10th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Littleton Groom) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Aeroplanes for Training
– Has the Minister for Defence noted certain comments in one of the morning newspapers as to the class of aeroplane provided at Point Cook for the training of airmen? Is there any truth in the statement that one death has already been occasioned through the use of a defective plane for training purposes? Will the Minister make investigations, and see that our airmen are trained in the safest aeroplanes that can be provided?
– I have not seen the newspaper comments to which the honorable member refers, but I am perfectly certain that no airman has lost his lifeat Point Cook while being trained in a defective machine.
– In view of the great loss of property and stock caused by devastating bush fires, such as have recently occurred, will the Prime Minister consider whether aeroplane patrols, such as are established in Canada, might not be used to locate outbreaks of fire, and to report them, so that men could be sent to put them out?
– The honorable gentleman’s suggestion will receive consideration.
Report by British Trade Commissioner.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn tothe annual report of Mr: R. W. Dalton, senior British Trade Commissioner in Australia, and especially to the section of it dealing with wool production, in which an entirely unwarranted, pessimistic, and distorted view is expressed, and false deductions are drawn from the facts? As this report has been issued by the Imperial Government as an official document, and its publication may create a most misleading impression abroad with regard to the economic position in Australia, will the Government make representations to the Imperial Government inorder that the true position of our greatest industry may not be misrepresented, and that in future no officer of the Imperial Government shall be permitted in an official report to cry “ stinking fish” about this part of the Empire?
– I suggest that the question might appropriately have appeared on the notice-paper. In my view, the proper course to be pursued in the circumstances referred to is for the wool industry, which is powerful and well organized, to itself make a reply to any statements regarding it to which exception may be taken. If the Government can assist in any way those connected with that or any other Australian industry to obtain publicity for replies to injurious statements about them, it will do so.
– I have received a letter from a Sydney firm concerning a remark I made here last week, when I referred to petrol pumps generally as “Bowsers,” under the impression that the word was a common noun used to describe these pumps. What I said then was -
These petrol pumps, commonly known as bowsers, have been widely installed with a view to obviating the expense of tinning and casing petrol. Through them the user of petrol ought to obtain his supplies more cheaply than by purchasing petrol in tins and cases. I ain not averse to the use of these bowsers, because they are one of the greatestconveniences the users of petrol could have, and I trust that on all the roads of Australia, even in sparsely-populated districts, this facility will be available for motor traffic. 1 was greatly concerned to learn from an officer of the engineers1 union that 24 employees in a Melbourne firm had received notice of dismissal owing to the fact that the British Imperial Oil Company were importing 750 bowsers from Great Britain, and the Vacuum Oil Company, not to-be behind, had placed an order in America for 1,000 bowsers.
– Can the pumps be made here?
In reply to these remarks, I have received the following letter from S. F. Bowser and Company Incorporated, original patentees and manufacturers of Bowser piston-type measuring pump’s: -
Dear Sir, -
In your address in the House of’ Representatives a few days ago you mentioned the importation of large quantities of Bowser pumps by the oil companies, and I would like to call your attention to the fact that the use of the ‘word “ Bowser “ has to do only with the one particular type of pump manufactured by S. F. Bowser and Company, whose head Australasian office is located in Sydney- . . I beg to inform you that the word “Bowser” is protected ‘ by Commonwealth registration, lodged with the Patents Office in Melbourne, and I trust you will take an opportunity to correct the statement that “ Bowser “ pumps were being imported by the oil companies, which is not a fact.
In accordance with the request contained in that letter, I make the correction that I have been asked to make.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs upon notice -
– At the request of the Commissioner for Australia in the United ‘States of America, an exhibit of cotton has been obtained for exhibition in New York. The exhibit was supplied by the Department of Agriculture and Stock, Brisbane, and is being shipped to New York to-day. The estimated cost of the exhibit, plus freight and charges to New York, is £9, and this expense will be borne by the Commonwealth Government.
Application’s : PointCook.
asked the Minister for Defence,upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. Subsequent to the formulation of the proposal for the erection of a new post office building at Iron Knob, it was found possible to effect material improvement in ‘the standard of service rendered in the non-official premises, and, in view of this, as very little development in business is taking place, it was decided to postpone the erection of the building, and to reconsiderthe proposal at the end of the current year.
asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
Whether, in view of the fact that entertainments are being held to aid limbless soldiers in procuring artificial limbs, the Government will prevent the necessity for such entertainments by granting limbs free, on approved application, to limbless ex-soldiers?
– The Government is unaware that any entertainments are being held for the purpose mentioned. Furthermore, there is no necessity for any such action, as the Repatriation Department provides limbless ex-soldiers with all necessary artificial limbs (also renewals and repairs to same) and surgical boots and appliances absolutely free of charge. These limbs are the best in Australia, and, at least, equal to those supplied in any other part of the world.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
Have the following resolutions been brought under his notice: -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The following are the terms agreed to by the Commonwealth Bank in respect of the advances referred to: -
– On the 21st January, the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) asked the following questions : -
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
– On the 21st January the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman) asked when the construction of the Lakemba Telephone Exchange would be commenced. From the inquiries made it is anticipated that a contract for the telephone equipment needed at Lakemba will be entered into at an early date, and service will be given from the .new exchange about eighteen months hence.
Motion (by Mr. Bruce), by leave, agreed to -
That during the unavoidable absence of Mr. Deputy Speaker, Mr. Speaker be authorized to call upon any of the Temporary Chairmen of Committees to temporarily relieve him in the chair.
The following papers were presented : -
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at - Bellata, New South Wales - For an easement.
Collinsvale, Queensland - For Postal purposes.
New Guinea Act - Ordinance of 1926 - No. 4- Appropriation 1925-26.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1921, the following work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on
Public Works for investigation and report thereon, viz.: - The erection of a building at Canberra for accommodation of Commonwealth Departments.
This matter was previously referred to the Public Works Committee by an order in council on the 19 th of May, 1925. On the 9th of March, 1923, the proposal to erect provisional adminstrative offices at Canberra, was referred by Parliament to the Public Works Committee for investigation. The committee examined the project, and on the 21st of June, 1923, submitted a report, in which it recommended that the suggestion for the erection of provisional offices be not approved, but that two units of permanent buildings be erected, and the design be the subject of an architectural competition. On the 25th of August, 1923, a resolution was passed by this House that it was not expedient to carry out the erection of provisional administrative offices, but that it was expedient to invite competitive designs for permanent administrative offices as recommended by the Public Works Committee in its report. Arrangements were accordingly made to hold a competition among Australian architects for the design of a permanent building, and this was concluded in December, 1924, the first premiated design being that of Mr. G. Sydney Jones, A.R.I.B.A., of Sydney. After investigation as to the amount of accommodation that might be obtained in two buildings on the sites indicated by the Public Works Committee, it was decided, after consultation with the chairman of the committee, to call for competitive designs for one building only, to be erected on a site within the governmental area, but somewhat to the north of that previously proposed, and to be sufficiently large to accommodate the whole of the public servants to d–» transferred to Canberra. The competition provided, however, that the Government might utilize the design, without employment of the architect, for the erection of a second building of a similar character on a corresponding site on the opposite side of the main city axis. Since the competition was announced the Federal Capital Commission has been in touch with the author of the first premiated design, and sketch plans have been prepared upon the basis of that design which, it is considered, will meet the requirements of the various departments to be accommodated. The scheme provides for a reinforced concrete building, which may be faced externally with stone, terracotta, or white cement plaster, or a combination of these materials as may be determined. The building would comprise a ground and two main floors, with a lower ground floor - or basement, and a mezzanine floor over portion of the area, providing 215,351 square feet of effective office accommodation after allowing for corridors, light areas, lift wells, and other accessories. The accommodation is so arranged that it could be subdivided conveniently in alternative methods to meet any particular needs of departments of varying sizes - the main object being to secure conveniently disposed well-lit spaces. The preliminary estimate of cost submitted by. the architect is £451,572 : this includes the provision of engineering services, and provides for facing the building in terra-cotta, but does not include the cost of the architect’s commission, supervision, and overhead charges. I lay upon the table of the House (a) a portfolio of eleven sketch plans of the building prepared by the architect; and (b) a memorandum of description and estimate of cost.
.- Do I understand that the architect who won the competition has drawn the plans and specifications forthe building, and will supervise its erection ?
– Will he have sole charge of the construction, and will the Commonwealth Chief Architect have nothing to do with it ?
– I shall explain that later.
– I understand that when an architect’s plan, and tenders based upon it are accepted, he is entitled to commission on the total cost. If the successful architect is to be paid commission on this building, which is to cost over £451,000, he should supervize the construction.
– He will do so.
– I understand that no decision has been arrived at in regard to the facing of the building.
– I think the proposal is to face it with terra cotta.
– I am opposed to that. Terra cotta will only give a cheap, gingerbread effect.
– That matter will be decided later ; this motion is only to refer the proposal to the Public Works Committee for investigation and report.
– That being so, we shall have another opportunity of objecting to the use of any cheap finishing material like terra cotta. The building should be made of either stone or brick.
– I also have a strong objection to “ mud fronts “ - concrete overplastered and whitewashed. I understand that builders nowadays use some patent material in lieu of lime for whitewashing buildings, but these cheap, glaring stucco effects do not appeal to me. All the permanent public buildings should be finished with either stone or brick. Those are substantial materials, and entail very little maintenance cost. Most honorable members will agree that good brickwork nicely tuckpointed has a pleasing and substantial appearance. The public buildings of a country are usually an outward and visible sign of its prosperity and the taste and culture of its people. I cannot understand how responsible officials should have entertained for one moment a proposal to have “ mud-front “ buildings in the principal avenues of the Federal Capital. At one time the use of marble from the quarries adjacent to Canberra was suggested for the monumental Parliament House; but although marble may be very effective in Italy as a building material, in the strong light of Australia it is too glaring. When I last visited Canberra, I saw a number of cottages built of concrete finished with plaster and whitewashed. That form of construction does not look so well as tuckpointed brickwork, and involves a considerably greater cost for upkeep. Brick buildings are a much more valuable asset. Even white lead paint perishes very quickly in the dry atmosphere of Australia. There are no better tradesmen in the world than the Australians, and they should be afforded an opportunity at Canberra to display their ability and originality. We should encourage beauty of design and quality of workmanship. I understand that for their sins some responsible public servants are required to read Hansard, and I hope the officers of the architectural branch will peruse two or three times my remarks on this motion, and be warned against the use of cheap building materials in a city that is to be the focus of Australian public life and ideals.
.- When competitive designs for the first administrative offices were invited, the conditions included an undertaking that the successful architect should have charge of the construction. Those who criticise the appearance of Parliament House should remember that it is merely a provisional building, although it may have a life of fifty years. The building which is the subject of this motion, however, is to be one of the permanent public edifices of the Federal Capital, and therefore its design and construction require the most careful consideration. Parliament will have an opportunity to consider the form of construction when the report of the Public Works Committee has been received. I feel sure that the committee will leave the matter fairly open, so that there will be no need to refer it back to that body. Parliament will then be able to determine whether the facing of the building shall be of granite, trachyte, Sydney freestone, Stawell freestone, or terra cotta. The last-named method of facing is an innovation and has a good deal to commend it.
.- I realize that this is merely a motion to refer the matter to the Public Works Committee, and that when its report has been received the subject will be open for discussion. Stucco walls for the provisional Parliament House should have a very pleasing effect, and. should be sufficiently permanent at least to last the life-time of “members of the present Parliament. I trust, however, that Canberra will not be made the happy hunting ground of the “ jerry “ builder. When I was there about twelve months ago I found that the divisional walls in the bathrooms of certain cottages that were being erected by contract were built of bricks on edge, a practice that is not permitted in any other city in Australia, Even during the building boom in Melbourne over 30 years ago, when whole streets of jerry-built houses were erected in Elsternwick and other suburbs, the contractors were not allowed to build internal walls with bricks on edge, and the practice should certainly not be tolerated in what will be the model city of the Commonwealth. I hope that members of the Public Works Committee will get into touch with reliable builders who will instruct them on matters of this kind, so that no undesirable practices in building will be possible in the future at Canberra.
.- I should like to suggest to the Public Works Committee that when it is inquiring into the subject it should take into consideration the possibility of utilizing some of the very .fine marble deposits in Australia.
– I suppose the honorable member knows that there are marble deposits not fax distant from Canberra ?
– Yes. My. purpose is to direct attention to the excellent marble deposits in Australia, and especially in Central Queensland. I understand that the deposits in New South Wales, although good, are not of the high-class quality of the Queensland marble, or of ihe deposits at Angas, in South Australia. 1 have been interested in this subject for ‘ some time. In a letter which I received from the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten), under date 18th December last, I was informed that the Tariff Board had taken evidence in Melbourne on the 13th January, and in Adelaide on the 14th January, 19*5, in regard to applications for protection to enable the Australian marble industry to be developed. My grievance then was, and still is, that the Tariff Board did not visit Central Queensland to investigate the possibility of developing the deposits there. I see in this motion an opportunity to direct the attention of the Public Works Committee to the subject. The Tariff Board, after what I regarded as a more or less perfunctory investigation of the position, reported as follows to the Minister : -
With the exception of marble for monumental purposes it can be claimed that Australian marble has a high commercial value. In order to obtain the higher grade marble it will be necessary to encourage the full development of the local quarries until the greater depths are reached. At present the Australian marble industry is in a very depressed condition, and several quarries have closed down. Meantime imports from Italy are increasing. There are, as I have said, some very fine marble deposits in Australia, and I hope that the possibilty of utilizing them will be fully inquired into by the Public Works Committee.
– The committee should be instructed to visit all the marble quarries in Australia.
– I agreewith the honorable member. I have visited the Central Queensland quarries, and have a number of photographs which I would like to show to honorable members. Mr. Harold Parker, the well-known sculptor, states that the Central Queensland marble is equal -to the finest in the world, and compares very favorably with the best Italian marble. Some enterprising Queenslanders have spent £25,000 in the purchase and erection of the necessary machinery to work the quarries there, but unfortunately, owing to the competition of cheap Italian marble, the’ demand for the Queensland marble has fallen off, As a result the quarries have been closed, and hundreds of men have been thrown out of work. This appears to be an opportune time to suggest that the Public Works Committee should visit Central Queensland, and make a thorough investigation of the possibility of utilizing Australian materials, marble and granite for the public buildings in Canberra.
– The suggestion as to the nature of the stone to be used will be a matter for the House to decide when the report of the Public Works Committee comes up for consideration. If the Government decides to instruct the architect to supervise the work he will be entitled to his fee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
. -Imove -
That,in accordancewith the provisions of theCommonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1921, the following work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committeeon Public Works for investigation and report thereon, namely, “The construction of a dam and improvements on the Molonglo River in the Federal Capital.
This matter was referred to the Public Works Committee on the. 19th May, 1925, by orderin council, asthe House was. not then sitting. The design of the Federal Capital City provides for an extensive lake scheme on themolonglo River, which would involve a very large expenditure! and include also’ the regula tion of the Upper Queanbeyan River. The Public Works Committee, in its report of the 28th November, 1916, on ornamental waters, recommended - (a) that the suggested eastern lake be indefinitely postponed; (b) that the provision of other ornamental waters, be delayed for years. The desirability of postponing any consideration of a very large expenditure on the formation of these lakes is concurred in by the Federal Capital Commission; but, at the same time, it is deemed advisable to improve the river, from a scenic point of view, in the central portion of the city, and to provide boating and bathing facilities, and to give necessary regulation to the flow. The course of the river is at present unsatisfactory, and improvements to the waterway are very necessary. It is therefore proposed that, to meet immediate requirements, a weir be constructed across the Molongto River at Yarralumla, which would create a reasonably good stretch of water, and at thesame time not raise the flood levels in the city proper to any appreciable degree. The scheme includes the clearing of the river, both above and below the weir, and general improvements to the waterway. The design proposed for the weir is such that none of the expenditure would be, lost, but would incorporate itself in the final dam when constructed to the 1,825-ft. level, which is the level of the lower lake shown in the approved city plan. The waterway thus provided would conform to the natural features as recommended in the Public WorksCommittee’s report referred above. Preliminary drawings are submitted herewith, one showing the plan of the alteredriver. and the other the proposed dam. The estimate of cost of the proposal is £60,000.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That, inaccordancewiththe provisions, of the CommonwealthPublic Works. Committee Act 1913-1921, the. following work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing. Committee on PublicWorks for investigntion and report thereon, viz. : - Improvement of wharf facilities at Darwin, Northern Territory..
The existing jetty at Darwin was built by the South Australian Government about 1898. In 1916, to meet the anticipated increase in traffic due to the commencement of operations at the Darwin meatworks, the jetty was widened by 11 feet with timber piles, and a larger turn-table was erected. During 1923, a visit was paid to Darwin by Sir William Clarkson, formerly Engineer Vice-Admiral, Australian Naval Forces, who, as a result, submitted a report recommending the construction of a solid wharf, running south-westerly from the point of Stokes Hill, and a few feet shorewards from the edge of the mudbank between Stokes Hill and Fort Hill. The estimated cost of this new work was £120,050. As an alternative to the construction of this wharf, Sir William Clarkson suggested the provision of an island jetty in Fanny Bay, to be connected with the Darwin meatworks by means of an aerial ropeway to facilitate the shipping of frozen beef. The estimated cost of this alternative was put down at £65,000. The recommendations of Admiral Clarkson were referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, for investigation and report. The committee proceeded to Darwin, and after exhaustive inquiries, submitted, in May, 1924, a report recommending that the proposals of Admiral Clarkson be not approved. They were of opinion, however, that with the adoption of a progressive policy for the Northern Territory the existing wharfage facilities would be wholly inadequate for the efficient and economic handling of goods to and from Darwin. To permit of direct railway approach to the present jetty, and to obviate the use and expense of the present turn-table, the committee had estimates prepared of the cost of constructing a curved approach, so that the locomotive might be used on the wharf, and save the hand-shunting of trucks. The particulars submitted showed that a cast-iron and steel bridgework approach, to provide for a double track, would cost £137,233, while to provide for a single track would cost £98,920. The committee did not feel justified in recommending this large expenditure until a full and detailed examination of the harbour had been made, and it was placed in possession of all the information necessary to enable it to recommend the adoption of a scheme of harbour improvement which could be developed to meet all future requirements. They, therefore recommended that the Government should forthwith instruct a harbour engineer to report upon a scheme of harbour improvement at Darwin. Following upon that recommendation, a report was obtained, in October, 1924, from Mr. J. F. Ramsbotham, M. Inst. C.E., M. Am. Soc. C.E., Director of Lighthouses, and the matter was again referred for the consideration of the Public Works Committee by executive council minute on 18th February, 1925. On the 16th March, 1925, the committee re-commenced its inquiries, and took a large amount of evidence in regard to the proposition submitted by the Government for the construction of a concrete wharf in accordance with designs prepared by Mr. Ramsbo tham. The inquiries of the committee had not been completed at the close of the last Parliament, and it is now desired to refer the matter to them again.
– I should like to explain the attitude of the Public Works Committee towards this proposal. After Mr. Ramsbotham had prepared plans and specifications, and the committee had started investigations, the Government engaged Sir George Buchanan to make a report. The committee understood that his report would not be presented for at least six months, and obviously, in those circumstances, it could not reach a decision. The carrying of the motion before Sir George Buchanan has reported is futile, because it is impossible for the committee to approve of any recommendation by any engineer until the report of such a high authority as Sir George Buchanan is before it. Sir George Buchanan was not asked to report on the scheme on which Mr. Ramsbotham reported, but on a new scheme. The matter ought to have been left in abeyance until Sir George Buchanan’s report had been received.
– It would be ridiculous to refer this matter to the Public Works Committee before the committee has received Sir George Buchanan’s report. I assume that the Government has paid Sir George Buchanan a high fee for his work, and the committee, when investigating the matter, should certainly have the advantage of his views. If I were a member of the committee, I should be in favour of delaying investigations until Sir George Buchanan’s report had been received.
– In seeking to refer this matter to the Public Works Committee, the department does not wish to evade any recommendations that Sir George Buchanan may make. Sir George Buchanan’s report is expected at any time now, and so soon as it is received it will be made available to the committee, which will then be free to endorse the views of the department or incorporate with them the proposals of Sir George Buchanan.
– Will the Minister undertake that the recommendation shall not be sent to the Public Works Committee until Sir George Buchanan’s report has been received?
– If this motion is carried, the recommendation must go forward to the committee, but, in view of the opinion expressed by honorable members, the committee will, I assume, defer consideration until Sir George Buchanan’s report has been received.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 10th February (vide page 855), on motion by Mr. Latham -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. Charlton had moved, by way of amendment -
That all the words after the word “That” be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof - “ This House is of opinion that the Bill should be withdrawnwith a view to re-drafting so as to eliminate the obnoxious clauses referring to industrial disputes, as such clauses, associated with the Crimes Act, are an unwarranted affront to the great bodies of organized labour.”
.- I commend the Government for the early introduction of this bill, which, on a close examination, substantially fulfills the promise made by the Prime Minister at the time of the election. He promised that the Government, if returned, would arm itself with sufficient legislative power to protect the Commonwealth in certain directions in which it was menaced. The bill deals with no imaginary ills, but with a positive and definite wrong perpetrated against Australia at a time when she was almost legislatively helpless to defend herself. It is to be hoped that the House and the country will not think, because the great strike that then held this country in a condition of paralysis has come to an end, and because the voice of the arch-mischief -maker has been silenced, that the need for such a bill has passed. It is significant that the clear voice of the people has silenced these extreme men who, for the time being, are in our midst, but it has not got rid of them, nor can we hope that it has changed their hearts. I listened carefully to the comprehensive address of the AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Latham), in. which he outlined the causes for, and the difficulties under, which this country is suffering, and the remedial measures the Government propose to adopt. Personally, I feel that the greatest good that will follow the passing of this bill will be due to its preventive effect. The Government asked the people to authorize the granting of these powers, and it gained the most sweeping election victory in the history of federation. From every State, and, in fact, every corner of the Commonwealth, except the massed industrial centres, it received big majorities. There was a bounden duty laid upon it, therefore, to fulfill its promise. In my judgment, it has substantially done so by introducing this measure. Comprehensive powers, some may even call them drastic powers, are being asked for in order to assure continuity in the essential services of the country; but surely the Government should be entrusted with such powers. The Labour party has long claimed that the fullest powers possible under the Constitution should be vested in the Parliament, in order that it might function in all respects for the benefit and protection of the nation. It hardly rests with those honorable members now, therefore, to challenge this Government for seeking full authority to protect the nation from attack. The bill deals chiefly with two aspects of wrongdoing. One of these concerns unlawful associations of people which, of course, usually centre round some evil genius who has sufficient power to control a crowd, and can find those who are willing, though thoughtlessly at times, to assist him in carrying out his nefarious designs. This type of man is responsible for muchof the trouble that has come to Australia recently. In most of our great industrial upheavals the masses have surged around some individual who was the arch mischief-maker, the evil genius, or perhaps the misguided f anatic. The bill seeks to clothe the Government with powers which previously havenot been vested in. it, to deal with these unlawful associations, and to completely protect Australia from their machinations. The executive, however, will have no power to select certain individuals, anddeport them. All persons who are charged must be presented before our law courts, and, ifconvicted, the compound punishment of imprisonment and/or deportation may be imposed onthem. It is significant that no opposition of any consequence has yet been voiced to the provisions of the measure which deal with unlawful associations,and provide the penalty of deportation fortheir members.From that we maytake it that honorable members opposite acqniesce in the principle of deportation. They have not challenged it in regard to unlawful associations, and therefore we maytake it as being agreed to. The principle having been admitted, it becomes a question ofthe degree in which it may “be applied. The other substantial provision of the bill deals with industrial disturbances. Proposed new sub-section80 j (2) isnot couched in the language that I would choose, but that can be dealt with later on. In it the Government asks forauthority to take full responsibility for maintaining the essential services of the nation. Transport, both overseas and between the States, is included. Although - oversea shipment is the life-blood of this nation, for nearly three months last year the entire country was kept in a condition of complete paralysis because of the shipping strike. I venture to say that this was done chiefly by the mischiefmaking activitiesof one or two men. Nobody contends that the British seamen were communists, and that their special design was to play into the hands of those who wished to hold up the trade and commerce of Australia and of the British Empire; but crafty men who had influence with them obliged them to participate in such adesign. which was foreign to the welfare of the nation. In my opinion, the Prime Minister’s statement at Dandenong was carefully weighed by the people. They realized what was involved, and they gave a clear direction to the Government to obtain whatever power was necessary to preserve our industrial life. Personally, I should not like deportation to be resorted to except in extreme cases, but I believe that the Government should be clothed with absolute power to defend the country against these industrial wreckers. Honorable members of both Houses in this Parliament know the type of individual who is generallythe king pin in industrial troubles. He is usually a knowledgable, violent man, who will desist fromhis destructive work only when he knows that the severest penalties may be enforced against him. Human nature, it may be said, is prompted to its best or worst activities by either the hope of reward or the fear of consequences. Unless strong punitive powers are vested in the Commonwealth, the time will undoubtedly come when there will be a recurrence of the trouble from which we have been recently suffering.There seems to have grown up in the minds of some representatives of the industrialists the feeling that the striker is entitled to absolute freedom in this country. He cannot have recourse to the courts of the country, the advantage of judicial awards, and at the same time the power to incite the workers into a state of revolt against society. The outstanding figure in the last great strike at the Australian end was the leader of the Australian Seamen’s Union, Thomas Walsh.
– The bill does not mention him.
– I am mentioning him. The person chiefly responsible for the whole difficulty goes scot-free with an advertisement that for the time being he was the supreme leader of the movement ; but a loss of £3,000,000 was incurred by the shipping interests, and the families of hundreds of British seamen were brought to the verge of starvation. This man still masquerades as a “ great industrial leader,” to use a phrase of which honorable members opposite are very fond. They immediately cry “ Wolf.!” when a measure is introduced to deal with such men. I say, as the Attorney-General said in introducing the bill, that were it not for the fact that thousands of industrialists and unionists voted for members of the partyon this side in the hope that it would introduce such a measure, the Government would not be where it is to-day. It is the bounden duty of the Government, and of every honorable member on this side, to honour the pledges made at the election. Imprisonment may not in all circumstances be a sufficient punishment. We had a notorious example of this in New South Wales some years ago. Certain members of the Industrial Workers of the World were convicted and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. That merely created an opportunity for a persistent agitation by supporters of the Industrial Workers of the World and other misguided individuals, until finally they prevailed with a government sympathetic with their views, and secured the release of the men. who had been convicted. This country should have full power to protect itself from such individuals, who have become a proven menace to the welfare of the nation.
– No one denies that.
-Then the honorable member will support the bill.
– Why does not the bill deal with that class of men separately?
– I cannot see what the honorable member objects to. His leader spent a great deal of time explaining how the trade union movement was built up, and had worked for years to secure the emancipation of the workers from the objectionable conditions under which they laboured. That, however, was all by the way, and quite irrelevant to thebill which deals not with imaginary grievances but with definite and positive wrongs inflicted upon the Common wealth. It is the duty of every member of this Parliament to give ample power to the Commonwealth to protect itself in all emergencies and against all who menace its welfare. No matter what party may be administering this legislation, I am quite sure that the Executive of the day may be trusted not to impose the penalty of deportation without good reason, and after the most careful consideration. Deportation is not the only punishment provided for in the measure, and it may be left to the good sense of the Executive of the day to say when so drastic a penalty should be imposed.. The Leader of the Opposition dealt with what he termed a new menace-, the fascist. If it is thought that the bill makes no provision to deal withhim, and honorable-members opposite submit a clause for the purpose, I shall support it. No matter where the menace to the welfare of the Commonwealth may come from, the Government should have power to deal with it. Subject to a certain modification of sub-section 2 of the proposed section 30j, I give my. unreserved support to this measure. I believe that it will seldom have to be brought into use in this country. Its chief virtue will be as a preventative and not as a punitive measure. I commend the Government for its introduction, and the Attorney-General for the wealth of information he supplied to honorable members in movingthe second reading.
– I listened carefully to the AttorneyGeneral in moving the second reading of this bill, and the only evidence he adduced as a justification for its introduction consisted of newspaper reports of speeches delivered by people who were said to belong to the. Communist party. It was upon those reports that the honorable gentleman built up the whole of his case. The honorable member for Wannon. (Mr. Rodgers) appears to think that there is only one side to this question. His remarks were confined to strikes and other disturbances by workers. It should not be forgotten that employers may help to cause strikes, and this measure should be viewed from every angle. The bill is divided into two parts, one of which proposes to deal with persons of the criminal classes who are out to overturn society by a forcible revolution. The other part of the bill deals with the industrial class- As the Leaderof the Opposition (Mr. Charlton.) has said, honorable members on this side are prepared to support the. first part of the bill dealing with law-breakers and persons connected with unlawful associations formed to bring about revolution by force. We said throughout the last election that we are against that class, and do not stand for what it desires. If there is any party in this House which stands for law and order in this community it is the Labour party. It does not stand for lawlessness, nor does it preach revolution. It believes in the adoption of constitutional methods. Its methods are evolutionary, not revolutionary. The Attorney-General went to some trouble to explain the reason for the provisions dealing with industrialists. He might have been candid enough to admit that those provisions have been introduced because we had recently a seamen’s strike in this country. I point out that the British seamen’s strike was not brought, about by the industrialists of Australia. There was no strike amongst the seamen of the interstate shipping companies, the troll eymen and draymen, or the waterside workers of Australia. The strike was brought to this country by the British seamen. He would be a very callous man indeed who could not sympathize with men who resisted a reduction of wages as the British seamen did. They had signed a contract to take a voyage from Great Britain to Australia at a wage of £10 per month, and when they arrived here they were told that the monthly wage was to be reduced to £9 per month. There was no machinery here to adjust the matter, because the British seamen were not members of our community. They resisted the reduction of their wages by the British ship-owners, and I say that they were justified in doing so. Labour organizations in Australia, and honorable members on this side, had nothing to do with the matter. If there was any criminal act committed in connexion with the strike - and I do not say that there was - it was brought about by the British shipping combine in reducing the British seamen’s wages from £10 per month, for which they had contracted, to £9 per month. There were some men on the British boats receiving a wage as low as £5 per month. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) might have assisted to bring about a settlement of that strike. He could have said to Lord Inchcape and the British shipping companies, “We do not want this dispute in this country. Unless you agree to pay your men the wages they contracted for when they left Great Britain, we shall not allow your ships to enter our ports.” The reduction in the British seamen’s wages should not have been made until they had returned to British ports, and had been paid off from their vessels. If that had been done the trouble would not have extended to this country. This bill has been brought in to deal especially with the workers of this country.
– The action of Tom Walsh here did not affect the strike of British seamen in South Africa, New Zealand, and in Great Britain itself.
– That is so. In South Africa, British vessels were tied up for some considerable time owing to the strike. I admit that in England the strike did not last long. When there are 1,500,000 people unemployed in a country, whose wives and families are starving, men are compelled to accept work at reduced rates. In Australia the position was different. We had no great army of unemployed, and, consequently, there was no surplus labour. Tom Walsh cannot be blamed for the fact that the British seamen wenton strike in South Africa, New Zealand and Canada.
– The South African Government fed the strikers.
– Because the unionists of this country sympathized with the British seamen in their protest against the reduction of their wages, the Nationalist Government, the alleged great champion of the people’s liberty, has introduced this bill whose purpose is to place our industrialists under the criminal code. There are 791 unions in the Commonwealth, with a membership of nearly 800,000 men and women. When any section of these unionists takes any action that interferes with the trade, transport, and commerce of Australia, its members may, under the bill, be treated as criminals. The Labour party stands for arbitration. There have been fewer strikes since it has been the law of this country. Sir John Quick, an ex-member of this House, was, when 70 years of age, appointed a Deputy President of the Arbitration Court, although he had had no previous industrial experience. His unjust judgments in the cases of Hoskins Brothers, and of the Kinross Cement Company, caused serious strikes. In the case of Mort’s Dock his judgment was again at fault. It has always been recognized that the payment for casual labour, in any occupation, should be higher than that for permanent labour. That principle has been laid down by all Arbitration Court judges, including Mr. Justice. Higgins, Judge Heydon, Judge Beeby, and Judge Edmunds. In spite of that fact, Sir John
Quick has recently given an award in which he has determined that a man employed for more than four days is in permanent employment, and is, therefore, not entitled to casual rates. That award has caused a strike. The men concerned say that the reduction in rates .means a loss of almost £1 a week to them, and they will not accept the award, because other judges have treated their employment as casual labour.
– This legislation will not necessarily apply to those men.
– They are members of the painters and dockers union, and as their action is interfering with trade, commerce, and transport, they will be liable to imprisonment under this bill. Only 30 or 40 men at Mort’s Dock were involved in the first place, but pressure was put on them to obey the award, and the dispute extended to the patternmakers, blacksmiths, moulders, and shipwrights. Over 1,000 men are now out on strike. Is the employer, who is responsible for- lockouts to be subject to the provisions of this bill ? When this legislation is placed on the statute-book any attempt to give it effect will cause serious complications. Honorable members opposite always find excuses for unjust legislation. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers) deplored the loss of millions of pounds owing to the British seamen’s strike. I have read speeches made by Americans in justification of the system of slavery. They said that if the slaves were emancipated a great loss of money would result through interference with trade and commerce. Some of the finest preachers in America were heard justifying the system of slavery. One great reformer, John Brown, had the courage to advocate revolution in order to free the slaves. He was executed, but his spirit went marching on. As the result of his labour the American slaves were freed. Men in this country have advocated kanaka labour for Queensland. They said that North Queensland could not be developed with white labour. But the then Labour Government, with the assistance of the democrats of this country, abolished kanaka labour, and to-day, notwithstanding the opposition of those who cry “ stinking fish “ when any great reform is proposed in this country, Queensland has developed under white labour, and is likely to continue to do so. Honorable members supporting the Govern ment say that the bill is justified because it will prevent strikes. It will do no-‘ thing of the kind. Strikes cannot be prevented. Men of the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic races have always resisted oppression and fought for their rights. . The bill will be as effective in preventing strikes as sticking plaster would be as a cure for cancer. No government can control strikes. I do not blame this Government for introducing the bill. It fought the election on this issue, and having won it, this legislation will be placed upon the statute-book, but never put into operation. The bill is a deliberate attempt to stifle the liberty of the trade unionists of this country, and to prevent them from selling their labour under the best conditions.
– They cannot have both the right to strike and the Arbitration Court.
– The British seamen could not go to the Arbitration Court of this country to protest against a reduction in their wages.
– The British seamen were not under our jurisdiction.
– They were human beings, and my sympathies were with them in their action. The profits of the the British shipping companies are enormous. They are scrapping their old vessels, and building out of their surplus profits up-to-date floating palaces. Some of the vessels that come to this country are over 20,000 tons register.
– The shipping companies have to build that class of vessel to hold the world’s tonnage.
– That is so. Although they are making immense profits, yet they deny the men the right to strike when their wages are reduced.
– Mr. Havelock Wilson knows more about the conditions in Great Britain than the honorable member does.
– We helped the British seamen to keep them from starving. We have some of the milk of human kindness in us. We should deal justly with our unionists. I know that before the war Lord Inchcape formed the British shipping combine to compete with the German shipping companies, which were subsidized by the German Government. The British shipping companies have just as much right to combine as British seamen, and when two bodies organize to protect their own interests no government should discriminate between them unfairly. But -that is what the bill does. Itdiscriminates in favour of the shipping companies and the employers of labour, but brings under the criminal code the workers who are helping to develop this country,.
– The bill deals with lockouts as well as strikes.
– The employers are not mentioned in this bill.
– That is not so.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral to point out in what way the bill deals’ with lockouts. An employer ‘of labour can easily cause a lockout on the excuse that he is shutting up his works for repairs and alterations, or that there is a shortage of raw -material or orders. But if, because of a notice in a workshop that after a certain date the hours will be increased, or the wages reduced., a man calls together his fellowworkers, ‘and kas (the courage to say that they .should leave the job rather than accept the altered conditions, he will be liable to be declared a criminal and fined, or imprisoned, -amd deported. This clause makes it a criminal act for a man ito endeavour to sell his labour at the ‘best obtainable price. I agree with the provisions relating ibo unlawful associations. Honorable members on this side do mot believe in the methods which those provisions are designed to punish. We desire this country to develop sanely :and steadily. We believe in the settlement of industrial disputes by arbitration; but even under that system industrial peace will not be ensured if judges give unjust .awards. I have mentioned awards that were against the weight of evidence. The men who refuse to work under fair conditions imposed by a court will, by this bill, be made criminals and be liable ,to deportation. However, the Government, if it will not be advised by honorable members on this side of the House, must go its chosen way. Similar coercive tactics were employed during a strike of coal miners by Sir Gregory Wade, the then Premier of Sew South Wales. Some of the men were put in gaol, and others in leg irons, but at the first opportunity the people annihilated the Wade Ministry. The bill introduced by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) to deal with the Industrial Workers of the World specially mentioned that organization. The present AttorneyGeneral is too cunning to do anything like that. The Government says, that it has a mandate from the people.. It has no masdate to bring trade unionists under the criminal <code.. I admit that many of them voted against the Labour party at the last election. They were misled into the belief that the Labour party ‘favored the promotion of industrial strife. The Government may do what.it can under this bill. We, who sit in opposition, will await with confidence the result when next the people have an opportunity to deliver judgment.
– The honorable member who has just resumed his seat said that he agreed with the first portion of the bill relating to unlawful associations but opposed the later provisions. Having listened to the honorable gentleman very carefully, I am certain that if he understood the bill he - would accept it iti its entirety. He .spokeas if it were designed to prohibit strikes, and inflict punishment upon those who engage in them. He said that it was directed .against trade unionists and their leaders. The truth is that it provides for none of those things. .It is introduced because the people clearly indicated their desire that legislation of this character should be enacted. Indeed, the honorable member for South Sydney frankly declared that the Ministerial parties won the election by promising this legislation, and he did not blame the Government for attempting to carry out the instructions of the people. It must be perfectly obvious to every one that the bill gives effect to the expressed will of the electors.
– Some of them.
– We prate of our democracy.
– The right honorable gentleman does.
– Is the honorable member not a, democrat 1
– I do not prate of it.
– The basis of democracy is that the majority shall rule, and at the last ‘election the majority gave to the Government a mandate to introduce legislation of this character. It is, in fact a mere honoring of the pledges we gave to the people when we asked them to continue us in office. May I briefly remind the House of the conditions that preceded the introduction of this measure and the amending Immigration Act of 1925 ? For many months of last year. Australia was in the throes of serious industrial turmoil. Industry and transport services were held up repeatedly, not by mere local disputes, affecting a few employers and employee’s, but by wide-spread and well organized troubles, which undermined the foundation of our national and economic life. Whether people agreed or disagreed with the methods adopted by the Government, whether they voted for or against the ministerial candidates at the last elec-‘ tion, the majority recognized that the time had come when, in the interests of the nation, steps should be taken to overcome and, if possible, obviate the difficulties with which we were confronted. I need not recapitulate in detail the interference with Commonwealth officers in the discharge of their public duties at Fremantle and elsewhere, but the House, is aware that, because of many sinister occurrences of that nature, the Government passed through Parliament legislation to grapple with this evil. Under the newly conferred powers, the Government took firm action, which was later supported by the people at the polls. The legislation introduced by the Government was acceptable to the electors; whatever the High Court may have decided, the people, at any rate, thought that the Government had taken the right course. After the Immigration Bill had been passed, and before our intention to appeal to the electors was announced, I made the Government’s position quite clear. I said -
I believe the people are prepared to support me in what I have done, and I will not hesitate at any time to appeal to them for their endorsement of my actions, and, should necessity arise, to ask them for a mandate to take such further action as is essential in order to protect the happiness and prosperity of Australia, and ensure the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth.
Shortly afterwards the Governor-General dissolved Parliment, and again, in my policy speech at Dandenong, I said definitely what the Government would do if the people, by their votes, declared their , confidence in it. I said -
The Government is determined to defeat the nefarious designs of the extremists in our midst, and, armed with the mandate of the people, will take all necessary steps to accomplish this end. Although under our Constitution there is a King’s peace of the Commonwealth which co-exists side by side with the King’s peace within each of the States, up to this date in the history of Australia there has been little need for the Commonwealth to take action for its preservation. Generally speaking, the ‘ authorities and laws of the States have been adequate to deal with what may be generally regarded as breaches of the King’s peace. Recent happenings have clearly demonstrated the existence of actions prejudiced to the peace of the Commonwealth. The time has now arrived when the Commonwealth Parliament should exercise its powers and pass effective legislation to deal with offences against the peace of the Commonwealth, including action against those persons who are actively engaged in associations and propaganda work having as their object the overthrow of the Constitution, interference with Commonwealth activities, resistance to its laws, and generally taking part in unlawful action’ for the purpose of subverting external and internal commerce and intercourse in Australia.
The measure now before the House carries out the pledge I then gave to the people. It deals with external and interstate commerce, and aims a blow at unlawful ago.ciations which are trying to subvert the existing forms of government. I do not think any members of the Opposition will deny that during the election campaign the people understood thoroughly what the Government would do if it were continued in office. This bill is a natural sequel to our declarations on the hustings, and is, I believe, acceptable to the overwhelming majority of the people. It does not do the injury to trade unionists which honorable members opposite have declared to be our design. It is directed solely against those extremists who are trying to overthrow constitutional government and bring about political and economic chaos. It does not attempt to provide a method of settling industrial disputes; that problem is foreign to its purpose. The Leader of the Opposition declared yesterday that the Government has no need to seek further powers, and, in support of that contention, quoted section 24a of the Crimes Act. The honorable member could not have been sincere in suggesting that that section gives to the Government .the powers conferred by this bill. It does not deal with unlawful associations.
– It gives power to deal with persons who try to create disaffection.
– The honorable gentleman must realize that his statement thai, what the Government seeks to do can be achieved under the existing law, is contrary to fact. If the honorable member will read the whole of the legislation referred to, he will realize that the cas: which he put forward cannot be maintained. Whether he agrees with what we propose to do or not, obviously we must pass this legislation to get the additional powers asked for. The law as it stands certainly does not give them. I regret that the measure which the Government hopes to bring down at a later stage, for the settlement of industrial disputes, could not be introduced concurrently.
– Why could it not?
– Because a tremendous amount of consideration and research is necessary before we can introduce it. That bill will deal with one of the most difficult problems that has ever confronted this country. It is a very grave misrepresentation to suggest that this bill can be regarded as an attack upon trade unionism. The Leader of the Opposition, in attempting to show that it was directed against trade unionists, asked why they were not exempted from certain of its provisions, as they are in the Unlawful Associations Act of 1916. The honorable gentleman suggested that there was something sinister in that. It is a pity that he had not read the act more carefully. By it certain organizations are declared to be unlawful associations, as, for instance -
Any association which, by its constitution or propaganda, advocates, or encourages, or incites, or instigates to, the taking or endangering of human life or the destruction or injury of property;
– The right honorable gentleman should read the proviso. It exempts trade unionists.
– I am about to deal with the point raised by the honorable member, If he will look at the proposed new sub-section 30a, paragraph b, of the bill, he will find that unlawful associations are to be deemed to include -
Any body of persons, incorporated or unincorporated, which by its constitution, or propaganda, or otherwise, advocates or encourages the doing of any act having or purporting to have as an object the carrying out of a seditious intention as defined in section 24a of this act.
That provision is practically identical with paragraph b, section 3, of the act of 1916. Paragraph c of the same section adds -
Any association which the Governor-General, by notice published in the Gazette, declares to be, in his opinion, an unlawful association within the meaning of the last preceding paragraph.
But there is this proviso -
Provided that this last sub-section shall not apply in the case of any association registered under any Arbitration law’ of the Commonwealth or any State or any law relating to trade unions in any State.
– That is the very point which I made. I was a member of this Parliament when the measure was under consideration.
– If the honorable gentleman had read the act more carefully, he would know how hopeless his contention is’. The proviso exempting trade unionists relates only to associations which the Governor-General, by proclamation, declares to be unlawful associations. Evidently he did not then protect the interests of trade unionists in the way he now declares to be necessary. I think I have made the position clear to the House, if not to the Leader of the Opposition. His whole case rests on the statement that we are now proposing something different from what was done before. Trade unionists were not exempted under paragraph b of section 3 of the 1916-17 act, and they are not exempted under this bill. I suggest that the honorable gentleman has done a very great injustice to trade unionists. Before a trade unionist could be convicted under the bill, it would have to be proved that he was one of a body of persons who advocated or encouraged the doing of a seditious act, as defined in paragraph b of proposed new section 30a. Do trade unionists encourage these things 1 I understand that they do not. Under the 1916 law organized trade unionists were properly exempted in certain circumstances, but there was no exemption for an offence against the community such as encouraging or instigating the taking or endangering of human life or the destruction or injury of property. Trade unionists have nothing to fear. I think the Leader of the Opposition will realize, when he has thought the matter over, that the trade unionists have not very much to thank him for. They do not wish to be exempted in the circumstances which I have retailed. Another fact which the honorable gentleman stressed was that his party dissociated itself entirely from the extremists whose object is to subvert the government and destroy our economic system. He informed us that, during the election campaign, he had done his best to assure the people that the Labour party had nothing whatever to do with them. I observed, however, that he spoke very quietly, and apparently did not display a great deal of courage.
– I was very definite, but, unfortunately, we got no publicity in the press.
– The honorable gentleman, I venture to say, never told the people that, if returned to power, he would take drastic action against the extremists to prevent them from continuing their pernicious activity in the Commonwealth. I have no desire now to stir up feeling over this matter. The Leader of the Opposition assured us that he and his party were in no way associated with the extremists, but he pointed the finger of scorn across the table and invited the people to compare the attitude of his party with what he regarded as the disreputable action of the Prime Minister in encouraging the Fascisti, whom he regarded as worse than the extremists. He suggested that we were encouraging these people to subvert the Constitution and bring about disorder in this country. I can only say that the honorable gentleman must have been carried away when he quoted the letter to the gentleman described as the organizer of the Fascisti movement in Australia. It passes my comprehension how the Leader of the Opposition could have been unaware of what had happened.
– Possibly I did not know, because I was out of the State during the election campaign.
– I can understand the letter being published by newspapers that were supporting the Labour party, I can imagine the letter being quoted by some of the honorable gentleman’s followers - I do not indicate to whom I refer - but it passes my comprehension that the Leader of the Opposition should quote it, and try to base an argument upon it. I can only assume that he does not know the circumstances of its publication. If he knows nothing about it, that is to his credit, because it was one of the most disreputable episodes in the recent election campaign. As the honorable gentleman has again referred to this letter, and has based his case against the Government upon it, I must, at the risk of being a little wearisome, once more state the facts concerning it. The letter was published in the Labour Daily, Sydney, a few days before the election. It purported to be written by A. Kirby Hewlett, organizing secretary of the “British Fascisti,’’ to Captain Hatcher, organizer of the Australian branch. In the course of that letter, Mr. Hewlett was made to say -
It is pleasing to learn that your Federal Government has been assisting in initial organization work.
Fortunately the last elections made the position safe in England, but in Australia the position is different. Labour is in power in four States, and our experience has been such that almost any means would be justified in preventing it from ruling Federally.
If necessary, steps should be taken to precipitate open hostilities with the militant unions. Open rioting would give us an opportunity to smash the unions and cripple Labour politically. In this we have the definite assurance that the present Federal Government would co-operate, and will secretly instruct its officers to work in conjunction with our forces.
You need have no fear, therefore. Use your force to prevent Labour from assuming office should a Labour victory at the polls eventuate.
That is part of the letter, and I shall quote another part later. I was in Sydney about a week before the election, and a few days prior to the publication of the letter. I heard persistent rumours to the effect that the Labour party had a trump card that would be produced at the right moment, and that disaster would then overtake the Government. I waited with some interest until the letter was published. It was reproduced photographically, with the object of convincing readers of its genuineness. Investigations were immediately made, and several things that made one wonder whether the letter was genuine at once caught the eye. In .the first place, the letter was dated the 17th September, and it contained a reference to the Australian election. On that date, no announcement of the election had been made, and no one knew that there was to be an election. The person who wrote the letter made that trifling slip in allowing sufficient time for it to reach Australia from London. There was also a reference to Mr., now Sir Austen, Chamberlain, as “our chancellor of the exchequer.” The letter said -
Our present Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Austen Chamberlain, said, “ Were Labour returned with a working majority, it would be necessary in the interests of the nation to suspend constitutional government, and forcibly prevent it from assuming office.
The person who wrote the letter described Sir Austen Chamberlain as Chancellor of the Exchequer, whereas he was Foreign Secretary, and had probably had more publicity in the previous twelve months than any other British Minister. Those two circumstances made the Government gravely suspicious. We succeeded in obtaining a piece of the notepaper of this organization, and discovered another slight error. The address on the letter was “75, Elm Park Gardens, London, S.W.,” but the actual address of, the British Fascisti is “71, Elm Park Gardens, London, S.W., 10.” Any one who is familiar with the London postal system knows that there is no district designated “ S.W.,” without a number .appended: The telephone number was given as Central, followed by illegible numerals. The actual number is “ Kensington 7 683,” and an address in Elm Park Gardens could not be on the central exchange, which is in the neighbourhood of Charing Cross. The title of the organization was also wrongly stated as “ British Fascisti,” instead of “ British Fascists.” The signature of A. Kirby Hewlett - and this is subsequent history - bore not the slightest resemblance to a specimen signature of Mr. Hewlett, received from London. Having so many grounds for suspicion, we cabled to the High Commissioner in London, asking him to communicate with the persons concerned, and ascertain whether a letter of this character had been sent. He consulted with Scotland Yard, which got into touch with the British Fascist officials. The reply received was that the man who was supposed to have signed the letter as secretary of the society, on- the 17th September, retired from that position in the previous July; that he emphatically denied that he had sent the letter, arid that officials of the movement denied that such a letter had been authorized. The alleged recipient made an affidavit swearing that he had never re- ceived such a letter, and knew nothing about it. The whole thing was shown to be a transparent and stupid forgery; and yet- the Leader of the Opposition produces the letter as evidence that the Government is in close alliance with the Fascisti movement.
– The honorable the Leader of the Opposition was not aware of the facts.
– I can only suppose that he was not.
– The facts should be stated, and all doubts about the matter should be cleared up.
– I am glad that the honorable gentleman has given me an opportunity to clear them up.
– I said that the Government should go farther, and see where the officer referred to stands in relation to the movement.
– I leave the matter there. An inquiry would be very interesting, particularly if it disclosed who forged the letter, and what part the Labour Daily, of which Mr. Lang, the Premier of New South Wales, is a director, played in the affair. So much for the Government’s alleged disreputable connexion with the Fascisti. I feel sure that the honorable gentleman would like to be able to dissociate himself from Mr. Donald Grant as effectively as I have dissociated the Government from the Fascists. It is regrettable that when the House is considering a measure of very grave importance matters of this kind are introduced into the debate. Such, incidents might well die with the election.
– If there is such an association in Australia as that referred to in the letter, it ought to be exposed and brought within the scope of the bill. The Government still says that it will keep Mr. Hatcher in the Public Service.
– The honorable gentleman has on many occasions feebly disowned the communists and other extremists. The first time I heard of the Fascisti movement being organized in this country I made the clear and definite statement, which I now repeat, that the Government would not tolerate interference with the constitutional government of this country by the Fascisti, the communists, or any one else.
– In view of that statement, why does the- Government retain Hatcher in its employment ? Hatcher has stated that the Government knows all about the movement, and that correspondence relating to it has passed through the Government.
– The honorable gentleman has said that I know all about the organization.
– Hatcher has said so.
– It is regrettable that these subjects are discussed in this House. If the honorable gentleman says that Mr. Hatcher has said that I know anything about it, the honorable gentleman must have read that statement in a Sydney journal called Truth. I think that journal went so far as to say that I told the Fascists to keep . quiet until the election was over. I do not intend to pursue questions raised by journals of that type.
– I read the statement in the leading columns of the daily newspapers.
– I can assure honorable members that I know nothing about this movement; but if it takes any steps to interfere with constitutional government, or to usurp the functions of government, this Administration will not tolerate it. We can have no association with any movement of that character. This bill is designed to deal with any one who tries to interfere by force or violence with our constitutional form of ‘ government, and the Fascists, equally with the communists, will fall within its provisions. . I have said that the people of this country have indorsed the actions and policy of the Government. They did that when the Government brought down a bill to amend the Immigration Act, but a number of honorable members opposite say that the electors did not indorse that action because the High Court decided that the Parliament under its constitutonal powers could not do< what it had’ attempted to do. What possible connexion can there be between the decision of the High Court upon a technical point as to the constitutionality of that act and the mandate of the people? It is perfectly clear that the people, by an overwhelming majority; endorsed the action of the Government, and gave it a mandate to take steps to give effect to what it attempted to do in that measure. I am amazed at the atmosphere of self-satisfaction and selfcongratulation that has enveloped honorable members opposite since the High Court delivered its judgment. They have not hesitated to say, “ We told you so. All along we had not the slightest doubt that the High Court would declare the measure unconstitutional.” The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) said very clearly last night that he knew all about it. I do not wish to refer at length to the constitutional aspect of that measure, for the Attorney-General (Mr. Latham.) ‘ has already discussed it. I shall content myself - with observing’ .that if honorable members opposite were as confident that their legal luminaries were right, as the honorable member for Batman has led us to believe they were, they showed very little consideration for the men who appeared before the deportation board. Why did they allow them to become involved in an expenditure of from £3,000 or £4,000 - if they really did become involved in it - when they were certain that the measure was unconstitutional? Had they been certain of that there was a simple course for them to advise the men to adopt. They should have told them not to take any notice of the summons served on them; to let the board recommend their deportation;. and then to take action to obtain a writ of habeas corpus from the High Court, and the whole thing would have been ended. The fact is that they had not’ the slightest suspicion that the bill was not within the ambit of the Constitution. The measure now before the House has been introduced to give effect to the expressed will of the people. I understand that no objection has been raised to the provisions of the proposed new sub-section 30a, which deals with unlawful associations, and those connected with them. Honorable members generally have expressed, the view that such associations and the people connected with them are a menace to the country, and should be dealt with. I shall not, therefore, spend any time on those provisions. The provisions that have been strongly objected to are contained in the proposed new sub-section 30 J. In discussing them the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) asked, “ What is wrong in dealing with those people under the provisions of the Commonwealth Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1 “ The Arbitration Act, which has nothing whatever to do with the matters referred to in the proposed new sub-section, has for its purpose the settlement of industrial 1 disputes, and the regulation and adjustment of wages and conditions. The proposed new section is intended to become operative only when persons in the community, at a time of national crisis, are endeavouring to take action which will seriously affect the whole of the people, and lead to chaos in our national life. The Leader of the Opposition said that many trade union leaders in a time of industrial disturbance work day and night to settle the dispute. I heartily agree with him that many of those men do invaluable work, not only in connexion with the settlement of disputes, but in endeavouring to counteract the activities of a few wild leaders, .the extreme views of which if given effect, would damage the best interests of their own friends as well as those of the community at large. As a matter of fact, the provisions of this proposed new sub-section would never apply to reputable trade union leaders. Let us look at the matter from two stand-points. It has been suggested, in the first place, that the Government would not hesitate to cause to be issued, under the provisions of this proposed new sub-section, a proclamation declaring that some little industrial dispute that might arise to disturb the peaceful life of the community, was a “serious industrial disturbance prejudicing or threatening trade or commerce with other countries or among the States,” and that persons who were connected with such a minor disturbance could then be imprisoned or deported. That is an utterly wrong conception. No government with a proper sense of its responsibilities would think of issuing such a proclamation unless ‘circumstances unquestionably warranted it. It has even been suggested that the Government would issue such a proclamation in the most light hearted way merely to serve its own ends or to deal with particular individuals. It is inconceivable that that should be the case. Apart altogether from any idea of fairness or any sense of decency, no government with the slightest intelligence would falsely proclaim that a serious industrial dispute existed in the community. Would any government think of seizing men and compelling their appearance before a court if it thought that there was a possibility that they would not be. convicted? Some honorable members of the Opposition have argued that, in any case, the people are entirely opposed to legislation of this description. The reverse is the case. The people were consulted on this particular point, and, by a very large majority, they disagreed with the views of honorable members opposite and agreed with those of the Government. In this country governments have always to go to the bar of public opinion to ascertain the judgment of the people. No government would dream of exercising its powers despotically, for it would know that if it did so judgment would inevitably fall upon it. May I offer one word of advice to honorable members opposite? I know they do not like my advice^ as a rule, but perhaps they may be disposed to accept it on this occasion. I advise them to consider whether the people of Australia will tolerate them continually saying in this Parliament that the electors did not rightly determine the issue that was submitted to them at the last election. The people said, quite distinctly, that the Government acted rightly in endeavouring to suppress and deport those who were disturbing and prejudicing our trade and commerce. They said, in effect, “We believe that the Government acted rightly in bringing these men before the Deportation Board. We believe that legislation of this character should be enforced against such men.” Honorable members opposite would be well advised to take the decision of the people in a more sporting spirit and not whine because they were defeated in the fight. The second point that ought to be considered is whether it is not necessary that the Executive should have this power. Seeing that the interests of the whole of the citizens of this country may be materially damaged by big industrial upheavals, which may be caused by even one man who deliberately aims at bringing chaos into our economic life, surely it is essential that the Government should have power to deal with these people. It would never think of exercising such power despotically, because it would know that . the people are the masters, and can bring swift and rapid retribution on any government that misuses its power. Our object in including these new subsections in the bill is to give effect to the expressed will of the people. I assure honorable members, and, through them, the country generally, that these proposals are not aimed at trade unions, or at the leaders of trade unions. They are only aimed at those who are trying to destroy our national life and to bring untold misfortunes upon the whole of our people. Exception has been taken to the provision in the bill that individuals may be deported for two specific things. It has been said that the Government should not have power to send any one out of the country. I cannot understand the attitude that is being adopted by honorable members opposite. Persons have in the past been deported from Australia. Probably not one honorable member would agree to yield up the right that we possess to send men out of Australia if they commit certain unlawful acts. I have not heard any objection raised to the deportation of an individual upon conviction of any of the offences that fall under the provisions relating to unlawful associations. I believe that every one is in favour of those provisions. A distinction, however, is drawn, in favour of British subjects, not because any principle is involved, but because the idea is held that the power to deport such persons may be misused, and that the Government may take action against men who should not be subject to it. No government would dare to misuse those powers. But the right to take proper action must be vested in every government. For the moment I shall confine my remarks to the application of the bill to aliens. Take the case of a man who, after entering Australia, preaches doctrines that lead to industrial unrest, and commits acts which hamstring our transport system. He is taken before a court, and convicted. It is proved that he has been a source of trouble wherever he has resided, ‘and that nothing can be said in his favour. If such a person is sent to prison, he does not remain long in confinement. “Upon his release he again moves about amongst the people, and continues to act unlawfully, hoping that he will not again be convicted. Is it suggested that we should not exercise our right to deport him ? Why should We shelter in Australia men who will not subscribe to the views and the sentiments of the Australian people ? Every honorable member will probably agree with my argument in its relation to foreigners ; but there are some who say, “ You must not deport British citizens. Once they have made their permanent home in Australia, no steps should be taken to get rid of them, no matter what they do.” That has not been the practice in the past. Many British citizens have been deported from Australia. Twelve cases, at least, are on record in which that action was taken. Another matter to be considered is the maintenance of our White Australia policy. Does any honorable member subscribe to the view that we have not the power to deport a British citizen who is not a member of a white race? I cannot be charged with lack of sympathy with the British Empire. I believe in the Imperial connexion. It is the greatest safeguard that Australia could have. Our whole future is wrapped up in the British Empire. But if a citizen of any country within the commonwealth of nations that form the British Empire enters Australia, and commits acts that menace our welfare, he should be sent back to the country from which he came. Why should we be saddled with him? Bolshevism is training its propagandists for the furtherance of its doctrines in very country. We in Australia do not believe in those doctrines. A citizen of Russia can make little headway with his propaganda in a British’ community. But many men have gone to Russia, where for upwards of two years they have undergone training designed to fit them to propagate in the British Empire the doctrines of Bolshevism. Have we to keep in , Australia a man who so far forgets his own nationality and the promptings of patriotism, that he will submit to training in a foreign country in order that he may assist in the subversion of constitutional government within the Empire to which he belongs? We are not required to do that. On the contrary, he should be returned- to his own country. T should readily deport such a man. The power to deport will be exercisable in only two cases. That power is inherent in every government, and we should jealously guard it: From every point of view we are entitled to get rid of those who do not belong to our country, and will not conform to our national standards and ideals. One other point has been raised. It is said ‘“You propose to deal with these men in a way different from that in which you would deal with Australian citizens. Why do you not get rid of an Australian citizen if he commits acts which you believe are dangerous to the country ?” It might be a good thing for Australia if, in extreme cases, such action could be taken. I believe that every sovereign government has the power to banish its nationals. We might possibly banish Australian citizens; but probably no other country would take them in. We can send back to the country to which he belongs a person who is a menace to our own country, but it is practically impossible for us to banish our own citizens.
– No country can be compelled to take back any man.
– It is customary for a nation to take back its nationals. That is being done to-day. Australia has had to take back its nationals, and it has deported the nationals of other countries. I agree with the honorable member that if a nation refused to take back one of its nationals, it could not be forced- to do so. He knows as well as any honorable member that there is no force behind international law, that there is no sanction which can be exacted to ensure compliance with that law. He must admit, however, that it is the recognized practice for every nation to take back its own nationals.
– The right honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- The speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) afforded an explanation of the success of his party at the elections. He endeavoured to prove that the bill does not mean what it ‘explicitly states it does mean. When the right honorable gentleman claimed to have received a mandate because of the action - that the Government took prior to the elections, and the further action it proposed to take, he proved that he was given a mandate merely on what he told the people, and not on what he actually intended to do. In a plaintive tone he besought’ honorable members to forget the things -.which were said and done during the election campaign. I should be very glad if I could forget them. This bill would not have been introduced but for the fact that the Government worked up a “ stunt “ about a communist menace and a foreign invasion of Australia. The Government is now endeavouring to justify that action. I am reminded of the election which was held in Great Britain shortly after the outbreak of the war, when the
Lloyd George Government was returned to power. The election cry which at that time swept aside every proposal for the reconstruction of that great country was “ Hang the Kaiser !” This Government went to the country with the cry, “Deport Walsh.” The Kaiser still lives, and Walsh is still in Australia. The Government is now endeavouring to save its face. It made the issue of the elections the deportation of two individuals. Did anybody believe that the deportation of two men, however strong or violent they might be, would solve the” problems that lie at the root of industrial’ unrest in Australia? The Prime Minister made an attack on the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton). He spent a considerable time in endeavouring to prove that my honoured leader was quite wrong in his reference to the powers under the Unlawful Associations Act. The Leader of the Opposition quoted a proviso to the effect that the Unlawful Associations Act should not apply to trade unions.
– That is not an existing act.
– It was passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, and a proviso in it specifically exempted trade unions. The Prime Minister endeavoured to show that the Leader of the Opposition was wrong when he said that the proviso applied only to sub-section c, which provides for the proclamation by ihe Governor-General of an unlawful association. The right honorable gentleman said that trade unionists were not exempted from the provisions of subsection i. Those who read that sub-section will see that trade unions do not come within its scope. It deals with those who advocate, encourage, incite, or instigate the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction or injury of property. That provision was never meant to apply to trade unions. But there is an exemption from the section under which the proclamation of the Governor-General had to be made. - During the debate on that measure it was clearly shown that that section should not apply to trade unions, and iri order to protect them the proviso was inserted. I come to another point the Prime Minister tried to make. The- Leader of the Opposition yesterday declared in this
House that honorable members on this side do not stand for organizations that advocate force, violence, and bloodshed. He said that we stand for constitutional methods to secure a change in any system that we think ought to be changed. The Prime Minister complained that the honorable gentleman made that declaration in a veryweak voice, and did not proclaim it aloud. Another honorable member on the other side interjected, “ If you had said that before the elections,you would have won.” I heard the Leader of the Opposition, before the elections, male the same declaration most definitely, in a hall in the centre of the electoral division of Flinders, represented by the Prime Minister. I read the garbled press report of the honorable gentleman’s speech which appeared the day after, and it was one of the worst pieces of reporting that ever came under my notice. The Prime Minister commented upon that speech, and says that it was very weak. I listened to the speech and it was a strong declaration, even more strongly worded than that made here yesterday. It ill becomes the Prime Minister and honorable members opposite, who won their election because of the power of money and because a united press starred what they had to say and suppressed what was said by honorable members on this side, to say that if these declarations had been made before the elections, the result would have been different. In the circumstances, it is of no use for honorable members opposite to talk of their mandate and the power they possess. The election was a fight for the mass of the people against the privileged classes, ‘and the people had, as always, to fight against the organized power of. wealth which finds its expression mostly in the press of this country. The Prime Minister was greatly upset about the reference made to the Fascisti. I am not concerned about them. In my view, the Fascisti and similar associations represent but a passing phase. If honorable members opposite point to the fact that a great organization, which does not stand for the constitutional methods in which we in Australia believe, holds the reins of power in Russia, we have an equalsight to remind them that a similarly unconstitutional organization governs in Italy.I do not believe that the methods employed in either of these countries can be introduced in Australia, and become a menace to this country, unless we bring about in Australia the sameconditions as those which have been responsible for revolution in other lands. That is what this bill has a tendency to do, and the more of this class of legislation that is passed, the more likely are such conditions to be brought about.While I am not very concerned about the Fascisti business, the point the Prime Minister made to prove that the letter referred to was a fake, was the date of the letter, - 17th September - and the fact that that was a date prior to any announcement of the Federal election. That was the strongest point he made.
Mr.G. Francis. - That is not so. Itwas that the man referred to neither signed nor sent the letter.
– That is, after all, only a matter of denial. The Prime Minister’s strongest proof that the letter was not sent was that the 17th September, the dateof it, was before the announcement of the election.
– Will the honorable member suggest the evidence which he thinks proves that the letter is genuine?
– I shall deal with one thing at a time. I have said that I am not concerned about the letter at all, but I want to stress another point, and it is that it was well known in this country long beforeany official announcement of it, that there was to be an election. The very date of the election was known before the official announcement that one was to be held was made in this House. I can tell honorable members how we knew the date of the election.
– The honorable member knew more than I did.
– That is not so. At a certain stage I knew exactly as much as the honorable gentleman knew as a member of the Government. I knew the date of the election because the Government stooped, for the first time in my knowledge of elections, to a despicable electioneering trick. Its organization sent wires to those controlling every public hall in Australia that it wanted, engaging the halls for the night of the 13th November. Every town hall in my electorate was engaged for the night of the 13th November, and that before any announcement that there was to be an election. I was rung up on the telephone, and received the message, “ Do you know that the National party has engaged the Richmond town hall, the Collingwood town hall, and the Fitzroy town hall for the night of the 13th November?” My reply was, “Then the election is to be on the 14th November.”
– Is there any evidence of that?
– The evidence can be obtained by askin? those in charge of the town halls when they were engaged for that night. Does the honorable gentleman dispute my word in the matter ?
– I do not know anything about it. I say there was no evidence of the date. On what date was it ?
– I said it was before any announcement of the election was made in this House.
– Was it before the 17th September, the date on which the letter referred to is supposed to have been written in London?
– We adjourned on the 25th September, and the announcement of the elections was made before that date.
– But not before the 17th September.
– My point is that it was well known for weeks before that that there was to be an election.
– Was it?
– Yes, and the actual date of the election was known because of the date for which the halls were engaged. This was several days before the official announcement of the date of the election in this House. I have said that I am not bothering about the letter, but Mr. Hatcher said that the Prime Minister knew all about his organization. The Prime Minister said that that statement was untrue, but I read a statement in the press that Mr. Robert Hatcher had expressed his astonishment that the Prime Minister should have denied any knowledge of the existence of the organization here, because he had himself made the Prime Minister acquainted with it, and wrote the statement which the Leader of the Opposition read in this House yesterday. The Prime Minister is angry that any suggestion should be made that he or the party opposite is in any way connected with the Fascisti. I do not wish to connect the party opposite with Fascism or with the things which are done bv those who claim to be Fascisti, but I ask that in the same way honorable members on this side shall not be connected with communism. ‘violence, and bloodshed, as they were throughout the election. Honorable members opposite during the election were fighting the Labour party, and told the country that the issue was law and order versus lawlessness. What was the insinuation in that statement ] We were no more responsible for the wild utterances of individuals who happened to be associated with the working class movement than were honorable members opposite, for the wild and stupid utterances of some who stood for the employing class. We ask that we. shall be judged by our platform, our programme, and our record, and by nothing else. That was not the issue put before the people in the stunt election which was held. I should not have risen to speak upon this bill were it not for the provisions in it which are directed against the great trade unions of Australia. Under cover, of an attack upon unlawful associations, the bill makes a subtle, and in some provisions, an open attack upon unionism. I insist that unionists shall not be classed as criminals. It is an insult to the great body of trade unions to propose to deal with industrial disputes in a crimes bill. Itf the Prime Minister is in earnest, and does not believe that the bill should deal with disputes between trade unionists and their employers, let him accept the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition, and omit from the bill the clauses dealing with such disputes. They should be dealt with in an industrial bill, and not in a crime’s bill. The Prime Minister said that the bill is not aimed at trade unionism, and that he believes in trade unionism. There was a chorus of cheers from his supporters when the statement was made. They believe in trade unionism. They admire it, and praise it - provided it does not take any action.
– They have supported it, too.
– No; when it takes any action, honorable members opposite will not support it. When trade unionism takes action to maintain the rights of men, it is never supported by the majority of honorable members on the opposite side. With them trade unionism is never right, but always wrong. A hundred years ago, that was the attitude taken up by the people who then represented the interests which are now represented by honorable members opposite. There was a time in the history ‘of Great Britain when there was in existence what were known as the combination laws, which made trade unions illegal, and made it a crime to form a union, or to hold a meeting of a union. Men were deported for forming trade organizations. The combination laws were repealed by another law of Great Britain, but the law repealing them still provided that “any action which may arise from deliberation of . workmen is illegal.” Whilst men could form their unions, and they were considered lawful associations, to take any action as the result of the deliberations of unions was illegal. That was the law in Great Britain for many years. That is indicative of the frame of mind of those who are responsible for this bill. Trade unions are all right, until they take some action, and then this law is to come into force, and jails, and deportaton are provided for those who take action to bring about better conditions.
– The honorable member does not suggest that the Bill would apply to ordinary conditions.
– I ask the honorable member to read the bill. I say that it applies to any action, however small, taken by a trade union in the way of an industrial dispute.
– Let the honorable member read the words in the bill to which he objects.
– I shall come to them later. Let me lay it down that no law passed by the Parliament should be unjust. Not only should the law be just, but its ““application should be free from bias, and should be removed from party politics. I am sure that the honorable member for Fawkner will agree with those conditions. A law should be just, and its application should be free from political and party bias. This bill does not comply with those conditions.
– Yes it does.
– I shall prove to the honorable member that it does not. This is a law dealing with industrial disputes, and it depends for its application upon a proclamation to be issued by the Government. Ordinarily, a law passed to deal with criminals depends for its application upon the police . force and the courts of the country, and not upon the initiative of the Government. But this law can come into operation only when the political head of the country says it ought tq.
– Quite so. But that is not discrimination. Every one will be amenable to the law after the proclamation.
– The honorable member knows enough about political bias to realize that matters which are left to the decision of a political head are not given that serene and judicial consideration which we expect from a judiciary. The proclamation of this law will depend entirely on the will of those who are for the time being in power. That is fundamentally wrong. In the case of a law against criminals, the police take action without any proclamation by the Government, and the courts decide the issues. Such a law comes into operation automatically. Similarly, this law should act automatically on the lockout, or on the strike, and , the very fact that ‘ it does not proves it to be biased, because its application rests on political opinion. While, on the face of it, it does not discriminate between strikes and lockouts, even if proof can be obtained that a lockout has taken place, we must wait for the Government of the day to proclaim that there exists a serious industrial disturbance before we can bring the offending employer before the court and secure an order for his deportation, which, of course, is not likely to be made. N/ow I come to another phase of the Prime Minister’s speech. The right honorable gentleman said that the people had endorsed the action of the Government in setting up a board in an attempt to deport certain individuals. The people did not endorse this action until they were well assured that it was constitutional. But the right honorable gentleman says that the constitutionality of the matter had nothing to do with the decision of the people. As a matter of fact if the people had realized that they were voting for something which violated the Constitution, they would not have supported it. It violated not only the technical point which the Prime Minister emphasizes, but also a fundamental principle of our Constitution. Just as trial by jury is laid down in Magna Charta, so is it also laid down in. our Constitution, which is framed upon the principle of Magna Charta. The Prime Minister says that the proposed new section 30j, providing for the issue of a proclamation that there exists a serious industrial disturbance, could not operate against leaders of the trade union movement. But it rests with the political head of the day to issue it. According to the right honorable gentleman also, it would only issue in relation to a matter “of national and vital importance. There are many big strikes dealing with matters of national and vital importance, for which there is more justification than there is for many small strikes. There was, for instance, a coal strike in Australia when, in my opinion, the men had a just case, for when the case was fairly heard, they won it. But. in the meantime, their strike had a most paralyzing effect on commerce and industry. The recent shipping strike was only a circumstance compared with it; yet no attempt was made during the coal strike to pass panic legislation of this character. The Prime Minister asked, “Would any Government proclaim such a law without strong reason or justification for doing so?” My answer is a simple one - the Government has already done so. The right honorable gentleman said the people would not stand for it, that they would fling the Government out. I thought the same prior to the recent election, but when a “stunt” can be worked up as it was during the recent campaign many a thing which the people do not intend to support can be carried through. The fact remains that, without justification, the Government put into operation an iniquitous law, and it is idle for it now to put up the plea that it would not misuse its power in. this connexion. There was a time when I believed that no government of this country would misuse its power, but after our experience during the last few months of the vindictive use of the power of a government against two individuals in this country, I believe that anything is possible if we grant this power. The bill before us provides that any person who takes part in a strike in relation to the transport of goods, or in relation to employment in the provision of any public service by the Commonwealth, may be imprisoned and, in addition to being imprisoned, may be deported. I invite the attention of the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Gardner) to the words: “Any person who aids or encourages a strike.” Surely that is the mildest action one could take. The man who gives a few shillings to the wife of a striker, and thus helps him to carry on, is assisting in a strike. ‘ The Coercion Act of Victoria provided for exactly the same thing. It can be regarded as assisting a strike.
– That is only after circumstances have arisen to justify the issue of a proclamation.
–Yes ; but the time at which a proclamation shall be issued rests entirely with the political head of the country, instead of with thosewho administer the law free from political influence. The penalty provided may be imprisonment for one year, and, in addition, deportation. We have gained one point in this fight. There is to be no board. A court will now decide the issue. Surely the judge, who sees the prisoner and hears the evidence, should be in a better position than any one else to inflict a penalty, and should alone impose it. Does the honorable member for Fawkner endorse that?
– Is it the law in any country which deports people?
– I am not concerned with that. I am concerned only with what is right. What authority has the Attorney-General to step over the power of the judge to inflict fi penalty, and add something to the penalty imposed by him?
– Would the honorable member be satisfied if the proclamation were issued only after a judge had been satisfied that a serious state of industrial unrest existed?
– I would not be satisfied with any law that makes it a crime to strike, or make criminals of those who refuse to sell their labour at a given price, or those who close their shops and refuse to employ men unless at a wage which pays them. Those are matters that can be dealt with by other laws. They should not come under this bill. The offence of a man who may be charged with encouraging or assisting a strike may be so slight that the judge who hears the evidence may inflict a nominal fine. That ought to be the end of it, but, for reasons that may be political, the AttorneyGeneral can then step in and add to the punishment already inflicted the penalty of deportation. It is an outrage on justice to introduce a bill to permit this to be done. It sets up a political punishment, and not a judicial punishment. It is that sort of thing that is likely to create revolts in a country such as this.
– And it will not prevent strikes.
– It will have no more effect in preventing strikes than a mustard plaster would have on a wooden leg. The bill, in some respects, is an improvement on a previous measure, inasmuch as the Deportation Board has been abandoned. One of the big issues we fought in the election was the right of trial before a properly constituted court. We had previously fought it here against the unanimous vote of honorable members on the other side, and we fought it again in the country. Although we put ourselves in the position of -appearing to be supporting the actions of some men whose deeds and utterances we did not support, we stood for the principle of the right of those men to be tried by a court It is the right which is given to the worst criminal in the land. Although we went down fighting for that principle, evidently our protestations have had some effect on the minds of the people, and even on the Government, because the stupid and iniquitous policy of having a political board instead of a court to judge this issue has now been abandoned. When we went to the country, quoting Magna Charta and our own Australian Constitution, we were sneered at, but the High Court has since justified us in that regard, and scarified the Government. The deportation provided for in this bill is in addition to whatever imprisonment may be imposed by a judge. It is thus a double punishment - what I may describe as composite punishment. This bill deals with things other than unlawful associations. It deals with splitting bank- notes, forging documents, and stealing, side by side with the refusal of men to work because they do not consider the conditions under which they are asked to work are suitable. It is a disgrace to this Parliament that the two things should be put side by side, but when we examine the measure further we find that there is in it that discrimination which the honorable member for Fawkner says should not be indulged in. The Attorney-General will not be able under this bill to deport any man who has been convicted of forgery, of splitting notes, or stealing ; but no matter how slight may be the offence of a man who takes part in an industrial dispute, if he is one of. those who happen to give trouble to the powers that be, he may be shanghaied out of the country at the will of the Attorney-General. We are asked, “ Cannot we trust the AttorneyGeneral?” If the present AttorneyGeneral were placed on the High Court bench, to-morrow, I would trust him. I believe that he would carry out the traditions of the judiciary if he were placed, there, but I refuse to trust him while he is influenced by Cabinet or party meetings in a political action of this description. I am backed up in that belief by the statements of the AttorneyGeneral himself when the previous measure was being discussed. I shall quote from a report of his speech made at Kew on the 13th September of last year. I have never seen a contradiction of that speech. He was then justifying the appointment of the Deportation Board to try Walsh and Johnson, and he said -
There were some facts that could not be proved by legal evidence. … It was found necessary to alter the law.
I can imagine what the Attorney-General would say if he were defending a criminal in the courts of this country, and any attempt were made to find him guilty without legal evidence. The honorable member is a trained lawyer,, and understands the use of words and the weight of evidence, yet he makes . that statement in justification of a board that is not a properlyconstituted body. Two days after he made the- speech at Kew, he came down to this House and protested against an appeal board deciding questions of taxation, because he said that it was not a court properly constituted under the laws of this country. On his argument we must not have a board to deal with taxation, but we should have a board that does not need to obtain legal evidence to order the deportation of a man who has lived in this country for 40 years. The Attorney-General is now to decide when a man shall be deported from this country. The bill deals with forgers and thieves, but deportation is not provided for them. We are asked to leave to the tender mercies of the Attorney-General all those who take part in industrial disputes.
Certain honorable members opposite, for political purposes only, have decried the credit of Australia. They knew that there was no great industrial upheaval and disturbance such as they talked about during the elections. All the trouble was confined to the shipping, and there was then not even an Australian strike. It was a strike of men who came from another part of this great Empire. They were fighting against a disgraceful reduction of their wages, and, because of that, a proclamation was issued. No sane Government would have issued a proclamation unless the circumstances were serious; but in this case the circumstances were comparatively trivial. The British seamen went on strike as a protest against the reduction in their pay of £1 a month, and that was not a grave circumstance. A few ships were held up for a few weeks, but ships and industry also have been held up longer in this country. No previous Government ever introduced a measure like this. We are asked to trust the Government with the awful and enormous powers provided under the bill, which, it says, will only be exercised when circumstances are grave. Let me say to those honorable members, who for political ends, and to cover up their own political record when facing the certain vengeance of the electors, decried this country, and hold it up to the world as a place of continual trouble, that the statistics quoted yesterday, by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton), proved this country to be the most peaceful in the world. Let me quote a recent opinion by Mr. George Fairbairn, to-day the Victorian Agent-General, and at one time a member of this House. Mr. Fairbairn was strongly opposed to the Labour party, politically, when he sat in this House, but he was recognized by both sides as a fair-minded man. I do not agree with his political opinions, but on a question of fact I believe that Mr.
Fairbairn would give an honest opinion. On the 26th of last month he was interviewed by a representative of the Geelong Advertiser, and, after deprecating the sending from Australia of cables that were injurious to its credit, he dealt with the alleged disturbances in this country. He said, “ My own impression is that there is more disturbance in one day in Glasgow than there is in Australia in a year, and in my opinion Australia is about the quietest place on the face of the earth.” I believe that he is right. As one who believes in the progress of this country, and in the peaceful settlement of disputes,. I deprecate the action of the Government and its supporters in eternally talking about disturbances and disputes, and ruining the credit of Australia abroad. The Prime Minister said a great deal about the mandate that he received from the people. One point that he stressed, and which was stressed by every one of his supporters, was that unionists should be given control of their unions by secret ballot. Somebody suggested to the Prime Minister at one of his meetings that the wives of the unionists should also be given a vote, and he, the Prime Minister, thought it an excellent idea. That cry that every union should have a secret ballot before it could plunge this country into a strike carried the Government through the election. What does that mean? It means sanctioning every strike for which a majority of the members of a union vote. If a majority of unionists vote in favour of a strike, and a strike occurs, then the Attorney-General, under this bill, may issue a proclamation declaring the Commonwealth to be in . a state of grave industrial disturbance. In that case the men who voted for the strike, and also the minority who voted against it, and who would go on strike in loyalty to their comrades, could be thrown into gaol, and those who were not born in Australia could be deported. What about the wives who may have been given a vote ? They could be charged with encouraging a strike, and also thrown into gaol, and those who were not born here could be deported. We have the materials here for a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. The policy on which the Government received a mandate from the country was the enforcement of a secret ballot by unions before going on strike. Yet under this bill unionists, ifthey carry out the decision of a majority in favour of a strike, may be declared criminals. How can honorable members reconcile these things? I suggest that it would be analogous to insist on the taking of a secret ballot by burglars before they attempt burglary. If the Government authorizes a secret ballot - and it intends to do so under legislation to be introduced, and which should have been introduced before this - I suggest that it could be charged with encouraging a strike, and ought to be gaoled, and those of its members that were’ not born in Australia deported. The Leader of the Opposition yesterday emphasized the fact that, ever since penalty clauses have been inserted in the arbitration laws, it has been absolutely impossible to prove a lock-out. Employers have the position in their own hands. Every reasonable-minded man in this House knows that to be true. There is no need to put in the bill any provision relating to employers acting in combination. An employer is a combination in himself. A man who employs in his business 2,000 or 3,000 men can lock them out for some reason or other, and he need not act in combination with anybody else ; but if his employees wish to protest against their conditions, they must act in combination, to be successful. “We cannot compare things that are different. It cannot be said that under the bill we are treating both sides alike by providing penalties for both strikes and lockouts. It is impossible to prove a lockout, although it is easy to prove a strike, since it must be done openly. We cannot compel an employer to employ men underany other than his own conditions.
– I do not think that the honorable member hasread the second part of the definition “of a lockout. He will observe from it that a combination is not required. There can be a lockout by a single employer.
– That is true. We know in the industrial history of this country of cases in which those who constitute the management have closed down works by provoking a strike. We know of mining frauds which have been covered up by forcing strikes. When any attempt has been made to expose the employers the men have been harassed, their conditions reduced, and contract rates decreased in order to force the men out on strike, with the result that the mine has been flooded, and the fraud thus covered up.Under those circumstances the men can be treated under this legislation as strikers and imprisoned. I do not say that all employers would adopt those tactics, because many of them desire to give the men a fair deal. According to the bill a strike is a cessation of work brought about by employees acting in combination. Those who framed the bill know perfectly well that the men have to act in combination or else fail. We know that united action by the workers has enabled them to emerge from the pit of poverty, and that without that action their conditions would not have improved. What crime have the workers committed to warrant the Government branding them as criminals? The honorable member for Wannon (Mr.Rodgers) said that the workers could not have it both ways - they could not have both arbitration and the right to strike. Let the Government fight that out as an economic and industrial question, and let us put our views to this country. But we are not now arguing whether men have the right to strike, and at the same time have an Arbitration Court or Wages Board. We say that the Government has no right to make criminals of men who refuse to sell their labour at a price which they do not consider suitable. Contrast the attitude of this Government towards different sections of the community. Do they utter a word of protest against the men who combine and refuse to sell their commodities to the workers except at exorbitant prices? At one time we were supposed to have an act to deal with combines. Has there been any suggestion on the part of the Government to alter the Constitution to deal with the millers’ combine, which refuses to sell flour to any baker who will not sell bread at a fixed price. I know of one woman in Footscray who struggled to get supplies of flour. The millers combine refused to supply her with flour unless she sold bread at an increased price of1/2d. or1d. a loaf. One bag of flour that was being taken to her place had the contents of a bottle of eucalyptus poured into it. The Government has not said a word about those people who combine and refuse to sell their commodities except at exorbitant prices. If the workers who have only their labour to sell combine and refuse to work at a stated rate they will, under this measure, be declared criminals, and if a strike is an extensive one they may, if not born in Australia, be deported, however small the offence, merely on the word of the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth. The workers of Australia are being told that it is high treason to strike, but if the employers or manufacturers refuse to sell their products at acertain price it is termed patriotism, and they are recommended for a title. Let me institute a comparison between the conditions an Great Britain and Australia. In consequence of the decline in the coal mining industry “in Great Britain there is likely to be a crisis. The question has to -be faced - it is a serious one - of . whether certain gentlemen are to give up life-long privileges or whether the coal miners are to submit to sweated conditions. A decision for the moment has been suspended by the payment of a large sum of money by the British Government, but the issue has to be faced. There is a good deal of speculation in Great Britain to-day as to what will be the ultimate result.* There are active spirits in Britain to-day. Some are preparing for the crisis which they believe is approaching. So far as the evidence discloses they took no part in. any acts pf violence or force, but they urged the soldiers not to shoot down their fellow-workers if a strike should come. For that twelve communists were imprisoned, and the public indignation aroused in Great Britain to-day over this question is most pronounced. I have read a report of the speeches delivered by respectable and reputable members of the House of Commons at a meeting held in London on the 14th December last, when they deliberately threw out a challenge to the Government of the day by repeating word for word the utterances upon which these men were indicted. That is the kind of challenge this Government will get when they bring this measure into force and a crisis comes. Let me quote the opinion of Canon Lewis Donaldson. He said -
The Government’s fear is not communism but the Labor movement. They did not fear force, they feared the growth of the knowledge of the people. The basis of the present order of society is not service but self-interest. Its methods were not co-operation but competition. Its aim is not to make life but to make wealth.
A good deal of interesting evidence has been given before the coal commission which is now sitting in England. One of the witnesses summoned before the commission was the Duke of Northumberland who, in cross-examination, admitted that he took £75,431 .out of the coal industry in the form of royalties during the twelve months ended September, 1925. He was asked if he thought he ought to draw such a large sum for doing nothing, and in payment for- coal which he did not place in the ground. He was also asked if he thought he was rendering the same service as 440 miners, whose yearly wages would aggregate that amount ; and he said he thought he was. He said that his expenses and the money he disbursed should be taken into consideration. I suggest that 440 miners would disburse their wages as freely, widely, and wisely as the Duke of Northumberland would disburse his money. It was also shown that for the twelve months ended September, 1925,. the Marquis of Bute drew £150,000 in royalties, and the’ Duke of Hamilton £115,000. In a general statement submitted it was shown that no less than £6,000,000 was drawn in royalties.’ Obsolete panicky legislation that has been a dead letter in Britain for centuries is now being brought into operation there, not because there is a fear of insurrection or . acts of violence being committed, but because the authorities are- afraid of free speech on the- industrial problems which have to be’ faced in the near future. That, I suggest, is what is actuating this Government to-day. There is a suggestion of a great crisis approaching in England, which will be to the detriment of these royaltymongers, who have rendered no service to Britain. A deliberate attempt is being made to interfere with the conditions of the men, and terrorize them by bringing them under old legislation, under which they can be placed in jail if they utter a word of protest. One of the great boasts of Britain has been that she has allowed freedom of speech in all circumstances, and the future peace of the country lies in granting freedom of speech in the widest possible sense. Even though the bounds may be overstepped at times and wild statements made, we will achieve more by sweet reasonableness than by force and coercion. In The Industrial History of England, H. D. B. Gibbons writes -
When we look back on the last century we can only wonder that trade unionists have been so moderate in their demands.
We know that the workers have had to fight every inch of the way to their present position, and that, until the Arbitration Court was established, wages boards appointed, and the unions were strong, their only protection was the right to strike. In the past the workers of Britain faced .guns and swords, and heard the dungeon doors slam, but they fought on. Is it to be thought that the workers in Australia, who have sprung from the same stock, are going to take this kind of legislation lying down - that is, of course, if the Government dares to enforce it. Do the Government imagine that men whose ancestors fought for their rights in such a determined way, are likely to. cower like craven curs before any petty tyrant that may arise to-day in the Government of this country ? I believe that the workers in Australia are not gettins; a fair deal. I do not think that our social system is just, but I believe in the evolutionary method of changing it. I believe in constitutionalism, and that even under a system that may not bring perfect justice to the workers, we ought to try to get together to settle economic questions in a reasonable and peaceable way. It is because of that belief that I denounce this legislation, which destroys the atmosphere that we should create to- bring the opposing parties together. It destroys the very spirit of peace - the possibility of a better understanding, and the closer cooperation which must exist if industry is to be successfully, carried on. There are many thousands of thoughtful trade unionists, and thousands of thoughtful, honest employers, too, in Australia who are anxious to see a cessation of strife, and desire that the workers shall receive a greater share of the wealth they produce. There has never been a more opportune time than the present in which to create and foster that spirit of co-operation. This legislation, however, drives us back to the dark ages of centuries ago. It destroys the atmosphere necessary to bring about the results that we desire. It has been said that it is not the great body of trade unionists, but only a few agitators, who stir up trouble. Agitators, however, could not cause dissension in the ranks of the workers unless there was cause for it. Remove the cause, change the circumstances, and -the agitators will have no chance of indulging in the stirring-up process. Not’ a word do we hear from honorable members opposite concerning anything done by the employing class. We have frankly admitted that certain acts are committed in the name of labour of which we do’ not approve. We have frankly admitted that we do not stand for all the utterances and suggestions made in the name of labour, but there is no such frank admission from honorable members opposite concerning employers. . There is no appeal by them to the men of wealth and education, who have had opportunities in life, to extend the right hand of fellowship to their fellow men. In the opinion of honorable members opposite, the workers are always wrong. In every industrial dispute which arises, the workers, according to them, are at fault. Are the workers to accept every proposal of the employers without opposition? They are spoken of as “ hands,” in terms of “ hiring “ and “ firing.” The way in which the Government proposes to treat trade unionists is clearly shown in this bill. It intends to brand trade unionists as criminals under a measure that should relate only to criminals. I strongly protest against industrial offences being included in a measure of this kind. We should provide for them under industrial legislation, and not under a bill of this nature. The measure is vindictive and unreasonable, and will not produce the result we all should desire.
.- Before discussing the provisions of the bill I should like to reply briefly to some of the statements made by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin).
– I draw attention to the state of the House. (Quorum formed.]
– I am sorry the honorable member for Yarra has emptied the House, but the action of the honorable member for Hindmarsh enables honorable members to know that I am on my feet.’ The honorable - member for Yarra said that the members of the Government did not believe what they said about communists during the election campaign. The statement of the honorable member for
Yarra is unfair, and my reply to the honorable member is “ Evil be to him who evil thinks.” The honorable member for Yarra should credit honorable members on this side of the House with being as honest in their convictions as I hope they are. The honorable member also criticized the press of Australia because it did not give the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) a fair report of his policy speech, which he said was made to appear a weak effort. Included in my friends are a number of ladies who take a keen interest in politics, and a few days before the elections one of them said that she had “ listened in “ to the speech which the Leader of the Opposition delivered in Adelaide. The opinion she had formed was that it was a weak effort, and consisted principally, as she put it, of an abuse of the Prime Minister and his people. Another statement of the honorable member for Yarra . was that Nationalist candidates had engaged all the halls in the principal towns throughout the Commonwealth ; but in answer to an interjection it was disclosed that there were only three halls in the vicinity of Melbourne that were not available to Labour candidates. I emphatically deny the statement of the honorable member, because I know that a number of the halls in Adelaide and its suburbs were not engaged for a long time after the issue of the writs. The Leader of the Opposition stated that strikes are not as “numerous in Australia as in other countries. He omitted to point out that in other countries the strike is the only weapon the worker has, whereas in Australia Parliament has provided an arbitration system for the settlement of industrial disputes. The people of Australia were assured by the advocates of arbitration that when it became the law of the land strikes would cease. Now the workers are told that they can try arbitration, and if an award does not suit them, they can resort to the strike, and no matter how they break the law they must not be punished. Honorable members opposite have said that it isvery easy to prove the existence of a strike, but difficult to prove that workers have been locked out, but in recent years the greatest difficulty has been experienced in the Arbitration Court in proving either the occurrence or authorship of a strike. Critics of the bill take exception to the power to be granted to a Minister to declare the existence of a serious industrial disturbance. Yet the Riot Act may be read by a sheriff, a magistrate, a mayor, and even a common or garden justice of the peace. When that emergency power is granted by the Riot Act to comparatively irresponsible people, there is nothing extraordinary in empowering a Minister of the Crown to declare the existence of a serious industrial disturbance. We have listened to heated protests against the principle of deportation, but deportation is only expulsion, and Labour unions expel members from their ranks almost daily. Deportation under this measure must be preceded by a conviction in the courts, and the deportee will not be prevented from earning a living in some other land. But men have been expelled from trade unions, and subsequently pursued with such vindictiveness that they could get no employment and were compelled to starve. The Leader of the Opposition quoted a letter which showed that some person or persons stooped to one of the lowest tricks that can be imagined. Apparently, that letter had been forged in order to serve a political end. No honorable member on this side knows who forged the document, and I hope none on the other side knows ; but when the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) defended the incident, I became very suspicious that he had some knowledge of it.
– That statement is an absolute fabrication, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– If the honorable member for Yarra has been misrepresented, he may make a personal explanation later.
– The honorable member for Angas said that he suspected that I knew something of a forged letter. That is an outrageous statement. I regard it as offensive, and ask that it be withdrawn.
– If the honorable member for Angas implied that the honorable member for Yarra had an intimate knowledge of the forgery, his statement was offensive, and must be withdrawn.
– I did not say that the honorable member for Yarra had anything to do with the forgery.
– If the honorable member regards my statement as offensive, I withdraw it. I did not desire to reflect upon him personally. This measure is designed to carry out the direct mandate of the people. Its purpose is to put an end to the disturbances that have caused the cessation of transport on a number of occasions in recent years. Those troubles were engineered by persons who, although posing as ‘ the custodians of the rights of labour, are in reality the greatest enemies of labour and all other interests in this country. The strikes have been aimed at transport, and have occurred at such seasons and in such circumstances as to prevent the marketing of primary products, and cause untold loss to the producers. The one thing that these, organizers, or disorganizes, do is to rob the people whom they are supposed to help of the greatest gift on God’s earth - contentment. Adam was perfectly satisfied until the first agitator in the form of a serpent preached discontent to Eve. Its interference was followed by the deportation of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden: Right through the ages civilization has gradually but steadily advanced, but not until the beginning of the Christian era, when the divine teachings of Christ began to be practised, did the lot of the worker substantially improve. The uplifting of the masses continued through the centuries; the signing of Magna Charta was the commencement of a new epoch. Another outstanding event in industrial evolution was Great Britain’s stand for the abolition of slavery. “Within the last 50 years the position of the worker has continuously improved, and always the driving force has been the influence of Christianity. That, and that only, is the foundation of liberty. Long before there was a Labour party as we know it to-day, men imbued with the best of motives - Christian men - worked for the emancipation of the worker. I state most emphatically that the root cause of the industrial unrest of more recent years has been the intrusion into the ranks of Labour of communists, who are anti-Christian. In contradistinction to Christianity, theirs is a creed of selfishness; it is vicious and uncharitable. Because of the communists, men like the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) have left the Labour party and joined that with which I have the honour to be associated. In the toils of the communists the Labour party is struggling and is almost strangled. Because” I believe in this great country, the land of my birth, I intend to support the bill. It should have no terrors for the honest trade union leader. It is not an attack, frontal or covert, upon the true ideals of trade unionism, in earnest support of which I yield place to no man. This legislation is aimed at the men who in season and out of season are striving to tear down the whole of our social fabric that is built upon the teachings of the Bible, and substitute ungodly and inhuman terrorism. I say unhesitatingly that Labour is in the hands of the communists. The Leader of the Opposition practically admits that when at last he joins hands with us in endeavouring to cast out communism.
Sitting suspended from 6.89 to 8 p.m.
– It is very doubtful if a number of honorable members of the Opposition are sincere in their condemnation of communism. In this connexion, let me quote from the Workers’ Weekly, the official organ of the Australian Communist party -
It may occur during the progress of the fight that members of the Labour party, even the Labour party itself, may decry the Communist party. Let this not deter the communist members from doing their duty in this fight, which will be acclaimed all over the world us a class fight.
Mr. Garden, speaking at a conference in the early part of last year, said -
The shadow of communism is over the Labour movement, and all efforts to banish communism and communists are bound to fail. The good old times of playing at politics are gone; revolution has stepped on the stage.
Others contend that there is no such thing as communism, or, if there is, that the communists have no influence in the community. Mr. Gillies, the ex-Premier of Queensland, speaking subsequent to the Queensland railway strike, said -
There are certain influences at work in the community. . . . These people have prepared communistic literature during the strike. Among other things, they said, “ Why bother about arbitration when you can fold your arms, and paralyze industry? And, again, on every burning question that affects the working class you will find that the nuclei leaders are first in the field to give direction to the working class how to meet the situation. I admit that these revolutionaries can destroy what has taken the Labour movement ‘25 to 30 years to build up.’
I do not wish to see destroyed that which the Labour party has taken so long to build up, and for that reason I shall support any effort to rid this country of communists. Mr. Washington Mather, the secretary of the Albany branch of the Waterside Workers Union, and the representative for Western Australia on the federal executive of the federation for the last five years, said -
This big federation of labour was standing still like ships at anchor, while the wasps of communism were working round and getting control of the Labour movement by electing their representatives on the councils of Labour. It was time the Labour party woke up to the fact, and came out and fought the people who were trying to smash the planks of its platform.
Writing to a union official while at the strike conference, Mr. Mather said -
I hear there are those who reckon Tom Walsh is a heaven-sent saviour, of the worker. It is a pity some of them did not follow the occupation of wharf labourer. We hove 3,000 of our men idle in Sydney, because heaven sent to earth a man named Walsh, and the committee is receiving daily requests from employers and employees to help bring a useless strike to an end. Some of the British seamen have lost two years’ pay because of this man. who is simply using these poor devils as means to further his own ends, and he does not. give a damn about them and their wives and families.
That all goes to show that persons outside this Parliament who are prominently connected with the Labour party are prepared to admit that communism is whiteanting the party and the trade unions. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) referred to the wages paid to British seamen. I agree with him that if those wages were paid in Australia the men could not live. I have, however, sufficient confidence in the leaders of the Labour movement in England, and sufficient respect for the good sense of British seamen generally, to believe that they are able to manage their own affairs without any interference from Mr. Walsh and others in Australia who induced some of them to strike, with such disastrous results to themselves. In all his campaign speeches regarding the Federal Labour objective, drawn up before the la3t election, the Leader of the Opposition was as silent as the grave. Nevertheless, he and all his supporters were bound hand and foot, body and soul, by that objective. That objective includes the socialization of industry, production, distribution, and exchange. Socialization is communism. The socialization of production is production for use and not for profit. It was tried in Russia. The Russian peasant, knowing as little about the socialization of production as does the average preacher of the doctrine, went about his farming in the usual way. He produced as much as he possibly could, and worked more than. 44 hours a week. When his crop was harvested the communist officers arrived. They allotted a certain portionof the crop for the farmer’s use, and took the rest. . The Russian farmer thought he had found an improved marketing scheme under government control, but when he inquired the price he was to receive for his produce, he was informed that he would get nothing, because he was producing for use and not for profit. The Russian peasant is supposed to be simple, but he was not simple enough for that. The next year he produced for use and not for profit, and grew sufficient for his own use only. The consequence was that mein, women, and children died of starvation, and Russia, one of the greatest granaries of the world, had to fall back upon the charity of the noncommunistic world to save her from the results of communism.
– Was that all due to the Government ?
– It was due to communism. The transport strikes engineered by the communists from with- in the Labour unions are responsible for the most dastardly sweating the. present century has known. During the last shipping strike the price of eggs and butter was adversely affected. Having lived and laboured in .the country, both on the land and in country towns, since 1906. I know that the cows and the fowls on a farm are. in most instances, the care of the women and children. Early in the morning and late at night these workers - I use the word in its truest sense - work to increase the often meagre returns from the other operations of the farm.. Because of strikes, these women and children do> not receive a fair price for their labour, and therefore I say that these strike engineers are sweaters. Knowing, as I do, the enormous difficulties which the toilers of the soil encounter - difficulties which but for their indomitable will and tireless energy, would spell disaster - I want to see removed one of the removable difficulties, one of the most exasperating difficulties^ one of the most unnecessary and lamentable- difficulties under which they labour - the continual hold-up of the transport of the result of their labours. For that reason, and for the reason that it will give the Labour unions a chance to wrench the control of their unions from the grip of the communists, I shall vote for the measure.
.The honorable member for Angas in the last Parliament (Mr. Gabb), was sometimes designated “Moses from the bullrushes.” Of his illustrious namesake it can truly be said that he became a great leader. The honorable member for Angas in this Parliament (Mr. Parsons) may be described as a political babe in the’ woods. He is entirely lost in the unfamiliarity of his surroundings. The insipid and inane speech which he has just delivered proves that he has not yet learnt to appreciate his oportunities as a representative of the people. He has yet to learn that substantial argument, and not the irrational conclusions to which he has given utterance this evening, is necessary in this chamber if his remarks are to have any weight. He paid a poor compliment to the intelligence of honorable members when he indulged in such a tirade of abuse and misrepresentation as he has just given us. He contended that the Labour party is being strangled by communism, that the root cause of Labour’s setback is that an irresponsible and extreme section is governing the activities of the movement. He also challenged the objective of the Labour party, saying that it is not consistent with Australian ideals. In that connexion, let me read the remarks of one for whom the honorable member, no . doubt, entertains a high regard. One of the leaders of the party to which the honorable member belongs made the following remarks: - ‘
I have never said, nor do I say now, that the Labour party seeks to obtain its objects by violence. The platform of the Labour party - about which, by the way, we hear very little at election time - makes it perfectly plain that that party aims’ at securing its objects by constitutional methods. There cannot be tlie slightest objection to that. We on this side of the House hold views that are different from those which are held by honorable members opposite, but we are all entitled to uphold our views by fair argument.
The Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) at least was prepared’ to recognize and admit the Labour party’s dissociation with the school of thought that advocates alleged foreign doctrine. The honorable member for Angas declares that our views are entirely foreign to Australian sentiment, but the AttorneyGeneral admits that we do not countenance the doctrine of violence and the adoption of unconstitutional methods. It is clear that - ‘ the argument of the honorable member for Angas was based upon false premises, and therefore, his criticism of the Labour movement was structurally unsound. His opinion, I am confident, is shared by very few citizens of Australia. I remind him also that his presence in this chamber is in the nature of a political accident. Before he has been many months in this Parliament he will find that his views are not endorsed by the majority of the people of his division, notwithstanding that he secured a majority at the ballot-box a few months ago, and I have no doubt that, when next an appeal is made to the people, his predecessor will appear again in this chamber as his successor in the representation of Angas. The honorable member was unfair in his references to-night to trade unionism. I remind him that trade unionism is represented in this Parliament by honorable members on this side of the House, and our presence here i3 an absolute, contradiction of his contention that irresponsible extremists have captured the Labour movement. Indeed, it may be said that the irresponsible and arrogant advocates of outrage and violence are sheltered and encouraged byand in concert with the profiteer, rent r acker, and the general exploiter of society. This subject has been treated with a certain amount of flippancy. Honorable members opposite have attempted to pour ridicule upon the suggestion ‘ that, in recent times, at all events, certain extremists have been in their pay. All I can say is that these enemies of Labour could not have worked more effectively as the paid agents .of anti-Labour forces than they did during the last election. Whenever the forces of reaction were impoverished for an election cry in order, to play upon the emotions and feelings of a credulous public, there were ever at hand individuals ready to assist them. One man in particular, who was “starred’* by the Government as responsible for so much, disorder, and who, by the way, was not hindered in any respect during the election, volunteered the information that a certain group photograph of communists which he had supplied to a conservative newspaper in Sydney, was a genuine, and not a faked, production. This photograph, I may add, was printed on an election poster, with the inquiry, “ Are you going to vote for this or for Bruce ? “ I understand that the man referred to actually furnished the photograph to the newspaper which assisted the forces of reaction against the Labour party.
– He admitted that he was paid for it.
– In South Australia there are persons of the same class. They do not wish to see the genuine leaders of the Labour movement in the position of responsibility. They know perfecly well that were Labour in power they would get scant sympathy from the Government of the day. They believe that with tha advent of a government unsympathetic with the cause of the workers, there will be placed on the statute-book repressive measures that are likely to cause resentment aud lead to industrial strife. They live in the hope that if disaffection can be caused among the workers, they will be driven to a state of desperation. They are well aware that a Labour Government, being sympathetic with the aspirations of the people, will endeavour to provide better working conditions, and by improving the environment of the people generally, remove any cause for revolt. Recent events have disclosed that the Government .is the friend of these and other reactionaries, such as Fascisti, who thrive on chaos and disorder. The policy pursued by this Government is calculated to contribute to this end. It is a matter for regret that during the recent election a fictitious issue was placed before the people, and that well reasoned argument proved of no avail. The Government, to save its face, has brought down this bill. Recently I received a pamphlet entitled “ The Communist Danger.” Its author is Mr. T. R. Ashworth, past-president of the Employers Federation. The articles contained in the pamphlet appeared in the Melbourne Age shortly after the Government had decided to seek a mandate from the people. Mr. Ashworth, who champions the
Nationalist cause, stated in the pamphlet that the issue of the election was freedom versus authority - that Labour certainly stood for freedom, and the Nationalist party for authority. I agree that this bill indicates a display of authority rather than a desire to give expression to the will of the people. Strong opposition must be expected to provisions which seek to associate the legitimate efforts of organized labour with a criminal code. Part II. shows that the Government prefers repressive measures to attempts to improve the economic and industrial conditions of the workers, and seeks to provide further privileges for the wealthy section that it represents. Such a measure merits emphatic condemnation. If the Government had been sincere in its avowed desire to protect and maintain the great principles for which trade unionism stands, it would have been prepared to accept the amendment submitted by the Leader of the Opposition; but it is not even ready to adopt an attitude of reasonableness. It does not recognize the rights of trade unionists to strive for improved industrial conditions and a greater share than they now enjoy of the wealth that they help to produce. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) stated this afternoon that the Government had no intention to intrude upon the domain of trade unionism, and that it was regrettable that the proposed amendments of the Commonwealth Arbitration Act could not be considered simultaneously with this measure. If the Government recognizes the desirability of bringing down those amendments at the present juncture, what is the urgency for this bill ? Does a state of industrial unrest that demands immediate attention exist in Australia to-day? The Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) has declared that for the last five years the Government has been aware of the presence of disruptive forces in our midst. It cannot, therefore, be said that this is urgent legislation. If Ministers desired to ‘be fair to the workers, they would have brought down a bill to amend the Arbitration Act contemporaneously with the introduction of this bill. The far-reaching nature of the provisions of Part II. of the bill suggests a sinister motive on the part of the Ministry, in rushing this legislation through immediately after the hysteria of the recent elections. Recognizing, as it does, the restricted powers and functions of the
Arbitration Court in dealing with industrial matters generally, the Government must accept the view that the amendment of the act is of paramount importance. Its plain duty is to seek authority from the people to give this Parliament full powers to deal with industrial matters. But that would not suit the purposes of the Government. It finds that with industrial unrest, it can play upon the feelings of the people and thus obtain a further tenure of office. From its point of view, that is the first consideration. This Ministry is unable to appreciate the industrial situation, because not one member of it has had a day’s experience as an industrialist.
– Nonsense I
– I leave my friend, in the fullness of his knowledge, to tell the House of any such experience that he has had. Had the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) been a member of the Cabinet, my criticism in this respect would not have held good.
– The honorable member cannot truthfully say that, even of the present Government.
– I do say it. If the Honorary Minister claims to have a knowledge of industrial matters, he has turned it to very poor account. His standing in thb organization to which I belong was such that I would not regard him as a judge of that subject. Surely the evolution of industrialism demands that we shall meet the issues of the moment. Throughout the world there is a feeling of discontent in industry - an aftermath of the recent war - and workmen have failed to reap the reward that scientific discoveries and mechanical progress should have provided. Industrialists are regarded, not as beings with souls, but as mere machines. They are looked upon as instruments for profitmaking, and little consideration is shown for their welfare and the security of their- homes. Therefore, they challenge the position that confronts them. Not until such time as the captains of industry - who to-day, in many instances, have become insolent with their wealth - recognize their responsibility to the community, will Australia be free from the disturbing circumstances that now exist in our community life. As a law-maker and a constitutionalist, I offer no objection to the Government providing safeguards against those who, by violence, would endeavour to overthrow constitutional authority, and adopt the tactics of the bully, but let the Government also remember that it is essentially its duty and obligation to secure to the great masses of the people a greater share than they now enjoy of the wealth, prosperity, and security that should be the portion of every citizen.
.- My remarks in connexion with this humbugging measure will be as brief as the occasion warrants. I have had considerable parliamentary experience, and T regard this as the most humbugging bill ever placed before the House. During the war period, the ex-Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) introduced a bill declaring the Industrial Workers of the World to be an unlawful association. At least the right honorable gentleman had the courage of his convictions, and was prepared to declare a specific organization to be an unlawful body. But we now have the spectacle of this Government telling the country that we are assailed by associations that seek to undermine constitutional government, whose object is to disrupt the peace, order, and good government of this country, and that the communists are the great menace. Why has not the Government shown the courage of its convictions and declared those persons to be members of an unlawful association? I challenge the AttorneyGeneral to say whether the Government is prepared to take that step. It is time to end this humbug. On the hustings, the party opposite told the country that Messrs. Donald Grant and Jock Garden, and certain other persons, were “ out to dismember the Empire*” to disrupt the Constitution, and to upset law and order. The Government obtained a mandate, so it said, to protect the community against the schemes of unlawful associations ; but we have it from no less an authority than the AttorneyGeneral himself, that the Government does not intend- to declare unlawful the propagation of ideas, or to interfere in any way with freedom of speech. All it proposes to do is that if a person or an association decides to use force to undermine constitutional authority, it will declare that association unlawful, But the Communist Association will be allowed to preach its doctrine. According to the Attorney-General no action will be taken against the communists. Why should Parliament be asked to waste its time on such a humbugging measure as this ? “Jock “ Garden is either a menace to the peace, order, and good government of this country, or he is not. If he is, it is the bounden duty of the Government to deal with him, just as it is the bounden duty of every Government to deal with every man who is a menace to the peace, order, and good government of thin country.
Ministerialists. - Hear, hear !
– I am glad to hear supporters of the Government say “ Hear, hear!’’ to that statement, and I therefore ask them whether they propose to take action against “ Jock” Garden.
– The messenger to the Prime Minister says, “ Certainly.” I was not asking him, but I was asking the Attorney-General, as the head ofthe legal department of this country, what action he proposed to take against “ Jock “ Garden. Humbugging is of no usenow. No general election is in progress now, and there is therefore no conspiracy of silence by the press to prevent the views of members of the Labour partybeing understood by the people.This is the Parliament of the country, and the Government supporters have to answer my question, or stand condemned as humbugs. This is the greatest humbugging Government I have ever known.We have heard a lot of talkabout traitors to Australia, and about people who are undermining the stability of this country. In my humble judgment, the greatest traitors, and those who do themost undermining, are those who broadcast over the world the statement that Australia is in the hands of revolutionaries who are destroying law, order, and constitutional government. Nothing could be more traitorous than such propaganda by a government. When those lying statements reach the money markets of the world, and are read by people to whom we have to apply for loan moneys, what will they think and do? The financial stability of this country is being seriously impaired by the statements ofmembers of the party opposite. The purpose of this bill is quite clear, and I challenge the Attorney-General to declare publicly that the Government will suppress the Communist Association. The Government has no such idea, but will allow the communists to continue their preaching, so that the Nationalists, at the next election, will be able to gather together all the communist propaganda, and hurl it at the Labour party.
– Now we see the nigger in the wood pile !
– The honorable member realizes that what I say is true. He was in the joke. We know how he won his seat. He did it by telling the people that if he and other supporters of the Government were returned, the communists would be given short shrift and deported. The Government has its mandate from the people. Has it the courage to put it into operation? The purpose of the bill is wrapped up in redcoloured paper - the red wrapper of Russia and communism. When that wrapper is torn off, we see that the object is to deal a deadly blow at trade unionism. If ever I was surprised it was when the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) applauded the Government for attacking trade unionism, and compared the actions of trade unionists on strike with those of men engaged in a riot. I have a very lively and personal recollection of the right honorable gentleman not many years ago telling the wharf workers of Sydney when they were on strike how to deal with “blacklegs.” He said: “ There is an easy way to deal with them. Let them go down the holds, and then drop a few bundles down, and it will be as hard to find a scab in the hold of a ship as the cross of Christ in the bottom of hell.” That was said by the right honorable gentleman who now preaches to us ! It is about time we were done with this kind of humbug. The right honorable member, who condemns strikes to-day, made his reputation as a strike leader, and it ill becomes him, above any man, to cast reflections on trade unionists who stand staunchly and solidly for their principles. I am ashamed and astounded at his attack on trade unionists, and I am surprised that at his time of life he should think it incumbent on him to hurl stones at those who made it possible for him to enter public life. If it had not been for the trade unionists of the Sydney waterfront he would never have seen the inside of an Australian Parliament. The history of trade unionism, not only, in Australia, but also in other British communities, teems with illustrations of martyrdom and stories of men who sacrificed everything for principle. ‘ In Great Britain men were sent to jail, transported, and exiled from their wives and families for helping to improve the conditions of their fellow workers. To-day we are throwing back hundreds of years. Coercion to suppress trade unions has been tried time and time again, and as fast as it has been tried it has failed. It will fail today, just as it failed centuries ago. Trade unionism cannot be suppressed by tyranny or coercion. There was never a revolution that was not born of the poverty misery, and despair of the people. The way to remedy the present evils is not to indulge in coercive legislation, but to face the facts fairly, as sensible men and women, and ascertain what is the matter with the system of to-day. As a life-long trade unionist, I say that the present arbitration system, which was created about 25 years ago, has outgrown its usefulness. It may have been all right 25 years ago, but. the conditions then were different from those of to-day. “We must now adopt a different outlook. The Government has the mandate, and I am required only to point in a humble way to the fault.
– What new principle of arbitration does the honorable member suggest 1
– I will state my views on that subject when the Government has the courage and time to submit its promised Arbitration Bill. The serious problem with which we are dealing is facing not only Australia, but the whole of the civilized world, and it is of no use attempting to cloud the issue by screaming something about a red menace from Russia. To-day Russia is gripped by the capitalistic system as firmly as she ever was. Shouting little catch-cries or conspiring with the press will not silence the voice of Labour.
– Does the honorable member think it is possible to silence the voice of Labour!
– The Government did it very effectively during the election campaign by means of its paid press. As a rule, I am able to obtain a little publicity from the press, but even I failed to do so during this campaign, and I assure honorable members that it was not for the want of trying. While we are talking about the press, I should like to ask the Government how much it paid the proprietors of the Sydney Daily Telegraph to distribute freely the thousands of copies of its newspaper that were broadcast just prior to the election. That would be interesting information. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr.
Hughes), to whom I referred a few minutes ago, will not be a member of this Parliament for many more months. ‘It is an open secret where he is going, and that Mr. Archdale Parkhill will be his successor here. I am greatly surprised that he should conclude his parliamentary career with the attack on trade unionism that he delivered in. this chamber last evening, and that he should assist the Government to place this obnoxious measure on our statute-book. We shall not cure our industrial ills until we improve our arbitration methods. One of the glaring faults of the system to-day is that unsuitable judges are appointed. With all due respect, and without making any personal reflections upon them, I say that in some cases they are quite untrained and unfitted’ to discharge the work that devolves upon them. His Honour Sir John Quick, for instance-
– The best and most practical man on the Bench.
– For the honorable member’s side.
– For the working man.
– I wish to refer to an award made by Sir John Quick.
– I rise to order. I submit that it is not competent for an honorable member to refer to the conduct or character of a person occupying a judicial position, except upon a substantive motion.
– Speaking to the point of order, I wish to remind you, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, that some years ago the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) threatened to Rack Mr. Justice Higgins, and he discussed the matter openly in this Parliament without being ruled out of order.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Watkins). I did not hear the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) refer in disrespectful terms to an occupant of the Bench. He was just commencing his remarks on that subject. I take this opportunity, however, of asking, him to connect his remarks with the bill before the Chair.
– Far be it from me, sir, to make any personal reflections upon, anybody holding such a high and honorable position as that of a judge; but I think I have the right, as I hope every other honorable member has, to make a reference to a judgment. I wish to call the attention of honorable members to a judgment delivered by Sir John Quick. May I say, in passing, that in my opinion, the judgments of that gentleman have been, the cause of more industrial unrest than any other single thing that I could name!
– That is a silly statement to make.
– Naturally the right honorable member for North Sydney would think it a silly statement, for he was responsible for the appointment of Sir John Quick as a Deputy President of the court. There were some reasons for that appointment which I shall take the opportunity of alluding to on some other occasion. The reference would be out of order just now. The judgment to which I draw attention has been responsible for Mort’s Dock, Sydney, locking out 1,500 men, although the dispute really concerns only 20 men. It arose in this way. A certain number of men are casually employed by the company as painters and deckel’s. Their duty is to clean and paint the bottoms of ships’ while these are in dock. His Honour Sir John Quick, in an award covering their employment, provided that they were to be classed as permanent and not casual employees. It was pointed out to His Honour in court that if he made an award in those terms trouble was certain to occur; but he did so. Mort’s Dock “Limited naturally classed these men as permanent and not temporary, and so was entitled to pay them less than casual rates. The men protested, but the management pointed out that it was acting in accordance with the terms of the award. Thereupon, the men ceased work. Subsquently the firm locked out from its employment 1,500 men. The remedy for that kind of thing is not to declare the strikers criminals, and imprison them for one or two years, with the option of deporting them at the end of that term if they happen to have been born out of Australia; it is to reconstruct our arbitration machinery so as to make such absurd award impossible. The only way to solve the industrial problem is to get into close grips with it. Employers and employees should meet round, the table and talk matters over sensibly as man to man. If the Government does not improve our industrial arbitration methods and persists in placing on the statute-book legislation of this description, it will be necessary to build many more gaols than we have. The number of criminals that may be made by reason of the provisions of this measure would more than fill all our jails. Australia is not in a state of industrial unrest, though one might think so from newspaper reports. We have, as a matter of fact, less industrial trouble than any other country in the world. America and Great Britain are seriously involved in it. But they do not advertise the fact to the world. They do not shriek from the house-tops that they are on the verge of a revolution, and so undermine their financial stability. Just recently Great Britain has been through one of the most serious industrial upheavals in her history, but her statesmen did not broadcast the fact, nor were they afraid that the country would pass into the hands of the revolutionaries, or that Lenin and his “red army” would sweep down on London and take the city by storm. They faced the problem properly and solved it. It is of no more use for honorable members opposite to prate about revolution than it is for the editors of city newspapers to sit in their dingy offices and squirt their dirty ink over the trade unionists of this country. That may win a temporary victory for the Government, but it will do nothing to solve the problem. Seeing that the city newspaper editors are so interested in the industrial problem, may I suggest that the Prime Minister should call them to a conference., and ask them to submit to him their proposals for its solution. If we really desire to ensure permanent industrial peace we must treat the matter as serious minded men and women would do. The Government would be well advised to shelve this measure for the time being, and introduce its amendments to the Arbitration Act. We should then be able to see what practical proposals it has for improving, the machinery of the court. Coercive measures of this character, designed to suppress trade unionism, will not satisfactorily solve the social problem. I urge the Government to give some sane and calm consideration to devising constructive legislative proposals to assure the welfare and advancement of Australia.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) stated during the course of his speech that I, on one occasion, advised the wharf labourers of Sydney to drop bundles upon nonunionists.
– The right honorable gentleman cannot deny that he gave that advice.
– Having made that statement the honorable member proceeded to elaborate it. With that elaboration and the remainder of his speech I am not concerned. There is not one word of truth in his statement, and no one knows it better than he. I, therefore, ask that it be withdrawn.
– The right honorable member for North Sydney has corrected a statement which, he says, was made by the honorable member for Dalley ; but he has not drawn attention to any words that he regards as offensive to himself, or that are unparliamentary.
– I take very strong exception to the statement of the honorable member for Dalley that I advised the wharf labourers of Sydney to drop bundles upon non-unionists.
– The right honorable member did give that advice.
– That statement is not true, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– The right honorable member is. entitled to ask for the withdrawal of any statement that casts a reflection upon him, or imputes to him any wrong motive, or that makes an improper suggestion regarding him. He has drawn attention to a statement that he says is incorrect, and he himself has corrected that statement. That correction should be accepted.
.- The matter with which this bill deals is one of the most serious that has ever occupied the attention of the Commonwealth Parliament. I was hopeful that honorable members would have had the opportunity to consider the measure in conjunction with the proposed amendment of the Arbitration Act. I quite appreciate the position in which the Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) found himself. He has laboured indefatigably to frame these provisions, and I have no doubt that the demands which will be made upon him by the other measure will be even more exacting. This is merely a preliminary step in the direction of tightening up our industrial legislation. The speeches and actions of honorable members opposite have absolutely assured the passage of the. bill. It is of supreme importance not only to industrial workers, but also tc every citizen in Australia, and it will vitally effect the development of this country. I, therefore, expected honorable members opposite to assist to pass it, and thus place their party in a position from which they could face the future with confidence. Although they oppose it they have not advanced one reason in justification of the withholding of the unanimous support of the Labour party. At the recent elections the industrial conditions existing in Australia overshadowed every other consideration. The question was seriously weighed by the large body of unionists who have raised unionism to the position that it occupies in Australia to-day. Honorable members know how profoundly it moved the solid body of Labour from one end of Australia to the other. Before the introduction of this measure suggestions were made regarding the attitude that honorable members of the Opposition intended to adopt when it was brought forward. It was stated that they would champion the cause of persons who had proved a curse to Australia. Yet since the inception of the debate not one word of apology has been offered for those men. If the Government had not taken prompt action to deal with this dangerous element it would be false to the promise that it made on the hustings. I want to state a few home truths for the benefit of my friends opposite. I like them ; and if they would be guided by the dictates of their consciences they would be liked by everybody. They are not allowed to do that; they are merely machines that respond mechanically to the instructions they receive from outside.
– From Moscow?
– It is not necessary to go so far afield as Moscow to receive bad instructions ; they are issued from a spot not a great deal beyond the eaves of this building. I want to know whether my honorable friends intend to embrace the magnificent opportunity that now presents itself to bring about their political salvation. Before I embarked upon my campaign I had many casual talks with good, sound Labour men - the right type of Labour men. I have every sympathy with Labour, but I have no time for rebels.
– I suppose the honorable member knows that “ sympathy without relief is like -mustard without beef.”
– I thank the honorable member for his inspiration. I propose to give them relief, in spite of those who claim to be their representatives in this House. Numbers of genuine Labour men said to me: “We are down and out; if you fellows do not save us. We cannot save ourselves. You are the only people who can save Labour.” That was fully proved during the election, as honorable members opposite know.
– What nonsense!
– Why were honorable members opposite so mealy-mouthed concerning the men who were wrecking this country and ruining its interests, and at the same time doing a greater injury to the great Labour party than to any other section of the community? The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Penton), along with other honorable members opposite, was notably prudent in his statements. The honorable member is always fairly so. His method of speech is mystifying. He has a. mysterious way of making a partial statement and coming back later to introduce the completion of it, where it does not fit, thus destroying the proper sequence of his remarks. The honorable member is a champion at that kind of address, and on that account is probably more dangerous than is the blatant fellow who says straight out what he thinks. Judging by the honorable member’s smiles, he takes what I have said concerning him as a compliment. I have no doubt that he will continue to speak in the same fashion to the end. All the talk we have had about the provisions of this bill being a direct blow at unionism and decent unionists is utter, abominable rubbish. It is hypocritical rubbish, as honorable members opposite know. The Prime Minister today delivered a very fine speech, with a sincerity that is characteristic of him. He uttered words of wisdom, and displayed a burning desire to protect honorable members opposite from the error of their ways, and to save the people whom they were sent here to represent, but whom they will not represent if they do not vote for this bill. No man who took an interest in the last federal election and went from one end of the country to the other will refuse to admit that the electors never before expressed such an overwhelming desire for the return to power of the party on this side.
– The £60,000 the party collected in Melbourne had something to do with its return.
– It had no more to do with it than the last little spider that bit the honorable member when he was sleeping. There never was a time in the his tory of this Parliament when the people of Australia were waiting so anxiously for a word from honorable members opposite on this question. What has so far been said in this debate from the other side to satisfy those souls that are in anguish lest the temple of Labour, built up by their struggles over a quarter of a century, be destroyed because men charged with its safety may prove unfaithful and permit a condition of things to continue in this countrywhich may mean the loss for a score of years to come of the magnificent work done by earnest patriotic supporters of Labour? I sincerely appeal to my honorable friends opposite.
– The honorable member should not be a humbug. He knows that this measure is intended to crush trade unions.
– Order !
– I know a humbug when I see one. I know that the people of Kalgoorlie will learn what is taking place here, and so will the people, generally, of Western Australia. They will recognize that what honorable members opposite have to say will not help them very much. I am speaking to my honorable friends opposite, not in anger, but in sorrow, and with a desire to put them on the right track. It is unnecessary that I should repeat what was said to-day by the Prime Minister. I made similar statements to the electors every night for six weeks, and I never met people more receptive or more terribly in earnest. Those people expect that the Prime Minister will fulfil every promise he made. If he does not do so, I for one shall turn against him without hesitation. I know, however, that he will do so. I shall have ten times as much to say on the bill which is to follow this measure, and when its pr ovisions are known it will be seen that this bill is much more necessary than honorable members opposite realize.
– The bill referred to by the honorable member should have been considered before this bill.
– Let honorable members opposite say something on this bill, or let it go through at once.
.- We can see now how the last election was won. It was won by hysterical utterances which bore no relation to facts. Several ideas concerning the bill have been mentioned, and one by the honorable member for Angus (Mr. Parsons), to which a reference might very well be made. On the subject of deportation and expulsion, he told us that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for becoming communists. When that kind of metaphor is used, and is followed by the wild raving utterances of the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Foster), it is hard to say how this debate will finish.
Mr.Rodgers. - The honorable member for Wakefield presented the honorable member with a nice little bouquet.
– He said of me only what he must say if he be the truthful man he would have us believe he is. I shall not say much about the labour which the honorable member claims to have performed, but some day, when his biography is written, we shall find that he was never on the bread-line, and his hours of labour were not fixed by an Arbitration Court award.
Mr.Foster. - I had not that advantage.
– The honorable member had greater advantages, and when the history of his life is written it will be seen that there was more luck than good judgment or hard graft in it. The honorable member made a most passionate appeal, and I want to suggest that that was the way in which honorable members opposite won the last election. I do not oppose the provisions of the bill which the Government secured a mandate to put into effect against unlawful associations and those elements in our midst which it was stated were menacing the. welfare of the community. During the elections, consideration of strikes and their effect upon the development of the country went by the board.
– Very little was said on the subject when the community was being stampeded during the elections. The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) knows what exerted the greatest influence during the elections. He knows that postcards were sent to every elector, exhibiting two flags, one the Australian flag and the other a red flag, with the question, “ Which do you stand for ? “ He knows also of the publication of a photograph in which Jock Garden appears, and which it is alleged was faked. I saw it for the first time to-day. It is a photograph of the executive of the Third
International, with Garden crushed in at one corner and at an angle that does not fit the rest of the picture. That is the kind of thing which the party on the other side used to stampede the people.
– Mr. Garden has said that it is a perfectly genuine photograph, and that he is proud of it.
– I would not believe Garden if he lay on his stomach in this chamber and swore that he was white. I should expect, if he were washed, to find that he was of quite a different colour. If the Prime Minister is prepared to rely on the word of Jock Garden, he can do so. I would not do so, and if the right honorable gentleman wishes to know something of Garden I advise him to look up the answer to a question thatwas asked in the Senate concerning a man who was employed by the Defence Department, and the way in which he was hoisted out of it. He might ask why he was allowed to travel the country and scab upon Nationalist organizers. Men of his type were the best organizers the Ministerial party had.
– Is not Mr. Garden secretary of the Trades and Labour Council, in Sydney?
– Yes; but, because ho acts in that capacity, it does not give him any authority to dominate the political policy of the Labour party. His attainments may fit him for the position of secretary, and he may carry out his duties admirably; but I am not prepared to march behind him as a leader along the road to that social salvation for which we are all looking. I have no objection to that part of the bill which deals with unlawful associations, and makes provision for the deportation of certain people, because any man who adopts an attitude that is likely to bring him within the purview of this measure, or any man who does not like the social conditions under which the people of this country live, and advocates such methods of reform, ought to get out of it. Although the Government was returned to poweron the issue of communism, it is not entitled to fasten communism on the Labour party. One of the methods employed during the election was the circulation of the post-card of which honorable members opposite are so proud. . I trust that the select committee which the Government has foreshadowed will inquire into the working of the” Electoral Act, will also ascertain who paid for these post-cards, and sent them all over the country. The information might throw a little light on the methods which were adopted to stampede the people into voting against the Labour .party. Then, a cartoon showed a big snake painted yellow, green, and white. I do not know why those colours were selected, or that there are snakes coloured yellow, green, and white; but this particular snake had a great foot crushing it. The cartoon was an effort to depict the voter crushing communism out of Australia. Again, there was the picture of Mr. Walsh jumping on the Union Jack and waving the red flag. On this cartoon the question was asked, “Do the electors stand for this?” I can say that the Australian Labour party does not stand for that sort of thing. It may be Mr. Walsh’s attitude, and if so, it is only fair that he should be dealt with; but it is not the attitude of the Australian Labour party. Another cartoon showed a brush splashing red paint across a white Australia. It was the most humorous cartoon the Nationalists) issued; but it had the desired result, because, like other cartoons, it drew the attention of the electors to something which did not exist, and gained votes for “the Ministerial party. The cartoon itself was not original. I had seen it twelve months previously in Smith’s Weekly; but then the brush was a tar brush in the hands of the then Premier of South Australia, Sir Henry Barwell, and was splashing black over a white Australia. It has never been the desire of the Australian Labour party to draw a red brush across the face of Australia. When the fight for a white Australia was in progress, there were certain people who said that if coloured labour was not allowed on the sugar-cane fields, the northern part of Queensland would revert to virgin forest. They claimed that sugar could not bc grown by white labour; but we know today that it is grown by white labour, and that the trouble Queensland now has. is to dispose of its surplus output. The Liberals did not win the recent election on the issue of trade unionism, or on tlie question of strikes. Labour was not defeated because it did not dissociate itself from communism, or because it did not put Australia first; but because its opponents had behind them more money and a louder press than we had at our command. Labour was overwhelmed, ‘and the Government was given its mandate, in consequence of which it has introduced this bill. I want to1 see it put into force, because it will cause the Government’s funeral. As the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) has already said, the responsibility will rest on the Government to name organizations or individuals, and to give reasons for seeking to deport people. It is a task I am quite willing’ to leave to Ministers. While I can support the first portion of the measure which deals with unlawful associations, I regard the latter portion of the bill, which links trade unionists with criminals, as totally unfair to those who have done so much in their organizations for the community as a whole. Honorable members opposite are loud in their praise of trade unions, and of what they have done for . the country. No one can say that they have not done much that is in the interests of the whole world; but everything gained from capitalism has been wrested from it, in the .early days by combination and strikes, and later by the establishment of arbitration courts and wages boards. The first method often led to the tightening of the belt, and the starving of dependants, but it brought some results, though not such as we thought would ‘be gained. The latter method was not secured without many fights. In South Australia the right to have a wages board. for any industry was so circumscribed that the consent of both Houses of Parliament had first to be obtained. However, it gradually came to be recognized that workers were human beings, and not chattels. In the State of South Australia to-day our industrial legislation has made considerable advances. We now have boiler inspectors, scaffolding inspectors, factory laws, and compensation for accidents. I worked in factories in my youth where almost every week a child suffered the loss of a finger or half a hand through contact with machinery, and the bosses cared nothing. The loss devolved on tlie parents. If the father was maimed not one penny worth of compensation was paid by the employers. Holidays or periods of recuperative rest were never dreamt of. Those dreadful conditions of labour have ceased because of the efforts of organized labour. The honorable mem ber for Wakefield (Mr. Foster) spoke of his working days, and of the labour he has done, but can he show a record like that of organized labour? The fight is even harder to-day because the combinations of capital are so intricate, and if a man should go off the beaten track and talk out of his turn he is likely to be treated as a criminal and imprisoned. If he persists in the cause in which he believes, he is liable to be sent overseas if he was not bom in Australia. If I chose to take up a Une of action that would bring me within the provisions of this bill, I might be sent back to England, while my daughter and her three children would remain in Australia. That is the sort of legislation we have brought in by a Government that, states its belief in trade unions and its love for ite fellow men. We are now asked to link working men with the criminals of the community. I take it that a crime is something done to injure deliberately and with malice aforethought some person or persons, or the general community. We know what usually comes within the category of criminal action, but when we have a body of men banded together with the idea of selling their labour in the markets of the world, it is, as I have said before, totally unfair to regard them as criminals. They are merely following the example set to them by capitalism. Capitalists who can corner a market, and secure a monopoly, increase the price of the commodities they have to sell, and if there is a shortage of labour, men are brought in from overseas at the expense of the. general community to keep down wages. The workers cannot successfully compete with the controllers of industry, and this legislation will deal with them immediately they attempt to do so. It will not be the rank and file of unionists, but their leaders, who will be haled before a court, and deported, if they come within the purview of the act, and if they were not born in Australia. Honorable members of the Opposition are acknowledging the result of the appeal to the people when they ask that the industrial provisions so obnoxious to labour should be taken out of this bill, and dealt with, if necessary, in an amendment of the Arbitration Act. Certain penalties could be provided for in that act, but they should not be too drastic or of the unfair character of those contained in the bill before us. The right honorable member for North
Sydney (Mr. Hughes) has pointed out that no matter what legislation we may pass, we shall never prevent strikes or lock-outs. Who can define a lock-out? In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred disputes can be so manipulated that the blame is thrown on the operatives. The contention raised by honorable members of the Opposition is not only based on our perusal of the measure, but is also supported by certain sections of the press of the Commonwealth. I shall quote from the leading article published on Wednesday, the 3rd February, in the Adelaide Register - a conservative journal. Under the heading of “ Enforcing a Mandate,” the leading article, inter alia, says -
But an objectionable feature of the earlier law - the distinction drawn between Australianborn and British-born disturbers of the social or industrial peace - is perpetuated in the bill. An Australian native, no matter how gravely he may offend, cannot be expelled, though he may be imprisoned up to one or two years; a native of the British Isles, even if he has lived here for 25 years, may be both imprisoned and deported. The latter, for the purposes of the bill, is classed with Russians and other foreigners; his British citizenship avails him nothing, and the longest term of residence in the Commonwealth fails to put him on a par with the pure merino Australian. It is not wise for the Commonwealth, as we have urged before, to discriminate in its legislation between Australian-born and Australians who have settled here from the Motherland; and the discrimination is no less injurious because it is applied under the trade -and commerce or other provisions of the Constitution, instead of under the immigration section.
That is the voice, not of Labour, but of the tory element of South Australia. In that State Labour has only a weekly journal; but no Labour newspaper could have dealt more effectively than the Register did with the Government’s wrongful discrimination between Britishborn and Australian-born citizens. The leading article also deals with the industrial provisions of the bill, and bears out the argument used by the Leader of the Opposition when moving his amendment. It reads -
The association of revolutionary and industrial .activities is open to objection, but the difficulty of the Government is plain. Certain strikes which have inflicted incalculable loss and suffering upon the community have been of a frankly revolutionary character: they have not been genuine industrial disputes, but disturbances created for the purpose of making the “ capitalist “ conduct of industry impossible, and in the hope that they will lead to a revolutionary upheaval. Nevertheless, the Government is aiming at the acquisition of dan gerously drastic powers. It seeks the right to imprison and deport persons engaged in “ a lockout or strike “ in the circumstances indicated. Imagine the position reversed, and a Labour Government in power proclaiming the existence of “ a serious industrial disturbance,” and seeking the imprisonment and deportation of ship-owners who -may have been driven to lay up their steamers by a. course of Walsh.Johnsonism. Doubtless the word “lockout” - an elastic indefinable term - has been inserted in proof of the Ministry’s impartiality, and with little expectation that the power will ever be invoked. But it is not good policy to pass laws in the belief that they will he permitted to remain inoperative; nor, for that matter, is it easy to believe that the expulsion of one or two strife-promoters, for whose benefit much of the elaborate mechanism of the new Crimes Bill appears to have been devised, would automatically terminate the troubles which have lately convulsed the waterfront. We shall not reach finality in the Crimes Bill, and it is a dangerous power to put in the hands of any government. If this bill becomes law,, the Register foresees the danger of a Labour Government following any example set by this Government. I remind the Ministry of the truth of Abraham Lincoln’s words, that you may fool some of the people all the time, and you may fool all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. If this legislation is on the statute-book when Labour returns to power, according to the Register, we may use it, and if honorable members opposite know why strikes are caused, and who are responsible for them, it will be just as easy for us to gain that information in regard to lockouts.
– We are quite agreeable that that should be done.
– If this bill is passed, and is given effect in the manner advocated by some irresponsible supporters of the Government, the Labour. party, when in power, will in tura be able to take action against any Australian capitalist, born overseas, who causes a lockout in this country. The Register points out how the Labour party could use that power, and how dangerous it would be in the hands of any government.
– Does the honorable member think that there is anything in that argument?
– I do not think that those in control of. the Register would be pleased to hear that their leading articles were silly. I believe that the leading articles of that newspaper did a lot to secure a mandate for the Government. The honorable member for Dalley (Mr.
Mahony) suggested that the Prime Minister should call together the editors of all newspapers, and should ask them for their solution of the difficulty. If the honorable member for Fawkner suggests that the leading articles of the Register are silly, it might be as well to preclude its editor from the suggested conference.
– It is quite on the cards that tlie Labour party when returned to power will have to administer the Crimes Act. The honorable member does not suggest that a Labour Government might do anything unjust.
– No, but the Register suggests that a Labour Government might misuse that power. It may happen that in time of stress our passions will override our sense of justice,1 and we may do things under this legislation which would not otherwise be possible. It is dangerous to have in the house poison which is not labelled.
– Surely any Labour Government would do what is just, as we intend to do.
– I hope that if this legislation is passed the honorable member’s intention will be carried into effect, but we have reason to doubt it, because during the election the Government made use of greatly exaggerated statements. It grossly misrepresented the menace of communism, and the Labour party’s connexion with that movement. It knew full well that communism played a small part in the Labour organization. The methods used by the Government are not always clean, and I should like an assurance from the honorable member for Fawkner that this legislation, if passed, will not be put to an immoral use. I take no exception to that portion of the bill which deals with unlawful associations, but I hope that it will not be used injudiciously and unfairly. The necessity may arise for the Commonwealth Government to be clothed with that power. I shall support the amendment’ moved by the Leader of the Opposition, and I hope that the Government will accept it. The trade union movement of this country should be placed on a proper footing, and any infringement of the arbitration laws should be treated as a misdemeanour, and not as a crime. The bill also includes job control. Paragraph 3 of the proposed new section 30j contains this definition - “ Strike” includes the total or partial cessation of work by employees, acting in combination! as’ a means of enforcing compliance with demands made by them or by other employees on employers, and the total or partial refusal of employees, acting in combination, to accept work, if the refusal is unreasonable, and also includes job control.
What is job control, and who is to define it? The definition of “ strike “ does not say what power is vested in the Minister to deal with individuals who are found guilty of job control. Every action taken by a unionist, including even the filing of the complaint in the Arbitration Court, may be regarded as a form of job control. As pointed out by the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony), the 25 munition workers who ceased work because they objected to being employed as permanent instead of casual hands, according to the award of the Arbitration Court, could be said to be exercising a form of “ job control “ The definition of “job control” contained in the bill consists of only a few words, the meaning of which may be expanded or contracted just as those administering the measure desire. 1 have placed on record my opinion of the bill. I defy any one to say that I have been in any way associated with communists, or any other section of the community which desires to bring about the realization of their ideals by force or violence. I would not harm any one. I do not wish to see even my worst enemy suffer in the slightest degree. I desire to defeat my political opponents by fair means, but I do not .wish them any bodily harm. The wildest ideas of the communists do not extend further than I desire in the hope for the regeneration of the world; but I. do not wish to force my ideas down the throats of other people. I wish them, however, to understand the principles which I advocate. Those of us who are seeking improved conditions for the working classes in Australia will, of course, make mistakes, and we may have to alter our methods; but we do not wish to be stamped as criminals. Those who are fighting _ today for what they believe to be right will eventually win out; and if the present generation does not derive benefit, our children will value the privileges we have won for them,
– I desire to define my attitude on this measure as clearly and as briefly as possible. I am opposed to the bill, lock, stock, and barrel, as I believe it has been framed with the sole intention of suppressing trade unionism, and the persecution of trade union officials throughout Australia. We have been informed by the Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) that some of its provisions are to enable action to be taken against unlawful associations. No such association is mentioned in the bill, and if trouble occurred it would be difficult for the government of the day to prove that any organization was an unlawful association; If the bill is carried, it will be within the power of the administration to declare any trade union an unlawful association.
– There is a clear definition of an “ .unlawful association “ in the bill.
– I know what the bill contains, and have no hesitation in declaring that it has been framed with the sole intention of destroying working men’s organizations. Under this mea- sure, men or women who, through their industrial organizations, agitate for better conditions, may be regarded as criminals. That is an insult to the trade union movement. I consider that my character is as good as that of any honorable member of this House. I have been a trade union officer for . fifteen years, and in that capacity have conducted various strikes in the Commonwealth. If I were directed to control an industrial dispute in the pastoral, or any other industry in Australia I would, under this bill, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years. It has been stated, particularly during the election campaign, that the members of the Labour party were associated with the communists. Thousands of pounds were spent on misleading the electors, and the Government was returned to office under false pretences. It attained power through the expenditure of unlimited capital, and I suppose one would be safe in saying that probably £1,000,000 was spent during the last election in defeating the Labour party. The press of Australia was at the disposal of the Government and its supporters, and numerous canvassers went from door to door in the various constituencies misrepresenting the Labour party by saying that we were the agents of Russia, and were supporters of communistic principles. The electors were misled for the time being ; but when an appeal is next made to the people, the
Labour party will be organized in such a way that no such misrepresentation will be possible. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) did not receive a mandate from the people to legislate in the manner oroposed in the bill. I regard the measure as unconstitutional, as the Commonwealth has not the power to legislate in regard to trade and commerce within a State, and cannot interfere with the conditions governing interstate trade and commerce except in regard to navigation. It certainly cannot interfere with the registration of a ‘ company. How then can it interfere with interstate trade and industry other than in pursuance of the powers conferred by the Navigation Act? We have heard a great deal of the seamen’s strike and those who are said to have been responsible for it. The real responsibility for it rested with the British shipowners, who reduced the wages of some seamen from £10 to £9 per month, and of others from £9 to £8. When the seamen upon arrival in Australia found that the reduction had been brought about without their knowledge, between 4,000 and 5,000 of them spontaneously refused to continue at their work. Johannsen and Walsh were officers’ of the Australian Seamen’s Union. Were they to condemn their British comrades for going on strike as a protest against the reduction of their slavish wages by ship-owners who, whenever possible, employed black labour? They would have been cowards and traitors to themselves and their class if they had refused to help the strikers. Their duty was to support the strike, and had I been in their place I would have done as they did. Indeed, I told the electors of West Sydney that I was supporting the seamen, and would assist them in every possible way to win their fight. The Labour party opposed the deportation legislation regardless of the individuals to whom it applied. We did not care whether the men menaced were Walsh and Johannsen, or Brown and Jones; no government should have power to deport Australian citizens. Under the Immigration Act of 1925 the Commonwealth Government has power to secretly drag a man away from his wife and family and send him to worse than death - exile. This bill will continue that power. Once a man, be he a Russian, frenchman, German, Dane, or Swede, has resided five years in Australia and becomes naturalized, he should not be deported. The only exceptions to that rule are Asiatics. This bill contains very drastic proposals relating to trade unionism, strikes, and lockouts. If honorable members will read the industrial history of some of the great trade unions operating in Australia to-day, particularly the Australian Workers Union, they will find that not many years ago workers were shot down like dogs, imprisoned for fifteen to twenty years, or hunted like wild beasts, because they had dared to attempt to improve their conditions. This bill is a return to the dark ages, when men were persecuted, racked, and thrown into dungeons for standing up in defence of their rights. Honorable members opposite seek to blame the workers for every industrial dispute. In the coal-mining industry the miners have always been fighting for safe working conditions, proper testing apparatus, and decent wages. In the metalliferous mines men had to work in heat, foul air,- and dust so thick that when they came off shift only the whites of their eyes could be distinguished. In the Broken Hill cemetery 80,000 of the young men of Australia, victims of dust, leadpoisoning, and other diseases incidental to the mining industry, are buried. Yet the miners who fight to improve their conditions will be classed by this legislation as criminals, and disturbers of the peace. What of the Broken Hill mine-owners, who have drawn from the bowels of the earth dividends amounting to over £20,000,000 ? What of the coal mine-owners who have been enriched by the industry? They must share with the workers who produce the wealth at the risk of their lives the responsibility for industrial upheavals. The Government should not act vindictively towards the workers; it should not legislate hastily or hysterically. This rotten, brutal, unfair, and almost criminal proposal is a product of hysteria. It is a foolish and meddlesome measure that is liable to create more disturbances and strikes than any other legislation ever submitted to this Parliament. The Government may endeavour to suppress unionism, but the more it is oppressed the more virile it will become. That has been the experience of many tyrannical governments, czars,, and dictators throughout the ages. It is impossible to stem the tide of human progress. As humanity progresses the masses get a better understanding of their rights. “With the greater facilities for education that now exist, the people have a new outlook. It is as futile to attempt to annihilate this movement as to crush the world by dropping a feather on it. The Government cannot rob the workers of Australia of their intellect, or suppress their longing for progress. The passing of this bill will not close my mouth. I refuse to be robbed of my right of free speech. I shall not act the part of a coward when the rights of the workers are in jeopardy. If Providence places me in a position demanding action, I hope that I shall be worthy of the trust reposed in me. I should be prepared to go to jail in the interests of my fellow men. That “ spirit characterizes every union leader, and every sincere trade unionist in Australia. If the Government attempts to deport those who defy it, 50,000 militant trade .unionists, who will not stand for this legislation, will have to be deported. And if persons not born in Australia, but who are now citizens of Australia, are to be deported, it will mean the deportation of 50,000 more. Most of the men who have come here from other countries are genuine workers. They have joined the Australian trade unions, and are prepared to fight for better conditions. The Government proposes to deport citizens of this country if they do not subscribe to its political creed, or dance to its tune ; it matters not whether they have been citizens of this country for 50 years. If my father were now alive, he would be about 95 years of age, and under this measure he would be liable to deportation if he raised his voice against injustice to the working class.
– The honorable member’s father would have far too much sense to act unwisely.
– My father was an agitator for the rights cif the working class, and in that respect he was for many years my tutor. I hope that I shall never be afraid to follow in his footsteps. This bill, if passed, will not do a great deal of damage, because immediately the Government attempts to imprison or deport industrial workers, there will be a general dislocation of. industry. I hope that it will not pass. If one or two of my fellow workers were deported, _ I should do my best to disorganize the industry in which I was employed, and I should probably succeed. If deportation became general, chaos, disorganization, dislocation, and probably revolution, would follow. If the liberties of the workers are to be interfered with in the manner proposed in this bill, they would be justified in taking any steps to preserve the rights for which they have fought for centuries.
– After the able introductory speech of the Attorney-General, it is not necessary for me to say a great deal. The Attorney-General referred to the dangers of communism. Those dangers are as real in Australia as in any other country. The Prime Minister, in an explicit address this afternoon, explained the provisions of the proposed new sub-section 30j. Like the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Foster), I found the recent campaign very strenuous. Everywhere I went I was struck with the seriousness with which all sections of the community - particularly trade unionists - regarded the issues at stake. Consequently, I feel it incumbent on me to draw attention to what I consider is one of the most sacred promises ever made by an Australian Prime Minister, namely, that . if this Government were returned, the right honorable gentleman would take all necessary steps to deal .with the unrest in Australia caused by the British seamen’s strike, or similar disturbances. He stated that his Government would act in the interests of all sections of the community. I also made a promise to my constituents, and that is the main reason for my rising to-night. T promised them that if I were elected to this Parliament, I would, by my voice and vote, support the Prime Minister in any action which he deemed necessary in the interests of Australia. We have had in the debate on this measure a number of good speeches concerning trade unionism. I have no doubt that honorable members opposite were perfectly sincere in’ all that they said. They have had considerably more experience in industrial matters than I, and, perhaps, many other honorable members on this side of the House, have had; but I suggest that the excellent dissertations on trade unionism to which- we have been treated have nothing whatever to do with the bill. I fail to see how any of the privileges at present enjoyed by trad») unionists are to be filched from them. I know of no provision in the measure that attacks the working hours or conditions of the wage earners. It is unfortunate that we have not had an opportunity to consider the proposed amendment of the Arbitration Act, which may be regarded as the complement to the bill now before the House, but I am satisfied that the right honorable the Prime Minister will fulfil the promise which he gave to the people, and that when the measure referred to is before us it will be on perfectly sound lines. The Government represents the majority in this Parliament.
Our friends opposite have, on many occasions, referred to Parliament as the high court of the land. That was before they became enamoured of the High Court in consequence of its decision concerning the recent deportation proceedings. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) will agree that it would not be right to expect any judge of the High Court to make a pronouncement not in keeping with the judicial functions of that tribunal, such as taking the responsibility to issue this “ proclamation. As the Prime Minister said this afternoon, any government that did not consider the interests of the community generally would be quickly hurled from office, because Australia is a democratic country, and any laws passed must be ratified by the people. I presume that before any proclamation is issued under this measure the Government will be satisfied that the circumstances justify drastic action, to prevent the community from suffering as it suffered during the unfortunate seamen’s strike. Honorable members opposite have said a good deal about the interests of the wage earners and trade unionists. I remind them of another section of the people - the primary producers - who have to be content with what their produce returns to them in the home or overseas markets. Un- ‘ fortunately, the primary producers in the Gladstone district of north Queensland, in common with other parts- of the Commonwealth, . suffered very severely during the recent shipping strike. Their produce was rotting on the wharfs, and consequently their wages, in the form of returns on its sale, were withheld from them. I feel sure that honorable members opposite are broadminded enough to admit that the primary producers of Australia should not be penalized in this manner. I sub mit, therefore, that this legislation is entirely justified, that it will work no injustice to trade unionism, and that it will be distinctly in the interests of the community generally. I have very much pleasure in supporting the bill, and I am glad to know that the Prime Minister, as Leader of the Government, of which I am a supporter, is keeping faith with the people of Australia.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Fenton) adjourned.
The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment or request : -
Petroleum Prospecting Bill.
Papua and New Guinea Bounties Bill.
Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Bill.
Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Marr) read a first time.
Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Marr) read a first time.
Aeroplane Fatality at Canberra.
Motion (by Mr. Bruce) proposed-
That the House do now adjourn.
– I understand that an aeroplane belonging to the Royal Australian Air Force crashed at Canberra this morning. Is the Minister for Defence able to furnish any particulars of the accident?
– The information to hand is that at 11 o’clock this morning, two aeroplanes arrived at Canberra. One of them landed safely, but the other, when at a distance of 150 feet from the earth, spun, crashed, and broke into flames, the pilot being killed. The second occupant of the machine was seriously injured, but I have no information as to his present condition.
– Who was the pilot?
– I think it was Flying-Officer Pitt. His name is reported in the evening press. I am unable to furnish any other details at the present time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.52 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 February 1926, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1926/19260211_reps_10_112/>.