measures which would have the effect of increasing the price of food to the people of Great Britain? During the preferential trade campaign, we heard a great deal about the proposals .if Mr. Chamberlain to impose preferential duties upon grain, butter, cheese, and other products of Australia. Why should the Government now seek to nullify the effects of such a policy by increasing the cost of production? It would be extremely difficult for this or any other Parliament to arbitrarily fix the Hours of labour and rates of pay of agricultural labourers. That it is practically impossible to do so is proved by the fact that the provision made in New Zealand and New South Wales for bringing the agricultural industry under the control of an Arbitration Court has never yet been availed of. Why should the Bill be spoilt by inserting a provision which would prove ineffective? Does the Prime Minister wish to make a special appeal to the farm labourers in his own electorate, who are said to be hard-worked and badly paid? My experience is that farm labourers, as a rule, are not required to work for unreasonably long hours. They have many spells of idleness during wet weather.
Quite recently the farm labourers in my own case were unable to plough for fully a fortnight owing to rain, but they received their pay all the same. Afterwards they cheerfully worked early and late in order to make up for the loss of time. During last week, some men told me that they had been unable to plough for some time owing to the wet weather, but that they had subsequently worked as long as they were able, in order to make’ a show. These men were anxious to give some return for the wages they received. Yet, it is now proposed that this class of men shall not work more than a certain number of hours, and shall receive not less than a statutory minimum wage. Honorable members who are acquainte’d with the farming industry must know that it would be impossible to adopt a minimum rate of wage, unless it were desired to throw men out on the roads, or force them to forsake the country for the towns. The Labour Party includes many strong advocates of closer settlement. If the policy were carried out, small farmers would be invited to go on the land. It would be necessary for these men to employ others at seed and harvest time. Yet it is now proposed to bring them under arbitrary control as to rates of pay and hours of labour, and the enforcement of a common rule. This would have the effect of starvingout the small farmers, and leaving the industry entirely at the mercy of monopolists. The Minister of Trade and Customs recently travelled through Canada, and he must have noticed that in Manitoba the agricultural industry is very largely carried on by big syndicates. In some parts of the United States of America, notably in California, enormous combines have obtained control of the agricultur’al industry. The small man is crushed out of existence. If the Government’ wish to bring about a like state of affairs in Australia, they should persist in the proposal to pass the clause as it stands ; but if not, let them accept the proposed amendment.
– There is no Arbitration Act in force in the United States.
– They do not require such a measure, nor do the workers ask for such legislation.
– Then the monopolies, to which the honorable member refers, were not created under legislation of this character.
– I have not yet pledged myself in regard to the necessity for compulsory conciliation and arbitration. In
America and in Great Britain the voluntary system prevails. In New South Wales a Conciliation and Arbitration Act has, been in operation. It will continue to remain in force till 1904, and, as a practical politician, I am willing that the principle should be given a fair trial. I would not place any obstacle in the way of a proposal to confer a benefit upon workers that could not be secured in the absence of a Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act ; but I claim the right, when that measure has proved to be a failure, to go before my constituents and say that voluntary arbitration is preferable. Whilst we are legislating in this direction I hope that we shall make the Bill as practical as possible. We have now reached an opportune ‘time to proceed to a division, and as I think that a division will show that a majority of honorable members share my views, I do not propose to further detain the Committee.
– I have no desire to occupy the attention of the Committee at any length, but I do not wish to give a silent vote on the amendment. It may be said that the Bill, as introduced by the Government, of which I was a member, did not contain the provision that we are now discussing; but I must inform the Committee that I have always been opposed to the clause as it stands. My views in regard to it are well known to my late colleagues. As a member of the late Government 1 was in a minority in regard to it.
– Had that Government remained in office the right honorable member would have voted for the clause as it stands.
– It is open for the honorable member to speak when I have concluded my remarks. I have already informed the Committee that I was in a- minority.
– Would not the right honorable member have voted for the clause as it stands had the Government of which he was a member remained in office?
– I should not have done so.
– That is an interesting statement.
– Although I was in a minority I was not alone, and it was understood, at all events by me, that this would not be regarded as a vital provision. If an amendment, such as that now before the Committee, had been moved, while the late Government remained in office, they would not, so I understood, have opposed it, and that would, in my opinion, have been the best course for the present Government to pursue. I wish it to be distinctly understood that even had the Ministry of which I was a member, remained in office, I could not have voted for the clause as it stands, because I do not approve of it. Has any necessity arisen for the extension of this Bill to farmers and farm employes? Has a request for such an extension been made by the farming community throughout Australia? Has any necessity arisen for it? The answer must be in the negative. Honorable members know that, speaking generally, I am opposed to legislation of this kind unless it is necessary. There are many matters that are necessary and pressing to which we might well devote our attention, instead of embarking upon legislation which has not been asked for, and is unnecessary. In speaking in this Committee on 2nd inst., the Prime Minister is reported at page 1924 of Hansard to have said -
I do not think it is likely that any dispute of that character would extend beyond the boundaries of any one Sate; but if such a condition of affairs did arise, it would be most unfortunate if there were no provision in the law which would enable a settlement to be promptly arrived at. I do not think there is any immediate prospect of such a dispute arising as would call for the intervention of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court.
This is the opinion of the Prime Minister, and our own experience goes to show that there has never been any dispute in relation to agricultural employment in Australia to which a measure of this description could have been applied under the Constitution. Why should we occupy week after week in discussing proposals that are not required - for which no demand has been made - when, even in the opinion of the Prime Minister, there is no immediate prospect of a dispute arising among those engaged in the farming industry to which they could apply? To my mind, the statement made by the Prime Minister condemns the Government in its desire to force this unnecessary legislation upon the country. No dispute among those engaged in the farming industry has ever extended beyond the boundaries of any one State, and no such dispute or strike is likely to occur. It cannot be urged that the placing of restrictions upon industry and enterprise of any kind will tend to make the cost of living less. I take my stand on the broad principle that the provision as put forward by the Government has not been asked for ; that even if it were in force, it would not be likely to be availed of either at present or in the immediate future, and that it is not legislation that we should undertake as our primary duty. If we desire to encourage the manufacture of industrial disputes in rural districts that will extend from one State to another, it seems to me that we are going the right way to do so. I am afraid ‘that the statements made by the honorable. member for Oxley have been .fully justified by the desire of honorable members opposite to press legislation of this description upon the Commonwealth. I have no wish to use hard words unless it is necessary to do so; but when honorable members opposite seek to press such legislation on the country-
– But the Bill was introduced by the Government of which the right honorable member was a member.
– I have alreadysaid that, although I was a member of the Government, I was not in favour of this proposal. The honorable member should surely be able to comprehend that statement.
– Why did not the right honorable-member leave the late Government if he was not in favour of their proposals?
– He would .also have found it necessary to leave the Ministerial allowance.
– The honorable member for Yarra has not had any experience of Cabinets ! It would be well for him to study questions relating to govern- ‘ ment, and the duty of members of Ministries in regard to measures of which they do not personally approve.
– But the right honorable member never announced his opposition to this proposal during the life of the late Government.
– This provision encourages an idea that we surely do not desire to foster - the belief that the sole object of this experimental and unnecessary legislation is to make the people discontented. It has been said over and over again that the desire to make the working classes dissatisfied is the stock-in-trade of the Labour Party. If that is their platform, and that is the object which they have in view now - I do not say it is, but it certainly strikes me that it is open for any one to say so - I think that the sooner they say so straight- forwardly and openly the better. I only rose for the purpose of making my position clear. I have never been in favour of this legislation, as my late colleagues know, and I have reasonable ground for saying that the late Government would not have opposed the present amendment.
– I wish to raise my voice against this Bill as well as to vote for the amendment. It is proposed to include in the Bill the agriculturist, the viticulturist, the dairy farmer, and the gardener. I am in favour of .any kind of legislation that will, if possible, ameliorate the conditions that arise from strikes, the dislocation of trade, and the misery that men and women suffer at those times. But I am firmly persuaded that a Bill which includes the class of people referred to is a step in the wrong direction. I see no reason why this dragnet should be laid. I happen to know something about farming, because I have lived in a farming community for many years, and I am satisfied that’ those people will not be benefited by the Bill. It has been said that it will never be brought into operation. If so, why hang, as it were, a sword of Damocles above their heads? Why harass the man who is the mainstay of this young country? The man who tills the ground, sows the seed, and reaps the harvest is the man who, if any, should be encouraged by us. On the contrary, we. have the Prime Minister saying that these men will be taxed, and that’ the tax will fall, not on the tenant, but on the holder of the land. From my experience, I can say that the farmer of to-day is the farm labourer of yesterday. He has saved the fruits of hard work, and bought the land, and yet it is proposed to tax this man’s energy in such a manner that he will simply be driven out of his business. The Prime Minister talks about the hardships which farmers’ children suffer. I have seen nothing of that kind, although I have lived amongst them. No doubt the honorable gentleman can talk of hardships which he has seen in connexion with trades unions, and we all know that there is dire distress of a certain kind among the employes of the factories ; but I have seen no distress of the kind which he mentioned amongst the employes of the farmer and the dairyman. It is absolutely necessary that the farming industry should not be interfered with in any way. It ‘is impossible to make a hardandfast rule, because, as we all know quite well, the farmer is dependent on the con ditions of the weather. I have seen men working from early dawn to late on moonlight nights, with the object of getting ‘in their harvest, and on wet days simply amusing themselves, much as sailors do at sea. Is it possible under such legislation as is advocated not to interfere with this particular pursuit ? Fancy the Prime Minister, that high priest of labour, talking about introducing machinery to milk cows. Milking machinery has been tried in Australia and Denmark, and has been thrown aside. Who has not noticed how a calf presses its nose against the udder of the cow? What is the reason for that action? The cream lies on the top of the milk, and the object of the calf, taught by instinct, is to separate the cream from the milk, and allow the latter to flow. What machinery will do that ? We have not, and are not likely to have any machinery that will replace the hand of the intelligent worker guided by his brain.
– I know of milking machinery that has been employed successfully for a good many months.
– Now that we have a Patents Act, no doubt there -will be a chance of some money being made out of that machinery. But I am not in favour of machinery that will displace the worker in connexion with the dairy farmer, as the majority of these workers are the sons and daughters of the farmers. I shall not detain the Committee any longer, although I should have liked to speak at greater length. I fear that this amendment will prove to be an “ uncharted rock,” on which the Ministerial ship will strike.
– When 1 entered the chamber this afternoon, I did not intend to take part in this discussion ; but, after listening to the various speakers, I am really at a loss to know what they have been talking about. I do not exactly know why all the ancient history we have heard this afternoon has been dug up from Babylon and other places by way of illustration. All these appeals that have been made by men who profess to be ihe friends of the man on the land, seem to me to be altogether foreign to the question before the Committee. When I listened to the right honorable member for Swan giving away the Cabinet secrets of the late Government ; when I heard him say that he has always been opposed to the provision in this clause, that in the Cabinet he was opposed to it, and that had he remained in power he would have opposed it on the floor of the House-
– I said I would not vote for it.
– I began to wonder why he did not take up the same attitude as some other honorable members in regard to public servants and railway men. I began to wonder why he did not give notice of an amendment similar in terms to that which has been moved by the honorable and learned member for Wannon. If he was in earnest, there was no obstacle to prevent him from showing his sincerity at the time by giving notice of an amendment to exclude these people from the operation of the Bill.
– Yes; there was Cabinet solidarity.
– Cabinet solidarity does not exist, I believe, in the mind of the right honorable member. He recognises no solidarity in the party except so far as he is concerned.
– I said I was in a minority.
– I do not understand that you could possibly be in a minority.
– Order. The honorable member must address his remarks to the Chair.
– I do not know whether honorable members recognise that New Zealand has an Arbitration Act which does not exempt farm labourers and other people who dwell on the land. New South Wales, too, has a law in which no exemption is made.
– Oh, but it has never been put in force.
– That is just the kind of argument which is used here. The honorable member for Kooyong dilated this afternoon on this point. He said that as soon as this clause was carried, honorable members on this side of the House would be seen organizing the farm labourers and the farm servants all through this State. When honorable members put before the Committee an argument of that character, knowing, as they must know, if they have any knowledge of the history of this kind of legislation in the States, that such a thing is not calculated to come about, they are simply trying to frighten the people on the land by raising, a bogey. There has been no attempt to organize this class of labour in New South Wales, nor has there been any such attempt in New Zealand.
– Then why put the provision in the Bill?
– Because we are not legislating merely for to-day, but for years to come. This Parliament is passing foundation laws under which the Commonwealth has to be governed,, and which will apply long after we have left this sphere. We should frame those laws as openly as possible, so as to embrace any set of conditions that may arise. Let me point out to the honorable member for Kooyong that the Bill does not indicate that the rural workers shall be brought under the authority of the Arbitration Court. It simply raises no objection to the jurisdiction of the Court extending to them should necessity arise. Half the arguments used by honorable members opposite show that they do not believe that there is any chance of this class of labour being affected by the Arbitration Court. Yet they try to raise a bogey by picturing what” will happen if that class of labour is affected. The New Zealand law proves beyond a doubt that the new-born fears from which honorable members opposite are suffering is mere moonshine. I attribute that to the fact that they have not studied this class of legislation and the conditions of the countries in which it has been applied.
– Has it been applied to agricultural labour in New South Wales?
– No, and’ I cannot conceive of the possibility of its being’ so applied in Australia. No reference to agricultural labour is made in the Bill. The Bill stands in that respect as the late Government introduced it. Yet we have not only supporters of the late Government, but actually members of it, opposing this provision. Whilst we are not contending that agricultural workers should be brought under the operation of the Bill, we prefer to leave the measure as the late Government framed it, so that it may apply if necessity arises. All we ask is that the law should be so framed that justice may be done to all classes of people. Why should honorable members support an Arbitration Bill at all if they are not willing to have it generally applied? Have we no confidence in the Court which is to be established ? Have we no confidence in the institutions of the Commonwealth, and in the men who will constitute the Courts ? Will they not be men who will apply common-sense to the industrial situations that will be brought under their notice from time to time? All this talk of the dangers besetting the carrying of such a provision as this is without foundation. They are merely the outcome of unfounded fears, or of influence by a few electors upon honorable members opposite. I do not intend to follow the honorable member for Richmond through his historical studies; but I must at least express my regret at his taking up such an attitude. Years ago, in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, I used to appreciate his arguments. But it seems to me that he has marvellously deteriorated as a logician and a parliamentarian since he entered Federal politics. I regret that, because he would have been an important figure in this Parliament had he retained the ability to express his knowledge and his arguments which he exhibited* as a member of the State Parliament. The honorable member for Oxley tells us that he is in favour of conciliation and arbitration, but is not in favour of compulsion. The honorable member is behind the age. Industrial arbitration, voluntarily applied, has long since been denounced as impracticable and illusive. Those who have studied the question know that arbitration which is not compulsory is not effective for the purposes for which it is proposed. The honorable member says that compulsion ‘ is repugnant to him as a Britisher. But does he not recollect that there is a certain amount of compulsion in all the laws under which he has lived? There can be no law without interference to some extent with the liberty or licence of the individual. Laws are made for the protection of the weak against the strong, and in this case we are making a law to establish a court of justice to which men who work on the land will have the right to appeal, so that justice may be done to them. Let me say to those honorable members who entertain fears concerning this measure that I represent a farming district, and when the New South Wales Act was passed there were no such misgivings about the provision under discussion as now seem to be entertained. Those who imagine that any harm will be done to the farming interests in consequence of this Bill, not only do not understand it, but are fighting a shadow, a myth - something which does not exist in fact, but only in their imagination.
– Knowing that there is a general desire on the part of the Committee that a division should take place at once, I have no intention to delay honorable members. I rise 4 a merely to say that it is my intention to support the amendment. In taking up this position there is no change of attitude on my part. When the Bill was introduced by the Deakin Government I told the honorable member for Gippsland that I would support him in the action he was taking. It seems to me that it would be a mistake to include the proposed provision in this Bill. If we may judge by the experience of New South Wales and New Zealand in regard to local legislation, it is very improbable that it would be operative, and if it were, I believe that its results could only be mischievous.
– I do not propose to deal with the merits of the question, but I wish to direct the attention of the Committee to the remarkable attitude of ex-Ministers. The right honorable member for Swan has said that he was in a minority, but the notorious fact is that, with the exception of the late Prime Minister, every member of the late Government is going to vote for the amendment. Such a change in so short a time is marvellous.
– They are becoming very sensible in opposition.
– I am in a position to say that they have indicated that that is what they intend doing.
– They are not al) here.
– There must have been a majority of the members of the Deakin Cabinet in favour of the insertion of the provision or it would not have been submitted. Whether its inclusion in the Bill was due to the effort of some dominant mind strong enough to capitivate even my right’ honorable friend the member for Swan, I am not in a position to say.
– The honorable member is very much more easily captivated than I am.
– The right honorable member is making a great mistake.. I think it should be clearly understood in the country that this is not a proposal by the present Government, but that it was made by the last Government.
– The present Government proposes it also.
– What are we to understand ? Were they playing with the Bill, or did they mean what thev proposed? if they did mean it, they should stand by the provision now, as the present Government is standing by it.
– Will the present Government go down upon it?
– I wish the honorable member would go down. If honorable members will allow me to continue, I repeat that this is a remarkable change of opinion.
– How many exMinisters are voting against it?
– Six out of (he seven.
– All but the late Prime Minister.
– They are not all here. -. The CHAIRMAN.- I must ask the right honorable member for Swan not to interrupt.
– But the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is misrepresenting the facts. There are only three members of the late Government, in addition to the late Prime Minister, present.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has risked that he should not be interrupted, and the right honorable member for Swan can speak afterwards.
– The division will show whether I have misrepresented the intention of ex-Ministers. I am in a position to say that every member of the late Government, with the exception of the late Prime Minister, has indicated . his intention to vote against this provision in the Bill. In the circumstances, the country should know that this is a proposal for which the late Government is responsible. Honorable members who were members of that Government should vote for it.
– The honorable member should take his gruel quietly.
– The right’ honorable member for Swan does not like the real position .to be made known. Either the members of the late Government were shamming in submitting the provision, or exMinisters. should vote for it as readily as do the members of the present Government.
– Minister of Home Affairs). - I desire to say a word or two about the extraordinary position assumed by the late Minister of Home Affairs in. speaking this afternoon. At this stage of the discussion, I do not wish to go into the whole question, because a great deal of what has been said during the past three days has been irrelevant to the issue ; but I wish to say that it. seems to me to be positively indecent for an ex-Minister, immediately he has retired from office, to get- up in his place and denounce the Government that has succeeded him for continuing a proposal which, as- a Minister, he supported.
– The honorable gentleman is a great judge, no doubt.
– Order I
– At any rate, the honorable gentleman should not do that.
– The honorable gentleman has had great experience.
– There should be some attempt at decency.
– The honorable gentleman has had great experience of decency.
– Order !
– If the right honorable member for Swan was opposed to the provision in Cabinet, ‘he should have resigned.
– The honorable gentleman did not say that the other night when the present. Minister of Trade and Customs reversed a vote he had previously given.
– As the right hon.orable member for Swan did not resign because of his opposition to the. proposal, it might at least have been expected that he would not get up and denounce the Government that has succeeded him, for carrying on his policy or the policy to which he agreed as a Minister.
– That appears to be the only stock-in-trade the honorable gentleman has.
– The right hor*orable gentleman tries to shelter himself by Saying that some members of the late Government are away; but is he not aware that one of the members of the late Government has paired with another on this question? That accounts for four exMinisters.
– I do not know anything about it.
– The right honorable gentleman could not have known very much about it, or he would not have attempted to draw a red herring of that kind across the trail. I am aware that there is still another member of the late Government who has stated that he is opposed to the provision, and intends to vote against it. That makes five ex-Ministers opposed to this -provision.
– Are’ there five here?
– There are three ex-Ministers who propose to vote against the provision, and there is one ex-Minister paired against it with another.
– I did not . know that.
– I am telling the right honorable gentleman. There are several things which he does not know.
– I do not think it is fair to refer to pairs.
– The honorable member for Macquarie says that this is not a fair thing to bring up. After listening in silence for three days to attacks upon the Government for inconsistency for trying to force a crying injustice upon the farmers, we have now to listen to that from members of the Government who introduced the provision.
– What I said was that it was not fair to refer to pairs. It is fair enough to reply to the speeches of honorable members.
– Pairs should not take place as frequently as they do.
– The honorable member for Macquarie is perfectly right; but I am not mentioning names.
– Pitch into the honorable member for Hume, not into me.
– The reason that I do not pitch into the honorable member for Hume is that he is not present, whilst the right honorable member for Swan is before me; and, further, that right honorable gentleman has denounced the Government for supporting this proposal.
– When, and how ? Mr. BATCHELOR.- The right honorable gentleman has said that it is of a piece with the Labour Party’s policy of trying to inflict injustice upon the farmers. The right honorable gentleman must recollect that the Government of which he was a member introduced the provision, and. I desire that the people should fully understand the position.
– They will understand it right enough.
– If the people do understand it, I do not think they will give the right honorable member for Swan any credit for the consistency of which he is always prating.
Question - That the words “but it does not include a dispute relating to employment in any agricultural, viticultural, horti- 4 a 2 cultural, or dairying pursuit “- Committee divided. -put. The
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment agreed to.
– In the drafting of this Bill, the honorable and learned member for Adelaide, as I have more than once pointed out, has always assumed that the Constitution is .to be read in the widest possible way. I have already explained that, under the circumstances, this is an advisable course to follow, as the wish of the House is in no way to narrow the terms of the Constitution. As to allowing the definition of “industrial matters “ to remain as it is, I only wish to’ say, as I said when in a responsible position, that the public may overlook the fact that unless the word “ industrial “ is kept in mind, the definition may, to some extent, be misleading. The amendment which has been carried by Ministers themselves in the preceding clause shows their recognition of the fact that the only disputes with which we are competent to deal are “ industrial “ disputes. According to the Bill, the definition of “ industrial matters “ includes “ all matters relating to work, pay, wages, reward, hours, privileges, rights, or duties of employers or employes.” Of course, that means “ industrial “ employers or “ industrial “ employes, although the word “ industrial ;’ is not repeated. Below we read, “ and in particular, but without limiting the general scope of this definition, includes all matters pertaining to the relations of employers and employes “ - the word “ industrial “ is again omitted, and particularly is it necessary to bear that word in mind when reading the following - “ and the employment, preferential employment, dismissal, or non-employment of any particular persons, or of persons of any particular sex or age, or being, or not being, members of any organization, association, or body.” Everywhere the limitation has to be understood that this applies only to “ industrial “ affairs. Now, as the Government, on the advice of the Attorney-General, ‘ have thought fit to specify in the preceding subclause that public servants are only to be deemed included when they are engaged in “ industrial “ employment, Would it not add to the clearness of this sub-clause if the Attorney-General were asked to consider whether some word had not better be introduced to insure that “ industrial “ is even more distinctly understood ; othervise those who run and read may misunderstand the scope of the provision. Though we have shown in the title of the Bill, and have made it as plain as we can, that Ave have no power to go outside the Constitution. and that we provide for no more than the Constitution permits, I must admit that in this sub-clause and in the next - and I allude to the latter only by way of illustration - unless some qualifying words are introduced, the public at large will be apt to read the provision as extending beyond industrial disputes - to employments, preferences, or nonemployments that are not “industrial.” This will be productive of some difficulty to the Court; there may be appeals because Ave have not looked at this matter more carefully.
– “ Industrial “ is usually part of the name of an organized trade in New South Wales.
– If I may, by way of illustration, I should like to refer to the definition of “ industry,” which, amongst other things, means “ business.” What would the average man say to that definition ? He might think that business of any kind is an industry. As a matter of fact, that is a very arguable proposition. There may be very many businesses which are not “ industrial,” and which no Court would hold to be “industrial.” Yet here Ave have no warning, no indication in the definition. “Industry” means “trade, manufacture, undertaking, calling, service, or employment,” and before each of these words ‘’ industrial “ has to be ‘ understood, in order that a clear view of what the definition really comprises may be obtained. I’ am now only throwing out a suggestion. I had turned the matter over in my mind while in charge of the Bill, and decided to leave the words as they stood, in order to hear anything that might be said upon the subject ; then, if necessary, inserting words of elucidation. The words I suggest would not add or take away anything.
An Honorable Member. - They might limit.
– No. The words I suggest are the words of the Constitution, which are already used in an earlier portion of the clause. I would not advise any departure from them. It is not the wish of the Committee to narrow the interpretation which might be placed upon the provision, but Ave wish to make its meaning perfectly plain. I shall move no amendment, because the matter is one which ought to be carefully thought over, but suggest to the Prime Minister that it may be desirable to use the word “ industrial “ and to simplify both these definitions, so as to make them perfectly plain.
– I drew attention to the fact that the word “ industrial “ is used in a previous paragraph, for the reason indicated by the honorable and learned mem- ber for Ballarat, that I thought it a mistake to put the word in at all without applying it throughout the Bill. Personally, I prefer to leave it out in both cases, because only industrial disputes come within the provisions of the Constitution. The words “ industrial disputes “ are used in many of the other clauses. It is a limitation to use the word “ industrial “ in one part of the Bill, and not in another, and may create confusion in the public mind if not in that of the Judiciary. I think it better not to use the word at all. The Constitution contains the necessary limitation. It places a limitation on our power, and we should not provide that it is to extend only so far.
– That would mean cutting out these definitions.
– We should not cut out the whole of the definitions, because they may operate to some extent as a limitation.
– The amendment just carried is a limitation.
– This, too, may operate as a limitation if all the matters cognizable are not mentioned in the definition.. It is a mistake to say that it extends only to the constitutional provision, because the measure is based on the assumption that we cannot go beyond the limits of the Constitution. In the last definition, we put in words which expressly state that in regard to State matters, the dispute must be industrial. That in itself, as I pointed out, was unnecessary, and may lead to confusion in subsequent clauses. Before the next Government amendment is moved, I would direct attention to the words “ preferential employment.” I do not wish to move an amendment at this stage, because I should like to know what shape the Bill will take before making up my mind as to whether the definition is reasonable or unreasonable.
– At this stage we are providing for something which may take place later on.
– Yes, but it may afterwards be said that we have accepted a principle.
– I do not think that the Committee will be bound.
– Neither do I, and for that reason I shall not move an amendment now, but shall content myself with a suggestion. It is provided in the New South Wales, and I think, too, in the. New Zealand Act, that there must be nothing in the rules of association to prevent the joining of wouldbe members, and I cannot see why that provision has been deliberately omitted from this Bill. The Attorney-General of New South Wales, when in i960 he introduced his first Arbitration Bill, said in effect that there would be no boycotting of non-members by unions, that there would be no obstacle in the way of men joining unions. It seems strange, therefore, that only recently, when, after a case in which the employment of men not belonging to the Wharf Labourers’ Union was successfully objected to, they applied to enter the union, tendering their subscription of j£i, they were refused admission. That Case shows how the best draftsmanship may be faulty. We have been told that every evil is provided for in the Bill, and yet we find that it makes no provision to meet a case which is specially provided for, though apparently ineffectually, in the New South Wales Act. The Attorney-General of New South Wales, speaking in the Legislative Council of that State on 31st October, .1:900, said -
I provide that, as a trade union is alone allowed on behalf of the employees to bring this measure into operation, a trade union shall not become a close corporation.
Further on he declares that unions -
Shall be reasonably open to members of an industry who wish to share the benefits and privileges conferred by the Act.
I have not a copy of the New South Wales Act, but the provision to which Mr. Wise was referring requires that the rules of an industrial union or trade union, must . amongst other things, provide -
That reasonable facilities shall be given to become members of the union.
In the Bill before us it is provided, in subclause 2, of clause 62, that any Association applying to be registered shall comply with certain conditions, which, until otherwise prescribed, shall be those set out in schedule B. Turning to that schedule, I find that in paragraph // it is required that the rules of the Association must contain provisions as to the
Times when, terms on which, persons may become, or cease to be members of the association, but so that no member shall discontinue his membership without giving at least three months’ previous written notice to the secretary of his intention so to do, nor without paying all membership subscriptions, and dues owing by him to the association.
The provision in the New South Wales Act to which I have referred is omitted, though the words which I have just read are taken from that Act. Why did the late Government leave them out?
– We considered the provision in the .Bill sufficient.
– It certainly does not suffice.
– There is no objection to making it clear. We thought that it sufficed, and I think so still.
– Even the provision in the New South Wales Act is inadequate. It is, therefore, all the more necessary to make the matter clear here.
I merely draw attention to the matter in order that the Government may consider it, and do what may be regarded as just, before the Bill reaches the final stage.
– I do not propose to move an amendment with regard to the definitions, because I think that any alterations would have to be carefully considered, and I should not care to take the responsibility of the drafting, which I presume will ultimately devolve upon the AttorneyGeneral. I do not think that the fear expressed by the honorable and learned member for Angas as to the definition of “ industrial matters “ possibly limiting the efficacy of the Bill is well grounded ; firstly, because, sq far as an unsophisticated mind can see, there is nothing that is not already included within it, and, secondly, because it carefully avoids the phraseology of the definitions of “ industrial disputes “ and “ industry.” It is merely stated that “ industrial matters “ ‘ 1 include “ certain things. This is not a definition at all, but a suggestion to the Arbitration Court as to the matters to which it shall direct attention. It says - “ Will you first of all direct your attention to the second half of the definition, and if you find anything omitted from that turn to the first half. If you find that it is omitted from that portion, direct your attention to anything you can conceive of.”
– The definition practically says that these matters shall come within the purview of the Court.
– Then it is proposing to
Say something which we have no power to say, because the Constitution says what shall come under the Act.
– Except that the words may limit the Constitution.
– This definition does not limit the Constitution by saying that it shall include so and so.
– It might appear so.
– Yes, it might appear so; but the contrast between the* word u includes “ in this case, and the word “ means “ used in the other definitions, would make the Court hesitate to regard this provision as a definition. They would say “ this is not a defining clause, but a suggesting clause.” It suggests many things which even the most ardent supporters of industrial arbitration might fairly think were open to some question. I should like to know whether this provision signifies that employes upon the State railways could ask the Court to determine the extent to which their privilege passes are to be granted. It seems to me that it would cover that subject.
– I think it would.
– Then, I say franklyfirm believer as I am in arbitration - that that is not a question that should be submitted for determination by the Court.
– Would not the passes be regarded as a portion of the reward given, to the men for their services ?
– That re-states in another form a very large portion of the question, at issue. The case I have mentioned is,, perhaps, an extreme one, and it certainly is one for the settlement of which we should1 not care to call an Arbitration Court into existence.
– Not for that alone.
– I know that great differences of opinion on the pass questionexist in some of the railway services between, the State and its employes.
– The pass system is not likely to be extended by the Court.
– It is’ not likely to be extended beyond the limits that we have known it reach at times. I mention thiscase in order to illustrate the far-reaching, provisions of the Bill, and , to suggest tothe Government the desirability of reconsidering the definitions, or intended definitions. It is not desirable that we should even apparently claim excessive powers, and the definitions do suggest that such a claim is being made. I thoroughly agree with the honorable and learned member for Ballarat that if it isintended to make the provisions of the measure as wide as the Constitution will permit, and I think that that is the desire of the majority of honorable members - that is a position with -which we need not seriously quarrel. It is only when I see that States rights are being infringed, or when special circumstances seem to justify special” exceptions, that I raise my voice in protest. I think that we should definitely follow the wording of the Constitution. What theConstitution means in this matter it i’s difficult to decide, and we shall not make it any easier by imposing .on the Court the duty of ascertaining what the Act means, in relation to the Constitution. I understand that lawyers are to be excluded from the Arbitration Court, and I do not quarrel with that provision. Possibly it will lead to better business for the lawyers in connexion with the appeals that will probably have to be made to the High
Court. I am old-fashioned enough to believe that when questions of law have to be dealt with lawyers can give as good advice as can laymen-
– There were plenty of lawyers at the Convention.
– And plenty of laymen, too. My experience of the law is that the amendments proposed by laymen have been just as fertile in difficulty as have those proposed by lawyers. I think that the definition of “ industry “ should be taken into consideration. It, seems to me highly probable that it includes ‘ a great many things which are by no means industries in the ordinary acceptation of the term, and which would probably not be held to come within the meaning of “ industrial “ as used in the Constitution. It says that “ industry “ means “ business, trade, manufacture, undertaking, calling, service, or employment.” That would include almost every service rendered for pay or hire. It would even embrace our Defence Forces.-. If the Arbitration Court were called upon to determine a question of discipline in connexion with our Defence Forces, the spectacle presented would be even more striking than that furnished by a Parliamentary Select Committee engaged upon a similar task. The most ardent democrat must admit that, under certain conditions, obedience is of more immediate importance than the highest justice. I should not like to see our Defence Forces going on strike while on active service, and asking the Court to give a decision as to the rations which should be supplied to them. I do not suppose they would go on strike, because the men would put up with a great deal rather than allow a grievance to interfere with the discharge of their duty. This definition, however, would bring them within the purview of the Court, and ‘would enable them to say - “ The law enables us to go to the Court if we so desire.” I do not see any need for the definition of “industry,” because the adjective “ industrial “ will control the meaning of the noun “ industry.”
– Would not the honorable and learned member, if he were a member of the Court, prefer to have the word defined ?
– No; not unless the. definition were the law. The definition here is not the law. It is subject to the wording of the Constitution, which mentions “ industrial disputes,” and every time the question “ is this an, industry “ ? is raised, the Court will look, not at the Bill to see how “industry “ is defined, but at the Constitution which contains the words, “ industrial disputes,” and will then turn to the English language in order to ascertain what “ industrial “ means.
– And to the English law.
– We can set forth what we believe to be constitutional.
– We have no power to define the word used in the Constitution. We are attempting to do something that we have no power to do.
– ;We have power to make laws under the Constitution.
– Under it, and subject to it. To take a concrete case, let us suppose that this definition of the word “ industry “ includes a dispute between a doctor and his groom, and that the High Court determines that an “ industrial dispute “ under the Constitution does not include such a matter. I am not suggesting that it would or would not; but if tinder this measure such a dispute would be included, while under the Constitution it would not, our efforts to cover it in this way would be absolutely futile. We are compelling the Arbitration Court, and the High Court in case of appeal, to ascertain first of all what the Constitution means, and, secondly, to see whether this measure provides for something for which, under the Constitution, provision may be made. This Bill cannot add anything ‘to what the Constitution declares can be done. In the interests of good forms of legislation, and quite apart from the substantial merits of the question, I urge the Government to drop any definition that conflicts with all their endeavours to define the meaning of “ industrial disputes “ in the Constitution. In the Constitution, and the Constitution alone, will the Courts find a source of inspiration from which they can decide what are matters coming within the purview of this measure and what are not. The Bill cannot make the constitutional provision any wider than it is, but it may make.it more difficult to determine. I can well imagine the wealth of argument that any skilled person might employ after exhaustively discussing the Constitution, to determine whether this measure, with all its multitudinous definitions and descriptions, intended the Constitution to be limited in any particular instance. I deliberately assert - and should have done so -whatever Government had been in power - that this form of drafting seems to me to create a difficulty, and to do nothing in the way of removing a difficulty. It is only upon these grounds that I appeal to the Government to reconsider this matter. I can see no reason for attempting to define “ industry,” because I believe that it will otherwise be defined.
– We are not dealing with the definition of “ industry.”
– We have been discussing the definition of “ industry “ as well as of “ industrial matters “ - they amount to the same thing.
– It would be difficult to say what we have been discussing during the last two or three sittings.
– I venture to think that I have not gone beyond the question immediately before us.
– I do not suggest that the honorable and’ learned member has done so. It is time that we came back to the question immediately before the Chair.
– I have never departed from it. Even when discussing the matter’ before us a day or two ago, I venture to say that I confined myself strictly to the question.
– The honorable and learned member was singular in that respect.
– Perhaps the honorable gentleman feels his own culpability, and therefore wishes to exclude himself from a deserving class. As a matter of good drafting, it is undesirable to load the Bill in this way. If the definition of “ industrial matters “ consists of a series of suggestions, it must be admitted that the series is a most liberal one to a Court which will have enough difficulty in giving satisfactory awards all over Australia. It suggests all sorts of ways in which questions might be raised and awards given, and is certainly not calculated to make this measure what the Prime Minister says he would like it to be, an engine of potentiality, rather than for the settlement of actual disputes carried on to extremes between employers and employes. If the honorable gentleman desires that the measure should be rather a force to induce people to agree without going to the Court, the less we have of these suggestions - the less we have of a multiplicity of comparative details, as some of these suggestions are - the better it will be.
– There appears to be an idea on the part of honorable members that we are limited to the discussion of a particular, expression. I would point out that no amendment is before the Committee, and that the remainder of the clause following the paragraph with which we have just dealt is under discussion.
– The honorable and learned member for Ballarat appears to have forgotten the point which he emphasized in the course of his excellent speech, in moving the. second reading of the Bill, that we should put some faith in .the Court which will have to interpret it.
– But this is not a proposal that involves the reposing of faith in the Court. It is a proposal to place words in the mouths of the members of the Court.
– There is apparently a great difference of opinion on the part of the legal members of this House, and, after listening, to those who have addressed themselves to the question, I feel disposed to accept the view of the right honorable member for Adelaide, who originally drafted the Bill. It seems to me that he intended that nothing should be excluded from the purview of the Court when dealing with an industry brought under its consideration. It was, no doubt, his desire that nothing should be shut out because of any legal quibble. The suggestions made by the honorable and learned member for Corinella appear to be that we might as well omit all these definitions and leave it to the Judge who will have to interpret the Constitution to determine to what extent the measure covers any industry. To my mind, however, no case has been made out for the omission of any part of the clause. I do not complain of the suggestion that the Government, with, the assistance of their legal adviser, should carefully consider these definitions, but it has not been shown that any difficulty is likely to arise. That being so, we come back to the question whether we must not necessarily leave many -matters to the discretion of the Judge to be appointed under the Bill. He will determine all these questions, and I think that, as the honorable member for Angas has pointed out, it would be reasonable to have a very wide definition. The definition now before us was evidently intended to be wide enough to cover everything, and to leave it to the Judge to determine whether any industry should be excluded. At present, no one can say definitely to what extent the Constitution goes in this direction. There is a general agreement on the part of the legal members of the House that the constitutional provision on which this Bill is based is not very wide, and that, it can apply only to disputes extending beyond the boundaries of any one State. Arbitration Acts have to be administered in equity and good conscience, and decisions under them must be based less upon legal technicalities than upon common-sense principles. The general custom and practice prevailing in relation to any industry before the Court have to be recognised, and I do not think we need be afraid, of any decision going beyond the lines on which the industry to which it relates is carried on. Awards of Arbitration Courts have always recognised existing customs. These minor points occur only to legal minds ; and, as we propose to shut out lawyers from the proceedings of the Court, I do not think that we have anything to fear in that direction.
– The proposal to exclude them from the Conciliation and Arbitration Court will not shut them out from the High Court.
– I should like some of the legal members to point out whether any danger is likely to arise with regard to those who desire to fight against going into Court. It seems to me that, in framing these definitions, it was sought to render it impossible for any one to prevent a case being heard in all its details.
– I do not think that this will help us.
– I may be wrong. The honorable and learned member for Corinella said that the Court would interpret the words according to the ordinary meaning of the English language.
– And the English laws.
– I remember reading some time ago, in a work on the science of law, that there were definite rules as to the interpretation of language in a legal sense. and that this legal construing of words varied from the ordinary interpretation of the English language as given, for example, by Webster. In some respects these rules of interpretation differ very much from Webster’s definitions, and in connexion with this new legislation there must have grown up from practice and custom, definitions that vary the rules of interpretation in some degree. The decisions in the New Zealand Court, for instance, would serve as a kind of guide to a Judge in determining what the terms used in this Bill really meant. There must necessarily be a departure in that sense. I for one am prepared to leave the determination of these -matters to the Court. It is wiser to leave the definitions very wide than to narrow them.
– This definition is a lawyer’s proposal.
– I do not say that it is any the worse for that reason - I have expressed my great faith in the lawyer who drafted the Bill. I am not objecting to the legal definitions at all. I only wish to avoid the possibility of an objection being raised which would prevent the Court from dealing with some specific section or branch of a case. I would rather have the defi- nition left sufficiently wide to cover any point which could be raised.
– The point is that if we keep to the language of the Constitutionwe take the largest possible scope. The more words that we put here the more danger there is of their being construed into some kind of a limitation.
– I do not know what view a Judge might take, but the honorable and learned member for Angas and” other legal members have said that they can hardly think of anything which is not defined in this provision.
– Still, if there is anything put init is a limitation ; it cannot be an extension. We can limit, but we cannot extend.
– If the legal mind cannot discover anything which has’ been left out, I do not think there is anything left out to be discovered. It seems to me it will be safe to leave the definition as it is.
– I think that the honorable member for Darling overlooked the fact that the Legislature of New Zealand was not limited by the Constitution in dealing with this subject.
– I am aware of that fact.
– The Constitution of the Commonwealth contains a limitation which Ministers have already recognised. . A very important amendment, which has been inserted at their instance,, places these definitions on a different footing from that which they occupied when the Bill was previously dealt with. I agree with the honorable and learned member for Corinella that the supposed definition is not really a definition at all. It includes an enormous number of things, and it may yet include an infinitude of other things. The word “means,” I think, should have been used in the definition instead of the word “ includes.”
– I think the word “includes “ was used deliberately by the right honorable and learned gentleman who drafted the Bill.
– No doubt he wished the Bill to include everything in heaven and earth, but I should think that from the description of matters put under the heading, the word “ means “ would have been quite sufficient. I would point out that this now deals with railway servants and Railway Commissioners, and that the privileges, rights, or duties of employers or employes are, according to this so-called definition, to be decided by the Court.
– But they will be in under the Constitution.
– I am not speaking of the railway employes but of the Commissioners. There will be power to say, if it be not ultra vires, what shall be the principles, rights, and duties of a Railway Commissioner, just, as, under the New Zealand Act the Court has declared what shall be the duties of an employer in an industry - that is, as to how he shall work. In my second-reading speech I gave, as an illustration, the case of the proprietor of a small bakery, whose employes asked the Court to declare what portion of the work he should do. His bakehouse was not a large enough establishment for him to merely supervise, and the Court decided that, in addition to what he was doing, he must do some. of the batching. The provision before the Committee is similar to the provision in the New Zea-. land Act. It is proposed not only that the railway men’s rights, privileges, duties, wages, hours, and so on, shall be considered, but also that the Railway Commissioners, who are appointed by the States under contracts, shall also be subservient to the Court to be established under this Bill. I do not think that we intend to go that far.
– We do not wish to go that far, but how can we exclude Railway Commissioners without excluding others whom it might be proper to include?
– We must look at what we are doing in view of what we have done. Having passed an important amendment, which many persons consider an infringement, or, if not an infringement, an undesirable encroachment on the rights of the States, we ought to make sure of our position before we proceed. I bring this matter under the notice of the Prime Minister, so that it may be considered by him.
– Does the honorable member think that any dispute is likely, to arise amongst the Railway Commissioners ?
– It is not what is likely to arise that we have to consider. This clause is put into the Bill, and it is said that certain things are unlikely to arise.
– We could not get an organization with 100 Railway Commissioners as members.
– But they would be made .parties to a decision.
– The Commissioners are authorities created by the States to carry on the works, and therefore they are employers.
– They will be employers, and this provision gives ito the Court the right to deal with the duties, privileges, hours, awards, and so on, of employers.
– Would not an award impose a duty on a Commissioner ?
– It would impose certain obligations, but no personal duties,’ on the Commissioners. A dispute would , arise about the wages or the hours of the men, or some feature of their employment, but it might or might not concern the privileges, duties, or hours of the Commissioners. I understand that the Prime Ministerstated that he did not anticipate that thismeasure would often be put into operation.
– I hoped that it would’ not be.
– Had themeasure referred to strikes, or to matters on which strikes usually arise, I should’. “ agree with the honorable gentleman. But the terms of the measure are so extensive tobe effective - that the Court is to act in con,nexion with any dispute,’ or any refused request emanating either from employer or from employe’ - and I think its’ operationwill not only be very frequent, but will alsoconcern matters that are altogether too small to engage the attention of a Federal Court. .. If this interpretation clause has any effect whatever, it will apply, it may be, to some trifling occurrence in a particular employment, and concerning one or two individuals, about which a dispute may becreated. A reference may be made in some trifling matter to the Arbitration Court from any portion of Australia. For those reasons I think it would’ be better to leave the decision as to the-. proper questions to come before a Court of this description, to the High Court. Ambiguity should not be introduced, and persons should not anticipate from the wording of the measure that all sorts of small disputes may be brought before the Arbitration Court. It is not the intention of the Constitution that such should be the case, and from what the Prime Minister said, I understood at any rate that he does not think that these small matters should come before the Court. For this reason attention to the interpretation clause is desirable, particularly as the scope of the Bill has been, in some important particulars, altered by an amendment introduced by the Prime Minister himself.
.With regard to the general attitude of the Government in connexion with these interpretations, I may say that we did not desire to alter the general drafting of the original measure any more than was essential, in our view, to carry out the alterations of policy - details, perhaps, but still involving policy - which we thought necessary. Of course we were fortified in that opinion to some extent bv the authorship of ‘this Bill. It was drafted by the right honorable member for Adelaide, who is acknowledged amongst parliamentarians to be one of the best draftsmen in existence.
– He is a veryallembracing draftsman.
– This is a departure from the style of drafting that he has hitherto adopted.
– Perhaps so, but, from the point of view of those who desire to go at least as far as ‘the Constitution allows us to go, we can quite sympathize with the desire of the right honorable member - who is, unfortunately, absent - ‘to make the Bill, as has been said, all-embracing. With regard to the suggestion out forward by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, I might point out to him that the clause, as at present drafted, seems to cover - in its earlier phraseology anyhow - the point he puts forward. For instance, “ employer “ is defined as meaning “ any employer in any industry.” “ Employe,” in the same way, means “ any employé in any industry.”
– But that is necessary in connexion with “ industrial dispute “ which appears below.
– The word “ employé’’ and the word “employer” carry that interpretation all through ; and, speaking from the lay point of view, at the first blush; it does not seem to be necessary to go further.
– I said it was not necessary; but that an alteration should be made on the ground of lucidity.
– On that point I shall be glad to have the advice of the learned Attorney-General.
– It is not a question of law; but simply a matter for those who are not lawyers.
– It is a minor matter, at any rate. But with regard to the point urged by the honorable and learned member for Angas, I may say that for days past the Attorney-General has been considering the question, of how to buttress the Court in its jurisdiction, not only over disputes, but over the rules of a union in respect of the admission of members. I am quite as anxious - and I think the Government generally are quite as anxious - as the honorable and learned member himself can be to insure that no union shall become a close corporation. The whole idea of giving preference to unionists must, in my mind, rest upon the union being free to every person to become a member, so long, of course, as reasonable conditions as to qualifications and knowledge of the calling or trade to which the union relates, are assured. The union should be free to every person to become a member within those limits. That is the opinion we held, and it was certainlyunderstood - by myself, anyhow - when this Bill was introduced originally that that contingency was provided for.
– Hear. hear.
– The la’te Prime Minister assured me that the intention of his Government was, in a similar manner, to pre-‘ vent any such monopoly of employment being secured for a particular set of individuals.
– It would be against the policy of the Bill to put any obstacle in the way of- membership of unions.
– Quite so; and I quite sympathize with the honorable and learned member’s desire to have that point made clearer than it is now. I do not think that the provision in the first schedule of the New South Wales Act was omitted with any intention of limiting the power of the Court to interfere in those cases. It was simply, as I understand it, that it was thought that the Bill as drafted was quite sufficient to cover cases of that character. With regard to the immediate case referred to by the honorable member for Angas, as occurring in New South Wales in connexion with the wharf labourers, I am informed that, so far, the Court has not been appealed to with the view of ascertaining whether that union was acting within its powers, in - if it is true, as alleged - closing their membership list. But the Court in New South Wales has undoubtedly the power, in my view. In the first schedule to the New South Wales Act, it is provided, amongst other things, that rules shall provide for -
The terms on which persons may become or cease to.be members of the company, association, trades union, or branch. . . . reasonable facilities shall be given to become members of the union.
The rules have been registered. What I think we should make clear - and this is the point which I have laid before the AttorneyGeneral - is that the Court has power to alter the rules of a union if at any time it is thought desirable to do so, after full consideration-
– There is that power.
– The difficulty is as to the power to enforce the rules.
– I think they have power to enforce them, but if we have not sufficiently provided for that we shall be quite prepared to do so.
– There is nobody to bring it before them.
– I should think there would be somebody. For instance, the employers might feel that a limitation of the number of members of a union would have a bad effect in preventing them obtaining the men required for any work that was offering. I think also that an individual who desired to become a member of a union might move the Court as a party to deal with the matter.
– I do not know that he could.
– If not, it seems to me that the Registrar should have power to bring such a case under the notice of the » Court.
– He has the power under clause 67. In this connexion sub-clause 11. of clause 6a, the schedule, and clause 67 must be read together.
– I believe that the Court would cancel the registration of a union if it refused to alter its rules when asked to do so by the Court. I can assure honorable members that anything we can do to make that clear, and to give fuller powers to the Court in that direction, will be looked into by the Government. As to-the general argument in regard to the phraseology of the clause and the desirability of limiting it-
– Getting rid of superfluous, words, but not limiting its scope at all.
– Some honorable members appear to think that all we need do is to omit these words altogether. They think that the general terms of the Constitution sufficiently define the word “industrial,” and show what class of disputes are intended to be referred to.
– And if they do not, these words will not.’ That is the contention.
– It is well known that we have the power of limiting. We need not go as far as the Constitution goes, though I personally think that we should go all the distance in this case. It is a question how far we may appear to limit the constitutional power by any alteration of this explanatory clause. I cannot see that any great harm is ‘likely to follow from the retention of these words. I quite appreciate the self-sacrificing spirit of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, as a member of the legal profession, in expressing the opinion that the retention of these words would increase the work for lawyers in appeals. After all, I do not see how any appeal can be grounded on the fact that, to use the honorable and learned member’s own phraseology, these words are intended to indicate to the Judges of the Arbitration Court what is aimed at by Parliament, because, after all, it is still left to the interpretation of the Constitution in each case. If the constitutional provision is wider than the words used here they can do no harm. They appeal to me, I admit, purely as an indication to the Court of what we intend.
– I think it will be safer to leave them as they are.
– That is my own impression. I do not pretend to be able to follow all possible legal interpretations of these words, but I think it will be better to leave them as they are. because they will give some indication to the Arbitration Court of the matters which we intend shall be dealt with by the Court. The honorable member for North Sydney spoke of the “possibility of disputes coming within the cognizance of the Court over comparatively trivial matters. It seems to me that it is not likely that trivial disputes will come within the cognizance of- the Federal Arbitration Court, because they must be of such a character as to extend beyond the boundaries of one State, or be likely to be so extended, to take the wider interpretation of the Constitution. ‘ If we attempt to limit the clause with respect to disputes which may be brought before the Court, we may incur the danger of the Court being prevented from settling the minor aspects of a dispute, when a really serious question is at stake. A side issue in an important dispute might require settlement when the Arbitration Court came to deal with the matter, and this provision would give the Court power to adjudicate upon all the issues that might be presented. For instance, there is the question of the privileges of railway employes which was referred to, I think, by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. It is admitted by many people that the privilege of having a free pass even once a year, although a very trifling matter, is one of the conditions of employment, and a consideration for the services rendered by the employe. I think it would not be wise to take any step which would limit the power of the Court to decide upon that amongst perhaps a dozen other issues submitted to it in connexion with an important dispute. On the whole, I think it will ba wise to allow the clause to remain in its present shape.
– I think that, on the whole, it would be well to leave the clause as it is. The Government might well consider whether they will recommit the clause with regard to the words which define “ industrial dispute,” and put it in the form - “ Industrial dispute means all industrial disputes arising,” &c, so that there could be no question about the interpretation embracing all such industrial disputes , as are intended to be referred to. But I think it is necessary to retain the definition of “ industrial matters,” and of the word “ industry,” because, when we come to the important clause 46, sub-clause /, it will be seen that power is there given -
To declare by any award, that any practice, regulation, rule, custom, term of agreement, condition of employment, or dealing whatsoever in relation to an’ industrial matter, shall be a common rule of any industry affected by the award.
The Court would be at once be thrown upon a sea of argument and matters of doubt as to what was meant by “ industrial matters.” There would be a large amount of litigationas to whether that would include privileges and the relations between employer and employed If we retain the present definition of “ industrial matters,” no possible doubt can arise as to that, because the Court will be told what we mean by an “ industrial matter” - “ all! matters relating to work,” &c. They will find in the clause a pretty exhaustive enumeration of the various heads of determination which range themselves under the comprehensive ‘ term “ industrial matters.” I think it would be unwise’ to eliminate the definition of “ industrial matters,” because the words “ industrial matters,” in the important sub-clause to which I have referred, really need some clear definition of the intention of Parliament as to what is meant to be referred to the Court. I may say the same with regard to the word “ industry,” which occurs in the same sub-clause of clause 46, which will be, perhaps, the main provision of the Bill affecting the prohibition of strikes and locks-out. It is probable that it will be absolutely the pivot of the Bill. Therefore, I think too much trouble cannot be taken to elucidate what Parliament means, so that our intention shall not be left to conjecture hereafter, or to possible amendment from time to time. Personally, I cannot, for the present at all events, see what more is wanted in the definition clause, which appears to be the result of very careful consideration and a great deal of experience and observation in regard to the various industries. For my part, I am unable to offer any suggestion to make the clause more complete. We could, of course, strike out the word “industry,” and leave the meaning to argument and the ultimate decision of the Court. In the first place, we do not want to do that if w’e can possibly help it, but would prefer that” Parliament should say exactly what is meant in the use of the word. But if we do not put in the words “ including land or water “ a vast amount of argument may be offered as to this or that industry never being intended to be included; and that, I think, would leave the whole matter in a state of doubt. A Bill of this sort, which is novel so far as the Commonwealth is concerned - and, indeed, is novel so far as Australia is concerned - should be made as free from doubt as possible, and matters which affect industry in all its branches should not be left to chance. I would rather run the risk - which, however, I do not think is very great - of finding some unconsidered industry by chance omitted, than imperil the principle of arbitration in its application to all the branches of industry to which we intend it to reach. I personally, of course, do not agree with the application of the Bill to State employes, but now that this House has determined that it shall so apply, the intention of’ Parliament should be made as clear as possible.
– It is quite. clear to me that this clause, or this particular definition, is intended as a dragnet, and that the Judge of the Court will have to inquire into the simplest, matters connected with the employments of people. In New South Wales there is an’ Arbitration Act, and the Court there was asked to decide as to whether, on a Good Friday, the sum of 7s. 6d. or 5s. should be given to the drivers of bakers’ carts engaged in the delivery of hot-cross buns early in the morning. To me that appears to be utterly absurd.
– Was that dispute not settled in favour of the men?
– It was not. The Judge referred the matter back, with the remark - “ Surely this is a matter which you ought to be able to settle yourselves.” I do not know exactly what was the result, but some sort of compromise was arrived at. If, however, both parties had insisted, the Court could have been kept occupied in arguing the point. Is that a matter which should be brought before the Court? As I say, it appears to me absurd ; and it is just this sort of thing which makes these Courts the laughing-stock of Hie world. Surely it is not proper that every little detail connected with the arrangements between employers and employed should occupy the time of the Court. If the larger disputes only were dealt with, the Bill could be confined to the important towns or cities, and then I could understand the incisure being advocated. But the honorable and learned member for Indi spoke of the “ common rule “ ; and I do not know whether, in saying that, he meant that one rule should apply to the whole of the States.
– We. are not arguing the question of the common rule at. present, and the honorable and learned member for Indi used that only as an illustration.
– But every little detail of a trade may come before the Court, and I take it that the common rule would apply in such a case as is now before the New South Wales Court in connexion with an award affecting pastrycooks. The pastrycooks ask that a common rule shall apply over Central Cumberland, but the employers desire that the rule shall apply over the whole of the State. If the employers have their way, the result will be the destruction of every little pastrycook’s business in the State. In every little pettyfogging town in the country, Ave cannot apply rules which, however, may be quite right in the larger cities. There is another objection which I have, and that is in relation to preferential employment.
– That had better be left until the clause dealing with that matter is before us. The present clause commits Parliament to nothing.
– But if the definition clause be. left as at present, the Court is given power.
– This clause does not give any power-; it is only an interpretation clause.
– But if this provision be left in the definition clause the matter is brought within the purview of the Court.
– But if clause 48 be amended, this clause must also be amended.
– Yes, but let us wait until we reach clause 48.
– My objection is to the dragging in of all the little things connected with a trade, and thus creating great trouble in the Arbitration Court. It will be far better, if we are to have legislation of the kind, to have legislation that is reasonable. Such measures are only now coming within our experience, and, perhaps, we ought to wait until we have more information as to the working of the present Acts in the States. We might then be able to introduce a Bill that would be of some advantage to the workers, and, possibly, of some advantage to employers; but at present we are rushing legislation in the absence of knowledge and experience.
– This is a second-reading speech.
– The Prime Minister ought not to talk about a second-reading speech, considering that he was not “game” to have a second-reading debate.
– We had had enough second-reading debate.
– Has the Prime Minister any amendment to propose to this definition?
– Yes, but I do not wish to forestall discussion.
– It. will be recognised,
I think, that this is purely a drafting amendment, suggested with the best of motives ; and I need hardly say that, as one responsible in some measure for the drafting, I shall be happy for any assistance which honorable members can render. At the same time they will recognise that we should not interfere with the drafting of a complicated Bill of this sort unless for very strong reasons.
– We do not ask to interfere with it at the table.
– I understand that. It has been suggested that we should omit the definition of “industrial matters,” and of “ industry.”
– It is sufficient to say that they refer to industry and the matters relating to it under the terms of the Constitution.
– I have thought over the subject here, and have consulted the draftsman upon it, and, in my opinion, it would not be wise to adopt that suggestion. The honorable and learned member for Indi has rightly stated, that, so far as we can, we should let the Court know what Ave mean. I go a step further, and say that it is our duty, working under a written Constitution, to make the people to whom the Bill will apply know what we mean. I do not think that there is anything more important than that. Within reasonable limits we should place in the measure placards setting forth what we expect the people to do. It is our business to interpret the Constitution with great care, and. to put into the Bill what we think the Constitution means, but nothing else.
– The word used is “ includes “ not “ means.”
– I heard the honorable member say that the words inserted by the Committee, with regard to the employment of railway officials, render a change .necessary.
– I said that the matter requires consideration.
– With all respect to the honorable member, to whom I always listen with the greatest attention, I do not see how those words have the slightest bearing on the matter. He has dealt with the subject, however, not as a question of principle, but as one of drafting, and I need not repeat that I shall be very glad to listen to suggestions from him and from other honorable members which have in view the improvement of the measure. But if honorable gentlemen refer to clauses 30, 46 paragraph /, and 27 sub-section 1, as we purpose to amend it, it will be apparent to them that we might cause endless debate and create endless disputes if we were not to say distinctly what we mean by industrial matters. Then, if they turn to clauses 7, 46 paragraphs’/ and g, 49, 61 sub-sections 1 and 4 as amended, they will see there the word “ industry.” I regard it as a matter of great importance that a plain man who wishes to know how far he is affected by our legislation may be able to see how we mean, within the scope of the Constitution, to treat the words “industry” or “industrial matter.” The difficulty is one incidental to written Constitutions, but we must make the best of the position. We cannot improve the Constitution. We cannot expand it, though we may limit it. I remind the honorable and learned member for Ballarat that the Constitution does not contain the words “ industrial matters “ or “ industry.”
– Practically it does. It contains the words “ industrial disputes.”
– It is very important to let people know what we mean bv “ industry.” The term “ industrial dispute “ embraces the outside ‘limit of our powers under the Constitution.
– The High Court is te settle these questions.
– We do not wish to call in the High Court more frequently than is necessary. I hope that we shall retain these definitions. They were inserted with a view to shortening the phraseology of the Bill. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat has suggested that the definitions might be shortened ; but the effect of a carefully drafted interpretation clause is to enable the draftsman to use short expressions in the rest of the Bill.
– I move-
That in line 21, the following words be added : - “ And any claim arising under an industrial agreement.”
Some honorable members have argued that the definition of industrial matters is already more than ample, but it seems to me necessary to make it clear that the Court will have jurisdiction over any claim arising under an industrial agreement as an industrial matter. The industrial agreements contemplated by the Bill are collective agreements arrived at between organizations of employers and employe’s, and may largely do away with the need for appealing to the Court. But they must provide penalties for breaches, and for their enforcement, and, therefore, it seems wise to the Government to make, any claim under an industrial agreement a matter for the jurisdiction of the Court.
– It is enforced as an award, I think.
– That is so. It may be argued that the matter is sufficiently provided for in the definition of industrial matters, but I think that the words I propose to add will make it clear that the Court has jurisdiction with regard to this question. I do not see how we can get away from the general intention of the measure, which points to the recognition of industrial agreements by the Court and by the Governor-General.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat).- The Bill provides for industrial agreements, which may contain ‘ any terms agreed upon. A private board may be established to interpret and to deal with these agreements. Then we have this wide definition of industrial matters, which probably in some of its terms may go beyond the Constitution.
– If the honorable and learned member refers to the list of amendments he will see that we propose to omit the private board.
– Then it is provided that any claim arising under an industrial agreement becomes an industrial matter which may be dealt with by the Court.
– I can quite understand, from some of the experiences in New South Wales, that it may be desirable to have all strictly industrial cases, so far as they arise out of the action of the Court, dealt with by the Court. But the words here used, although few and simple, appear to me dangerously large - “ any claim arising out of an industrial agreement.” The industrial agreement may embrace not only hours and wages, but privileges, rights, duties, or the employment and the non-employment of particular classes of persons. These agreements, therefore, may be extremely complex, and range over a great variety of technical particulars, all of which may be brought before the Court. We have, first of all, to ask : what are the industrial agreements referred to? They are, I take it, not agreements relating only to a particular State, but agreements which have a Federal bearing. If that be so, Ave have next to in quire in what sense does a breach of them extend beyond a State? In what sense do the words “ extending beyond any one State “ confer upon us power to give authority to the Arbitration Court over agreements locally broken.
– There is nothing to pre- vent an agreement being made which would cover more than one State.
– But how would a breach of such an agreement in one State only constitute sufficient ground to enable us to give our Court authority over it.
– The Bill would not do that. It relates only to such agreements as contemplate more than one State.
– My honorable and learned friend and myself are entirely, in agreement upon that point. But will he go further? We have federal organizations in Victoria and New South Wales which may make agreements common to both States? One of these agreements . may be broken in only one State, and power is now being sought to bring such a breach, which cannot be said to extend to another State, before the Court.
– That would come under the definition of “ prevention,” because the dispute might spread to other States.
– Then we should be treading on A’ery dangerous ground ; because, if Ave could go so far by way of prevention, Ave could go the whole distance, and justify any step that might be taken to put a stop to any dispute, even though it might occur in a hamlet of only one State. This difficulty has been in my mind in relation to several precisions in this measure, and I am now enabled to give a concrete and practical application to my apprehensions. Unless Ave are to extend the meaning of the word “ prevention.” as the Prime Minister suggests, Ave cannot claim that the power conferred by the rest of the sub-section would enable us to deal with a breach in only one State, though it Avas of a Federal agreement. If any disputes, under a Federal agreement, would come within the words “ extending beyond any one State.” simply because they might so extend, Ave should have practically unlimited power ‘ in regard to conciliation and arbitration, quite apart from the extension, and the limitation in the Constitution would cease to have force. I entertain great doubt whether there is power to take this view. Under Federal agreements Ave might provide that the Court shall interpret them in certain cases, but even these must be cases in which the breach itself extends beyond any one State.
– In that case the word “prevention” would lose all its ordinary significance.
– Then the Prime Minister must take the other alternative. If he could “ prevent ,! in this direction, he could “ prevent “ in every other direction, and there might as well be no constitutional limitation to our powers, because any dispute, however simple - a dispute in a baker’s shop at Port Darwin, at Kalgoorlie, in the electorate of Maranoa, or in any other corner of the continent - which might extend beyond any one State would come within the purview of the Court.
– That would be a very good thing.
– We should have to amend the Constitution in order to bring that about. Even if my argument upon that point is not supported, would not the words “ any claim arising under an industrial agreement “ be too wide ? Would they cover a claim for damages ? I suppose that they would cover a claim for damages arising out of a breach of an agreement.
– I would direct the honorable and learned member to clause 86a, in the list of amendments.
– I have noted the provision in that clause. I understand that the object of the Government is to give the Arbitration Court full control over all industrial disputes which naturally arise under its jurisdiction - all matters immediately affecting its awards, or even agreements, which are to have the effect of awards. *To that extent I am in sympathy with them, but the definition of “ industrial matters “ is so extensive as to suggest agreements of the. greatest complexity, touching a great variety of issues, and possibly giving rise to a great variety of claims. Consequently, if my view of the very narrow margin which is permitted for the Court’s action upon Federal agreements, is not sustained, if Federal agreements can be made, and any breach or claim arising under them in one State can be brought before the Arbitration Court, that tribunal will be required to transact an immense amount of what may be very trivial business. These agreements can be made in all parts of the Commonwealth. I look forward to the time when a large number of agreements will be entered into, and relieve the Court of a great deal of work. Does the Attorney-General consider that they can all be. dealt with by the Federal Arbitration Court?
– I think the honorable and learned member is confusing the functions of the Police Court and the Arbitration Court. The Arbitration Court has only very limited and exceptional jurisdiction as to industrial agreements. Offences against industrial agreements or awards can be dealt with by the Police Courts.
– That is the very point to which I was endeavouring to direct the attention of my honorable friend. I wish to know whether this ousts to any extent the summary and other jurisdictions of the ordinary Courts.
– It is a supplementary jurisdiction ?
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern MelbourneAttorneyGeneral). - I would point out, with the permission of the honorable and learned member, that there are two Courts to be looked at. One of these is the Conciliation and Arbitration Court, which will deal only with what ought to be the relations of employer and employed. That is the only Court which can deal with such questions, but there are the ordinary Courts, which will be enabled to inflict penalties for wrong doings. If the honorable and learned member turns to the proposed new clause 86a,- he will find that we propose a mode of dealing with a breach of industrial agreement. If there is an offence committed by reason of a breach of an industrial agreement, the ordinary Court will be able to inflict a penalty, in the case of an organization, not exceeding £$00 ; in the case of an employer, not exceeding .£250; and in the case of an employe, not exceeding £o. The new Court to be created - the Conciliation and Arbitration Court - is not to. have general jurisdiction over industrial agreements, and very rightly so, because if persons have made their own agreements, those agreements should be adhered to as far as possible. Under clause 83 no person is to be affected by an industrial agreement other than the parties to it. An industrial agreement must be filed, and then it may be varied or rescinded, by the same parties. Then the principal jurisdiction which the Conciliation and Arbitration Court will have will be conferred upon it under new clause 87A, which provides that -
On the application of an organization the Court may order that any industrial agreement be varied so far as is necessary to bring it into conformity with any common rule declared by the Court.
It was found in New Zealand that when the local Arbitration Court endeavoured to apply a common rule over an industry, it was brought to a standstill by a stone wall in the shape of an industrial agreement, made among persons in, perhaps, a small district.
– It was found that those persons had contracted themselves out of it.
– Quite so. In such a case, if this measure has any virtue at all it will enable the common rule to be declared all over the country. The Bill does not compel the Court to do so; it only allows the Court, when it sees fit, to declare the common rule. It would never do to have one manufacturer in one town subject to one rule, and the rest of the manufacturers of the Commonwealth under like conditions under another rule. Thus the principal power to be conferred upon the Conciliation and Arbitration Court with regard to a grievance is simply this : that if, for the purpose of applying a common rule, it considers it expedient to break an industrial agreement, it may do- so. This matter will come up for consideration when we deal with the proposed new clause 87A, which has already been circulated. I do not think that those grave and important questions .to which my honorable and learned friend has referred would be well debated during the consideration of the clause now before us. We are now dealing merely with an interpretation clause.
– I did not rise with the intention of addressing myself to those questions; it was an interjection by the Prime Minister that led me to refer to them.
– I understand the honorable and learned member’s position. There is an important matter that will have to be faced before we dispose of this Bill, but we need not deal with it at this’ stage. Before resuming my seat, I wish’ to show that where we use the phrase “ industrial matters “ in certain clauses, we also mean, to include a claim arising under an industrial agreement.
I would invite the Committee to look, for example, at clause 30, which provides that -
A certificate by the Registrar that any dispute relating to industrial matters is an industrial dispute extending beyond the limits of any one State shall be prima facie evidence that the fact is as stated.
If the certificate shows that a dispute relating to an industrial agreement is an industrial dispute extending beyond the boundaries of any one State, it is to be accepted as prima facie evidence that the fact is as stated. It is for the registrar in the first place, although* not conclusively, to say that a dispute in relation to an industrial agreement has become so widespread and sp grave in its operation and consequences that he regards it as having extended beyond one State, and as being a matter the Court may properly entertain.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat).- I am very glad to have the discussion limited to the words immediately before us. When I rose to question them, it was not with any idea of entering on any of the larger issues that I was led to discuss, in reply to an interjection by the Prime Minister. No harm has been done, however, by the reference, for it reminds us how closely we tread to these greater issues. If I may be pardoned for saying so, the point which I rose to make still remains. I do not w’ish to object to an amendment that will enable the Conciliation and Arbitration Court to have power when necessary to deal with any difficulties arising out of industrial agreements. I realize that it is necessary that the Court should have such a power.
– That is all that we have attempted to do.
– These words give that power, but they do a great deal more. I have taken two points. We know, first of all, that these agreements will be extremely complex. Many of them may cover a great variety of circumstances. They may relate, not only to hours or wages, but rights, difficulties, privileges, priority of employment, and non-employment of persons, and other matters will doubtless be dealt with by them. We may expect a great number of these ‘ agreements. We may also expect disputes as to their interpretation to arise not infrequently. If they occur all over the Commonwealth, and we have, as the Government propose, only one Court, which, no matter how rapidly it visits the various States, will be in only one State at the one time - . -
– We shall need a motorcar.
– We shall need many. It will be impossible for one Court to deal with all these matters. I think that the Government propose to sweep away some of the supplementary Courts, for which the late Government provided in this Bill. In any case, have the Government considered the practical question whether they have not here thrown open a door of appeal which will render it impossible for the Court to answer the expectations that may be formed in regard to it by us, or those outside ? Have they taken into account the impracticability of any one Court dealing with all the questions that may conceivably arise in regard to the industrial agreements that may be made all over Australia? There is that strong practical objection. In order to meat it, it seems to me that, although I must confess that the Government proposal is the easiest way of dealing with the subject, it will be necessary for them to consider whether, instead of these wide, general words, language cannot be employed that will indicate more clearly those questions of interpretation, and those agreements that will be important enough to engage the attention of a Federal Court. I waive all other difficulties.
– The Court will still have the right to waive the privilege.
– I consider that it would have been better if for this purpose the Bill had been taken as it stood. Our Court could have refused minor complaints, while this Court cannot. The whole responsiblity now will be thrown upon the Judge, who, until he hears the- case, may not be acquainted with the nature of the business with which he has to deal. Until he hears the evidence, he will not know whether the case to be determined involves a question of importance, or a comparatively trifling matter. All these considerations are related. I think that these wide words, simple as they are, take in a great deal more than the Government intend them to cover. If they take in the whole, they will embrace more matters than one Court will be able to manage. One of the dangers of the Court will be that it may be called upon to have before it disputes that are of a comparatively and relatively trifling character, and safeguards ought to be devised for confining its attention to great questions, such as it is reallyconstituted to cope with. Appeals which could be dealt with by the local Courts or other tribunals more speedily and quite as effectively should not be encouraged to come to the Federal Court. These wide words are full of danger, and I cannot, in my own mind, put a limit to the classes of cases that might be presented as claims arising out of agreements when those agreements cover the ground provided for by this Bill.
Mr. ISAACS (Indi).- I think that a great deal of importance is attached to these words, but it strikes me that they are better in the clause than out of it.
– Yes ; but my point is that these words are too wide.
– That may be. But I think that the idea of the Government, if I caught it aright, is to do away with private boards under industrial agreements, and to see that the Court which is to deal with arbitration matters generally shall also deal with industrial agreements. The fear of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat is that the Arbitration Court will be engaged in doing work which otherwise would be done by private boards.
– By private boards, and it might be done by the States boards in many , cases, I think.
– As I understand the Government’s proposal, no limit is put on an industrial agreement which may well relate to private boards.
– I think not.
– There is nothing to prevent an employer and’ his employes when making an industrial agreement as I understand the matter-
– They are going to amend that.
– No; I understand that they propose to strike out clauses 81 and 82, but that will not affect what I am saying in the smallest degree. If we strike out clause 81, we merely strike out the provision that the private board is to have exclusive jurisdiction. But, as I understand the proposal of the Government, they intend to leave the matter in this position, that’ an’ employer and his employes may make their own industrial agreement, which may include the creation of a private board, and that if that private board succeeds, in settling any dispute which may arise under the industrial agreement between employer and employes, they will not need to go to the Arbitration Court at all.
– But the Government are going to give them the alternative, I think, of going to the Court.
– Certainly, the Government will give them that alternative. But if the parties choose to make their own agreement for a private board, naturally the)’ will go to that private board if they possibly can. If the private board, having their powers of determination, can voluntarily, so to speak, conciliate the two disputants, let them do so, and I hope that they will succeed. But there is an advantage it seems to me in the Government’s intention over the proposal in the Bill. In clause 8 1 it is provided that the board shall have sole jurisdiction and possess all the powers and discretion vested in the Arbitration Court.
– That is the point of our objection.
– The powers of summoning witnesses and of entering into investigations ought not to be intrusted to any private tribunal that’ any body of employers and employes might like to constitute. It is putting into the hands of private individuals who choose to make their own industrial agreement the power to con- »stitute a tribunal which may roam all over Australia and investigate private’ concerns and do things that we do not contemplate.
– Only between those who have agreed to accept them.
– No; they are empowered to take evidence when and where they like, to sit where they like, and to make a common rule for the trade. There is no more limit to the power of that private tribunal created between private persons by their private agreement than there is to that of the Arbitration Court. I think it is a distinct advantage to strike out that proposal, and if we are to have any tribunal to deal with these matters and investigate the business concerns of Australian people let it be done in open Court.
– Is it not proposed to do away with private agreements ?
– It is proposed to do away with the public authorization of these private boards, the investiture of these private boards with all the powers of the Commonwealth Court. I think that most of us would have been astonished if we had found that private individuals could make industrial agreements, and at their own sweet will, create private boards, which would be clothed with all the powers and discretion of the Arbitration Court.
– Cannot an industrial agreement be taken to a State Court ?
-1 do not quite see how that question bears on this point. The proposal of the Government, as I understand it, will leave the parties to make their own agreement as they will, to create their own arbitrator as they will. It leaves the arbitrator to decide dispute if it can be done, and if not, the parties can go to the Arbitration Court.
– But cannot an industrial agreement be taken to a State Court ?
– That is a matter which the Prime Minister can answer. For the reasons I have given, I welcome the declared intention of the Government, and the addition to the interpretation.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).- I understood the Attorney-General to say that an offence can be taken before the Police Court, and he seemed to differentiate between the Arbitration Court and the Police Court. I take it that an offence which will go before the Police Court will be an offence against an award of the Arbitration Court, and that the former cannot fix the conditions of labour, so that it does not get over the contention of the honorable member.
– -An industrial agreement might become an award, and, therefore, the Attorney-General is quite right.
– The Police Court can deal with no question unless it arises out of a breach of an award of the Arbitration Court. It is absolutely clear that it cannot fix any conditions of labour.
– That does not affect the position. One other remark that the honorable and learned gentleman made was that under an industrial agreement it would not be right to have in one city or town rates of wages or other conditions which did not exist in adjacent towns.
– I did not say so as absolutely as that. There may be different conditions in different towns, but we ought not to prevent the Commonwealth .from applying the common rule because of some overriding agreement.
– I quite understand that. We should pass a Bill which would be fair to all portions of the Commonwealth. Certain manufacturers in Sydney are trying to get an advantage over country manufacturers in their line of business. They are trying to get an award of the Court made a common rule in an industrial agreement, so as to control every business throughout the country; really to throw the business into their own hands. The conditions in small towns are so different from those in large cities that we should in some way or other guard against any attempt of that kind. An industrial agreement made in New South , Wales between the master tanners and curriers and their employes fixes the wages outside the county of Cumberland at 11
– No one proposes it.
– It is being done in New South Wales.
– No ; it is not.
– If the common rule creates a difficulty in one State, it must create a great difficulty in other States, where the conditions are different.
– It is not done in New South Wales.
– The honorable member for Darling should speak about things which he knows and understands. After the saddlers’ dispute a common rule was made in New South Wales. When the bootmakers’ dispute was settled by. the Court, a common rule was applied. The effect of that is to injure the small factories in the country towns. If the common rule made by the Federal Court were to apply in one State only, there might be something to be said for it. A remark made by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat left me doubtful as to the meaning of industrial agreements. It seemed to me that the idea was that, supposing Victoria had a dispute, and an award of the Court were given, it would apply in other States.
– No; the Court would not give that common rule application to an industrial agreement without entering into the whole subject afresh.
– It seems to me that if, when a dispute arises in one State, this Bill makes the common rule apply in all the States, we shall be acting against the whole spirit of the Constitution. We should not put into this Bill provisions which are intended to deal with State industrial disputes, apart from Federal industrial disputes. My point might be met if the provision were made to read -
No claim arising under an industrial agreement having a Federal bearing.
Or some such words as those. The lawyers could put the idea into legal phraseology .
– There is no necessity to do that; the whole Bill is subject to1 the Constitution.
– That is implied.
– If the meaning is that a State can bring its industrial disputes before the Court, we should make- it absolutely clear that the award of the Court in such a case does not apply to other States. I want to make this Bill as perfect as it can be made. Of course, I do not believe in the measure.
– The honorable member is distinctly humorous.
– I cannot defeat the Bil). Not being able to defeat it-
– The honorable member would cripple it.
– No; I wish to make it as perfect as possible, so that it may accomplish a good end.
Mr. GLYNN (Angas).- I should much prefer that the Prime Minister would deal with this matter in the part of the Bill dealing with industrial agreements; because I fear that the measure will have a far wider effect than is contemplated. I do not want to repeat what I have already said, but I will mention . another matter. The Court will have full jurisdiction, amongst other things, if a claim is made under an industrial agreement, to make an award ; and there will also be power under clause 33, if one of the parties brings the matter to the Court to have a common rule made in accordance with the agreement.
The thirty-third clause refers to agreements entered into after a dispute has arisen. It will enable ordinary voluntary agreements to come within the region of disputes, and then everything else will follow. Amongst other things, what was an industrial agreement on voluntary lines may become an agreement after a dispute. What will be the result of that? It will have the effect of an award, and instead of being binding as the old agreement was between the parties, it will bind everyone. Under clause 37 it is provided that the award of the Court shall be binding on, amongst others, the parties, organizations, and persons “ on whom the award is declared by the Court to be binding.”
– We are proposing an amendment to ‘that clause.
– The effect will be that after parties have entered into an industrial agreement, one party can bring the matter before the Court, and then the award will be made binding, and the common rule can be applied right through the State. An “ industrial agreement “ made under this part of the Bill will be a perfect farce, because it could be broken the day after it was entered into. I would ask the Prime Minister to deal with these private agreements in the proper place. An amendment can be made giving some jurisdiction to the Court to entertain certain disputes that may arise as to the wording of the agreement, or as to the enforcement of it, but surely it is not intended that after a voluntary agreement is entered into, the matter may be brought by one of the parties before the Court, which will deal with it as though there had been a dispute.
– Has the honorable and learned member noticed clause 30 ? If this provision is not inserted, we shall have to enlarge that clause.
– I do not pay much attention to that clause. It merely deals with the certificate of the Registrar.
– Look at paragraph / of clause 46. There again is a question affected by this industrial matter.
– That is the common rule.
– My objection to the whole provision, is that industrial agreements under this Bill are not industrial agreements entered into under litigation. They are distinct from it. They are entered into voluntarily before any dispute has arisen.
– Such an agreement is not affected unless the Court is properly given cognizance of it.
– But after a voluntary agreement between the parties to whom it refers is entered into, immediately one of the parties can make a claim, and cannot be stopped by the other party to the agreement; but the matter comes before the Court, and the Court can adjudicate, by award, as though there were a dispute. They can apply under that industrial agreement a common rule throughout the State. No doubt that is a legitimate development of the insertion of these words in the definition clause. If the Prime Minister would confine the amendment to the part of the Bill dealing expressly with these agreements, it would have no effect outside that part of the Bill, and the limitation I suggest would be perfectly easy
Mr. SPENCE (Darling).- Unless there is some provision in the Bill giving the Court power to review industrial agreements it will be of very little use. The point is one which has cropped up already in New South Wales.
– No one has yet objected to that being done, if it is not done in this wide way, which may take in a great deal more.
– Objection has been taken by the honorable member for New England, who evidently has not the remotest idea of what is meant by a common rule. For instance, when a reference is made to a common rule as regards wages, it must be remembered that equality in wages depends on the purchasing power of money, and not on the exact amount of money received. A common rule with respect to wages might give an equal amount to wageearners in different parts of a State without giving each an equivalent in value. I do not know whether the -honorable member had any foundation for the case to which he referred, but he seemed to me to answer his own contention, when he said that n£ per cent, more was allowed in the country than in the city. The honorable member should know that conditions in town and country are different. The Post and Telegraph Department, for instance, recognises that, by giving allowances to salaried officers in the country in excess of those given to officers of the same class in the towns. If honorable members take, for instance, the industry with which I am connected, the shearing industry, they will see that we may have a com- mon wage over the whole of the Commonwealth, though entirely different conditions exist in different States ; notably as between New South Wales and Victoria the customs and practices in the industry are different. The price paid per 100 sheep may be different in different States. Mr. Hutchison. - In South Australia there are two ‘different prices.
– Under different conditions in the same State we find different prices ; one price is paid where men find their own rations, and another price where they are found for them.
– The same thing applies in Queensland.
– The common rule should take into consideration varying conditions ; and, though the Court may have to deal with an industry which is followed throughout the Commonwealth, it does not follow that they will not be able to do justice by making proper allowances. Some of the statements which were made by -the honorable member for New England as to the working of the Arbitration Court in New South Wales were not quite fair. The honorable member, for instance, made it appear that the bread-carters appealed to the Court in that State. The matter in question was a special matter, and arose because there was some doubt about the extra delivery in the morning, and both employers and workmen appealed to the Court to know what they should do. The Judge told them that they could do as they liked without breaking the law, and the employers and their men fixed the matter up without an appeal to the Court. It is unfair that honorable members should make misleading statements on such a subject. A reference was made to a common rule in connexion with the tanners being almost confined to the county of Canterbury, and not to the whole State of New South Wales; but, surely, Ave can leave it to the people specially concerned to look after their own interests without being alarmed that something evil is going to happen. I venture to say that, so far, the operation of the Act in New South Wales, has given immense satisfaction, and it ought not to be misrepresented in the way it has been. I think that the amendment is a very necessary one, because I think Ave should so define “ industrial matters “ as to make sure that all will be dealt with. I can hardly understand the alarm of the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, that the provision may give greater powers thin
Ave intend. I think Ave can leave that to the parties concerned. It is clear from the start that only certain big cases can come before the Federal Arbitration Court, and minor details may safely be left to be dealt with by the Judges of the Court and the parties concerned.
– I think the honorable and learned member for Angas has, to some extent, misunderstood the bearing of this particular amendment. He seems to assume that if it is carried it will allow the Court to vary an industrial agreement without any further precision being made in this measure. No such result, so far as I can see, can possibly ensue. As I read it, the provision allows the Court to take cognisance of disputes arising over the proper carrying out of an agreement voluntarily arrived at between private individuals. It may involve large matters, but it does not appear to me to give any power to the Court to vary an agreement. We propose, in a later amendment, to give power to the Court to vary an agreement, where it stands in the way of the applies-1 tion of a common rule to which the Court may deem it necessary to give effect.
– The Court can only act by .an award.
– If we give the Court jurisdiction in respect of carrying out industrial agreements it can act by means of penalties in larger matters which it may not lie thought proper to leave to the de-, termination of a Police Court.
– It can impose them, but I do not think the honorable gentleman intended that the Arbitration Court should be a medium for assigning penalties.
– I do so intend in regard to the larger breaches. Just as Ave apply to the Supreme Court rather than to a Court of minor jurisdiction, for a penalty against a private individual in a civil action where a large amount is involved, so, in this case, I think the Arbitration Court may be the proper body to determine the penalties to be imposed in certain cases.
– There lis no distinction between large and small indicated in thewords used here.
– Not in these words, perhaps, but the general idea of the Bill is to give jurisdiction to minor Courts, while it does not. preclude larger preaches being considered by the Arbitration Court itself. In New South Wales that is the practice followed. Breaches are dealt with by the Arbitration Court, and also by the minor Court, the ordinary Police Court. Of course they do not allow honorary magistrates to adjudicate in such cases, and we intend to propose amendments in a similar direction here. I fail to see the bearing of this provision on clause 33 referred to bv the honorable and learned member for Angas, because that clause deals with an agreement arrived at after a matter has been entered upon in the Arbitration Court.
– I assume that the claim will give rise to a question; that is the point.
– I do not think it will. The words I propose now to insert will not, I think, have the effect the honorable and learned member imagines. We propose later to take steps in the direction he speaks of; but they will take the form of a substantive motion, which the Committee will be able to decide upon its merits.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang).- It seems to me that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat has made out a strong case against the proposed addition to the clause in its present form., he has shown that the apparently innocent proposed addition is by no means so innocent as it looks, and should, therefore, be considered with extreme caution in view of its possible latest potentialities. We should be particularly careful to make the interpretation clause so clear that there shall be no room for doubt as to the meaning of anything contained in the Bill. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat has certainly shown that the words proposed to be added to the clause are capable of a very much wider interpretation than apparently ever was intended by those responsible for the amendment. Clause 30 provides -
A certificate by the Registrar that any dispute relating to industrial matters is an industrial dispute extending beyond the limits of any one State shall be -prima facie evidence that the fact is as stated.
By way of friendly suggestion, rather than by way of amendment, I ask the Prime Minister to add the following words to those which have already been moved : - certified bv the Registrar to be a claim within the meaning of this Act.
That, it seems to me, would get over any difficulty in the way of unduly extending the provisions of the Bill beyond the boundaries intended by its framers.
– Then the honorable member would give the Registrar judicial functions ?
– The Registrar is supposed to be familiar with the provisions, and, as we do riot know what the subsequent clauses may be, it is all the more necessary to be particularly careful that the interpretation clause is all right, and leave no room for doubt by reason of ambiguity. Anything which follows will bind the Registrar himself, so that no claim of this kind will be considered unless it be certified to as coming within the meaning of the Bill.
– Let the Judge decide that.
– My suggestion, if carried out, will throw the onus of responsibility on the Registrar, and will leave no doubt whatever as to the scope of the interpretation clause.
– I hope the Government will pay no heed to the suggested amendment, which would be. most unwise, inasmuch as it would leave the decision with the Registrar instead of with the Court.
– Surely the honorable member does not desire to go beyond the scope- of the Bill ?
– All these matters must come before the Court. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat seems afraid that the clause, as proposed to be amended, would be too wide. I am just as much afraid that the clause might be too narrow.
– This discussion is not as to jurisdiction, but only as to the business which ought to come before a Federal Court - business which, in my opinion, ought to come before the States Courts.
– As there are no Arbitration Courts in some of the States it is necessary to give power in the Bill ,ro deal with these matters in dispute. I do
I not think there is any likelihood of the time of the Court being unduly taken up, because there is the restriction that the measure can deal only with disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. I do not want to go into the, arguments which the honorable and learned member raised as to disputes so extending, especially with regard, for example, to shearing disputes. The honorable and learned member pointed out that if a dispute arose, and an award were given, there might be a difficulty if the dispute arose only in one State. A shearing dispute is one which would not only be likely to extend, but probably would extend, beyond the limits of any one State, and no doubt the Court would have jurisdiction. I hope that the Government will stick to the Bill as it stands.
– Not as it stands.
– Well, I hope that the Government will stick to the clause as it stands. I am glad that the clause is not to be altered materially, because I am quite sure that the right honorable member for Adelaide, who originated the Bill, has given this question years of thought.
– And the honorable- member, to prove his appreciation, would strike out two of the chief clauses which were inserted by the right honorable member for Adelaide.
– The honorable and learned member for Ballarat desires to amend the very Bill which he previously accepted.
– The honorable member is quite wrong this is an amendment proposed by the Government.
– But the honorable and learned member for Ballarat wishes to amend the interpretation clause.
– As a pure matter of drafting.
– That is the wish of the honorable and learned member, although he accepted the clause when he was in charge of the measure. Under the circumstances, there has not been sufficient reason shown for any extensive alteration.
– It is a mere drafting alteration, as the Attorney-General realizes.
Mr.. HUTCHISON. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat wished to go further a few minutes ago.
– That was as to the amendment proposed by the Government, an amendment which was not . in the Bill before.
– But that was before the Prime Minister moved the addition of the words which the honorable and learned member for Ballarat is afraid may have too wide a meaning. I hope that the words will be retained, because I prefer that the meaning should be rather too wide than too narrow.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern MelbourneAttorneyGeneral)’. - The honorable member for Lang has made a thoughtful suggestion, which shows an appreciation of the Bill, and which should not be passed over without some notice. I followed the honorable member very closely, and I can see that his motive is to make it clear that the only indus. trial agreement which is to be within the ken of the Court is an industrial agreement as to matters in dispute extending beyond one State. I should at once readily accept the suggestion, only I think that, further on,the Bill contains provisions which may allay the honorable member’s apprehension.
– I want to see the point made clear in the interpretation clause.
– If the honorable member’s object is simply to avoid any extension of the provisions of the Bill beyond what the Constitution allows, his apprehensions may be allayed by looking at clause 80. In that clause the only kind of industrial agreement which is contemplated, is an agreement for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes.
– But clause 80 may be altered ?
– We must deal with the clauses as we reach them. I am only dealing with the Bill as proposed by the late Government and approved by the present Government ; and before there was any change of Government “ industrial dispute “ was defined as a dispute extending’ beyond the limits of any one State. I thank the honorable member for Lang for his suggestion ; but I think his object is attained by subsequent clauses.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).- I wish it to be made clear that there is no ulterior object behind the amendment, and the acceptance of the amendment of the honorable member for Lang would make it so. It is evident that there has been some, conversation about “the term “ prevention of disputes “ used in the Constitution. The Prime Minister asked, “ What is the use of the term ‘ prevention, ‘ if we cannot do this kind of thing?” I wish it to be made clear that no one State shall be able to cause an industrial dispute. For instance, there might be a dispute in the confectionery business in Victoria, and one of the parties might get the employes of a New South Wales firm to come out, and that might be regarded as an industrial dispute extending beyond the limits of one State. State agreements should not be made industrial agreements, so as to bring them within the Bill. We should make that absolutelyclear. If that is done, I shall be satisfied. I cannot see why the amendment of the honorable member for Lang should be objected to if the Ministry intend’ the Bill to deal with Federal disputes only. Of course, if they have another intention, they must object to the amendment of the honorable member for Lang.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang). - Notwithstanding the speech of the Attorney-General, I am still of opinion that it would be better to add, for the reasons. I have already given, the words which I desire to add. I should be willing to let the matter go if the definitions in the’ interpretation clause were to be considered after the other clauses had been dealt with, but we are following the reverse order, and we have no guarantee that the other clauses in the Bill will not be amended, perhaps out of all recognition. This makes it all the more necessary to see that the definitions are properly drawn. I am afraid that there is behind the proposals of the Government an intention to make the Bill more far-reaching than it appears to be.
– I assure the honorable member that that is -a’ mistake.
– At any rate, it is possible that the definition may be construed so as to include matters not now within the purview of this House. It is desirable that there shall be no ambiguous phraseology in the interpretation clauses. If the words “certified by the Registrar to be a claim within the meaning of the Act “ are added, we shall be perfectly safe, because it will then rest with the Registrar to see. before the Court is moved, that the claim is a legitimate one. I see no objection to the insertion of those words. The acceptance of that amendment could not hurt the Bill, if the intention is not to go beyond the scope of the present definition.
– Does the honorable member desire that the Registrar shall have the same power as the President of the Court ?
– In clause 30, it is provided that a certificate of the Registrar shall be prima facie evidence that a dispute relating to industrial matters is an industrial dispute extending beyond the limits of any one State.
– The honorable member’s proposal makes the Registrar the final arbiter.
– Not more than clause 30 does Why should he not have power to examine a claim, before the Court is moved, to see that it is legitimate? In many cases it is the Registrar who moves the Court, and he should have power to look into these matters to see that the claim is one in regard to which the Court should be moved. If the Attorney-General- sees no objection to the words themselves, there can be no reason against their acceptance, unless there is an intention to extend the application of the clause beyond what is at present contemplated.
Mr. SPENCE (Darling).- I am surprised at the position taken up by the- honorable member for Lang. What would he accomplish by putting in the words which he wishes to insert? The Registrar would. not have power to hear a case. It may be very difficult for the President of the Court to say how far the jurisdiction shall extend. Surely we should not vest in the Registrar, who may have no legal knowledge, and who has no power to hear the case or to make inquiries, the power to decide. Under clause 30 the Registrar will deal merely with matters of fact ; the matters now under consideration are matters of law. It seems to me that the acceptance of the honorable member’s amendment would accomplish the end which some honorable gentlemen have in view - that is, that it would make the measure a failure. I look with suspicion upon amendments suggested by those’ who, whenever they speak, declare themselves opposed to the measure. The Bill may be capable of improvement, but I think that amendments coming from its’ enemies should be regarded with distrust. In my opinion this is one of their plots.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney). - If anything could surprise me in connexion with the consideration of this measure it is the speech of the honorable member for Darling. He has taken exception to any one but himself criticising, or even speaking upon the Bill, though I think he has spoken already three or four times on the clause now before us. And, further than that, he asks - “ Why should we trust the Registrar to decide whether a claim is within the provisions of the measure?- Are we going to make him a Judge?” But the honorable member has been a party to passing a paragraph which says that -
An “ industrial dispute “ means a dispute in relation to industrial matters . . certified by the Registrar as proper in the public interest to be dealt with by the Court.
– Yet the honorable member exclaims at the audacity of the honorable member for Lang in proposing that it shall be left to the Registrar to certify that an agreement is one coming under the Bill. Is not a dispute as important as an agreement? I say that it is more important, because an agreement may be enforced in other Courts.
– But in this case it is proposed to give the Registrar the power of decision in cases which do not go before the Court.
– Not at all. The Registrar is to have power to decide whether a matter upon which persons are about to appeal comes within the terms of the Act. That is only what he is empowered to do in connexion with disputes, which are far more important than agreements. I do not object to honorable members replying to criticisms, but I take exception to remarks which impugn the bona fides of honorable members on this side of the Chamber. If the accusation against the honorable member for Lang is well founded, the honorable member for Darling has also impugned his own motives by his own act in supporting the provision to which I have referred in the interpretation clause. The AttorneyGeneral sees no objection to the amendment, except that it is covered by a subsequent clause.
– Oh, yes, I do. I thought it sufficient to say that the amendment was covered by a subsequent clause, but I could have mentioned grave objections to it.
– I am quite willing to accept that explanation. It seems to me that the Bill will afford better opportunities to the legal profession than any measure we have passed. Some of the Acts now on our statute-book are proving very profitable to the lawyers, and the High Court itself finds the work of interpretation very difficult.
– If the amendment is adopted, we shall have still more work to do.
– I do not think so. The Bill before us represents the second attempt of the late Government to construct a workable measure, and now, in addition, we have submitted to us a list of eighty or ninety amendments proposed by the present Government.
– The amendments will shorten the Bill.
– Perhaps they will, and perhaps they are good amendments ; but it is very difficult for honorable members to understand what is proposed and to speak accurately on the different clauses. I rose to protest against the imputation that honorable members on this side of the Chamber desired to make the Bill unworkable. It appears to me that the effect - I do not say the object - of many of the proposals which have emanated from the other side would be to defeat the aim of its promoters. I do not think any undue objection should be taken to the efforts of honorable members to improve the measure and to avoid friction in its administration.
– I would ask the Government whether it would not be possible to place the Bill and the proposed amendments before us in some more convenient form? It is very difficult to understand the Government proposals, and still greater confusion has been produced by the second list of amendments which has been placed before us this afternoon.
– The second list did not emanate from us.
– No, but still we have to deal with it. .There appears to be a little confusion in the minds of some honorable members as to the issue raised by the amendment of the honorable member for Lang. As I understand it, the amendment would vest a somewhat arbitrary power in the Registrar of the Court, and would make him, to some extent, the interpreter of the Act. Neither in clause 30 nor in the interpretation clause is that attempted. In the interpretation clause referred to by the honorable member for North Sydney, the Registrar has to certify whether a dispute is a proper one in the public interest to be dealt with by the Court, and one extending beyond the limits of any one State. In clause 30, it is very clearly and. distinctly laid down that the certificate issued by the Registrar, that any dispute relating to industrial matters is an industrial dispute extending beyond the limits of any one State, shall be prima facie evidence that the fact is as stated. That is very different from deciding whether the claim of any organization is a proper one to submit to the Court.
– He has that power.
– And that power alone. He has no authority to act as the arbiter of what is a fit and proper subject to be dealt with by the Court. As I understand the suggested addition to the amendment, it would practically make the Registrar the arbiter of what should be submitted to the Court. I do not think that the honorable member for Lang desires to go as far as that. His intention is that the definition shall be as clear as possible. In stating my objection to the honorable member’s amendment, I must say that I am inclined to fully agree with the contention raised by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. It seems to me that the wording is altogether too wide, and will throw on the Conciliation and Arbitration Court an immense amount of detail work that should come within the purview of the minor Courts. It will require the Court to deal with the enforcements of awards and penalties.
– Only minor Courts will deal with penalties.
– I desire to have a clear statement with regard to that point. This is purely a question of interpretation, and we shall have an opportunity later on to obtain further information as to what will be the full effect of this proposal in its application to agreements that may be arrived at between organizations of employers and employes. We shall then be able to learn at what point they will, so to speak, come within the provisions of the Bill. I cannot at present see the necessity for the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Lang and I quite agree with the contention that it would place the registrar in the position of being the interpreter of the Bill itself.
– Under clause 67 he will have that power.
– I shall refer later on to the clause mentioned by the honorable member. The two clauses, to which reference has already been made, certainly do not justify the action taken.
– Complaint has been made by several honorable members as to the difficulty of thoroughly grasping the effect of the printed amendments in the way in which they have been put forward, and I must say that I quite appreciate its justice. I inquired from the Government Printer what would be the cost of making the proposed alterations in the Bill itself, and ascertained that it was set up, nearly twelve months ago, in type that has since been discarded, so far as the printing of Bills is concerned, and that consequently to have all the amendments inserted in the Bill would cost as much as did the original setting.
– What was the cost of the original setting of the Bill ?
– I had to hurriedly consult the Government Printer, and he was unable, on the spur of the moment, to give me an estimate. He said, however, that it would cost ,£10 to print copies of the Bill as proposed to be amended by us, and that it would cost considerably more at a later stage to put the Bill in order for transmission to the Senate.
– One mistake on the part of this Committee might involve the loss of thousands of pounds.
– I do not think that the present conditions are likely to lead to any mistake. I appreciate the difficulty which honorable members experience in readily following the debate, and the general propositions made by way of amendment bv the Government ; but I do not at present think that we should be justified in incurring the expense that would be involved under present circumstances, in causing the proposed amendments to be shown in the Bill.
– Would the honorable gentleman like the House to authorize the expenditure ?
– I should be quite willing to incur the responsibility; but, if we could do without this additional expense, it would be better for us to do so.
Amendment agreed to.
– I desire to know whether the Prime Minister would agree to insert, before the word “ employment,” the words “Naval, Military, or other.” The addition of these words would make the Bill complete; but if the Government are not prepared to accept my suggestion, I do not propose to move an amendment.
– I do not regard naval and military service as being industrial service in the ordinary sense of the term, and I am not prepared to accept an amendment that would have the effect of bringing the naval and military servants of the Common wealth under this Bill. We have exempted them from the operation of the Public Service Act, and I understand that they are so exempted in nearly every country.
– They seem to be exempt from everything.
– Quite so; they are looked upon everywhere - and, I think, correctly - as being a special and somewhat arbitrary service. I do not think that they are a class of servants that ought to be brought under the operation of this measure.
Mr. CROUCH (Corio).- I do not propose to move an amendment to give effect to my suggestion, for I know that it would not receive the support of the members of the late Ministry. As I cannot obtain general support for it, it would be useless for me to press it.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat). - I wish to remind the Committee of the great change that has been made in the circumstances of the situation, owing to the determination of the Government to relegate the Navigation Bill to a Royal Commission. Honorable members are, doubtless, aware that one part of that Bill dealt with the whole of the coasting trade of Australia, whether undertaken by Australian ships, by British ships not coming within the scope of the Constitution, or by foreign vessels. To that end, elaborate machinery was provided. That measure, however, is now about to be considered by a Royal Commission, and, consequently, the AttorneyGeneral might well be asked to give us his view of the meaning of the words “ land or water ‘ ‘ in this clause, assuming that this measure is passed without any Navigation Bill. He’ might further indicate whether the Government propose to supplement these words by a provision in any other measure, or by an addition to this Bill, that will restore practicallv the same condition of affairs that obtained when we had the Navigation Bill, and Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, going, so to speak, band in hand.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern MelbourneAttorneyGeneral). - I think it is due to the honorable and learned member, as leader of the Opposition, that I should reply at once to his questions. It is the intention of the Government to submit new clauses to the Committee.
– In this Bill?
– Yes; new clauses for the purpose of making it perfectly clear how far this provision for Arbitration Courts is to operate in regard to ships, whether interState or over-sea. The honorable and learned member has asked me to express my view as to the interpretation of the words as they here stand, “ on land or water.” My view, right or wrong, is that the word’s “ on land or water,” would not cover oversea ships ; that the word “ water “ would be limited to the water over which we have direct jurisdiction, and that that would mean all the ships and boats on our rivers, or within three miles of our shores. But we shall require to put in this Bill some supplemental clauses in order to fill the gap which the withdrawal of the Navigation Bill lias caused in the legislation which was proposed by the late Government, and is approved by the present Government.
Mr. GLYNN (Angas). - I gave notice of an amendment, which, on consideration, I do not think I shall move. I wish to draw from the Government and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat a statement as to what is really meant by the words which have just been referred to. Honorable members will remember that the words found their way into the Bill, I think, after the resignation of the honorable and learned member for Adelaide, as Minister of Trade and Customs, and there seems to have been a difference of opinion between Ministers regarding it. The first draft confined the operation of the clause to -
British ships, the Queen’s ships of war excepted, whose first port of clearance, and whose port of destination are in the Commonwealth.
Those words were struck out, and the words “ on land or water “ inserted, so that there must be a significance in the difference, or, I suppose the . Bill would not have been amended. I do not think that either the provision in the Navigation Bill, or any provision which may be put into this Bill, can possibly give jurisdiction over ocean-going vessels, whether foreign or British.
– No vessels outside the scope of the Constitution.
– Can we not prevent foreign vessels from coming here if we like?
– That is a matter which rests with the Imperial Government. No doubt we have power to prevent an alien from landing on our shores. But surely we would not arrogate to ourselves the right to stop a vessel coming from a foreign country from entering the three-mile limit. If we did, it would be an absolute breach of our obligation to the Imperial Government, who deal with these external affairs. There is a provision in the Constitution giving us the right to deal with “external affairs;” but the man has not yet been born who can tell what it means. I know that at Home they had . great doubt as to what it meant, and I do not think there is anyone in the Commonwealth who can say what is covered by the use of the words “ external affairs.” There is no doubt that foreigners are subject to our laws when they come within the limit of our jurisdiction ; but, at the same time, our laws are such as we can pass by delegation from the Imperial Government, and we have not the power to do more within our territorial limits as regards vessels than to regulate the coasting trade. What is the coasting trade? It certainly is not any trade which commences in a foreign country or in the United Kingdom, and which simply takes our ports in on the way. In other words, a vessel sailing from London to Fremantle, and afterwards unloading at Sydney, would not come within the meaning of a coasting vessel. And if so,, neither the Navigation Bill, which attempted to deal with such vessels, nor this Bill, if it should hereafter by an amendment deal with them, would be constitutional.
– Does the honorable and learned member say that a vessel which comes from London, and calls at Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney, and thus trades along the coast, is not doing coasting trade in Australia?
– I think I can prove that it is not out of a memorandum which was submitted, not only by Sir Edmund Barton, but also by the honorable and learned member for Adelaide. As a matter of fact, there was a great dispute in England as to the meaning of covering section 5 of the Constitution, which extends the operations of our laws to vessels whose first port of clearance and whose port of destination are in the Commonwealth.
– Will the honorable “ and learned member help us with regard to coasting trade, because that is the difficulty ?
– First, and foremost, I shall take the definition of “ coasting trade” from the last edition of Abbott’s Law of Merchant Shi fs and Seamen, at page 317 -
The term “coasting trade” has never been defined by the Legislature; but the Courts have held that in the following cases vessels were not engaged in the coastal trade: - (i)’a vessel which, after making a voyage from Calcutta to London - that is from one part of the British Dominion to another - proceeded to Liverpool ; that is exactly the case in point put by the honorable and learned member.
– Oh no. I am speaking of a vessel carrying cargo or passengers from Fremantle to Sydney.
– It does not matter whether the vessel is carrying cargo or passengers -
– There was no carrying of cargo or passengers from port to port there.
– There was cargo taken on in one case and landed in another at an intermediate port.
– Not from port to port.
– There is no distinction between taking on cargo at London and going to Liverpool, and discharging cargo at London and proceeding with the balance to Liverpool.
– There is a vast difference.
– There is not. I shall now get to . the interpretation put on the words by the late Government. There was a very big dispute about this matter at Home, and a memorandum was submitted in answer to the objection of the Imperial Government that the section, even as it now stands, was giving us too great a jurisdiction.
– The first objection was to the clause as it stood - that is, to the clause we borrowed from the Federal Council of Australasia Act:
– I do not think that the clause stood in that way when the Bill went to England.
– Under the Federal Council of Australasia Act there was much wider jurisdiction than under the Constitution as it now stood.
– The honorable and learned member is right.
– Under the Federal Council of Australasia Aci any vessel which commenced or ended her voyage ‘here, not both, was amenable to our law. But covering section 5, as it now stands, merely extends the operation of the coasting trade, and the laws which we can pass,’ and which will be in force on vessels beyond the threemile limit as long as a voyage is commenced and ended in the Commonwealth. Before that the coasting trade was limited, not only to a trade which commenced and ended in the State, but to one which kept within the three-mile limit, and the only extension then made of that power, as explained by the delegates, was that there was a bigger loop which went beyond the three-mile limit. The memorandum, which was signed, I suppose, by all the delegates, including the honorable and learned mem- ber for Adelaide, contains a definition of the term “ coasting trade.”
Under the present measure the provision is made to apply only to cases in which a British ship begins and concludes her voyage within the limits of the Commonwealth.
That is the provision as it now stands.
– 1 do not think that that dennes “ coasting trade.”
– A little- later on there is a definition of “ coasting trade.” The delegates go on to say -
The expression “ coasting trade “ is not defined in any of the Acts cited : it may be taken to include the trade of vessels plying merely between the ports of a Possession within territorial limits.
That is the interpretation put on the term “coasting trade” by the late Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, and by the exPrime Minister, the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. That is probably the definition of coasting trade given by Abbott; and, if so, what power have we to apply the clauses in the last Navigation Bill - subject to the exception of the trade between Fremantle and Adelaide - to any vessel that came from beyond? In that case the difference between the right honorable member for Adelaide and the late Ministry was, in my opinion, as the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee; because these words mean practically nothing. The powers claimed by the right honorable member for Adelaide could not, under the Constitution, be enforced either in the Navigation Bill or in this Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I state this for the purpose of inquiry. I think, however, that I am right. We have had about the biggest fight on this question as affecting coastal vessels that has taken place in this Parliament. It led to the resignation of a Minister. Yet it seems to me that our powers are exceedingly limited. and that the definition put upon’ “coasting trade” in the Navigation Bill is not in accordance with the Constitution. Foreign vessels are in a different position. They may be in a better position; because, in section 736 of the Merchant Shipping Act, sub-section c, there is a provision that, while we have power as regards British ships, our powers in regard to foreign ships are subject to treaty rights created prior to 1869. Therefore foreign ships may have a right to come here without being subject to the limitations which we can place upon British ships. I do not think there can be any good in proceeding with “the amendment of which I have given notice, because my amendment is to the effect that we cannot, either in this Bill or in a Navigation Bill, touch ocean-going vessels, whether foreign or British.
Mr. HIGGINS (Northern MelbourneAttorneyGeneral). - I, of course, listened with interest to the honorable and learned member for Angas, because I know that he is an authority upon the Merchant Shipping Acts, and has studied this question with care. I am glad that he has seen his way not to propose an amendment at this stage. I do not think this would be the stage at which to carry out his objects, if he wished to carry them out. I do not intend to do more at the present time than to assure the Committee that, so far as I can see, we need not be apprehensive that, in dealing with the vessels which we are proposing to deal with - vessels which take in cargo at Fremantle and leave cargo in Melbourne, and which take in passengers at Adelaide and leave those passengers in Sydney - we are infringing the Constitution. The honorable and learned member referred me very kindly to a passage in Abbott, page 3.17, but he has not referred to the context of the cases there cited, with regard to the meaning of “coasting trade.”
– I was aware of them.
– I want other honorable’ members to be aware of them. In the first place, in speaking of what is not “ coasting trade, “ there are three instances given by Abbott, but they are not such cases as taking in cargo on the English coast, and leaving that, cargo on the English coast, of taking in passengers on the English coast and leaving those passengers on -the English coast.
– Does the honorable and learned gentleman mean simply filling up?
– Exactly. It is not coasting trade for a vessel to go from Calcutta to London, and after discharging part of her cargo in London;, to discharge the remainder in Liverpool. Nor is it coasting trade to fill up in London partly, then to fill up for. the remainder in Liverpool, and then to come on to Australia. It is also to be remembered that this deals with a particular section of the English Merchant Shipping Act. It has reference to exemptions from compulsory pilotage. The English Merchant Shipping Act says that a vessel shall be exempt from compulsory pilotage in certain cases. One of the cases is that of foreign ships employed in the coasting trade, but not carrying passengers.
– Those cases are under the general definition. The honorable and learned member will find a particular definition on that very page.
– I can only deal with one case at a time. In these cases why are vessels exempt from pilotage when employed in the coasting trade, and not carrying passengers ? Because they are supposed to know the harbors and ways better than ocean-going vessels. That is one of the very strongest reasons. And then the Judges go on to say what is meant by employment in the coasting trade. They state that they will apply that term only to those ships which are exclusively engaged in the trade. And that is the reason for the limitation. But the whole question will have to be discussed at a later stage. I have indicated the opinion of the Government with regard to it.
– When shall we have the new clauses?
– As soon as we can possibly get them ready. There is no doubt that honorable members will have them in their hands for some time before they are dealt with.
– We will give plenty of notice.
– A week’s notice?
– I cannot possibly promise, because this week may bring forth many things.
– Will it bring forth these amendments ? ‘
– I can only say that we shall make every expedition, and give honorable members every opportunity of discussing the clauses ?
– Shall we have them a long time before they come on for discussion?
– Honorable members will have them a long time before they come on, and will have every opportunity for considering them.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat).- I do not propose to detain the Committee, but I also agree that this is a question which will need to be dealt with when we are face to face with the proposals of the Government. But I owe it to my honorable and learned friend the member for Angas, as one of the delegates who signed the document from which he has quoted, to say that
I think that, on a careful perusal of the whole paragraph relating to -the section of the Constitution which we discussed with the Imperial Authorities, he will see that it does not convey the limitation which he has suggested. The whole point is put very briefly and clearly in the memorandum, lt says -
The delegates turn now to the suggested’ amendment of clause 5, by the omission of the part of that clause which prescribes that “ laws of the Commonwealth shall be in force on all British ships, the Queen’s ships of war excepted, whose first port of clearance, and whose port of destination are in the Commonwealth.”’ ft will be observed that this provision is much more restricted than that of section 20 of theFederal Council- Act of, 1885. Under the present measure the provision is made to apply only to cases in which a British ship begins and concludes her voyage within the limits of the Commonwealth.
This is not a question of coasting tradeIt is dealing with clauses applying to British ships trading to and from the Commonwealth.
– It is only over thos? vessels, that the honorable and learned member says, that we have jurisdiction.
– That is under the Constitution. We said further -
But section 20 of the Federal Council Act applied to every British ship which commenced her voyage in any one of the Colonies concerned,, and also to any British ship which concluded her voyage in any one of them. In the former case the Federal Council law would apply to a British ship on the whole of her voyage from. Australia to a port beyond the Commonwealth - in the latter case to a British ship on the whole of her voyage from any point beyond the Commonwealth to Australia.
The expression “ coasting trade “ is not defined in any of the Acts cited ; it may be taken to include the trade of vessels plying merely between the ports of a Possession within territorial limits.
The honorable and learned member will observe that that is not a definition of what it means ; it is only an indication of something it includes. We went on to make the contrast -
But the provision in the Commonwealth Bill, to which exception has been taken, would apply to such ships, on a voyage solely between two> ports of the Commonwealth, even if they drifted or were blown outside the three-mile territorial limit ; the beneficial effect, therefore, would bethat a vessel on such a voyage would not be exposed to the anomaly of being subject to one set of laws at two and three-quarter miles from thecoast, and to another set of laws at three and a. quarter miles from the coast.
– That must be read in the light of the English objections to giving jurisdiction.
– Exactly ; we were replying to the English objections.
– The reference is to oceangoing vessels, and it does not say that we have not the power within the Constitution.
– That is not the point we were arguing. We knew better than to raise a new point which would raise fresh difficulties. We were satisfied to meet their point. We were asking, under the Constitution, for far less than they gave to the old Federal Council.
Mr. -Glynn. - Does the honorable and learned member say that ocean-going vessels are touched by the land and water clause ?
– No ; I think not, except as expressly provided in clause 5. They require to be dealt with by another measure.
– I move-
That the words “ excepting only persons engaged in domestic service,” line 25, be left out.
With the exception, perhaps, of the farm labourer domestic servants are worked for longer hours than any other class of workers I know. If we are agreed that this measure will be of benefit to those employed in various industries, it is manifestly unjust that we should exclude from its operation the women who are employed in domestic service. I quite realize that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to apply the beneficial operation of the Bill to domestic servants engaged in private families; but the persons in whose interests I have chiefly proposed the amendment are the women employed in restaurants, boardinghouses, and hotels.
– What about the men ?
– Of course I think it should apply to the men as well.
– What about wives ?
– Some wives are working for wages.
– Some are working sixteen hours a day.
– We cannot bring them within the scope of the Bill.
– Yes we can.
– I am aware that the genius and ingenuity of the honorable member for North Sydney are such that he could include all in the Bill, except what he did not wish to include in it. The honorable member is aware that his proposition is about as ridiculous as any proposition could be. I can quite understand that the honorable member may be one of those who desire that these domestic ser- 4b vants should be worked from seventy to eighty and even ninety hours a week. :
– The honorable member is justified in. saying that, of course ?
– As justified as is the honorable member in try g to make the amendment I propose ridiculous by suggesting that wives should be included.
– Any one who suggests an amendment is, of course, an enemy to the Bill.
– As we are aware that the honorable member for Lang voted in a certain way in order to kill the Bill, we may be sure that any amendment which he moves will not be for the good of the Bill.
– I voted with honorable members opposite to turn out a Govern-; ment. The honorable member’s party would not be where they are if I had not’ helped them.
– When the Bill was previously before the Parliament- there was a great deal of discussion upon it, and I have no wish now to labour this matter. It would appear that at present time is. being deliberately wasted in connexion with the Bill, and I do not wish to have that charge laid at my door. The people whom I desire to benefit by my amendment have to work from seventy to ninety hours a week. That is inhumane, and it ought not to be allowed to continue. If they are brought under the operation of this Bill they mav be given an opportunity of ob-, taining relief.
– Are they working all that time?
– I have ‘known girls in hotels here to be at work for ninety hours a week.
– They will come under the Bill as” it stands.
– It is a question whether domestic service is an industry. I am not sure that the work of hotels, boarding houses, and restaurants would be considered industrial, and in order to make sure that the workers to whom I referbenefit by the Bill I propose that these words of exception be left out. If they are held to be working in industries it will be no harm to have these words struck out, whilst if they are allowed to remain, the Bill might be interpreted in such a way that they would not get the benefit of it. -
Mi. Hutchison. - Thousands of persons would be excluded by those words.
– If it were not in order to exempt the persons to whom I have referred, I do not think that these words would be in the Bill. As I have said, I do not intend to labour the question, as I feel sure that honorable members have their minds made up in regard to it.
– I have no objection to the amendment, although I do not regard it as a matter of very great importance. In the first place, the Government are advised that all employes of persons engaged in business will come under the Bill without the amendment. In New South Wales, the Arbitration Court, fortified, on appeal, by the Full Court, has decided that cooks and waitresses are not domestic servants within the meaning of the Act ; that is, cooks and waitresses are held to be engaged in an industry.
– Does that apply to waitresses ?
– Yes. The Government are advised that on that decision of the New South Wales Courts, the opinion is held that all servants, men and women, of employers who are engaged in conducting a business, as distinct from private individuals who employ domestic servants for household duties, are within the purview of the New South Wales Act. Consequently, the exemption of domestic servants only affects those who are engaged in private homes. I do not think it is likely that the exemption in line 19, which it is proposed to omit, will prevent other than purely domestic servants from coming within, the operation of the measure. Of course, as a matter of principle, I do not desire to see any large class of the community exempted from the operation of the Bill, always keeping in view the Constitution; and, for that reason, I am willing to accept the decision of the Committee on the amendment. I. do not think it likely, in view of the law as declared in New South Wales, that many cases, if any, will arise which will bring this particular class of person under the operation of the measure, even if the amendment be carried. The Government simply take the same stand they “have taken in regard to other portions of the Bill, as, for instance, in their opposition to the exemption of the agricultural class. The Government think that the operation of the Bill ought to extend as far as the Constitution will allow ; and, in consonance with that view, I have no objection to the amendment, except that I do not think it will have the far-reaching consequences which the honorable member for Kennedy may at first have been inclined to suppose. The New South Wales decision is that all who are employed, though it may be in a domestic capacity, in the carrying on of a business for profit, come within the measure, despite the fact that in the New South Wales Act, as is proposed in this Bill also, domestic servants are exempted. The phraseology is very similar.
Mr. CROUCH (Corio).- I am very glad this amendment has been proposed. A few days ago, observing that no notice of any such amendment had been given, I asked the Prime Minister whether he had any objection to a proposal of the kind. I feel that the objection raised in regard to the noninclusion of waitresses of a special class - an objection raised by interjection by the honorable and learned member for North Sydney - loses its weight when looked at from a just and equitable stand-point. I do not see that it matters whether a waiter or a waitress be employed in an hotel or in a private house at Toorak ; I can see no reason why there should not be equal treatment. I do not see why a groom in private employment should not have the same advantages as are enjoyed by another groom employed at a livery stable. If we start making these distinctions we might as well give up the whole spirit of the Bill, which is that’ every person shall have equal treatment before the law. Why should a gardener who is a domestic servant, not have equal treatment with. the gardener who is employed bv the man who grows produce for market ? Then, again, there is the case of the servant who shaves his employer at home ; and I ask whether he ought not to have the same treatment as that accorded to a barber employed in a shop.
– How are disputes in relation to such people to extend beyond the limits of any one State ?
– It “is contemplated that disputes in relation to waitresses and cooks employed in hotels may extend beyond the limits of any one State, and I do not see why we should not take the same view in regard to waitresses and cooks in private employment. My own opinion is that a good many of the class which come within the sweeping definition of the Bill will never come before the Court, for the simple reason that disputes of the kind will not extend beyond a State. On the other hand, if there is a possibility of such domestic ser- vants being brought within the operation of the Bill, their chance ought not to be extinguished by any excluding words. It has been said that some waitresses work ninety hours a week, but we know that domestic servants, who are not waitresses, have .to work sometimes as long as fifteen and sixteen hours a day. It is such conditions which make domestic service so very unpleasant, and drive many girls to factory life. If domestic servants had reasonable hours, under the direction of. a Court, it would be possible for them to enjoy life, and to devote themselves to domestic duties, for which women are specially fitted.
– Are domestic servants working all the time ?
– I consider that domestic servants are working if they are compelled to remain waiting for orders. Their services are at the disposal of their employers during the whole of the time ; and, as I say, it is such conditions which make domestic service so utterly distasteful to many men and women. I»do not feel that to-night I represent the “ Cook Ladies’ Union,” but I may say that during the election, a body, largely composed of mistresses, called the National Women’s League asked me some question on the point at Geelong, and my answer - which, I may say, gave rise to a certain amount of dissatisfaction - was that, in my opinion, every class of worker, including the domestic worker, ought to come within the operation of a measure of this kind, and that my vote would not be directed to excluding any special class. If any class needs protection, it is the domestic servants. Time after time efforts have been made to organize those engaged in domestic service, and I only trust that in the future their organization may be such as to make it possible for them to take advantage of this Bill. By the vote we give to-night on this clause, we have it in our power to do much good to a large number of unprotected workers.
– We are witnessing another lightning change of front on the part of the Government, who are accepting a provision which a few days ago did not appear in the Bill, and which they did not propose to insert.
– Last session there was an amendment proposed on the same point.
– Then, why does it not appear in the Bill ? The Labour Party are now in the position of power, and as they have dropped a number of public ser- 4 b 2 vants, so, I presume, they are prepared to drop the domestic servants. It has been suggested that the amendment only has reference to waitresses, and so on.
– It has been pointed out that waitresses come under the New South Wales Act, and honorable members who make that assertion are apparently ignorant of the fact that in Victoria the same class come under the Shops and Factories Act. The Victorian Shops and Factories Act of 1896, in sections 39, 40, and 41, makes provision for the employment of waitresses, and so forth, by providing that -
For the purpose of the two last preceding sections of this -Act every waitress employed in a restaurant, coffee palace, hotel, eating-house, or fish and oyster shop, shall be deemed to be a person employed in a shop, and the keeper, proprietor, or occupier of every such restaurant, coffee palace, hotel, eating house, or fish and oyster shop, shall be deemed to be the occupier of a shop within the meaning of the said sections.
It goes on to fix the hours during which persons employed in these shops shall work, showing that protection is given in Victoria as well as in New South Wales. Does the Prime Minister seriously propose that the Commonwealth Court shall have its time taken up in settling disputes between mistresses and maid servants relating to hours of work and rates of pay ? How can there be an organization of employers of domestic servants; or an organization .of domestic servants ? How can the thousands of employers of domestic servants in Australia alia become members of one union? The honorable gentleman knows that it is absolutely impracticable, and that this is a claptrap amendment accepted for claptrap purposes. Then how could a dispute between a mistress and a maid. extend beyond the limits of a State? By no possible means could that happen. It is about time that honorable members stopped loading the Bill with these claptrap provisions. We have had the pleasure of drawing the teeth of the Government in regard to one of these proposals, and I hope that the Committee will present this present fraud from being accepted.
– It is no more a fraud than is the honorable and learned member.
– The amendment would not have been moved had I not earlier pointed -out that the Government, while professing to be ready to apply the provisions of the Bill to all classes ‘of the community, had not so applied them.
– Notice of this amendment was given before the honorable and learned member entered the House; before he was thought of politically.
– Then why did not the Prime Minister include it in his sheaf of amendments? His notices fill six closely-printed pages, and show that every line of the Bill has been scanned.
– The Prime Minister knew that I intended to move the amendment.
– The Prime Minister knew that the Bill was not meant to, and could not, apply to domestic servants, and, therefore, he did not propose to include them. Now, however, to get back upon those who defeated him a few hours ago, he is about to accept this precious amendment. I hope that there will be a sufficient number opposed to it to prevent it from being carried. It must appear to all honorable members to be absolutely unworkable. Is a mistress to be cited for a breach of the measure? Are we going to have under the Commonwealth legislation what we have had in New South Wales, where the secretary of a union has been travelling about the country, acting as a spy, and charging persons who have committed offences of the Act four times the amount of his travelling expenses ? Are we going to have the secretary to the Cook Ladies’ Union calling at suburban houses, and saying, “ Pay my tram fare, and give me something for my day’s expenses, or I shall bring you before the Arbitration Court “ ? The idea of having a common rule for domestic service throughout Australia is the most crazy one that ever entered the brain of man.Fancy having a rule which would apply in Port Darwin and at Hobart !
– The honorable and learned member does not know what a common rule is. The same rate of wages need not apply throughout the Commonwealth.
– I am quite aware of that. Is the time of the Court to be taken up in the consideration of common rules for Port Darwin, Rockhampton, Newcastle, Brisbane, and every city and town in the Commonwealth?
– Why not ?
– These matters are as important as some of those which have come before the High Court.
– If matters so unimportant are to come before the High Court, it is a pity that it was instituted. This kind of legislation will bring the Federal Parliament into contempt and disrepute. Honorable members must . know that these disputes cannot extend beyond the limits of a State.
– Why not?
– If the honorable member can show that they will, he will greatly excel the illustrious individual after whom his constituency was named. I shall have great pleasure in listening to him, or to any other honorable member who attempts to show how a dispute between a mistress and a maid may extend beyond any one State. I trust that the Committee will not accept the amendment. It is a ridiculous one, and its acceptance will make us contemptible. It is, impossible to conceive of a dispute between mistresses and maidservants extending beyond the limits of any one State,.or of an organization of mistresses and maid-servants. Fully 40,000 persons in Melbourne employ domestic servants. How they can organize to put their claims before tl?e Court I cannot conceive. The conditions of domestic service vary in every town in every State, and how can these conflicting conditions be reconciled? There is, of course, a way out. The Court is empowered to refuse to consider a matter which it thinks is not in the public interest, and -no doubt will shelter itself behind the plea that these matters are too trivial to discuss. I hope that the Prime Minister will consent to progress being reported, as the hour is late. I should like to resume my remarks to-morrow, and there are many other honorable members who wish to speak.
– They should be here.
– The honorable and learned member himself has stated his case pretty fully. Perhaps he will give some one else a chance.
– If the Prime Minister will not consent to report progress, I shall continue my remarks, and call for a division. I am not ready to have ‘the gag applied. I hope, however, that he will remember that it has been a busy day, and that the representatives of two of the States at least have travelled long distances to get here.
– If there are others who wish to address themselves to the amendment, I shall be willing to report progress, as this is Tuesday evening ; but it is hardly fair for an honorable and learned member who has occupied a considerable length of time, and apparent])’ exhausted his arguments, to ask for an adjournment.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney). - I support the request for an adjournment, for several reasons. One is that I am sure that there will be a dozen or more speakers on this subject. Another is that honorable members were not aware that the Government intended to accept the amendment. Honorable members should be in possession of that information. If we are forced into continuing the debate now, we may feel compelled to resort ‘to action which would give rise to ill-feeling, and that had better be avoided.
– I rise to enter a protest against the manner in which the business of the House is being interfered with. We come here every day at 2.30 p.m., and are called upon to listen to a lot of doubly-distilled rubbish. We have listened to references to everything beneath the heavens and above Hades from the honorable and learned member for Wannon. He has discussed every subject on earth except the question before the Committee, and I think it is about time that honorable members entered their protest. If the Opposition have the necessary numbers, let them eject the Government from office. I would ask the Prime Minister to stiffen hisback and fight the matter out. Honorable members opposite get up whenever they feel disposed, and talk of everything and nothing, and then at 10.30 p.m. ask for an adjournment. We have been going on for several months now, and not one honorable member has earned his allowance. I have watched the peculiar methods adopted by honorable members, which are unlike those of Christians or heathens, and I hope that a stop will be put to the present mode of procedure.
Mr. HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh).- I hope that the Prime Minister will oppose the adjournment. It may be quite true that several honorable members wish to speak, but it is also true that a number of honorable members are prepared to go on with the business. I have listened to dozens of second-reading speeches in. connexion with the discussion of the Bill in Committee. This objectionable practice has been pursued with the evident intention of wasting time. I trust that the Prime Minister -will be firm, and push on the business as quickly as possible.
Mr. MCDONALD (Kennedy).- I do not offer any objection to the proposed adjourn ment at this stage, because it has been the rule to adjourn about this time on Tuesday evenings. I do, however, take exception to the attitude assumed by honorable members opposite. Some honorable members are only marking time, and the business of the country is being delayed until a certain event takes place.
– That is not the case.
– I have been told byseveral honorable members, on whom I can rely, that they are only marking time, in order to allow the right honorable member for East Sydney to return to Melbourne. It is a scandal and a disgrace that we should be required to come here day after day and waste valuable time simply because one right honorable member is absent earning money in New South Wales. If the attendance list be examined, it will be found that certain honorable members are hardly ever here, and now we are called upon to delay the business on their account.
– Where are some of the Ministers?
– They are not very far away.
– One Minister is in Sydney now.
– There are special reasons for his absence. Some of the honorable members to whom I have referred are appearing in the Courts in Sydney, and attending to their own business instead of looking after public affairs. I quite agree that this is a matter between such honorable members and their constituents, but we are not justified in deliberately wasting our time in order that these gentlemen may be enabled to ‘get back to Melbourne.
– I do not think that any time is being wasted.
– Then some honorable members must have told a deliberate falsehood. I believe that it has been the custom to adjourn on Tuesday evening at 10.30 p.m.
– Then why does the honorable member object to progress being reported now ?
– I am objecting to the methods that are being adopted by some honorable members. The honorable and learned member for Wannon asked for an adjournment, because he thought that he would not have sufficient honorable members to support him if a division were taken to-night. As a matter of fact, the honorable and learned member does not know of one honorable member who desires to speak to-morrow.
– I know of several.
– I question it very much.
– I say that I do know of several.
– I am willing to accept the honorable and learned member’s statement, if he can name three honorable members who desire to speak.
– I can name them. The honorable member for North’ Sydney is one.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney). - I am rather astonished at the display made by an honorable member who, when another Government was on the Treasury benches, always desired to adjourn at the usual hour.
– I always objected!
– I remember on one occasion assisting the honorable member for Kennedy to secure adherence to that practice.
– I remember the occasion of which the honorable member speaks ; but it was then n p.m.
– The honorable member says that he is prepared to accept the word of certain honorable members that the debate is being continued for the convenience of the right honorable member for East Sydney. I can give that statement an absolute denial. There is not a scintilla of truth in it.
– Then we are associated with a very funny lot.
– No such attempt as that indicated has ever been made. In proof of this, I may mention the effort made by honorable members on this side of the Chamber to have a division taken before tea, rather than afterwards, upon the amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for Wannon. It must be remembered that we have been discus-sing, and have decided, a very important matter, and that several others have also been dealt with.
– I think that we have done a very good day’s work.
– I certainly do not consider that there is any cause for the statement made by the honorable member for Kennedy, and I am sure that when he has freed himself from the little bit of warmth due to the fact that the amend ment in question is his own, his judgment: and his usual good nature will lead him to see that he should not have made the attack.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - I was sorry to hear the statement made by the honorable member for Kennedy. We know that he. is sincere in the object which he has in view, but, even if it were earlier than it is, and even if this were not Tuesday evening, honorable members would be justified, in the circumstances, in asking for an adjournment. An amendment has been proposed, and I do not know whether the Government are prepared to accept it or whether they, say that they will not fight strenuously for it.
– We raise no objection to it,
– I do not know whether the Government propose to vote for it?
– I intend to do so.
– Then it is an open question with the Cabinet ?
– I think that we shall all vote for it.
– In these circumstances we may say that there has been an informal acceptance of the amendment, and when a Government unexpectedly agrees to accept a proposal after honorable members have1 left the chamber, under the impression that they would not do so, it is an ordinary rule of debate to allow an adjournment until the following day. I am sure that the honorable member for Kenned)-, althoughhe may have temporarily felt annoyed’ because he thought the manner of asking, for the adjournment did not exactly meet his views-
– Honorable members distinctly told me outside that they were only beating time.
– Those who make that assertion must speak only for themselves. I have taken part in to-day’s debate, and I certainly have not done so simply because of a desire to mark time. I do not see what could be gained by doing so, and I do not think there is any such general feeling on the part of honorable members on this side of the Committee. I must confess that T, wish to have time to think over this proposal . I feel rather in a difficulty in regard to it. No class in the community deserves more sympathy than the domestic servants.; A large number of women, whose husbands’ cannot afford to engage domestic servants
– We must bring them under the Bill.
– I believe that some honorable members would even go that far. A woman who has to attend to her children and her home, and whose husband’s means do not permit her to obtain the services of a domestic, has very often much more arduous duties to perform than has a servant. I sympathize very much with domestic servants”. Their duties are in many ways as’ hard and as unpleasant as are those of almost any class in the community. On the other hand, I am oppressed by the knowledge that to include them in this Bill would be to hold out an utterly illusory hope to them. No doubt other honorable members are in the same position. Their judgment moves them in one way, and their sympathy in another. I think it is reasonable, as the honorable member for Kennedy and the Prime Minister admits, that we should-
– Leave it to the High Court to deal with.
– There is too much talk of leaving this and that to the High Court, but I am glad that the Prime Minister has agreed to report progress, so that we shall be able to resume the consideration of the question to-morrow, when none of us will be angry, no matter which way the vote goes.
– I should not have spoken to-night, but for the remark made by the honorable and learned member for Wannon that this amendment would not have been moved but for the fact that some days ago he drew attention in this Committee to the exemption of domestic servants. I would inform honorable members that I made a note of this exemption some weeks ago, and would have moved for the inclusion of domestic servants had not the honorable member for Kennedy done so. It was only because I desired to correct the statement made by the honor able and learned member for Wannon that I considered it necessary to speak at this stage.
– I desire to say that the Government recognise that it has been usual to adjourn about 10.30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and that my only reason for offering any objection to the request that progress be reported was that I was not satisfied that there was a large number of honorable members, in addition to the honorable and learned member for Wannon, who desired to discuss this question. If an important amendment is suddenly accepted by the Government it is only fair to afford an opportunity to those who have left for their homes to consider the new condition of affairs created by that acceptance. I personally do not regard the amendment as being very important. I have already expressed the opinion that a proposal to bring domestic servants under an Arbitration Court is not likely to be brought into operation under a Federal law. I do not see any probability of such a provision in a Federal law being likely to operate, at least for a long time to come. It was rather because of the reason that has just been expressed by the honorable and learned member for Corinella that we did not make this a Government question. I believe that all the members of the Cabinet are in perfect harmony with the principle underlying the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Kennedy, but it seems a somewhat illusory hope to hold out to a number of servant girls that under the Constitution Federal machinery can be brought to their assistance.
– Then why participate in a sham?
– It may not be a sham. Our impressions may be wrong, but when the honorable member for Echuca says that this is a sham I do riot think he is doing justice to those who differ from him.
– The honorable member for Echuca is a sham.
– It is not in order for the honorable member to say that an honorable member is a sham, and I call upon him to withdraw the remark.
– I do not know whether I will withdraw it ; he is nothing more than a sham. No. I will not withdraw it.
– Order. I must ask the honorable member to recognise his duty to the Chair, and to withdraw the . remark. It was a reflection on the honorable member for Echuca.
– I shall not withdraw it.
– I ask the honorable member once more if he is prepared to withdraw the remark.
– Very well, I will withdraw it.
– I was about to say that the honorable member for Echuca is hardly justified in suggesting that one is participating in a sham.
– But the honorable gentle- ‘ man himself admits that it is a sham.
– No ; I say that I do not think it likely that the machinery of the
Court will be applied to domestic servants ; but that is not to say that it is impossible. I hold that it is quite possible to have an organization of domestic servants formed throughout the Commonwealth, and possibly brought under this measure. I do not think that it is probable, but it is certainly possible. As a matter of principle, therefore, I have no objection to the amendment, neither, so far as I am aware, has any member of the Cabinet. The point at issue, now, is the question of whether progress should be reported. On the whole, ‘we have not done badly to-day. We have discussed a large number of important matters, and I quite believe that there is no organized attempt to delay the passing of the Bill. The debate, so far, has been mostly due to a desire to elucidate the bearing of a number of different points which must inevitably crop up, more especially when, as in our case, we have a written Constitution governing our actions. I do not complain of the progress that has been made to day, although I should like the headway to be a little more rapid. I hope that when we next resume the consideration of this Bill, we shall be able to make a little better progress, and that there will be no undue delay.
Motion (by Mr. Watson) proposed - That the House do now adjourn. Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - I wish to ask the Prime Minister if he has been able to see his way. to deal with the matter of the clothing allowances for the Defence Forces, about which I asked a question the other evening?
.After the honorable and learned member made his representation last- week, I asked the Minister of Defence to look into the matter, and advise me as to how it stood. I am informed by him that -
The . Financial and Allowance Regulations, paragraph 89, provides as a safeguard that certain Clothing and Corps Contingent Allowance “ will, subject to provision being made by Parliament,” be credited to Officers Commanding. The practice of issuing such allowance has varied in the different States, but where Commanding Officers have required advances to enable them to tide over financial difficulties, such advances have been frequently made when funds have been available. As these amounts are really due “ at the ‘commencement of the financial year,” pro- vision could be made in the first Supply Bill pre sented to Parliament for payment of same to those Corps who require them, and thus both maintain the Regulation (which is advisable), and to enable Commanding Officers to pay cash for their supplies.
My honorable colleague supplied me with a statement of the total sum paid for clothing during 1903-4, and the sum proposed in the Estimates for 1904-5. The total sum for the different States and Thursday Island comes to .£46,765 for this year, and practically a similar amount is proposed for next year. I do not see any difficulty in the way of making the- allowance available earlier than the voting of the Estimates. It is worthy of the attention of the Government and the House whether it would not be possible to make some better arrangement in regard to works and buildings, and I dare say that the right honorable member for Swan has recognised its necessity. In regard to the matter which the honorable and learned member for Corinella has brought up, if we have to wait until the Estimates have been passed before we can attempt to make use of the money voted, it will mean that very little time will then be available in which to arrange contracts and spend the money that is voted for the whole year. In the same way with military and other works and buildings, the Estimates are passed, perhaps, four months after the financial year has begun, with the result that there is only a period of eight months in which to make all the arrangements for the spending of a vast sum. It means that we have to increase the staff, perhaps to abnormal strength, or to have at the end of the year a large unexpended balance, which has to be re-voted year after year. It is worth while to consider whether, in the future, it would not be wise to have a special estimate for works, which might be brought up and be authorized for operating on at an earlier period of the financial year.
– The. same difficulty has been experienced in all the States.
– It is a difficulty which 1 always noticed in the Parliament of New South Wales. But in our case it is accentuated by the cash system under which the expenditure of the vote ceases immediately the financial year ends. If we could carry on the expenditure out of a vote already passed for, say, several months of the financial year, there would not be much difficulty.
– That could easily be done by an Act.
– That is objectionable from another point of view, because we should never know what the actual expenditure in the year would be. I th’ink we might consider for action at a later period th; possibility of making some provision for works that take a long time to carry out at a date much earlier than the passing of the Estimates. I see no difficulty, however, in making arrangements to meet the case suggested by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. And I do not* believe that there will be much objection on the part of the House to vote in a Supply Bill the sum which is usually voted for the purpose of clothing, and which this year it is desirable should be made available at an earlier period, owing to the fact that new uniforms are being adopted throughout the Forces. It will mean no greater expenditure than has previously been incurred in this relation. But to have it available at an early date will be, I have no doubt, a great advantage to the commanding officers. I hope that we shall be able to make some arrangement to meet the position put forward by the honorable and learned member.
Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 10.57 P m-
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 June 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1904/19040607_reps_2_19/>.