House of Representatives
24 October 1911

4th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Assent to the following Bills reported -

Supply Bill (No. 3).

Statutory Declarations Bill.

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Presentation of Address-in-Reply.


- His Excellency the Governor-General will forthwith in the Library receive the Address-in-Reply agreed to by this House. I shall be pleased if the mover and seconder, with as many other members as can conveniently come, will accompany me while I present it.

Mr. Speaker and honorable members proceeded to the Library to present the Address-in-Reply, and, being returned’,


– I have to report that, accompanied by honorable members, I have waited upon His Excellency the GovernorGeneral,, and presented to him the Address- in-Reply to His Excellency’s Speech at the opening of Parliament agreed to by this House on the 20th ultimo, and that His Excellency was pleased to make the following reply : -

I beg to thank the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth Parliament tor the Address which they have been good enough to present to me in reply to the Speech with which opened Parliament.

I have been glad to receive the assurance of your loyalty to His Majesty the King. i trust that your deliberations upon measures submitted to you will tend to promote the prosperity and good government of this Commonwealth.

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Motion (by Mr. Deakin) by leave, agreed to -

That leave of absence for one fortnight be given, on account of urgent private business, to the honorable member for Illawarra.

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AttorneyGeneral · West Sydney · ALP

– I have to announce that His Excellency the Governor-General has been graciously pleased to appoint Mr. E. A. Roberts, the honorable member for Adelaide, Honorary Minister.

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– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence if he noticed in the Sydney press on Saturday the statement regarding the small arms factory at Lithgow, to the effect that the power plant manufactured at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard has proved to be so defective that it has been impossible to start any of the machines? Is that statement true, and, if -it is true, who is responsible for the defective machinery in question ?

Minister for Home Affairs · DARWIN, TASMANIA · ALP

– The subject raised by the honorable member comes within the Department of Home Affairs, and has been thoroughly investigated by Colonel Owen. Mr. Cutler, the manager of the’ Government Dockyard in Sydney, is going to Lithgow to put the machines into proper shape this week.


– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence if he will make a statement to the House concerning the whole question of the delay in starting the factory, and so put at rest all these questions that are from 1730 Sugar Industry : [REPRESENTATIVES.] Royal Commission. . time to time addressed to him. Such a statement would help us to understand who is to blame and who is not.

Minister (without portfolio) · ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– The attention of the Minister of Defence will be drawn to the matter, and I shall ask him to submit a statement to be communicated to this House.

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– I desire to ask. the Prime Minister why it is that copies of the Commonwealth Bank Bill have been distributed to members on one side of the (House, and thus allowed to get into general circulation, and not to members on the other ?


– No Commonwealth Bank Bill has yet been circulated. There is a draft Bill which has been handed to a number of members of my own party, and I regret to say that perhaps too many of them have been given out.


– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether the copies given to members of his own party were circulated with a view to the party arriving at a corporate decision upon the measure before it became anything more than a draft, or, if not, why any member of the House should be put in a better position than any other member with regard to knowledge of Ministerial intentions ? “


– When the honorable member for Wentworth has had a little more experience he will know that all parties circulate Bills privately for private Opinions before they are laid on the table of the House.

Mr Kelly:

– That is not so in this or any other party with which I have been connected. The statement is not correct.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– It is not responsible government anyhow.


– The honorable member for Parramatta’s experience of responsible government is so meagre that he is no authority.


– Will the ‘ Prime Minister accept suggestions from honorable members on this side as to the drafting of the Bill, seeing that they are just as anxious to make the Bill a success as are honorable members opposite?


– Yes.

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– I understand the Colonial Sugar Refining Comparty has made application to be represented by counsel at the meetings of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the sugarindustry. In the event of permission being granted to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company to appear by counsel, I desire to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether the’ Government will enable other parties, who may not be in a position to find the funds to be represented at the meetings of the Commission, to be so represented. I desire to say, in explanation, that I understand there are five interests to be considered by the Commission - the planters, the workers, the millers, the refiners, and the general public or consumers.

Minister for Trade and Customs · YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP

– No application has been received by the Customs Department from’ the Colonial Sugar Refining Company to be represented on the Commission, but I have heard that it is the company’s intention to apply for permission to be represented at the inquiry. That is a matter for the Commission and not for the Government or the Department, and when I received a telegram yesterday on the subject, I advised the people concerned that they had better make their representations direct to the Commission.


– I desire to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether he is aware that Mr. Anderson, the only member of the Sugar Commission, I think, with the exception of the President, who was said to be free from party influences–


– Order ! The honorable member is now going beyond the purport of a Question.


– I desire to know whether the Minister is aware that Mr. McAnderson has stated in an interview with the Sydney press, published, I think, on Saturday morning, that he has long been, and is well known amongst his personal friends to be, a strong adherent of the Labour party ?


– If the honorable member will put his question upon the noticepaper I shall be pleased to furnish him with an answer.


– It is a farce; a packed jury. It is a shame and a scandal.


– I must remind the honorable member that his conduct is not in keeping with the dignity of this House. Under the circumstances the Royal Commission to which he has referred stands in

*Sugar Industry :* [24 October, 191 1.] *Royal Commission.* 1731 exactly the same position in relation to Parliament as does one of the Courts when engaged in hearing a case. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- You very properly point out, **Mr. Speaker,** that my observation was not in keeping with the dignity of this House. Neither are the appointment of this Sugar Commission and its *personnel* in keeping with the pronouncements of the Government. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member is now making his offence worse. I ask him to apologize to the House for having done so. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I do not quite gather what my offence was.; but if you say, sir, that I must apologize to the House, of course I shall obey your ruling. I apologize to the House for having expressed an opinion which I believe to be well grounded. If I am not permitted to say that-- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member is only aggravating his offence. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- I wish to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs another question concerning the Commission appointed to inquire into the sugar industry. Is it not a fact that **Mr. Crawford,** a member of the Commission, was a candidate at the last election in opposition to a candidate put forward by the Labour party? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I believe so. {: #subdebate-6-0-s4 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I should like to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether he does not consider that the character of **Mr. Crawford's** opinions was at least balanced by those expressed by **Mr. Hinchcliffe?** {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I believe the Commission to be an excellent one. Mr.KELLY. - I should like to ask you, **Mr. Speaker,** a question, without notice. I wish to know whether it is a breach of the rules of this House to refer to any statement made by any member of a Royal Commission subsequent to his appointment. Perhaps I may make my meaning clear by reminding you that the question which I put to the Minister of Trade and Customs bore upon a statement made by **Mr. McAnderson** since his appointment as a member of the Royal Commission. I always understood that it was not a breach of the rules of this House for an honorable member to refer to a statement made by a member of a Royal Commission under such circumstances. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I understood that the honorable member a few minutes ago was making certain remarks the effect of which was to make it appear -I may have been wrong - that the Royal Commission referred to had been appointed in a way that was not creditable to the Government or to any one else connected with it. It was under those circumstances that I called the honorable member to order. If he chooses to give notice of a question to me such as he has indicated, I shall be pleased to look into the matter and to give an answer at a later stage. At thepresent time I am not in a position to give a direct answer. It appeared to me, however, that a Royal Commission, situated as is the Commission to which reference has been made, stands in very much the same position as if it were a court of law dealing with a case. I trust that honorable members will not say anything derogatory to any Commission appointed by this House - or rather by the Government - except by way of a specific motion. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- On a matter of privilege I desire to make a remark upon your statement, **Mr. Speaker,** that the Royal Commission was appointed by this House. That statement was not, I think, correct. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I did say so, but I corrected myself at once. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I have yet to learn that we cannot discuss the action of any Government. It is a surprise to me to learn that a Government is not subject to criticism for any of its actions in a Parliament conducted under a system of responsible government. Otherwise, how is a Government to be brought to book ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Does the honorable member intend to move that my ruling be disagreed with? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- No, I do not wish to do that. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Then, I cannot allow debate to take place. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- What I wish to say is this-- {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- When an honorable member rises to deal with a matter of privilege, he must conclude with a motion; is it not so? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I think that this is a matter of privilege affecting the whole House. A statement was made by the honorable member for Wentworth, the purport of which was that a member of the Sugar Commission had made a certain statement since his appointment. That, I take it, was a statement to which the honorable member was perfectly within his rights in directing the attention of the Government. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I should like to ask you a question, **Mr. Speaker,** in reference to your ruling. I ask the question merely for the sake of elucidation. Your statement was that a Royal Commission stands in the same position as a judicial authority. I should like to ask you whether that consideration would not be affected by the nature of the Royal Commission's commission?. I do not know of anything which enables us to say that this Royal Commission can be regarded as an entirely judicial body. Would it not then be competent for an honorable member, without submitting a special motion, and so taking up the time of the House, to point out, and prove from the nature of the Commission of Inquiry, that it is by no means a Commission of an impartial character? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- If an. honorable member desires to say anything concerning the composition of a Royal Commission, he must give notice of a specific motion ; otherwise, I shall not allow any discussion to take place. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr Higgs: -- Was the honorable member for Wentworth in order a few minutes ago, sir, in referring to the appointment of the Royal Commission as a scandal? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I reminded the honorable member that he should not speak of the Commission in that way, and he apologized for having done so. {: .page-start } page 1732 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### AUSTRALIAN MEAT INSPECTION {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON:
BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND -- Has the Minister of Trade and Customs noticed the statement in the press that further serious complaints are being received in. the Commonwealth Government Agency in London against the Australian meat inspection system? What action does he propose to take? {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
ALP -- I have noticed the statements in the press, and trust that a number of them are unfounded. Action is being taken to. ascertain the truth of them, and, if possible, to tighten the method of inspection now in operation. {: .page-start } page 1732 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### PAYMENT OF LORD DUDLEY'S SALARY {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA -- I desire to ask the Prime Minister if Lord Dudley, while Governor-General of Australia, drew the salary that was allowed to him? {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
ALP -- The amount was duly passed in the Estimates, and acknowledged as received by the Governor-General. {: .page-start } page 1732 {:#debate-9} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-9-0} #### VICTORIAN CADETS IN BELGIUM {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA -- I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence a question without notice. Has the Minister read a paragraph appearing in the press to the effect that - >Twenty-four Victorian cadets, under the command of Captain Rushall, have been visiting Belgium to study that country's armaments, and the Belgium War Office have made special arrangements with the cadets and their leader to obtain the fullest information in respect to manufacture of cannon and warships, also information about military schools and fortifications; and that Australian Defence is expected to reap some fruit from this excursion? I wish to know under what conditions these cadets left Australia, and whether the treatment of them by the Defence Department before they left Australia and after arriving in Great Britain was any different from that accorded to the New South Wales contingent under **Major Wynne?** Have any complaints from the officer in charge of the Victorian contingent been received by the Defence Department? {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS:
ALP -- The honorable member for Maribyrnong was good enough to intimate to me that he intended to put these questions, and I communicated with? the Minister- of Defence, who has furnished the following replies : - {: type="a" start="i"} 0. Yes. 1. Under the same conditions as applied to the contingent of cadets sent from New South Wales. 3- No. {: .page-start } page 1732 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### VICTORIA BARRACKS, MELBOURNE {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS:
ALP -- On the 17th inst. the honorable member for Corio asked a question relating to the overcrowding of the Victoria Barracks, Melbourne. The following answer has been furnished by the Minister of Defence : - >The number of men of the R.A.G.A. and R.A.F.A. living in Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, is as follows : - * Military College : Cadels' Fares :* [24 October, 1911.] *Rifle Range, Perth.* 1733 {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When men are brought from Queenscliff for guards of honour they are accommodated in the School of Instruction, proper bedding being provided for them, therefore their presence does not affect the accommodation in barracks proper. 1. No report has been received from the medical authorities as to the overcrowding of barracks with the present strength. 2. The Department of Home Affairs are in negotiation with a view to obtaining the present police quarters and hospital. 3. Plans have been approved for the building of the depot for the Field Artillery Battery at Maribyrnong, and the work will be proceeded with forthwith. 4. The overcrowding referred to by **Mr. Ozanne** in his letter of the 24th July last was immediately obviated, as stated in paragraph1. {: .page-start } page 1733 {:#debate-11} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-11-0} #### MILTTARY COLLEGE : CADETS' FARES: RIFLE RANGE, PERTH {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS:
ALP -- On the 18th inst, the honorable member for Herbert asked some questions relating to entry to the Military College. The Minister of Defence has furnished the following reply : - In regard to a question asked by the honorable member for Herbert relative to the method of entry to the Royal Military College of Australia, I desire to point out that the paragraph on the subject he quoted from the report on the first entrance examination is a quotation from Lord Kitchener's memorandum on the Defence of Australia, and it does not indicate the method which has been adopted by the Department. If the honorable member will read the paragraph immediately following that which he quoted he will see that it was decided to abandon the method proposed by Lord Kitchener, and to adopt the principle of a competitive examination, open without restriction to all candidates within the prescribed ages. {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-L1R} ##### Mr AGAR WYNNE:
BALACLAVA, VICTORIA asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Minister of Defence called in the pass books of the compulsory cadets, thereby causing the boys to walk to drill or pay their own railway fares? 1. Does the Minister know that boys have to walk from St. Kilda to Port Melbourne, also that naval cadets are compelled to walk from the suburbs to Williamstown or pay their own train fares? 2. Does the Minister think it is fair that these boys, in addition to losing their Saturday halfholiday, should be further penalized by having to pay their own fares? {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Pass books issued to naval cadets in the Melbourne Area have been recalled as they may have been issued without authority. 1. The extreme distance of the furthest point in St. Kilda portion of training area from the Port Melbourne drill-room is 2 miles to the west, 2½ miles to the north, and3½ miles to the east. It is not known what suburbs are referred to in the second part of the question as the naval training area is only about 7 miles by 4 miles around Williamstown. The Minister is aware that boys have to walk or pay their own fares, but in view of the limited distance shown above, no hardship is entailed thereby. Naval cadets from St. Kilda do not now attend at Williamstown. 2. The Parliament has decided that boys shall be called upon to give up a certain time to naval or military training. The loss of the Saturday afternoon is not, therefore, a question for the Minister. As regards payment of fares, if any Naval Cadet at a distance from the drill-halls desires, he can be transferred to the military training centre near his home, as sufficient numbers of Naval Cadets can be obtained within easy walking distance of the drill-halls at Williamstown and Port Melbourne. {: .speaker-L1R} ##### Mr Agar Wynne: -- They cannot go from St. Kilda to Williamstown without" paying their fare. {: #subdebate-11-0-s2 .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr FOWLER:
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Minister of Home Affairs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the Commonwealth authorities have acquired, or taken steps to acquire, compulsorily, three hundred and fifty acres of Perth endowment lands for purposes of a rifle range ? 1. Is the Minister aware that in carrying out this object a large area of land at Ocean Beach, where it is proposed to develop a seaside township, will be made unsafe for settlement and rendered practically useless? 2. Have the Government any alternative scheme, or will they cause further inquiries to be made to secure a rifle range not open to this objection? {: #subdebate-11-0-s3 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr KING O'MALLEY:
ALP -- The answersto the honorable member's questions are as follow : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes, the land has been compulsorily acquired, with the concurrence of the State Government. 1. It is proposed that the firing shall be out to sea, and as the area acquired embraces an ample danger zone it is not seen how any lands without that area can be prejudicially affected. 2. The matter has been settled after full inquiry, and the land acquired. {: .page-start } page 1733 {:#debate-12} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-12-0} #### COMMERCE ACT Deleterious Foods : Apple Taint in Butter. {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Customs Department been enabled to prevent the importation of deleterious foods for infants, &c, into Australia under the provisions of the Commerce Act? 1. Can suchharmful foods be manufactured within the Commonwealth of Australia? 2. Is it true that importers of a common article of consumption, on being informed that they would have to alter their statements contained on the labels and wrappers, threatened to bring 1734 *Conciliation and* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Arbitration Bill.* the article into the Commonwealth without the labels and have the objectionable labels printed in Australia ? {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. In forty-eight cases the Department has objected to the importation of foods con-' taining ingredients deleterious to infants unless such foods have been marked in a prominent manner as " not suitable for children " under a specified age which is regulated by the class or properties of the food. In the case of many infants' foods formerly reported with advertisements containing misleading and extravagant claims, such advertisements have been prohibited admission. In numerous cases infants' powders, soothing syrups, &c, have been found to contain drugs, more or less injurious, although advertised as containing " nothing injurious to a tender babe," &c. Where preparations containing injurious drugs, or where statements are false, importation has been prohibited. In cases, however, where the contained drugs are not injurious, unless taken in excess, prohibition has not been enforced, but manufacturers have been compelled to revise the advertisements and mark prominently the percentage of deleterious drugs contained, or to exclude such drugs from their preparations. 1. In four of the States laws are in force dealing with the manufacture and sale of infant foods (in one of these States, however, only milk foods are dealt with). In one State no law is enforced dealing with infants foods, while in the sixth, regulations will be in operation next year. So far as is known, none of the States had laws dealing with the manufacture and sale of medicines bearing extravagant claims, and a number of such medicines are manufactured and advertised with claims so misleading and extravagant that they would be prohibited if entered for importation. 2. In cases in which the Department objects to misleading statements on wrappers, labels, &c, importers seldom advise the Department when they purpose having the same printed in Australia; but in numerous cases in which objections to extravagance and misleading advertisements have been taken by the Department the same have been removed from medicines, &c, imported, but pamphlets and advertisements with . similar objectionable wording have been printed in the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-12-0-s2 .speaker-KRN} ##### Mr SINCLAIR:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether the various Agents-General in London have approached the Commonwealth Government with a view *to* taking action to protect shippers of butter to London from loss through apple taint during the apple season? 1. If so, what steps have been taken to give effect to the request? {: #subdebate-12-0-s3 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. No action has been taken. {: type="A" start="I"} 0. may add that if we get information we shall be very glad to assist in any way. {: .page-start } page 1734 {:#debate-13} ### PAPER **Mr. THOMAS** laid upon the table the following paper : - {:#subdebate-13-0} #### Papua - Ordinances of 191 1 - Aliens {:#subdebate-13-1} #### Arms, Liquor, and Opium Prohibition {: .page-start } page 1734 {:#debate-14} ### CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION BILL {:#subdebate-14-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 20th October *(vide* page 1728), on motion by **Mr. Hughes** - >That this Bill be now read a second time. Upon which **Mr. Deakin** had moved - >That all the words after the word "That" be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - " no measure the effect of which will be to concentrate in any one person the control of all the conditions of carrying on all the industries of this continent can be other than impracticable and fraught with danger to the whole community." {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE:
Dalley .- May I, by way of introduction, pay deference to the utterances of the honorable member for Darling Downs and the honorable member for Flinders? We cannot but appreciate the lucidity, the" logic, and the keen and careful attention which these honorable members do, from time to time, give to various propositions which are submitted to the House. I pay my deference to them for the very lucid explanation which they gave from their standpoint of this measure, though at the same time I feel myself in opposition to the main points of their contention. I have no legal knowledge, and therefore I speak subject to the professional opinions of legal members on the Opposition side and of the Attorney -General , and such other legal gentlemen as we have on this side. There was one question put by the honorable member for Flinders, and the honorable member for Darling Downs, which appeals to me in a. most pronounced way, and I confess that I cannot see my way out of the difficulty, and that is in con-' nexion with the additional powers, which are sought for the Arbitration Court. It is sought by amendment to provide that no award or order of the Court shall be challenged, appealed against, reviewed, quashed, called inquestion, or be subject to prohibition or mandamus in any Court on any account whatever. The powerto review, quash, and so forth, such orders is undoubtedly given by section 73 of the Constitution. While a High Court is established as an appellate Court its powers are limited, and cannot be exercised in the way of reviewing or quashing any decision in connexion with arbitration. On the other hand, section 75 of the Constitution, which, I understand, deals with the original jurisdiction of the High Court, provides tha' the power of prohibition, mandamus, or injunction does lie in the Court ; and I fail to see how by the mere addition of the words proposed we can go beyond the limitation expressed in the Constitution itself. If it can be shown that this may be done, I shall be very pleased ; and, therefore, though much against my own judgment, I take it that the Attorney-General, in conjunction with the draftsman, can see a way which is not apparent to me as a layman. Nevertheless, I view the .situation with much alarm, and shall be agreeably surprised if they get over the difficulty. Further, I fail, to see how the honorable member for Darling Downs, the honorable member for Flinders, and many others, can vote for the amendment of the honorable member for Ballarat, which is distinctly at variance with the contentions of those gentlemen. The amendment of the honorable member for Ballarat declares that no amendment of the Act, the effect of which would be to concentrate in any one person the control of all the conditions of carrying on all the industries on the continent can be other than impracticable and fraught with danger to the whole community. The contention of these honorable gentlemen is that the power sought does not, and cannot, exist constitutionally, and, therefore, cannot be exercised by Parliament. If that be true, then the honorable members I have named cannot vote for the amendment. It has been said, however, that there is a possibility that such power may lie in the administration - that the interpretation placed on the clause by the Opposition may not be correct - and that it is possible by the means proposed to attain what we desire. It is further contended that to place this power in the hands of the Judge of the Arbitration Court is wrong. We are asked what will be the result if we invest the Judge with this enormous power ; and there is no doubt that honorable members opposite have made much of this point. It is contended that the Judge of the Arbitration Court is subsidiary to the High Court, -or should be, and that, if he be invested, with these powers, he .will be no longer subsidiary-; and the High Court, having no longer any control over him, he will become a Judge supreme in himself, with a power and authority not only judicial, but legislative - that, by his interpretation of the Act, he will decide for himself what the legislation shall be. I admit that there is a great deal of force in the contention; and it is for that very reason I am going to oppose the amendment of the honorable member for Ballarat. I absolutely fail to see how, under any aspect of Federation, it is possible to prevent some legislative power lying with those who have the final determination of the interpretation of the Act.. A day or two ago, when the honorable member for Flinders was speaking, I interjected that in the High Court the final determination was by the judgment of one man; and the only retort from the learned gentleman was that, while we are a democratic community, questions must be decided by majority rule. I fail to see, in connexion with such an issue as that with which we are now dealing, that any greater benefit is to be obtained by leaving the. legislative power in a Federal Court of five Judges, rather than in an Arbitration Court with one Judge. Ever since the Constitution was established, and an appellate High Court has been existent, I have looked with amazement, and sometimes with amusement, at the differences that arise in reference to decisions of the Supreme Courts of the various States. I do not know that the Judges of the High Court are intellectually superior to the Judges of the State Supreme Courts. They may be; but that is a matter no one can determine. We have the fact that, time and again, decisions of Supreme Courts, which, in the absence of a High Court, would have expressed the laws of the States, have been upset, not by unanimous determinations, or the common recognition of what the State law is, but oy a determination in which, in many cases, two Judges were on one side, and three, by chance, on the other. Without disrespect to the High Court, I cannot refrain from commenting on the fact that there is invariably seen, more especially in arbitration matters, Judges like **Mr. Justice** Higgins and **Mr. Justice** Connor, or, if not the latter, certainly **Mr. Justice** Isaacs on one side. This seems to me to mark the trend of feeling of those gentlemen - it seems to me not a mere judicial determination, but, - shall I say - law tempered by feelings, emotions,, and tendencies which develop in connexion with their social thought'. 1736 *Conciliation and* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Arbitration Bill.* {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- Their humanity. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- I do not wish to question the humanity of any Judge, or, indeed, of any other individual in this community. I believe we are all susceptible to those humane feelings and considerations that make for the benefit of humanity. Nevertheless, this is certainly an aspect of the power of the High Court that has appealed to me in the most pronounced maimer. It has, however, been opposed by many honorable members, who have asserted that the power of interpretation is not the power of legislation. I felt myself on such safe ground that I thought I could not do better than appeal to an authority of some standing ; and I do not think any one will question the status of the writer whom I propose now to quote. **Mr. Henry** Sidgwick, in the *Elements of Politics* - I am, perhaps, drawing the matter a little, but I do not think unjustly, from its context - writes - >If the Judges are to recognise as valid the precedents of previous decisions, so that a cer tain amount of legislation under the guise of interpretation is inevitable. . . . The point that I wish to make, and a point which honorable members opposite repudiate, is that this power of one individual, whether it be that of a Judge of the Arbitration Court, whose decisions cannot be quashed or interfered with by the High Court, or that embodied in the High Court, and expressed there finally by a majority decision, is unquestionably, by the terms of interpretation, a power of legislation vested in that Court. That is a power that we do not desire. I fail to see how, in the Federal jurisdiction, we can, get rid of it; but if it is possible to get rid of it, then, I for one, am prepared to do my utmost inthis House to do so, or to strive at least to modify it. I have here a more lengthy passage from a chapter in the same work, dealing with " Federal and other composite States," which I feel justified in quoting - >But it is evident that the position of the judiciary relatively to either central or local legislature will be materially different from that which we have so far contemplated, if we assume the former - The judicial power - to have the duty of sitting in judgment on the legality of the acts of the latter : That is the legislative power - and the more stability is given to the constitution by making the process of changing it difficult, the greater becomes the importance of this judicial function of interpreting its clauses. In order that this function may be well performed, the supreme court of justice must be made adequately independent of both central and local legislatures, no less than of the executive governments : I emphasize this point - and it is a delicate problem to find conditions of appointment and tenure that will secure this independence, without, at the same time, giving the supreme court too predominant a power. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Still, that contemplates the full Supreme Court. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- I think that the word " supreme " in this relationship merely implies that the Court is the supreme, and therefore the 'highest, Court of the community. It seems to me that the difficulties suggested by honorable members opposite are not tenable. As a matter of fact, whether you place your power in the hands of a Judge who shall exercise it for industrial legislation, or whether you place it in the High Court, finally, it amounts to this : that you vest in the Court a power, not only judicial, but legislative. And the question is whether that legislative power should rest in the hands of the individual who may be termed the Judge in Arbitration, or by a majority decision, in the hands of some individual who may be known as a Justice of the High Court. There is yet another aspect with which I wish to deal, and I am glad that the honorable member for Darling Downs is present. In my opening remarks, I said that I much appreciated the position he took up. The honorable member declarecd that it was difficult, nay, almost impossible, for a whole body of employers to come together and deal collectively with matters of industrial legislation. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- I spoke of the difficulty of the employers in different industries being brought together in the one case. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- Undoubtedly. That difficulty arises in his mind, I take it, in relation to the proposed amendment of the definition of the word " industry " in the principal Act. Paragraph *a* of clause 3 in which " industry " is defined, is practically in the terms of the Act itself, but we add to the definition - {: type="a" start="b"} 0. any calling, service, employment, handiraft, or industrial occupation or avocation of employes, on land or water; and 1. a branch of an industry and a groupof industries. ., It is in regard to this proposed' amendment of the principal Act that the honorable member evidently finds himself" in some difficulty. Seemingly he cannot understand how employers could by any possibility come together and deal in a collective fashion with men, shall we say, in trade unions or craft unions. It is, therefore, contended by the Opposition that the craft unions and the trade unions must be split up, and that the relationship of the employ^ must be that of employe1 to employer in what they are pleased to term an " industry " under the old definition - a definition which, whilst satisfactory to the employers, has been most unsatisfactory to trade unionists and craftsmen. But what is the actual position? I received only to-day a typewritten letter, which shows that the employers of the Commonwealth have no difficulty in coming together. Apparently, there is no difficulty of association on their part, since this letter comes from an association phrased as " The Central Council of the Employers of Australia." This is not a council of employers in certain defined industries who, coming together, have segregated themselves from employers in other industries. Not at all. That is not the position as expressed in this letter. It is the Central Council of the Employers of Australia, and their address is given as " Bourke-street, Melbourne." {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Is it *"66* Bourke-street, Melbourne " ? {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- I thought it might have come from a man named Walpole. The communication deals with this Bill. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- Who is Walpole? {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- He is somewhat notorious. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- He is the man who said that marriage was a luxury for the worker. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- From what document is the honorable member for Dalley quoting? {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- From a circular which was sent to my room to-day. It shows that the difficulties sought to be built up by the Opposition are on a purely legal basis. Such difficulties as have been suggested do not actually exist when the employers of labour think it necessary to come together. As a matter of fact this council is representative of the employers of Australia, and not of a body of employers confined to certain industries. What is our attitude? We are precisely a body of employes in Australia. We have been, and we are going to be, and there is no legislation on the part of this Parliament that would prevent us from holding that position. I say deliberately that if this Bill was resolved in the terms of the amendment, or in the terms proposed by the honorable member for Cook, I would unhesitatingly go out tomorrow and urge my fellow-workmen to" flout the decision of this House, to flout" this measure. I would say deliberately to them, "Stand by your trade unionism; stand by that which you have achieved by your own association - by your own efforts extending over almost two centuries - and by that which you have found most effective in enabling you to take up a collective attitude in relation to your' employers, and which will give you the best results." {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- That is the honorable member for Hunter's view - that that is better than arbitration. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- I am pleased to have support for the attitude which I am taking, which I consider justifiable. What is the position to-day? Do not the employes, as they have done for years, associate themselves on the basis, not of industries, but of crafts? What element of cohesion would there be in any other arrangement? How could you have an association of the employes in a jam factory, where some men are connected with the driving and repairing of machinery, and others engaged in the peeling, cleaning, or boiling of fruit? Members of the Opposition ask for the entire reconstruction of trade unionism. How came we to have industrial legislation? Did it not result from the association of craftsmen, not from the association of employes in particular industries? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The honorable member for Cook disposed of that argument. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- He did not, and he stands alone on this side. Industrial legislation is the result of unionism on the craft basis. Engineers must associate with engineers, plumbers with plumbers, carpenters with carpenters, and so on. When an engineer is called upon for his services, he says, " My rate of wages is such and such ; my overtime rate is so much ; my working hours are so long; the conditions of my employment are as specified." He does not vary his demands according to his employment by a draper, a jam maker, or some other person. These living truths are better worth studying than legal subtleties. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- The honorable member's statement of the facts is partial* The associations of engineers do not embrace all engineers. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- The associations embrace 50 per cent, of the engineers of Australia. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- The Bill applies to all engineers. 1738 *Conciliation and* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Arbitration Bill.* {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- I do not find fault with that. Although I would give preference to unionists, the non-unionist has also to be considered in dealing with industrial legislation. But why should we deal with this matter on the lines proposed by the Opposition? We hold that there cannot be collective bargaining except by organizations representing trades and callings. We say that the meaning attached to " industry " in the present law is injurious. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The question is : What is the best form of organization for the settlement of large disputes? {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- Undoubtedly. My organization has been engaged in disputes as wide as the Commonwealth. In England, it includes over 100,000 persons, but it has met every situation that has arisen there for many years past, and done it effectively by trade union methods, without legislation. The efficiency of our methods has been proved, but honorable members opposite wish to adopt something that has not been tested by time, and which, it seems to me, is put forward in the interests of the employing class, and to break up trade unionism by dividing up the members of the different crafts, and distributing them among various industries, so that there can be no cohesion. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The honorable member seems to ignore the employers. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- No. My association has met the employers of Great Britain many times, and, on the basis of trade unionism, has adjusted disputes in accordance with the circumstances. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Not by arbitration. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- Why should we make any alteration in the association of workmen because we are considering legislation for industrial arbitration? Will not the facts of a dispute come before the Court if the workers are organized according to craft? There has been a solution of difficulties in the OLd World such as can be achieved here- {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- Does not the honorable member see a difference between the Old World and Australia? {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- Every country differs from all others, and its circumstances change from day to day. I have had experience in arbitration work, because for a number of years I represented my organization. In the main,the New South Wales Act of1901, which recognised the trade union as a basis of industrial association, was more effective in providing for arbitration by a Court than the Industrial Dis putes Act of 1908, which amended it. The definition of " industry " in. the latter Act was this - >Any occupation specified in the second column of Schedule One, or any amendment of or addition to the Schedule, in which persons of either sex are employed for hire or reward. The Act was amended in 1908, because the schedule was found to be ineffective, and it is common knowledge that trade unions refused to register under it, because it was felt that the definition of " industry " materially injured them. Ever since there has been strike upon strike, and great loss has been caused to the trade unionists. **Mr. Justice** Heydon, referring to the difficulties created by the schedule, said, "I cannot add to the pack of cards, but I can shuffle it as I please. I can associate one trade or calling with another, and relate it. in some way to an industry." Of what value is it to trade unionism to include under " industry " the Government railway and tramway employes under the control of the Chief Railways Commissioner? How can they all be brought into Court at one time, with a view to determining what should be their rates of pay and conditions of labour? It must be remembered that they comprise permanent-way men, traffic branch men, in both railways and tramways, engineers, carpenters, signalmen, masons, bricklayers, tinsmiths, and many others. But all these varied callings are associated, because they are under an official who, according to the law, controls an " industry." {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- He represents the public, who are the employers. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- Not in this capacity. He is in the same position as any other em ployer. But what is the nature of his industry? What would be the result of attempting to refer to a Court or to a Wages Board any dispute affecting all the trades and callings associated with the maintenance and working of railways and tramways. We are every day of our lives in the Courts. There is not a day on which the secretary of a union has not to watch the papers to see what applications are being made to the Court. After the passing of the Act of 1908, I had, in twelve months, more work to do in going before the Court and raising objections to applications that were being made, than I had during the whole of the previous five or six years. The formation of the Boards of Conciliation and Arbitration and the power to define industry in the terms in which the Opposition desire to define it, have been productive of the most intense and undesirable litigation. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- But the form of words is dictated by the Constitution, which says, " Industrial disputes." {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- The words in themselves are nothing. The question is, what is meant by them ? I take it that we are now going to amend the term " industry," so that we may have an amended Conciliation and Arbitration Act, upon the lines which we think will more effectively deal with the situation as we see it. . The honorable member for Cook spoke at length the other night on the lines of what he terms ' ' industrial unionism." I was not present when the speech was made, and if, in my criticism of it, I say anything that does not correspond with the facts of that utterance, I must apologize; but I do not think I shall do the honorable member any injustice. The attitude taken up by the honorable member seems to fit in very exactly with the attitude which the Opposition are taking up on this measure. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- The honorable member knows that I have taken up that attitude consistently. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- I know it only too well, because I have had to fight my honorable friend for some considerable time on the subject. The honorable member for Darling Downs said on Friday that the honorable member for Cook expressed the attitude of a worker. True, it is the attitude of a worker, but it is not the attitude of the workers; ind the honorable member for Cook knows that it is opposed by the Sydney Labour Council, has been opposed for two or three years by the Trade Union Congress, and is opposed by my own organization, the engineers, by the traffic association, by the building trades, by the Locomotive Engine Drivers' Association, by the Tramway Union, by the carpenters, and, in fact, by nearly every trade and calling in the railway service. The honorable member's proposition is not recognised in New South Wales, even outside that service. I cannot speak as to the other States; but I can assure honorable members of the Opposition that the attitude which they think most satisfactory on the part of the honorable member for Cook does not, in any way, represent the position of the trade unions or of the craftsmen in my own State. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- It represents that of a very large section. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- I do not know what the honorable member means by a very large section. He may have thousands of men in his organization. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- We had 5,000 new members last year. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr HOWE: -- Even so, the honorable member's attitude by no means represents that of the general workers and the trade unionists of New South Wales. To give an illustration, which may enable honorable members to see the desirability of this amendment of the Arbitration Act - about five years ago I was instrumental in getting an award for the engineering trade under the 1 90 1 Arbitration Act of New South Wales. That award had to last for three years. When the award was about two years old, the Industrial Disputes Act came into operation. The result was that, whereas the employers, from the Railways Commissioners down, had been complying with the award, we suddenly found ourselves face to face, under the new Act, with applications for exemption. The first was by the Railway Commissioners, the next by the Northern Collieries, and we had just spent ,£.250 in prosecuting the colliery-owners for breaches of the award. We are always told how the men break awards by coming out on strike, and will not recognise their duty and their obligations in connexion with legislation ; but I venture to say that, if honorable members opposite were in the Arbitration Courts day after day, and saw the breaches of awards that take place, they would find that, for every body of men that go out on strike, there are 150 employers violating the awards every day of their existence. First, then, we had an application for exemption from the Railways Commissioners, then from the Northern Collieries, and then from the Southern Collieries. Then there was a Coach and Car Builders Board formed. Although we had spent money for some years to get the award, we found all these exemptions suddenly granted under the new Act, and granted under precisely the same terms as members of the Opposition are asking for in this case, with a definition of industry which relates to the employers rather than to the employes. From that day to the present time, New South Wales has simply been seething with disruption and dissatisfaction among the trade unionists, and the Courts have been filled with applications day after day, without any possibility of industrial rest or peace being obtained. It is of no use the Opposition crying for industrial peace on such lines, because they will not get it. They cannot have it. We have built up for ourselves, during a long course of years, a line of action that we deem essential. We have formed associations that we know to be beneficial to ourselves, and no definition of industry that may emanate from this House will take possession of us, if we find it to be injurious. There is nothing for it but the trade or craft union. The industrial union may have, and I believe will have, its political characteristics ; but, so far as industrial organizations are concerned, only one basis will be satisfactory to us, and that is the craft union. I trust, therefore, that the Opposition will not further oppose the measure. If it be only in a tentative way, if only to give us some opportunity of seeing what results may arise from the operation of an amended Act, I hope they will give us the Act amended in the terms for which we are asking. I think then they will find that if they want industrial peace they will get it; but they will never get industrial peace without it. {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON:
Wimmera .- The honorable member for Dalley has given us some very interesting definitions, and some interesting information, respecting trade unionism; but he has put his whole case from the stand-point of trade unionism only, and has laid down no fair and equitable basis upon which an arbitration scheme can be built. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- The honorable member will now put the fair and equitable basis from the employers' point of view. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- No. I shall endeavour to show that the amendments, as proposed in the Bill, will have the effect of destroying the whole basis of arbitration. The amending Act of 1910 had for its main object the settlement of differences before they became active disputes, and also the securing of preference to unionists. The word "industry" remained untouched, except that it was extended to rural industries and domestic servants. The Act as then amended was not given a proper trial before this new amendment was brought before the House, altering the whole basis upon which our scheme of arbitration had formerly been built. These constant amendments in our arbitration laws, before we have any real opportunity of testing their efficiency, or their possibilities for the prevention and settlement of disputes, are calculated to cause irritation in the industrial world, rather than to make for peaceful settlements. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- The High Court has caused all this trouble. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- The High Court has defined " industry "in a manner which really upholds instead of destroying the old Act, and preserves, for the future judgments of the Arbitration Court, the true basis of arbitration between employers and employes. We object to these amendments of the Act, because the High Court decision has properly interpreted the word " industry " as we understand it, and as the Legislature originally intended that it should be interpreted. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- The High Court was nearly evenly divided. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- The High Court decision was a majority decision, as was mentioned by the honorable member for Flinders ; but surely the honorable member for Maribyrnong, who professes to belong to a Democratic party, cannot object to a majority decision, even when it comes from the High Court. The amendment' of last session, including, as it did, rural rorkers and domestic servants,, was a sufficiently sweeping extension. I believe there was no necessity for the inclusion of those callings as " industries " within the scope of an Arbitration Act. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Why not? {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- Because we have in Australia such a variety of climates and conditions that the system of agriculture varies in every State, and almost in every locality within a State; and, therefore, the State tribunals appointed to represent particular districts in particular States are in a better position to give a true and proper award with respect to agricultural workers than can any Arbitration Court whose operations extend over the whole continent. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- The same argument would apply to bootmakers. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- No; because an industry carried on in large cities like Melbourne and Sydney continues under much more closely approximating conditions than any agricultural industry can possibly do. I know, from the various opinions expressed by the agricultural community throughout my district, representing, as they do, a large proportion of the farmers of Victoria, that the system of arbitration, as amended under the Act of last session, will cause them very grave and serious difficulty. They hardly know how it is possible for them to present their case to the Court ; although certainly the organization of workers in the industry would have no difficulty in presenting their case. If this Bill be passed, we shall find that those difficulties will be accentuated. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- But honorable members opposite say that the Bill will be *ultra vires.* {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- I do not think that any member of this House will arrogate to himself judicial functions by offering definite opinions on this measure. It is the duty of the high Court to interpret the constitutionality of legislation passed by this Parliament. I admit that if* the measure be passed in its present form the cause of unionism in Australia will be strengthened. Unionism in itself is a good thing. If we are to have unionism, we must have organizations of employers and of employed. The more extensive their operations can be made the better. But my complaint is that by passing this Bill we shall throw the whole cause of conciliation and arbitration into the hands of various craft unions, and shall make it extremely difficult for employers and employed in the rural districts to have their cases determined. The difficulty of such persons bringing cases before the Arbitration Court will be accentuated. Thus we shall strengthen the trades organizations existing in the large centres of population. Cases affecting rural interests will be brought before the Court in a partial manner, and reasonable decisions will not be given. I wish to refer to the New Zealand experience. It is constantly being stated in this House that, owing to our constitutional limitations, we are not able to adopt an effective system of arbitration. I believe that there is a direction in which we can improve our system by enabling the Commonwealth Arbitration Court to hear appeals from the various State tribunals. Such a policy would, I think, be indorsed by this House, and if it had been submitted to the people at the last referendum I believe that it would have been sanctioned. In my opinion, the Commonwealth Arbitration Court should not only sit to settle Inter-State disputes, but should also hear appeals from State tribunals affecting particular industries. That is the true line of advance for the Federal Legislature. The New Zealand experience, I may remind honorable members, has extended over twice the length of time that arbitration has been in operation in the Commonwealth. New Zealand has had twenty years' of conciliation and arbitration as compared with about seven years' experience under the Commonwealth. Moreover, the New Zealand Court is not hampered in any sense by . constitutional limitations. The Court has full power to arbitrate in whatever sense it may deem arbitration advisable. But the New Zealand Legislature, realizing the multitudinous industries operating in the' Dominion, and knowing how difficult it was for rural representatives to present their claims, divided the Dominion into districts. Separate awards are made in those districts in the same way as awards are made by the various State tribunals throughout Australia. But sometimes, after a district award has been made, the Board, having finished its local work, undertakes the functions of a Court of Appeal. That is to say, on the application of unions of either employers or employes the Court considers what may be called an appeal from particular district decisions. There we have an example that might be followed in Australia. It would be very useful if the Commonwealth Arbitration Court could hear appeals from State tribunals. We have all the machinery that is operating under the Arbitration laws of New Zealand. By adopting this plan, it would not be necessary for the Commonwealth to interfere seriously with the work of the Wages Boards that are being conducted so successfully in different parts of Australia. What is now proposed, however, would, in my opinion, exercise an unwarrantable interference with State tribunals, which could only end in confusion, and. destroy a large part of the benefits which are at present conferred upon those concerned in production in this country. If we are to substitute for industries, as the term is understood under the principal Act, a system of craft organization extending over the whole of Australia, we shall accentuate difficulties that have already made themselves apparent. We shall strike a serious blow at production, and shall, at the same time, destroy the basis upon which the whole scheme of arbitration has been built up. The honorable member for Hindmarsh is well aware of the importance of our great water ways in the arid centres of this continent. Rural cultivators in those parts of the country are engaged in a great variety of industries. We have fruit-growing, dairying, agricultural work of all kinds, wheat growing, and wool growing. The occupations are so varied that dozens of workmen are employed for different classes of work. In connexion with the pumping schemes along the rivers, for instance, there are engine-drivers who have some knowledge of engineering, and who drive engines for a portion of their time, whilst the rest of their occupation is directed to some other class of labour. If this Bill be passed, and we carry out a system of craft organization instead of the present system of industrial organization, we shall undoubtedly strike a serious blow at our great producing industries, which, after all, form the backbone of this country, and without which there can be no strong secondary industries. I know from' experience, in connexion with the application of rural workers for registration, the difficulties that farmers have to encounter at present. I venture to say that the great majority of farmers throughout Australia are quite prepared to pay fair and reasonable wages. They are equally prepared to abide by the decisions of equitable tribunals as to the wages they shall pay. The farmers and the dairymen have greater confidence, I venture to say, in the Wages Board system as it operates in the States, because they believe that the Boards are composed. in a way which will bring about better results than would the Arbitration Court. The Wages Board system is less costly than the other. The parties have not to go to a Court for a judicial decision, but to men who understand the operations on each side, and meet together for the purpose of discussing, in a practical and human way, their differences, in order that they may arrive at a reasonable settlement. When this power was placed in the Constitution Bill by the Federal Convention, it was never anticipated that the work of the Arbitration Court would be directed to every small organization of industry throughout the Commonwealth. It was only intended that the great industries which operate more or less over the continent should be Supervised by the Arbitration Court, in order that disputes might be settled by that body in a way which could not possibly be undertaken by the State tribunals. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The State tribunals were to have the rest. {: .speaker-L0P} ##### Mr SAMPSON: -- Yes. At the present time, we are not giving an opportunity to the States to develop their various tribunals. Victoria has over 100 Wages Boards ; but the State Legislatures have found, from experience, that it is impossible to appoint Boards whose decisions will operate with fairness and equity over even a very small! . territory compared with this great Commonwealth. Even the States have found that Wages Boards operating over the whole of a State cannot do justice to particular industries by reason of varying climatic and: other conditions. They have been compelled, in, some instances, to appoint, not only town Boards, but also country Boards, in order that decisions may be framed in a way that will suit the local conditions and be arrived at by men who understand each other, and have a practical knowledge of the difficulties of an industry. I hope that the House will pause before it places in the hands of one individual the power tccontrol the industrial laws of the Commonwealth. I believe that this measure, if passed, will be fraught with the greatest confusion and the greatest difficulty, and be found to affect very prejudicially industries .throughout, the Commonwealth. It is against the spirit of the Constitution, because it is destructive of that local control, that subdivision of effort, which we know is so valuable in the settlement of industrial disputes. I am sorry to say that there does not seem to be much prospect of carrying the amendment; but I trust that the Opposition will make a strong protest against this attempt to destroy the basis of arbitration, and to place in the hands of one man the control of the industrial affairs of the Commonwealth - a power which will seriously militate against the successful operation of our Wages Boards, and will generally, in my opinion, strike a very heavy blow at the production of the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-14-0-s2 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY:
South Sydney -- I feel that this measure deals with the most important subject which can be brought before this Parliament; and though honorable members opposite have agreed that the Arbitration Court has proved a failure, and been a clog on the industries of the country, and is unwieldy and unworkable, I would, point out that the success of that Court means , more than the success of any other Court, because it operates under a new piece of legislation. Other Courts, such as the Equity, Divorce, Bankruptcy, and Criminal Courts, are institutions which have been handed down for perhaps hundreds of years; and laws relating to those Courts have been amended year after year until they have reached perfection. We are only experimenting with the Arbitration Court ; but because it has proved a failure in certain respects, "that is no reason why honorable members opposite should condemn the principle of arbitration, or the decisions of one man. I remember reading the speech with which the Leader of the Opposition introduced the principal Act, and I was struck with the sense of responsibility under which he addressed the House, and I hoped that he would live to see the successful working of the measure. I feel sure that he, like other honorable members, -will not hesitate to give a vote to perfect any measure which will tend to bring about industrial peace, and promote the happiness of the people pf the Commonwealth. The present Government were placed in power by the electors to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act where possible, with a view to bring about .that condition of peace and harmony which we all wish to see prevailing. We may have failed under the existing Acts to achieve our purpose, but we are only human. This Parliament has teen charged by the Judges with not having given any lines of guidance to the Court to go upon. They have said, " You have thrown at us an Act, and told us to carry out the dictates of Parliament, without laying down any lines on which we are to proceed." I admit the charge. It is a serious handicap on a Judge sitting in the Arbitration Court. But I hope that the day is not far distant when the House will give directions to the Judge in many respects. I believe that the time has come when the House should pass a Bill providing that no more than eight hours shall be worked by any man in the Commonwealth. That would be a direction to the Arbitration Court in one respect. The Judges are clamouring for a direction as to hours of labour. They want some guidance from Parliament; and we should not hesitate to provide that the hours of labour should he restricted within certain limits. I also think that a Bill should te passed providing that no person shall be expected to work for wages under a certain standard, that is, laying down a minimum wage. That also would be a guide to the Judge. His Honor is quite right in saying that Parliament throws all responsibility on the Judge, and takes none itself. We are open to that reproach, but I hope that the time is not far distant when we shall give the Judges a lead in various directions. Honorable members on the other side have complained greatly about one-man decisions. Here again I am in accord with some of their criticisms. I be lieve that the basic principle of the Federal Arbitration Court was wrong. I hold that no one man should dictate the rates of wages, the hours of labour, in fact the whole industrial conditions for the Commonwealth. I consider that the Arbitration Court should be reconstituted, and include a representative of the employers and a representative of the employes. In that way we should strengthen the faith of the people in the Court. At present when a decision is given in the Arbitration Court, the employers say " Although the Judge has the confidence of the people, because he is a. learned lawyer, and has held high positions, still he is not a business man. He has no sympathy in his nature. He is simply a legally-trained man to give a decision on the evidence put before the Court. ' ' The Court is, as I have said, different from all other Courts. It deals with live industries, with humanity ; it does not interpret dead laws, but gives decisions which will affect the whole of the industries in the Commonwealth. The President of the Arbitration Court should not be called upon to be guided altogether by his own legal training and knowledge. I believe that in many cases even an employer's representative would give a fair decision when he had a case brought before him as an em:ployer, even though it was to advantage the employes, because he would look at the matter from a business and practical standpoint. He could help the Judge in many directions by the weight of his experience, and guide him in arriving at a judgment. The same thing applies to a representative of the employes. If an award is given by the Judge, the employes are not satisfied to the same extent as they would be if they were represented in the Court. It is necessary to go over the whole of the industrial conditions to explain the conditions of an industry. The Court takes a longer time than otherwise it would to come to a decision, and sometimes, unfortunately, the decisions have not been satisfactory. If we had two laymen to assist the Judge the position would be different. This is not a Court in the strict sense of the word. The persons who go before the Court are not criminals - not men who have broken the law and been brought up to be tried, but men who come and submit to its judgment the conditions on which they are prepared to work in an industry. I agree with the members of the Opposition that no one man should have the power to decide the labour conditions for the whole of the Commonwealth. This Bill does not affect that. I believe that the Court would command more respect and confidence if it included representatives of the employers and employes, that is judging by the experience of New Zealand. It was the first country to adopt the principle of arbitration in these matters, and it still adheres to that principle. Its Court is composed of a Judge who is accustomed to discussing points of law, drawing up awards, and giving decisions, and two laymen, representing the employers and the employes. What has been the result of this system? In New Zealand, to-day, the industrial system is proceeding very smoothly. There are fewer strikes there than in any other country in the Southern Hemisphere. The progress of New Zealand has been very satisfactory under the operation of an Arbitration Court. Since the principle has been successful there, I believe that it will be successful here. It has been argued from the other side that if the Arbitration Court is going to deal with the whole of the industrial system, matters must get congested. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Only as a Court of appeal. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- No one person could do the work. Under the present Act, the Judge has power to appoint deputies in each State to assist him to carry on the work of the Court. I think it would be justifiable, if necessary, to create a Federal Court to deal with, for instance, the mining, textile, shipping, and coal-mining industries. If that were done, the work of the Arbitration Court would be facilitated and the progress of the Commonwealth assisted. I feel quite sure that honorable members, although they sit in Opposition, would be only too pleased to bring into force a scheme which would secure peace and harmony in the community. I was pleased to follow the honorable and learned member for Flinders when he pointed out the rocks ahead. I believe that he is very near the point. I believe that when we want to get the whole advantages of legislation we sail so closely to the rocks as to involve disaster to the measure. However, we are sent here, as a party, to give, if we can, the best legislation for the industrial class. Great exception has been taken to the word "craft." {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- Did the honorable member say that the members of the Labour party were sent here to get the best conditions for a class? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- No. I said that we were sent here to get the best conditions possible. Since great exception has been taken to the word " craft," let us trace the use of the word, and see how it has worked out. The word "industry" could not cover the whole of the people or craft in an industry. Take, for instance, the boot trade. The engine-drivers and firemen are employed entirely apart from the place where boots are manufactured. Although they are part of the industry, they are not in the industry, but outside of it. They do not touch leather or handle goods. Their whole work is connected with the boilers and the engine, but they are the mainspring of the industry, because they supply the power. Without their co-operation the industry could not exist. ' {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- They are the kingpin of the industry? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- Yes, but these men cannot join the Operative Bootmakers Association. When operative bootmakers appeal to their employer for better conditions, or for a conference, the engine-drivers and firemen, being few in number - perhaps three or four - do not count. The employer takes nonotice of them, but deals with the large body of men. Consequently, the enginedrivers and firemen have been forced to form what is called a craft union. When the Operative Bootmakers Association seeks an award, they do not apply to the Court for any conditions which would benefit the lot of the engine-drivers and firemen. The latter are left completely out of consideration, although they form part of the industry. We cannot separate the craft from the industry - the two work together. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Is there any necessity to separate them? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- It must be done for certain purposes. The engine-drivers and firemen start an hour or two before the other men come in, and are at work after the men leave; they live in a different atmosphere compared With those employed in clicking, heeling, lasting-up, and other branches. The manufacture of bread, in most up-to-date factories, is carried on by machinery ; and here, again, the men who fire the boilers and drive the engines are entirely outside the bakehouses. Their dirty clothes and greasy hands alone would render them unfit to touch the bread. Although they are an important part of the industrial organization, when _ the bakers go to the Court, the engine-drivers and firemen are never included. The latter are, therefore, forced to join the same union as engine-drivers and firemen employed, for instance, in the boot trade. There is another illustration, in which Inter-State competition arises. In the freezing industry, which deals with beef, mutton, rabbits, and so forth, for export, hundreds of men are employed in the handling and stacking of the food and material; but the enginedrivers and firemen, who look after the machinery that keeps the chambers cool, are really the principal men. If they stopped work, and the temperature was allowed to rise, there would be a loss of thousands of pounds. However, if the storage employes make a demand for increased wages or better conditions, they do not take the enginedrivers or firemen into consideration. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- But does not the Judge ? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- No; it has been decided by the High Court that the Judge of the Arbitration Court cannot add any claim to the case filed. He did so in the Broken Hill case, in regard to Sunday labour; but the High Court held that he had no power to do so. Because the men are not in the union of the industry, but belong to a separate craft union, they would have no claim before the Court. I remember a case in Sydney where the freezers got an award of the Court, and the whole argument against that award, which was one of increased wages, was that there was InterState competition with the shippers in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Queensland; and that, consequently, increased wages to the engine-drivers and firemen would be unjust to the employers in Sydney. To get over the disability these men federated, having got as many Wages Board awards as they could, and still found themselves left out. They got an award from the Federal Arbitration Court, but lost the benefit of it, because the employers' associations in New South Wales and Victoria were separate organizations, and, in order to defeat the Act, they had not registered. On this ground, the Federal Arbitration Court was held to have no jurisdiction, and the engine-drivers were denied justice. Surely it is only fair to so amend the Act as to introduce the word " craft," and thus bring the engine-drivers and firemen within the jurisdiction ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- lt is only a fair thing that we are asking. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- I do not think there is any trickery on behalf of the Government in trying to introduce the word " craft." There is no wish to do away with the Wages Boards, although, personally, I am against them. The Arbitration Court, with the full powers of a Supreme Court, may send for documents, examine books, and investigate the profits of an industry, and thus be enabled to give an award fair and just to all concerned. With the Judge in the Arbitration Court should be two men paid a decent salary, who would make' it their business to study the conditions of the various industries. These men, after having, as laymen, acted as the representatives of the employes, would not then have to look for work; they would be above that, because, for the time being, their position in the Court would be a professional one, and they should be independent. Under the Wages Board system, however, there is no power to send for documents and books or to investigate as to the capital invested or the profits made. The Board are confined to the evidence laid before them. And how is that evidence obtained ? A union selects one of its members because he is smart, capable, and straightforward ; and, in all probability, he finds himself sitting on the opposite side of the table from his own employer. In the very nature of things, an employe in that position is not a free man, because he knows that, after the work is finished, he must look tor employment. If he puts up a good fight for his fellow men, and obtains a decent award, it has, unfortunately, occurred in some cases, though I hope this is not prevalent, that he has been gradually shunted out of the industry. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Such cases are always settled by compromise, because there is no one to give a final decision. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- There is finality in New South Wales, because the appeal is to Judge Heydon's Court. For the reasons I have given, the workers of New South Wales are not favorably impressed with the Wages Board system. There is another reason why we, on this side, do not raise any serious objection to the decision being left to one man. In New South Wales Judge Heydon settles all the disputes, there being no appeal from the Industrial Disputes Court. **Mr. Wade** amended the Act, so as to make the decision of the Court final ; and I think that Judge Heydon has been very successful, or, at any rate, there have been no protests raised. Under all the circumstances, we may, I think, congratulate the Opposition on their fair criticism. So far this has been a debate by legal members ; and, doubtless, we could all find fault with the measure. It will be to- the interests of this Parliament to concentrate our best efforts upon this work so as to produce a Bill satisfactory to the people of the country. No Court in the civilized world has so much depending on it as an Arbitration Court, which can keep the wheels of industry revolving ; and, as this Bill is an effort to that end, the majority of honorable members ought to support the Government. If we give the engine-drivers and firemen, for instance, no redress, they are in a position to bring about industrial chaos throughout the Commonwealth, seeing that they supply the power to every factory, every gold mine, and every coal mine. If the Federal Arbitration Court does not give them justice, we cannot blame them if they try to obtain it by brute force ; and in the interests of peace and good government I trust the Bill will be passed. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- Is it not a fact that nearly all the strikes taking place to-day occurred after the Court had given a decision ? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- I do not think the honorable member is correct. There were no strikes in New South Wales under the old Act until the High Court decisions in the Brown case, and several other cases in the Newcastle district. When the Act was passed, the coal miners of New South Wales were the first to register; and, after occupying the time of the Court for months, they got awards which they accepted as satisfactory. The employers, on their part, decided to test the legality of the decisions in certain of the cases. I make the assertion that under the Arbitration Act of New South Wales there were not, so far as I know, any strikes during the first three or four years; at any rate, there were certainly no strikes until the High Court decisions, one of which had reference to the common rule in the Clancy case. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- That was because there Waa ari industrial agreement which the Court could not extend. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- That is so. Another decision of the High Court was that the Coal Miners' Union could not lodge a case on behalf of its members. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- The trouble there was that the members were not in employment at the time, and the High Court could not help the position, though it was rather unfortunate. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- It was a mere slip owing to the fact that in one case there was cessation of work for a "few weeks. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- It was rather a technical point. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- Quite so; but there was a decision that the union could not lodge a claim on behalf of its members. The men naturally asked what was the good of recognising a Court that would not recognise their union, although the Act was based on the recognition of unions. From that decision came all the disaster ; and, unfortunately, there was a Government in power in New South Wales at the time which was antagonistic to arbitration, and did not amend or renew the Act. This was a temporary measure for six years, and it expired by effluxion of time, the unsympathetic Government making no attempt to improve legislation which we knew was only experimental. The result is that we have had nothing but strikes, locks-out, and general, industrial upheaval. Under the. circumstances, I hope the Commonwealth Parliament will doits best to make the Act acceptable to the people of the country. If the High Court declares the amendments *ultra vires,* and thus completely annihilates the whole principle of arbitration- {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- It will not annihilate arbitration ! {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- In the framing of the principal Act I give the honorable member for Ballarat credit for the best intentions : and we know that the late **Mr. Kingston** made strong efforts to procure an effective measure. If he were here to-day, I am sure that he would regret the many failures of the Act as the result of test cases brought before the High Court. Unless we can pass a Bill that will be beneficial and work smoothly we cannot expect either the industrial army of workers or the employers to be content. If we cannot secure arbitration for both sides on reasonable lines we shall have, to return to the old method nf settling disputes. I believe, however, that the position even under the existing law is infinitely better than it was under the old method of determining .industrial differences. Two or- three disputes have been settled even by the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Court, and in that way great industrial upheavals have been averted. For example, the Court, after some years of fighting, has settled the trouble in the boot trade in a way that has given, ' I believe, satisfaction, whilst it has also effected settlements in regard to the pastoral industry and the seamen. In both those cases I believe the decision of the Court has given satisfaction. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- Does the honorable member say that the Court has settled these troubles? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- It has settled them for the time being. I am one of those who hope that our wants will never be settled for all time, and believe that as we progress and produce wealth with greater rapidity, the workers have a right to clamour for a larger return.' {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- Judging by the rate at which some of these cases have been settled, two or three disputes would occupy the whole time of one Judge. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- There are many lawyers who would be pleased to be elevated to the Bench. {: .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr Fairbairn: -- We should need 100 to deal with all these industrial matters. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- No. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- There are 102 Wages Boards in Victoria alone. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- I heard that for the first time a few days ago, and was much surprised. If the old State Arbitration Court under the New South Wales Act had been given a fair trial it would have been able to keep pace with its work, because it had dealt with all the big cases when an end was put to it. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The honorable member refers to the Court consisting of a Judge and a representative of the employers and a representative of the employes? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- Yes. The Court, while it lasted was very satisfactory. I appreciate the arguments advanced by the honorable member for Angas, the honorable member for Flinders, and others who have dealt with the legal aspects of this measure. I believe that there is a great deal in what they have said. We can, however, only hope for the best. I trust that we shall give this measure a trial, and that when it becomes law, and a case relating to it is brought before the High Court, the Justices will not search section after section to ascertain what was the real intention of its framers, but will take the passing of the Act itself as an instruction that our intention is that crafts shall be recognised as part of an industry. **Sir ROBERT** BEST (Kooyong) [5.171 -Perhaps one reason why honorable members opposite should seriously consider the passage of this measure has been supplied by the honorable member who has just resumed his seat. His speech, interesting as it was, was full of expressions of the gravest doubt as to the value of the Bill. First of all, the honorable member said it was wrong, and more or less courting disaster, to increase the already overwhelming duties of a one-man Arbitration Court. Then he feared that there were rocks ahead by reason of the constitutional difficulties standing in our way. All these difficulties he fully realized, but he invited us to join with the Government and their supporters in an effort to make the Bill as complete and effective as possible. My honorable friend spoke with a large experience, and the warnings given by him should of themselves be sufficient to induce honorable members to hesitate in their wild rush to pass this Bill. The honorable member for South Sydney realizes to the full the constitutional difficulties in the way, and the Opposition have been persistent in pointing out those difficulties to the Government and their supporters. We have asked them to realize that we are bound within the limits of the Constitution, and that therefore we have to consider the character of the measure that we can pass, having regard to those limitations. The Leader of the Opposition demonstrated the. revolutionary character of the Bill, and he and other honorable members have shown conclusively that the proposed substitution of the craft union for the unit of industry practically means the recasting of the whole of the arbitration laws and amounts to a departure from the fundamental principles of those laws. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Is it a substitution that is proposed, or simply the inclusion of both industry and craft? {: #subdebate-14-0-s3 .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST:
KOOYONG, VICTORIA -- It is practically a substitution that is proposed. The honorable member for Flinders ably and forcibly demonstrated that from a constitutional stand-point there are difficulties in the way of applying the craft principle to our present arbitration laws. The essence of the Constitution so far as this matter is concerned is contained in the provision giving us power to make laws with respect to conciliation and arbitrationfor the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes, and the Court has already held, as the honorable member for Flinders has pointed out, that " industry " implies the relationship of employer and employed Thus, in this connexion we shall have, on the one hand, a craft union representative of the whole of Australia - for that is the object of this Bill - and, cnthe other hand, thousands of employers- without any cohesion and possessing no relatively common interest. Hence, there would not be in the ordinary course of affairs an "industrial dispute" as between the craft union, and the whole of the employers of Australia interested in any particular trade, unless it was artificially brought about, for the purposes of the Act. If there cannot be an " industrial dispute " in that sense there can be no constitutional power to deal with the dispute. {: .speaker-K9R} ##### Mr W J JOHNSON:
ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- What about the Employers Federation? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- That is, in name, a federation of employers, but, in fact, is representative of only a limited number of the employers of Australia. Thousands of manufacturers and other employers of labour throughout the Commonwealth, have their own individual interests, but there is no common interest ;is between the one employer and the other. In these circumstances, therefore, this Bill contemplates a total departure from 'he fundamental principle of the idea of industrial disputes. It is looked upon with some degree of anxiety from this side of the House, because of that fact, and because also we believe that it subverts the Constitution. We believe that it destroys the scheme of the Constitution which gives to the Commonwealth certain arbitration powers in regard to large Inter-State matters, while it reserves full and complete power to the States themselves to deal with their own State industrial affairs. If this Bill is availed of to the fullest extent, by the whole of the crafts of Australia, then the power to deal with industrial matters is thereby transferred to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court, what industrial power can remain with the States? If the fullest advantage is taken of this measure, and if there is a craft union in connexion with every trade there will be practically no industrial power left to the States and the various industrial tribunals of the States will be mere obsolete machinery with practically nothing to do. This Bill, in such circumstances, would really subvert the Constitution, and must have the result of defeating the powers that were specifically reserved to the States themselves. It is difficult to see how it will be possible for an industrial dispute to arise as between the whole of the employers of Australia and the whole of the employes cf a particular craft, yet that practically im possible condition of affairs is contemplated by this Bill. I am disposed to the view that, even if the Bill is passed, the awards must be confined to, and bind only, those employes who are contestants and parties to the dispute. Even if we assume that such an industrial dispute is technically possible, I am certain that the Bill is doomed to failure by reason of its utterly impracticable character. The AttorneyGeneral stated that one of the objects of the Bill - and he urged this very strongly - was to cause the doors of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court to he opened wider and wider so that it would be possible for every trade union to go to the Court at its pleasure. He then went on to argue that as a result there would Le an award of a uniform rate throughout Australia in connexion with those respective trades. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- He never suggested anything like that. On the face of it the thing is absolutely absurd. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I agree that it is absolutely absurd, but I will read what the. Attorney-General said - >Nothing is more conducive to disturbance than a differentiation in the rates paid to the men engaged in the same vocation, but in different industries. He went on to say that he would take, as an example, industries *a, b, c* and *d* all of a different character, but all employing, a particular class of tradesmen who were' members of one union. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Under similar conditions. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I am only stat-ing what the Attorney-General said. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- No, the honorable member is misstating what he said. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I have quoted from *Hansard.* {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- I should like to see the quotation. The honorable member is not quoting from *Hansard* now. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I am; it is unfortunate that the honorable member should contradict me when I tell him that I am quoting from *Hansard.* {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- The honorable member said that the Attorney-General declared that the award would apply to the whole. of Australia, and I said he' did not. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Does the honorable member suggest that the AttorneyGeneral limited it to any portion of Australia ? {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Yes. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The honorable member is wrong, because the AttorneyGeneral did not limit it. He was talking of Australian industries in general, and I take him to mean what he says. He said .that a differentiation in the rates paid to men belonging to the same union, but engaged in different industries, was calculated to cause serious discontent, and from that stand-point he urged the payment of a uniform rate. I can quite understand that, from a constitutional standpoint, the Attorney-General would do so. To have uniform rates for the whole of Australia, which is really one of the objects of the Bill, would be outrageously unfair. It would be unjust to fix for enginedrivers, carpenters, plumbers, and others working at Kalgoorlie the same rates as were paid to similar artisans in Victoria or New South Wales, where the cost of living is 30 per cent. less. {: .speaker-K9R} ##### Mr W J JOHNSON:
ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Did the AttorneyGeneral suggest uniform rates ? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I can only quote his words. If the Bill is going to bring about the imposition of uniform rates, the amendment inadequately expresses its outrageous unfairness. Do honorable members consider that there should be discrimination, the Court declaring one rate for Victoria, another for Tasmania, and so on ? {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- The application of the common rule does not mean the imposition of a uniform rate everywhere. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- There is no common rule so far as the Commonwealth is concerned. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- The Court discriminated in making the shearers' award {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- And in the Bootmakers' c0.s6. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The award in the Bootmakers' case was binding only on the contestants, but they brought their influence to bear on the Wages Boards and other industrial tribunals to extend its universal application throughout Australia, and, so far as Queensland was concerned, time was given to permit of rates being raised to the uniform standard fixed by the award. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- Does the honorable member deny that the Court has the power to discriminate? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- In discriminating, the President expressed the gravest doubt as to his power to do so, but his award has not been challenged. If we provide for discrimination, we increase our constitutional difficulties. The Constitu tion provides for absolute and complete freedom of trade throughout Australia. Section 92 enacts that - >On the imposition of uniform duties of Customs, trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States, whether by means of internal carriage or ocean navigation, shall be absolutely free. Section 51 empowers the Parliament to make laws with respect to trade and commerce with other countries, and among the *States,* but with it must be rend section 99, which says that - >The Commonwealth shall not, by any law or regulation of trade, commerce, or revenue, give preference to one State, or any part thereof, over another State, or any part thereof. Again, section 51 empowers the Parliament to make laws with respect to taxation - >But so as not to discriminate between States or parts of States. While there is the greatest doubt as to whether there can be an industrial dispute under this Bill, it is certain that the Court is governed by paragraph xxxv. of section 51, which empowers the Parliament to make laws with respect to - >Conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one Slate. And it cannot, as is frequently done,call to its aid the other sections of the Constitution referring to trade and commerce, because they specifically declare that there shall be no preference or discrimination. This is not a new contention ; it is an *obiter dictum* of the President himself. The constitutional pitfalls in our way are numerous. If, with craft organization, there are to be uniform rates, there will be no trouble, but the exercise of discrimination must mean the1 hampering of trade and commerce. The Bill makes it possible for every trade to register as an organization, and, as a consequence, all industrial power will practically be transferred to the Arbitration Court, which is against the scheme of the Constitution, and will be fraught with the gravest difficulty and danger. Victoria, after fifteen years' experience of Wages Boards, has discovered that awards should not in every industry cover the whole field, and that it is necessary to deal separately with branches of industries, and with particular areas. In January last, it was provided by the State Parliament that - >Where a resolution is passed by both Houses of Parliament declaring that it is expedient to appoint any Special Board to determine the lowest prices or rales which may be paid to any person or persons or classes of persons employed anywhere in Victoria (whether in a factory or work-room or not) in any process, trade, 1750 *Conciliation and* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Arbitration Bill.* business, or occupation, or any group or groups of processes, trades, businesses, or occupations specified in the resolution, the Governor in Council may, if he thinks fit, from time to time - > >appoint one or more Special Boards for any process, trade, business, or occupation so specified, or for any branch or branches thereof, or for any group or groups thereof ; and > >define the area or locality (including the whole or any part or parts of Victoria) within which the determination of each of such Special Boards shall be operative ; and extend or re-define any such area or locality; and > >as between any two or more Special Boards, adjust the powers which such Boards, or any of them, may lawfully exercise, and for that purpose deprive any Special Board of any of its powers and confer them upon any other Special Board. It has been found impracticable to impose uniform rates, even for Victoria. Except in a few industries, awards are confined to branches of industries, or to particular localities. In regard to engine-drivers, there have been appointed in Victoria Boards, one relating to gold-mining and coal-mining, and another dealing with all the factories throughout Victoria. It is competent for the last-named Board to determine that an engine-driver in one factory shall be paid a particular rate, and an enginedriver in another factory a particular rate ; but coal-mining engineers and goldmining engineers are dealt with by a particular Board of their own. In this connexion, a differentiation in the rates takes place, and a higher rate is paid for drivers in charge of winding engines, because they carry human freight. There are two Printers Boards in Victoria, one of which deals with the cities and towns, and the other with the country. We have the same experience with regard to saddlery and sawmilling. The power which the Governor in Council possesses of taking away certain powers given to one Board and transferring them to another, for the purpose of adjustment, has been exercised in two or three cases, such as that of the Carters Board, where quarrymen carters were attached to the Quarryrnen's Board; and pastrycook carters were attached to the Pastrycooks Board. In this State Wages Boards have the power to deal, not only with industries over the whole State, but with the same industries, in detail, in various portions of the State where different conditions exist. The Prime Minister and the AttorneyGeneral spoke in high terms of the success of our Arbitration Court. 1 am prepared to say, at once, that any success that has been achieved by the Court has been achieved through the distinguished ability of its President, and that the work has been done, as far as he has been able to do it, ably, thoroughly, and conscientiously. The Attorney-General went on to say that "no testimony could be more eloquent as to the value of the Court than that all the unions are trying to get into it." Will my honorable friend think for a moment why this Court has become so remarkably popular? In existing circumstances, we cannot blame the unions for their anxiety to get into it as soon as possible. We cannot ignore the circumstance that the President of the Court has seen fit, no doubt in the conscientious discharge of his duty, to make generous awards so far as the workers are concerned, based, of course, on the present highly prosperous condition of Australia. I am not attempting to cavilat what the learned President of the Court has done; but the fact remains that, as Artemus Ward once said, there is a great deal of human nature about men ; and consequently, as it has been the universal experience to secure very generous treatment at that Court, there is naturally a great desire to get into the Court. That fact has been brought about by reason of the *personnel* of the President of the Court. The Labour party, however, has not been always so anxious to have these cases dealt with by judicial tribunals, nor have these Courts always been so popular. I can refer to an unfortunate experience, so far as the Industrial Appeals Court of Victoria was concerned. In one case, an appeal was made to it from the Artificial Manures Board determination, which awarded 40s. 6d. to certain workmen for a certain class of work. The Court was presided over by one of our leading Judges, and a man equally as conscientious as is the President of the Arbitration Court. He saw fit to reduce the award from 40s. 6d. to 36s. The result was that he was most maliciously attacked in labour circles, and an agitation was started for a repeal of the Act. The Judge threatened to resign his position ; but I believe a compromise was brought about whereby those good things which were enjoyed by him were to be shared in turn by each member of the Supreme Court bench. However, as a consequence, this industrial tribunal became quite an unpopular Court. We, therefore, must not be led away by the passing popu- *Conciliation and* [24 October, i9ii.] *Arbitration Bill.* 1751 larity of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court. If one or two adverse verdicts or awards were given, the probabilities are that the experience of the Victorian Court would be repeated. I say this, because there is always a band of agitators ready to misconstrue what is done, and whose aim in life is to create discontent. While the conception of the Arbitration Court was great, and the anxiety of all of us was to secure a tribunal for the peaceful settlement of industrial disputes, and to put an end, so far as we possibly could, to locks-out and strikes, the experience in connexion with that Court has not been so completely satisfactory as one could wish. In fact, the experience of Arbitration Courts generally has caused us to think very seriously whether our ideal has been realized to the extent that we could have desired. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- It was only because of its limitations. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- There are no such limitations in New Zealand, and I desire to tell the honorable member the result of arbitration proceedings there. That country, so far as its general economic conditions are concerned, is on very similar lines to our own. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- I was alluding to Australia. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I propose afterwards, if the honorable member so desires, to deal with our experience of arbitration in Australia. Let me first deal with New Zealand. I regret to have to say that there is a certain section in the community, whom I call political unionists, who are all for arbitration so long as the awards are. in their favour, but so soon as the awards are not in their favour, no one is stronger in condemnation of arbitration than they are. That tendency has gone so far that these tribunals have been ignored, and in a number of cases awards have been defied instead of being generously accepted as it was anticipated under the provisions of the arbitration scheme that they would be. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Does not the honorable member see that they are human beings ? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I have admitted it, but arbitration cannot bind one side and not the other. The idea and scheme of arbitration is to arrive at a peaceful settlement by a determination which both sides are in honour bound to accept, whether it is for or against them. The following inter esting extract from the *New Zealand Dominion* of 7th October, 1911, has come under my notice: - >A STRIKE COMING. > >Big Industrial Upheaval. Workers Tired of the Court. Labour Leader's Opinion. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- We want to know who wrote the article. Sir-ROBERT BEST.- The extract contains Labour leaders' opinions, which I do not despise, if honorable members opposite do. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- They may be misquoted. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Does the honorable member say they are misquoted before hearing them? {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- I guess that they are. We have had that experience here. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I shall read them, and honorable members can verify them for themselves- >The statement made by the Honorable ]. A. Millar in the House of Representatives yesterday in which he admitted that the Arbitration Court had failed to achieve in full the purpose for which it was intended has caused employers and labour leaders to think more than a little. When the Arbitration Act was first made law, unions crowded one another in their eagerness to register under it, but nowadays, as **Mr. Millar** admitted, the larger unions were one by one cancelling their registration, until presently there would be none left. His opinion was that the cause of the defection was the constitution or thepersonnel of the Arbitration Court. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Aha ! {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Exactly. An honorable Judge of the Court, in the conscientious discharge of his duty, did not happen in all his decisions to make awards in favour of the men, and consequently he is to be violently attacked and condemned. That is my honorable friend's position. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- His language at all times is biased. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- That is a most unfair thing to say - >He thought confidence in the Court might be restored if some one of great industrial experience, not a lawyer, were made President of it. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr Howe: -- A most sensible thing. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- But honorable members opposite are now wildly infatuated with a Court which is presided over by a lawyer - > **Mr. E.** J. Carey, Labour candidate for Wellington North, when asked by a representative of this paper to state his views on the Minister's statement, declined to deal with it at length. He said that the subject had been exercising the minds of trades union officials for some time, and that he was prepared to speak on the subject at his next election meeting on Monday. Labour, said **Mr. Carey,** had a constructive policy on the subject, more farreaching than a mere change of the *-personnel* of the Court as indicated by the Minister. Too Late. **Mr. M.** J. Reardon, Labour candidate for the 'Hutt seat, was more communicative. " It is not the Act so much as the Judge of the Court that is creating the hostility that is now apparent," he said, in answer to a question. That is to say, a Judge who honorably, honestly and conscientiously does his duty is at once condemned - >Unfortunately the Minister has discovered the true position too late. The agitation from the Labour side against existing conditions has now developed until it has become an agitation against arbitration. Primarily it was an agitation against the decisions of the Court. From this it has been an easy transition to the conclusion that arbitration is not as good as the strike, and in view of the fact that the majority of the workers in New Zealand have had no practical experience of the strike for the last twenty years, the new creed is being swallowed. I am satisfied that nothing that is now done by Parliament or by anybody else will stall off the impending disaster of a strike. My own opinion is that it will come about the end of the present year, and that when it does come it will not be among those who have condemned arbitration so much, but among men who have given the present Court several trials. This view as to the early occurrence of the strike is not shared by a good many in the Labour movement. They think it is rather farther away than that - probably five or six months hence. An arrangement has been made to place the decisions of the Trades Conference before the Prime Minister, but, unfortunately, owing to his illness this had to be postponed. I had been entrusted with the task of dealing with the grievances of the unions against the President of the Arbitration Court. I felt that the task was an extremely painful one, but still we are all agreed that it is one that has become necessary. > >What I think is due to happen is a very serious industrial upheaval, and then it will be for the Parliament of this country to determine whether the Act will be retained for the protection of unskilled labourers and women workers, or whether the action of those who have endeavoured to wreck the arbitration system is to be allowed to prevail. Of . course, we realize that there are certain unions that can act unitedly and independent of protective legislation. They can have their agreements observed by resorting to force, but there are many such organizations not so situated. If these workers had not the course of law behind their industrial awards, free contract would prevail as between master and employe. And this would be to the detriment of the employes in those trades. _ My opinion about the cancellation of registrations of the unions is that the unions who take this step ought to have some consideration for the classes of labour that are not independent of the law, and that while they are warranted in withdrawing from the Act, since they feel that they can do better outside its scope, they are not warranted in creating an impression that the strike is preferable to arbitration for New Zealand experience is in the contrary direction. I hope that the Arbitration Act will be retained, but whether or not any alteration is now made in the *personnel* of the Court I am satisfied that we cannot undo the mischief that has been done in the. last three years. This cannot be undone by anything short of a strike, and a strike will surely come. The fact is that every union in New Zealand is distrustful of Judge Sim, and having once made up their minds about this, they look round for a better method. Then they hit upon the strike. The strike notion has got into their blood, and nothing we can do can prevent a strike from happening. He goes on to show that Conciliation Councils are of no value. What, however, I want to urge, is that amongst the Labour party in New Zealand, the value oi arbitration settlements - and I regret that it should be so - has been seriously shaken. The Act came into force some twenty years ago, and worked very well for a while, but latterly there have been such protestations in favour of striking that the whole value of the legislation has been doubted. Indeed, it became necessary that an Act should be passed to strengthen the law. The new law came into force in 1908. It was, however, defied within twelve months. The case which arose out of the defiance of it was, I think, either the case of the miners, or one in connexion with the frozen meat industry. In the latter case, the slaughtermen were paid something like £1 for 100 freezers. They were able to earn something like £5 or *£,7* a week. When the award had nominally expired, but was in actual operation, and before a new award had been made, the slaughtermen determined on a strike, insisting on the payment of 25s. per 100, which would enable them to earn something like ^7 to ^10 per week. The point that I am urging in this connexion is that this is typical of several instances where strikes have lately taken place in New Zealand, and where parties have not been prepared to abide by the award of the arbitration tribunal, which was established with the express purpose of avoiding strikes. In New South Wales, the arbitration system came into operation in 1901, and within twelve months there was a serious strike. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Can the honorable member quote the case of a strike under the Commonwealth Act? {: #subdebate-14-0-s4 .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I am dealing with the principle of industrial arbitration, and the reluctance of political unionists, when awards are given against them, to accept the wages paid under those awards. *Conciliation and* [24 October. 1911.] *Arbitration Bill.* 1753 {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Every award under the Commonwealth Act has been abided by. {: #subdebate-14-0-s5 .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- How many awards have there been under the Commonwealth Act? {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Every one has been abided by. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I believe that, under the Commonwealth Act - I speak subject to correction - there have been but three awards. One was an award affecting the shearers, the second affected the shipping trade, and the third was the bootmakers' award. We had better not probe too closely as to the shipping award at present, because connected therewith, to some extent, is a pending strike which is *sub judice.* The award affecting the bootmakers was only nominal, because it related to the contestants alone. Under all -these awards, however, the workers have reaped substantial advantages. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Because they deserved them. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I am not disputing that for a moment. What I am saying - and what I hope I am proving - is that when these awards have not been in favour of the workers, in several cases strikes have followed. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Where? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- In New South Wales, Victoria, and, particularly, Western Australia. As my honorable friend is so anxious to learn, I will give him some particulars. A compulsory Arbitration Act was passed in New South Wales in 1901, and within twelve months, there was a strike on the part of the Australian Workers Union. In January, 1904, there was a strike on the Teralba coal-field.. An award -came into force on the 1st of that month, and the men struck on 3rd January. One hundred and twenty men were summoned for a breach of the award, but the case was dismissed on the technical objection that the award had not stipulated that the men must work. Again, in 1904, there was the Newcastle strike. In that case 252 wheelers went out, refusing to work, and something like 5,000 to 6,000 miners became idle. {: .speaker-JW6} ##### Mr Cann: -- Were they under an award? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- It was competent for the men to avail themselves of this peaceful tribunal which had been established for the purpose. {: .speaker-JW6} ##### Mr Cann: -- They could not get there. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- They could have got there. {: .speaker-JW6} ##### Mr Cann: -- No; they could not. An application was made to the Court to sit at Newcastle, and it was refused. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- My honorable friend knows very well that if there had been any great anxiety on the part of the men to have their case heard by the Arbitration Court, there would have been no difficulty in doing so. Ultimately, the Court made an order that the wheelers were to go back to work, and that if they declined, the miners should do their own wheeling. But the order was disregarded, both by the wheelers and the miners. The point that I am trying to illustrate is that the men in some cases, have not been prepared to accept awards of the arbitration tribunal, and that they have not, in other instances, seen fit to resort to this tribunal, which was constituted for the very purpose of the pacific settlement of industrial disputes. I need hardly remind honorable members of the Peter Bowling strike of 1909, with the facts of which they are familiar. We have also had experience of arbitration in Western Australia. The awards of the Court in that State have chiefly dealt with mining and saw-milling. The general experience there has been that when the awards were in favour of a union they were accepted, but when they were not favorable, they were defied. In Victoria the same antagonistic spirit has prevailed, fortunately in only some two or three cases. In the case of the Plate-glass Bevellers Board a. certain award was made granting, I think, 48s. per week to the men. They went on strike, demanding 60s. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- The honorable member is now arguing against Wages Boards. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I am in favour of Wages Boards; but no scheme can succeed unless there be a general anxiety on the part of both employers and employed to make such peaceful settlements successful. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Why do not the employers register under the Federal Arbitration Court? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The employers have accepted awards of the Court. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Why have they not registered ? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I do not know whether they have or not. But I do know that, in those industries where employers have been cited to the Court they have accepted the decisions. In Victoria, in 1754 *Conciliation and* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Arbitration Bill.* 1 910, there was a strike of the men in the Timber Sorters and. Stackers Union, notwithstanding that they were affected by an award. Under these circumstances, I venture to contend that, unless there is going to be a willingness, and even an anxiety, on the part of all sides, to accept this means of settlement, we cannot possibly hope for success. I firmly believe that the awards would be accepted by the workers generally were they not badly led, and if discontent were not generated by paid agitators. The Wages Board system is completely in harmony with the Federal Constitution, which reserves industrial power to the States alone. The Wages Boards have been successful in this State, except in one or two cases. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- It takes a long time to get a decision from the Wages Board. Sometimes men have to strike to get a decision. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Where it takes a month to get a decision from a Wages Board, it takes twelve months, or even two years, to get a decision from the Arbitration Court. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- And anotheryear to upset the decision, when given. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- As my honorable friend reminds me, it very often happens that, as soon as a decision is given, steps are taken to upset it. The experience of Victoria has been such that we are warranted in building our peaceful efforts towards industrial settlement upon these lines. According to an official return, up to December, 1909, a total increase of £3,500,000 has been paid to the workers under the determinations of Wages Boards ; and I have no hesitation in stating that the total increase to the present time has approached £5,000,000. We have the experience of the working of Wages Boards to guide us. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- The honorable member has talked about men receiving wages peacefully. There is always peace when the lamb is inside the tiger. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- There may have been abuses; but no one claims perfection for the Wages Board or any other tribunal. In my opinion, the scheme of this Bill is wrong, and the time has arrived when, in the light of our experience, not only under the Federal Arbitration Act, but also under the Wages Board system, we should take Wages Boards as the foundation of our industrial system ; and, from that foundation, build up a means of dealing with disputes. No one is more anxious than I am that we should deal with the subject in a comprehensive and thorough way; I think that the Arbitration Court is not as satisfactory as it might be; and the remarks of honorable members on the other side have confirmed my opinion. I, therefore, wish to recall a scheme which embodied my opinion, and the view of my colleagues at the time, as to the proper means of dealing with this question. Our first aim was to encourage the States to deal with industrial matters ; next, it was essential that a Federal tribunal should be constituted for the purpose of co-ordinating wages, having due regard to economic conditions, as far as possible, and removing the causes of unfair competition or differences between several States. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Can we do that under the existing Constitution? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- We intended to establish an Inter-State Commission. The Bill which I had the honour to introduce in the Senate provided that an Inter-State Commission, consisting of three persons, might call in experts or assessors in order to aid them in dealing with a particular industry, or that any member of that body might call to his aid these experts or assessors for the purpose of dealing with a special industry. It would, of course, deal with cases referred to it, and with appeals, and would possess original jurisdiction where no industrial tribunal existed in any State. Our idea was that legislative power should be given to the Inter-State Commission. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- From this Parliament? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- We have not the power to do ourselves what the late Government proposed to empower the Inter-State Commission to deal with. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Our idea was, that, as power is given to the Governor in Council of a State, to deal in detail with Wages Boards, and with various industries, to bring about their complete adaptability to the conditions of the industries, the InterState Commission should have power to deal with the immediate conditions of each industry and, having regard to such conditions, to legislate accordingly in all those cases within its jurisdiction, including, of course, disputes extending beyond one State to another. That was proposed to be done in our Bill. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports takes the objection that, under the present -Constitution, we have no power to do that. I would remind him that we have the power to do it in this way. {: .speaker-JM8} ##### Mr Archibald: -- What would the High Court have said of your wonderful Commission, when you had fixed it up? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The High Court would have been deeply indebted to Parliament for creating, pursuant to the terms of the Constitution, this additional piece of constitutional machinery. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr Wise: -- Why did not the late Government create it? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Because we did not have the opportunity. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr Wise: -- You had, but you dropped the Bill in the Senate. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- We did nothing of the kind. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr Wise: -- You did. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The honorable member is very dogmatic, and, of course, he knows everything. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr Wise: -- I know that it is a fact. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The honorable member knows nothing of the kind. Honorable members are aware that, under the terms of the Constitution, it is possible for the States to delegate any legislative power to the Commonwealth Parliament. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- They would tell us to go to Gehenna it we asked them to do so. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The late Government arranged with the State Governments for the delegation to this Parliament of the necessary constitutional powers 10 establish the proposed Inter-State Commission. {: .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr Wise: -- But they have never done so to this day. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Of course, they have not. Had it not been for the calamity which shifted the last Government from office there is not the slightest doubt that this Parliament would now have the constitutional power to carry out a scheme which would be in harmony with the experience, and, I venture to say, the wishes, of the honorable member for South Sydney. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- After going cap-in-hand to the Legislative Councils. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- By that means the necessary constitutional powers would have been secured. If that agreement were not carried out, we intended, as we announced at the time, to apply to the people for the necessary alteration of the Constitution. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Heat, hear ! {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Does not the honorable member know that the first attempt which was made in Tasmania was defeated by the Upper House? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- I do not see that that touches the point at all. If the Tasmanian Parliament would not agree to the delegation of the requisite constitutional power to the Federal Parliament, we proposed, with the sanction and the cooperation of a majority of the States, to ask for an alteration of the Constitution. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- You would have done what we tried to do last year. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- There was the definite policy of the late Government to establish a means of securing industrial peace in the country. Since the Arbitration Court has become clogged, and we realize that, in nine cases out of ten, the President exercises the functions of an industrial expert rather than those of a Judicial Court7 I do feel that the time has arrived when we should constitute a different tribunal. I strongly urge upon the House that an effective solution of this trouble is to have an adaptable tribunal, that is, a tribunal representative of employer and employ^, with a Judge as chairman, and capable of exercising the functions of industrial experts, and with a knowledge of the industrial conditions in each trade. It would also be capable of exercising the legislative powers which are now exercised by the Arbitration Court. A Board of that character is, I venture to think, likely to succeed where the present tribunal cannot hope to succeed. If, by the passing of this Bill, we create additional work, and practically concentrate the control of all industries, in the Arbitration Court, we shall court failure and disaster, do injustice to the States, and subvert the Constitution, without advancing a scheme for securing industrial peace. The measure will, I fear, create means for further dispute, and the worst and most barbarous forms of strikes and locks-out. *Sitting suspended from 6.25 to 7-4S- p.m.* {: #subdebate-14-0-s6 .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES:
Fremantle .- It has been clearly shown on both sides of the House, especially by the honorable member for Flinders, the honorable member for Ballarat, the honorable member for Darling Downs, the honorable member for Angas, and others, that the proposed amendment of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is more likely to increase than to reduce complications. I feel certain that the greater part of the people in Australia would welcome a solution of the present difficulty. No doubt industrial peace would be more than acceptable in any country, but the means by which to obtain it seem far away at present. The alteration of the definition of " industry " to include trades and callings will not, in my opinion, in any way reduce the trouble. The Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Court, and, I may say, some of the State Arbitration Courts, appear to have created difficulties instead of removing them. The Prime Minister said that but for the Arbitration Court there would have been many more disputes; but I do not agree with him, seeing that disputes have been created purposely to bring questions before the Courts both of the States and the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- That is a compliment to the Arbitration Court. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- It is something like the compliment that the people in America paid, when, in order to start a cemetery, they had, in consequence of the healthy climate they enjoyed, to kill a man. The dispute in the timber trade in Western Australia was referred to the Arbitration Court of the State, but the decision was not accepted by the men. They held out for months, and agitators were sent all over Australia, in an endeavour to prove that the trouble extended beyond the limits of a State. We all know that, when the matter was referred to the Federal Arbitration Court, no redress was given; and, in- the end, an amicable arrangement was arrived at between the employers and the employes, who have been working very well under it ever since. I can also instance the arrangements made from time to time between the employers and the lumpers at Fremantle, and similarly in the mining industry at Kalgoorlie, without resort to arbitration. We may say that there has been industrial peace at Kalgoorlie from start to finish, so far as the miners are concerned, simply because both sides have the common sense to pick out their best men to meet together and fix up some reasonable settlement somewhat on the lines of the Victorian Wages Boards. All these are mutual arrangements made without reference to any Act of Parliament. In the past employers have been compelled to obey awards, but I know of -no means by which employes can be compelled to obey them. The latter generally obey an award if it suits them, and at no other time; and I do not think there is any honorable member who could suggest how compulsion could be exercised. It is the old story of the man who said, " I do not believe in arbitration, for did we not refer our case to arbitration, and it went against us?" There is a general feeling amongst the men against both the State and Commonwealth Arbitration Courts ; and there is no doubt in my mind that the Wages Board system, as adopted in Victoria, is the best possible means devised up to the present for obtaining industrial peace. In the case of the Wages Boards, so much can go unsaid, because each side sends, representatives who thoroughly understand the subject, whereas, when they go before a Judge, both sides are practically fooling that Judge, and whoever can fool him most gets the best decision. As one of the present Judges of the High Court said, when speaking of the Inter-State Commission, " it must be recognised that legal knowledge is not necessary, or is not the best knowledge, for the settlement of commercial propositions." I should like Parliament to be able to approach a question of this kind without any quibbling, and devise some means, not only for settling disputes, but for suppressing the men who live by creating trouble between the two parties. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr Howe: -- It is a very poor living. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- I have never tried it; but, perhaps, the honorable member speaks with authority. Throughout my life, I have always endeavoured to work amicably with employes, and have succeeded fairly well. If we are to have industrial peace, we must find a way to suppress those irresponsible men who try to bring themselves into notoriety at the expense of .the trade unions or the employers. That class of agitator or person should be treated somewhat in the same manner as are offenders under the Licensing Act. Those who deal in liquor have to do so within certain hours and .under certain conditions, and if they transgress the law they come under its penal provisions. I fail to see why the agitator, who is outside the limits of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act - who runs, as it were, a little union on his own - should not be treated just as the sly-grog seller is. I believe that every union, or body of men, registered under a Conciliation and Arbitration Act would join in demanding that such people should be subject to the penal provisions of the law. *Conciliation and* [24 October, i9ii.] *Arbitration Bill.* 1757 {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- The honorable member knows very well that if it had not been for agitators the workers would never have obtained any redress of their grievances. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- The pastoralists have just paid £30,000 to the lawyers to come between them and justice. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- I am not going into those questions more than to say that that money would not have been taken out of those people's pockets had it not been for the Federal Arbitration Court. In Victoria, there are about 100 Wages Boards doing good work ; and I am glad to say that the system is being adopted in other States. It may be said that unions would be in a better position if they were registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act ; but I believe they will never be a success untilthey are built on a different foundation. What I mean is that competency should be the first consideration, especially when a handicraft is in question. Much has been said here about lawyers, chemists, doctors, and others belonging to unions ; but we have heard little of what members of these professions have to go through before they are admitted. They have to spend a great part of their lives in study, as many honorable members know from personal experience, and until they have passed examinations and shown their competency they are not allowed to be members of the profession. It would be better if the old system, once in vogue in England and other places, were adopted. I should like to see the time when young fellows would have to serve a certain term and prove their competency before being allowed to join a union. Under such circumstances, employers would be only too pleased to apply to the unions for men. I know of very few unions in which numbers are not considered before competency. I should like to see competency made the key that would open the door to the joining of a union. Under the old English system, it was impossible for a man to join a guild unless he could produce his indentures, bearing the signature of his late employer, to prove that he was a competent tradesman. Indeed, in those days a man could not obtain a position in London without producing his indentures. There is a time in the life of every young fellow when he thinks that he is hardly dealt with because he is compelled to stick closely to his calling, trade, or profession. Parents have a lot to do to keep their sons up to the mark, so far as their trade or profes sion is concerned, at a certain period of their lives ; but in nineteen cases out of twenty these young fellows live to thank their parents for having kept them up to their work. If parents would adopt the same attitude nowadays, then young fellows, having completed their course, would join unions, and the unions would be looked upon as something worth registering and worth having in Australia. But what is the position to-day ? In many cases, a union will demand the reinstatement of an incompetent man, or a man who has broken the working rules of his employer. I know of an instance where it was part of a man's work, one Sunday out of ten, to attend to some horses. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr Howe: -- On a Sunday? {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- Yes; even horses eat on Sundays. There were about ten drivers in the employ of the firm in question, so that each man had to go on duty about once in every ten Sundays, and he took the pay for that Sunday work. One of these men, however, left the horses without food one Sunday, and they were going out on the Monday morning without food or drink, when this neglect was discovered. When the man offended in this way a second time, he was discharged ; but his brother drivers demanded that he should be reinstated, and that the man who dismissed him should be put off. That is the sort of thing that brings a union into disrepute. I may mention that the overseer was not put off, and that when the bulk of the men, other than the drivers, employed by the firm heard the facts,they said that the offending driver should be sent about his business. The awards of the Arbitration Courts, as at present constituted, will never be enforced, so far as the employes are concerned, until they are required by law to deposit with the Court a certain amount, to be forfeited in the event of disobedience of an award. A private employer, or a company, has assets which may be levied upon in respect of any fine for disobedience of an award; but as long as the position is as one-sided as it is at present, we shall never have industrial peace. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- What amount does the honorable member suggest should be deposited with the Court by a registered organization? {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- As a first step, I would suggest that, instead of calling upon the offending organization to pay a fine, we should disfranchise every member of it until after the next ensuing election. If the men were called upon to pay a fine, their wives- and families might suffer ; but if they knew that disobedience of an award would lead to their disfranchisement, they would think twice before they disobeyed it. Such a form of punishment would also bring to bear upon the men another important influence in- that it would cause members of. the Labour party, who represent these unions, to say to them, " Obey the awards of the Court, for if you do not, there will be no one to vote for us at the next election." {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Does not *the* honorable member recognise the one-sidedness of his proposal ? He would disfranchise thousands ot employes, but let the employer go unpunished. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- The Act provides for penalties running up to £.500. and in some cases to it for disobedience of an award, and I have already pointed out that the assets of an offending employer could be levied upon. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Then how does the honorable member account for the attitude of the pastoralists in the Conciliation and Arbitration Court ? {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- Surely I am not to be held responsible for everything that takes place in this country. Owing to special circumstances workers in different industries in Australia often receive higher rates of pay than would be awarded by any Arbitration Court. Having been through the Broken Hill rush, and also the Kalgoorlie rush, I can speak from experience. In the first-named case men were able to leave Adelaide at night, and to arrive next day at Broken Hill, where they found waiting them work for which they received three times the wages that were offering in the city from which they came. No award made by a Court could meet special circumstances of that kind. The position was the same at Kalgoorlie, where, perhaps, the highest wages ever paid in Australia, were paid in the early days. Men could earn there within a fortnight of their arrival sufficient to pay for their passage from the pastern States to Fremantle, and their railway fare thence to the gold-fields. I hope that we shall have many such rushes, for I like to s'ae new districts developed, and new towns springing up. Men so situated would not be so foolish as to say, " We are governed by an award made by the Conciliation and Arbitration Court in Melbourne." With them it would be a question of supply and demand, and they would have a right to take advantage of the position. {: .speaker-JW6} ##### Mr Cann: -- And strike? {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- There is no question of a strike involved. Where there are five or six jobs looking for every man, higher wages are paid than where there are five or six men offering for every job. {: .speaker-JWY} ##### Mr Chanter: -- What wages would the men receive where the supply was greater than the demand ? {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr HEDGES: -- That can not be regulated by Acts of Parliament. I fear that we are legislating on the foundation of our continued prosperity. We have enjoyed a time of great prosperity,, and long may it continue; but with a bad season or two there would be nothing to refer to the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. The attempt now being made to control from one centre all the industrial concerns of this great continent is something like trying to establish a successful irrigation scheme by running all the watersof a State into one given place, instead of impounding it in the several districts where it could be successfully used. Half-a-dozen rivers might be running into one stream, and on each of them a good irrigation system could be established. But what wouldbe the position if we passed an Act of Parliament declaring that the people should divert .all the water to one centre whence it could be pumped back to the points at which it ought originally to have been conserved, and at which it could be advantageously used? That is really what the Governments are trying todo in regard to industrial legislation. They are trying to bring the whole control of the industrial life of Australia into one given centre, whence it is to be pumped out again all over the Commonwealth, and sprinkled over every State. I should not be surprised to see in one of our comic papers a cartoon depicting, a huge Commonwealth squirt spraying industrial awards all over the State. TheGovernment and their supporters would have us believe- that this system is to becarried out without cost to those concerned,, but one of - their number has admitted by way of interjection that it cost £30,000 to settle one industrial dispute through the medium of the Commonwealth Conciliation, and Arbitration Court. Surely so expensive a system cannot be beneficial either toemployes or employers. The best system to adopt is that of State control as far aspossible. A uniform system of WagesBoards in all the States would be the foundation of industrial peace. Wages Boards, dealing with the same callings, are also necessary in different parts of the States, because local knowledge is always required in the settlement of local troubles. If there were a uniform system of Wages Boards for Australia, the settlement of industrial troubles could be left to them, with an appeal to the County Court Judges when there was disagreement, the Judges having the right to refer Inter-State' disputes to the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. The provision in the Constitution enabling this Parliament to make laws with respect to conciliation and arbitration did not contemplate the establishment of a Court for dealing with all the trivial disputes purposely created by agitators. It was the settlement of disputes extending beyond the area of one State in regard to businesses like shipping, that the framers of the Constitution had in mind. The success which Wages Boards have achieved in Victoria is attested by the fact that the system has been copied in other States. I believe that Wages Boards are better than Arbitration Courts. Judges know nothing of industrial matters. Their training may enable them to decide points of law, but no workman would admit that a Judge knew ;is much about his business as he or his fellows. N'o Judge, however honest and capable, knows the ins-and-outs of a business like those engaged in it. The members of an industry are more satisfied with an award given by a Board on which they have been represented than by any decision of a Court. The speech of the honorable member for Flinders made it clear to me that the Government has dealt with this question on the advice of a 30s. -a- week lawyer, when it should have secured the assistance of a £5,ooo a-year man. The debate has shown that it is ten to one that the amendments proposed by the Government in this Bill are unconstitutional ; and it is twenty to one that they will increase trouble, and, in fact, create chaos. But Australia expects us to devise means to obtain industrial peace; and, if Ministers sincerely desire to do this, they will put aside all party feeling, and propose a system for the settlement of disputes which will benefit this great country. Our country is second to none on earth ; and I hope to see the time when employes and employers will be pulling together. When some of the horses in a team are holding back, and others are pulling, not much progress is made. In my opinion, the amendments proposed by the Government should be thrown on one side, and a uniform system of Wages Boards adopted. Nothing is to be gained by passing amendments which will not meet the case. The High Court has already declared much of our legislation to be unconstitutional. It has, for instance, ruled the union label and harvester provisions to be *ultra vires.* The proposals now under discussion will also be thrown into the waste-paper basket. {: #subdebate-14-0-s7 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE:
Maranoa .- After the doleful wail of the honorable member for Fremantle, I should like the Opposition Whip to put a little ginger into the debate. We miss him very much. Let me draw attention to the wording of the amendment of the honorable member for Ballarat, which honorable members may have read so often that they have lost sight of its meaning. It is that all the words after the word 11 That " be emitted from the motion, with a view to the insertion of the following words in place thereof : - >No measure the effect of which will be to concentrate in any one person the control of all the conditions of carrying on all the industries of this continent can be other than impracticable and fraught with danger to the whole community. After being closeted for four nights and days, this is the egg which the honorable members for Ballarat, Parramatta, and Darling Downs have produced. They are now trying to hatch it; but I predict that it will be addled. The honorable member for Parramatta was shadowed by the representative of the Sydney *Daily Telegraph,* the honorable member for Ballarat by the representative of the *Age,* and the honorable member for Darling Downs by the representatives of the Brisbane *Courier* and *Daily Mail.* With the help of the legal members on the front Opposition bench, they have not been able to bring forward anything better than this amendment. But there is no preference to unionists here. I can claim to be as much a legal authority as are the honorable members for Ballarat, Flinders, and Darling Downs, and I have a number of law books from which I can quote, just as they have done. What makes me sure that we are on the right track is the fact that the members on the Opposition benches are all calamity howlers. God alone knows what will happen. They do not, and we do not. Everything rests with the High Court. The debate is likely to prove the most valuable that we have had since the White Australia question was being discussed, because it will show the general public, and particularly the workers, whom the honorable member for Fremantle wants to put in their proper place- {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr Hedges: -- I did not say that. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- The honorable member should carry his baby. He should not run away from it because it is illegitimate. The fact that we have legislation, not by this Parliament, but by the High Court, is not to be denied, and it is well that the people, and particularly the workers, should know it. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- That was provided for in 1900 by the acceptance of the Constitution. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Not half-a-dozen members of this House understood thoroughly the provisions of the Constitution, and the people certainly did not understand it, when they voted for it. Although it is only twelve years since the Enabling Bill was passed through all the State Parliaments, I could not get a copy of the Queensland Bill twelve months ago when in the western parts of that State. I strongly opposed Federation, because I thought that we should do better by waiting. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr Hedges: -- The referendum showed that the people understood the Constitution. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Had they understood the ho honorable member at the last election, they would not have returned him. I hold in my hand a list of the whole of the Acts relating to Australian industry, or affecting the workers directly or indirectly. With" one exception the whole of those measures passed by this Parliament, have either been thrown out by the High Court, or been frittered away to such a degree that they are absolutely useless. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr Hedges: -- Hear, hear! This will go with them. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I quite agree with the honorable member. {: .speaker-KJC} ##### Mr HANS IRVINE:
GRAMPIANS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910 -- Then why waste time and money in discussing it? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- That is what I ask the Opposition. Why do they tear their hair and work themselves into such a fury over this thing? If we are running. to destruction, it is not the place of the Opposition to save us. It is for them to give us a shove along as quickly as they can, so that the "outs" may get in and the "ins" may go out. {: .speaker-KGZ} ##### Mr Hedges: -- But you hurt others in the track when you run to destruction. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- If the honorable member lives till I hurt him, I think he will live for ever. It is of no use for honorable members opposite to try to side-track me, or to draw a red herring across the trail. They know I am nervous. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- The honorable member does not look like a languishing industry. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- There is nothing languishing about the pile of material in front of me ; but I intend to get the whole of it into *Hansard,* so that the people of Australia shall know what has taken place since Federation with regard to conciliation and arbitration. This debate is one of the best that has ever taken place, particularly from the workers' point of view. Several honorable members have denounced us, saying that we will not obey an award when it is given. Only two awards have been given for the whole of Australia, and both have been implicitly obeyed. One is the award by **Mr. Justice** O'Connor for the Australian Workers Union, and the other is the " shandy-gaff " award for the bootmakers. It is a strange thing that every member who has risen on the Opposition benches has stated repeatedly, and with very marked effect, " We believe in unionism, but - " and a very big " but," too. They balk at the " but," as a horse often balks at a fence. {: .speaker-KJC} ##### Mr HANS IRVINE:
GRAMPIANS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910 -- Political unionism was the " but." {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- What about the political unionism of the Opposition? Not a word is said about that. We shall see at the next general election where their political unionism is. Supposing that honorable members on the other side do believe in unionism, as they say they do, there is, at any rate, no shadow of a doubt that we believe in unionism. 1 believe, and always have believed, in it. If honorable members opposite had suffered in the same degree that many of us have suffered for the cause of unionism, they would be strong on it. too. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- My honorable friend looks a fine martyr. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Like the honorable member, I am ripening with age. No doubt, when he becomes my age, he will look a very pleasant martyr, too. No one is more anxious for conciliation and arbitration than I am. I have been through a strike. I have known what it is to go to bed hungry, and get up hungry, and with my youngsters wanting "tucker." I do not want to see anybody go through the same *Conciliation and* [24 October,1911.] *Arbitration Bill.* 1761 ordeal that I have been through ; and I say unhesitatingly that I would sacrifice almost anything for compulsory conciliation and arbitration, whereby strikes would be averted. That is the feeling I have in my breast, and I have been preaching it ever since the 1891 shearers' strike in Queensland. If honorable members opposite believe in what they say, and are not speaking with their tongue in their cheek, let them assist in every possible way to bring about industrial peace throughout the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I thought the honorable member was in favour of a strike every time. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- If the honorable member only took care to listen to what I say, he would know that my view is this - a strike is the only weapon at present in the industrial workers' hands. If you take the right to strike away from him, he becomes impotent, and is no more or less than a chattel slave. I have the blood of Britons coursing in my veins, and if the honorable member for Richmond, or any other honorable member, thinks he is going to deprive me of a right without a fight, let him look out. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- You cannot have compulsory arbitration and the right to strike, too. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- We have compulsory conciliation and arbitration now in the Australian Workers Union, and, as I have said times out of number on the floor of this chamber, my advice always is, " Obey that award implicitly." That is also the advice of every one of our leaders in the Labour party. But when there is no award, or only a shandygaff arrangement, the right to strike should be inherent in every worker. Let me tell the honorable member for Richmond that men do not go out on strike for fun. There is no fun in it so far as the worker is concerned. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member means that, when the award does not suit them, they should strike. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I cannot tell the honorable member my position in any plainer language than I have already used. If a conciliation and arbitration award is given, both sides should obey it, and, so far as I am concerned, I shall do my best to make the workers obey it. In fact, I would go almost as far as the honorable member for Fremantle went. He said he would deprive them of their votes ! When the honorable member for Fremantle made that suggestion, surely he did not realize its seriousness. If put into practice, it would deprive this House of some of its most voluble members. {: .speaker-KXP} ##### Mr Palmer: -- Its greatest ornaments. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- It all depends on what the honorable member calls ornaments. The honorable member for Echuca adorns the assembly in one way, the honorable member for Maranoa adorns it in a totally different way. The majority of the people of Maranoa believe in their adornment, and would not have the adornment which the honorable member for Echuca would confer upon them ; while, perhaps, the constituents of the honorable member for Echuca would not accept an adornment for their district like the honorable member for Maranoa. As I told the honorable member for Richmond, there is no fun in going out on strike. The working man has nothing to lose but his labour, and his labour in 999 cases out of 1,000 means bread and butter for his wife, his children, and himself. It puts me in mind of a cartoon I saw once depicting a splendid dinner inside an alligator's mouth, with the words, " Take it, or work." If the man had taken it, the jaws would have come down, and he would have lost his life. The worker has to lose practically all that he has with which to buy food for his wife and family. Once a worker loses that money, it is gone from him for ever. There is no hope of his ever making it up, and so the honorable member for Richmond had better disabuse his mind of the idea that workers go out on strike for the fun of the thing. There is no fun in it for either side. I shall read a statement of the decisions of the High Court in regard to the measures passed by this Parliament for the alleviation of industrial trouble throughout the length and breadth of Australia, in order to let the people of the country know what the position now is. I propose now to assume the *role* of a lawyer without preference. These are the decisions of the High Court - >Decisions of High Court. > > *Conciliation and Arbitration Act.* > >The Federated Amalgamated Government Railway and Tramway Service Association *v.* The New South Wales Railway Traffic Employes Association. Vol. 4, C.L.R., 488. > >Jumbunna Coal Mine No Liability *v.* Victorian Coal Miners Association. Vol. 6, C.L.R., 309. > >Rex *v.* The Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, *exparte* Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd. Vol. 8, C.L.R., 419. > >The Federated Saw Mill, Timber Yard, and General Wood Workers Employees' Association of Australia *v.* James Moore and Sons Proprietary Ltd. and others. Vol. 8, C.L.R., 465. > >The Amalgamated Society of Engineers *v.* The Australasian Institute of Marine Engineers. Vol. 9, C.L.R., 49. > >Australian Boot Trade Employes Federation *v.* Whybrow and Co., and others. Vol. 10, C.L.R., 266. > >Rex *v.* The Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, *ex parte* Whybrow and Co. Vol. 11, C.L.R., 1. > >Australian Boot Trade Employes Federa lion *v.* Whybrow and Co., and others. Vol.11, C.L.R., 311. > >Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen's Association of Australia *v.* Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company Ltd. and others. Vol. 17, Argus Law Reports Part 14. > >The Marine Cooks, Bakers, and Butchers' Association *v.* The Commonwealth Steam-ship Owners Association. (Arbitration Court.) Vol. 2, C. Arb. Reports, p. 55. > > *Australian Industries Preservation Act.* > >Huddart Parker and Co. Ltd. *v.* Moorhead. Vol. S, C.L.R., 330. > >The King *v.* The Associated Northern Collieries. Vol. 11, C.L.R., 738. > > *Seamen's Compensation Act.* 1, The Owners of s.s *Kalibia v.* Wilson. > >Vol. 11, C.L.R., 689. > > *Trade Marks Act.* (Union Label.) > >The Attorney-General for New South Wales > >Brewery Employes Union of New South Wales. Vol. 6, C.L.R., 469. > > *Excise A ct.* (Harvester Case.) > >Kingv. Barger. (The New Protection.) > >Vol. 6, C.L.R., 41. Every one of the Acts under which those cases were heard was mutilated. In fact, the whole of the cases, with the exception of that affecting the Australian Boot Trade Employes Federation, were declared by the High Court to have been determined under legislation that was *ultra vires.* If that is not legislation by High Court, tell me what is ? I cannot go into the legal technicalities, but here is the point that I want to bring out. The Labour party did not introduce one of those measures. They were introduced by honorable members opposite. {: .speaker-KJC} ##### Mr HANS IRVINE:
GRAMPIANS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910 -- Who were forced into doing so by the Labour party. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Fancy the honorable member for Grampians having the audacity to say that the gentlemen who sit around him were forced into doing anything against their will ! The idea is preposterous. Howcould they have been forced? Who could force me into doing anything that I did not want to do? {: .speaker-KJC} ##### Mr HANS IRVINE:
GRAMPIANS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910 -- No, but the honorable member and his party forced them. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I have no recollection of anything of the kind. The Bills were introduced by the honorable member for Ballarat, the honorable member for Darling Downs, and the honorable member for Angas, all of whom were Attorneys- General. In fact, the whole of the Opposition front bench is full of lawyers at this moment. There they are, sitting like crows upon a fence, ready to pounce down on a few poor maggots ! Surely those gentlemen ought to have known it if the measures for which they are responsible were *ultra vires.* They were rogues, or they were fools, if they did not know. Either they introduced these measures wilfully or they did not understand what they were doing. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- The honorable member himself says that this Bill is going to be thrown out by the High Court. He is supporting this Bill wilfully. Is he a rogue or a fool ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I never said such a thing; or, rather, if I did, let me correct myself at once. I do not think that the Bill will be declared *ultra vires.* If there is one thing more than another that convinces me that it is not, it is the way the lawyers opposite are opposing it. At any rate, I am quite willing to take the risk for the sake of making the compulsory Conciliation and Arbitration Act effective. Today it is ineffective, and we have good reason to believe that this measure will serve the purpose for which it has been introduced. {: .speaker-KXP} ##### Mr Palmer: -- In spite of what the lawyers say? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- Does the honorable member believe all the lawyers tell him? I gave him credit for having more sense. If he had read the judgments of the High Court he would have known that the Judges were equally divided with regard to this legislation, and that it was the Chief Justice's verdict that decided the matter. How do honorable members opposite explain that ? Is that the judgment of one man or of two or three? I listened to the honorable member . for Darling Downs very intently on Friday last. He quoted from a number of legal authorities to show why this measure was unconstitutional. The whole of his argument concentrated round the point that we were going to allow one man to control the whole of the industries of Australia. Is that the cause of contention? With all due deference to the Chief Justice of Australia - and I believe that he is one of the soundest lawyers in the Commonwealth - I venture to say that he is the one man who has determined that so much of our legislation is *ultra* *vires.* {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- There are five Judges. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- There are, but when there are two on one side and two on the ether, who decides? The Chief Justice. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Three against two. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- If two honorable members in this House, sitting on the Ministerial side, came to one conclusion, and two members of the Opposition came to an opposite conclusion, and **Mr. Speaker** decided between them, would he not do exactly as the. Chief Justice has done in so many of these cases ? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- There were three independent judgments. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I admit that; but still there is the position - this one man does the trick. If he had not done it, the trick would not have been done. I find no fault whatever with these judgments. I have read a good many of them, and I do not envy the lawyers their job. I have had "a good go:' at these books during the last two or three days. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- " A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind." {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- The lawyers earn their money ; I am satisfied about that. Being a layman - and one of the " common or garden " variety of laymen at that - I must say that some of these judgments are couched in plain unvarnished language that any ordinary individual can understand. I expected to find a lot of legal phrases and technicalities. But the language is as clear as any man could possibly desire it to *x.* As I have said, I do not find fault with them. What I am finding fault with is that it seems very peculiar to me - as it seems very peculiar to the ordinary working man outside - that the awards should be upset in such a maimer. There is one case in particular in which the Registrar had registered a union and an award had been given. The case was sent to the High Court, and a question of jurisdiction was raised. The award was ruled out by the Court - rightly, I believe, after reading the judgment. But, **Mr. Speaker,** why cannot we have a Board with two men on it representing the employers, and two representing the employes, to go through their mutual differences and refer any question of law to the Judge? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- That is what we say. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I do not think that any reasonable man - any man who has at heart the benefit of his union, or the cause of industrial peace and the welfare of Australia - would refuse to accept that position. He would accept it gladly. That is how the matter appeals to me. Notwithstanding what others have said, there is only one point of difference as regards compulsory conciliation and arbitration between the honorable member for Flinders and myself. He does not believe in State and Commonwealth servants coming under an award of the Court. There we differ. But I say that if we could make it compulsory for employes and' employers to come together in that way, I would vote for it. Something should be done, and done speedily, to bring about conciliation and arbitration in a proper spirit. We should not have it as it is at present, so that if an award pleases, it is obeyed, and if it does not please, the parties will not have it. I do not know whether I would be in order in referring to the case just concluded affecting the Australian Workers Union. It has cost our union some thousands of pounds. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- It is said to be worth ;£ 100,000 a year to those who have won. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- 1 do not think that. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The honorable member for Werriwa says so. He obtained the information from one of the organizers or leaders of the Australian Workers Union. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I have not gone into it in that way. {: #subdebate-14-0-s8 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! I ask the honorable member not to discuss that matter. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I am sorry for transgressing, sir. The time has come when something will have to be done by both sides of the House to stop this spending of money on conciliation and arbitration cases. In conversation with several lawyers, I found that they are not anxious that this state of things should continue. Of course, many of us say at. times that the lawyers carry on cases for the purpose of making money. But there are plenty of other ways of making money without making it out of conciliation and arbitration cases; and the men who are engaged in this particular business are quite willing that something on the lines I have suggested should be brought about. With regard to the judgments given by the High Court against the Arbitration Court, it is right ..and proper, I think, that the awards should be 1764 *Conciliation and* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Arbitration Bill.* quoted in this debate. I do not intend to quote them fully, because, after perusing several volumes of the reports, I made a discovery which saved me a lot of time. I discovered that all I wanted to know was published at the beginning of the reports; but I did not make that discovery until I had gone through several volumes. It is said that a person who is learning a thing anew, always takes the longest road before he finds the shortest one. I only intend to quote a few of the cases, and particularly that which is known generally as the new Protection case. Notwithstanding what has been said both here and outside, I am satisfied that the Government of the day were faithful and true in introducing the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Bill. I believe that they thought that they had the power to do that which they tried to do. I do not want to condemn any Government, or any individual. I believe that the Government of the day tried their best, and failed. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- They followed the advice of their Attorney-General, who afterwards held the same opinion as a Judge of the High Court. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- The honorable member refers to **Mr. Justice** Isaacs? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- That is, I think, an answer to the honorable member for Echuca. There is the position in a nutshell. Who was more disappointed at the judgment in that case than were the workers in connexion with the agricultural implement industry? Some of them went so far as to say that it was a put-up job. Now, there was no job about the matter at all. What was done was done in all good faith by the Government of the day; and, as I said before, we got legislation by the High Court. The workers of Australia are beginning to be alive to the fact that there is something radically wrong in the state of Denmark when we pass legislation here and the High Court knocks it out. One can get on a platform and speak for hour after hour, but one cannot make them understand the position. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The High Court did not knock out the Act, but merely interpreted it. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I would like the honorable member to tell me what the High Court did with the Act if they did not knock it out. It is no good, and when a man. is knocked out he is no good ; that is a certainty. The Chief Justice winds up a judgment with very few words, and that puts the kibosh on the Act. Whether it is knocked out or knocked in or knocked endways, it is out all the same. I am not complaining, I repeat, about the High Court, but the people are. I venture to say, in passing, that when we take the next referendum and distribute the debate on the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition, we shall dance to' quite another tune. This matter is affecting the people vitally, and it is said that one cannot hurt a man worse than by touching his breeches' pocket. That is just what the High Court is doing, and it is one of the best object-lessons that the people can have before we take the next referendum. I hold in my hand a letter which was casually referred to by the honorable member for Dalley, but it contains one or two little items which I think call for notice from me as a member of the House of Representatives, and a member of the Australian Workers Union. It is, I see, signed by **Mr. Walpole.** I congratulate honorable members opposite upon having their old friend back in harness. He is one of the best organizers we have ever had in the Commonwealth, and is paid by the Employers' Federation. We have nothing to cavil about with regard to this gentleman, 1 can assure my honorable friends. This is the gentleman who gained notoriety a few years ago in Victoria by telling the people of Lilydale that for the workers marriage was a luxury, and that the employers were not going to pay for them to have more pints of beer and to get married. If marriage is a luxury, then God help this country. The letter reads as follows : - >The Central Council of Employers of Australia. > >Oxford Chambers, Bourke-street, > >Melbourne, 21st October,1911. > >Dear **Sir,** > >I have the honour, by direction of the Conference of Employers of Australia, sitting in Melbourne, to bring under your notice the following series of resolutions passed relating to the Amending Bill *re* Conciliation and Arbitration, now before your House, with a view of placing the employers (the other parties to the contract) views on this very important matter. It is just as well that the resolutions should go on record, because I agree that the employers have the same right of protest as have the employes. Last night the honorable member for Balaclava appeared at a little shivoo given by some of the toniest of the tonies, and said that the people will rise up in rebellion against this class legislation. That is just what they did at the *Conciliation and* [24 October, 1911.] *Arbitration Bill.* 1765 last Federal election. Up to that time what did we have but class legislation? Until the creation of this Federal Parliament with a Senate and a House of Representatives elected by those of the full age of twenty-one years, when did we have representative government in Australia ? When did we see or hear the voice of the people until that event? But in ten years from the inception of Federation what did we find ? We found a whole reversal of form in favour of this dastardly Labour party. I have related times without number how Labour members were treated in Queensland fifteen or sixteen years ago. To-day the Labour party occupy the Treasury benches, and have what no previous Federal Government had, and that is a majority of Labour men in each House of this Parliament. At the last election the people spoke with one emphatic voice. It was no one State more than another which spoke; all the States spoke, and even Conservative Tasmania sent more than her quota. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I admit, sir, that I was transgressing. I was carried away by my feelings. These are the resolutions to which I have referred - >That the Prime Minister and Parliament be advised that this Conference of delegates, now sitting, representing the Employers' Federation of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and West Australia, are opposed to any further amendment of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, as expressed in the Amending Bill now before the Federal House, on the following good and sufficient grounds : - Before I read the grounds of their objection I would mention that this very Bill has brought together the whole of the manufacturing class from one end of Australia to the other. We are slowly consummating what the honorable member for Flinders suggested should come, and that is that all the employers should be united on one side and all the employes on the other. Then, I venture to say, we shall have compulsory arbitration of the best type. The resolutions continue - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. That the proposed Amending Bill endeavours to give the Court (consisting of one Judge only) autocratic powers over the freedom of both workers and employers unknown in any British community, and instead of bringing about conciliation and peace, must only intensify the friction existing between the parties before the Court. 1. That the establishment of Wages Boards in Victoria now spread to all the other States, and the abandonment of Compulsory Arbitration Courts in certain States. They do not say why Courts were abandoned. They were not abandoned because they were not workable, but because it was thought that in many instances the worker was getting too fair a deal. The Governments of the day brought in amending Bills to do away with the Conciliation and Arbitration Acts, particularly in New South Wales. In Western Australia a Government went out on a Wages Board system as against compulsory conciliation and arbitration, and what do we find? To-day they are floundering about for another policy. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- Has the Labour Government of New South Wales repealed the Wages Board Act, then? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- What opportunity have the Government had of passing legislation, let alone repealing any ? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- Do they propose it? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I am not in the confidence of any Government, not even the Commonwealth Government ; and I cannot say what is proposed. I venture to say, however, that the majority of the unionists of NewSouth Wales are in favour of compulsory conciliation and arbitration. {: .speaker-JMG} ##### Mr Atkinson: -- Has the honorable member noticed a debate in the New Zealand Parliament indicating that the opinion is there held that arbitration has run its course ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I have not, and I do not think I shall ; it is quite enough for me to deal with the Commonwealth without turning to New Zealand. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. That the establishment of Wages Boards in Victoria now spreadto all the other States, and the abandonment of Compulsory Arbitration Courts in certain States, have the approval of both workers and the public. This is shown in the hundreds of trades now either placed, or about to be placed, under Wages Boards in the different States. The satisfaction with their results, in the public mind, is best shown by the refusal of a large majority of the voters against the further extension of industrial powers to the Federal Parliament at the late Referenda. What is the use of constantly referring to what took place on the 26th April? I do not remember ever reading or hearing of any honorable member on either side referring on that occasion to Wages Boards or Arbitration Courts - {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Finally, that the Act has gone far beyond the scope intended by the framers of the Constitution when inserting section 51, sub-section 35, whose *raison d'etre* was to deal with a possible Maritime Strike. It has completely failed to carry out the one object of its creation - the stoppage of strikes, or sympathetic strikes by those under the Court ; and such action has been supported by members of Hie Federal Parliament and Ministers of the Crown. Strikes and threats of strikes against the agreements of the Court in other places where Compulsory Arbitration exists are common, and can only be expected as a natural result, as compulsion is the antithesis of freedom and repugnant to the British race. I" am, **Sir, yours** obediently, Rout. Walpole, Secretary. I am with M.r. Walpole and the Employers Federation a long way, but I wish they would stick to the truth. I do not know whether they think we are foolish, or never read, when they put such stuff as that before us. It may suit their purpose for a time, but it has no more influence on me than water has on a duck's back. I should have liked to hear from the honorable member for Fremantle what he meant by his reference to " thirtyshillingsaweek lawyers." Never in the whole course of my existence did I ever know of a lawyer who worked for 30s. a week. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- If the honorable member will furnish me with that lawyer's name I shall have him " fired out" of the union. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE: -- I am pleased to have that promise, because it shows a strong indication of preference to unionists; and I shall endeavour to obtain the name for the Attorney-General. The first judgment of the High Court to which I desire to call attention is that given in the case of *The King* v. *Barger,* an action by the Customs authorities. The Chief Justice on that occasion said - >In determining whether a particular law is or is not within the power of the Commonwealth Parliament to enact, regard must be had to its substance rather than to its literal form. > >The circumstance that an indirect effect may be produced by the exercise of an admitted power of legislation is irrelevant to the question whether the legislature is competent to prescribe the same effect by direct law. So are the motives which actuated the legislature and the ultimate end desired to be attained. > >So long as the limits of the power of taxation are not transgressed, Parliament may select the persons or the things in respect of which the exercise of power is to operate. > >If the control of the domestic affairs of the States is in any particular forbidden by the Constitution, either expressly or by necessary implication, the power of taxation cannot be exercised so as to operate as a direct interference with those affairs in that particular. > >The selection of a particular class of goods produced in Australia for taxation by a method which makes the liability to taxation dependent upon conditions to be observed in the industry in which they are produced is as much an attempt to regulate those conditions as if the regulation were made by distinct enactment. . . . > >Properly construed the Act imposes taxation upon implements which are not in fact manufactured under described conditions to be ascertained in prescribed modes, but does not render any conditions unlawful. It is, consequently, not a regulative Act which a State could pass in the same terms, but an exercise of the power of Excise taxation, and, if passed by a State Legislature, would be invalid. > >As the Act merely imposes Excise taxation, section 55 of the Constitution is not contravened. > >The proviso does not discriminate between localities at all, but describes standards applicable to Australia generally, irrespective of its division into States or parts of States, and does not offend against the prohibition contained in section 51 (ii.) of the Constitution. > > *Per Isaacs, J.* - The discrimination forbidden by section 51 (ii.) of the Constitution is between localities considered and treated as States and parts of States, and not as mere Australian localities or parts of the Commonwealth considered as a single country. This was in reference to an Act under which it was desired to secure, as a *quid pro quo* for increased import duties on harvester machines, that fair and reasonable wages, adjudged by the Court, should be given. The case was not struck out as the honorable member for Batman said, but the award was not allowed, it being practically held that the Act was *ultra vires.* In the Engine-drivers' case **Mr. Justice** Higgins said - >It is quite clear that the learned President, in inquiring into the existence of such an industrial dispute as is necessary to giving jurisdiction, is no more bound by the ordinary rules of evidence than he is in hearing the merits of the dispute. > >In proceeding on prohibition, the evidence taken before the Arbitration Court may, of course, be brought before this Court on affidavit in the ordinary way, but the Court could not act upon any evidence which would be inadmissible under the .ordinary law of evidence. **Mr. Justice** Higgins expressed himself in no uncertain language with regard to the engine-drivers, with the result, that it was held there was no jurisdiction, as was also held in the case of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, and that of the union label. If there was one question more than another on which this House was less divided, it was in regard to the union label. The Attorney-General of New South Wales had issued a. writ against the brewery employes union of that State; and **Mr. Justice** Isaacs said - >Workers' trade marks, as dealt with and defined in the Trade Marks Act 1905, Part VII., are not. trade marks within the meaning of section 51, pi. xviii. of the Constitution. > >The meaning of the terms used in the Constitution must be ascertained by their signification in 1900. > >It is a necessary implication from pi. i. of section 51 of the Constitution that the power of Parliament does not extend to trade and commerce within a State, and consequently the power lo legislate as to internal trade and commerce is reserved lo the States by section 107 to ihe exclusion of the Commonwealth. When the intention to reserve any subject-matter to the States, to the exclusion of the Commonwealth, clearly appears, no exception should lie admitted to that reservation which is not expressed in clear words. . . . > >The Court cannot be called on or with propriety assume to declare an Act of Parliament unconstitutional unless such a decision is absolutely necessary, and a party seeking such a declaration must show some legal cause of complaint. . . . > >Held (per Griffith, C.J., Barton and O'Connor, JJ., Isaacs and Higgins, JJ., dissenting) - (i) that the plaintiff companies were persons aggrieved by the registration, and were therefore proper plaintiffs; (2) per Griffith, C.J., Barton, O'Connor, and Isaacs, JJ., Higgins, J., dissenting, that the plaintiff Attorney-General, ns representing the public of his State claiming to be injured by the legislation in question, was a proper plaintiff; (3) per Griffith, C.J., Barton and O'Connor, JJ., Isaacs and 'Higgins, JJ., dissenting, that the suit was rightly framed, injunction and not *quo warranto* being the appropriate remedy under the circumstances, and that the plaintiffs were entitled to the relief prayed. The result was the same in the case of the federated boot trade employes, the railway servants, the Industries Preservation Act, and the Seamen's Compensation Act. I shall not read these judgments, except in the case of the Seamen's Compensation Act, which I think ought to be placed on record, as it was one of the measures that was passed at the close of last session. At the very first opportunity presented of testing this Act, the High Court ruled it out on the ground that we had no jurisdiction. In the case of *The Owners of the s.s. Kalibia,* appellants, and *Alexander Wilson,* respondent, it was held that - >A Judge in Chambers has power lo set aside :an order made *ex parte* by another Judge under section 13 of No. 29 of 1909. An order made for the detention of a ship under that section as a judicial order, from which an appeal lies tT the High Court. > > *Per Griffith,* C.J. - A power conferred upon *sl* judicial officer, *eo nomine,* 10 make an order *to* the prejudice of another, is *prima, facie* judicial. > >When a judicial order has been obtained *ex parte,* the party affected by it may apply for -its discharge. > >A ship was chartered to carry cargo from New York to Australian ports. While the ship was at Adelaide, the chief officer, at the request of the charterers' agent, agreed to take charge of a small package, which had been consigned, from New York to Brisbane by another ship, and had been discharged al Adelaide by mistake. > >The chief officer carried the package in his cabin from Adelaide to Brisbane, and delivered it there to the charterers' agents. The package was not entered in the ship's manifest, no bill of lading or shipping note was signed in respect of it, and no freight was paid for it, the transaction being treated as a voluntary courtesy *on the part of* the chief officer. *Held,* that the package was not cargo within the meaning or section 4 of No. 29 of 1909. > >Decision of Gordon, J., *in re Wilson,* 27 W.N., 73 reversed on this point. > >The provisions of section 4 of the Seamen's Compensation Act 1909, in so far as they purport to regulate purely intra-Stale trade, are *ultra vires,* section 51 (1) of the Constitution. After stating the facts of the case, and giving certain reasons for the judgment of the Court, the Chief Justice said - >For these reasons I am of opinion that the Act was not within the powers of the Parliament, and is wholly invalid. > >I have not thought it necessary to refer to the argument based on pi. iii. of section 76 of the Constitution, which, I think, is quite untenable. The Seamen's Compensation Act was introduced to protect seamen; and had it successfully run the gauntlet of the High Court, the widows and families of the seamen on board the ill-fated *Yongala* would have been provided for to-day. As it is, they are not, and some of them went to law, only to. find that they had no redress. That is the position in a nutshell. It is the desire of the Labour party that the principle of conciliation and arbitration shall be carried out in its entirety. No matter what capital the Opposition may try to make out of my statement that I am for the striker every time, that is absolutely our desire. I wish it to be distinctly understood that I alone am responsible' tor any statement that I make in this House. I " carry the baby " myself, and am quite willing to carry it. I do not desire that any other man shall be saddled with the responsibility for my utterances in this Chamber; but, knowing what I do, and feeling as I do, my sympathies are with the strikers every time. I am not in favour of strikes, for the reason that, whether the men win or lose, they are, in fact, the losers every time, and their wives and families must suffer. My experience of big strikes in Australia is that women are better strikers than are men. I have known women, in several instances, to implore their husbands not to go " scabbing1" or " blacklegging," but to stand their ground and go down with their colours flying. Under the condition of affairs that prevailed until a few years ago, men were slow to go on strike; but the tyrants of those days were the best organizers we ever had. The tramway employes of Brisbane are being subjected to tyranny by their employers, and I venture to say that **Mr. Badger** is the best organizer that the Tramway Union has. Let him continue on the track he is at present following, and if there is no " moral suasion " before long, my name is not Page. Tyranny drives men to do things that they would never think of doing in other circumstances, lt is tyranny that drives then* to think and act as they would not otherwise do. During the shearers strike of 1891 in Queensland, there were sent to gaol men who had no more criminal intent than has any honorable member of this House. But many who were then lodged with criminals at St. Helena are to-day occupying some of the highest positions in the Federal and State Parliaments. I sincerely hope, both as a member of this House and as a unionist, that the Bill will pass in its entirety. We shall then see whether the croakers of the Opposition - the calamity howlers - or the Government are right. I have so much confidence in the Government as to believe that they think they are on the right track, and consider that what they are doing is not to benefit themselves, but to alleviate the sufferings of the men, women, and children, not only of to-day, but of the years to come. I feel satisfied that, in the days to come, the workers will thank God that there was a Labour party in the National Parliament to try to bring about a better condition of things, both socially and industrially, than existed when they set out upon the work. {: #subdebate-14-0-s9 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- One of the chief points made by the honorable member for Maranoa, in the course of his speech, was that something would have to be done to stop the spending of large sums of money to secure awards ; while another point raised by him referred to the difficulty that arises from time to time owing to the High Court declaring certain Acts to be unconstitutional. Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages of a Federal system of Government is that there must be a High Court, or some similar tribunal, to stand between the two sets of Parliaments which the sovereign people of Australia have set up. There being one sovereign people who can delegate only one sovereignty, it neces sarily follows that once that sovereignty is; bisected, there must be set up some intermediary body to declare when, where, and! how far, either the one or the other of those Parliaments has exceeded that quantum of sovereign power vested by thesovereign people in their several Parliaments. That, if honorable membersplease, is one of the weaknesses of a Federal system; but, under our Federal! system, we have probably the most democratic form of government that the mind of" man has ever devised. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- At the present time, the honorable member means? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I was speaking, not. of any particular Government, but of theform of government existing under theFederal Constitution. I did not suggest for a moment that those who occupy the Government benches at the present timeare more democratic than are the Opposition. The point I was making was that it was one of the necessary evils, if you. like, of a Federal system of government,, that certain legislation should be held from time to time to be unconstitutional. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- It is not necessarily so; if we had the same power to provide for arbitration as the States possess there would be no trouble. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Even then, we should not get away from the judgments of the High Court in respect of other matters. The honorable member for Maranoa referred to decisions of the Court declaring unconstitutional certain enactments that were not entirely confined to the arbitration power. As to the other point raised by him, that something would have to be done to stop .the spending of money to secure "awards, I think it has been pointed out very effectually in this House that the steps which the Government of the day are taking to amend our existing industrial legislation, so far from being likely to reduce the expenditure of the unions in obtaining awards, will tend rather to impose upon them yet another financial burden. Notwithstanding the doubts which the honorable member expressed at the opening of his speech as to the *bona fides* of the members of the Opposition in their desire to see the principle of arbitration extended in the Commonwealth, I think it will be conceded1 that the general belief of all the members of this Chamber, with, perhaps, very few exceptions, is that it is by some system of compulsory arbitration that we shall best secure industrial peace and, with that, the *Conciliation and[24* October,1911] *Arbitration Bill.* 1769 industrial progress and prosperity of this great country. We must all admit,_ also, that ever since we started along this particular pathway to try to devise means whereby employers and employed could be brought together in such a way that their difficulties and differences could be amicably settled, we have been experimenting. We have been trying to find out the best possible means to secure the ends that we all have in view ; and, although we may differ, and differ very widely, as to the means whereby those ends are best to be secured, that should not cause doubt to be thrown upon the *bona fides* of members in their desire to see this very desirable state of affairs brought about in Australia. The arbitration that we have known in Australia until now has been, both in the States and in the Commonwealth, on the lines of industrial organization. The disputes that have been dealt with havebeen those between employers and employes in homogeneous industries. In many cases the organization, so far as the employes have been concerned, has also been on the lines of craft unionism, the members of a craft being all engaged in the same industry. Arbitration requires the existence of two parties having a matter in dispute between them and a third party as arbitrator. On one side there must be the employers, and on the other the employes. To secure the representation of both," there must be a common basis of organization. Then an arbitrator can hold level the scales of justice. The Government, however, propose to depart widely from the present system, and to follow the suggestions of counsel for the claimant in the case of the Federated Engine-drivers Association. He argued that the community of interest is not between those producing the same commodity, hut between those employed in the same class of labour. His point was that if there was community of interest between the employes, the Court need not consider whether there was community of interest between the employers. But arbitration with only one party before the Court would be impossible. Under such circumstances, the Judge, instead of being an arbitrator, would be a dictator, and legislator. The industries in which engine-drivers are employed number pretty well all in the Commonwealth. If a Judge were called upon to make a determination regarding the wages, hours, and conditions to be observed throughout Australia for engine-drivers he would have to investigate the affairs of all those industries. That would be a terrific task to set any one man. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- As a judicial inquiry, it would be impossible. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It is doubtful whether any man could undertake it at all, however willing and able. Yet that is the task which the Government proposes to set the President of the Arbitration Court. The question must also be asked : Would the Court, in making an award, be able to discriminate between one State and another? The honorable member for Maranoa desires that unions shall not be put to great expense by arbitration proceedings, but if the Bill becomes law, the scope of inquiries will be immensely extended, so that they must take longer, and cost more. Consequently, the cost of getting an award will, in many cases, be infinitely more than in the case which the honorable member cited a little earlier this evening. Mr.Page. - Surely that should not debar us from doing the right thing? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know that it should, but I draw the honorable member's particular attention to the fact that the President of the Arbitration Court, in the judgment which he recently gave in the shearers' case, said that he had grave doubts whether it was possible to discriminate between one State and another. Consequently, if any award was given in an industry of that sort, he would probably think it incumbent upon him to grant an absolutely mechanical wage from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. The Sydney *Worker* of nth October published the whole of his judgment verbatim. According to that report, he said - >As a. result, the grounds for the discrimination in favour of the pastoralist on the south border of the Murray against the pastoralist on the north are so elusive and unsubstantial that 1 must refuse to make the distinction in rates for shearing. > >If any discrimination in rates ought to be made as between States, the rate ought to be lower for Queensland, for the sheep generally are in Queensland easier to shear, and the tallies are greater for a day's work, and, owing to the prevalence of dry weather in the shearing months the average earnings from start to finish are higher. He practically said, therefore that hadit been in his power to grant discrimination in the shearing rates, he would have reversed the decision of his predecessor, and fixed lower rates for Queensland than for Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. He went on to say - >The decisions of the High Court, however, raise a doubt whether, even if a discrimination would be just, I have power to make a discrimination in favour of the Queensland pastoralists against those of the other States. For the claimant has not asked for such a discrimination, and none of the respondents have asked for it in their answers. Consequently, if the engine-drivers went to the expense of going to the Court and getting an award under this Bill, unless he made an absolutely mechanical award from one end of the Commonwealth to the other, the President of the Court himself has said that, in his opinion, it would in all probability be unconstitutional. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I think the honorable member for Flinders contended that it was decided that such a discrimination was permissible in the case of the woodworkers. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- -I am simply quoting the statement of the Judge of the Court for what it is worth. {: .speaker-KJE} ##### Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I doubt whether he was forced to that conclusion by the decisions of the High Court. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- At any rate, I have quoted what he said. I would ask the honorable member for Maranoa to watch that the Government do not, by passing this Bill, hold out to the workers, to whose interests the honorable member would never do anything detrimental, a bait which will lead them to apply for awards at far greater expense than they have to go to now, and obtain them only to find that the whole basis of the measure is unconstitutional. The Government should be careful to see that that does not happen. If the recent referenda had been carried, this Bill would have had a much more serious effect than it probably will have now; but we must not lose sight of the fact that the Government intend to re-submit those questions to the people. If they do get the powers asked for, of course the Bill will operate. At present there is no power to make a common rule, and, consequently, no award is binding on those who are not parties to it. If those industrial proposals, as submitted at the referenda, are subsequently adopted by the people, and the power to make a common rule is given, we shall have 'an infinitely worse position than that which obtains to-day. As soon as a common rule can be made, those who are not parties to an award will nevertheless be bound by it. In industries which are scattered all over Australia, whilst under craft organization there is a community of interest among the employes, there is none among the employers. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- Explain where there cannot be. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- What community of interest can there be between the mineowners of Western Australia, the sawmillers of Northern Queensland, the butter- makers on the Richmond River, the soapmakers of Sydney, and the jam-makers of Hobart? Can the honorable member show me any basis of organization covering industries so widely dissimilar and scattered as they are? Whilst there is a basis of organization as far as some of the employes, such as the engine-drivers, are concerned - the men being all of one craft - there is of necessity no such basis for employers. The honorable member for Cook pointed out last week the difficulty that exists. There is no desire on this side of the House to interfere with organizations of employes as such. All that we are contending: for is that an award of the Arbitration Court shall be confined to an industry. Suppose that an industry such as jam making applies for an award. There is nothing whatever to prevent the secretary for the engine-drivers appearing before the Court and putting in a claim on behalf of the members of his union, provided, of course, that we make it legislatively possible. The same may be said with respect to the saw-milling, the freezing and other industries. I am sure that every one who had the pleasure of listening to the honorable member for North Sydney was very pleased to have the benefit of his experience, But at the same time I do not think that any honorable member who has spoken from the Ministerial benches has in any way answered the case which the honorable member for Cook put before us. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr Howe: -- The majority of the workers in New South Wales would not approve of what the honorable member for Cook said. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member for Dalley stated that the greater number of the employes in New South Wales do not approve of this particular form of arbitration. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr Howe: -- I say unhesitatingly that outside one organization they do not approve of it. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Nevertheless they have availed themselves very largely of the facilities given to them under the existing industrial law. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr Howe: -- It was a case of that or nothing. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Notwithstanding the faith which the honorable member for North Sydney has in the old New South *Conciliation and* [24 October,1911.] *Arbitration Bill* 1771 Wales Arbitration Court - and naturally he has faith in it as he was a member of the Court - I claim that unionism has never advanced with such rapid strides as has been the case during the period when the Wages Board system has been in operation in that State. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- That is due to the general prosperity. {: #subdebate-14-0-s10 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If general prosperity would have tended in any particular direction it would have been rather against unionism, because it is adversity rather than prosperity that drives men to band together. Numerically, the unions have grown as they never grew before during the period the Wages Board system has been in existence. Whilst during three years and two months under the old Arbitration Act, only thirty-nine awards were obtained- {: .speaker-JW6} ##### Mr Cann: -- What was the reason for that ? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The reason was that the process is slow. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- No; the Court was stuck up by High Court decisions. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- There was only one Court to deal with all the cases. Consequently the Court became clogged with work. The unions waited a long while to get their cases heard, and workers and employers alike were more or less disgusted. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- The Government was answerable for that. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Government brought forward a Wages Board Bill, and, notwithstanding the bitter opposition of every Labour man in the State Parliament -who obstructed it at every stage, and voted against it on the third reading - the Liberal Government succeeded in passing the measure into law. During the first two years of its operation, up to the 30th July, 1910, 103 unions registered under the Act, and in two years they secured no fewer than 100 determinations. There were eighteen Wages Boards sitting at that particular moment. Sometimes there were as many as twenty-eight Boards sitting -at one time. {: .speaker-JW6} ##### Mr Cann: -- The biggest unions would not register under the Act. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Notwithstanding that the largest unions refused to register, that magnificent record was enabled to be put up in less than two years, whilst the Arbitration Court in more than threeyears only dealt with thirty-nine awards. In the first place we have to remember that the Arbitration Court in New South Wales was dealing with one State only. Here we are dealing with the whole of the Com monwealth, and, consequently, we are adding to the difficulties of the Arbitration Court six-fold, because we have six States to deal with. We are giving to its jurisdiction a much greater scope, and once we permit this particular class of organizations to register and appeal to the Court, then we shall practically drag in every industry throughout the Commonwealth. The industry with which my constituents andI are more particularly concerned is the rural industry. And great as the difficulties are in any organized industry confined to great centres of population - to mining, or any industry of that sort - once we bring under the operation of this law, agriculture, dairying, horticultural pursuits, and so on, we shall add, and add enormously, to the difficulties. Honorable members think, I presume, that if this Bill be passed into law the Rural Workers' Union, which is being formed from one end of the Commonwealth to another, will be one of the first unions to apply for an award. At the present time I repeat there is no power to make a common rule. Perhaps we need not be very much alarmed, because there will be a necessity to cite before the Court practically every farmer 'throughout he Commonwealth. But the moment my honorable friends get their constitutional proposals accepted "by the country the Court will have power to make a common rule, and then, of course, the award will apply to rural workers from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. When the question of including the rural workers was considered here last session, I opposed the proposal. I do not think we have yet devised a system of arbitration which is applicable to the rural industries. I do not think that we have yet obtained a system which is sufficiently flexible to meet the varying needs and conditions, and the various circumstances in which they are carried on. Again, I do not think that any system has yet been devised which is sufficiently elastic to meet the various seasonal changes. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr Howe: -- You never will find such a system. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Precisely. 1 have an idea, which I do not want to take up time in giving to the House to-night. I maysay, however, that I think something might be done which would help matters a little, and the foundation of the scheme I would suggest is that it must be limited in the scope of its operation to small areas. Unless that is done we shall never get a system of arbitration in regard to the rural industries which will work out with anything approaching equity or justice, or which will not hamper them in a way which I am sure will militate against our producing interests. {: .speaker-KHU} ##### Mr Howe: -- Will the Wages Board system do that? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- No. It is not, in my opinion, a system, as it is now constituted, which would meetthe existing difficulties in regard to rural pursuits. But when we come to attempt to apply this system we shall get the worst results which can be conceived of. Take such rural industries as wheat-growing, dairying, horticulture, viticulture, lucerne-growing, potatogrowing, grazing, and, finally, purely agricultural farming, and fancy a judge being allotted the task of regulating all these rural industries, carried on as they are in every part of the Commonwealth under varying conditions. Wheat-growing, for instance, is carried on in different ways in various parts. Dairying is carried on under different conditions in various parts. Horticulture is also carried on in very different ways in various parts. May I askhe Attorney-General if he assents to the adjournment of the debate at this hour ? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- If the honorable member will conclude his speech to-morrow within a reasonable time. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Yes. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Within ten minutes, I understand. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Within not more than fifteen minutes at the outside. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -I ask for leave to continue my speech to-morrow. Leave granted ; debate adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1772 {:#debate-15} ### ADJOURNMENT Close of Debate : Dinner to Members : Lecture on Imperial Conference. {: #debate-15-s0 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Treasurer and Prime Minister · Wide Bay · ALP . -In moving - >That this House do now adjourn, I wish to intimate that the Government desire the debate just adjourned to be closed to-morrow. Honorable members will remember that to-morrow we are to have the honour of dining with the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and so it is proposed to ask the House to adjourn at 6 o'clock. It is hoped that the final word in the debate just adjourned will be said by half-past5 o'clock, when the AttorneyGeneral wishes to reply. That is the condition on which the honorable member for Richmond was allowed leave to continue his speech to-morrow. {: #debate-15-s1 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Ballarat .- There will be no desire on this side of the House to prolong the debate. We shall have not more than three or, at the outside, four speakers to-morrow and they will be brief. If similar brevity obtains elsewhere it ought to be easily possible to finish the debate at the time mentioned. {: #debate-15-s2 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta -- I observed from the press to-day that last night the Prime. Minister addressed the public of Australia, or, at any rate, the public of Melbourne, on the subject of his recent mission to the Imperial Conference. As there was a very meagre report of the proceedings of last night, will the right honorable gentleman give the House an opportunity to hear him on the question? We should have had an opportunity before of hearing a statement from the Prime Minister concerning his mission to the heart of the Empire, because nothing could be more important, fraught as it is with great consequences to Australia. So far, however, hehas not deigned to say a word on the matter to the House. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- The honorable member should have attended the lecture. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK: -- I should like to hear a similar lecture in this House, because we are entitled to a statement of some kind. {: #debate-15-s3 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wide Bay · ALP -- When I was asked on behalf of the University graduates to address them, I felt I ought to accede to the request. Originally it was intended that the lecture should be delivered in a smaller room, but those who had the management of the affair took the arrangements into their own hands, and I gladly fell in with what they had done. If an opportunity offers, I shall have no objection to say a few words to honorable members ; but those who have read the report will see that I dealt, not only with the Conference I had the honour to attend, but with the principles, genesis, and growth of Imperial Conferences, referring to my honorable friend the honorable member for Ballarat and other distinguished statesmen who took part in earlier gatherings. I was concerned more with the growth of the Conference principle than with the work done at the Conference of this year. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr Joseph Cook: -- I am making no complaint of what the honorable gentleman said last night, but of what he has not said here. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 10.28 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 October 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.