House of Representatives
21 September 1928

10th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Littleton Groom) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.

page 7068


MORETON, QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931; LP from 1944

– I am privileged to represent a considerable number of railway employees and other Government workers in Queensland, who do not appear to be provided for in the National Insurance Bill. I ask the Treasurer whether they are provided for, and, if not, by what means they can be brought under the scheme.


– Under the terms of the bill the State Governments, as employers, may bring their employees within the scope of the scheme. If, however, State Governments are not prepared, as employers, to contribute to the fund, workers who are earning less than £8 a week may become voluntary contributors.

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– I have received a signed communication, stating that certain irregularities and malpractices have occurred at the Commission’s brick works in Canberra. Has the Minister for Home and Territories any knowledge of these happenings, and, if so, what action has been taken or is to be taken?

Minister for Health · CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT

– Yesterday I received certain information on this subject, and the Commission has suspended one of the officials at the brick works. If the honorable member will let me have the letter he has received, I shall have immediate inquiries made into the charges contained therein.

Mr Blakeley:

– For what has the official been suspended?


– He is charged with certain irregularities in connexion with the brick works.

page 7068



Minister for External Affairs · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · NAT

– On the 4th September, the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) asked thefollowing question, without notice -

Will the Ministerfor Trade and Customs cause to be prepared a return showing the number of tons of sulphur produced in Australia during the last five years; the quantity of sulphuric acid produced during the same period; the amount of bounty paid on the same, and the persons to whom bounty has been paid?

I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : - {: .page-start } page 7069 {:#debate-3} ### ONIONS FROM JAPAN {: #debate-3-s0 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
NAT -- On the 5th September, the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** brought under notice the importation of onions from Japan, and I promised to have inquiries made. Inquiries have been made in Sydney by the Department of Trade and Customs, with the following result: - It was ascertained that during the past eight weeks 16,350 crates of onions weighing 817 tons were landed in Sydney from Japan, and the bulk of the goods went to the local market, which consumes about 1,500 crates per week. The available supplies of local onions represented the end of a season's stocks, and as onions are, in a degree, of a perishable nature, those supplies are of comparatively low quality. The Japanese onions now being imported are of recent harvesting and consequently are in prime condition. It is not likely that more than two additional shipments, each of 1,000 crates, will be imported during the current season. The first delivery of locally grown new season's onions is expected during the latter part of October^ and it is improbable that any large surplus of Japanese onions will be carried over until that time, as the quantities imported are being absorbed; furthermore, at this period of the year, growth in the bulbs is likely to occur, occasioning loss and cost for additional handling. It was ascertained that the duty-paid landed cost of the Japanese onions was 35s. per ton in excess of the selling price of the local product, which is being sold at £13 per ton. Japanese onions are at the present moment bringing £16 per ton in Sydney. From the foregoing, it is evident that Japanese onions are not competing detrimentally with the locally grown onion. {: .page-start } page 7069 {:#debate-4} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-4-0} #### STATE REPATRIATION BOARDS {: #subdebate-4-0-s0 .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir NEVILLE HOWSE:
NAT -- On the 18th September, the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Coleman)** asked me - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How often do the State Repatriation Boards sit? 1. What is the number of sittings per year of the New South Wales board? 2. How many cases have been dealt with in New South Wales and throughout the Commonwealth by these boards? 3. What amount is paid per annum, including expenses, to members of the board? 4. What powers and functions are exercised by the board? I am now in a position to supply the honorable member with the following information : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The State Repatriation Boards sit as required - usually once or twice weekly. 1. The number of sittings of the New South Wales board averages 104 per year. 2. 285.452 cases have been dealt with in Now South Wales since 1st July, 1920. The figures for the Commonwealth are not yet available. 3. The following amounts, which include expenses, have been paid to the members of the New South Wales board: - {: type="1" start="5"} 0. Under section 28 of the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act 1920-22, a boardis charged with the following duties: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. determining whether the death or incapacity of a member of the Forces in fact resulted from an occurrence happening during the period he was a member of the Forces, and in the case of incapacity, the nature and extent thereof; 1. determining whether the death or incapacity of a person enlisted or appointed for service in connexion with naval or military preparations or operations in fact resulted from his employment in connexion with those preparations or operations; 2. determining the extent to which persons alleged to be dependent upon a member of the Forces were in fact so dependent; and 3. assessing the rates of pensions of members of the Forces and their dependants, and determining the dates of the commencement of such pensions. It has also been prescribed by regulation that a board may grant or reject living allowances in certain cases. . {: .page-start } page 7070 {:#debate-5} ### BEAM WIRELESS Statement of Profit andloss {: #debate-5-s0 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
NAT -- On the 11th September, the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** asked whether it was intended to make available to honorable members a statement showing the profit or loss on the working of the beam wireless. The Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited has been communicated with, and the matter has been considered by the board of directors. The managing director of the company has advised that, for reasons which have already been given to this House *(Hansard,* 27th March, 1928, page 4155), the board feels that it would not be advisable to publish sectional figures of the company's business other than those supplied to shareholders with the directors' annual report. {: .page-start } page 7070 {:#debate-6} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-6-0} #### CANBERRA Price of Bricks {: #subdebate-6-0-s0 .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir NEVILLE HOWSE:
NAT -- Yesterday the honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Gregory)** drew my attention to a question asked by him a few days ago, relating to the price of bricks in Canberra, and to my reply thereto. I have now been advised that the bricks sold at £5 5s. per 1,000 are the bricks which are ordinarily used in the construction of brick cottages by the Commission. The brick sold at £6 5s. is what is known as a facing brick, and is used for special purposes. The bricks sold in Canberra at £5 5s. per 1 , 000 correspond, in the use to which they are placed, to the bricks sold in Melbourne at £31s. per 1,000. {: .page-start } page 7070 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### LORD HOWE ISLAND {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir NEVILLE HOWSE:
NAT -- Yesterday the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. West)** asked a question relative to the establishment of the wireless station at Lord Howe Island. This matter has been the subject of negotiations between the Home and Territories Department, the Postmaster-General's Department, and Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, and has now reached a stage when it is hoped to commence the erection of the station at an early date. {: .page-start } page 7070 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
NAT -- On the 11th September, the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin)** asked me the following questions, *upon notice--* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What royal commissions have been appointed since9th February, 1923, and what amount has been expended on each in salaries, fees, and expenses? 1. What Select Committees have been appointed since 9th February, 1923, and what amount has been expended on each in salaries, fees, and expenses? 2. What permanent committees or commissions have been appointed since 9th February, 1923, and what amount has been expcnded on each for salaries, fees, and expenses during each financial year? I am now in a position to furnish the following information in regard to items 1 and 3:- Development and Migration Commission. - Exclusive of expenditure on migration activities which has been of a recurring nature since the inception of the joint Commonwealth and State Migration Scheme during the financial year 1920-21, and which expenditure amounted to £66,444 in 1926-27, and £78,135 in 1927-28, the annual cost of the Development and Migration Commission has been as follows: 1926-27, £26,775; 1927-28, £45,957. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. - It is pointed out that prior to the establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, very similar functions were carried out by the Institute of Science and Industry which was in operation before the present Government took office. Expenditure (Institute and Council) - 1925-26, £31,464; 1926-27, £39,658; 1927-28, £81,295. Public Service Board of Commissioners (Constituted under Public Service Act, 1922).- Cost, 1924-25, £50,849; 1925-26, £44,086; 1926-27, £46,127; 1927-28, £49,446. Home and Territories Department. Inquiry into treatment of natives in New Guinea.- 1923-24, £882. Federal Territory Land Board.- 1925-26, £17 6s. 2d. Northern Territory Primary Producers Board. - Expenditure, nil. Replaced by Primary Production Board Northern Territory. Board of Inquiry, Aboriginal Compounds.- 1923-24, £186s. 7d. Marine Board Inquiry, *Rachel Cohen* - 1923-24, £52 10s. 8d. Australian War Memorial Board of Management. 1925-26, nil; 1920-27, £22 14s.; 1927- 28, nil. Created September, 1925. Northern Territory Land Board. - 1924-25, £2152 7s. 4d.; 1925-26, £2458 14s. 5d.; 1926-27, £1359. Ceased to function 31st January, 1927. Primary Production Board, Northern Territory. Previously composed of members of Northern Territory Land Board, now administered by North Australia Commission. - Expenditure, nil. Created September, 1924. *Federal Capital Commission. - 1924-25, £2729 12s. 7d.; 1925-26, £880811s. 7d.; 1926-27, £7882 4s. 10d.; 1927-28, £91126s. 8d. Salaries and expenses of commissioners. Special Board of Inquiry - Immigration Act.- 1925-20, £6469; 1926-27, £998. North Australia Commission. - 1926-27, £5792; 1927-28, £8277. Administrative expenses only. * Owing to the extensive ramifications of the Commission's activities, it is not possible to determine upon any amount apart from the figures given, as being purely administrative expenditure. Department of Works and Railways. Federal Aid Roads Board. - 1927-28, £153. Appointed under Federal Aid Roads Act of 1926. Drafting Investigation Committee. - Appointed 3rd July, 1925. Ceased 1st June, 1926. Department of Markets Dried Fruits Advances Repayment Board.- 1925-26, £25; 1926-27, £262; 1927-28, £226. Committee controlling Trade Publicity in the United Kingdom. - The cost of the Trade Publicity Scheme is borne by the dairy produce, dried fruits and canned fruits organizations, and the Commonwealth on a pound for pound basis. The Commonwealth's liability is limited to £100,000. The members of the publicity committee receive no remuneration for their services and the secretarial and other administrative work is carried on by the Department of Markets. Australia Maize Growers Council. - Nil. Dairy Produce Control Board, Dried Fruits Control Board, Canned Fruits Control Board. - These boards were brought into existence pursuant to the Dairy Produce Export Control Act 1924, the Dried Fruits Export Control Act 1924, and the Canned Fruits Export Control Act, 1920. The expenditure of the boards is defrayed from levies collected from the producers in whose interest the boards are operating. Departmentof Trade and Customs. Commonwealth Lighthouse Tender Board. - Expenditure, nil. The members of this board act in an honorary capacity. Expenses of Government representatives on Export Sugar Committee.- 1926-27, £51; 1927- 28, £57. Department op Defence. Defence Standing Committee. - Constituted 1925-26. No expenditure involved, the various members of the board receiving their salaries in other capacities. Air Accidents Investigation Committee. - 1927- 28, £803 14s. Committee to consider the provision, increase, reserve, storage and control of oil fuel and motor spirit. - Constituted 1926-27. No expenditure involved, the various members of the board receiving their salaries in other capacities. Department of Health. Federal Health Council.- 1926-27, £211; 1927- 28, £287. Created November, 1926. Postmaster-General's Department. Advisory Board (H. P. Brown, Esquire) loaned by the British Government at a salary of £1,500 for a period of 12 months. - 1922-23, £2,512. Department of the Treasury. Civilians' War Claims Board. - 1925-26, £107; 1926-27, £125; 1927-28, £64. Loan Council- 1923-24, £114; 1924-25, £142; 1925-20, £59; 1926-27, £28; 1927-28, £13. Taxation Boards of Review and Referees. - 1923-24, £4,956; 1924-25, £5,183; 1925-26, £4,805; 1920-27, £5,969; 1927-28, £7,167. {: .page-start } page 7072 {:#debate-9} ### PAPERS The following papers were pre sented : - >North Australia - Map No. 6 for attachment to the Initial Report of the North Australia Commission on Scheme for Development of North Australia. Northern Australia Act - Ordinances of 1928- Central Australia - No. 19 - Food and Drugs. North Australia - No. 21 - Food and Drugs. Papua Act - Ordinance of 1928 - No. 5 - Customs Tariff. Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - National Memorials Ordinance - Determination of the Federal Commission regarding Nomenclature of Divisions of, and Public Places in the Canberra City District, together with Plan. {: .page-start } page 7072 {:#debate-10} ### TRANSPORT WORKERS BILL {:#subdebate-10-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minis ter and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT .- I move- >That the bill be now read a second time. I very much regret that yesterday, when I introduced this bill, honorable members of the Opposition took advantage of the Standing Orders to prevent me from giving immediately to the people of Australia the explanation to which they were entitled in regard to a measure of such grave importance. The hill deals with the unfortunate situation which has developed in connexion with the maritime transport industry. Almost hourly, the complications are increasing, adding to the sufferings and losses of the people, and it is essential that the public should have information at the earliest possible moment regarding this proposed legislation. When the measure is clearly understood, honorable members will realize that it is designed to bring about a resumption of activities in connexion with maritime transport, and prevent further suffering and loss on the part of the people. The attitude of the Opposition yesterday was contrary to the established practice and precedents of this House. During the six years I have been privileged to be Prime Minister I have introduced very *many measures,* and yesterday was the first occasion upon which exception was taken to the usual practice of allowing the Minister in charge of a bill to give to the House and the people an explanation of it immediately after its introduction. I trust that in the discussion and consideration of this important bill the attitude of honorable members opposite will not be patterned on the hysterical and . unbalanced outburst of the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Anstey)** yesterday morning. The measure is entirely free from politics. It is designed to assist Australia at a very critical period in its history, and is worthy of the support of every honorable member, regardless of party divisions *or* political differences. The object of the bill is to uphold the law, preserve the authority of this Parliament, ensure the continuance of a vital service, and safeguard the people against great loss and suffering. Surely the consideration of such a proposal can be free from the bitterness of political partisanship, and without suggestions such as those by which the honorable member for Bourke degraded himself yesterday. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- I rise to a point of order. The Prime Minister has accused the honorable member for Bourke of having degraded himself in this House. Surely that is a disorderly remark to apply to an honorable member. {: #subdebate-10-0-s1 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom:
DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND -- The Prime Minister must withdraw the statement that an honorable member degraded himself by a speech in this chamber. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE: -- In deference to your ruling, I withdraw the statement. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I take the further point of order, that the Prime Minister insulted not only the honorable member for Bourke, but you also, **Mr. Speaker,** in asserting that you permitted an honorable member to degrade this Parliament. {: #subdebate-10-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I understood the Prime Minister's remark to apply only to the speech of the honorable member for Bourke, and he has already withdrawn it. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE: -- I ask honorable members to allow me to proceed without interruption, because, whether they agree with the bill or not, they will create an extremely bad impression if they endeavour to prevent me from informing the country of its scope and purpose. This is emergency legislation necessitated by the extraordinary circumstances of the moment. This Parliament is on the eve of dissolution. Its sittings will terminate within the next few days. So soon as Parliament is dissolved there will be no power to take any legislative action that may be necessary to preserve the continuance of the maritime transport services in this country. It is, therefore, essential that certain powers should be entrusted to the executive, to ensure the continuance of those services and to prevent the commercial life of Australia from being strangled. The Government now asks this Parliament for those powers, and it will assume full responsibility for any action that may be taken under them. The Government is prepared to answer to the people of this country during the forthcoming election for the manner in which it exercises the powers entrusted to it. Further, after the election is over, and a new Parliament has been elected, it will answer to that Parliament for what it has done. Under this measure power will be given to the Government to issue regulations that may be deemed necessary in order to preserve the maritime transport services. The regulations will be similar to regulations issued under any other act passed by this Parliament. This bill does not mean that the Government will not submit to Parliament any regulations that may be made under the act. Section 10 of the Acts Interpretation Act provides - >Where an act confers power to make regulations, all regulations made accordingly shall unless the contrary intention appears - > >take effect from the date of notifica tion, or from a later date specified in the regulations. > >be laid before the both Houses of the Parliament within 30 days of the making thereof, or, if the Parliament is not then sitting, within 30 days after the next meeting of the Parliament. > >But if either House of Parliament passes a resolution, of which notice has been given at any time within fifteen sitting days after such regulations have been laid before such House, disallowing any regulation, such regulation shall thereupon cease to have effect. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The contrary intention does appear in this measure. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE: -- There is nothing in this measure in which the contrary intention appears, and consequently any regulations that may be passed as a result of the powers entrusted to the Government will have to be laid upon the table of this House and will be subject to parliament tary action if Parliament deems that desirable. The necessity for this measure must be clear to every honorable member who has considered the position of Australia. As a result of the refusal of the Waterside Workers Federation to accept an award of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court dislocation has occurred in the maritime transport services of this country. Subsequently to rejecting rejecting the award the Waterside Workers Federation passed a resolution indicating its preparedness to accept the award, but apparently it is not able to control the members of its organization, nor has it been able to extinguish the conflagration which it set alight. The result is that to-day the maritime transport services of Australia are practically held up, and a position of stagnation has been reached. The latest reports that I have received bear yesterday's date. The position in Melbourne is as follows: - >Volunteers are offering at the present time at the Melbourne shipping offices. The shipowners have decided to call immediately for volunteers for overseas ships. On Thursday morning the Peninsula and Orient Company called for labour from the Port Phillip Stevedores Association, but there was no response. The company's representative applied to the wharf labourers union which handles interstate cargo but againthe call was futile. Port Phillip stevedores, who handle overseas goods refuse to offer for the second pick-up as provided by the new award. There is no difficulty with wharf labourers union which works interstate vessels. Yesterday only the interstate boats were being worked, but because of the dislocation at other ports and the non-loading of cargo there, it would be useless to send ships from Melbourne to those ports. Only three vessels in the interstate trade were handled yesterday. The Port Phillip Stevedores Association held a meeting on Wednesday night and decided not to work under the award. Therefore at Melbourne the men have refused to work under the award. Shipping is held up and the owners are taking action to obtain labour to carry out the necessary operations. No work is being done at Brisbane, the men refusing absolutely to accept the award. At Adelaide andFremantle no work is being done. At Sydney the waterside workers have accepted the award and are offering at both pickups daily. But while at Sydney the waterside workers are accepting the award and working under it, the refusal of the men to work at other ports means that the complete stoppage of maritime transport will shortly take place, because vessels from Sydney will not be handled at the other ports of the Commonwealth. If this continues, it is impossible to calculate the effect upon Australia. I ask honorable members to re- collect the discussions that have taken place in this Parliament during the last few weeks and also the statements that have appeared in the public press for some months past in regard to the present position of Australia. It is certainly one of extreme difficulty. The Commonwealth is faced with a deficit of some £2,600,000. Many of the States also have deficits. Attention has been drawn repeatedly in this House to our adverse trade balance, and there have been many discussions regarding the volume of our unemployment. These things should cause every Australian to think seriously. We must address our minds to the probable effect of the hold-up not only of interstate but of overseas shipping. Not only are we faced with an enormous loss in trade and commerce, but at some of the ports of Australia, because of the refusal of the waterside workers to handle goods and to move vessels, there is the possibility at this moment that men, women and children may lack foodstuffs. Honorable members will recollect that some two or three days ago, I read to the House a telegram which I had received from Cooktown, indicating the seriousness of the situation which had arisen there in regard to the shortage of foodstuffs. Every honorable member knows what the effect will be upon trade and industry in each of the States if there is a stoppage of interstate trade. There are perishable products upon the wharfs of Australia awaiting shipment, and unless the transport services are resumed, great loss will be inflicted upon the producers. We are at this moment on the eve of the export season. Wool, wheat, butter and a hundred and one other things have to be exported so that Australia's financial position may be maintained, and that we may be able to carry on trade and commerce and provide employment for our people. The Government is determined that Australia shall not be faced with the tragedy that would be involved by the continuance of a hold-up of the whole of our sea transport. Its effects are already being felt, and it is impossible to calculate the loss already suffered. Let me give the House two examples of these effects. The Newcastle Steel Works have dismissed 1,000 employees. In Adelaide 2,000 men will be dismissed from Holdens Motor Body Works within the next few days, the cause being the interruption of our sea communications. I ask honorable members to consider the present financial position, the state of our trade and commerce, and the unemployment that exists, and irrespective of the party to which they belong, to support the Government in the action it is taking to secure the resumption of the whole of our sea transport services. It is necessary to consider how the present situation has arisen. The immediate cause is a refusal by the waterside workers to accept an award of the Arbitration Court. No other cause can be assigned. It is essential that that should be realized by the people of Australia. Any action taken by the Government at the present time is not directed against individual men. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- It is directed against trade unionists. Mr.BRUCE. - It is not directed against trade unionism, but on the contrary is designed to uphold the principle of arbitration, which is the method accepted in this country for controlling our industrial affairs. It is true that, subsequent to its defiance of the court, the Waterside Workers Federation passed a resolution advising its members to return to work under the terms of the award; and it must be perfectly clear that the men are defying their own organization. Therefore any action which we may take, instead of being directed against trade unionism, will be in the nature of assistance to the executive of the Waterside Workers Federation. The present position in the industry is but the culmination of a series of events that have extended over the last ten years. The waterfront has been the scene of continual hold-ups during the whole of that period. We have witnessed the exercise of job control, and interruptions for one reason and another by either the waterside workers or those employed upon the ships, until Australia has become a byword in respect of her shipping disputes and her reputation has been dragged in the dust.It is time that action was taken to prevent a repetition of thisto the future. The system of arbitration was designed to obviate the occurrences to which I have referred, so that when differences arose between the em ployers and the men our essential services would not be dislocated and suffering and loss be caused to others who were not concerned in the particular dispute. It was designed to effect a peaceful settlement of disputes; and it must be admitted that it has worked extraordinarily well. Hundreds of industries, and hundreds of thousands of men, are to-day working under the awards of the court, without difficulties arising and without dislocation of industry. In those cases the prin ciples which arbitration was designed to establish are being observed. But unhappily, along the waterfront during the last ten years there has been a kind of guerilla warfare, and no man can calculate the loss which has been caused to Australia as a result. Surely it is the duty of this Parliament to maintain the system which was established to prevent the holding up of our industry and commerce at the whim and dictation of a few lawless men who will not observe awards or obey the laws of the country! The present is, as I have said, but the culmination of a long series of troubles along the waterfront. Last December an overtime strike was declared by the waterside workers, the reason advanced being that considerable delay had occurred in the Arbitration Court in connexion with the hearing of certain matters which waterside workers wished to have considered. They said that they were not prepared to continue to work under the old conditions. The Arbitration Court promised to deal with the question, but before doing so, required from the waterside workers an undertaking to abide by any award it might make. That undertaking was given by the Waterside Workers Federation in the following terms : - >That the committee of management of the Waterside Workers' Federation hereby undertakes to advise its members to carry out the existing awards and agreements covering the work of our members. It also undertakesto exercise all the powers conferred upon it. the federal council of the union to enforce strict compliance on the part of members with any future award made by the court andor any agreements arrived at from time to time. That was a direct undertaking by the Waterside Workers Federation that if the court would hear and deal with its plaint its members would observe any award the court might make. Upon that undertaking being given the court agreed to hear the case. The judge published his award, but did not bring it into operation immediately. He afforded both sides au opportunity to express any objections they might have to it. The fullest advantage of that opportunity was taken by each of the parties. The Waterside Workers Federation raised all the objections to which reference has been made, including that to the two pick-ups. These were considered by the court, which then promulgated its award, to come into operation on Monday, the 10th September last. Directly the award was published the Waterside Workers Federation, it is reported, unanimously passed the following resolution : - >That the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia repudiates entirely the pernicious and vicious Beeby award of 1928. If there' were no other grounds upon which that action could be condemned, there is certainly the ground of a lack of good faith and honour on the part of a body of men who had given an undertaking that, after their case had been heard, they would abide by any award that might be made. Men who are capable of such an action are obviously determined not to accept the system of arbitration which this country has adopted, nor to obey the laws passed by this Parliament. The award currie into operation on the 10th September; but, as a result of that resolution, and because of statements by members of the executive of the Waterside Workers Federation and the propaganda that had been carried on, the members *»t* the federation declined to offer themselves for employment under the terms of the award, and immediately a state of dislocation began to develop along the waterfront of Australia. The matter was discussed in this Parliament on the following day, when T indicated that the Government proposed to call upon the ship-owners, and also the Waterside Workers Federation, to work under the terms of the award. I communicated also with the Governments of all the States, asking them to make available the necessary assistance to enable the shipowners and the waterside workers to carry on the legitimate business of maritime transport in Australia. It quickly became evident that the people of Australia resented this repudiation of the award by the Waterside Workers Federation, and the holdup which, in consequence, was threatened. The firm action of the Government made it obvious to the waterside workers that something had to be done, and a resolution was passed in the following terms : - >That, in the opinion of this conference, no good purpose would be served Dy preventing members from presenting themselves for engagement under the Beeby award, as the resolution repudiating the award has served its purpose for the time being, and to proceed with it any further would be detrimental to the best interests of the federation as a whole, by preventing negotiations with the ship-owners and thereby subjecting the membership to unnecessary reprisals. That was agreed to by 48 votes to 22. I refer honorable members to the wording of that resolution, and ask them to remember the unqualified undertaking that was given by the Waterside Workers Federation to accept any award that the court might make. Unhappily, by the time this second resolution was passed the trouble had gone too far; the Waterside Workers Federation had commenced a conflagration which ifr- was unable to extinguish, with the result that to-day its members in Adelaide, Fremantle, and Brisbane are refusing to obey its instruction to work under the terms of the award. Honorable members opposite say that when this second resolution was passed the Government should have taken the stand that the position was quite satisfactory; that it should have withdrawn the prosecutions instituted under the laws of this country; and that it should have proceeded, by means of conciliation and sweet reasoning, to establish peace. No more disastrous course in the interests of Australia could have been pursued. Honorable members opposite spend the whole of their time in advocating the holding of another conference and in urging that sweet reasonableness should prevail. Has it never crossed their minds that they have some obligation as members of this Parliament to see that the laws of this country are observed ? Not one word has been uttered by any one of them in condemnation of these men who are defying the law and refusing to work. I suggest that instead of advising me as to the course that I should pursue they should recognize their duty to see that our laws are observed. They should also give some lead to the tens of thousands of law-abiding, honest unionists who are being driven to extreme action by a few men whom honorable gentlemen opposite are afraid to stand up to and defy. The Government is perfectly clear as to the course of action it proposes to pursue. Various measures have been passed by this Parliament from time to time to ensure that the vital services of the country shall be maintained in spite of those who defy the law. We shall use every power that we have under our arbitration legislation and the Crimes Act against those people who are misleading the decent working men of this country. We certainly do not propose to take action against the unfortunate men - and they constitute the great majority - who would like to obey the law and carry on their work without interruption ; but against their leaders and their organizations which attempt to defy the law we shall use every power that wc have. But it is not sufficient merely to take action against those who are causing the trouble. It is necessary that we should give an opportunity to our decent lawabiding working men to continue their employment under reasonable safeguards. The Government does not propose to ask Parliament for any further power to deal with offences against the law. It already has all the power that it needs in that direction, and I assure honorable members that it will use it. Wo are now asking Parliament to give us power to protect the men who arc prepared to offer for employment and to pursue their avocations in the ordinary way. Owing to the impossibility of inducing the waterside workers as a whole to offer for employment the ship-owners are now calling for other working men to carry on this necessary service. Yesterday a telegram was sent to each of the State Premiers in these terms - >Shipowners have pi von members of Waterside Workers Federation every opportunity to work under the Beeby award, hut they still decline to do so. It is imperative as announced by Prime Minister that other steps be taken without delay to maintain transport to enable oversea and interstate cargo to move so as to prevent further serious disruption of industry and to prevent extension of unemployment. Overseas and interstate shipowners ure accordingly to-day sending instructions to their State Committees that they are forthwith to advertise for and engage any labour willing to accept employment under Beeby awa I'd conditions in any ports where customary labour is not available under these conditions. They confidently reply on your assistance in the general interests of your State. There is no other course open to any State Premier at present, unless he is recreant to the primary function of government, than to give all necessary support to the men who are willing to carry on this important public service. A definite call for labour for the waterfront has been issued, and to-day men will be engaged upon the wharfs if they offer for the work. Unionists who belong to the Waterside Workers Federation will be engaged if they are available; but if they will not offer for the work other men will be employed to carry on our maritime transport service, lt is necessary, however, that the men who are prepared to accept this employment and to obey the award of the court shall be protected. The Government is prepared, if the power which it now seeks is granted, to take any action that it may deem necessary to protect these men. One step that appears to be inevitable, unless wiser counsels prevail this very day, is that regulations shall be issued to provide that those who register for employment and take up work shall be protected. Any man who is willing to work upon the wharfs and obey the law will under this measure be issued with a licence, and when these unfortunate troubles have passed away, the Government will ensure that those who hold licences and offered their services to the nation in a time of great emergency, shall be protected from victimization. Victimization has occurred in the past under somewhat similar conditions, and it is not fair that the workers who assist the nation when it needs them should be allowed to suffer for their patriotism. Under these regulations it will be quite competent for members of the Waterside Workers Federation to obtain licences if they desire to do so, and I am extremely hopeful that in view of the protection that will be afforded any man who offers for work, a great many of them will present themselves for employment. There have already been indications of the desire of the men to work, but they have been prevented from doing so by other men of the lawless, hooligan type. An instance of that kind of thing occurred in Brisbane at the beginning of this week. A number of men brought their tucker tins with them and offered for employment. Some were engaged, and others who were not needed at the moment sat down on the wharf to wait, so that they might offer themselves at the second pick-up. All of these men were subjected to jeering and abuse, and eventually had to abandon their intention to work, and go home. That is a form of tyranny which men with wives and children dependent upon them, who desire to work, should not be called upon to suffer. These men were driven away from their employment by irresponsibles, and the Government is determined to take action to prevent that kind of thing from happening. If a sufficient number of members of the Waterside Workers Federation offer for work, they will be employed, but if there are insufficient of them, other men will have to be employed. The Government will use every power that it possesses, under either this bill and the regulations or under the measures which are already upon the statute-book, to safeguard the men who offer for employment, not only while they are working, but after these unhappy days have passed. We are determined that there shall be no victimization. My last word is to appeal to honorable members of this Parliament to recognize that the present situation is a direct challenge to the law and authority of Parliament. While some honorable members may consider that other solutions to the difficulty might have been adopted I cannot conceive that any one of us will fail to recognize that we have an individual obligation to maintain the law and authority of this Parliament, and to take any action that may be necessary against those who defy the law and are prepared to allow the whole basis of our national life to be destroyed. {: #subdebate-10-0-s3 .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN:
Yarra .- The Prime Minister, at the beginning of hia speech, attempted to castigate the Opposition for yesterday refusing leave to allow the Government to proceed with this measure. The right honorable gentleman made the most extraordinary statement that it was the first time in the last six years that he could remember that having been done. He suffers from a marvellous lack of memory. I cannot remember a single occasion when the Opposition has given facilities to the Government to proceed to take through all its stages without delay, a bill of this description. So long as I lead the Opposition I shall never consent to the Government proceeding with such haste to place a measure of this kind upon the statute-book. Why should the Prime Minister come begging to the minority in this Parliament for permission to proceed with his own measures, seeing that he has behind him an overwhelming majority? {: .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr Cook: -- Because he is a gentleman. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- It is simply because he had lost control of his own supporters and had not been able to keep a sufficient number of them in their places to give him a statutory majority that he depended upon the generosity of an Opposition which he was trying to pillory. Since I have been Leader of the Opposition I have never refused to accord the right honorable gentleman the ordinary courtesies of Parliament, nor have my predecessors " in this office done so. But similar courtesy has not always been extended to me by the Prime Minister when industrial matters of this description have been brought before the House. I make no apology for our action of yesterday. Whenever an attempt is made to proceed against the ordinary Standing Orders of this Parliament with a measure of this description we shall do our best to prevent it. Had the right honorable gentleman kept 38 members of his party in their places he could have proceeded with this bill yesterday in spite of the Opposition. They were apparently so concerned about law and order that they were not here to carry out the proposals of their own Government. The Prime Minister said that, by the action of the Opposition, the people of Australia were prevented from obtaining information. What information, I ask? It was not contained in the speech of the Prime Minister, which was merely a re-hash of his old speeches, delivered again and again on the public platform. The people could have obtained the same information by turning up his last policy speech, or by reading through the propaganda literature issued by his party during the last election. The Prime Minister said that this bill was designed to bring about a resumption of work, and that it was free from party politics. Yet, at the very beginning of his speech, the Prime Minister became abusive. One can be abusive in impassioned tones, and it sounds bad, but one can be abusive in calm tones, and it passes for moderation and gentlemanliness. The Prime Minister's description of the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Anstey)** was common abuse couched in dignified terms, and he was forced by the Speaker to withdraw his statements. The Prime Minister professed to outline the industrial position in Australia to-day. All he did was to quote a few press paragraphs, apparently accepting them as gospel truth. That was the so-called information which he had to give the people of Australia. I assume that the public read the newspapers, just as the Prime Minister does, but even in quoting the newspaper extracts, he did not give all the facts. For example, he told us that volunteer labour was offering in Melbourne, but he did not say one word to the effect that every member of the Waterside Workers Union was also offering there every day. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- Once a day only. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- No, twice a day. I have a telegram here from the Premier of Victoria, stating that the members of the Waterside Workers Union are offering twice a day. The Port Phillip Stevedores are offering once a day. The Prime Minister did not tell us anything about that. He tried to pretend that Australia was confronted with a terrible menace, and that shipping was being held up, while perishable products were awaiting transport to market. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Is that not true? {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- No ; the men are offering at several ports in Australia to-day, under the conditions that have operated during the last three years. If it was possible to get the produce away during the last three years with one pick-up a day, surely it is possible to do so now with two pick-ups in some ports, and one in others. The Prime Minister said that the Port Phillip Stevedores' committee had decided at a meeting not to work under the award. That is a misleading statement. The decision arrived at was that they would abide by all the conditions of the award, except that relating to the pick-up. The Prime Minister said that the financial position of Australia was one of extreme difficulty, and that the Commonwealth was faced with a deficit of £2,600,000. The suggestion is, apparently, that the trade unions of Australia are responsible for the country's financial difficulties, for the adverse trade balance, and for unemployment. Fortunately, there are statistics to show that during the last ten years the average amount of unemployment due to industrial disputes has been only 3 per cent. of the total. That is the truth, as opposed to the fabrications of those who are endeavouring to make election propaganda out of the present trouble. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- I am sure that the honorable member does not desire to misrepresent me. I was merely stating the position in which Australia was placed, and was not attributing it in any way to the action of the trade unions. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- I accept the statement of the Prime Minister that he does not hold the unions responsible for the deficit, the adverse trade balance, or for unemployment. Having accepted it, what inference are we to draw from his statement? We must conclude that this grave position has been brought about by persons other than those associated with the unions. I am as interested as any one else in the welfare of Australia, and just as anxious to see our produce exported and our finances established on a sound basis. I am as desirous as any other member of this Parliament to see the transport services of Australia continue to function, to see our men back at work, and our shipowners providing opportunities for them to obtain employment under good conditions. I have done my part to bring about a settlement, but I have never known the Prime Minister to lift a finger to bring about peace in industry during the six years he has been in office. Honorable members on the other side have mouthed platitudes about the benefits of conciliation as opposed to arbitration, but the one thing which the Prime Minister has never attempted to put into operation is this very policy of conciliation. He declared that the Government was taking this action to support the principle of arbitration. I contend that he might have done much more by means of conciliation, and from my place in this chamber I invited him only a week ago to use his influence in that direction. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- The honorable member is advocating political pressure in industry. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- Not political pressure ; merely ' common sense. Many honorable members opposite who talk about the need' for enforcing awards do not themselves believe in arbitration, and have always fought it. They invoke the awards only when they hope thereby to gain some advantage over the workers. Other honorable members talk about upholding the law, but if some persons who are protected under the wing of this Tory Government got all the law they deserve they would have much more than they want. I have said again and again, and my remarks are on record, that I stand for the principle of arbitration, and for the observance of Arbitration Court awards. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- Then why not stand for it now? {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- I am standing for it now. I have done my part to ensure the observance of awards. My complaint today is that all the efforts made by the leaders of labour, political and industrial, to ensure observance of awards have been frustrated by the present action of the Government. The Prime Minister said that groups of men were defying the instruction of the union. That is true. As a good unionist I regret that any group of men should defy the instructions of the recognized leaders of their union. I have stated, both in this Parliament and elsewhere, that the men should obey the decision of their organizations, properly arrived at in conference or meeting. The Prime Minister claimed that he was assisting the union executive by the action which he is taking. Either he does not know what he is talking about, or we must search for some other motive for his action. The one thing that will put the leaders of the Trade Unions' Federation in the wrong with their men, and prevent their will from being observed, is this very intervention by the Government. Any one with any knowledge of human nature, or the psychology of the great body of working men, must know that what I say is true, particularly when these men are smarting under a sense of real injustice as a result of this award. The Prime Minister has told us practically nothing concerning the nature of the power he is seeking. He has voiced some generalization to the effect that the Government will take any action that is necessary, and that it will issue regulations. The Government has already passed the Crimes Act, the Peace Officers Act, and the amended Arbitration Act, in which the penal clauses are so strongly emphasized, and now the Prime Minister brings down this measure. Each one of the measures to which I have referred was, according to the Prime Minister, going to settle all our industrial problems, provided the Government obtained the required mandate from the electors. The Prime Minister said that these regulations would be the same as others, and would, under the Acts Interpretation Act, be submitted to Parliament. I suggest that this bill, when it becomes law, will not be subject to any other act of Parliament, so that the Acts Interpretation Act will not operate. If that be so, there will be no obligation on the Government to submit the regulations to Parliament, buteven if there were the thing is still a farce. This bill proposes to give power to pass regulations on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament. Power is to be given to take immediate action, but the regulation could not be placed on the table of the House until after the action had been taken. Under this bill, the Governor-General is to have power to make regulations which will have the force of law, notwithstanding any .other law in existence, including the Acts Interpretation Act. This is legislation by regulation, and not by Parliament, and it even robs Parliament of the power to check the regulations. In other words it is the proclamation of industrial martial law. The Governor in Council will supersede this Parliament on questions affecting the liberties of the people, and the Prime Minister calls that unholding the dignity of the law. You cannot uphold the dignity of the law if you trample on the rights of the Parliament which makes the law. According to the bill, the GovernorGeneral is to have power to make regulations for the engagement, service and discharge of transport workers, the licensing of persons as transport workers, the regulating or prohibiting of employment of unlicensed persons as transport workers, and the protection of transport workers. In other words, power is to be given to organize non-unionists, and to give them preference over unionists. Yet the Prime Minister says that by this means he will promote law and order. A blank cheque has been asked for to sweep aside legislation by Parliament and substitute for it legislation by the GovernorGeneral in Council. It has been laid down in the past that the regulations brought in under any act must not be inconsistent with that act; but regulations can be brought in under this measure that will have the force of law notwithstanding any other legislation. Does any member of this House believe that this measure will restore peace in industry and hasten the day when bitterness shall disappear and men come together? Action of this kind is as old as industrialism itself. From the dawn of the industrial era this has been the method by which trade unions have been fought, and the class of treatment to which men have been subjected in their struggle against degradation, poverty and sweating by means of the organizations they have formed through all the years. For over a century employers have attempted to smash the trade unions in the event of industrial trouble by employing what is called free labour, and by giving preference to it, but it is some years since a government has given its sanction to that method of attack. It is some years since a government has put its imprimatur upon it. The Governor-General in Council is to have power to make regulations to foster non-union organizations in order to break the unions of this country. This Commonwealth Government, however, has been working to that end. What is the history of that movement? Can any honorable member show me a case in .which it has ever succeeded? It may meet with temporary success, perhaps, by the starvation of those who are thrown out of employment at the time; in that way men may be forced to submit. It may appeal to the large number that is unemployed, and induce them to take the places of the men on strike ; but has it ever solved an industrial problem or brought industrial peace nearer realization? Never in any country, and this Government probably knows it; but, nevertheless, it determines to put these tactics into operation. The right honorable gentleman tells us to-day that the Government intends to make such regulations, and see that the men engaged are licensed, employment being refused to any men who are not so licensed. Then he says that when the fight is over, the Government is going to see that in the years to come there is no repetition of the trouble that has occurred, although similar difficulties are experienced after every industrial upheaval. We are also informed that there will be no victimization of the men who offer their services at this juncture. I regret that the Prime Minister did not expand that theme. In what way does he propose to see that victimization does not occur? Who drop nonunionists as soon as industrial trouble is over? Why, the employers. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- We shall see. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- We shall see what we have always seen. We shall see what we saw as the result of the last maritime trouble in Australia, when non-union bureaux were set up and preference was given to the members of non-union organizations. Later we saw deputations on the steps of Federal Parliament House in Melbourne. Labour members were appealed to by non-unionists who had been thrown out of work by the shipowners and could not obtain employment elsewhere. On several occasions Parliament has authorized the payment of money to relieve distress among nonunionists who came to the aid of the shipowners in their time of difficulty. In 1920- 21 this Parliament voted £3,686 for the relief of non-unionists who had been dismissed by employers to whose aid they had gone. Again, in 1921- 22, when, I believe, the Prime Minister was Treasurer, £4,446 was granted for the relief of non-unionists who had been thrown aside like a squeezed orange that is tossed into the gutter. That has been the fate of those unfortunates who through economic pressure have gone to the aid of employers in an industrial trouble. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- That is what you get from conciliation! {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- No, it is capitalism *in excelsis.* Profit-making ship-owners will eventually employ the best men, and the best men are not those who accept employment in order to break strikes. In two years the sum of £9,000 was voted by Parliament for the relief of these workers. I repeat that I wish to see peace in industry as far as possible. I want our Arbitration Act made as perfect as possible. I desire it to be as impartially administered as it can be, and not to be the travesty it is to-day. I wish to see it applied with reason and common sense. Honorable members opposite talk about **Mr. Justice** Beeby's award and other awards of the court, but I have not forgotten what they said about the awards of **Mr. Justice** Higgins, who made arbitration possible. The employers, by political interference, drove **Mr. Justice** Higgins from the bench of the Arbitration Court. I believe in arbitration, and I wish to see the wheels of industry kept moving. I desire to see Australia lifted out of her present difficulties, which have been brought about largely by the action and the inaction of the present Government. I want to see our transport services maintained, but the present, action of the Government is the very way not to do it. Why has this outrage on constitutional methods of government been committed? We have no menace in Australia to-day. It is true that an award of the court is not being observed. It is also true that a settlement could be brought about by conference ; but the shipowners do not desire that. I know that honorable members opposite are not anxious for it. The right honorable gentleman said that for over ten years trouble had been experienced on the waterfront. But he asked for a mandate at the last election, and said that if he received it he would bring about peace, perfect peace. ' Surely he got the mandate he asked for, and he still tells us that the same old trouble continues. He said this morning that the name of Australia was a byword, and had been dragged in the dust. I cannot think of a better answer to that exaggerated statement, which is calculated to destroy Australia's good name in the eyes of the world, than some remarks made recently by the Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham).** In replying to the toast of " The Federal Government " at the smoke concert of the Commercial Travellers Association held in Melbourne on the 4th August last, he said, according to the *Australian Traveller* of 1st September - >We are apt to over-emphasize our own particular local difficulties. I am rather tired of hearing Australians speaking pf Australia as a " land of constant strikes.' . . . If you look at the actual figures and statistics you will find that we are really better off than most countries. The position in Australia to-day is this. In the Arbitration Court 149 unions are registered. You can count on the lingers of one hand the number of unions which in recent years have struck or ceased work; whether by lockout or strike. .......... As sensible men, let us recognize that and do not let us exaggerate our industrial troubles. I have visited factories and workshops in many parts of Australia. I have met the managers and others who control those establishments, and I have often put to them the question " How are you getting along with the employees"? In almost every case the answer has been, " We get along well. We have no trouble. If any dispute arises we come together and talk it over. We send for the representative of the union, have a chat, and nip industrial troubles in the bud." That spirit is observed in 90 per cent, of our industries to-day, but it has never been shown by the ship-owners of this or any other country. But, like begets like. The ship-owners in the treatment of their crews and the other men who worked their vessels applied the law of the marling spike and the baton, until regulations were introduced to prevent such physical punishment. That has been the attitude of the shipowners from time immemorial, and a spirit of antagonism has been developed thereby. I do not say that that bitter spirit is entirely one-sided at the present time, but it is remarkable that in other bodies of working men in all branches of industry it does not obtain. Is it to be said that only the wharf workers and seamen have shown that spirit? But has it not been engendered in them by the environment and traditions of an industry which has been carried on *for* generations, and in which brutalizing conditions, such as no honorable member would care to endure, have had to be tolerated by the employees. I agree that awards of the court should be observed, but I contend also that an effort should be made at once to obtain a variation of it. {: .speaker-KXY} ##### Mr Perkins: -- What is wrong with it? {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- I shall tell the honorable member. The Prime Minister gave some of the history of this trouble. He went back to last November, when an overtime strike occurred on the waterfront. The men really wanted to go to the Arbitration Court. As soon as an attempt was made to settle the dispute, and a settlement was in sight, brought about not by any action of this Government, but as the result of the efforts of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Disputes Committee of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council, the shipowners at once raised the subject of two ick-ups. It is true that two pick-ups ad been provided for in the old award, but that rule had been allowed to stand in abeyance in some of the ports of Australia, where the men were operating the vessels without a second pick-up. Eventually **Mr. Justice** Beeby gave an order providing for one pick-up at Port Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Fremantle and Bunbury. Sydney was excluded, because it had always worked with two pick-ups. Although that order had been given, the judge subsequently made an award providing for two pick-ups in all the ports of Australia. One can understand the feeling of resentment on the part of men who for years have worked under different conditions. In Melbourne there has been only one pick-up operating for the last three years. Port Adelaide and Fremantle have had only one for the past five years. No produce has deteriorated on account of this arrangement, but cargo has always been promptly despatched. I shall endeavour to show why the men resent the new conditions. In the large ports, most of the men have to attend the picking-up stations for four hours every day, whether there is work for them or not. As a rule they live miles out in the suburbs and have to pay train fares each day to their place of work as well as pay for or provide their own lunch. Many are unemployed for weeks at a time. I am given to understand by a representative of their organization that it costs the men about 14s. a week to go to and from their work and provide for their lunch. It is easy for honorable members to quote the award rate of wages for these men and then to enlarge upon their earnings. Let them add together the number of hours that they are out of work, and remember also the precarious nature of their occupation. Then see how much they get. I invite honorable members to go and watch these men working, and note the class of work they are called upon to do, and bear in mind also the insecurity of their occupation. When looking for employment they are expected to be at the pick-up place twice daily. One of the most degrading things in life is for men to be compelled to hang around all day begging for the opportunity to work. In the smaller ports the position is still worse. Under the Beeby award the men are expected to be at the pick-up place for the full eight hours a day - from 8 o'clock in the morning till 5 o'clock at night. In some ports they are expected to attend even on a Sunday. Notwithstanding these onerous conditions the officials of the union urged the men to remain at work, assuring them they would endeavour to get their grievances dealt with at a conference. It is hard to get men to go back to degrading conditions after five years, and I say that they have some arguments on their side. The Prime Minister said recently that, as the result of firm action taken by the Government, the Waterside Workers' federation was persuaded to alter the terms of a resolution which it had passed. We all know what action the Government took. The right honorable gentleman need not flatter himself that the speech which he made in this Parliament had any effect whatever upon the waterside workers' conference. I tell him that his views on industrial matters have not the slightest influence upon industrial unions in Australia, because he has never approached them in the right spirit. What is more, he is the first Prime Minister of Australia who has not done something to bring about peace when industrial trouble has occurred. The right honorable gentleman, following the example of the Attorney-General, went on to criticize the wording of the resolution carried at the conference mentioned by 48 votes to 22, instructing waterside workers tei return to work. It appears that the phrasing of the resolution did not suit the Prime Minister and his Attorney-General. They wished it to be so phrased as to meet with the approval of the legal mind. But does the phrasing of the resolution really matter if the substance is right? Apparently the Prime Minister did not like that kind of resolution, so he and his colleague found fault with it. I remind him that the waterside workers' conference passed a resolution calling upon the transport workers to resume work. He says that they started a conflagration, and I add that he is now pouring petrol on it instead of preventing it from spreading. The remarks of the right honorable gentleman this morning clearly indicated his frame of mind and the Govern ment's attitude towards this trouble. In his speech this morning, he said - I use his own words, which I took down myself as he was speaking - " Sweet reasonableness is disastrous." {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- No; he did not say any such thing. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- I am reading from my own notes of the Prime Minister's remarks. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Give the context. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- Well, I leave it to the Prime Minister. Will he challenge my quotation? {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- What I said was that sweet reasonableness in the face of all the circumstances would have been disastrous. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- The right honorable gentleman said that sweet reasonableness in these circumstances would be disastrous. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr J FRANCIS:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931; LP from 1944 -- " In all the circum- stances." {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr SCULLIN: -- Well, what are " all the circumstances " ? The Prime Minister spoke for three-quarters of an hour, telling us of the menace to the Commonwealth, and the seriousness of the financial position. He went on to say that Australian produce must be got away; and that the one thing necessary to solve the problem is to get the ships working. I say now that sweet reasonableness is the best way known to bring about this much to be desired state of affairs. But that will be disastrous to the political ambitions of some honorable gentlemen supporting the Government. It is not sweet reasonableness that they are after. Their catch cry is " law and order " ! Let me suggest for them a better slogan - " Peace with justice." The right honorable gentleman also took advantage of the opportunity to say that we, who represent the workers, have not the courage to speak to them and tell *q* them what they should do. I challenge the Prime Minister to go amongst the ship-owners arid speak to them, as we have talked to the seamen and wharf labourers of Australia. Let him attend the meetings and conferences of shipowners, and tell them what they should do. But no ; this would not suit the right honorable gentleman. He attends their dinners and meets their leaders; and after a dinner comes down with a proclamation or legislation of a kind now before this House. We are told that this is emergency legislation. Of course it is, because Parliament is on the eve of dissolution. This fact alone makes the bill before the House an emergency measure for the elections. I have been accused of saying that the Prime Minister caused this strike. I give that statement a most emphatic denial. I do not accuse the right honorable gentleman of having caused the strike, nor do I accuse this Government; but I do charge the Government with intending to make political capital out of the situation. The Government is doing now what it did on the last occasion. Let us review the position. Six days after the commencement of this trouble, the Waterside Workers Federation passed a resolution advising the men to resume work. This resolution was passed on a Saturday. On the following Monday **Mr. Foster,** the president, and **Mr. Cadden,** the secretary of the Melbourne branch of the federation, addressed the men and urged them to go back to work. They accepted the advice, and reported for work in the morning and also in the afternoon. Later in the same day, the president and secretary of the union were served with summonses authorized by the AttorneyGeneral. Can any honorable member say that action such as this is likely to bring about a settlement of an industrial dispute? Is this how the Government should treat the executive officers who endeavour to secure peace in industry? Action such as this is calculated to create hostility to the Government and all that it pretends to stand for. **Mr. Foster** and **Mr. Cadden** showed courage when they advised the men to resume work, for I can assure honorable members that when feeling is running high in a body of men, it is exceedingly unpopular for their leaders to counsel them to do something which, perhaps, they have no wish to do. These officials of the union persuaded the men to offer for work, and later were served with summonses in the name of the organization which they represent. I believe that the case came on for hearing yesterday; or, if not, that it will be dealt with to-day. This bill is an electioneering placard. It is a repetition of what occurred prior to the last election. In 1915, when there was trouble on the waterfront just before the elections, the Government introduced legislation to authorize deportation in certain circumstances. It also passed the Peace Officers Act, and issued propaganda leaflets concerning Tom Walsh. There is not a word about Tom Walsh to-day. The Prime Minister assured the people that if only his Government could get a mandate it would take the necessary action to ensure industrial peace. Let me remind honorable members of what this Govern ment did. It won the election of 1925. Early in 1926 there occurred the biggest industrial upheaval experienced in Australia for many years. The strike of engine-drivers in the coal mines in New South Wales resulted in the closing down of all the mines in that State as well as a number of coal mines in other parts of Australia. So serious was the situation that shipping was held up, coal had to be rationed, sugar mills in Queensland were closed down, and other industries were seriously interfered with. That trouble lasted for 34 days. It is estimated that 442,000 working days were lost and, according to the official statistics, the loss in wages amounted to £530,000. Although that was the most serious industrial upheaval for many years the Government, fresh with a mandate from the people, took no action other than to issue a regulation to ration coal. No special legislation was brought down, and there was no theatrical display of Ministerial activity in the interests of industrial peace, because the trouble occurred not a few months prior to, but six months after, the election. I invite honorable members to contrast the attitude of the Government during that industrial trouble with its action within the last nine months. We had the proclamation at the end of last year under the Crimes Act in connexion with the waterside workers dispute; another proclamation in June of this year in relation to the marine cooks dispute; summonses issued the other day against the president and secretary of the Melbourne branch of the Waterside Workers Federation, in connexion with the present dispute, and now we have this bill. Why this anxiety on the part of Ministers to throw this apple of discord into the industrial arena? The motive is too obvious. It is clear that the Government is shamelessly using these industrial disputes to cover up its own wretched political and administrative record. *Sitting suspended from 12.42 to 2.30 p.m.* {: #subdebate-10-0-s4 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT -- Honorable members must have been impressed by the failure, and indeed the refusal of the Leader of the Opposition, to face the realities of the industrial situation and the issues involved in this bill. It is impossible for him to deny the gravity ofthe position. There is a stoppage of shipping at most Australian ports, at a season when many of our primary products are sent abroad. The wool sales have been postponed and that alone will cause serious damage to the leading Australian industry. Meat, maize, sugar and butter for export also are being held up, and there is already serious and extensive unemployment. Surely it is of some concern to honorable members from South Australia, particularly those representing Adelaide and its suburbs, that 2,000 men engaged .it Holden's factory may be thrown out of work. Surely it is of concern to the representatives of Newcastle and surrounding districts that several mills at the works of the Broken -m Hill Propriety Company are already closed and others may be closed, throwing thousands of men out of employment. There is in fact a very serious hold-up of Australian trade. What is the cause? The Opposition speaks with two voices. The honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Anstey)** in an utterance of a style to which this House is unfortunately too accustomed from him, said yesterday that the strike had been engineered by the Government and its supporters. Apparently he asks reasonable citizens to believe that the Waterside Workers Federation is in some mysterious way under the control of the Commonwealth Government. But the Leader of the Opposition took a different view. He did not" suggest that the Government was responsible for this stoppage of work. It was due, he said, to the fact that the men were smarting under a sense of injustice and for that reason refused to work under the terms of the new award, although they were prepared to work on their own terms. As honorable members listened to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition they must have asked themselves whether an award means anything to him and those whom he is supposed to lead. Are the members of a union to be at liberty to refuse to obey an award to which they object? That is one manner of stating the issue which is now before this Parliament. Some time ago a deputation from the Australasian Council of Trade Unions waited upon me, and in the course of an interesting discussion I asked the gentlemen present whether they laid it down as a principle that a union was entitled to refuse to obey, any award to which it objected. They replied " Certainly not. " Then I asked : " Do you say that a union is entitled to disobey any award which, in the opinion of its members, infringes a vital principle of trade unionism?" To that they replied in the affirmative. " That being so, " I said, " You will allow a similar liberty to the employer if in his opinion the award infringes a principle vital to him ?" To that there was no reply. It is impossible to have two jurisdictions within the same area - to recognize the obligation to obey awards and at the same time to allow a union a dispensing power whereby any particular award may be repudiated if it does not accord with the ideas and policy of the union. The Leader of the Opposition said that the Prime Minister was in his element when addressing conferences of ship-owners, but would not be prepared to address conferences of trade unionists. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- *I* did not say that. I challenged him to talk to the ship-owners as honorable members on this side have talked to the unions. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- Evidently I misunderstood the honorable member. Perhaps it is not out of place to mention that not long ago I offered to address a conference of trade unionists, but for various reasons the offer was refused. . If it be once admitted that any persons can rightly refuse, to obey an award of the Arbitration Court because they object to some of its provisions, that admission involves the repudiation of the whole system of arbitration. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- The trouble with the workers is that they cannot remove a judge when he is unfavorable to them. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- That interjection lets the cat out of the bag. The Leader of the Opposition is in a difficult position. All honorable members must have waited this morning for him to declare definitely that it was the duty of all parties to obey an award. He did not say that. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- He did. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The honorable gentleman would say, of course, that every employer must obey an award, and that for any infringement of it he should be prosecuted forthwith. But any attempt to put the law into operation against the workers is regarded as " provocative," to use a term of which we have heard a good deal, and is to be " deplored." On such occasions we are told that recourse should be had to methods of conciliation. The Leader of the Opposition has said that the workers want justice and not law. That doctrine is sheer anarchy. It means that either side can determine for itself what is just, and disregard the law if it does not approve of it. The admission of such a principle as a rule of conduct is impossible in any civilized society. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- I said that we want less talk about law and order and more talk about justice. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The rule under which society is governed is that justice according to law is dispensed by the tribunals established by Parliament. The law in relation to arbitration is now being enforced by certain prosecutions. I shall not discuss the facts upon which the prosecutions are based, but I remind the House that the sections of the Arbitration Act which have been invoked have been in force for many years. The section prohibiting interstate strikes and lockouts has been in the Arbitration Act since it was first passed by this Parliament in 1904, and although the Labour party has been in po" -r on several occasions since then, no attempt has been made to repeal that provision. The other section under which action has been taken has been in the act since 1920. In September of last year, and earlier, I wrote asking the organizations of workers whether they were in favour of repealing the section imposing penalties for strikes and lockouts, and I have not received a reply. Should this law be enforced? If it should not be enforced in existing circumstances, in what other circumstances should it ever be enforced? The awards of the Arbitration Court are almost universally obeyed. The Leader of the Opposition was good enough to quote some remarks I made recently at a gathering of commercial travellers. I said on that occasion, and I repeat now, that often grave injustice is done to Australia by representing it as a land of strikes. But I said also, and I emphasized the fact, as I emphasize again to-day, that the transport industry is unfortunately a conspicuous exception to the general rule of observance of awards by trade unions. Special consideration has been given to the waterside workers in the awards of the court. The casual nature of their employment has been recognized, and they have been awarded higher rates of pay in proportion to the work they do than other classes of similar labour. What are the facts of the present disturbance? In December last a definite promise was made by the Waterside Workers Federation that its members would obey any award which the court might make. That undertaking was given in condition of the early hearing of the federation's claim, and it has been definitely and deliberately broken. Does the Opposition approve of that breach of a promise? After hearing all the facts and circumstances the court made its award in August last. The Leader of the Opposition referred this morning to the subject of pick-ups. I do not propose to discuss the details of the award, because they are quite irrelevant to the issue before this House, but I shall quote a passage from the judgment of the court. Referring to the former award, the President said - >The award provided that the times and places of engagement of labour existing on certain dates should continue until varied by agreement, or by the findings of a board of reference, but the committee of management in defiance of this provision, directed all branches to adopt one pick-up only, although a second afternoon pick-up prevailed in nearly every port. There is no escape from the conclusion that the federation has adopted a policy of definite defiance of this court. It has always stated its willingness to accept awards, but with the unexpressed reservation that so far as the community would permit the collective power of the organization would be used to extort conditions which the court had refused or had not been asked to consider. The new award was made in August. Thereupon a conference of representatives of all branches of the Waterside Workers Federation was summoned by the committee of management, and at it a motion was carried unanimously repudiating the award of the court. No action was taken to apply for a variation of it; the conference simply repudiated it. Do honorable members of the Opposition approve of that? The repudiation was repeated in a telegram to the Prime Minister, and the men refused to work under the terms of the award. When it appeared that the strike was likely to fail, another meeting was held, at which a resolution was passed declaring that the repudiation of the award had served its purpose for the time being. The Leader of the Opposition glosses over those words as mere words not affecting the substance of the resolution. Surely they show very clearly the mind of the body that passed the resolution. It is impossible to allow the whole of the sea-borne trade of Australia to be held up, or gravely impeded, while certain members of the Waterside Workers Federation, who at present are in disagreement, adjust their differences. It is true that, in a sense, the committee of management has directed the men to obey the award, but only for the reason that the repudiation of the award has served its purpose for the time being. The direction of the committee of management has made little difference to the behaviour of the men. There is practically the same refusal to work now that there was before the resolution was passed. Special legislation is necessary to deal with marine transport as it affects Australia. It i3 essential to maintain industry on land and at sea, and to export from Australia those primary products upon which all sections of the community depend. The object of any such legislation must be to make it possible for men to work under the awards of the court. Indeed, such action is necessary to preserve the arbitration system itself. The people of Australia will not indefinitely preserve a rather expensive system of arbitration if one important section of industrial labour treats the awards of the court with continuous contempt. That the workers of Australia as a whole approve arbitration was shown conspicuously by the failure of the efforts of the recent congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions to persuade unionists to withdraw from the Arbitration Court on account of the recent Arbitration Act. A resolution was solemnly passed at that congress directing all unions to hold a referendum on the question of withdrawing from the Arbitration Court. So far not one union has held a referendum; and I doubt whether any of them will do so. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The leg-iron provisions of the law have not yet been applied to any extent.' {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The workers realize the benefits which arbitration has con ferred upon them. Their industrial and political leaders do not know where they stand in relation to arbitration. The Leader of the Opposition has given expression to a number of empty phrases purporting to favour arbitration, but on occasions such as this he fails to say that there is only one course to adopt, namely, that the men should work- under the awards of the court. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- He did not fail to say that. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- The Attorney-General does not want to represent me correctly. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- Will the Leader of the Opposition say now that the clear, definite, certain and only proper course is for the waterside workers to work under the award of the court? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom: -- Order! Will the AttorneyGeneral resume his speech. I ask him not to address questions to honorable members, and honorable members not to interject. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- I shall refrain from embarrassing the Leader of the Opposition. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- I am waiting for an opportunity to answer the question. The Attorney-General will find a definite statement in my speech. He either does not understand what I said, or he has misrepresented my remarks. I told the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Parkhill)** in definite terms. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- The honorable member did not. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The Leader of the Opposition has made his position as clear as he can. Let me now turn to another leader - ex-Senator Arthur Rae, one of the Labour candidates for the Senate in New South Wales, who has written an article entitled, " The Curse of Compulsory Arbitration." {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- I read an article on the same subject issued by the Employers' Federation. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- In his article, exSenator Arthur Rae says - >It is impossible to estimate the moral harm which has been done to the Australian working class by its hasty and ill-considered acceptance of arbitration as the solution of labour's problems. I ask - merely as a rhetorical question, and not in the expectation of receiving a reply-whether the Opposition agrees with that statement? Fortunately, there is legal power to deal with matters affecting marine transport. The Commonwealth Parliament has power under the Constitution to deal with industry in connexion with foreign and interstate trade, a power which it does. not possess in the case of other industries. Under section 51 (1) of the Constitution this Parliament is given full power to legislate " with respect to trade and commerce with foreign countries and among the States." Under section 98 there is special power to deal with navigation and shipping. The power conferred by section 98 has been interpreted by the High Court as being limited to interstate and foreign trade. That is the reason why this bill is limited to employment in, or in connexion with, transport by sea in interstate and .foreign trade. Years ago it was held by the High Court, in the Railway Servants case, that this power did not enable the Parliament to legislate regarding the conditions of employment, in interstate and foreign trade ; but in what is known as the Malcolm case, in 1914, it was definitely laid down by a majority of the court that the Commonwealth Parliament has power to deal with such matters as the conditions of employment in the marine transport trade. Since then the Railway Servants case has been definitely over-ruled by the Engineers case, and it has been stated in express words that the decision in the Railway Servants case can no longer be regarded as law. In the MacArthur case, a definition of interstate and foreign trade was given: It includes all the necessary methods adopted to effect the movement of persons and goods from State to State, because they are necessary for accomplishing the acknowledged end of interstate trade. There appears, therefore, to be no room for doubt on the basis of present decisions as to the power of this Parliament to enact this legislation. Objection has been taken to its form, such objection being founded upon the provision that regulations made under this bill, when passed, shall, notwithstanding anything in any other act, have the force of law. As the Prime Minister has already said, section 10 of the Acts Interpretation Act provides that where an act confers power to make regulations, all regulations made accordingly shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be notified in the *Gazette,* and shall take effect from the date of notification or from a later date specified in the regulations, and shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament for a period of 30 days; or, if Parliament is not then sitting, within 30 days after the next meeting of the Parliament. Provision is made for the disallowance of the regulations by Parliament. It is suggested that the words " notwithstanding anything in any other act " contained in this bill do not include the provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act. That is, I submit, not the case. The Acts Interpretation Act deals with the method of making and of disallowing regulations. There is nothing in this bill which shows that the method of making and disallowing regulations is not to be applied to this bill when it becomes law. Any regulations made under this legislation are to have the force of law notwithstanding anything in any other act. The Acts Interpretation Act declares the manner in which the GovernorGeneral may make regulations. That act will apply to this bill when it becomes law, as it does to any other act. Regulations under this legislation, when made - and it is only the Acts Interpretation Act which determines the manner in which they may be made - will have the force of law. Under this legislation it will be possible to provide for the licensing and registration of waterside workers, to prohibit the employment of unlicensed workers, and to protect against victimization those who, in the future, may be ready to work under the awards of the court. The Leader of the Opposition appeared to sympathize with certain non-unionists of whom he spoke. If this measure becomes law, and it is necessary to apply it - which I hope will not be the case - there will be ample protection for those who are prepared to assist the vital industries of the country. The Opposition never makes in this House a contribution to the solution of any industrial trouble. Honorable members must be rather tired by this time of hearing honorable members opposite say that they have been working quietly. The evidence suggests more quietness than work. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- The Attorney-General himself claims to have done some quiet work. He worked quietly enough to settle the Abrahams case. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- The Leader of the Opposition and other honorable members opposite are endeavoring to divert me from my subject. If the exaction of a penalty in the region of £300,000, in addition to the tax itself, is not enforcing the law, I ask what it is. What is the attitude of the Opposition in relation to industrial troubles? I can quite understand quiet work being performed by the Leader of the Opposition along the lines of appealing to the men to show some sense on the eve of an election. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- I can understand the Government appealing to the ship-owners to do their utmost to prevent a settlement of the trouble. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- There has been no evidence of leadership, or of a willingness to give a lead, on the part of honorable members opposite. In every industrial difficulty created by employees honorable members opposite stand helpless and futile. They say that the time is opportune for an application of the principle of conciliation. I agree with them that the principle of conciliation is a good one. But what does that suggestion mean in the existing circumstances? If it means anything, it is that the men are to be entitled to work on their own terms, irrespective of the award, until the other side is willing to give in. That is the real meaning of the conciliation advocated by honorable members opposite. This so-called conciliation merely means the liberty to disregard the awards of the court. It is also suggested by the Leader of the Opposition that there should be an application for a variation. Quite so. But that is just what has not been done. There has been no application for a variation after the award had been finally published and put into operation, but on the other hand there was a definite and deliberate refusal to work in accordance with the award. There was a repudiation of the award, with the object of obtaining by direct action what the court had refused to give after hearing both sides. The issue is vital. It has been debated before in this House, and will, from time to time, I suppose, be debated upon the floor of every representative assembly. Shall the law made by Parliament be obeyed? Shall constitutional methods be adopted for the purpose of maintaining industrial peace? The Government has no hesitation in saying that it will do everything in its power to ensure the law being obeyed. If this hill is passed and if the necessity for action continues, regulations will be made which will be laid before the next Parliament. Any man has a right to work in accordance with an award of -the court, and the Government will do its utmost to secure and protect that right. It is said that this bill is a political placard. What of it ? Its terms are clear and will be understood by the people. Why does the Opposition object to it? It says that it has the workers of the country behind it. No Government that is not supported by large numbers of the workers can last through an election in Australia. The people believe in parliamentary government, and they are, at an early date, to have an opportunity of determining the constitution of the next Parliament. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- That is all that worries us. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- Why does the honorable member say that? Is it because he knows that the people and the workers in particular will approve of this legislation? Of what is the Opposition frightened? It knows that the people of Australia, including the workers, will support the Government in any action that it may take to deal with the critical position that has arisen. {: #subdebate-10-0-s5 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN:
Batman .- It was quite fitting that the AttorneyGeneral should associate himself with his distinguished leader, so that that might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the Prophets, " they shall be the twin apostles of law and disorder in this country. " I must confess that they have succeeded in bringing about a great deal of disorder, and in fomenting it after it has been brought about; notwithstanding the words so aptly quoted as coming from the Attorney-General in one of his saner and more restrained moments, putting the position moderately and correctly on behalf of the working people of this community, and notwithstanding also the observations made by the Prime Minister himself as reported in the *Age* of the 19th September, 1927, in the course of which he also, in a burst of sanity, said - >The overwhelming majority of the workers in Australia were perfectly sane, sound, decent people, who wanted to get on with their job without interruptions. They al! recognized, of course, that while the conditions of this world were not quite all they desired, in Australia they were incomparably better than in any other part of the world. To which it might be added that probably the working conditions of the Prime Minister and Attorney-General of this country are incomparably better than those of some members of the Wharf Lumpers Union and the Seamen's Union. This Government is always just about to do something. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr GULLETT:
HENTY, VICTORIA · NAT; UAP from 1931 -- It is now. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- And it has frequently been about to do something. It is always standing like a hysterical female on the top of the stairs, declaring that it is about to take drastic action. The little *claqueurs* behind the Government applaud it to the utmost with unbounded enthusiasm, just as if, in fact, they had done some of the things which the Government was constantly undertaking to do. The Prime Minister dealt with industrial unrest in connexion with the vexed problem of deportation, and he piloted the Immigration Act, better known as the Deportation Act, through this Parliament after solemnly telling it that it was necessary to take certain powers; that something must be done, something final, desperate and drastic. True to principle, the Government nearly did something then. It nearly deported one man. It was a supreme effort. The Government invoked the aid of all the forces and the laws of Australia. It nearly deported this man, but instead of doing so it invited him to deliver an address at the Millions Club. Before it reached that stage - having been finally vested with all the powers supposed to be given to it by what I may call the Deportation Act - just as it was going forward to war, it found that its supporters in this House were all generals and that there were no privates in the army. There were no soldiers. The Government had no policemen; it was full of fight, but had no policemen. There were no fighters in the ranks. So the right honorable gentleman came down w'ith a Peace Officers Bill to give the Government power to appoint policemen. I do not know bow many policemen were really appointed, but I know that during the second-reading debate upon the bill, it was claimed to be last of the last words in vesting this Government with power to deal with all sorts of industrial trouble. The right honorable gentleman said, with the customary tear in his voice, which he pumps up on these great occasions " I do not believe that anybody could justifiably remain in the position which I occupy and give effect to the Government's great obligations and responsibilities unless he had the powers that we have already taken." That was the deportation power, which the Government discovered was not so effective as they expected it to be, and therefore further authority is now being sought. Most people thought that that power did vest this Government with al] the powers and a little over that could conceivably be required to deal with any sort of industrial trouble. But no great changes came. In due course a new Attorney-General was appointed. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr Parsons: -- And the Federal Labour party lost a few of its supporters in this House. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- The honorable member for Darling Downs **(Sir Littleton Groom)** was at once raised to the speakership. The leaders of the bar were called in and it was determined to pass a Conciliation and Arbitration Act and a Crimes Act which would have the effect of ensuring that the Commonwealth laws would be obeyed and offences against them punished. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr Parsons: -- And those laws are still being broken. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- As the honorable member for Angas has piped, the Government actually came back to this Parliament with added numbers. It was reinforced, and it very nearly did something. It went to the country. The honorable member will recollect that on that occasion the Government went to the country after having obtained these powers to do these drastic things which it said it ought to do. But instead of doing them, the Government held an election. It came back with a splendid majority. The right honorable gentleman had the numbers. God knows that his supporters are loyal enough. I do not know what complaint he had in that regard, because he could rely on them to the last man. It is true that they are now breaking up a little. The Prime Minister has recently had more reason to complain, particularly in regard to one honorable member on the Government benches, and another in the Corner. It is true that he has nothing to fear from the honorable member for Angas. The right honorable gentleman had the numbers, but he decided to hold an election. It will be remembered that the AttorneyGeneral made his reputation so far as this House is concerned - perhaps he had already made a reputation elsewhere - by specializing in Commonwealth laws and laying down the principles on which they must be applied, so as to ensure obedience to them. The consequence was that he was raised to the high and honorable office of Attorney-General of this country. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- What about telling us something now about the bill? {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I ask this petty *claqueur* for his group of money-bags not to interrupt while I am discussing a serious subject. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable gentleman must withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I withdraw it. I now come to the bill which the AttorneyGeneral so successfully avoided, except in a few words at the conclusion of his speech. Up to the present I have been inquiring and searching for the object of this bill. I have been looking through the history of the Parliament of this Commonwealth to find out why it is that these legal experts, these arbitration specialists, and these industrial pacifists have not, up to date, got sufficient laws to enable them to bring about law and order, and peace on the waterfront, and on all the other industrial fronts of this country. But, no; we are to have something new, and this inspiration has occurred to the Prime Minister only in the closing hours of a dying Parliament. Now, I do not say that there is nothing novel in this bill, or that it is modelled on lines already covered by the laws of the Commonwealth. I suggest that it is an audacious proposal, utterly unprecedented in our Commonwealth legislation, and that it has not been adequately defended by the Attorney-General because it is indefensible from every point of view. The right honorable the Prime Minister, taking this measure in his hand and reading it as any ordinary citizen would read it, recognized that it was an outrage upon Parliamentary procedure, and that it proposed to give a blank cheque to the Executive Council to do something outside this Parliament the nature of which is not disclosed within the four walls of this chamber. The right honorable gentleman was good enough to quote what the AttorneyGeneral himself quoted, section 10 of the Acts Interpretation Act. I, too, shall quote it, because there is an element of comedy in it, in the circumstances. It reads - >Where an act confers power to make Regulations, all Regulations made accordingly shall, unless the contrary intention appears - > >take effect from the date of noti fication, or from a date specified in the Regulations; > >be laid before both Houses of Parliament within thirty days of the making thereof, or, if the Parliament is not then sitting, within thirty days after the next meeting of the Parliament. The Attorney-General suggested that the regulations proposed to be passed under this bill, under which these drastic powers to cope with the present pressing situation are to operate, ought to be laid on the table of this House and reviewed by the next Parliament when it meets. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr Parsons: -- Is the honorable member not confident that he will be here then. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I may not be here, and the honorable member may not be here then. Does he think that the industrial trouble with which this emergency legislation proposes to deal will still be in existence? {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr Parsons: -- No, it will be all over by then. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- It will. Does the honorable member suggest that these regulations will not be operative in the meantime? Does he know anything of what will be contained in them. We are asked to respect our position as members of this House, responsible to the people of the country. I remind the Attorney-General that honorable members on this side have too much respect for our position to hand over our responsibilities to the Executive Government to enable it to operate under the authority of a blank cheque when we are not here. If the honorable member for Angas **(Mr. Parsons)** respects his position he will join me in protesting against such an immoral procedure. The Attorney-General takes the responsibility of saying that these regulations are to he laid upon the table of the House like any other regulations. That may be true. The important, and really the only section of the bill reads - >The Governor-General may make regulations, which, notwithstanding anything in any other act shall have the force of law with respect to ... . and a number of things are enumerated. What is the meaning of those words relating to regulations that are specially placed in the bill? I suggest that similar words will not be found in any other act that has been passed by the Commonwealth Government. As an illustration I shall quote section 9 of the Peace Officers Act, which deals with the regulations to be made under that act, and reads - > >The Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this act, prescribing all matters which by this act are required or permitted to be prescribed, or are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for giving effect to this act .... The adoption of such a section is elementary in every act of Parliament. It is laid down that regulations passed must be to give effect to the purpose of the act, within the terms of and not inconsistent with the act,' and that they shall, in due time, be placed before the Parliament for consideration. Is it not obvious that clause 3 of this bill has been framed for a sinister purpose? I suggest that the Government, becoming afraid of its act, is backing out of it, apologizing for it and endeavouring to give a meaning to the section which Ministers know it cannot bear - >The Governor-General may make regulations, which, notwithstanding anything in any other act, shall have the force of law. Does that not mean what it says? Does it not mean that these regulations, immediately they are passed, shall have the force of law and override the Acts Interpretation Act and any other acts previously passed with which they may conflict. I have never seen a bill introduced into this or any other parliament whose purposes did not appear on the face of it. But this bill imposes no disclosed obligations. It does not set out the things that are to be done or left undone. It does not prescribe any penalties. It is, in a word, a wicked surrender of parliamentary prerogative in every particular. That is why I ventured, when the Prime Minister was speaking, to ask him what the Government proposes to do under this blank cheque that it could not properly do at present. Eventually we wrung from the right honorable gentleman a declaration that it was proposed to issue licences to particular people to work upon the water-front. The irony of it! {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- It is on all fours with granting a licence to a plumber or any other artisan. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- It would have been far better had the Government provided people with facilities to obtain work, and endeavoured to cope with the tragic amount of unemployment that prevails in this country. Instead, it seeks, by introducing a secret penal measure of this kind, to curtail employment by issuing licences which discriminate amongst workers. The Government does not dare to declare what it intends to do. Under cover of this preposterous bill, which abrogates the rights and privileges of Parliament, both the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General wandered all over the industrial field, denouncing industrial unrest, directing attention, to Its effects upon the country, the evil effects of holding up transport, the aggravating evil of unemployment, and all the other various most regrettable adjuncts of industrial trouble. It was insinuated that members of the Opposition are responsible for that condition of affairs, and that the Prime Minister and his colleague were the saviours of the country who now set themselves once and for all to cure industrial unrest. I have already pointed out how much they have done to cure industrial unrest. It is the duty of the electors to challenge the bona fides of this Government, which is always talking about taking drastic action to get our produce on the ships, forcing men to work, soothing their ruffled feelings, and of producing calm and harmony on the water-front and in industry generally. If they can do all those things, for God's sake let them do them and stop talking and passing legislation about it. Let us have that peace in industry which the Prime Minister and the Attorney-Genenl so frequently promise. I suggest that it is not such an easy thing as they imagine. I do not know whether it could be effected by the honorable gentlemen, and I am not so sure that it could be done by the Opposition, but I am quite certain that it cannot be done by passing a succession of penal codes, by abrogating the rights of Parliament, and by giving a secret concession to this Government to do what it likes when Parliament is not sitting. My strong objection to this bill is that it permits the Government, when Parliament is not sitting, to do things which it does not dare to disclose to that body when it is sitting. Under cover of this discussion, the Prime Minister and the AttorneyGeneral have been pleased to make charges against the Leader of the Opposition for his alleged inactivity in this matter. The Attorney-General stated that the Leader of the Opposition has made no positive declaration that the law should be obeyed. It is amazing that such an audacious misrepresentation of the facts should be made from any bench in this Parliament. I have heard the honorable member declare at least half a dozen times in recent months that he stands for obedience to the law of this country in every particular, that he stands for respect of the awards of the Arbitration Courts, and that from the beginning to the end he believes in the acceptance by democracy of the laws made by its Parliament. He has said that as clearly as I am saying it now, but in a few days we shall be represented as not having the courage to stand up and declare publicly in favour of the observance and obedience of our laws, The Attorney-General asked when will the time come to prosecute, if the present time is not opportune. My answer is that, as the Government has passed drastic penal laws which deal with industrial matters, there is such a thing as the observance of discretion in enforcing those laws. If the right honorable gentleman earnestly desires to quell this industrial trouble; if he believes, as he professes to do, that the all-important consideration is to induce the men to resume their labours and carry on the work of the nation, surely he will see the propriety of refraining from applying the criminal law or setting in operation the penal provisions of our industrial law at the very moment when conciliation and understanding were about to prevail. His knowledge of what is rightly termed the psychology of the working man ought to be sufficiently profound to enable him to realize that the working class cannot be dragooned, or reduced to the condition of serfs, and compelled to work at the behest of any person or body of persons, or even of the Government itself. In the last resort, no law can compel a man to work in circumstances and at times that do not appeal to him. The right honorable gentleman should realize that the nation is dependent upon the men who are now on strike, and that without their co-operation our industries cannot continue. I, too, stand for obedience to the law, and the awards that are made in accordance with the legislation passed by this Parliament. I accept the democratic principle that we must be bound by even those laws that are passed at the instigation of a government in whose policy we thoroughly disbelieve. But at the same time I must face the realities of the situation. We cannot secure the performance of this work by the adoption of a policy of coercion, or under a system of arbitration which not only lacks the element of conciliation, but also contains the element of intimidation. I repeat that the bill is an unprecedented outrage upon the Parliament, whose laws the right honorable gentleman asks us to respect. We are invited to hand over to the Executive the power and authority which we possess, to be operated behind our backs, without our knowing what powers will be operated, and to say that any regulation made shall immediately have the force of law, even though it is framed upon party political lines, and is directed against the industrialists of this country. The proposal is outrageous, and no man who professes ito be a democrat, or, for that matter, a just man, will lend his support to it. {: #subdebate-10-0-s6 .speaker-K9H} ##### Mr GARDNER:
Robertson .- After the explicit statement of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce),** whose speech in the circumstances was a most temperate one, and the explanation of the legal aspect given by the Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham),** I feel that I may not be able to contribute anything of moment to the debate; but I realize that I owe a duty to my constituents, to whom at the last election I made the promise that by both voice and vote I should support this Government in any action it took in the best interests of every section of the community. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Scullin),** in response to an interjection by me, suggested that honorable members who sit on this side of the House are mute and docile followers of the Government, and are not prepared to defend their support of this measure. If the occasion should arise when I have not sufficient courage or intelligence to give reasons for any vote I cast, I hope that the electors of Robertson will look for a more worthy representative, Compared with the Leader of the Opposition I occupy a fortunate position. My actions are not being closely scrutinized by the whole of the people of Australia, nor by even the whole of my constituents. But all Australia has been waiting anxiously to see what attitude he would adopt. I venture to suggest that when the reports of his speech are circulated, the people will be sorely disappointed. A majority of them hold definitely the opinion that industrial unrest in this country, which bids fair to wreck it, is caused, not by the sane members of trade unions, but by the misleaders, the wreckers, and the disloyalists. I feel sure that .they looked to the honorable gentleman to speak out against those who are prepared not only to conduct the affairs of this union in a manner detrimental to its members, but also to bring loss and suffering upon every section of the community. Although I listened very carefully, I did not hear the honorable gentleman define his attitude towards the wreckers. I believe that when the people are asked to decide the composition of the next Parliament they will express in a most emphatic 'way their disapproval of the attitude of the honorable gentleman. One of the strongest points made by the Leader of the Opposition does not affect the question at issue. It is the province of this Parliament to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth, but I have yet to learn that it is entitled to usurp the position of a judge or a court. That is what the honorable gentleman attempted to do when he discussed the merits of the case upon which the men are relying. The point we have to decide is whether we shall stand behind the judgment of a duly constituted tribunal and maintain the supremacy of the law. The accusation has been made that the Government is attempting to do something of a sinister nature. I point out, however, that unless the bill is supported by a majority of honorable members, it has no chance of becoming law. That majority has been given to the Government by the people themselves. There is nothing extraordinary in giving the Government the power to make regulations. As the Parliament will not be sitting when they are made, those regulations will be placed upon the table of the House so soon as the next Parliament assembles. I can see nothing wrong in leaving the matter in the hands of the Executive, which, after all, represents the majority in Parliament for the time being. Possibly, our honorable friends opposite would prefer to leave matters in the hands of the misleaders of unionists, who have no regard for the welfare of the law-abiding section of the community. The people will have an opportunity on the 17 th November next to express their opinion of any action that is taken. When the new Parliament has been duly constituted, it will be the privilege of its members to either endorse or repudiate what has been done. Reference has been made to previous legislation passed by this Parliament. I accept whatever responsibility falls upon me for having lent my support to it. It cannot be denied that the Crimes Act has done a great deal of good in coping with industrial disturbances. I refer specifically to the trouble that occurred in Queensland. The justices of the High Court apparently are in agreement with honorable members who sit opposite, and with all other rightthinking men, in holding the view that some regard must be paid to the loyalty that should exist in the ranks of members of a trade union; but they were not afraid to point out that while loyalty to unionism is a natural and very necessary thing, a still higher loyalty is that which should be shown with respect to the laws passed by a duly constituted Parliament. That is the basic principle which underlies this action of the Government. I feel sure the people will insist that the awards of a properly constituted tribunal must be observed. Although the eyes of Australia are upon the Leader of the Opposition, he was not only silent on this momentous issue; he was not only reticent, but definitely refrained from attempting to lay the blame on those extremists who are responsible for the industrial position which is confronting us to-day. He also had very little to say concerning the effect which the unfortunate hold-up of our transport services is having upon the trade and commerce of Australia. As a representative of a country constituency, I rose more particularly to express the viewpoint of the primary producers. I do not wish to belittle secondary industries. I realize their importance, and have always supported protective duties in this House for the benefit of secondary industries; but our real wealth comes from primary production. Our overseas credits and a favorable trade balance, concerning which we have heard so much from honorable members opposite, depend very largely upon our export of primary products. Our exports of wool alone are valued at £60,000,000 to £70,000,000 annually. What will be the position of the primary producers if wool shipments are held up indefinitely? The sale of our wool clip and its export overseas results in millions of pounds sterling being returned to the growers, and it is estimated that if this unfortunate trouble continues, the loss will be equivalent to £1,000,000 a week. It is an outrage. Although it is said sometimes, in this House, that the wool-growers are the " fatted pigs," or the big men of the community, we know that the proceeds of their wool clips are frequently needed to re-establish their credit, or to enable them to make provision for periods of drought. Many of them have big overdrafts at the bank, and when trade is dislocated in this way, it sometimes means ruin. Not only exporters of primary produce, but the whole community suffers, and those who are responsible for the present industrial dispute are killing the goose that lays the golden egg. What is the position in regard to3 wheat? We have a rather poor price offering; we have to accept world's parity. There are already considerable stocks on hand; but now the market has been interrupted, buyers will not purchase because there is no prospect of getting shipments away. Transport difficulties will interfere with financial transactions in the form of credits and bills of sale, and in that respect alone from £90,000 to £100,000 will be involved by the time the wheat is shipped. I am sure it will be admitted by honorable members on both sides of the chamber that if there is one section of the community which deserves more consideration than any other it is the dairyman, who, in comparison with the hours worked and remuneration received in other industries, do not receive a fair return for the commodities they produce. Their activities are stultified. What is the use of this Parliament passing measures governing the control of exports for their benefit if, at a moment's notice, it is found that it is impossible to ship their products away. In New South Wales a vote is about to be taken on a marketing bill; but that measure may as well be torn up if there is no prospect of shipping our exportable surplus. The effects of this unfortunate disturbance are far-reaching in their consequences, and the rural producers who are bearing the heat and burden of the day should receive some consideration. Honorable members opposite would not countenance a reduction in the basic wage, but men who are working not seven hours, but fifteen hours a day, and who are not receiving a living wage will be most seriously affected. Nothing has been said by honorable members opposite concerning this section of the community who are being directly affected, and who, as a result of the action of the waterside workers may have to discontinue operations and join the ranks of the unemployed concerning which we have heard so much recently. I shall conclude by referring to a position which has arisen in Geraldton in Western Australia, in connexion with the production of early tomatoes. If the tomato-growers in that locality fail to catch the early market they loose half of their returns, and will be denied even a living wage. It is reported that there are over 600 tons of early tomatoes awaiting shipment at Geraldton, and that opportunity is denied them. The circumstances are exceptional and even in the dying hours of the Parliament the Government is justified in taking this course, which has been thrust upon it. It would be recreant to its trust if it did not. This may be a gloomy measure, but the result of the hold-up in transport services will also cast a shadow. Although the number in opposition in this Parliament is not large, I feel that I can see the shadow of still more empty benches facing us after the next election in view of the stand which honorable members opposite have taken towards this measure. I trust that it will become law, and that the regulations passed under it will be the means of restoring industrial peace in this country so that every section of the people may be able to carry out its work in a reasonable way, and notwithstanding the financial position with which we are now faced, will continue to progress. {: #subdebate-10-0-s7 .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY:
Darling .- If any one bad any doubt as to the nature of this bill or the reason for its introduction, the honorable member for Roberton **(Mr. Gardner)** -has completely removed it. Legislation of this type resembles pests which visit us from time to time, the only difference being that the appearance of pests is determined to a great extent by the seasons, whilst the introduction of legislation of this character is determined by elections. Since this Government is barren of constructive legislation, and all its administrative and legislative acts are for the protection of the wealthy, showing a complete contempt for the conditions of the workers, one can well understand that it was necessary that some stunt should be staged by it in order to try to keep the people's minds off the things that matter - that some scare cry such as we have had to-day from the Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham)** and the Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce)** should be raised. No doubt other honorable members on that side of the chamber will be giving reasons why these so-called wreckers should be attacked. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- Is not this waterside trouble a thing that matters? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- It most certainly matters as a political cry for the AttorneyGeneral and those associated with him. The Prime Minister, the AttorneyGeneral, and some of the supporters of the Government have got a lot of hard common sense. They are fully aware of the effects of such legislation. They have just as complete a knowledge of the psychology of the people as we have. That being so, they should know that the passing of this bill will not do much towards the settlement of industrial trouble. The amending Arbitration Bill which was ushered in with great promises, the Crimes Act, with its new penal code, and the penal code which had even to be introduced into the Immigration Act, were to be the last words in the preservation of industrial peace in Australia. But we still have these alleged calamitous conditions, with which the Government proposes to deal. If this Government by some strange set of circumstances again comes back to the Treasury bench, I have not the slightest doubt that the AttorneyGeneral, unless he is elevated to a higher and more honorable position in the meantime, and the Prime Minister, who is fairly sick of his job, will look up their speeches in 1923-24-25-26-27 and 1928, and will say- " What did we say when we introduced the amending Arbitration Bill? We said we could not allow these wreckers to continue to hold up the trade and commerce of this country. We were not opposed to trade unionism. We stood for sane trade unionism. We wanted to help those hundreds of thousands of sane trade unionists who wished to work; but we were not allowed to do so by these wreckers and agitators." I have heard the Prime Minister in his professed solicitude for the sane trade unionist, use practically the same words on five different occasions. The measure under consideration so far as I can see will have no effect whatever. I cannot conceive of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General being in any way different from those optimistic politicians in past decades who started out definitely to put these people in their place. In Australia we have a long list of enterprising and ambitious Prime Ministers and State Premiers who have attempted to do something for their living and the patronage of the wealthy, and have started out by introducing provocative legislation of this character. We had in the first place the Irvine Coercion Act. The gentleman responsible for that measure endeavoured to bring about industrial peace on the railways in Victoria, and to completely break up the trade unionism associated with that state instrumentality. After the "leg iron" act had been administered, and the strike was over, the Irvine Government found that the Railways Union was much stronger than it had ever been. New South Wales has also had its union smashing Premiers. Years ago **Mr., but** later **Sir, Charles** Gregory Wade made a speech in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales very similar to that which the Prime Minister made to-day. He said that in the interests of the trade and commerce of New South Wales the coalmining industry had to be protected and that continuity of operations was being endangered by a number of wreckers and agitators. He also observed that all the force of Parliament, Government and the law would be used to discipline those people. The present Prime Minister has made six speeches of that nature during his term of office. But, just as **Sir William** Irvine and Charles Gregory Wade failed successfully to administer coercive legislation of this kind, so will the Prime Minister fail. It will be remembered that the Wade Administration went to the length of arresting Peter Bowling and putting handcuffs and leg irons on him. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- That is not so. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- By making that statement the honorable member shows that he is sadly lacking in accurate information of the industrial affairs of the period. The Wade Government directed all its force against the Coal Miners Union, but left it stronger than it was before, just as the Irvine Administration assailed the Railways Union and left it stronger than before the attack. , Surely the Government does not imagine that the coal miners, the. wharf labourers, the shearers, and the marine cooks of Australia are absolutely devoid of common sense merely because they draw only the basic wage or a little more. It should be remembered that practically the whole of the Labour representatives in our various Parliaments and the trade union secretaries and organizers have come from the ranks of labour. They are just as anxious as anybody that the people should lead a peaceful and contented existence. Any one who expects to impress the workers by introducing legislation of this description is either a fool or a hypocrite. The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General profess a desire to see law and order observed, but they must realize that some laws are held in such utter contempt by the people that they are ignored. Just as there are Commonwealth statutes in the volumes in front of me on this table which are no longer administered because the people hold them in contempt, so there are similar laws on the statute-books of every State. The people utterly disregard these laws, and the governments of the day make no attempt to enforce them. Such measures as the Amending Arbitration Act and the Crimes Act, which have been recently passed by this Parliament, are brought into operation only for political purposes, and not because they are of any advantage to the community. Freak and purely party political enactments passed from time to time at the behest of ambitious Prime Ministers and Premiers must inevitably become dead-letters. The wharf labourers by a substantial majority decided to go back to work, but the Government, apparently disappointed at the probability of a peaceful settlement of the dispute, issued provocative summonses upon certain of the union leaders. I am of the opinion that this action was taken in collaboration with, if not by the direction of, the ship-owners of Australia, who may also be responsible for the introduction of this bill. I regard this measure as nothing but an effort to inflame the minds of the people, and specially to antagonize the waterside workers. The ship-owners, as everybody knows, are a powerful and wealthy if a small section of the community, and this measure has, in my opinion, been introduced at their request. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- Does the honorable member know that for a fact? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- Let the honorable member inform me how much money he, as secretary of the Consultative Council of the Nationalist Federation, received in subscriptions in 1925 from the shipping interests. I am sure that it will be found to be a substantial sum. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- That shows how little the honorable member knows about it. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I ask the honorable member to bring before the House the balance-sheet of the consultative council of which he is secretary. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- Will the honorable member bring the balance-sheet of the Australian Labour party before the House ? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I will, if the honorable member will produce the balance-sheet of his consultative council. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- I shall do so with pleasure. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I invite the honorable member to do it next week. We shall not be here, but it can be produced in Sydney. I shall produce the audited balance-sheet of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labour party and of any other branches of the Labour party that the honorable member may desire. I do not expect that he will produce the audited balance-sheet of his consultative council. As a matter of fact I have not the slightest doubt that he will give us no information at all as to the source from which his consultative council receives its money. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- The honorable member is quite right. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- The object of the bill is practically to authorize the Government to proclaim martial law on the waterfront of Australia. Such action is, as a rule, taken only during a war or a revolution. It is only when Parliament is prorogued that extreme power of this description is placed in the hands of one man. We have a parallel of a kind in Italy. It will be remembered that Mussolini declared that Parliament was a cumbersome and unwieldy institution. At his request the Italian Parliament placed full legislative and administrative power in his hands, and then disbanded. The Prime Minister is endeavouring to ape Mussolini, in asking for this power to endeavour to crush the trade union movement. The Arbitration Court some time ago made an award to cover the waterside workers. It provided for one pick-up, a convenience which had been enjoyed at a number of ports in Australia for many years. At other ports two pick-ups were the practice. The waterside workers gained the advantage of the pick-up, as we now understand it, only after a long struggle. They brought organization out of chaos in this respect. In 1909 I was working on the waterfront in Sydney, and I am still a member of the Waterside Workers Federation. I had to leave my bed at 4.30 a.m., and take a half-hour tram journey to Sydney to be present at a pick-up at 6 o'clock. If a man were lucky he was engaged. If he were unlucky he did not get a job, but had to wait around until 9 o'clock, when there was another pick-up. In those days every wharf was a picking-up place, and it was only after years of agitation that the waterside workers were able to get the employers to agree to definite picking-up places. In the old days a man had to walk from wharf to wharf from '6 o'clock in the morning until 5 o'clock at night in the endeavour to get work. It was a ship-owners paradise when there were hundreds of men walking up and down the wharfs all day long at the call of the stevedore whenever he might desire to pick up labour, and I am not a little proud of the part I played in the Sydney Waterside Workers Federation in starting the campaign which ultimately abolished the 6 o'clock start in the morning. Ship-owners, the press, and tory politicians cried aloud to the heavens that if the wharf labourers insisted on starting at 8 o'clock instead of 6 o'clock in the morning the shipping industry would be ruined and our primary industries adversely affected. For a number of years, however, the Sydney wharf labourers have started at 8 o'clock instead of 6 o'clock, and no ruin has come over the country. By constant agitation and by the very force of their organizations the wharf labourers of Australia have been able to break the old system down to one pick-up a day in some places and two pick-ups a day in other places. But one pick-up a day is quite sufficient for all purposes for the working of the cargoes of the ships of Australia. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- We are not here to discuss that question. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- The honorable member says that very easily. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- But has not the Arbitration Court decided the point? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- The Arbitration Court decided on one pick-up. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- On two pick-ups. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- In some places only. The trouble is that the judge altered his mind after he had given his original decision, and I say that the mischievous action of the judge has been responsible for the present situation on the waterfront. {: #subdebate-10-0-s8 .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bayley:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND -- Order! {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- The honorable member is not suggesting that in the award which came into operation on the 10th September the judge did not embody the two pick-ups ? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- The right honorable gentleman has evidently not been listening to my remarks, or has not understood what I have said. He knows perfectly well that the first award provided for one pick-up, and that it was the last award that made provision for two pick-ups. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- The first was an interim award. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- It was an award, but was not to come into operation until the parties had spoken to the minutes. In other words, it was purposely left open by the judge for suggestions. An Arbitration Court judge has a very grave responsibility in trying to make an award in connexion with the transportation industries of Australia. I recognize all the difficulties attaching to his task; but I also realize that a judge who makes an award against accepted usages of an industry or deliberately breaks down a practice which the workers have followed for, say, five years cannot hope to escape criticism from the men affected. There was absolutely no justification for Judge Beeby reverting to the system of two pick-ups. Wharf labourers at the best have a very poor job. Their work is essentially intermittent. It is quite possible when the wharfs are slack for a man to be out of a job for two or three weeks; or he may get only one or two days' work a week, and that is an unfortunate position for the married man who has to pay rent. Under the new Beeby award these wharf labourers are expected to offer themselves twice a day, and the period in which they may be expected to offer themselves may extend to four hours a day. On many occasions I have walked all day along the water-front in Sydney vainly seeking work. I had to cart my labour round to the ship-owners just as these unfortunate men are obliged to do in the various ports to-day. After all, their labour is just as valuable as the money which pays for it. There is no need for more than one pick-up a day now that we have the advantage of modern means of communication by land wires and wireless. Ship-owners can tell within two or three hours when their boats are likely to arrive. If a vessel is proceeding to Sydney from Queensland the shipowners know that it will arrive at some time on the following day, and that on the following morning they can with confidence pick up a gang for that vessel. If men are picked up for a certain hour, surely they are entitled to payment for waiting about if the vessel on which they are to work does not arrive alongside the wharf at the time anticipated. But, because labour is plentiful, the shipowners have been forceful enough to induce the judge of the Arbitration Court to depart from the long-established custom of having one pick-up, and in consequence a serious crisis has been precipitated in one or two ports. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- May I ask if the honorable member contends that the repudiation of the award is justified? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- The honorable member can do no such thing. He is not in a court putting leading questions to an unsophisticated witness. In his guileless way the honorable member seeks to put leading questions, not to get information, but merely to gain a political advantage. My attitude is that I stand for the arbitration system of this country. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- And its awards? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- Yes. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- And for this award ? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- Yes. But that does not prevent me from pointing out that an extraordinary position has arisen because of the silly and futile action of the judge. {: .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bayley: -- The honorable member for Darling must not refer to a judge in those terms. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- If a judge of the Arbitration Court or a justice of the High Court brings about an extraordinary position owing to his foolishness, I shall criticize him and continue to do so. {: #subdebate-10-0-s9 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member is entitled to criticize, but he must uphold the dignity of the court. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I shall uphold the dignity of the court when it is worth upholding. On this matter I claim to have some practical knowledge, just as on a previous occasion I had some practical knowledge of the pastoral industry when **Mr. Justice** Powers, then President of the Arbitration Court, by an extraordinary set of faked mathematics, arrived at conclusions which were quite wrong. On that occasion I took exception to the action of the President of the Arbitration Court, and to-day I take exception to the action of Judge Beeby. I say that it was silly, mischievous, and stupid. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must not continue in those terms. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I shall not. The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General have put out their election placard. Of course, things did not eventuate as they were to be staged; nevertheless, it has been put out with three cheers from the rank and file and the pious hope that it will have the desired effect, namely, the return of the Nationalist party once more to power in order that the people may again be plundered and the fat pig greased even more, and so that " law and order " may be maintained. It is interesting, and at the same time amusing, to hear the Prime Minister solemnly adjuring the Labour party and the workers to preserve law and order. " Law and order," he says, " must be preserved at all costs." And in crisp, short staccato sentences, like so many pieces of ice dropping into a bucket, the Attorney-General also exhorts the Leader of the Opposition at all costs to preserve law and order. As a matter of fact, if there is any party, institution, or organization in this country that does not stand for law and order, it is the Bruce-Page Government. When it becomes a question of breaking down the economic standards of the trade unions of Australia, any law is good enough, and must be maintained at all costs ; but when it is a question of extending considera-. tion to a millionaire, or a brace of millionaires, or half a dozen of them, the administration and the application of the law are quite different. Four years ago a coal-miner on the south coast of New South Wales was fined £10, with an alternative of two weeks' imprisonment, for not putting in an income tax return, the amount of tax involved being £2 10s. There is a gentleman in this country by the name of Kidman whose undischarged liability for taxation over a period of seven years amounted to £70,000. He was given a knighthood, whilst the other man was ordered to pay a fine of £10 or go to gaol for fourteen days. Then there was the Kidman and Mayoh contract for the building of certain ships. It was decided in order that the war might be won, the Empire kept together, and the world made safe for democracy, to build a number of ships in Australia. As we had not the necessary iron and steel with which to build them, the Government of the day, as a gesture of loyalty to the Empire, said, " We will build wooden ships," and they started out to do so. Kidman and Mayoh were the successful tenderers. After they had been engaged on the work for a long time, the most extraordinary rumours became current. It was said that the ships were merely fake ships, and that they would not be able to proceed more than a mile outside the Sydney Heads even in fine weather. It was stated that the great bolts which were to hold the timbers together undoubtedly showed a bolt-head on one side, and a thread and nut on the other, but that there was nothing in between. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- That was the fault of the bolts. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- Yes, I suppose we should not blame the shipbuilders for that. The bolts must be held responsible.I suppose putty is cheaper than wood, because the builders filled a lot of holes in the ships with putty, and before the first ship was finished it had developed what is known as a " hog-back." Nothing was done to the contractors, however, presumably because they were good members of the Nationalist party. It was only because of attacks made by members of the Opposition that certain action was reluctantly taken by the Government of the day. But the sacred principles of law and order have not yet boon invoked against Kidman and Mayoh. We have a still more recent example in the case of the Abrahams brothers, who completedly disregarded the laws of this country. For years they treated with contempt the laws and the Government, and it was only after the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** and other honorable members of this party had attacked the Government again and again, that any action whatever was taken against them. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- That is absolutely untrue. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I shall not trouble to ask the Treasurer to withdraw his statement, as his interjection is merely on a par with many of his other remarks. Finally, an infamous, illegal, and unconstitutional agreement was entered into between the Government and these tax evaders. When dealing with the workers this Government will administer the law with all the cruelty that is possible, but when dealing with the wealthy members of the community, its motto seems to be, " God forbid that we should do anything to incommode them." I have no doubt that the people of Australia will assess at its true worth this political propaganda of the Bruce-Page Government. Every one knows that the Government will need all the help it can get to assist it over the rocky road of the elections after its extraordinary record of the last three years. That the Government is deserving of the most severe censure of the Australian electors is shown by the fact that there are at present 180,000 unemployed in Australia. {: .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bayley: -- The honorable member is getting right away from the subject. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I am only following the example set by the Leader of the Government and the Attorney-General. It is not my fault if you were not, here, sir, to hear the matters which they discussed. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member is entirely out of order in dealing with unemployment. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I claim that you are quite wrong in ruling me out of order simply because I mentioned the subject of unemployment. I had no intention of discussing it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- It does not come within the province of the honorable member to point out my duty to me. He must withdraw. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I shall withdraw if the Deputy Speaker will cease his interjections. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must either continue his speech or resume his seat. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- I shall continue my speech if the Deputy Speaker will allow me. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member is out of order. He must continue his speech or resume his seat. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- The record of the Government shows a complete contempt for the well being and happiness of the people of Australia. The Government has attacked the workers upon every opportunity that presented itself, and by its legislation and administration has endeavoured to undermine the trade unions. It has opposed itself wherever possible to the interests of the workers, and has not attempted to protect the industries of the country. It has not done one thing which might be construed as helpful to the great mass of the people. But it has clone everything it could to assist the wealthy members of the community, the landholders, the ship-owners, the bankers, and the shareholders in the great financial institutions. The Government is following its usual practice on the eve of an election of endeavouring to inflame the minds of the people against the Labour party by dilating upon dangers which do not exist except in the imagination of the Prime Minister and his friends. {: #subdebate-10-0-s10 .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP . -Since this bill was introduced this morning we have had an opportunity of hearing the opinions of three of the " big guns " of the Opposition. While they were speaking I could not help thinking of what would happen if the Labour party got into power. The Leader of the Opposition would, I presume, be Prime Minister, the honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Blakeley)** would be Treasurer, and the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** would be Attorney-General. I have omitted the honorable member for Dalley **(Mr. Theodore)** because he is not present, but I conclude that something else would be found for him. These are three of the most important members of the Opposition, and it was interesting to notice the method in which they debated the merits and demerits of this bill. The Leader of the Opposition gave a very interesting dissertation on the psychology of men, and the degradation of unemployment. The honorable member for Batman gave his legal opinion upon many things, while the honorable member for Darling led us from Peter Bowling's leg irons to the balance-sheet of the Consultative Council of the Nationalist party of New South Wales. In fact, he seems to have said to himself when he got up - " The time has come," the Walrus said, " To talk of many things, Of shoes and ships, and sealing wax, Of cabbages and kings." Indeed, it was only in reply to an interjection that the honorable member for Darling said that he was opposed to any one committing breaches of awards laid down by the Arbitration Court. For that much, at any rate, we must honour him. It was more than we could get from either of the speakers on his side who preceded him. Not one of the Opposition speeches, however, dealt with this question: Is the award laid down by Judge Beeby in the Arbitration Court to be obeyed or not ? The inference to be drawn, particularly from the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, is that, in the opinion of Opposition Leaders, unionists should be free to say: "If an award given by a judge in the Arbitration Court is suitable, we shall work under it; if it is not, we shall not obey it, but seek a conference with the employers so that the spirit of sweet reasonableness may prevail." The unions want to win, no matter how the decision goes. That is not a healthy frame of mind. It is because the political leaders of Labour have condoned such breaches of awards in the past that the present situation has arisen. The Leader of the Opposition dealt with some aspects of the award given by Judge Beeby, and referred to the pitiable spectacle of men hanging about waiting for two pick-ups. How terrible it was, he said, that the men should have to wait about the wharfs on the off chance of securing employment. Yet, in the same speech he said that the two pick-ups system had prevailed in many parts of the country prior to the issue of this award. According to a report published in to-day's issue of the Sydney *Morning Herald-* a reputable paper which is generally considered reliable - out of fifteen ports in Australia, no less than eleven are being worked under the Beeby award on the two pick-ups system, If the practice prevails in eleven out of fifteen ports, how does the Leader of the Opposition justify his outburst about the degradation of waiting for two pick-ups ? Many of the unionists throughout Australia have accepted the award, and are working under it. Unfortunately, the four ports at which the men refused to work are four of the most important in Australia, namely, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Fremantle. It seems to me that the effect of this bill is that if men desire to work, the Federal Government, with the co-operation of the State Governments, will see that they are allowed to do so, and that they are protected. Surely that is a reasonable thing for any parliament to approve of. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I have read the bill carefully, but I seem to have missed that point. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- The honorable member misses a good many things. I have never denied any man the right to strike. That is his own affair ; but I have always opposed the attitude of the men who say that while they are on strike they will not allow anybody else to do the work. That is a reprehensible attitude to adopt. The Prime Minister touched on the seriousness of this interruption of the marine transport services, but he did not over-emphasize it: Judging by cablegrams published daily in the press giving comments by leading newspapers in other parts of the world, Australia is rapidly becoming known as the land of strikes, particularly in connexion with the marine transport service. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- The Attorney-General has repudiated that suggestion. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- He is correct in saying that the great majority of unionists loyally abide by the awards of the Arbitration Court, but I remember him remarking, in introducing the bill for the amendment of the Arbitration Act, that the three big industrial groups responsible for the majority of the strikes in Australia were the transport group, the waterside workers, and the coal-miners. That is why the industrial hold-ups of recent years have proved so serious to Australia. In a recent leader in the London *Times,* attention was drawn to this fact. Those honorable members who live in the country districts, as the honorable member for Robertson **(Mr. Gardner)** remarked, realize how much it means to the primary producers when their exports cannot be promptly shipped away. Have honorable members opposite given any thought to the predicament in which the producers find themselves when they cannot market their produce? I have not heard one of them speak from the point of view of the man on the land, although I have often heard the Leader of the Opposition talking of the struggles of the working classes. I realize that the wageearners have their troubles, but they do not have more arduous times than the small land-holders. The wheat farmers, for instance, have difficulty in paying their way because their product has to be sold at world's parity. They do not object to the payment of a reasonable wage to the workers, but when their exports are frequently held up and strikes occur along the waterfront, it is not surprising that they insist on the protection of their rights. The wool sales in Sydney have been postponed, and even now it is not known whether sales will take place on Monday next. The producers are not paid for their work weekly, like the average wage-earner, but have to wait for a whole year for their returns. Many of the wool-growers on small holdings are very fortunate indeed if their returns average as much as those of men employed on the basic wage. Often they would not be able to exist unless they worked from daylight till dark, and availed themselves of the assistance of members of their families. They should not be penalized owing to the conduct of irresponsible men whose actions are, to a great extent, backed up by honorable members opposite. It is high time the primary producers had no more worries of this description. As the representative of a large country constituency, I say, without hesitation, that the time has come when a change must be brought about. The man on the land has always abided by the awards of the Arbitration Court. The union with which the honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Blakeley)** is associated is the largest and, best in Australia, and I am glad to be able to say that it always honours the court's awards. Since 1922 not the slightest dislocation has occurred in the pastoral industry because both sides have agreed to accept the decisions of the court. For the last six or seven years I have been a member of the general council of the Graziers Association of New South Wales, and I can say that the Australian Workers Union, under its present leadership, has loyally accepted the court's awards. It is a great pity that there are some unions of which this cannot be said. The export of our primary products would not have been interfered with so much as it has been if Labour leaders had taken a definite stand in the matter. We have had an assurance from the Leader of the Opposition of what he has done in consultation with the unions concerned in the present trouble, but not until an honorable member on this side interjected did the honorable member for Darling definitely say that he opposed any breach of the awards given by judges of the Arbitration Court. I invite honorable members opposite who intend to speak on this bill to state clearly whether they approve of the transport workers' breaches of the court's Award. If the political leaders of Labour had taken a firm stand in this matter, the situation would not have been so confused and gloomy as it now is. " " {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr Anstey: -- What would be the honorable member's attitude if a section of the employers deliberately refused to abide by an award? {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- If they do that, they are fined. We know, as the AttorneyGeneral said when introducing the amending Arbitration Bill, that many fines have been Inflicted upon employers, and that it is much easier to fine an employer than an employee. The Leader of the Opposition has given an interesting dissertation on the psychology of the wharf labourers, and has suggested that it is not wise to cross them. I think that I can claim to have a knowledge of the psychology of the men in the back country, and I say emphatically that there is a limit to the amount of annoyance that they will stand in the form of holdups in the transport services. No section of the community works harder than they do. I have had personal experience of hardships on the land, and I have worked for as long hours and as arduously as any honorable member opposite. The men who may register for employment under the provisions of this measure - and I have no doubt there will' be large numbers of them - should be fully protected. Many instances of victimization of men who have come to the aid of their country have occurred, and it is regrettable that after assisting in the loading of ships when produce had to be sent overseas they have been cast upon the unemployed market. In New South Wales these men have been hounded down and victimized. I am reminded of the loyalists in the railway strike in New South Wales in 1917. The ex-Premier, **Mr. Lang,** waited for years to take vengeance on those men, and when he obtained political power, he "put the boot into them " for having come to the assistance of their country in time of war. The Leader of the Opposition said that when industrial conditions became normal again the ship-owners would put on the regular gangs of wharf laborers because of their efficiency. The following extract from to-day's issue of the Sydney *Morning Herald* is a sufficient answer to that statement : - >At Newcastle the first, gang composed of inexperienced men established a record for the port by loading 120 bales of wool in an hour, the customary rate being 70 bales an hour. I stand behind the Government in its action in bringing down this bill. I have a definite mandate from my electors to do so. I received it in 1925, and again at the referendum in the following year. This mandate was confirmed by the attitude of the people in defeating Labour at the last State election in New South Wales, and I 'venture to say that it will be renewed within the next couple of months. After all the trouble that has been experienced in trying to obtain smooth working of the transport services on the waterfront, the only thing to do nOW is to grasp the nettle firmly and pluck it out. Personally I am prepared to assist the Government to take any necessary steps to prevent the threatened catastrophe to the primary producers. {: #subdebate-10-0-s11 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle .- One would think from the speeches of honorable members opposite that the interruption of the work of shipping our primary products overseas was solely due to the unions on the waterfront. We all deplore the fact that industrial trouble necessitates dislocation of trade. No one regrets that more than the Opposition. The honorable member for Gwydir **(Mr. Abbott)** was rather unfortunate in his attempt to bolster up the case for this bill by his references to the employment of free labour, and the loading of wool at Newcastle. Evidently he is ignorant of the real position, and is unaware that until this week wool had not been loaded at Newcastle for the last twenty years. Recently there has been an attempt to establish wool sales again at Newcastle, and this shipment of wool from that port was the first for about twenty years. That remark of the honorable member is on a par with many other statements of Government supporters in their endeavour to justify support of this bill, which is the most pernicious piece of legislation that has been introduced in any Australian Parliament for the last half century at least. The workers' organizations in the district which I represent were the first in Australia to make representations to employers to meet them in conference to settle industrial troubles, and their action led to the first steps towards our present system of arbitration. We did not claim at the time, nor do we claim to-day, that arbitration, compulsory or otherwise, will absolutely solve all the difficulties that occur in our mines, along the waterfront, or in many other industries. When I interjected whilst the honorable member for Gwydir was speaking, and stated that the workers had not the power, which employers' federations have, to remove arbitration judges who do not happen to favour their side in a dispute, honorable members opposite completely misunderstood what I had in mind, and consequently misrepresented my view-point. Who shifted **Mr. Justice** Higgins from the bench because he was giving decisions favorable to the workers? And who secured the appointment of two other judges to sit with **Mr. Piddington?** The employers can adopt methods that are not available to the workers if awards do not meet with their approval. I should like it to be clearly understood that the present trouble is not to secure an increase in wages, nor is it because of a disagreement on the part of the workers with the award so far as rates are concerned. It is all due to an alteration of the pick-up system, which has been working satisfactorily for five years in some of the States, and three years in others. Every man, whether he be a sailor or wharf labourer, should be on the same level. The pick-up system to which the workers object, has grown up with the development of our shipping industry. Under it men who seek work on the wharfs have to attend day after day. If they obtain employment they work a ship continuously, sometimes for 48 hours or more, with time off for meals. In the days when there were no lighthouses on our" coasts, and no means of communication, there might have been some justification for this pick-up system; but in these' times, when all ships are in wireless' communication with seaports, the ship-owners know the movements of every vessel during every hour of the day or night, and can say at what hour a ship is expected to berth. Surely, under these conditions, it is possible for them to inform men who attend the pick-up place at 8 o'clock in the morning that they can come back at a later hour of the day to start work. There is no necessity at all to keep them hanging about the waterfront waiting for the vessel to arrive before they are engaged. If men have to wait for any length of time they must have their lunch in town, and perhaps while waiting, they drift to the nearest hotels. This is what the officers of the Waterside Workers Federation are trying to prevent. It is unreasonable to keep men standing about outside a gate 15 feet high near the wharfs for hours at a time in the hope of getting an hour or two's work when a vessel arrives. If men are not picked up in the morning, they must either wait about the town or return to their homes in the suburbs and come back again between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon. All this can be avoided. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Judge Beeby's award has been adopted by the waterside workers at eleven ports out of fifteen. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- That is not because the workers approve of the award as regards the pick-up, but because, for economic reasons, they are compelled to accept it. With all due respect to members of the legal fraternity, I contend that we can trace most of our troubles in connexion with the working of our arbitration law to the time when we allowed men with legal training to have anything to do with arbitration. I have always held that it would be far better to have as chairmen of industrial tribunals men well versed in the conditions of the industry concerned, but not financially interested. To my knowledge the only man who ever made a serious mistake in this connexion was a respected barrister, who afterwards became Prime Minister of this country. His decision was faulty merely because he was unable to grasp the practical details of the industry concerned. Subsequently his judgment had to be reviewed; and the matter put right. If the Prime Minister thinks that, by means of this bill, he will destroy the Waterside Workers Federation, I can assure him that he is mistaken. He may have a little temporary success, but I am satisfied that an infinitely stronger industrial force will arise eventually out of this dispute. {: #subdebate-10-0-s12 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- What does the honorable member suggest should be done in this case? {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr J FRANCIS:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931; LP from 1944 -- Let' the trouble drift on?_ {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- If there had not been interference by the introduction, of this bill the present trouble would have been nearer settlement than it is. The time has gone by a century ago since men could be dealt with in this manner by the application of Crimes Acts, by incarceration and other savage penalties. There was a time when a man stood a good chance of losing an ear if he took part in a movement to form a trade union. Industrial peace cannot be secured by these methods. The application of an arbitration system may remedy and does nip in the- bud many industrial disputes that occur from time to time; but it is impossible to coerce either one side or the other by legislation of this sort. The bill is an attempt to frighten the men into subjection. It is foredoomed to failure. The Government will never prevent men from fighting for what they regard as their rights. Under our present commercial system we may always expect trouble to occur over the adjustment of wages and conditions of employment, so, as reasonable men, we should adopt the system that promises to give the best results. We have been told that it is only the unionists who break awards. Those who say this are totally ignorant of the subject. We all know what certain employers do when the award goes against them. I have in mind an occasion when, after the umpire had given his decision a section of the works was closed down, and one-third of the workers would have been thrown out of employment if I had not. intervened. The unions are not always wrong; the employers have means of evading awards that are not available to the workers. Throughout the history of industrial arbitration, stoppages of work have occurred, and they will occur again; neither the Crimes Act nor legislation of this character will prevent them. The only effect of coercive measures is lo engender more hatred of the arbitration system, and give greater opportunities to the so-called extremists to resort to direct action. Hearing the speeches of honorable members opposite, one would think that the life of a wharf labourer was one long picnic. I know of no men who work harder when they are on the job; but the hardest work of all is looking each day for a job and not being able to get one. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- The present strike will throw large numbers of men out of work. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- Why not admit that the arbitration machinery has broken down? The Government will not settle this trouble or prevent similar happenings by siding with one party. I have watched with interest honorable members opposite chafing under the criticism which is being directed against the Government in connexion with this bill. As practical men they know that it will not facilitate a solution of the trouble. Et has been introduced at the dictates of overseas shipping magnates who have declared that this fight is to be fought to a finish. The action proposed by the Government follows other significant happenings, including the sale of the Commonwealth fleet. It is time that the Australian Government refused to listen to dictation by people overseas. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr Parsons: -- Especially people in Moscow. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- The honorable member would not be accepted even in Moscow. We have been told that this bill is harmless, and that it merely empowers the Governor-General to make regulations, but actually it is handing over the power of this Parliament to the Executive. No previous legislation has been so designed to render nugatory the authority of this Parliament. If we are content to hand over our legislative powers to Ministers, we might as well close the doors of this building. The main clause of the bill reads - >The Governor-General may make regulations, which, notwithstanding anything in any other act, shall have the force of law, with respect to the employment of transport workers, and in particular for regulating the engagement, service, and discharge of transport workers, and the licensing of persons as transport workers, and for regulating or prohibiting the employment of unlicensed persons as transport workers, and for the protection' of transport workers. The Government, which professes to be anti-Bolshevik, is becoming a dictator. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- But Bolshevism is the dictatorship of the proletariat. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- At any rate, the Bolsheviks take care that everybody works. Why should this Government prohibit any person from accepting work on the wharfs? The whole purpose of this legislation is to destroy the Waterside Workers Federation, and instead of settling the trouble it will intensify it. The unions will not lie down under an attack of this kind. The Government is to issue licences to those who are to be permitted to work. Labour Governments have often been charged with undue interference with the liberty of the subject, but when it suits my individualistic friends opposite they assume autocratic control of the political machine, not for the benefit of the people generally, but in order to deny work to unionists and protect " scab " labour. The most efficient men on the water-front will be refused employment if this measure passes, and inexperienced and incompetent free labourers will be given preference. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr Parsons: -- No man will be refused employment if he is prepared to work under the award. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- How does the honorable ' member know that ? In the selection of the men large numbers will be jockeyed aside to make room for the favorites of the bosses. Waterside workers should be engaged and discharged like men in any other employment. How would the honorable member for Angas like to have to apply day after day for work in one of the wineries and be told that no work was available, but to continue calling? In this crisis the Prime Minister should have acted as other Prime Ministers have acted in similar circumstances. To the credit of the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** be it said that, when dislocation of industry occurred, he compelled employers and employees to meet at the conference table, threatening drastic action if they refused. He did not join forces with one side to belt and boot the other. He brought them together, under his presidency, to adjust their differences, like reasonable men. The Prime Minister thinks that it would he beneath his dignity to do things in that way. When an award of the court is regarded as obnoxious by one side or the other, trouble is likely to occur; but in such an event the Prime Minister makes no attempt to bring the parties together. Instead, he rushes in with panic legislation to frighten and goad the workers into submission. This legislation will not settle the present trouble on the waterfront. It has been intro duced at the behest of those behind the Government who, in reality, have controlled this country for some years. During recent years Australia has been visited by a number of " big " men from overseas who are desirous of seeing our standard of living reduced. This bill is an attempt to bring about that reduction. The Government has the numbers, and no doubt will see that this legislation is placed on the statute-book; but it should not forget the fate which has befallen other governments when the people realized the true nature of the legislation they had introduced. On one occasion an Australian Premier took unionists to gaol in leg-irons. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- That has never been done, and the honorable member knows it. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- I know too much about it. I deplore as much as any man does the trouble which has arisen on the waterfront, but legislation of this nature will not put things right. On the contrary, it will inflame the minds of the unionists and probably lead to an extension of the trouble. I have seen too much of the result of industrial strife not to wish this trouble to end speedily. I have always been an advocate of arbitration as a means of settling industrial disputes, but the way our arbitration laws have been administered during recent years shows that they can be a delusion and a snare. Once men in any walk of life lose faith in the administration, difficulties arise. An imperfect act faithfully administered is better than good legislation badly administered. It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of the proper administration of our laws. They should be administered impartially in the interests of the people as a whole. The Prime Minister, instead of taking sides in this dispute, should endeavour to get the contending parties to settle their differences. The present agitation is to determine whether the waterside workers shall be treated as human beings or as chattels. Why should men be required to attend at a certain place twice daily in the search for work when there may be no employment for them for days or weeks? Any award requiring them to do so is unjust. It should be sufficient for them to attend at the appointed place each morning. They could then be told whether there was a likelihood of work being available that day. If not required they could return to their homes and do something useful, instead of having to wait about until the time of the second pick-up. That men from the suburbs should be required to remain in the vicinity of the wharfs all day merely because of a remote possibility of their services being required is scandalous and unworthy of Australia. {: #subdebate-10-0-s13 .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr COOK:
Indi .- All honorable members regret the trouble which has arisen on the waterfront, particularly at this time of the year when our primary products are awaiting shipment overseas. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- The honorable member is overjoyed, because this trouble has arisen. {: .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr COOK: -- If the honorable member finds any satisfaction in destruction and ruin, I do not. I know the psychology of the worker as well as it is known by honorable members opposite; I know also the conditions which obtain in industry. During the whole of my life I have been a worker, not an agitator, as some honorable members opposite have been. If I thought that this legislation would interfere with decent trade union organizations I should not support it because I appreciate the work which such unions have accomplished. This measure is introduced, not to injure honest workers, but to protect them against extremists who, in many of the States, have captured the trade union machinery and are using it to injure their fellow workers and to retard the progress of the country. The question we have to face is whether the extreme " reds " or the Government of Australia shall control the export of our primary products. If the Labour party were in office in the Commonwealth, and this trouble occurred, it would have to practise something entirely different from the doctrine its members preach on the floor of this House. **Mr. McCormack,** the Labour Premier of Queensland, found it necessary to adopt a firm attitude when industrial trouble arose in his State. Had he been a Nationalist he would have had hurled at him the epithets now hurled at the Prime Minister. During the lamentable tramway strike in Melbourne, the Labour Premier of Victoria, **Mr. Hogan,** also found it necessary to take a firm stand. No government can escape its responsibility in such matters; if it did not take control the people themselves would step in. While I am here in the interests of all the people of Australia, I represent particularly that section which, last year, produced nearly 95 per cent, of the primary produce which we exported. During the past week I have received a number of telegrams urging me to do all possible to obtain a settlement of the -dispute now raging on the waterfront. The primary producers want their produce exported so that they can be paid for it. The present disturbance has not been caused by the honest workers or the decent trade unionists in our midst, but by a few extremists. It is indeed regrettable that this small section should have obtained such a grip on honorable members opposite - the socalled representatives of Labour. When they speak as they have spoken on this bill, their tongues are in their cheeks. Probably not one of them in his heart believes that the waterside workers are in the right in this dispute; but they constitute the Opposition in this Parliament, and they would have the country believe that the Government has introduced tyrannical legislation. Some trade unionists in my district, who have always voted against me, have expressed pleasure at the passing of legislation to amend our arbitration laws, because it has given them greater control over their unions. I am prepared to give their names' to the Leader of the Opposition. Throughout the rural districts of Australia not one organization has protested against that legislation ; any protest which has been voiced has come from a few extremists in the cities. The Prime Minister has frequently been charged with being too lenient in dealing with breaches of the arbitration laws. In my' opinion he should have taken firm action long ago **o* prevent these recurring troubles on the' waterfront. We do not know from one week to another what the situation will be. The uncertainty which has existed in connexion with shipping ' during the last five years has injured Tasmania immeasurably. At the commencement of almost every tourist season trouble has developed on the waterfront. As soon as one dispute is settled another springs into being. I have been asked' why the secret ballot provisions of the Arbitration Act have not been put into operation. It is because the secret ballot has nothing whatever to do with the present dispute. The workers on this occasion are deliberately violating an award of the Arbitration Court. If the Arbitration Court judge gave instructions that a secret ballot should be taken among the members of the waterside workers, that would be tantamount to an admission by him that he had given a wrong award. I am a firm believer in trade unionism, but when unionists flout the award of the Arbitration Court as they have on this occasion, drastic action should be taken. I stand behind the Prime Minister in his attempt to preserve law and order in this country. The industrial wreckers who lead the marine transport unions ruined the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers. It was a bird of their own colour, but they tried to strangle it even in its infancy. The Public Accounts Committee, after making a full investigation, recommended that the Line should be sold. The Seamen's Union made the pace so hot that the Commonwealth Government had no option but to give effect to that recommendation. In the interests of Australia it should have been disposed of years ago. Having wrecked the Government Line of Steamers they now want to hold up the privately-owned ships. It is an open secret that these industrial wreckers seek to capture the coal and shipping industries. The transport services of Australia must be carried on, and it is a pity indeed that the Government has not the support of the Opposition in its efforts not only to save the primary producers from great loss, by preventing the stoppage of trade and commerce, but also to take the control of the industrial unions out of the hands of the extremists. A few weeks ago I visited Cairns. While there I made it my business to mix with the men, because I claim to be one of them. I spoke to » the sergeant of police and to sea captains and other persons. I suppose that I discussed the shipping situation with 30 or 40 different persons. No work was being carried out on the wharfs, and vessels were held-up for a week. There was no room for incoming vessels to berth. One vessel left the harbour barely half discharged. The growers of maize on the tablelands were endeavouring to send their produce overseas. They were to receive a miserable 3s. 3d. a bushel, representing ls. a bushel under the cost of production. That maize could not be loaded because of the strike. Although a large majority of the waterside workers were in favour of resuming work, the firemen refused to supply steam to work the winches. The industrial magistrate gave instructions to the men to resume work, but they ignored him. I do not yet know whether that strike is over. . Do honorable members opposite approve of the action of those workers? Is it not the duty of the Labour members in this House to support the Prime Minister in his efforts to settle this dispute, which is causing such widespread ruin throughout Australia? Honorable members opposite act as if they were afraid to antagonise the extreme element in this community. The honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Blakeley)** has threatened to visit the electorate of Indi to tell my constituents what an enemy I am of the workers. I shall be glad to assist the honorable member to hold meetings in that electorate; but I venture to say that at every meeting he addresses he will gain votes for me. In 1922 the loss in wages through strikes in Australia was £751,000; in 1922-23,' £1,275,000; in 1924, £917,000; in 1925, £1,107,000; and in 1926, £1,415,000. The total loss was £5,500,000. Imagine the advantage that these unfortunate workers would have reaped had that money been invested in some co-operative organization which would have enabled them to obtain the necessaries of life at low prices. By playing into the hands of the rebels and wreckers the workers are simply increasing their misery. The loss of wages is not the only loss. Factories and machinery are kept idle, and there is a holdup of industry in almost every direction. At a mild estimate the loss would run into at least £50,000,000. In 1895 the lowest third-class passenger fare to the Old Country by the Orient Company was £14 14s., with a rebate of 20 per cent, if the return passage was booked within six months. To-day the fare is £34, no rebate being allowed. The freights on produce have increased to a corresponding extent. The bill has been fully debated, and I shall not weary the House by repetition. This is a serious industrial dispute, and I should be found wanting if I did not, by my vote and speech, support the Government in its attempt to bring about peace on the waterfront. By so doing I shall be acting in the best interests of, not only a large section of the community, but also the " dinky-die " industrial workers of Australia. {: #subdebate-10-0-s14 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Swan -- I cannot understand why honorable members opposite view this bill with displeasure. Realizing the fact that we are having an election within the next few weeks, that we have in Australia the most democratic franchise in the world, that every man and every woman over the age of 21 years has the right to select representatives to this Parliament, I should have imagined that the Opposition would welcome this measure. Its object is to confer upon this Government very great powers, and if honorable members opposite feel satisfied that that is a wrong thing to do, they have every opportunity of placing their views before the electors. Not only does the Opposition object to the bill, but it fears what may be done under it. I am right behind the Ministry and its action on this occasion. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- We expected that. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Surely the honorable member recognizes that this Parliament should be supreme. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Not by regulation. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Parliament should be supreme. No organization, whether it be a union organization or an employers organization, should be above the Parliament. This Government should not have given the opportunity for the present trouble to arise. Honorable members opposite say that they believe in the Arbitration Court, yet when an award is made, we have the spectacle time after time of the Leader of the Opposition asking the Government to interfere, so that one body may give way to the other. It is not .the duty of Parliament to interfere with Arbitration Court awards. We have passed legislation to maintain law and order, and yet when disputes have arisen that legislation has not been enforced. That has been due mainly to a desire on the part of the Government to act in the interests of the workers; but, unfortunately, at the same time we have allowed a feeling to grow that any labour organization may defy the laws of this country, and work its own sweet will. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Like Abrahams brothers. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I do not believe that the honorable member approves of the attitude of the waterside workers. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- I do not approve of the action of the Government, either. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I am merely viewing this as it affects law and order. The Government has not used undue influence to see that law and order is maintained. Quite recently honorable members opposite supported an amendment of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and they know perfectly well that prosecutions have occurred under an industrial act passed as far back as 1904. The Labour party has been in power from time to time since that period, and it has had an opportunity to amend the law, but it did not dare to do so. Honorable members opposite and their followers do all they possibly can to see that the existing legislation is enforced on one section of the community, whom they endeavour to shackle, while they seek to allow the other section to do practically everything that it wills. And then they have the audacity to suggest that this Government is prejudiced entirely in favour of the employer. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- So it is. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- How long does the honorable member think it would remain in power if that were the case ? This Government is confident that it is the desire of the majority of the people of Australia that law and order shall be maintained, and it views with confidence the introduction of this measure, knowing that it is supported in its action by the citizens of this country. If the arguments of honorable members opposite are sincere they ought to welcome this legislation with both hands. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- We should be a despicable lot of cowards if we did. We' do not stand for " scabs " and " blacklegs." {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- What are "blacklegs?" {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- A very contemptible class who have no use for workers and good citizens. It is for those people that this Government stands. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom: -- Order! {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Cook)** referred to the tremendous losses which strikes have inflicted upon industry. The following paragraph is from the *Official Year-Book of the Commonwealth of Australia* for the year 1927, page 544 - *New South Wales.* The following are some of the principal disputes which occurred in this State: - A dispute affecting engine-drivers and firemen employed in all coal mines throughout New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania. The cause of the trouble was the objection of the organization mentioned to an award of the Special Coal Tribunal **(Mr. C. Hibble)** which had the effect of reducing the wages margins hitherto enjoyed by its members over other designations employed in the mines. The matter was quickly settled in Queensland, without actual stoppage, while in Tasmania the men were only out for three days. In New South Wales and Victoria, however, the dispute lasted 34 days, and resulted in a loss in New South Wales of 442,000 working days and £530,400 in wages, and in Victoria of 60,99(i working days and £73,195 in wages. The greater part of this loss was suffered indirectly, i.e., by those thrown out of work by the action of the engine-drivers, who only numbered about 1,000. Because that small body refused to go to work, many hundreds of thousands of pounds were lost in wages, and goodness only knows what the actual loss was to the whole community. Because a small section of an organization may refuse to go to work, the whole community is involved in an industrial strike. We had such an example recently in the maritime cooks' strike. Those men absolutely flouted the law, and anybody who offered his services was blackguarded in similar phraseology to that which has been used by the honorable member for Darling. The honorable member claims to support the maintenance of our laws, yet when men are prepared to comply with the law of the country, he and his comrades called them scabs and blacklegs. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- I am referring to Brace's cohorts, for whom this bill caters. They are a contemptible lot. {: #subdebate-10-0-s15 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- An intolerable tyranny is being exercised in Australia by a disgruntled minority, and if a man defies the leaders of an industrial organization that is acting illegally, his prospects of again obtaining work m Australia are almost hopeless. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- The honorable member is talking absolute rot. Every decision emanating from a trade union organization is arrived at at a general meeting, and not by a few individuals. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The honorable member has a greater, knowledge of them than I. Thank God I have not been associated with organizations which demand impunity from wrong doing. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- It is a pity that the honorable member has not been associated with them, as he would then not be talking such utter rot. {: #subdebate-10-0-s16 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The recent maritime cooks' strike cost Australia many millions of pounds, and to-day the waterside workers are flouting 'an award of the court and embroiling the country in further serious industrial unrest. These organizations appeal to the Arbitration Court for an award, and, if it is not precisely to their liking, they ignore it. The unfortunate part is that honorable members opposite have not the courage to denounce publicly those men who refuse to obey the law. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- For the time being we shall content ourselves with denouncing this Government. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- It is the duty of the honorable member and his colleagues to see that the law of the country is enforced, even if the organizations of which they are members are affected. They must realize that these industrial disturbances inflict huge losses upon the community, which will greatly retard the progress of the country. Such troubles affect our financial stability and national wealth. I have here a telegram received to-day by the honorable member for Riverina **(Mr. Killen)** from the Farmers and Graziers Association, Sydney, which reads - >Next week's wool auctions postponed owing continuance of strike. Do not honorable members opposite realize that if our shipping industry is held up our produce cannot be sent abroad to the markets of the world? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- It is all so much bosh to talk about the wool sales being held up because of the strike. As a matter of fact, the Sydney watersiders are working. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I quite realize that the honorable member does not like taking his gruel, but he must surely realize that the policy of the waterside workers is inimical to the best interests of Australia ? I 'have here a cutting from to-day's *Sydney Morning Herald,* as follows : - Sugar-growers. To Load *Ships.* Brisbane, Thursday. Determined no longer to tolerate the actions of waterside workers, which are resulting in the closing down of sugar mills in the district, a number of sugar-growers left Home Hill tonight for Bowen to load the ships which the watersiders refuse to work. The town was a scene of great activity tonight, numerous vehicles conveying primary producers from their holdings to the town in order to catch the train for Bowen. Over 1,700 tons of sugar, stored at Inkerman Mill, and valued at £35,000, is lying idle. Upon the farmers deciding to proceed .to the waterfront an endeavour was made to obtain a supply of railway trucks, but these were refused by **Mr. A.** Crowther, manager of the northern railways, who stated that no trucks would be available for Inkerman or Prosperpine mills until the waterside workers at Bowen resumed work. The Railway Commissioner was communicated with, and he replied that when work was resumed trucks would be given to cope with the situation. This means that growers are unable, to rail sugar to-day, and further demands on the limited storage space. Approximately 80,000 tons of cane have been crushed this season but that only represented one-half of the total crop. That is a shocking state of things. Even when the growers themselves are prepared to load the ships with their own produce the State Government, which in this instance is a Labour one, will not supply trucks to enable the goods to be transported to the ships. It is time that this legislation was introduced. I am prepared to give the Government the fullest power to deal with the situation until Parliament meets again. I wish honorable members to realize what is meant by the powers that are now sought. It means the granting of the fullest power to an executive to deal with any phase of trouble that might arise. Undoubtedly, that is necessary. The point at issue is whether we are to maintain law and order or allow an organization to tyrannize the community ; whether that organization or the government of the day is to be supreme. I do not think that I am exaggerating when I say that within the last couple of years Australia has lost over £100,000,000 through the various industrial disputes that have occurred here. The Leader of the Opposition talked about an adverse trade balance. Whenever it is desired to ship our produce to the markets of the world we are confronted with these continual hold-ups, which destroy industry and cause depression throughout the land. The Leader of the Opposition claimed that he desires peace in industry, and that the trouble is mostly due to the ship-owners. I must differ from the honorable member. Had the ship-owners caused the trouble they would assuredly have been prosecuted for defying the law. Too often, when trouble has. occurred in Australia during the last eight or ten years, appeals have been made to the Prime Minister to intervene and bring pressure to bear upon one side or the other in order to establish peace in industry. Big sacrifices have been made by the one side for that purpose. It is unjust to seek to have political pressure brought to bear on one section when we have an Arbitration Court which makes awards for both sides. The slogan of industrial organizations is " win, tie, or wrangle." If they cannot gain their point they endeavour to bring political pressure to bear, with disastrous results to Australia. *Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.* {: #subdebate-10-0-s17 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The Government should be in a position to demand the unqualified support of not only honorable members who sit on this side, but also those who sit opposite, in . its efforts to preserve law and order. Actions such as that of the waterside workers will cause far greater unemployment than that which exists at the present time, and should be denounced by every honorable member. I cannot conceive a more serious challenge to constituted authority than the continual defiance we have witnessed of awards of the Arbitration Court. If honorable members of this House are not prepared to give the Government the necessary support, it must appeal to the country for it. There is not the slightest doubt that outside influences are continually creating disturbances in Australia. The following statement is reported to have been made by **Mr. McCormack,** the Premier of Queensland : - >What he wanted to deal with were the insidious attempts by sections of the community to take control of this dispute, not for the purpose of righting an industrial battle for the workers, but to create disruption and disorder throughout the Commonwealth and the British Empire. It was obvious to him that this propaganda had been carried on, not only in the Commonwealth, but in other British Dominions, and in Britain itself. These individuals aimed at the disruption of constitutional government, and it behoved everybody in the community, who believed in constitutionalism and evolutionary principles, to be awake and aware. That is a severe indictment of the influences that are working for the destruction of the industries of this country. The secretary of the Melbourne branch of the Australian Seamen's Union, **Mr. O'Neill,** is credited with the following statement, in connexion with the sale of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers : - >From the moment that the ships are taken over, and crews signed on at English rates of pay, they will be declared black at all Australian ports. *Not* a stick of cargo will be handled, and not even a line will be touched when they are berthing. We must determine who is to be supreme. If any organization is allowed to defy the laws of this country, no person can foresee the ultimate result. I have already quoted a newspaper paragraph which stated that the Queensland sugargrowers were proposing to load their own produce. When there is disruption of this kind, there is always the possibility of blood being shed, and should that happen, goodness knows where it would end. Honorable members who sit opposite should be the firmest upholders of an act that they have always strongly favoured. I have never been in favour of the Arbitration Act, because I believe it has generated the bitter feeling that exists in Australia to-day between employers and employees. When the Scottish commissioners visited Australia some years ago, they said that in no country in the world had they seen such antagonism between employer and employee as that which existed in Aus- tralia. I hope the time is not far distant when we shall be able to so organize our industries that the workers may become partners in the different concerns in which they are employed, or accept engagement on the piece-work system, and thus obtain a fair share of the profits. I should like to see upon our statute-book a law similar to the conciliation law which operates in Canada. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Scullin)** claims to believe in conciliation. He wants to have arbitration first; but, when an award is not satisfactory to his own side, he considers that the Prime Minister should . bring pressure to bear upon either one side or the other to effect a compromise. Is that fair? It might be all right so long as the cost could be passed on, but what about the claims of those who have to pay? In 1914 we had a splendid shipping service, which carried on the trade and commerce between the States. Today, as a result of compromise after compromise, we have a less efficient service, and freights have increased by probably 200 per cent. Yet, is there any contentment in the industry? None whatever. It is the attitude adopted by the strikers themselves which has forced the Government to take this action. Quite recently the Arbitration Act was amended with the object of ensuring industrial peace in the future. That effort has proved futile. The Government is now asking -for power that has never previously been sought in Australia, and in a very little while it will seek the people's endorsement of its action. It has screwed its courage to the sticking point, and I hope will stay there. I hope that it will not be necessary to use the power that this bill is designed to confer. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Does the honorable member pretend to favour this policy of giving a blank cheque to the Government ? Let the honorable member himself exercise his powers instead of handing them over to somebody else without knowing what is going to be done. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I am always prepared to exercise my rights. The honorable member for Batman has never expressed his real opinion in this House; otherwise he would have denounced what has been going on. I cannot believe that the honorable member has been sincere in this- {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- I rise to a point of order. I object to the statement of the honorable member for Swan that the honorable member for Batman is not sincere in what he says in this House. {: #subdebate-10-0-s18 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- It is not Parliamentary to suggest that an honorable member is insincere in the expression of his opinions. I ask the honorable member to withdraw the remark. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -I do so. I realize equally with the honorable member the nature of the power for which the Government is asking; it is asking for power to make regulations- {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Todo anything it likes. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- To do anything it likes. If the bill becomes law the GovernorGeneral may make regulations which, notwithstanding anything in any other act, shall have the force of law. Honorable members, equally with the honorable member for Batman, understand clearly what is meant. I am prepared to give the Government that power, although I hope that it will not be necessary to use it. I believe that when those who control the industrial organizations realize that the Government is determined to enforce law and order, and to see that no person or organization is allowed to defy the laws of this country, a different attitude will be adopted. It cannot be denied that the Government must have power to do that. It is essential that the trade, industry, and commerce of Australia shall be carried on without interruption; and to do that it may be necessary to engage outside labour. If the Government should hold out the inducement of its protection, I hope it will insist that that protection must be given not only for the time being, but also in the future. Too often have those who have come to the assistance of the country been turned down subsequently. It must not be forgotten that we shall shortly go to the country, and tell the people what we think of outbreaks of this description. I want the Government to give efficient protection to those who are prepared to come forward and keep the wheels of industry revolving. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- Freetrade and " blacklegs." {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Honorable members opposite gibe. They realize, as we do, the enormous amount of unemployment there is in Australia at the present time. Is that position to be accentuated ? Can they deny that the attitude of these men is accentuating the distressing conditions that exist? I am sure the Prime Minister hopes that it will not be necessary to use the power for which the Government is asking; but if it is, I trust that every protection will be given, first by regulation, and later by law, to those who come to the rescue of the country in its time of need.When I go before the people, I shall tell them that it is our desire to protect the industries of Australia, and to uphold its laws; and I feel confident that the result will be a verdict in our favour. I fail to understand why honorable members opposite do not feel pleased at this action of the Government, if it is what they claim it to be. Within a few Weeks this great democracy, in which every adult has a vote, will be appealed to. If honorable members opposite have a good case, they ought to be prepared to allow the people to decide who are right and who wrong. {: #subdebate-10-0-s19 .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY:
Bourke -- The other day I received a communication calling upon me to attend in this chamber. I came here in a hurry, prepared for either murder or suicide. I thought that I was equal to either fortune. I was unaware of the situation when I arrived yesterday. I then made some comments in this chamber which were regarded as rude and vulgar; but I shall return to that subject later. I wish first to direct attention to the bill. The measure has been introduced to give to the Government power to make any regulation it likes. It gives it authority to do anything it wishes to do, without submission to or the consent of Parliament. Parliament will not have the right to veto the actions of the Government taken under it. It can do what it likes in a great national emergency. The bill provides that the Government may regulate the employment and discharge of certain classes of workmen in this country. The means by which that is to be done is the issuing of licences. The statement has been made that the measure will give the Government power to licence certain persons as transport workers. That is all right. I suppose it is intended to supply them with dogcollars, or discs; and they can then pursue their work and earn a livelihood. The Government will also have power to prohibit the employment of unlicensed persons. What does that mean? May I ask a member of the Government for an explanation on that point? Would I be wrong in suggesting that the Government proposes not only to license certain persons as transport workers, but also to discipline certain ship-owners operating on this coast. For instance, if ship-owners, such as the Patrick Company, and various other small ship-owners operating on the Queensland or Western Australian coast, are prepared to make their own arrangements and get along amicably with men who are satisfied to work under certain conditions, will the Government interfere? Is it the intention of. the Government to prevent such companies from employing certain persons unless licensed ? For what particular purpose does the Government wish to prohibit these shipowners from employing men? The Government proposes, not merely to issue licences to men qualified to work, but also to protect the associated ship-owners whose business is in Australia by providing that no ship-owner who fails to come into line with them shall be able to secure the necessary labour, because it will prohibit the issue of the requisite licences to enable him to carry on his work. Various questions arise by reason of the industrial trouble on the waterfront. This bill does not merely provide the powers of a dictatorship. That may be right; it may be necessary. It also provides an indemnity, not merely for things done, but for acts which the Government may see fit to do without the consent of Parliament. If that is justifiable, well and good. What is the excuse for this? That there have been a number of strikes on the waterfront! Certain members of the Government have put a number of queries to the members of the Opposition, but they have failed to answer the questions which have been submitted to them. Honorable members opposite are anxious to know whether this party advocate strikes. I shall tell them exactly where I stand, and I do not hesitate to point out where the industrial leaders for the most part stand. I read in this morning's newspaper a statement by **Mr. Duggan.** Who is **Mr. Duggan** ? He is not a politician, nor a candidate seeking support at the forthcoming elections. He is an industrial leader, at the head of not one union, but of the associated unions of Australia. He speaks for the great bulk of trade unionists in Australia when he says - >The Australian Council of Trade Unions did not stand for strike condonation, or strikes in any shape or form, because they believed that strikes retarded progress, delayed production, dislocated business, and affected workers as well as others in the community. lt was their desire to keep the wheels" of industry moving. That is not the statement of an individual, but the opinion of the great mass of the trade unionists of this country. All the evidence I need quote in support of it is that furnished by the Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham).** He has furnished it not merely in the information he gave the other day, but in introducing the Amending Arbitration Bill. All the records go to show that whatever may be the errors, shortcomings and drawbacks of the men, and the public inconvenience arising from the dislocation on the waterfront, there are fewer industrial disputes in Australia than in any other English speaking country. That is an outstanding fact. I have been associated with trades unionism from boyhood. I was the President of the Seamen's Union of Australia at a period when the ship-owners asked for a reduction in the seamen's wages. I urged the seamen to accept the reduction, not because I believed in it, but because I thought it would be bad strategy to resist it. The industrial situation made a victory for the men impossible. I was regarded as the ship-owner's tout, and have heard vast crowds hurling epithets and curses at me. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- But not for long. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- I regard the strike as a weapon as obsolete as is the blunderbuss or the wooden club. I oppose strikes, not as a politician or as a candidate pandering for the public vote. I oppose them as an industrial leader, as I have done since boyhood. It is not for the workmen to struggle in the field of industry; they can achieve their end by' securing control of the government of the country, and thus obtain legislative authority under which they can regulate the rates of wages and the conditions under which they shall work. If I am asked where I stand on this question, I say quite candidly that I should like to see the men win. Do I believe that they can win? I do not, because even without the assistance of the Government, the industrial situation, the number of men unemployed being so great, is of such a character that the ship-owners, with the powers they possess, can force the men into submission. From the stand-point of the industrial workers on the waterfront a strike at this period, with the economic situation throughout Australia as it is, is disastrous to the interests of the workmen. That is clear enough. I am then asked where 1 stand upon the question of awards, and if I think that they should be observed. I answer in the affirmative. Whether the Government is capitalistic or communistic, those services which are vital to the existence of the nation should be protected. It is imperative that the government, whether controlled by capitalists or communists should keep those essential services open. Of course if the workmen in a particular industry, whatever the character or name of the government, regard their conditions as bad, they must revolt against them. It is within their rights to do so. Whether by folding their arms or by some other form of rebellion, they must take their chance of getting their rights. If the government is a good one, it will take care - a Labour Government does take care - that a measure of justice is meted out to the men. But I say that men are perfectly entitled to strike if they wish to do so. But if, with a full knowledge of the economic conditions and other circumstances, they take their case into court; if being cognizant of the character of the administration in power, and the laws which it has made, and of the fact that the court is hedged about with limitations and restrictions and directions to the judges that make it impossible for a judge to give a verdict for the workmen; if they do that, they have chosen their own course. Being cognizant of the constitution of the court and the biased nature of the law it is called on to administer, they are bound to honour and to obey it. The Prime Minister has raised that point. I agree with him. Does he agree that it is right and proper for an organization to keep its word of honour? Certainly he does. He directs public attention to the fact that some of the leaders of this organization have said that they would abide by the award or the decision of the court. I am not sure of the facts; but I accept his statement. If they did so, then by all the codes of honour they are bound to accept the decision, good or bad. But may I ask the Prime Minister what would have been his position had he been a wharf labourer and found that a decision would have been fatal to his economic wages and conditions of labour? Would he have kept his word? Supposing he, as a representative of the Wharf Labourers Union, speaking, not to a judge, nor to the ship-owners, but upon the public platforms of the country, had pledged his word that he would do something - he might have said that he would provide a system of national insurance against unemployment and sickness - would he have kept his word of honour? Supposing a wharf labourer had pledged his word of honour that when a certain report on the subject of national insurance against unemployment and sickness was submitted he would introduce legislation to give effect to the recommendations of the report. Supposing the same gentleman had promised that he would provide a system of child endowment and had then violated his promise. Would that have been dishonorable? It is disgraceful and dishonorable for a wharf labourer to do certain things; but it is not so in the case of a Prime Minister ! One who sits in this chamber, when asked if he had seen a man named Jolly, replied "I have never interviewed him, nor have I written to him." But when the documents were presented, and showed that his statement was false, he said, " I forgot the letter. I met him, but the meeting was not an interview." Is that honour? How paltry an act, how scandalous, if done by a wharf labourer! One could multiply such incidents by dozens. There are some men who are prepared to he the bed-fellow to-night of those whom they denounced yesterday, to uphold, as men of honour, those whom yesterday they despised, and to despise those whom yesterday they honoured. Some men in public life learn to do these things after long years of political association and environment. But the instinct to do them is born in other men. It is part of their very nature. Who does not remember the statement of an upright and honorable gentleman who said of a certain colleague a few years ago, " If he goes down, I will go down with him." His colleague did go down, but this gentleman did not go down with him. If the wharf labourers and the waterside workers gave an undertaking that they would abide by an award they are in honour bound to keep it. But it does not rest with men with such a history and such a career as I have referred to, to denounce them for not doing so. Compared with the utter duplicity and deception of these individuals, the conduct of the waterside workers and the wharf labourers is upright, pure, and decent. It is honorable compared with the conduct of the gentlemen who dominate and guide the destinies of this country. Feeling as I do on this matter, **Mr. Speaker,** I said yesterday something that I probably ought not to have said. I know how coarse and common and vulgar I am, and how far short I fall of the culture, honour, decency, and education of some honorable gentlemen opposite. My remarks apparently annoyed the Prime Minister, and I admit that he was entitled to use any word in the dictionary about me after what I said about him. I laid myself open to it, in consequence of what I said about_ him and the firm with which he was associated. If he saw fit to condemn and disgrace me on the floor of the House I had no right to object. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member is not in order in discussing a statement that has been withdrawn. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- No, **Mr. Speaker;** I am discussing the statement as it was before it was withdrawn. A gentleman of culture and learning like the Prime Minister may not have felt free to say about me even the things that he might have said within the limit of parliamentary language. I sug gest to him, therefore, that when he speaks in reply to this debate he may take the opportunity of saying what he likes about me. If he does I cannot possibly object. But I should like to know whether in my address yesterday I uttered one word against the Attorney-General? Did I say a single thing that was offensive to him? Did I even refer to him? Why then did he buy into this fight? Did he do so simply to please his dear and learned chief? Was it because he wished to say something that his chief made an error in not saying? Was it because he wanted to say in a clear and cultured manner a few things that I, as a vulgarian, conscious of my shortcomings and limitations, could not say? How can any one overcome the limitations of his training and vulgar nature? You, **Mr. Speaker,** would have forgiven me for the things that I said; but these gentlemen would not do so. I know how vulgar and coarse I am. But I do not think that any vulgarity or coarseness could be worse than the craw.someness of some persons who crawl in utter adulation at the feet of others from whom they expect favours and whom they are prepared to desert as rapidly as possible when no more favours may be anticipated. I have a dear and lingering memory of a day in Paris when on the Boulevarde Haussman, I met our old friend, William* Morris Hughes, who, referring to a particular person, said to me, " Come over here so that I may get away from this individual. I no sooner get my fingers under the table than he licks them as a dog might lick them." I should like to ask who used his influence to obtain for a particular gentleman the distinction of companion of the most distinguished order of St. Michael and St. George? Who obtained for him an appointment as lieutenant-commander of His Majesty's Navy ? Who, having never . been the commander of even a night cart, though it was probably a suitable occupation for him, rushed away to purchase the uniform of a naval lieutenantcommander? I will say for this gentleman that he probably purchased the uniform out of his own pocket. Who had his parcels labelled, " Lieutenant-Commander so and so " ? This gentleman had never seen His Majesty's Royal Navy. These are the persons of polish and culture who know so much about the waterside workers' struggle, and speak so fluently about it in this chamber. I ask that ' honorable and learned gentleman what he has done with his uniform. I have indicated clearly and distinctly my views on this subject. Any Government, irrespective of its name and character, must intervene in some way or another in a matter like this. But it should intervene honestly. It should intervene as much against the ship-owners as against the seamen and the wharf labourers. But does this Government do that? It does not. It never has done it. Where are the honorable members of this Parliament who represent Tasmania ? Let me recall to their minds the events of the years which immediately followed the war period. An official report submitted to a certain royal commission in relation to Tasmania's shipping service stated - >Valuable cargoes have Iain upon the wharfs until they became worthless. The State's individual undertakings and its railways were also subjected to much inconvenience through inadequate coal supplies. What did the Nationalist Government do then? Absolutely nothing. Did the fault for the poor shipping service lie with the seamen or wharf labourers? It did not. It was the shipping combine which refused to supply an adequate service for the north-west coast of Tasmania. It would only supply one ship where three were necessary. It left the potatoes, onions, and other produce of the settlers to rot upon the wharfs if it could not be placed in the one available vessel. And it never could all be placed in the one vessel, for that vessel was never large enough. The Nationalist Government of. Tasmania was, in these circumstances, compelled to take action. Did this Government do anything in the matter? Of course it did not, for it was too one-eyed. Did it call upon the ship-owners to provide an adequate service? Oh, nol It would not call into question the conduct of the great shipping combine. It allowed the little State of Tasmania to suffer these great handicaps without lifting a hand to help it. Representatives of the Tasmanian Nationalist Government went to Sydney and interviewed certain shipowners who had any number of ships lying in Sydney Harbour rotting. It asked them to provide vessels to ship cargo from Tasmania, but they refused to do it. In these circumstances the Tasmanian Government spent £63,000 in purchasing a ship, the *Melbourne,* in order to lift the produce of its people. Immediately it did so, the shipping combine placed half a dozen vessels on the Tasmanian run, and so made the ship of the Tasmanian Government absolutely valueless. That is one case in which this Nationalist Government would not do anything to injure or criticize the conduct of the shipping combine. Here is another instance. It will be remembered that some time ago a certain amount of friction occurred in connexion with the stewards on the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers. The stewards would not go on strike, but one of their number took the case to court, believing that if he obtained a verdict, the management of the Line would regard it as a test case and act accordingly. The man submitted that he was entitled under the award to more wages than the management of the Line was paying him. The magistrate who heard the case accepted his interpretation of the award, and gave him the verdict. What happened? The manager of the Commonwealth Line said when the man made application for his arrears in pay, " So far as this one man is concerned, he has won his case, and we will pay him the money; but every other employee who wants this extra payment will have to prosecute the Line and obtain a verdict before he will get a penny." The result was that the stewards, having no alternative, left work in a body. **Mr. Justice** Higgins, to whom the matter was ultimately submitted, said that the conduct of the management of the Line was outrageous, and that the men were unquestionably entitled to the extra pay. That is another instance in which this Government refused to protect the interests of the men. I shall mention still another case, known as the timber case. The employers absolutely refused to- honour an award of the court, but they were not prosecuted. The men did not go on strike, but appealed to the court. In those circumstances, **Mr. Alcock,** speaking on behalf of the timber employees, said deliberately to the judge, " We shall not abide by this award !" When the judge reprimanded him for such language, he said " We cannot abide by the award." The Government did not intervene in that case. What will happen if this bill is passed ? Nothing can happen. Let us suppose, for a moment that I and every other honorable member on this side of the chamber, together with all the industrial leaders, wished to prevent this strike. I ask honorable members opposite, as common sense men, what we, as individuals, could do? What could they do as individuals to prevent this strike? We might all go on the public platform, or go to union meetings and denounce the strike; but could we force the men to go back to work? We could not, for to a large extent these outbursts of passion cause men to stampede and break all bounds. Happenings like this are in the nature of a tornado or a cyclone. They cannot be controlled by reason or anything else. Only one authority can control a situation like this, and it can do it in only one way. That authority is the Government, and the only thing it can do to assert its authority is to suppress the men. As individuals we can do nothing. But even if the Government suppresses these outbreaks, what good result is achieved? The doctrine of suppression has been enforced for hundreds of years, but in spite of all the violence of even such a power as that exercised by the Russian Czars of other days, these outbursts became ever stronger and more violent. That is what happened also in England. The most remarkable thing about this is that it is not the first strike or the first industrial trouble. We had trouble just before the last election, and, if I remember rightly, the right honorable gentleman who is now Prime Minister, went to the country and asked for a mandate. We remember that three years previously he had promised to put this country on the path that would lead it to a great destiny. " Now that I have been given power," he said, " I shall lay the foundations of a great nation, and erect upon them a superstructure that will 'last for ever. I shall bring about perpetual peace." To-day we have an example of that perpetual peace. At any rate, he went to the country at the last election and asked for a mandate, and the people gave it to him. Was it not the honorable member for Gwydir **(Mr. Abbott),** who told us that he had been returned on that platform? Is it not a fact that after the election the Prime Minister said that he had secured a mandate from the electors to take the necessary action to bring about industrial peace? He did not complain that sufficient power had not been given to him. Did not this lieutenantcommander I have mentioned say that the Government had ample power to put its mandate into force? But has it secured industrial peace? It is most remarkable that immediately after the election an era of industrial peace did prevail. Yesterday I said that a great deal of the trouble existing on the waterfront was not brought about by the responsible leaders of the men, but was due largely to the actions of *agents provocateurs,* hired urgers, and various persons interested in creating trouble at different periods for their own purposes. I have no reason to withdraw that statement. The first attitude assumed by the present Government was that the men who caused industrial trouble were the industrial leaders - the presidents, secretaries, and vigilance officers of unions. The " parasites who live upon the funds contributed by decent and honest trade unionists " were supposed to be those who were constantly dislocating the trade and industry of the Commonwealth, and the Government said that it would be its duty to take from that little oligarchy the power they wielded, and hand it over to the rank and file of the trade unionists. Was it not the honorable member for Robertson **(Mr. Gardner)** who talked of the rank and file as decent honest men? Many years ago in the great strike of the nineties, the strikers were described as " lions led by asses." For many years that attitude 'has been maintained, yet this Government says that it will hand back to the rank and file the control of their own affairs. Has it done so? Ministers accepted a mandate, but merely talked. They talked about a secret ballot, but have never put it into operation. Is it that the legislation they have introduced and passed through this Parliament is not effective? They have their Crimes Act, under which almost anything can be treated as sedition. For instance, in section 24a we find that - >To promote feelings of ill will and hostility between different classes of His Majesty subjects .... is a seditious intention. Surely there is some one at the present time trying to excite feelings of ill will between different classes of citizens. Many questions have been asked of honorable members on this side. Will some one kindly tell me who is creating the trouble at the present time on the waterfront ? {: .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr Cook: -- The rebels. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- That is silly. Who are the rebels? {: .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr Cook: -- The red-raggers. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr ANSTEY: -- lt is only an irresponsible man who would give such an answer. The . Government . does not answer my question. It has made two statements. Its first, upon which it invited the suffrages of the people, was that the great body of trade unionists were men anxious to work, and that they were only pulled out of their places of employment by the direction of a little oligarchy, who controlled the destinies of the unions! These new redeemers who are to deprive these little oligarchies of their power, passed legislation, the pur pose of which was to place the control of the trade unions in the hands of the great body of decent trade unionists. But have they done so? They ought to know whether their legislation has proved futile or effective; and if it is of any value whatever, why is it not put into operation ? When this conference decided to have a strike or stand against the Beeby award, did Ministers take steps to put the secret ballot provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act into operation ? They probably said, " Here are thousands of honest men anxious to earn a living on the wharves - men who have to put their money into the funds, yet here are these agitators and red-raggers and so forth, who are controlling their destinies, gathered from all the States, and carrying this resolution." Yet they did nothing to put into operation the secret ballot provisions of the Conciliation and Arbi tration Act. What they say now is: " What we want to do is to help all these leaders." I remind them that the leaders of to-day are the oligarchy of yesterday. The red-raggers and the parasites of yesterday have suddenly become honest trade union leaders, and the right honorable the Prime Minister wants this Parliament to pass a bill to help men whom yesterday he was trying to suppress. Has there ever been such a. contradictory Government ? Ministers do not want peace on the waterfront. If they did, they would seek to interview both sides, and not one side only . The Prime Minister would have dined with the leaders of the men as well as with **Sir Owen** Cox. He would not have entered into collusion, collaboration, co-ordination and cooperation with **Sir Owen** Cox only. If he were moved to talk with **Sir Owen** Cox about the ways and means by which the trouble on the waterfront could be settled, surely he could also have talked with some of the leaders of the waterside workers, and thus brought the leaders of the two sides together. Does he not belong to the Get-together League? Does not he want master and men to come together ? Why did he ask **Sir Owen** Cox to have a drink and leave the poor working-class man leaders outside? Because he wanted **Sir Owen** Cox to stiffen his back. He wanted to harden the heart of Pharoah to make sure that he would not fall down on the job. He said - "If we are prepared to go on with the job thou, oh Pharoah, must see to thy chariots." Or, he said, " Stick hard and fast and this Government will stand behind you." I do not think there is much to say about this bill, except that it is utterly useless. A government that really intended to do something could have taken action long ago. All that it now proposes to do is to put a dog-collar round a certain number of men. I said yesterday that Cabinet had not the guts or courage to do anything except talk. All it will endeavour to do now is to place all the responsibility on the various State governments. It will put certain things on paper. This Government, either by itself or by its agents, may pursue a policy of crushing industrial organizations, and we may for the time being be the losers. For the hour the Labour movement may be kept back. Industrial organizations may be smashed or, at any rate, retarded for a time. As a political force Labour may disappear, with a consequent extension of power for the present Government; but in the long run every act of suppression, every act of brutality that seeks by utilizing the processes of law to keep down the organization of Labour and distinguishes between the suppression of the organization and the punishment of the individual, will rebound upon its authors. If the individual trade unionist has committed an offence against the laws of his country he should be punished as an ordinary citizen under those laws. But the Labour movement has nothing to fear. Anti-trade union laws may for a time retard the movement, but ultimately Labour will be reconstituted on a new plane. Some one has spoken about the psychology of the working classes. In the early stages of the Labour movement in Australia we had a period of persistent suppression and persecution. The Prime Minister has referred to that period, saying that out of those persecutions and suppressions the Labour movement has grown. It was persecution that bred in the workmen of this country a desire to exert their influence in legislative chambers, and it was that desire that gave birth to the cry of " Labour in politics." For a long period- Labour became a growing power, but the war created entirely new conditions. There was a pampering of the working classes. They were promised that after the war there would be a paradise of perpetual peace, and that no sacrifices would have to be made because of the war. That delusive idea was impressed on the minds of the working masses of Australia, not by the working-class leaders, but by Nationalist leaders. But some day the workmen of this country will awaken to the fact that if this country is obliged to pay *£60,000,000* each year to the bond-holders, and the sum is growing every year, they will have to foot the bill in one way or another. The workers will have to learn, probably through suffering and sorrow," that this £60,000,000 which annually goes to the bond-holders over- seas, would have provided them with better wages and better conditions if it had not to be paid. But they fail to see this. They see that the cost of living rises, but they say " Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof " ; or, " After us the deluge." That is also the doctrine of the capitalistic class of this country. As a result of all this the workers are persistently fighting for something that they cannot possibly get under existing conditions. A second phase of the development of Labour to-day is that, by reason of their growing industrial power, and because they are deluded by the war propaganda, the workmen of Australia have. come to believe less and less in the efficacy of political power and more and more in the effectiveness of industrial power. They forget, the fact that workmen can only be successful in the field of industrial strife when there is a short supply of labour and a big demand for it. They shut their eyes to the lessons that have been taught by history - that the employers must succeed when the demand for labour is small and the supply of it is great. This accounts largely for the weakness of Labour upon the field of political battle to-day, not only in a numerical sense, but also in an intellectual sense, that is, in the sense that it does not seek to probe the problems of modern life, but is satisfied with the surface appearance of things. Thus I come back to my last lesson, that the smashing of unionism on the waterfront would, in the long run, benefit only the unions. I believe that the Government can smash the unions if it so desires, can crush the soul out of them, so that there will be left on the waterfront only the shadow of trade unionism; but when the Government has done that it will find that it has done the best thing possible for the reconstruction of the Labour movement in this country. {: #subdebate-10-0-s20 .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr PARKHILL:
Warringah -- The issues raised by this bill appear to me to be comparatively simple. All political parties pin their faith to compulsory arbitration, and from the public platforms have declared their belief in it as a means of settling industrial disputes. When the waterside workers were last before the Arbitration Court they gave an assurance that, no matter what kind of an award should be issued, they would abide by it. Evidently there was some doubt in the mind of the judge on this point, and so he asked for and obtained from them a special assurance that they would loyally abide by his decision. Thus, they were bound in honour to respect the . decision of the judge, yet no sooner was that decision given than they repudiated it, declaring it to be vicious and unjust. That being so, is the Government to stand impotent!/ by with folded arms, and declare that it is powerless to do anything? If it did that, it would be recreant to the trust reposed in it, and members would declare themselves unfit for the positions they hold. I am certain that every lawabiding citizen in Australia endorses the action which the Government has taken in connexion with this dispute. I am convinced that the great body of opinion, both Nationalist and Labour, is behind the Government in this matter. What does the Leader of the Opposition say should be done? He says that the principles of conciliation should be introduced. That is to say, when one party to a contract declines to honour his obligation, an effort should be made to induce him to join in a conciliatory round-table discussion with a view to arriving at some compromise. If we agree to that, we might as well abolish the arbitration system altogether. Once we admit this system of chaffering and bickering with parties which have dishonorably declined to carry out an agreement into which they have entered, the industrial position will go from bad to worse. It will mean the end of all honorable agreements between capital and labour. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Does not the law make provision now for industrial conciliation? {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr PARKHILL: -- It does, but I am not now dealing with that aspect of arbitration. Conciliation plays its part before the parties go into the Arbitration Court. In this case they evidently refrained from using the conciliation machinery. They agreed to go to the court, and abide by the decision of the judge. Now, when the unionists have dishonoured the agreement to which they were parties, the only thing that the Leader of the Opposition can suggest is that we should try to cajole them into adhering to the award. The Leader of the Opposition was invited to say whether he was in favour of the unions obeying the law, and I believe he said that he was. If he is, why does he not stand up for his principles? The leaders of the Labour party should go to the union meetings of the waterside workers, tell the men that they are breaking the law, and advise them to obey the award. If they did that, even though they were unsuccessful, they would earn the approbation of the public, and would show that they had the courage of their convictions. The Leader of the Opposition spent a good deal of time in gloating over treatment which has in the past been meted out to free labourers, the men who had come to the assistance of the State and carried out work of national importance at a time when those whose exclusive privilege it was to do this work refused to do it. If the workers, whose duty it is to supply essential services, refuse to do their duty, they should get t out of the road, and let somebody else do the work. In the past when men have come forward to do this necessary work in time of industrial trouble, they have been promised that their services would be retained after the trouble was over. Yet, when the strikers felt that they had had sufficient leisure, and came back to the job, those who had been filling their places were asked to get out. It is a standing reproach to the employers of the country that this should have been allowed to happen. One example of this kind, which stands out like a mountain peak, is the way in which the men who came to the assistance of the State during the New South Wales railway strike were afterwards treated by the Lang Labour Government. Those men were treated with the basest ingratitude by the State which they had served in a moment of peril. 1 This bill is not a temporary measure, and, personally, I do not think that it will ever operate, because the men will go scurrying back to their work within 48 hours. Nevertheless, one satisfactory feature of the bill will be to ensure that those men who have come forward to load our produce, and thus save the country losses amounting to £1,000,000 a week, will be guaranteed their jobs as long as they care to retain them. I have no sympathy with the wharf labourers in regard to their strikes. When a strike occurs very few of them hung around the wharfs, or spend their time in recreation. Most of them find work somewhere else, putting other unionists out of employment, and when the trouble is over, return to the wharfs, where there is a big accumulation of work, which they are paid overtime for doing. Therefore a strike enables them to make additional money at the expense of their fellow unionists. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- That is the best yet. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr PARKHILL: -- It is no joke; it is an absolute fact. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- It is a shameless misrepresentation. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr PARKHILL: -- Not at all. The Leader of the Opposition attempted to belittle the proposal to issue licences, and suggested that the licensing of men would be to their discredit. The honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Anstey)** likened this to putting dog collars on them. No greater reflection has been made upon the working men of this country than that statement. Are not the porters on our railway stations licensed? Every person employed as an electrician in New South Wales must obtain a licence, signed by **Mr. Beasley,** the selected Labour candidate for West Sydney. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- The honorable member for Batman cannot practise his profession without a licence. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr PARKHILL: -- That is so. Shall we say that he therefore requires a "dog collar"? To what lengths will honorable members of the Opposition go in attacking a measure brought forward by this Government? They are prepared to traduce the workers in their stupid endeavours to oppose this bill when in their hearts they know that it should be supported. They have referred to the powers that will be given to the Government as being tantamount to the introduction of a form of martial law. But would that not be preferable to a condition of anarchy? If the Government did nothing and the wharf labourers were permitted to refuse to accept work, there would be such a state of absolute chaos on the waterfront that anarchy would reign. Do honorable members opposite want such a condition of affairs brought. about? In a Parliament elected on the freest franchise in the world, there is no room for that. While the political power is in the hands of the people, no fear need be felt as to what a government may do by way of regulations. Those to be made under this measure will be submitted to Parliament at the first opportunity, and will have to be endorsed by it. They will also have to run the gauntlet of public criticism at the election that is shortly to be held. What danger is there of autocratic powers being exercised under such circumstances? It is also said that this bill is an election placard. How can it be? Assuming that it were likely to do the Nationalist party some good, it must also be of some value to the community. In that case the Opposition has an easy remedy. It can vote for the bill and share in any credit derivable from its passage. Honorable members opposite know that the measure is in consonance with the general views of the people. They dare not vote for it, and yet they are afraid to oppose it. They are in the most difficult position in which they have ever found themselves. The Leader of the Opposition spoke with two voices to-day. He will be able to go to one section of his constituents and say that his speech on the bill showed that he was in favour of the award being observed, although he poured ridicule on free labourers. Other portions of his speech will be found suitable for quotation on the Yarra bank. The first part of the speech of the honorable member for Bourke was a justification of the action that this Government is tailing. The middle portion of it was of such a filthy character, and referred in such a filthy way to men whose boots he is not worthy to clean- {: #subdebate-10-0-s21 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom: -- Order! An honorable member may not indulge in personalities. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- I ask that those words be withdrawn. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr PARKHILL: -- I adhere to what I have said. The honorable member did use filthy language. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I request the honorable member to withdraw the words " filthylanguage." {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr PARKHILL: -- I withdraw them. The middle portion of the honorable member's speech was a blank, except that it naturally excited the contempt of every decent-minded member of the House. The latter portion had nothing to do with the subject before us, and therefore the only part that was of any value was that in which the honorable member backed up the Government. In his saner moments he will probably repudiate those remarks. No decent unionist need have any fear concerning this measure. It simply means that any unionist who wishes to see the law upheld and to do the honorable thing by the community, can be registered and be licensed to work with the protection of the law. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- It means that he can be licensed as a strike-breaker - a " scab "! {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr PARKHILL: -- That is a statement that might be appreciated in portions of the honorable member's electorate, and among unthinking people, but it carries no weight in a deliberative body such as this Parliament. The licensed workers will be allowed to pursue their avocations in a peaceful way, doing their duty by the country and at the same time being protected by the State. Honorable members opposite have tolerated Bolsheviks and foreign agitators within the ranks of their unions. By allowing themselves to be led by these persons they are making a present of the next election to the Nationalist party. They would make the path much more difficult for us if they only had the courage tosay to the foreign agitators, " We stand for an Australian National party and sound Australian sentiment. We are determined to get rid of agitators and foreigners." To-day the public realizes that the Nationalist party is the only one that upholds the true interests of the workers. That is why at each succeeding election it is returned to power. It could not succeed in Australia if it did not receive the majority of the votes of the workers. It will continue to have that support, and, in my opinion, it will be returned at the coming election with still greater support from the masses of the people. {: #subdebate-10-0-s22 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh .- We have listened with more pain than pleasure to the hysterical outburst from the lecturing master from Warringah. In a very pointed way he has told honorable members on this side the line of conduct they had best pursue as representatives of public opinion, so that they may faithfully discharge their duties in this chamber, although a declaration has been made by every speaker on this side that he desires the law to be upheld, and the awards of the court faithfully obeyed. The honorable member said that the only logical course to take was to attend the meetings of members of the Waterside Workers Federation and tell them what they should do. I invite the honorable member to come with me to Port Adelaide and there address a meeting of the local branch of the federation. I will make all the necessary arrangements for the meeting, and see that he has an audience. Port Adelaide, I remind him, is one of the ports where the ships are held up because of this dispute. Will the honorable member come with me this week-end ? Of course he will not; he is not game. {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- I will take the honorable member with me to a meeting of the waterside workers in Sydney on Saturday night. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- But will the honorable member come with me to Port Adelaide? {: .speaker-KXQ} ##### Mr Parkhill: -- No. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The honorable member is quite safe in accepting the invitation to address a meeting in Sydney because the ships are working there. Even " Jock " Garden is in favour of the men remaining at work in Sydney. His refusal of my invitation to come with me to Port Adelaide is conclusive proof that he has been indulging in political mock heroics, and is not prepared to live up to the principles which he lays down for others to observe. His code of moral ethics is deplorable. I have called his bluff. I knew that he had not the courage to accept the challenge. I knew that all through his speech he was talking with his tongue in his cheek. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member must not use that phrase. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Very well, **Mr. Speaker,** I withdraw it. I do not desire that the honorable member's tongue should be anywhere else. I have no wish to do other than to maintain the dignity of this chamber, not only here, but also outside. The remarks of the honorable member for Warringah this evening were characteristic of his utterances since he has been a member .of this Parliament. He appears to be under an impression that he can exercise here that dictatorship for which he has become so notorious in connexion with the affairs of the National party in New South Wales. But I remind him that we are not so amenable to that form of discipline. We prefer that freedom of action which, as representatives of the people, is our right. The honorable member said that the Leader of the Opposition appeared to gloat over the misfortunes of those men, those loyalists - I prefer to call them " blacklegs," a name better understood in the working class movement- *Several honorable members interrupting,* {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ; I ask honorable members to cease interjecting. I appeal especially to those honorable mem-' bers who have not yet spoken and who, probably, will address the House later. It is impossible for the honorable member for Hindmarsh to be heard. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I was about to say, **Mr. Speaker,** when honorable members opposite interrupted me, that the honorable member for Warringah represented the Leader of the Opposition as gloating over the misfortunes of those men who found themselves neglected by the employers to whose assistance they had come during a previous industrial disturbance. The honorable member for Warringah completely misrepresented the position. The Leader of the Opposition and other honorable members on this side while having the greatest contempt for the unmanly actions of such individuals, recognized that those men who were deserted by their former employers may surely have expected greater "loyalty." In their hour of distress the men turned to honorable members on this side of the House for relief and assistance, and the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** was called out on to the steps at Parliament House, Melbourne, and implored by these deserted men to "relieve their acute suffering and distress. Is it reasonable to suppose that honorable members on this side would gloat over the misfortunes of men? We abhor their reprehensible actions but never find delight in the adversity of even so unfaithful a person. What I am about to say has a very real bearing upon this issue. My honored father was at one time employed as foreman engineer for the Munroé Engineering Works, the firm that constructed Princes bridge over the Yarra, in Melbourne. A strike occurred, and although by reason of his position of trust, he was not obliged to go out, his sense of loyalty to his fellow men prompted him to do so. I have no doubt that he realized that, by his action in throwing in his lot with the workmen under his charge, he was jeopardizing his position of trust in the firm. The strike lasted for some considerable time. The firm concerned engaged "blackleg" labour, and appointed a new foreman from among this questionable labour. After many weary months of privation and distress the struggle came to an end and my father, probably to his surprise, was offered his former post. Before resuming work he asked the manager what was to be done about the man who had been acting as a " loyalist " foreman during the strike. " Oh," said the manager, " he has no special merit, and he is no longer of any use *to us.* Keep him for a few weeks, and then find some convenient excuse for dismissing him." That is the common experience as recorded in the history of all industrial struggles. Men who degrade their manhood by accepting employment during a strike are cast adrift when they have served the dirty purposes of their employers. The only sympathy these men receive' comes from those whom they have injured by accepting work. This is not the way in which I intended to commence my speech on this bill. I desire now to direct attention to the fact that every speaker from the Government side - the right honorable the Prime Minister, the honorable the Attorney-General, the honorable members for Robertson, Gwydir, Swan, and Warringah, made pointed references to the present industrial disturbance and its relation to the coming election. So significant are these events, that the people of Australia are asking how it is that these upheavals take place just before an election. We had much the same set of circumstances prior to the 1925 election. On that occasion the Government asked the electors for a mandate. Ministers said, "Let us get to the country." And so the Government rushed to the country with "law and order " as a slogan, and placards about Tom Walsh jumping on the Union Jack, and Jacob Johansen. The Government declared that it was necessary to get a mandate from the people in order to bring about industrial peace. I ask what have they done to make a contribution to industrial peace? The answer is " Nothing." Now let me present another picture. The Attorney-General, when in London, was entertained by a prominent personage, who told him that there was a general impression that Australia must be a most undesirable country to live in, because there were so many strikes, and so much industrial unrest. "Not so," said the Attorney-General, "the report is grossly exaggerated." "But a great seamen's strike occurred in Australia, and your Government secured a mandate to regulate the affairs of industry." " That was a strike of British seamen, not of Australians." But, of course, the strike served its political purposes. Immediately before the last State elections in South Australia there was some unrest in the railway workshops; the men felt aggrieved, and the political opponents of the Labour party saw the chance of capitalizing an industrial upheaval. The cry of "law and order" was raised, but, fortunately, the men had the common sense to perceive the trap in time. The plot failed. Now a general election is impending in the federal sphere, and such is the record of the Government that if it appealed to the people on that alone, it would be overwhelmed by public indignation, and those who now feel secure in their majority in this House, would be left lamenting. They want something to divert the pubic attention from their record, so further industrial unrest has to be created. It is a significant fact that although the judge who heard the waterside workers' case said only a few months ago that he would be unable to give an award until the end of this year, he managed, following certain happenings, to get a move on, and to deliver an award to operate from the 10th September. Almost simultaneously, the Government unofficially informed the press that the general election would be held on the 17th November. Now, I ask, do such circumstances occur with such consistency merely by accident. Subsequently, the ship-owners desired a decision of the judge on section 7 of the Arbitration Act in order to give them certain powers of immunity which in effect suspends conditions and wages governed by the award, giving in this instance full licence to the ship-owners to impose their will upon the community. According to the Melbourne *Herald* of the 14th September, the judge was at that time ill in bed, but the ship-owners' representatives were able to gain admission to his bedroom, which was converted into a court room, and there the decision was given. Do honorable members think that if the workers had been seeking a variation of an award, or an order of the court to compel certain employers to abide by the award, they would have been admitted to the judge's bedroom ? {: #subdebate-10-0-s23 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY: -SPEAKER. - The honorable member is not in order in imputing partiality to the judiciary? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I am justified in making deductions from past experience. Workers have been required to wait months or two years to get their wrongs redressed, but the ship-owners could go to the home of the judge in the dead of night, knock at his bedroom door, and get from him, lying in an invalid bed, an order that gave them the right to exercise certain powers in regard to the conditions of labour on the waterfront. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- That is startling information to me. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- It will startle the people also. The delays encountered by the workers when seeking their just dues, are in marked contrast to the expedition shown by the judge at a time of alleged emergency when the ship-owners' interests were considered to be at stake. This afternoon the Attorney-General uttered the Ministerial slogan for the election, but it was not original ; the honorable gentleman had received his orders from London. The following cablegram was published in the Melbourne *Herald -* Arbitration or Anarchy? Do honorable members recollect the At torney-General using that phrase this afternoon ? It is established that a large majority of the waterside workers are good workmen, willing to work peacefully under the Arbitration Courts' awards if left alone. Doubtless this is true of other classes of organized labour, but there are men whose trade it is not to let them alone. There will never be industrial peace in Australia until the workers realize that those men are using them for revolutionary ends. Now comes the significant statement - >The November elections will enable the workers to re-affirm their belief in constitutional order and their detestation of the " red " doctrine and Moscow methods. That is from a leading article published in the *Times,* of London, and it leaves no doubt in my mind as to the source of the Government's instructions. Do honorable members opposite believe in arbitration ? We know that they do not. The honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Gregory)** to-night declared himself against it. The honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Cook),** who spoke of the wonderful benefits that the workers have derived from arbitration does not believe in the system, and only this year said that if he had power to do so, he would abolish not only the Navigation Act, but also the Arbitration Courts' awards. Tonight he posed as one of the great apostles and defenders of arbitration. The honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Foster)** does not believe in arbitration. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Does the honorable member ? {: #subdebate-10-0-s24 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Yes. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- And obedience to awards ? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Yes. It must be disappointing to honorable members opposite that we on this side answer their questions so emphatically and unequivocally. I regret that the honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook)** is absent from the House to-night. His contribution to the debate would have been very interesting, although *somewhat* embarrassing to the Government. He certainly does not believe in arbitration. Rut can ministerial members point to one honorable member on this side who does not believe in arbitration. {: .speaker-KEQ} ##### Mr Killen: -- Does the honorable member mean compulsory arbitration ? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Compulsory arbitration, if you like. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr Parsons: -- Should the men abide by the awards? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I desire the workers to abide by the awards to which they are parties, not necessarily because of the merits of those judgments, but because they are in accordance with the law of the land which the men had given their word of honour to obey. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr Parsons: -- Can I help the honorable member at the forthcoming meeting at Port Adelaide? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The honorable member's help would be so insignificant that he would be better employed in trying to rescue himself from the indignant electors of Angas. Honorable members who make vile insinuations against the workers of this country understand little of the hardships of life, or what it means to be employed as a manual worker in a disagreeable occupation. I have experienced these things, and know the disappointments and difficulties which beset men in the industrial world. At one time I was employed in the district represented by the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Foster)** by an engineering firm that took an unfair advantage of their position as employers. After I had been employed there about eight months, during which time they should have gained a knowledge of my honesty and efficiency as a workman, they came to me and said that, unless I was prepared to accept 3s. a day less than the award rates I should have to leave their employ. Honorable members may verify the truth of that statement by inquiring from **Mr, Reece,** of Hawke and Company. This is not the only experience of persecution and contemptible methods employed by the other side in industrial affairs in my own life's experience as a worker, and it is a recurring experience in industry year in and year out.. My experience in industry has been such as to cause me always to do what I can to defend and to assist the workers of this country. I know the waterside workers at Port Adelaide, and they know me. I have frequently spoken to them about industrial matters, and have not hesitated to tell them what I believe is for their good. They have not always agreed with me ; but they respect the candour and frankness with which I have discussed these matters with them. I know the nature of their employment, and their environment, and I knowthem to be honest, straightforward, lawabiding citizens desiring to do right in the sight of God and man. They have a pride in their homes and a desire to improve the passing hour. Hundreds of them go to the pick-up place at 8 o'clock each morning, and remain there till about 10 o'clock, and perhaps they secure an hour's work in a week. Some of them live 10 miles from the pick-up place. One would think that for them to attend once each day to offer themselves for work, especially when very little work is available, should be sufficient, and that they would be better employed improving their homes or seeking work elsewhere in order to provide for their wives and children than in remaining about the wharfs on the remote chance of obtaining employment at the second pick-up.But no, the pernicious and unjust system of two pick-ups daily deprives them of the opportunity either of seeking employ- ment elsewhere or of spending their time usefully at home. The ship-owners are not concerned whether they succumb to the many temptations surrounding idle men who are waiting for work. All they care is that these men shall be at their beck and call. The present system does not tend towards security, nor does it promote the honour and good conduct of men. The Government boasts of its solicitude for the unemployed; but, notwithstanding numerous requests that it should do something to relieve unemployment, it has done nothing. The industrial situation in Australia is, indeed, acute; thousands of men are out of work. {: .speaker-JLJ} ##### Mr ABBOTT:
GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- And if the strike continues, 2,000 more from Holden's motor works will soon be thrown on the market. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- A circumstance thatI sincerely regret, and trust will soon be relieved; but even the men at Holden's would elect to suffer in common with their fellow men rather than support the system of "blacklegs." At a time when thousands of men are in a state bordering on desperation because of continued unemployment, and the difficulty they find in paying the landlord, the grocer and the baker, the Government stages a strike. Such men are apt to yield to economic pressure. But how mean and contemptible to use their desperate plight for personal or political gain ! The Government is callous and indifferent to distress in the community. While honorable members opposite either did nothing to bring about a settlement, or deliberately sought to promote strife, the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Scullin)** and other labour leaders strove, and are still striving, to bring about a peaceful settlement. The Premier of Victoria, **Mr. Hogan,** has done his best, and at one time it seemed that his efforts would be crowned with success. But the action of the Federal Attorney-General in issuing summonses against the very men who had striven to obtain a settlement upset all his efforts. The Labour Leader of the Opposition in South Australia, **Mr. Hill,** has also been working with the same object. But did **Mr. Butler,** the Premier of that State, do anything to improve the situation? All that he has done is to communicate with the Prime Minister advising that he is prepared to give the fullest protection to free labourers on the wharfs. **Mr. A.** S. Blackburn, V.C., it is reported in the Melbourne press, is the chairman of a citizens' committee in South Australia, which has been established to ensure law and order in the community. When I remind honorable members that he at one time represented Sturt in the South Australian Parliament as a Liberal, it will be seen that his activity as chairman of the citizens' committee is full of political significance. This gentleman or any other person has no monopoly in desiring to maintain law and order. That is a common obligation and the duty of every citizen. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** who knows more about industrialism and the conditions of the workers than do all the rest of the honorable members sitting opposite combined, speaking in this House in December last expressed some truths which are worth repeating. **Mr. Hughes,** as reported in *Hansard* of the 1st December, 1927, page 2419, said- >I was responsible for the formation of the Waterside Workers Federation, and was its president for many years. I was associated with the waterside workers for over twenty years. I gave to them the best years of my life. I know the circumstances of their industry far better than any member of the Government can hope to do. I have never hesitated to belabour and denounce them when I thought they were in the wrong, though not publicly. The right honorable gentleman did not parade his virtues in the way that other honorable members opposite have done. **Mr. Hughes** went on to say - >If an assault is made upon one of these associated bodies it is resisted by the united army. Consequently, it is no light thing to talk about compelling these men to work overtime if they do not desire to do so, or to secure voluntary labour to take their places. I doubt very much whether voluntary labour could be obtained for the purpose..... ... If the Government takes this step it will be treading upon ground that is entirely strange to it, and it will be dealing with a situation concerning which its knowledge is as remote as that of a man from Mars. I have spent the best part of my life in association with these men and their organization. I have been Prime Minister of this country, and have held absolute power in my hands. Yet I never proposed to act as the Prime Ministed proposes to do. That statement was made by the right honorable member for North Sydney, a prominent member of the Nationalist party, and a man who knows his book. He continued - >The dispute about picking-up may seem trivial to most honorable members, or to the great majority of the people of this country, but the matter is of the greatest importance to the wharf labourers..... Are we to consider the court or are we to consider the welfare of the people? Which is the more vital to the Commonwealth? There is no strike that cannot be settled more easily if dealt with before passions are aroused. I say that deliberately, having no knowledge of these particular circumstances, but knowing the men themselves so well, though acquainted no longer with them individually. But once this fiat has gone forth a new situation will arise, and the position will rapidly grow worse. If we wish to prevent further dislocation of trade, and to avoid a crisis in this country, we should hesitate before passing this legislation. The Government has a political purpose to serve in deciding to curtail the life of this Parliament and apply this measure subsequently. If this Parliament were allowed to sit until Christmas, there would be no need to place fresh powers in the hands of the Executive. The Government could meet any extraordinary position that might arise, and pass some of the legislation dealing with social reform and public policy that was promised to the people at the last Federal elections ? The waterside dispute has beyond all doubt been engineered and promoted by this Government for political purposes. I again draw to the notice of citizens how this award has been expedited by Judge Beeby and synchronizes so closely with the election announcement ; also the extraordinary orders of court that were made at the bedside of the presiding judge. The people are beginning to ask why it is that immediately prior to every election industrial turmoil is fomented. These troubles do not occur by accident. They are instigated by hirelings, whose sole object is to bring about industrial strife, so that the Government may use those happenings as a means of assisting it to return to power. Debate (on motion of **Dr. Earle** Page) adjourned. {: .page-start } page 7130 {:#debate-11} ### NEW BUSINESS {:#subdebate-11-0} #### Suspension of Standing Order Motion (by **Mr. Bruce)** (by *leave)* agreed to - >That Standing Order No. 70 be suspended for the remainder of the session to enable new business to be commenced after 11 o'clock at night. {: .page-start } page 7130 {:#debate-12} ### ESTATE DUTY ASSESSMENT BILL Bill returned from the Senate with an amendment. {: .page-start } page 7130 {:#debate-13} ### TRANSPORT WORKERS BILL {:#subdebate-13-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed. {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr PARSONS:
Angus .- The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin)** saw fit, during the course of his speech, to make sneering references to a gallant returned soldier belonging to the State of South Australia; I refer to Captain Blackburn, V.C. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- I made no sneering reference. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr PARSONS: -- It is not unusual to hear the honorable member making such references to returned soldiers. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- The honorable member for Angas has sought to place me in an invidious position by accusing me of casting reflections upon returned soldiers. I have done no such thing, and I object to the remarks of the honorable member. I ask that his statement that I made sneering references to a returned soldier be withdrawn. {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I ask the honorable member for Angas to withdraw the remark to which objection has tse ti taker {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr PARSONS: -- I withdraw it, but I ask honorable members to remember what was said. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must withdraw it unreservedly. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr PARSONS: -- I do. I regret that honorable members opposite are so sensitive. I also regret that some of them are not at all particular about what they say of honorable members on this side of the House. I thank my lucky stars, at any rate, that I belong to a family, the members of which have always been prepared to accept the ups and downs of life without squealing. *[Quorum formed.]* I appear to be most unfortunate in following the honorable member for Hindmarsh in this debate, because he has an unfailing faculty of emptying the House. I remember that the honorable member for Hindmarsh was associated with certain gentlemen who during the war went out, not to fight, but into the country districts of South Australia, and one of them used this phase.: " The soldiers have gone to the war of their own free will; let them stew in their own gravy." This debate has been characterized mainly by a constructive argument from this side, and political abuse from the other side. I am perfectly satisfied that the Government, in introducing this bill, is doing the right thing. Once again, it is giving evidence of its earnest intention to carry out the mandate that it received from the people at the last election. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Hearty cheers. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr PARSONS: -- I am glad to have the approval of the honorable member for Hindmarsh. The honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** referred to certain legislation passed by this Government, and he kept on using the phrase that the Government was always on the verge of doing something. I should like to remind the honorable member of some things that the Government has done in the direction of preserving the peace, order, and good government of this country. First of all, I refer him to the Crimes Act, and to the recent attempt of would-be union leaders to in terfere with the lighthouse service on the coast of Queensland. I remind the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** that on that occasion one or two gentleman had the privilege of' being found guilty. I hope they paid the heavy fine. One hears a good deal about the poor man always having to foot the bill, but I have in mind some wealthy individuals, the Abrahams brothers, who were by no means kindly treated by this Government, which deprived them of £500,000 of their ill-gotten gains. Those men are still liable to imprisonment if they return to this country. The action of the Government in that case has been criticized, but it was taken on the advice of the Commissioner of Taxation, and many eminent counsel, and it was the Crimes Act that made that course possible. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- There were other avenues of action open to the Government. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr PARSONS: -- I have it on the authority of the Solicitor-General that the Crimes Act alone rendered the action of the Government possible. I wish to refresh the memory of honorable members opposite in connexion with the recent maritime cooks' strike. When the cooks first went on strike the Australian Council of Trade Unions stated that it would bring them to heel very quickly, and asked the Commonwealth Government to leave the matter in its hands. That was done. The union delivered an ultimatum to the cooks, who promptly told it in strong language to mind its own business. Month after month dragged by, and the Australian Council of Trade Unions was unable to discipline those few cooks, who defied the efforts of the organization exactly as a few waterside labourers are now flouting the awards of the Arbitration Court. Then the Prime Minister made the statement that the Government intended to bring the Crimes Act into operation. Within a few days after the proclamation was issued under the act the cooks' strike collapsed. That was due to the very act that is so strongly condemned by honorable members opposite, which was introduced by this Government especially to deal with industrial unrest. When the present waterside trouble began the Prime Minister threatened to put the Crimes Act into operation, which was sufficient to bring the officials of the unions to their senses. They issued instructions to their men to resume work, but having been told to defy the law, they became infected with the spirit of rebellion, and defied their leaders. The union officials, having started an industrial conflagration, are unable to put it out. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Blakeley),** the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin),** and several other honorable members opposite have declared that these regrettable troubles occur, extraordinarily, always upon the eve of an election. He 'would be a very clever Prime Minister indeed who could choose a time for a general election when there was not trouble looming on the waterfront. Once such trouble used to occur only annually, but now it occurs quarterly. My State, South Australia, is almost entirely dependent upon its primary production, and it is remarkable how these strikes always occur when the time is ripe to transport its products overseas. The crafty watersiders, knowing the perishable nature of the products, seize what they think is an opportune time, in an endeavour to force the country to accede to their voracious demands. No country can afford to allow itself to be continually disorganized in thi3 fashion, and any Government which ensures that our transport will not be interfered with will have the support of myself and of thinking people in South Australia. I have always had a high regard for the working man, as I have been one myself and know what both manual and mental labour are. I know that it is only a minority of men in a few unions who cause all this trouble, which is confined chiefly to the waterside unions. Honorable members opposite prate of people obeying awards. If they are sincere they should support this Government in this legislation. A good deal has been said about one or more pick-ups; but that is beside the point. The real issue is that, after giving an assurance to the court that, if their case was considered, its award would be obeyed, the waterside unions have refused to honour their pledge. At their request an award was made, and immediately the officials of the union instructed the men not to obey it. I blame those officials for misleading the men. It is beside the point to say that work is proceeding at Sydney or Melbourne. A chain, to be satisfactory, must be sound in every link, and if the sea-borne transport of Australia is to be effective, it is essential that we should have continuity of activities at all our ports. Such unions as the tramways union, railways union, woollen mill employees union, electrical and mechanical engineers' unions, agricultural implement makers' union, and others obey awards and seek redress, when necessary, through the proper channels. It is a great pity that their example is not followed by the waterside workers, as Australia would then be saved a tremendous amount of money. Almost uncountable wealth is lost through industrial trouble on our waterfront. Perishable goods are destroyed and their loss is irrecoverable, while, as the trade and commerce of Australia with countries overseas is chiefly, on an exchange basis, the longer that our goods are delayed in transit to oversea's markets, the more we have to pay in interest on the money that is outstanding. Honorable members opposite do not like the word " strike," and resort to the euphemism "cessation of work" in its stead. If a lockout occurred, I should be quite prepared to apply the word "lockout" to the happening. Both lockouts and strikes should be things of the past; they should not exist in a civilized community or a democracy in which every man and women over the age of 21 years has a vote and the whole of the industries are dependent one upon the other. I should like to know whether honorable members opposite believe in strikes or are opposed to them. If we were to judge by their words we should say that they do not; but their inaction would lead one to believe that they do. "We have heard a good deal about this action of the Government being an election move. It has been argued that at the last election it deceived the people; and the charge is that a similar attempt is being made on this occasion. The respect which I hold for the intelligence of the average person in Australia will not permit me to believe that at the last election the people voted upon anything except the facts as they saw and knew them, nor that they will act differently when the next appeal is made to them. I can well understand the vehemence of the speeches of honorable members opposite, and the drama which they imported into them. During the course of debate I have frequently wondered whether 1 was in the Commonwealth Parliament, or a spectator at a vaudeville entertainment. {: #subdebate-13-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order. The honorable member must not reflect upon Parliament. {: .speaker-KXR} ##### Mr PARSONS: -- I was not reflecting upon Parliament, hut referring .to the elocutionary efforts of honorable members opposite. I am convinced that they are conscious of having neglected their duty. The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin)** challenged me to attempt to induce the waterside workers of Port Adelaide to take notice of me. Apparently they will not take any notice of him. *[Quorum formed.]* I believe in compulsory arbitration, and that belief is shared by the vast majority of the people of this country. I have no desire to witness a recurrence of the dreadful happenings of years ago, when the only weapon men possessed was that of the strike, and when, because of their lack of organization, the employers were able to grind them down and force them to accept any terms they cared to offer. But in this matter there are others besides the waterside workers who have to be considered. It is upon the women and children that the greatest privation falls whenever there is industrial unrest. I appeal to the members of the Waterside Workers Federation to do the right thing. If they will not listen to their political leaders - or misleaders - I hope that they will listen to me and to honorable members who sit on this side. I hope that, even at this late hour, they will return to work under the award of the court, and by constitutional means endeavour to have it varied. I am perfectly certain that, if such a course is followed, there will he no need to put this legislation into operation, and the wives and families of thousands of workers will not have to go without the necessaries of life. I stand behind the Government in the action which it has taken. It has handled the matter in a statesmanlike way, without fear or favour, and caring not what the result may be at the forthcoming elections. Because it occupies a position of responsibility, it has adopted the bold and correct course of bringing down legislation that it deems to be necessary in the interests of the peace, welfare, and good government of this country. {: #subdebate-13-0-s3 .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN:
Reid .- There are two angles from which the bill may he examined. In the first place it may be asked whether, in any circumstances, legislation of this description is justified in a democracy such as ours; and in the second, whether the industrial circumstances that confront Australia to-day warrant emergency legislation of this character. I make bold to say that this is the most extraordinary legislation that has ever been introduced, into either an Australian or any other British Parliament. In even the most extreme national emergency a government which was actuated by democratic principles would hesitate to introduce such proposals. There is in existence a strike of which there was a day or two ago, and there still is, the possibility of an early settlement. The introduction of this legislation in the dying hours of the Parliament is very much akin to the use of a sledge hammer to crack a peanut. There have been much more serious in,dustrial crises during the life of not only this, but also preceding Parliaments, yet the Government has not taken such extreme measures to deal with them. The bill invites Parliament to surrender its powers to the Government on the eve of a dissolution. That is an extraordinary proposal. These powers may be exercised in a mischievous fashion. No attempt is made to prescribe the limits within which they may be exercised. The bill will virtually establish a dictatorship, possessing the unlimited powers that are usually associated with the operation of martial law. These extreme measures are being taken to deal with a situation which could be dealt with much more effectively by the exercise of a little forbearance and Christian toleration. The Government can claim no mandate for the introduction of such a novel and amazing measure. A couple of years ago, at a referendum of the people, known as the Essential Services Referendum, it asked for the power it considered essential to deal with crises in the transport services. But, when a pronouncement was made of the methods adopted by the Government to deal with industrial disputes, the people gave an emphatic vote against the proposal. The introdu"tion of this bill, to my mind, is more or less a political manoeuvre, and the Government is welcome to any credit it may derive from it. But I remind Government supporters that the industrial situation which confronts Australia to-day is entirely different from that which confronted it three years ago, and the introduction of this measure will require a tremendous amount of explanation from every Government candidate at the forthcoming elections. It is inevitable that trade unionists will regard this as the commencement of a general offensive against trade unionism. It is a challenge to trade unionism. It is something in the nature of a red rag to a bull. It visualizes the use of the bludgeon and the baton, the application of coercion and brute force, and the putting on of handcuffs and leg-irons. It is calculated to goad trade unionists of Australia generally into a. state of revolt. Legislation of this description does more to spread revolutionary doctrines than any speeches that may be made by isolated individuals, and has a greater tendency than any other factor to discredit the parliamentary system of government. I have no desire to speak at length, because an opportunity will be given shortly to every honorable member to defend or excuse before the electors his action in voting for or against the bill. Honorable members opposite say that the Opposition regard this bill only from the standpoint of the trade unionists; but, judging by the speeches delivered by the supporters of the Government, they consider it only from the angle of the shipowners. Admittedly, there are three parties involved in the present industrial dispute. First, the general public; secondly, the workers engaged in the industry; and thirdly, the ship-owners. My view of the general public's attitude is that it wants the strike brought to a satisfactory conclusion. Their chief in- terest is that there shall be permanent peace on the waterfront, and permanent peace may be more effectively brought about by the exercise of a little toleration on the part of the Government?, instead of by the issue of a threatening ultimatum such as this bill really represents. The test which every reasonable man and woman will apply to this bill is whether it will establish peace, or promote industrial war. The character of the bill is a declaration of war on trade unionism, and more than likely will be treated as such. No doubt the men engaged in the dispute have a good reason to resent the nature of the award; but that is not the question at issue. The real question is whether, in any circumstances, quite apart from the present, Parliament is justified in handing over dictatorial powers that it would hesitate to give to any government, even in time of war. I repeat that a more drastic piece of legislation has never been introduced in any British parliament, and it is from the stand-point of parliamentary institutions, and the principle of responsible government as we have been taught to understand it, that this bill should be most strongly attacked. This afternoon I took the opportunity of perusing the minutes of the award. I suggest that the judge himself realized the difficulty existing in connexion with transport workers. His judgment suggests that they, more than any other workers, deserve more consideration and more toleration owing to the nature of their calling. The judge, in the course of his judgment, used these words - >The status of the citizen with no semblance of security in social life, hawking his labour for sale by the hour, is one of the greatest dangers of the present economic system. I wish honorable members opposite to note the following: - >It is easy to sit back and criticize the actions of men who gain their livelihood under such conditions. Their actions to ordinary individuals not concerned with economic problems may appear to be arrogant, selfish, and unreasoned, when in reality they are the natural result of the indifference and neglect of society. He went on to say - >The men can only get on an average 30 hours a week; that more than in any other occupation normal domestic life is disturbed by their liability to be called to duty day, evening or night, and that their -work is subject to unusual interruptions. No one of course expected stoppages of work resulting from impulsive actions of .branches or small groups of workmen would altogether cease. The circumstances and nature of the work may make minor disputes inevitable. In making his award the judge recognized the peculiar conditions operating amongst wharf workers. He indicated that strikes would possibly occur not only as a result of an award, but owing to the peculiar conditions of the industry. It is bec'ause of the nature of the industry in which these men are engaged that the Government should exercise the maximum degree of sympathy, patience and forbearance in dealing with the situation. Up to the present there has been an entire absence of forbearance on the part of the Government. It should have convened a conference between the parties to the dispute. When we realize that Judge Beeby, in his award, and after some consideration, deliberately departed from established customs that had ruled in Australian ports for many years, it is not surprising that there has been a good deal of resentment at an interference with the established customs and privileges of the men. There is no doubt that the learned judge knew what he was doing in this regard, because in the course of his judgment he stated - >All references to "prevailing customs" are omitted ; all domestic rules and practices based on alleged customs are declared to be outside the award. The award, however, provides machinery for adoption after proper investigation of any additional regulations, which may be necessary to meet the peculiar needs of different ports. The court expects employers to approach such investigation in a reasonable spirit in order that ultimately the award may possess a flexibility which at this stage cannot be given. He admitted that its inflexibility would cause dissatisfaction. He continued - >In this respect the award is not an invitation to foremen to disturb unnecessarily methods of work - That includes " pick-ups." Its purpose is to clear the ground for reasonable local agreements. He went on to say - >One of the most controversial claims made by the union was for further limitation of the hours between which waterside workers can be engaged for work. The suggestion that the one pick-up should continue because it has been in operation for some considerable time in ports .... cannot be entertained. The whole question must be dealt with *de novo.* It became apparent from the outset that a universal rule cannot be laid down. The requirement of each port must be considered individually .... I think it necessary now to prescribe' definite times and places of engagement with a proviso for alteration only by variation of award by agreement or by decisions of boards of reference. The federation is still free to come to agreements with employers on this issue. The judge, in making this award, indicated in the very character of his reasoning that he anticipated trouble and suggested a way out. He said that a conference, representative of the parties, should be able to arrive at an amicable understanding. The Government has had opportunities to bring the parties together, and thus end the dispute. There is no doubt concerning the justification for the wharf labourers' resentment at having to hang around the water front all day. It is degrading that men should be treated in that fashion, and any Government actuated by a desire to preserve the self-respect of the workers, would endeavour to bring the shipowners and the workers together. The judge, during the course of his judgment, also referred to the characteristically intolerant, and antagonistic attitude which the ship-owners have habitually adopted, not only towards the court, but also to the workers. He said - >It is to be regretted that the Commonwealth Steamship Owners' Association, the largest employer of waterside labour, approach the consideration of the draft award in a litigious spirit. My experience of the ship-owners when I was secretary of a union some years ago was by no means favorable. I negotiated about sixteen agreements, and found that the ship-owners were the most hostile, unreasonable, obstinate, and narrow-minded men with whom I had ever come in contact. Another factor that has led to resentment amongst the waterside workers is the failure of Judge Beeby to take evidence in Queensland before delivering his award. Instead of investigating the conditions in the whole industry, he examined only those in certain ports. So far as Queensland is concerned, he simply incorporated a portion of the Queensland State industrial award in the Federal award, and left out the " pick-up " provision in that award. In consequence of his action in this respect, the men in Queensland are in a particularly resentful mood, and have asked to be exempted from the award until the judge is able to review the conditions existing there. Judge Beeby refuses to do that. One iniquitous feature of the Arbitration Act and these awards, is that the unions have no appeal against the terms of an award made by a single judge. That, in itself, is calculated to promote strikes in the future. It is wrong in principle that the conditions of the entire industry should be dependent upon the decision of one man, from which there is no appeal. Under a proper system for determining these matters there should be an appeal to the Full Arbitration Court. This subject has been exhaustively dealt with by honorable members on this side of the chamber. We are justified in regarding with suspicion the attitude of the Government towards industrial matters, particularly when we read in the newspapers of private dinners attended by the Prime Minister and **Sir Owen** Cox, and know that cablegrams have recently come to hand from British ship-owners urging their Australian agents to make this a fight to a finish. Coupled with this bill, we had evidence within the last few weeks of cunningly delayed and protracted prosecutions under the Crimes Act. All this leads us to the definite conclusion that this Government is out to create an atmosphere to improve its prospects at the forthcoming election. Apart from the immorality of such tactics, there is the more serious prospect that they are helping to destroy organized unionism, the Labour movement, and Parliamentary government. Throughout the history of the present Government, when it has been a matter of determining industrial disputes, coercion has been its main principle. In conclusion, I point out that this bill is contrary to all the constitutional principles that have governed this Parliament since its inception. I would remind those honorable members who so freely speak of law and order, of the dictum of that great legal authority, Blackstones that - >No laws are binding on the human subjects which assault the body or violate the conscience. This bill certainly violates the conscience of every liberty-loving citizen. It violates the spirit of the Constitution, and is calculated to assault the body of every citizen. It is contrary to what we consider to be the democratic principles of government, and sooner than be an apologist for legislation of this nature I would rather grovel in the gutter. If the Government thinks that it is likely to benefit 'by legislation of this description at the coming elections, it is, in my opinion, making a grave error. {: #subdebate-13-0-s4 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Treasurer · Cowper · CP -- Honorable members opposite during this debate have made some astonishing statements which need to be corrected. The honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Watkins)** alleged that **Mr. Justice** Higgins had been removed from the Commonwealth Arbitration Court bench at the suggestion of the employers of this country. That statement is absolutely incorrect, and without any foundation in fact. In a book published by **Mr. Justice** Higgins, under the title, *A New Province for Law and Order,* he himself gives the reasons that lead to his resignation. On page 172 he says - >By the Industrial Peace Act the Prime Minister (unwittingly, I think) undermines the influence and usefulness of the court, and creates a position which will surely give rise to many industrial stoppages. Subsequently he gives reasons which, in his opinion, justified him in resigning. Among these is the following : - >My resignation is due to my opinion that the public usefulness of the court has been fatally injured. The honorable member for Newcastle and the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton)** repeatedly urged prior to the resignation of **Mr. Justice** Higgins that special tribunals should be set up to deal with these disputes in the coal-mining industry. It was the constitution of these tribunals which actually led to the resignation from the Arbitration Court bench of **Mr. Justice** Higgins, and not any action by the Government at the suggestion of the employers of this country or anybody else. The honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Blakeley)** made certain references to the Abrahams taxation case in which he suggested that action 'was taken by the Government only after the matter had been ventilated by the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan).** The facts are, of course, that these proceedings had been on foot for two years prior to that time. The officers of the Taxation Department acted with great secrecy until the Attorney-General made it possible for them to obtain from a safe certain documents which were a necessary foundation to definite charges. There is not the slightest justification for the statement that the Government was compelled by 'the Opposition to enforce taxation upon these persons or to penalize them. I have listened with a great deal of astonishment to the statements which honorable members opposite have made about the provisions of the bill. One might have imagined that they would be glad of the opportunity that the measure affords the maritime unions of this country to remove from controlling influence a small but extreme minority which has been able to do such mischief. If the bill is agreed to all persons who work on the waterfront will be licensed, and it should be possible to prevent a great deal of the pillaging which at present occurs and which has brought the Australian waterside workers into disrepute throughout the Empire. The Leader of the Opposition suggested that our maritime transport workers should be accorded special consideration in permitting them not to observe the Arbitration Court awards which are made to cover their industry. But surely there can be no substantial reason for giving them special privileges. If they are to be allowed to disregard those provisions in awards which are not in accord with their wishes the ship-owners should also be allowed to disregard provisions with which they do not agree. To adopt a system of that kind would be to bring confusion into the industry, and make the awards utterly useless. The value of our arbitration system depends altogether upon the impartiality and finality of the awards. If these two factors are lacking the system ceases to be of any practical use. What we should aim at above all else is to en sure continuity of operations on the waterfront. Unless we have a continuous transport system, the welfare of the nation is endangered. Consequently every step should be taken to ensure that awards will be observed, and nothing should be done that will encourage laxity in that direction. Transport may be described as the fertilizing agency in industry. Our transport system provides the arteries which carry the life-blood to the whole system of society. A proper transport system is imperative to the growth of industry. Unless we can transport our primary produce to the consumers, they must surely starve; and, on the other hand, unless we can get our manufactured goods to the primary producers, they will be placed in a most difficult position. In these circumstances it is essential that we should preserve continuity in our transport system on the waterfront and elsewhere. I regard the transport worker as being in much the same position as a doctor who is engaged to attend a mother. Any doctor who, having made an agreement to be present at a certain time, says, when the time arrives, " I refuse to attend unless other arrangements are made " to get more fees than already agreed upon would receive and deserve the detestation of every decent citizen. Similarly, transport workers who make definite agreements and fail to abide by their undertakings and so endanger the welfare and very life of the community deserve the severest condemnation. Such an action is anti-social. It is against the interests of unionists in other industries and the community generally. The Labour party should assist the Government to place this bill upon the statute-book so that the decent waterside workers may purge their unions of extremists and remove those few dishonest criminals who have brought opprobrium upon their industry. The position of the Australian waterside workers is unique throughout the world because of their activity, and we should do our utmost to put an end to the pillaging which has caused so much unfavorable comment and criticism. The licensing of waterside workers will be good for this purpose and for the nation as a whole. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- It may be good for the Government. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- If it is good for the waterside workers it will be good for the Government, and good for Australia. Let us examine for a few moments the situation on the waterfront. **Mr. Tom.** Walsh, who was Secretary of the Seamen's Union for many years, and who has recently been re-elected to that position, said on the 5th June this year - >We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that there is a struggle being deliberately waged in the shipping industry for an end ulterior to mere increases in wages or adjustments in working conditions. As a result of the activities of the militants hundreds of thousands of pounds in wages have been lost to the workers in the shipping industry by strikes and stoppages which could have been settled by legal machinery or negotiation. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- He said that when he was out of office. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- He has just been re-elected by a substantial majority, so apparently many of the waterside workers agree with the views that he holds. When we come to look at the position, we find that the present trouble is not a struggle to secure better wages. It is a quarrel over the second pick-up, a matter to which I shall refer later on. In the speech **Mr. Walsh** made to the Seamen's Union, he quoted Zinovieff as having said - >We cannot obtain the power and retain it without taking possession of the colossal apparatus which, for instance, the tremendous union of the transport industry now represents. He also pointed out that the whole of the efforts of the communists has been to try to obtain control of the transport industry, or, if they did not succeed in that, to continually disorganize it. The attitude of the Waterside Workers Federation for the last ten years, has been fairly consistent, and was accurately expressed in a resolution adopted at the conference of the federation held in September, 1927. The resolution reads - >That the union shall maintain the policy followed for several years, namely, to continue to obtain awards from the Arbitration Court, but it shall reserve to itself the right to introduce direct action whenever it considers such a contingency advisable to enforce its claims. The federation was prepared to accept Arbitration Court awards, but it would make use of the weapon of direct action if it considered such a contingency was advisable. .This afternoon the AttorneyGeneral **(Mr. Latham)** made it clear that the policy of the federation had always been to utilize an Arbitration Court award as long as it suited it, and then try to use it as a lever to extort further concessions than the court had chosen to give it. The importance of the Waterside Workers Federation to the rest of the community is unfortunate. It is one of the key industries. The transport and mining industries, and the engineering and metal trades, are the three key industries of Australia, and, in the last few years, the employees engaged in those industries have been responsible for the majority of the interruptions of work' we have had in Australia, with the unemployment and losses to the whole community that always ensue upon such stoppages of work. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- It is the same all over the world. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- It may be, but there is no reason why we should not have improved conditions in our country. Our workers enjoy good conditions. Why should Australia be worse off in respect to interruptions to work in these than other parts of the world. In 1926, out of 360 disputes of all sorts, 272 were in the three key industries I have mentioned; out of 80,768 workers affected by disputes, 73,616 were employed in the three key industries; out of 32,266 workers indirectly affected by stoppages of work, 30,752 were engaged in the three key industries ; out of 1,310,261 working days lost, the workers in the key industries lost 1,226,940; and out of £1,415,813 lost in wages, £1,349,578 represented the loss of wages sustained by the workers in these key industries. The history of the Waterside Workers Federation for the last ten years, has been a continuous story of hold-ups, faction fights between various cliques in the federation, job-control tactics, and strikes, all of which have materially interfered with our export trade, and our development, and are gradually killing the mercantile marine of Australia by interrupting our communications with the rest of the world. Although Australia is a continent, it is an island. Sea routes have been provided by nature for us to use in the freest possible way. They are the only routes we have that have not cost us tremendous sums of money to put into order. But, although our population has grown, we are using them less and less each year, largely by reason of the increased costs that have been put upon our marine transport as a result of these continuous strikes, holds-up, and job control tactics. The time is overdue for the adoption of some system of ensuring that if those who follow waterside avocations will not work properly they shall no longer be in a position to prevent others from working. We want some such system that will enable us to enjoy the natural advantages we have for the transport of our goods, and enable us as a people to make progress and develop our country. We can do that by exercising some form of control over the Waterside Workers Federation. To that end the bill gives power to the Government to make regulations to deal with the registration and licensing of transport workers. It has been said that such a thing has never been heard of before; but members of the medical profession are licensed and registered, and so are members of the legal profession. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- What do they do about "black-legs"? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- In both professions there are boards to see that members give a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, and that the public interest is always preserved. It is not regarded as something to be ashamed of; rather is it held to be an honorable thing to be registered in that way. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- And persons are prosecuted if they practice those professions without being registered. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- Quite so. The same principle is applied to auctioneers, hawkers, plumbers, and electricians, and in numerous other callings. In the case of the transport industry, so important to the national progress and prosperity, we say that the definite rights that are given by arbitration awards or by the laws of the land should carry with them certain obligations. We claim that the workers should stand up to those obligations, and that, if it is found that the misconduct of some tends to give a bad name to the whole waterfront of Australia - a few criminal-minded and dishonest men can do so - the men who do these things while enjoying all the advantages belonging to the union should be excluded from the organization and be deprived of their licences. Sometimes heavy entrance-fees are imposed, which have the effect of preventing some persons from taking advantage of union membership. For instance, the entrance-fee to the Waterside Workers' Federation is now £10; but as the list of members is closed no one can get into the federation. Under the Government scheme there will be no qualification imposed except that of willingness to observe the awards laid down by the Arbitration Court and the laws od the land and good conduct while the licence is held. When I was in Brisbane the other day I was discussing with a plumber the question of where we are getting to in industrial matters, and he said that a few weeks previously he had raised this very question at a meeting of the Plumbers Union in Brisbane. He had tried to get a resolution adopted that a plumber, by reason of the very fact that he was a member of the union, should be able to show definite qualifications as a plumber, and that any one who could not do so, and did inferior work should not be able to hold a union ticket; but must join some other union, the members of which would not be entitled to rates of pay equal to those of qualified men. It is a reasonable thing (o adopt the same practice in the transport industry, which is so vital to the progress and prosperity of Australia. It seems to me that there should be some measure of control over the pillaging that takes place in connexion with waterfront work. It is a matter for shame and regret that because of a few dishonest men the whole of the waterside workers of Australia should be pilloried to the extent of a report being circulated all over the world that there is in our marine transport a greater loss of cargo than there is in any other part of the world. About a year ago amazing figures as to the extent of the pillaging in the Australasian services were disclosed in the report of a subcommittee of ship-owners and merchants of the Chambers of Commerce and Protection and Indemnity Associations. This sub-committee reported - >The most startling discovery is that 80 per cent, of one indemnity association's roundvoyage cargo claims in three years arose in the Australasian trade - 50 per cent, in Australia, and 30 per cent, in New Zealand, while 20 per cent, covered all other countries. The ships carrying cargoes on which this association's figures were based totalled 742. Of these only 50 were exclusively engaged in the Australasian trade. > >Ship-owners trading to Australia paid £17fi,P'*0 in claims in the past three years. Further figures, embracing 110 steamers, show that the claims average 2s. 2d. a ton of the pillagable cargo. > >The amounts nine lines paid for pillaged or short-landed cargo were as follow: - 1924, £41,723; 1025, £50,154; 1920, £42,308. > >One line's figures, the report says, show conclusively that the pillage in the Australian trade is greater than in other trades. The amounts in pence per ton are, as follow: - Kobe, .8d.; Singapore, Id.; Yok'ahama, 1.2d.; Shanghai, 2.5d. ; Hong Kong, 3.3d. Australian ports: Adelaide, 1.7d. ; Melbourne, 2. 2d.; Sydney, 4.8d. ; Bisbane, 15.9d. > >Another line reports a loss of 14.15d. per ton on homeward cargo from Australia, compared with 1.3d. on cargo from the East. > >Seven Sydney importing firms set down their losses as- 1925, £5,000; 1926, £7,000. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Who is blamed for that? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- I think it is a matter for shame and regret that a few dishonest men should be able to get into these unions and put a stigma like that on the whole of the waterfront workers of Australia. It is time we had a system that would permit the workers themselves to see that these dishonest men were put out of their union, so that they could no longer put their fellows under suspicion. In the same way it is necessary, in my opinion, that the waterside workers, if they so desire, should be able to recognize the extreme red-rag element which **Mr. Tom** Walsh says is trying to gain control over their organization and has brought about so much difficulty and trouble. What has been the effect of the action of these men on the shipping trade of Australia? This continual industrial discord on the waterfront, with frequent interruption of transport services, has increased freights, and caused heavy losses. Although there has been an increase during the- last fifteen or sixteen years of nearly 2,000,000 in Australia's population, and a hig increase in national production, the number of vessels trading on the Australian coast has declined to a marked extent. In 1917, even after many ship's had been withdrawn for war purposes there were still 2,706 left. In 1927 there were only 2,444, a decrease of 262, or 10 per cent. The population of Australia had increased during the same period by 1,232,000, or 25 per cent. During the same period the tonnage of the vessels trading on the coast remained almost stationary. In 1917 it was 455,000, and in 1927, 452,000. In 1922 the vessels of over 2,000 tons on the Australian registrar numbered 51, but this number had declined to 43 in 1927. The tonnage during that period declined from 175,000 to 158,000. One would think that the Australian coastal passenger trade would have increased iu proportion to the huge increase in population of nearly 2,000,000; but we find that on the 1st of January, 1912, the passenger tonnage was 155,145, while on the 1st of January, 1928, it had fallen to 77,295, a reduction of approximately 50 per cent, in sixteen years. The official returns furnished by Captain Davis, Director of Navigation, before the Navigation Commission of 1922, showed that fourteen coastal passenger steamers, with a tonnage of 59,903, had disappeared from Australian trade between 1914 and 1923. This decline in the volume of shipping is, to a large extent, due to the tactics of the waterside workers and the members of the Seamen's Union. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Nevertheless, the people are getting the goods. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- They are not getting them by water. They are paying much more by way of freight than they should have to pay, because we have not been able to secure peace on the waterfront. These industrial fights have rarely been over questions of wages or hours. Take, for instance, the strike at Cairns, which practically held up trade at the port for several years. It was a purely factional war between two leaders, who, apparently, did not like the look of each other. A dispute broke out between the "Dillon faction" and the "Brophy faction," owing to a vendetta which dated back to some years previously, when an attempt was made to introduce the rotary system of employment. In June, 1927, the dispute reached a crisis, aud a complete stoppage of work took place, with consequent loss to the business community, cane growers, shippers, and waterside workers. The position became so bad that the farmers had to come in from the back country and load their produce themselves. Finally, the State Arbitration Court took notice of the dispute, and a special award was made which stated that all men of the Dillon faction could work on an equal footing with those of the Brophy faction, and that the work was to be divided equally between them. A little while later, however, war broke out again between the factions, and a northern newspaper correspondent telegraphed that only the tactful intervention of the police in stopping work altogether on one occasion prevented a serious riot. As a result of this episode, all the produce awaiting shipment had to be transported by rail. Thi3 kind of thing has seriously jeopardized the development of Northern Queensland. During the last two years there has been a faction fight in the Seamen's Union between Walsh and Johnson. The waterside workers at Adelaide, in September, 1927, fought the carters and drivers, and the storemen and packers, to decide whether the work of unloading goods from vehicles into wharf sheds belonged to the waterside workers or to the carters, and a number of vessels were held up while the dispute was in progress. The story of the s.s. *Katoora* is sufficiently interesting to be given in full. The *Katoora* is a new motor vessel belonging to the Adelaide Steamship Company, and was purchased for the South Australian Gulf trade. When the marine cooks strike broke out in March, the *Katoora* was due to leave and trade on the Queensland coast. As no cooks offered she sailed to Sydney, with the concurrence of the South Australian branch of the Seamen's Union, manned by a union crew, who were given a victualling allowance to provide . their own meals. At Sydney, Jacob Johnson ordered the crew to leave the vessel for having sailed without a cook. The men did so, and Johnson ordered the company to add three extra men to her complement. This was refused, and later the vessel went on to Townsville. At that port the cook stated that he had received written instructions from **Mr. Tudehope,** secretary of the Cooks' Union, that he was to refuse to sail in the vessel unless the union seamen engaged in Sydney were discharged. As the cook and seamen had signed articles for six months, there was no reason for discharging them, and the ship proceeded to Mourilyan with the crew still aboard. At Mourilyan the waterside workers refused to load the vessel, and she was laid up, although it was very necessary that the sugar there should be loaded. Because of this and similar incidents, Johnson was tried and convicted under the Crimes Act. By means of the bill which- we are now considering we hope to be able to bring this sort of internecine fighting to an end. Another example of how the coastal shipping has been interfered with is provided by the experience of the *Cape* *York,* This vessel was one of four light ships, and was scheduled to sail before Christmas from Brisbane to Sandy Cape Lighthouse. The Seamen's Union, on the 13th December, told the marine cooks to sack the cook. The position was awkward, because the cook was president of the union. Eventually, the ship was laid up. A letter was received from the lighthouse, which stated, " We had a very lean time at Christmas, having practically starvation rations, and very little of them. Tobacco ran out, and that was the last straw." On the 10th March the waterside workers were asked in Brisbane to load the *Cape York.* The Seamen's Union, being perturbed at the terrible conditions which prevailed at the lighthouse, asked for a guarantee that the ship would not put to sea without a union crew. Then the secretary called on the waterside workers to refuse to work the vessel, and they agreed. The Government picked up a volunteer crew, and the waterside workers, from outside the gates, watched the vessel sail. The Government has now made the crew of these vessels public servants, so as to prevent a recurrence of such trouble. Some action by the Government is necessary at the present time, because at almost every port perishable cargo is awaiting shipment. In fact, there could not' be a worse time than now for such a disturbance to take place. It is a strange thing that practically every hold-up of this kind occurs about this season of the year, when our wool, meat, and other valuable products have to be shipped overseas. At Geraldton there are large quantities of tomatoes awaiting transport to southern and eastern markets. They are produced much earlier up there than elsewhere, and this is the only season of the year when they have any value, yet they are lying on the wharfs rotting. There are thousands of cases of eggs spoiling in Brisbane because they cannot be transported to suitable markets. Thousands of tons of sugar-cane will not be milled this year as a result of what has already happened, and yet honorable members opposite ask us to do nothing. It is necessary that we should take a firm stand, and insist upon the enforcement of the award. This bill, quite apart from the present trouble, will ensure in the future the proper control of the Waterside Workers Federation, and will. prevent a recurrence of events which constitute a stigma on the fair name of Australia. *Sitting suspended from 12 o'clock midnight until 12.30 a.m.* *Saturday, 22 September 1928* {: #subdebate-13-0-s5 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- :The thought occurred to me when the Prime Minister was *moving the* second reading of this bill that he should have followed the example of certain elocutionists whose recitals are given with musical accompaniment. A suitable accompaniment for the Prime Minister' would have been the clank of leg-irons and the click of handcuffs. I take strong exception to this measure because it will entrust to the Governor-General, as the head of the Executive of this country, greater power when Parliament is in recess than has ever been conferred on any Government in Australia, and I doubt if greater power has been given to a Government in any country. Even during the great upheaval in the coal industry in Great Britain, legislation of such a drastic nature as this was not placed on the statute-book. This Parliament is about to be dissolved and for six weeks, until a new Parliament is elected, there will be virtually no Commonwealth legislature in existence. It is proposed to invest the Executive with such autocratic powers that the Governor-General,- instead of wearing military or naval dress, would be more appropriately garbed in the uniform of a policeman with baton in hand and handcuffs attached to his girdle. Honorable members opposite, when industrial disputes are in progress, usually bestow all the credit for doing the right thing upon their own side and lay all the blame upon the unions, but it is refreshing to hear what Henry Ford, that great captain of industry, has to say in his book *My Life and Work.* I think that he will be accepted as second to none as an industrial authority. Referring to employers and employees he states : - >The strike for proper conditions and just rewards is justifiable. The pity is that men should be compelled to strike to get what is their right. No American ought to be compelled to strike for his rights. These justifiable strikes are usually the employers' fault. Some employers are not fit for their jobs. An employer may be unfit for his joh, just as the man at the lathe may be unfit. The unfit employer causes more trouble ti. an the unfit employee. The justified strike, then, is one that need never have been called if the employer had done his work. There is also a strike that is provoked hy the money interests for the purpose of giving labour a bad name. The American working man has won a certain prestige with his own people, and throughout the world. Public opinion has been inclined to regard with respect his opinions and desires. But there seems to be a determined effort to fasten the bolshevik stain on American labour by inciting it to such impossible attitudes, and such wholly unheard nf actions as shall change public sentiment from respect to criticism. > >Merely avoiding strikes, however, does not promote industry. We may say to the working man - " You have a grievance, but the strike is no remedy - it only makes the situation worse whether you win or lose." > >Then the working man may admit this to be true and refrain from striking. Docs that settle anything? {: .page-start } page 7142 {:#debate-14} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-14-0} #### No! If the worker abandons strikes as an unworthy means of bringing about desirable conditions, it simply means that employers must get busy on their own initiative and correct defective conditions. The general testimony of those who have investigated the causes of waste and disaffection in industry is that those evils are attributable not to the workers but to managers and owners. It will not be contended that the *Sydney Morning Herald* is a journal given to espousing the principles of the Labour party, but in yesterday's issue I read the following comments upon the present industrial trouble: - >Even ministerial supporters were surprised at the extent of the powers proposed to be taken under the bill. The suspension of any other act which might conflict with the regulations to be framed under the present bill is possible. The regulations will leave within the discretion of the Governor-General any step regarded as desirable to meet any emergency. The wide definition given to " transport workers " under the bill makes it possible for its provisions to be applied to workers in any transport industry. As the Prime Minister has brought down the bill his followers will have no option but to support it. I am reminded that a few years ago he stated that it would not be a bad thing for Australia if it were placed under a dictatorship. He spoke of a controlling body of six men, but under this measure he has provided for a dictatorship to be administered, to all intents and purposes, by himself. He will have the controlling voice as to the regulations to be framed under the measure, and, therefore, he is actually constituting himself the dictator of Australia. {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- He consorts with certain individuals and comports himself in such a way that one can only conclude that the regulations will be in accord with the will of the ship-owners. Some exception might possibly be taken to his dining or wining with one of the great shipping magnates of Australia. I do not know who "shouted" the dinner or the wine, but I make bold to say that if they were the only two persons present at the table the present industrial trouble was probably discussed by them. No doubt the Prime Minister asked the shipping magnate for his opinion on the situation. His education, his whole training, his business associations and his somewhat affected accent suggest that his sympathies lie more with the wealthy section than with the horny-handed sons of toil. We may compare his actions with those of Prime Ministers who have preceded him. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** in dealing with an industrial situation similar to that with which Australia is now faced, indicated from his place in this House that those who now occupy the Ministerial benches knew nothing of the psychology of the working man, and of the duties that had to be performed on the waterfront. He pointed out on that occasion that the attitude of the Government could not possibly lead to peace in the industry. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- His prognostication was true. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Of course it was. The honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Anstey)** last night established the fact that the Government had done nothing, and could do nothing. And the worst of it all is that the Ministry and its supporters know this. This bill is merely an election placard. Ministers are expecting to reap some advantage from the present industrial dispute. I am quite sure, however, that the people of Australia will wake up and will demand to know what this Government and the so-called Country party associated with it are doing; and when they learn the truth they will emphasize their disapproval at the ballot-box. Go where you will, you find supporters of the National party asking what kind of a stunt the Prime Minister is going to put up for. the coming election. The majority of Ministerial supporters are expecting some such move. The significant change in the attitude of the Government towards certain individuals in the community indicates what is taking place. During the last election campaign the Ministerial placard featured Tom Walsh trampling on the Union Jack, the inference being that Walsh and those associated with him in the industrial dispute then in progress on the waterfront had no respect at all for the British flag. But what an extraordinary transformation has taken place. Last night we had the Treasurer **(Dr. Earle Page)** quoting with approval certain remarks of this well-known former militant leader of Australian seamen, and from what has transpired, I am inclined to think that Walsh will again be featured on a Nationalist politicalposter, but this time with the object of helping the Government in its election campaign. Ministers will tell the electors that Tom Walsh has changed his political colour, and is now all for law and order. I suggest then that they issue a placard showing Walsh marching along carrying a flag on which might be emblazoned the words, " Peace and Purity," and I do not think I shall be far wrong if I say that among the followers of Tom Walsh in the coming election will be Stanley Melbourne Bruce, the Prime Minister. Since he has changed his views **Mr. Walsh** is now an acceptable guest in select commercial circles in Sydney, Melbourne, and the other capital cities of the Commonwealth. I understand that he has already delivered a speech before members 01 the Millions Club in Sydney. Members of this Ministry are always ready to say something to damage the reputation of the working men in Australia. The Treasurer last night, by innuendo at all events, endeavoured to place on the shoulders of Australian wharf labourers, most of whom I know to be honest men, responsibility for much of the pillaging that has taken place in connexion with cargoes consigned to Australia. That charge is a libel upon all the men who work on our waterfront. I ' resent it most strenuously, and throw it back in the teeth of the Treasurer. One has only to remember through how many hands goods must pass before they reach consignees in Australia to realize how , unfair it is to charge the Australian waterside workers with pillaging. The Treasurer quoted certain figures, produced after an inquiry made by interested merchants, and inferred from those figures that wharf labourers and other waterside workers were guilty. I say, without hesitation, that the great majority of all the men working on the waterfront are as honest as any other section of the community. Indeed, they are more honest than some persons occupying higher positions. The Treasurer deliberately endeavoured to besmirch the fair name of Australia when, by innuendo, he blamed wharf labourers for the loss of cargo by pillage at Australian seaports. . I turn now to another matter mentioned by the Treasurer. I refer to the Abrahams brothers taxation evasion case. A few days ago the Minister, in reply to an inspired question, stated that an arrangement had been made by the Government of Western Australia to accept a substantial sum of money from the **Sir.** Fenton. Abrahams brothers in settlement of a claim for evasion of payment of State income tax. The suggestion, of course was, that the action of the Western Australian Government exonerated the Commonwealth Government from all blame for having failed to prosecute the Abrahams brothers for their deliberate evasion of Commonwealth income tax payments. As a member of this Parliament, I am not so very much concerned about what is done by State Governments, whether they be Nationalist or Labour. My chief concern is to see that, in connexion with Commonwealth legislation and administration, everything is clean and above board. "It is cowardly on the part of the Government to endeavour to escape criticism by suggesting that the adoption of a similar course by a State Labour Government condones its action in failing to prosecute these malefactors. Let me remind honorable members of the precise charge laid against these two men - >For that within three years preceding the commencement of this action, did by diverse wilful acts, defaults, neglects, frauds, acts, and contrivances, by diverse' means avoided or attempted to avoid assessment for taxation contrary to section 08 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1922-1925. This is a most serious charge, and, therefore, there can be no excuse for failure to prosecute under the provisions of the act. The report of the Income Tax Commissioner, which makes mention of this matter, contains three or four pages of the names and addresses of taxpayers who neglected to pay their taxes. These smaller men did not enjoy the immunity from prosecution extended to the Abrahams brothers. On the contrary they were brought before the courts, and, in most cases, heavily fined and, in addition, had to pay considerable amounts in costs. It has been well said by the right honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Watt)** that there is good ground for believing that, under this Government, there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. The Treasurer, I repeat, endeavoured last night to fasten on Australian waterside workers blame for cargo pillaging on our wharves. I resent that charge, and I counter it by saying that I know of nothing that has transpired in the history of Australia that compares with the action of the Government in connexion with the Abrahams brothers. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- The Treasurer never tires of besmirching the character of workers. {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- That is so. According to the Minister, Australia is the only country in the world where strikes occur. The Attorney-General, in explaining why the Government did not take legal action against the Abrahams brothers, said he was influenced by the fact that he saw no reason why honest taxpayers should not receive some benefit from the contribution to the revenue from dishonest taxpayers. If that excuse were valid, many an embezzler and many other criminals would be in the happy position of evading prosecution by making restitution. It is a well-established rule that mcn may not buy themselves out of the consequences of their crime. That rule of law rests on public morality and security, and upon the old maxim, not always respected, that there is not one law for the rich and another for the poor. . These men pleaded guilty of the offences I have enumerated, and yet they were able to evade prosecution. What is worse, this Government so polluted the fount of justice that these men were allowed to leave the country. I should like to know who issued the passports to them. It is the duty of the Government to keep taxpayers in Australia until they discharge all their liabilities. We can only suppose that officials in more than one department were to blame. This is what **Mr. Justice** Starke had to say about the case when it was brought before him- >The whole case seems to be based upon conspiracy. Why were they not prosecuted for conspiracy under the Crimes Act? The reasonable inference would be that they might have been committed to gaol. Contrast the treatment meted out to the Abrahams brothers with the drastic action taken whenever a working man offends against the law. If he does not agree with the terms of an award and commits some offence in connexion with an industrial dispute, which in the eyes of the genera] public is no crime at all, and often is the outcome of considerable provocation, he is brought before the court and fined or sent to gaol. If, however, a man comes along with £500,000, he can buy the Government off, and so escape the penalties provided by law for wrong-doers. I know of nothing that has taken place in the history of Australia that is so disgraceful as the action of the Government in the Abrahams case. It is calculated to bring Australia into disrepute. When the Leader of the Opposition was speaking to-day he was at times assailed with interjections from the Ministerial side, but I was very much struck by the fact that when he was describing the hardships involved in the two pick-ups honorable members opposite were sitting tight and listening hard. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- Nonsense! We were bored. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The honorable member should remain silent. He has been remarkably dumb in regard to the financial issue because an election is approaching. Twelve months ago he was loud and loquacious in denunciation of the Treasurer, but this year when the financial position is much worse than it was then he is as silent as the tomb. Members opposite were impressed by my leader's simple relation of the methods of engaging the "wharfies "; his description appealed to their sympathy. He told of the expense to which men were put day after day through coming into the port to inquire for work and going back to their homes without having earned anything. A letter published a few weeks ago stated that one wharf labourer who lived at Caulfield spent 14s. 6d. a week on fares from his home to the wharfs, and yet received no work. If the honorable member for Henty had to submit to that sort of thing for a couple of days, his temper would be roused and he would create a stir. He loves the wee bawbee as much as any man I know. I was travelling in the train last week with the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Watson)** and **Senator Kingsmill.** When the newspapers were received, **Senator Kingsmill** remarked that the waterside workers had repudiated the award of the court. The honorable member for Fremantle said that the trouble must be in connexion with the pick-ups and added - "I am not surprised. One pick-up has been in operation in Fremantle for four years and it has been very successful. A neighbour of mine who worked on the wharfs inquired early each day if he would be required, and if he found that he would not, he retired to his 5-acre garden and spent the day cultivating vegetables for sale. Owing to the intermittent character of the work on the wharfs, he could not earn enough wages to keep himself, his wife and his family; there being only one pick-up he was free for the rest of the day, and could utilize his spare time to earn extra money. The one pick-up is the right system and no other should be tolerated." **Senator Kingsmill** who at first was antagonistic to the waterside workers soon subsided, because he realized that the honorable member for Fremantle knew what he was talking about. He has represented Fremantle for many years, and, whatever we may think of his politics, we must recognize that he knows his constituency well, and mingles not only with the upper ten, but with men and women of al! stations in life. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- Where did this conversation take place? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The honorable member should cease interjecting. When his leader tells him to be dumb, he is dumb, and becomes in fact one of those dog-like followers described by the right honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Watt).** {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- The honorable member has repeated a private conversation. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- It was a semi-public discussion. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- Very " semi." {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I am not used to keeping things under cover; it is not my practice to whisper in quiet places. This conversation occurred in a railway carriage. It was in no sense private. People were passing up and down the corridor and I believe that some were standing at the entrance to the compartment. {: #subdebate-14-0-s2 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr J FRANCIS:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931; LP from 1944 -- The honorable member should be ashamed of himself. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The honorable member is suggesting that I have committed a breach of confidence, but the honorable member for Fremantle spoke openly and I am sure would express the same sentiments in the House. Honorable members opposite do not like to be reminded that they support a Government that has practically connived at fraud. I refer to the Abrahams case. {: #subdebate-14-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order 1 The honorable member is not in order in saying that the Government has- connived at fraud. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I say that the Government has done so. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The remark is out of order. The honorable member may not make a personal implication against Ministers, and I ask him to withdraw the remark. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I referred to the Government in its corporate capacity, and I would say the same thing on the platform. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must not use such language in the House. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I disagree with your ruling, sir. Under what standing order do you ask me to withdraw that statement? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- It is the rule of Parliament that an honorable member shall not make personal references impugning the honour of other members. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I did not make a personal reference. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must *realize* that he has done so. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I did not. I referred to the Government in its corporate capacity. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The Government is a group of persons, and the honorable member has accused them of conniving at fraud. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I can say that on the platform. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- But the honorable member may not say it. in the House. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Maribyrnong has been called upon to withdraw a disorderly remark and he has not obeyed the ruling of the chair. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I accepted the honorable member's statement that he makes no personal implication against the honour of any member of the Government. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The Government proposes that the " wharfies " shall be licensed. Those who are permitted to work on the wharfs will receive a badge which will indicate that they are in sympathy with breaking down the unions. Why is this badge to be introduced? Apparently it will be a licence to work, just as other men are licensed to hawk goods or drive a motor car. I am not sure that the Commonwealth Government can constitutionally issue such licences within a State. I think that is purely a State right. But if these badges are issued, they will be a symbol of nonunionism and will protect the free labourers who take the place of the unionists who are out of work. What is the attitude of members of the medical and legal profession towards a man whom they consider a blackleg? They will not practise with him. According to the rules of the British Medical Association, a doctor who is not a unionist cannot get the co-operation of any member of the association. He is professionally ostracized and other doctors will not consult with him, even though the life of a patient be at stake. But because an industrial union fights for its principles and the rights of its members and enforces rules for dealing with non-unionists its members are treated as law-breakers. If the intellectual professions are allowed to treat non-unionists as lepers, similar action by working men cannot be converted into a crime. I do not believe in these industrial troubles. I would that I could, by waving a wand, put an end to all disturbances in industry. I am a great believer in peace, and should like to see peace in industry, and peace among the nations. I am obliged to the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Coleman)** for setting out so clearly the case in relation to the award given by Judge Beeby. In making that award, Judge Beeby k"ew Of the trials of the men on the waterfront, and in fixing two pick-up periods he hinted that certain ad justments might be necessary. He suggested that the parties concerned should meet in conference to adjust their differences. But when the Government was asked to intervene to that- end, it refused to do so. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- The honorable member forgets that the dispute has been determined by the court. There is now no dispute. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- In giving his judgment, Judge Beeby made the following comments : - >Employers do not oppose the placing of reasonable limitation on their right to engage labour at any time, but agree to the wellestablished custom of two pick-up periods between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The weight of evidence in support of this compromise is irresistible, and it is therefore included in the award. The federation, however, will have the right to apply to local boards of reference for alteration of times and places of pick-up, and is still free to come to agreements with employers on this issue. I am glad that Judge Beeby made those supplementary remarks. I did not know that he was so emphatic. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** who knows more about industrial troubles than does any other honorable member opposite, offered good advice when he said that, as trouble had arisen, and business was at a standstill, the Government, instead of sitting down quietly, should intervene with a view to bringing the parties together, notwithstanding that there was an award of the court. The right honorable member knows what he is talking about when he is dealing with matters affecting the waterside workers. I am wholeheartedly opposed to the passage of a bill of this nature. I should oppose it even in normal times; but I the more strongly oppose it in the circumstances now existing. It is provocative legislation, similar to the amending Arbitration Act and the Crimes Act - legislation which is a blot on the statute-book. There is .already sufficient power to cope with any offence committed by any person in the community, whether on the wharfs or elsewhere, so that there is no necessity to hand such drastic powers to the Executive Council. The passing of this measure will mean the setting up of a dictatorship. In the Cabinet-room, or elsewhere, regulations under this measure will be prepared, and when made they will have the force of law. Acts of Parliament will have to give way to those regulations. I believe that the Acts Interpretation Act, which provides that regulations made under any act must be presented to Parliament within 30 days of their being made, or, if Parliament is not then in session, within 30 days of the next meeting of Parliament, will be abrogated by the passing of this bill. Within a comparatively few hours the doors of this Parliament will close, and in a few weeks Parliament itself will be dissolved, and we shall have no opportunity to consider the regulations which will be framed in terms of this bill. I shall enter the forthcoming election campaign with a determination to do my best to remove the present Government from office. I shall fight, as I have always fought, a clean battle; but I shall find it difficult to refer to the legislation and administration of this Government in any but strong terms. I shall not be afraid to tell the electors of Maribyrnong and elsewhere that the Government has been guilty of many excesses, and I feel confident that the appeal to the people will result in a reversal of their decision of 1925. {: #subdebate-14-0-s4 .speaker-KIR} ##### Mr HURRY:
Bendigo .At this stage of the debate, and at this late hour I shall be brief. The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** mentioned the Abrahams case, and practically accused the Government of compounding a felony. He castigated the Government in no uncertain terms for taking money from men whom it should have locked up. I remind him that a Labour Government in Western Australia adopted the same attitude towards the Abrahams brothers as that taken by the Commonwealth Government. The honorable member blamed the Government for allowing the Abrahams brothers to escape. There was no power to prevent them from leaving Australia, because at the time they left there was nothing against them. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- Only that they had been robbing the Government for ten years. {: .speaker-KIR} ##### Mr HURRY: -- When they left Australia no charge had been laid against them ; they were not even under suspicion. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- They were under suspicion in 1925. {: .speaker-KIR} ##### Mr HURRY: -- Men cannot be prevented from leaving the country merely because they are regarded with suspicion. The honorable member also referred to the strikes which have occurred in Australia during recent years. It is signi ficant that the worst strikes have been those connected with key industries, and that strikes on the waterfront always take place at that time of the year when our primary products are awaiting shipment overseas. The honorable member referred also to the established practice of one pick-up daily, and to a conversation which took place in a railway train. He stated that Judge Beeby recognized that one pick-up daily was a well-established custom; yet the same judge provided for two pick-up periods each day, although it is true that he suggested that the parties might come to some arrangement in the matter. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- That applies to any award. {: .speaker-KIR} ##### Mr HURRY: -- That is so. The waterside workers have not applied for any variation. The honorable member made mention of " dog-collars " in referring to licensed workers. Licences are provided for in the bill ; but the references to " dog-collars " emanated from honorable members opposite. I am sorry that there is any necessity for the introduction of a bill of this nature; but seeing that it is necessary, I am pleased that the Government has taken a firm stand. It would be a national calamity if this Parliament were dissolved with affairs on the waterfront in their present unsatisfactory state. Although the bill is drastic, in that it gives power to the Governor-General to make regulations which shall not be overridden by any act of Parliament, the seriousness of the position makes such legislation necessary. How has the present trouble arisen ? There was an agreement between the ship-owners and the waterside workers under which all matters in dispute were to be submitted to arbitration. Both parties agreed that the award of the judge should be faithfully observed. The case was investigated and evidence was called by the parties concerned. The judge drafted an award and submitted it to them for consideration. Subsequently the final award was made. The ink on that award was hardly dry when the waterside workers repudiated it. In consequence, the position on the waterfront to-day is serious. The wool sales have had to be postponed. Primary produce is rotting on the wharfs, with a consequent heavy loss to the. primary producers. There are many primary producers in the electorate of Bendigo, which I represent, and they are much concerned with the trend of affairs. To-day the Government is faced with a deficit despite the fact that for many years it has enjoyed surpluses. Unemployment is rife in Australia. The position is deplorable, and anything that can be done by this Parliament to improve it will certainly have my support. The waterside workers are defying the industrial laws of the land, and the Government must take steps to prevent the complete dislocation of trade and commerce. No body of men, whether workers or employers, should be able to defy the law. This measure is urgently needed if only to command from both parties to this dis;pute some respect for our arbitration awards. It has been said that the waterside workers, after having repudiated the award, have now agreed to go back to work. Their leaders say that the repudiation of the award has served its purpose for the time being. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Scullin)** said that the men were smarting under the terms of the award. What about the primary producers whose products are rotting on the wharfs? Are they not smarting under a sense of injustice, and is not their position much worse than that of the waterside workers ? The honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Watkins)** said that he was sorry that the waterside workers were not in a position to shift the Arbitration Court judge. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- The honorable member for Newcastle did not say that. {: .speaker-KIR} ##### Mr HURRY: -- That is what he inferred. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- He mentioned something about honorable members on that side shifting **Mr. Justice** Higgins from the Bench. {: .speaker-KIR} ##### Mr HURRY: -- The honorable member for Newcastle made some remark about shifting an Arbitration Court judge. A good deal has been said about the psychology of the waterside worker. I ask honorable members whether there is any difference between the psychology of the waterside worker and that of the shipowner. That argument is nothing but balderdash, and does not cut much ice in an intelligent community like ours. There is no difference between the psychology of the waterside worker and that of a member of Parliament. Last night the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Anstey)** in an impassioned oration, parts of which we all enjoyed, made special allusion to a Flinderslane firm and its treatment of one of its employees. He tried to leave the impression that that firm had broken the law, and had in consequence been penalized very heavily indeed. He did not have the decency to tell us that the magistrate who tried that case said that it was a technical offence, for which the minimum fine would be imposed. The least the honorable member for Bourke could have done was to inform the House of the facts. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- I hope that it will be understood that we did not' all enjoy the speech of the. honorable member for Bourke. {: .speaker-KIR} ##### Mr HURRY: -- The honorable member for Bourke said that the Government had for political purposes engineered the strike on the waterfront. He suggested that certain agitators were in the pay of the Government or its supporters. Nothing could be more absurd than that suggestion. I suggest other agencies were at work and I prefer to accept the statement of a recognized authority on this subject, **Mr. Tom** Walsh. During the course of an address he said: - >There appears to be no doubt that the support of certain foreign Governments can be, and doubtless is, being obtained by a continuation of the Soviet's anti-British policy. It means very much indeed to certain powers that Great Britain should lose her markets for coal, for iron, for textiles, and that her ships should be delayed and held up, her communications with the Dominions interrupted, and her carrying trade, which is so essential to the Empire, destroyed. It is fairly plain that the Soviet is being subsidized from antiBritish sources - a policy far cheaper than an increase in warships or other armaments, and that Soviet Russia, in her turn, subsidizes agents to foment labour troubles within the British Dominions. When I say that Russians agents are deliberately doing this work here, I am doing no more than giving the actual facts. The Pan-Pacific Secretariat, to which the Australian Council of Trade Unions has decided to remain affiliated, is an arm of the Soviet Government in the Pacific, and more particularly in Australia, and aims at the breaking up of the British Empire, not in the interests of the workers, but entirely in that of Russia's national and imperial policy. The workers of this country have to decide now between Soviet rule and democratic rule, and that is why I have tried to tell them something of what Soviet rule means. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- Who made that statement? {: .speaker-KIR} ##### Mr HURRY: -- It was made by **Mr. Tom** Walsh in a lecture which he delivered on the 24th July, 1928, before the members of the Constitutional Club. Under the bill, regulations may be made by the Governor-General in respect of the employment of transport workers, and in particular for regulating the engagement, service, and discharge of transport workers, the licensing of persons or transport workers for regulating or prohibiting the employment of unlicensed persons as transport workers, and for the protection of transport workers. I draw particular attention to these words - "Eoe the protection of transport workers ". I hope that if it is necessary to put such regulations into force, there will be full protection for those who come to the assistance of this country. Voluntary workers have been victimized in the past by being dismissed as soon as a dispute has been settled. I trust that there will be no need for this legislation to be put into operation. I believe that the mere fact that it has been made law will have a good effect upon the waterside workers. It has been stated by the Opposition that this bill is simply a political placard. That statement is absurd ; but even if it were true, there could be no better time than the present at which to display a political placard. In a few weeks' time we shall be judged by the highest jury in Australia, and, as a result, I am convinced that this Government will be returned to power. {: #subdebate-14-0-s5 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- First of all, I wish to ask the Government who requested it to introduce this legislation. No State Government made such a request ; and I think that before the Commonwealth Government took this action it should have consulted the States. This dispute is entirely a matter for them, because they control the wharfs on the coast of Australia. The Commonwealth Government has communicated with the States, informing them that it intends to licence men for employment on the wharfs? I should like to know the details of the scheme. Are depots to be established in the various States for the purpose of licensing volunteers ; and, if so, who is to carry out this work ? If one of the State Labour Governments refuses to co-operate with the Commonwealth, what steps does this Government propose to take? If, for instance, the Governments of Queensland and Western Australia decline to co-operate with the Commonwealth, this legislation will have to be thrown on the scrap-heap, unless, of course, the Commonwealth establishes depots and employs an army of officers to control the wharfs. The Government has undertaken an exceedingly difficult task. The whole point is that the Australian press has recently published statements to the effect that arbitration has been a failure, and should, on that account, be abolished. This bill gives the Government power to introduce arbitrary regulations without referring them to Parliament, although, of course, they must receive the sanction of the next Parliament. I assure honorable members opposite that the trade unions of Australia will regard it as a definite challenge to their existence. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- It will merely allow the majority" of trade unionists to do what they wish to do. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- That sort of talk is ridiculous. For many years it has been alleged that the country is run by a small disgruntled section of the community. Over 100 years ago six men were arrested in Great Britain, because they asked for an increase in wages. They were tried, convicted and deported to Hobart in leg-irons, because the judge said they were a menace to the community. The result was that the general public of Great Britain revolted and eventually those men were set free. That was the spark that kindled the conflagration that burst forth and eventually consolidated trade unionism. If a government endeavours to enforce its will by using the iron heel the people will endeavour to circumvent its intention, and usually the methods they employ are harsh. I have no desire to witness bitter civil strife in Australia, and I warn the. Government to be careful how it acts. It has been claimed that produce is rotting on the wharfs, awaiting removal. Every morning at our seaports wharf labourers offer themselves for employment, so that part of the blame must rest upon the ship-owners. {: .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- In some ports the men will not offer at all. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I base my remarks upon reports in the newspapers. I remember that, years ago, wharf labourers in Sydney lived in the neighbourhood of the wharfs. Each day, when a steamer was coming in, the flag would be run up on Flagstaff Hill to indicate to those men that their services were needed. All those houses have now been demolished, the men are living in different suburbs, a considerable distance from the wharfs, and they have been accustomed to report each morning at 8 o'clock seeking employment. Every ship-owner should be conversant with the movements of his ships, and be able each morning to inform the men whether they are needed or not that day. It is not right to expect those men to hang around the city all day on the offchance of obtaining a job. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- Did they not undertake to obey the award of the court? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- A good many of us promise to do things that we fail to do. If this law is brought into being it will, like many other acts passed by this Government, be consigned to the limbo of forgotten things. The Government has too much sense to put it into operation. {: .speaker-L1J} ##### Mr Lister: -- Then why all this opposition to it? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It is the duty of the Opposition to analyse every bill that comes before Parliament, and, if we see that it endangers the peace of the community, we have a right to criticize it. I implore the Government to use common sense, and not to bludgeon this measure through at a time when industrial feeling is high, and strife imminent. Has the Government considered what will be its effect upon our transport workers, railway men, and seamen? The consequences must be considered. The history of the industrial movement indicates what might happen. I am confident that such a step will consolidate the position of Labour nominees in industrial areas at the coming general election, which must be a bitter party campaign if this bill is passed. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- The Government does not want free labour; it only wants some labour to keep the transport of the country moving. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- What is the object of the bill if it is not to protect free labour ? The Government must be reasonable and recognize that there will always be breaches of awards by both sides. We do not claim that the men have not made mistakes. So long as human nature remains as it is, we shall have strikes and lockouts. I have known Judge Beeby for a very considerable time, and I acknowledge that he has a remarkable knowledge of industrial matters. But he has made a mistake in this instance, and has unnecessarily precipitated a dispute. In Sydney the men were working amicably under a system of two pick-ups daily, while the wharf labourers in Victoria were content with one pick-up a day. Why did Judge Beeby upset that satisfactory condition of affairs? {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- If the system was acceptable in Sydney, why was it not acceptable in Melbourne? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Each port has to be considered individually. It is impossible to establish a uniform system of pick-ups throughout Australia. {: .speaker-KFS} ##### Mr Gullett: -- The honorable member believes in the common rule. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I also believe in a commonsense rule. Before endeavouring to inaugurate a new system, Judge Beeby should have consulted the men in conference. He failed to do so, and antagonized them. I acknowledge that arbitration has done a great deal for the workers of Australia, and that it has kept our industrial machinery going; but it cannot be expected to have the automatic perfection of a penny in the slot machine. A judge is but human, and can err; Parliament has not been consulted in this matter. {: .speaker-L1J} ##### Mr Lister: -- Why were our courts established ? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- To carry out the will of Parliament, and Parliament has not been consulted on this occasion. We hear a lot of cackling about the law of the country, but here we have merely the edict of one man. We as a party stand for arbitration, but we are not so foolish as to think ' that it will absolutely prevent disputes from taking place. It is not of any use to rail against the men because they resent what they consider an injustice. They have a right to be considered, and are perfectly justified in opposing the two pick-ups. The employers should meet them in conference and settle the dispute. I hope that this measure will not be put into operation, because it will not do any good to Australia. What view is likely to be taken by other countries of the frequent passage of legislation to deal with industrial disputes? We have already passed drastic laws which take from unions the control of their own affairs. Now Parliament is asked to give the Prime Minister the power to make regulations without hindrance. The financiers of Europe and of other countries will regard Australia as an unsafe place in which to invest their capital. This trouble must be settled by methods of reason and common sense, not by dictation. The bill is not likely to injure the Labour party at the coming elections, but it is our duty nevertheless to draw attention to its dangerous nature. Having done that we shall do our best to convince the people that the Government has endeavoured to enslave the workers and destroy the trade union movement. {: #subdebate-14-0-s6 .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr J FRANCIS:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931; LP from 1944 -- I regard this bill as a further evidence of the intention of the Government to give effect to the mandate obtained from the people at the last elections, and to fulfil the promises it then made. We are a free people, and enjoy a franchise that is second to none in the world. It is regrettable, therefore, that when the elected representatives of the people pass laws and they are not obeyed, and when an effort is made by the Government to enforce them His Majesty's Opposition in this House work themselves into a frenzy in objecting to this being done. The most important of the laws that have been passed to develop our industries peacefully is the Arbitration Act. The chief object of that piece of legislations is to settle disputes by means of conciliation or arbitration. A notable advance was made recently, when Conciliation Commissioners were appointed. In the first twelve months **Mr. Stewart,** Chief Conciliation Commissioner, had 66 matters referred to him. In 29 cases he effected an agreement in full settlement of the matters in dispute; in twenty cases no settlement was reached, and the matters were referred to the court; and in eleven others there was either a partial or complete, settlement. Four disputes are still unsettled, and two were settled by other means. I am a staunch believer in the principles of arbitration, and feel satisfied that these continual disputes in the ranks of the transport unions are going a long way towards breaking down the system. Let us trace the history of the present trouble. For many years there has been continued discontent on the waterfront. Hardly has one dispute been settled than some pin-pricking irritation has been developed by organizers or extremists, and we have had a further dispute. The position became so acute that in December last, Judge Beeby took the precaution to extract from the Waterside Workers Federation a solemn assurance that, if he undertook to hear its claim for a variation of the award, the members of the Federation would abide by his decision. When the plaint was called on the 8th December, 1927, His Honour read two resolutions which the management committee of the Australian Seamen's Federation had informed him had been passed and telegraphed to all branches. They read as follows: - >That a circular telegram be sent to all branches to the effect that the Committee of Management advises that the overtime embargo be declared off, and instructs branches to resume on conditions of the existing award. > >That the Committee of Management of the Waterside Workers Federation hereby undertakes to advise its members to carry out the existing awards and agreements covering the work of our members. It also undertakes to exercise all the powers conferred upon it, the Federal Council of the union, to enforce strict compliance- on the part of members with any future award made by the court., and/or any agreements arrived at from time to time. His Honour added - >I thought in the public interests that the cases before the court should again be mentioned. I wish to make it perfectly clear that the resolutions arc not viewed as mere formalities. I accept them as an expression of the union's resolve to accept the awards of this court. The judge gave his award, and almost immediately, despite the assurances that had been given, the union refused to obey the award. " I stand right behind the Government in its effort to maintain law and order in this country. No union should be permitted to defy the law; the will of the people must prevail. To-day there is no dispute; it has been settled by the judge giving his award consequent upon the assurance of the union officials that it would be observed. In a rider to the award the judge made it quite clear that, if . there . were any minor matters in dispute between the parties, application could be made to the court, for a variation of the award. Unfortunately, no such application has been made; but there has been a resort to the strike weapon. In the past strikes on the waterfront have been very serious. By means of propaganda which has originated in Russia, efforts have been made continually to stir up trouble in our transport unions. I have here an article relating to a congress held in Moscow which sets out clearly th<) programme decided upon for the purpose of causing disturbances in the ranks of our big transport unions. The plan of campaign was to resort to direct action. It is described in the following terms : - >The direct action of the revolutionary masses - by direct action we mean all actions direct pressure of the workers upon employers and State, boycotts, strikes, street demonstrations, seizure of factories, uprisings, and every revolutionary activity which tends to unite the working classes in the fight for communism. > >The interruption of transport and the coalmining industry on an international scale is a mighty weapon. The trade unions must attentively study the course of events all over the world, choosing the most appropriate moment for their economic action. These militant institutions should take the initiative by stopping all freight and products transported to their respective factories, and all other enterprises, and the unions of transport workers ought to play a specially important part of the case. That makes it evident that these continual disturbances on the waterfront are a part of a general scheme to break down the system that is in operation to-day. Serious consequences must ensue. Suffering and hardship are inflicted, not only upon those who are engaged in the industry concerned, together with their wives and families, but also upon every other industry which is associated with or dependent upon the transport services. The object of the bill is to protect those who want to work from the effects of the propaganda that is indulged in by extremists from overseas. Such protection is necessary. In the past, those who have come to the assistance of the country in its hour of need have suffered for their action after the disputes have been settled. To-day we have an adverse trade balance, and are in difficulties on account of a shortage of revenue. The biggest part of our revenue is obtained from the export of our primary products. Those products ought now to be on their way to a waiting market, but it is impossible to ship them. Our wool clip last year was valued at £66,000,000. The wool sales in Sydney have had to be cancelled, and none will be held while this hold-up on the waterfront continues, because the wool cannot be shipped. Recent droughts have seriously affected our wool-growers, and many are urgently in need of the proceeds of their wool clips. This is their annual income. We produce wheat to the extent of 160,000,000 bushels. There is a shortage of wheat in other parts of the world, yet we cannot get ours away. Our exports of butter last year amounted to 65,000 tons, the value being £10,500,000. We have over 700,000 farmers engaged in the production of butter. Many of those men have to work twelve, fourteen and fifteen hours a day, on 365 days in the year, and they do not then average the basic wage in spite of the unpaid labour of. their wives and families. They have to depend upon the overseas market to fix the price in Australia for that sold here. If they cannot get their product overseas it will have to go into cool storage, and they will not obtain what it has cost them to produce when later it is sold in a glutted market. The Government has made a special effort to develop this important industry, one of its actions being to grant protection against importations. Recently legislation was introduced in this House to effect that purpose. A Dairy Export Control Board has been established to develop our market overseas. But all our efforts will go for nought if we cannot keep up a continuity of supply. Already, through the agency of the Dairy Export Control Board, the Government has been able to secure for our farmers very large savings in marine insurance and freights on butter exported overseas. The amount thus saved has been in the region of £90,000. When an application for a reduction in freight was last made to the ship-owners, the reply was that they would have been quite willing to entertain the proposal favorably but for the continual strikes on the waterfront, which increased the cost of running their vessels and made it impossible for them to now grant any reduction. Large supplies of mutton and beef are now awaiting shipment to catch the Christmas market in Great Britain, and if the dispute continues the growers will be deprived of the good prices which are offering at that time of the year. Prom time to time the Government has made determined efforts to find additional markets for dried and canned fruits, and to further improve the conditions under which they are exported in order to assist the growers, and they, too, are now faced with a most serious situation. The dried fruit-growers in the Murray Valley, many of whom are returned soldiers working on financial assistance from governmental authorities, are also being denied the opportunity of earning a living. This Parliament, by increasing the duty on maize from 2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d. a cental, has given an incentive to the maizegrowers to increase their production and when it was found that they had inadequate protection to compete with South African maize grown by black labour. The competition became too keen in the local market and the Government cancelled the reciprocal trade arrangement between the Commonwealth and South Africa, which had been in operation for many years, in order to assist the local maize-growers. When it was found that glucose, a product of maize, was also being imported from the United States of America to the extent of the product of about 600,000 bushels a year, thus detrimentally affecting the Australian maizegrowers, adequate protection was given to that product in order to ensure a market for home-grown maize to be converted into the secondary product. On the Atherton Tableland hundreds of tons of maize are awaiting transport to southern markets, but owing to the interference with transport if r. *J. Francis.* services, will possibily be held up for an indefinite period and much of it will be totally ruined. According to the latest telegrams received from Queensland, the farmers at Bowen are loading sugar on the *Indianola.* At Prosperpine the farmers have resolved to give every assistance in loading their own products, and at Home Hill, farmers are loading the ships. That is sufficient to show the extent to which the handling of our primary products is being menaced by this continued trouble on the waterfront. The unemployed problem which is so acute to-day is intensified by the hold up of ships. Last year Australia exported 1,600,000 dozen eggs to the value of approximately £170,000, and to-day large shipments of eggs are on the wharfs awaiting shipment to catch the London Christmas market. If they could be shipped at once the sellers would receive a highly satisfactory price, but if any delay occurs owing to interruption of transport services, the eggs will reach a glutted market, and will have to be sold at a price below the cost of production. We heard this afternoon of the distressing position which has arisen in Geraldton where some enterprising settlers have undertaken the production of early tomatoes which they expect to sell at a profitable price if they reach the southern market before the other crops come in. These tomato-growers depend on the early market for their year's income, and it appears that after devoting a whole year's work to tilling the soil, tending the plants, picking and casing their product, they will be ruined by the shipping hold-up which prevents the transport of their produce to the southern markets. Honorable members opposite appear to regard this subject only from one viewpoint - that of the waterside workers. They appear to forget the intense hardship which is being experienced by primary producers and others in every part of the Commonwealth, and the extent to which industry is being retarded. I regret the necessity to introduce this measure, but owing to the exceptional conditions prevailing the Government has been forced so to act. I trust that the power which, I am sure, Parliament will grant to the Government will not have to be employed, and that this legislation, which is regarded by honorable members opposite as drastic, will have the effect of speedily bringing about peace on the waterfront. It is interesting to review the position of our coastal shipping trade. To-day Australia, an island continent, with 12,000 miles of coastline, should be able to maintain an Australian mercantile marine capable of meeting the requirements of the Australian people and extending its activities in every direction. On 1st January, 1912, the passenger tonnage on the Australian coast was 155,000, but on 1st January of this year it had been reduced to 77,295 tons - a decrease of over 50 per cent., due almost entirely to the continuous industrial trouble. In the circumstances which have prevailed during recent years it has been impossible for ship-owners to guarantee regular services, or to carry on their business with any reasonable degree of success. According to statistics departures from the port of Sydney show a decrease of 525 vessels and 347,000 tons. It has been stated frequently during the debate that this Government devotes its activities solely to the interests of the rich, and has no consideration whatever for the poor. In this connexion it has been stated that the Abrahams brothers, who for a number of years effectively avoided payment of income tax, were allowed to escape imprisonment by paying to the Taxation Department, £500,000 is an example. The full facts of this case were reported to the House from time to time by the Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham).** The point I wish to establish is that although it has been stated that this agreement was reached between the Commonwealth Taxation Department and the Abrahams brothers, because of the political tendencies of certain persons concerned, the fact remains that the Western Australian Labour Government entered into a similar agreement on the 3rd October, 1927, under which Abrahams brothers agreed to pay £78,000, and £2,000 costs. The agreement entered into between the Commonwealth Government and Abrahams brothers on the 26th September was iden tical with that which the Western Australian Labour Government made with them on the 3rd October, 1927. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- Where did the honorable member get that information. {: .speaker-JWT} ##### Mr J FRANCIS:
MORETON, QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931; LP from 1944 -- In answer to a question asked in this House of the AttorneyGeneral. The only difference between the two cases is that the Commonwealth Taxation Department gave the fullest publicity to the circumstances in order to show that the Abrahams brothers were suitably punished for attempting to defraud the Government and the country. Since this Government has been in office it has made a genuine attempt to bring about industrial peace, and to keep the wheels of industry moving. I trust that a better spirit will prevail on the waterfront and that it will be unnecessary for the regulations which may be framed under this measure to be brought into operation. I am sure we all hope to hear at an early date that the dispute has been settled by the leaders of the unions altering their policy and directing the men to comply with the terms of the award. {: #subdebate-14-0-s7 .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 .- The honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. J. Francis)** regards this measure as an indication of the Government's determination to carry out the mandate which he said it had received from the people. The Government has had three years in which to deal with these imaginary extremists in our midst, and to honour the promises that were broadcast throughout the Commonwealth before the last election. If, owing to unforeseen circumstances this Government is returned at the next election, I dare say we shall hear the honorable member for Moreton, during the closing stages of the next Parliament, saying that some other weird piece of legislation is a further indication of the Government's determination to carry out a mandate it had received then possibly ten years ago. In considering this bill one must look for the motive of its framers, and I am of the opinion that the Government, knowing that it was going to the country in the course of a couple of months, was keenly disappointed at the partial collapse of the waterside workers' strike. The Nationalist party organizers and an army of agents and stunters. paid by the " moneybags " of this country, seized every opportunity in an atmosphere of hysteria last election of snatching a political victory. They did not wish the present strike to be settled and are doing all in their power, not only by using the machinery of government, but also through the activities of unscrupulous organizations outside to bring about an extension of the trouble. This measure has been introduced to please outside interests which are keenly anxious that this Government should receive a further lease of life and that during the next redistribution they will gerrymander the electorates in such a way that there will be little possibility of their meeting political defeat. In view of this coldblooded display of coercion it is interesting to recall some of the remarks made by this peacemaker, the Prime Minister, before the Constitutional Association in Sydney on the 6th February last. The Prime Minister, dealing with the desirableness of promoting industrial peace, said - >I am confident that a round table conference, animated by a spirit of reason and goodwill, can do more to assist in the solution of some of the problems that confront us than any other action. That was only seven months ago. He spoke of round table conferences, of reason and goodwill. How comes it, then, that the right honorable gentleman is now sponsoring a bill which,if passed, will undoubtedly create hatred and dissension? The only explanation is that an election is to take place on the 17th of November, and that this has altered his attitude. He is now flourishing a big stick. He also said on the same occasion- >May it not be that the most practical method of approaching the problem we are faced with would be first to endeavour to bring the two sides together in these industries rather than immediately proceed to a conference of the employers and employed, representative of industry as a whole. The wisdom of the adoption of this course would be a matter for the consideration of the conference I have suggested, as would be many other questions of immediate action which might be taken to create the atmosphere in which a permanent settlement could bc achieved. Later he said - >No one knows better than I do how impossible it is to deal with the reactionary em- ployer. When the worker is swayed by bitterness and mistrust these other extremists are blinded by prejudice and ignorance. > >I can sympathize, if I do not agree, with the workers' attitude. I can And no excuses for the reactionary employer, who is not only the enemy of the "class he professes to represent, but -is a menace to the country. Did the Prime Minister include the shipowners in the class of employers to whom he referred? The prevalence of industrial trouble on the waterfront indicates that the ship-owners are blameworthy. There can be no doubt whatever that they are a reactionary class and a menace to the welfare of the country. It is largely due to the engineering of these captains of industry that the present trouble has been brought about on the waterfront. They have caused the Government to attempt to organize an army of free labour on the wharfs to break down our industrial conditions and make scabs of otherwise good working men. That is not the way to introduce co-operation. {: #subdebate-14-0-s8 .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bayley: -- The honorable member is not in order in imputing motives. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- It appears that the employers may flout the awards of the Arbitration Court as often as they like without causing the Prime Minister to make any complaints; but immediately the workers object to a decision they are condemned and an effort is made to punish them. Apparently all that the worker has to do is to obey. No section of the community, as a matter of fact, is as ready as the workers to abide by the decision of the court. The Government itself does not always abide by the deci; sion of every commission or board that it constitutes. It quite often appoints arbitrators to consider important questions. Only recently certain monetary claims against the Government were submitted to arbitrators, but the Government did not accept the decision that was given. It frequently happens that recommendations of the Tariff Board are not carried into effect by the Government. In these circumstances, is it reasonable to expect the workers to accept every decision that is given against them? I shall not camouflage my attitude on this subject. I think that the workers are justified in reserving to themselves the right to accept or reject awards that are made to govern their callings. If unsatisfactory decisions are given they are, in my opinion, entitled at the earliest possible moment to seek an alteration of them either through the Arbitration Court or otherwise. The Prime Minister and other honorable members opposite during the progress of this debate have prated a good deal about the misery and suffering caused by unemployment. What have they ever done to relieve the position? Their mouthings on the subject may be dismissed as so much cant, hypocrisy, and hollowness. {: #subdebate-14-0-s9 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- It should not be necessary to withdraw the truth. *The honorable member for Cook having resumed his seat,* **Mr. Deputy Speaker** *proceeded to put the question.* {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- I have not concluded my speech, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member resumed his seat, and as no other honorable member rose, I proceeded to put the question. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- I desire to continue my speech. I only resumed my seat because it was my duty to do so when the Chair addressed me. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must withdraw his objectionable remark before he may continue his speech. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- I withdraw it. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The Chair is not awake. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I withdraw the remark that the Chair is not awake. The Chair is awake. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must withdraw that reflection upon the Chair. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I withdraw the remark that the Chair is awake. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must also withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I withdraw both the statement that the Chair is awake, and that the Chair is not awake. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member must apologize for his insolent remark. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I shall certainly not do anything of the kind. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I name the honorable member for Batman. *The Prime Minister having entered the Chamber -* {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I have to inform you, **Mr. Prime** Minister, that, during your absence, I found it necessary to call upon the honorable member for Batman to apologise for his attitude towards the Chair. He refused to do so, whereupon I named him. {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- I have no doubt that the honorable member for Batman has been asked to reconsider his action. Unless he is prepared to do so, there is only one course that I can take. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Probably the Prime Minister does not appreciate the true position. Some objection was taken to a remark that I made, and I withdrew it in terms that were considered unsatisfactory. I then withdrew a second time, and again the terms in which I did so were considered unsatisfactory. Upon my further withdrawal I was called upon to apologise. I do not know what I have done that requires an apology. It appears to me that I have taken the usual course in endeavouring to comply with the wishes of the Chair. If there is anything else that I can do to meet the exacting wishes of the Chair perhaps I may be informed of it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- It may make the matter clear if we obtain from *Hansard* a transcription of the notes. **Mr. Deputy Speaker** *having obtained and read a transcript of the notes of the reporter -* {: .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr Bruce: -- It is an obligation of every member of this assembly to maintain its order and decorum, and unless the honorable member for Batman is prepared to reconsider his position I shall at once proceed to discharge the duty that rests upon me, as Leader of the House. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Before hearing you read the transcript of the notes, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I had no idea that the case was as bad as it appears to be.I must, accordingly, express my regret. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- In his speech the Prime Minister spoke of the holding up of the primary products of this country, and several speakers, elaborating on that subject, have referred to the losses said to have been sustained by those who ship early tomatoes from Geraldton to the Melbourne market. We very seldom hear from these honorable gentlemen of primary products being held up by the schemings and manipulations of market riggers. I was surprised to hear the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. J. Francis)** refer to the Geraldton tomatoes. I should have expected him rather to make some reference to Bowen " Early Crop " tomatoes, which are sent to the Sydney market each year in large parcels. I thought he would have spoken of the way in which the Bowen growers have their earnings considerably reduced by the trickery and .fraudulent practices of agents in Sydney. But he has raised no objection to that. When there is opportunity to fix the blame for industrial trouble on any body of workers, honorable members opposite never miss it. We have heard a great deal about eggs rotting by the thousand on the wharfs of Queensland. Has Queensland no cold storage or refrigerating chambers? I am inclined to think that the reports from these various centres are not only inspired, but also unfounded on facts. Many honorable members opposite have spoken of the possibility of an enormous loss through the postponement of the wool sales and the difficulty of getting the wool away from Australia, but I have heard none of them refer to a secret agreement which has recently been come to among the overseas ship-owners, British and foreign, which is calculated to do more harm to the Australian, wool-growers than any temporary hold-up on the waterfront is likely to cause. That secret agreement apportions the wool shipments for the present season, and if any company takes more than its allotted share it is penalized. The result is that there is not that free flow of trade that there should be, and shipments are delayed to the detriment of the Australian wool-grower. This agreement has been made to enable the various overseas shipping companies to extort exorbitant profits which they will derive from the high freight rates they will charge on our wool. Yet no protest is heard from honorable members opposite. It would be very much better for their constituents if honorable members of the Country party would examine the methods of city agents and overseas shipping companies, instead of raising a storm about a small temporary hold-up. The object of this bill is political. The hopes expressed by honorable members opposite that Australia may enjoy industrial peace are all so much camouflage. They are not so much concerned about securing peace on the waterfront, as they are that there should be constant industrial strife in Australia, particularly on the eve of an election. A great deal could be said about the attempts which are now being made and which have been made for some time past to bring about industrial disputes. The honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Parkhill)** could tell us, if he cared to do so, of the various moves made in recent years, the conversations that have taken place, the suggestions made and the arrangements entered into, by agents of the Nationalist party, and of the publicity bureaux and other organizations that are concentrating to defeat labour and trade unionism at the next elections. If the honorable member would only disclose the secret history of what has happened behind the scenes, it would be the party with which he is associated that would be relegated to political oblivion at those elections. I oppose the bill because it proposes to give the Governor-General powers that should not be entrusted to him or his Ministry. The assurance given by the Prime Minister that regulations made under this measure will be subject to review in this Parliament is absolutely worthless, because in the course of a few hours this Parliament will be prorogued. It will be at least three or four months before a new Parliament will have an opportunity of reviewing any regulations made. It will then be too late to do that. But by that time the purpose of the bill will have been served ; action will have been taken on the waterfront to build up a costly organization to do work which ordinarily should be done by State organizations, with the power to prohibit the employment of unregistered workers, and strikers will be starved into submission. The Government will be perfectly satisfied. This bill will give it the power to do electioneering work and to spend public money in doing so, while the measure itself, along with others which pretend to deal with the industrial situation is allowed to remain in abeyance. I regret that there occurred interruption during my speech, more so because it shows that this Government is protected and helped, not only by the capitalistic press throughout the country, but also by organizations and individuals not so very far from us. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member for Cook must withdraw that reflection upon the Chair. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- I made no reflection upon the Chair. I was referring to certain individuals I had in mind, and my statement was, I think, quite in order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The Chair took the statement of the honorable member to refer to it. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- I can assure you, sir, that no reflection was intended, and that my remark was not addressed to you. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I accept the assurance of the honorable member. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Of course, if the cap fits it may be worn. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member for Batman is out of order. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I realize that. {: #subdebate-14-0-s10 .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN:
Parramatta -- The honorable member who has just resumed his seat was scouring round to find what he was pleased to consider the motives of the Government in introducing this bill, and has suggested that the intention was to stir up hysteria at the elections. But the honorable member who preceded him on that side of the chamber told us that the bill would really help the Labour party, and make it quite certain that they would all get their seats back again. He gave us to understand that the members of the Labour party were actuated merelyby the desire to help the people when it opposed the bill which, if passed, would really be to their advantage. We were treated to an even more far-fetched suggestion than that when it was said that some mysterious organization had brought about the present trouble to assist the Government, and that it would gerrymander the electorates when the next redistribution of seats took place some time in the future. We pride ourselves in this Parliament that we have a system of redistribution which makes gerrymandering impossible, and. works out fairly for all parties. Our system of redistribution will stand comparison with any operating in the States. The honorable member for South Sydney said that the Government had not been requested by any of the States to introduce this legislation, and asked why the Federal Government had not waited until such a request was made. Honorable members opposite are in favour of the full exercise of the powers which this Parliament possesses, and one of the powers, and, indeed, the duties devolving upon the Federal Government by virtue of the Constitution, is the regulating of interstate and overseas trade and commerce. Another argument advanced was that this measure was designed as a blow at trade unionism. As a matter of fact, no greater blow could possibly be struck at trade unionism than is being delivered by those unionists who defy their leaders, and ignore the decisions of their union executives. Anything which tends to put that irresponsible element in its place will strengthen, rather than weaken, the authority of the unions. It has been argued that it is not convenient for the men to attend a second pick-up. To my mind, the question for our consideration is not one of convenience to the waterside workers, but whether they are prepared to honour the solemn undertaking which they gave to obey an award. If the union was dissatisfied with the award, it should have approached the court for a variation. Labour must be found to carry on our essential services, and if the unionists will not do the work offering, they cannot complain if others do it for them. The honorable member for South Sydney **(Mr. C. Riley)** said that Judge Beeby was wrong in framing the award as he did; but that statement carries the argument no further. If the workers believed the award to be wrong they should have approached the court to have it amended. The honorable member asked what would be the effect of this legislation upon the public opinion of the world at large. I am sure that a much better impression will be created in other countries by the spectacle of the Government handling the situation firmly, than would be made if it stood idly by, and allowed the services of the country to be held up by a group of irresponsible unionists. The whole question really boils down to this - "Who is to govern the country: the transport workers and their unions by means of direct action, or the Government duly established by law? This is no new thing. These strikes have been *a* source of irritation for years, and the time has come when they must cease. I welcome any action which will put an end to this trouble, and which will teach the men that the community does not exist for them alone; but that they owe a duty as citizens to the community. The honorable member for Cook seemed to doubt whether this dispute was really causing the amount of distress and disorganization which honorable members on this side have contended. Any one who has followed the course of events, and who has read the newspapers, must know that the loss and distress caused by this trouble is very widespread. {: .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- Many of the newspaper reports have been inspired, and are quite unfounded. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- I do not propose to deal with the reports seriatim. This is the season of the year when it is absolutely necessary that our produce should be lifted without delay, which means loss and unemployment. The workers have chosen this time to strike because they realize that the situation is critical. I regret that the referendum proposal put before the people at the last election was not carried. If it had been, the Government would have much greater power to settle disputes. I trust that the Government will press on with this measure, and will take what steps are necessary to ensure that the control of our industries is not left in the hands of extremists. {: #subdebate-14-0-s11 .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr MCGRATH:
Ballarat -- I desire to place on record my opposition to this bill. I know of no other civilized country in the world where similar legislation has been brought forward. I cannot recall any Prime Minister having introduced into Parliament a bill which gives the Governor-General, through the Cabinet, power to do practically everything and anything while Parliament is in recess. It is proposed to give the Governor-General power to declare martial law, and to call out the military if that is desired. Evidently the Prime Minister is endeavouring to emulate Mussolini, who has practically abolished his Parliament, and is a law unto himself. This proposal to give one or two individuals full control of the lives and properties of their fellow citizens is something entirely foreign to Australian and British sentiment. I do not believe that the workers can have arbitration and strike as well. When an award is given they should obey it. If the award is unfair, they should seek early redress in the Arbitration Court. I can quite understand the men feeling that they have a just grievance under this award. They have grave suspicions regarding the Arbitration Court and the action of the Government in this matter. They remember that the Government has gone out of its road to appoint particular persons to the Bench, and that **Mr. Justice** Drake-Brockman stood down from the Nationalist party in order to accept a judgeship. {: .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bayley: -- The honorable member is not in order in referring in that way to a member of the judiciary. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- He was president of the Employers Federation and to that extent was biased. The workers have lost faith in him. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Members of the judiciary may not be criticized in that manner. The practice, not only in this Parliament, but also in the mother of parliaments, forbids it. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- I remember much stronger language than that being employed by the right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes),** in criticizing the decisions of **Mr. Justice** Higgins. Then we have **Mr. Justice** Lukin and **Mr. Justice** Dethridge, who have always associated themselves with the employers. No wonder the workers are losing confidence in the court. They think that the whole thing is a gigantic conspiracy. This award was not to be proclaimed until the end of this year, but, because the election is to be held on the 17th of November, the unionists believe that **Mr. Justice** Beeby was influenced to give an early award, knowing that the workers concerned would resent it. When they did so, the Prime Minister declared that he intended to issue a proclamation putting the Crimes Act into operation. The Labour leaders, realizing that awards of the court should be obeyed, ordered the men back to work, and in many of the ports they were and are still working. The Prime Minister thought that the strike would peter out, and he was afraid that work on the waterfront would be resumed before he could put the present bill into operation. The men do not believe that he desires to have the dispute settled. For political reasons, the Government desires the strike to continue. It wishes to go to the country at the coming election, as it did at the last election, under circumstances that will enable its misdeeds for the last three years to be overlooked. It wants the attention of the electors to be distracted by the present industrial trouble, so that it will be again returned to power. I have every sympathy with the men in their fight. I know what the double pickup system means to them. They have to loaf about for four hours, and, in some cases, eight hours, with nothing to do. Every clergyman in the country should stand side by side with the unionists in their demand for the abolition of that pick-up system. The men assemble for work at 8 a.m. Perhaps 500 are offering and only 300 are selected. The other 200 are told to hang about, and this results in drinking and' gambling. Surely with the aid of wireless telegraphy the shipowners could tell within half an hour when the wharf labourers would be required. If a vessel were due at 3 p.m. it should be possible to select the men required at the 8 o'clock pick-up, so that they could return to their homes knowing for certain that at a later ' hour of the day work would be available for them. For some years the one pick-up system has been operating admirably in Melbourne, which is one of the busiest ports in Australia. Naturally, the men strongly resent the new award. They feel that political influence has been brought to bear to cause the judge to issue the new award, in .the hope that industrial disturbance will be promoted at the time of an election. Personally, I hope that the counsels of the federated trade unions will prevail. They should treat this measure with contempt, and not give the Prime Minister an opportunity to put it into operation. No one can predict what might occur if it were put into effect. Once an attempt was made to do the work on the wharfs with free labour every union throughout Australia would be affected, and the consequences might be disastrous. The Prime Minister has available to him an easy and honorable way of settling the trouble. Why did he not try to bring about a conference between the two parties. In half a dozen cases the award makes special provision for such a conference. Realizing the full meaning of the award the Premier of Victoria, **Mr. Hogan,** brought the two parties together. He made the first gesture towards peace, and he was partially successful. If he had been assisted by the Prime Minister he would have been wholly successful. Contrast the attitude of the Nationalist Prime Minister with that of the Labour Premier of Victoria. One seeks to bring about peace while the other talks of using the bludgeon by arresting and fining the men. Not satisfied with proclaiming the Crimes Act, the Prime Minister now comes along with a proposal that casts aside practically every act on the statute-book so far as the transport workers are concerned. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- The Attorney-General has served summonses on men who were trying to bring about peace. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- That action by the Attorney-General and the Prime Minister's introduction of this bill in the dying hours of the session will do anything but promote peace. The Government- has had three years in which to solve the problem of industrial unrest for which it claimed to have received a mandate. On the eve of every industrial dispute it has brought down a new measure. It has told us previously that it has the fullest powers to deal with this problem. It has promised the people more than it can accomplish. No party can guarantee peace in the industrial sphere. As long as there are two parties to industry, one ever striving for better working conditions and the other always trying to increase its dividends, peace is impossible. If the Labour party were in power it could not guarantee to bring about that happy state of affairs; but it would not threaten to bring out the military forces at the first sign of unrest. It would suggest conciliation, and try to bring about an amicable settlement. At the last election the issue was clouded because of the strike of British seamen. Labour men were accused of being communists and followers of Jock Garden. During the discussion of the present bill, however, the name of that individual has not been mentioned. He has urged the men to return to work. He has ceased to provide the Nationalists with political ammunition. At the last election the issue was so clouded that the people took no notice of the misdeeds of the Government. Now, five or six weeks prior to the coming election, this bill is sprung upon us in the hope that the issue will again be clouded. I am confident that the strike will end suddenly. The unionists having voiced their protest will probably return to work and proceed in a legitimate way to have the award amended. They should have a good chance of success, because **Mr. Justice** Beeby is unwell, and probaby another judge will hear the case. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honorable member is not in order in reflecting upon a member of the judiciary. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- I have no ill will towards him, and certainly wish him no harm. We have learnt from this strike that there is one argument that the Nationalist party can never use again. We have been told previously in every similar debate that the rank and file of the unionists want to work but are prevented from doing so by the union leaders, the " red raggers," who are everlastingly fomenting trouble. We were assured that once this Government gave the unions the right of holding secret ballots, strikes would be ended. But now the Government dare not put the secret ballot to the test. It claims that the Labour leaders stand for peace, and that a large section of the rank and file resent the award because they object to waiting about the wharfs all day for work. I shall have opportunities in committee to ascertain exactly what the bill means. I should like to have certain of its provisions explained. Perhaps the AttorneyGeneral will don the uniform of a lieutenant-commander of the British Navy so graphically described last night by the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Anstey)** and explain them. Since we are given to understand that the Government proposes, if necessary, to utilize the forces of the navy and the army to give effect to the law, it is fitting that the Attorney-General should wear his uniform. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- Was it the AttorneyGeneral who was appointed to that rank? {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- Yes, and the honorable member for Bourke told us that he purchased his uniform six months after the war was over, and strutted about in it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The honorable member is not now discussing the bill. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- I am merely saying that when he is explaining the provisions of the bill in committee it would be appropriate if the Attorney-General donned his naval uniform. The Government under this measure proposes to suspend all our ordinary laws and activities, and to do all that may be necessary to defend those persons who may offer their services to keep the ships moving. The forces of the army and the navy, so we are led to believe, will be utilized, and I suggest that in such an event the Attorney-General should be fittingly clothed for his new duties. He might then be able to claim that he has had some experience in the navy, and offer some justification for having worn the uniform, which he donned six months after peace was proclaimed. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- Of course the honorable member knows that that is merely untrue. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order ! {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- I will substitute the word "inaccurate." {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- I will get the honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** to verify what I have just said. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- I notice, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that the statement of the Attorney-General that what the honorable member for Ballarat had said was untrue, received no comment from the Chair. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- If the honorable member for Batman had been listening he would have heard the Chair call the Attorney-General to order, and the Attorney-General substitute the word " inaccurate " for the word " untrue." {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Like the regulations that will be drawn up under this measure, it. was done in secret. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- -If we pass this measure Parliament will have no control, because very shortly we shall be engaged in a general election, and the new Parliament probably will not meet before March next. Until the regulations have been laid on the table of Parliament, the Government will have a free hand, and will be able to do what it likes to protect the interests of shipowners. It is lamentable that in this twentieth century it should be deemed necessary to bring down a bill like this to place the lives and destinies of the working classes absolutely in the hands of one or two men. No such measure has been introduced in any other Parliament in the civilized world in recent years. I regret very much that it has been left to this Ministry to show even Mussolini how to take' away from the people the rights which they have enjoyed for so long. If the people to-day were as alive to their interests as the electors were 20 or 30 years ago, the Government would not have dared to pass legislation of this nature, to confer upon the GovernorGeneral the extraordinary powers that will be taken under the proposed regulations. The wealthy ship-owners of this country have never shown a desire to work amicably with their employees. I believe that when the people realize that this Government is throwing its full weight behind the ship-owners, they will place in power a government and party that will take the first opportunity to repeal this measure. {: #subdebate-14-0-s12 .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr MAXWELL:
Fawkner -- I do not intend to speak at length on the bill. I rise to remind the Prime Minister that during the course of the debate some doubt has been expressed as to the wording of one of the clauses of the bill. It was suggested that clause 3 was so framed that any regulations made under it would be exempt from the operation of the Acts Interpretation Act. I think there is some foundation for the opinion, and I suggest that the Prime Minister might see his way to alter the clause slightly, so as to put the matter beyond all doubt. The right honorable gentleman has told us that it is the intention of the Government to apply the regulations in the ordinary way, and that they will be subject to the Acts Interpretation Act. I suggest, therefore, that the words " but subject to the Acts Interpretation Act " be inserted after the words "notwithstanding anything contained in any other act. " If this is done it will dispel any doubt as to the exact meaning of the provision. {: #subdebate-14-0-s13 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- When the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** was speaking I noticed that the wording of clause 3 differed slightly from the wording in similar sections of other acts giving the Governor-General power to make regulations, and I thought it strange that the draftsman should have departed from the usual phrasing. I am wondering now whether the change has been made in order to confer more power on the Government. I have a very vivid recollection of the most disastrous industrial dispute in the history of Australia - the great maritime strike. **Sir- James** Paterson, who was then Premier of Victoria, took drastic action against the strikers. Legislation which he passed provided that persons assisting even the strikers' wives and children would render themselves liable to punishment. I made it clear then that nothing that the Government could do would prevent me from helping the wives and children of men who were out on strike. I have never advocated a strike, and I never will, because I cannot forget that wives and children of strikers are the principal sufferers, and that hunger and misery are their lot. We cannot claim to have made much advance in civilization when men who are willing to work cannot obtain it. I refer honorable members to Frost's *History of Strikes.* That authority, in his review of the history of strikes for the last half century, states that 75 per cent. of them have been successful. I recall also my first experience of a serious strike in England. I was called to attend a young woman with the God-given gift of motherhood, and, in a small room I assisted to bring another child into the world. Counting the new baby, there were no fewer than eleven persons living in that room in the great city of London, the heart of the British Empire. Some time later, in another part of London, there was a strike of drivers for a tenhour day, and a 60-hour week. Honorable members will have some idea of the appalling conditions that then existed, when I tell them that drivers were paid from 18s. to 20s. a week, and the foreman of a carrying firm received only 25s. a week. Then there was a big coal strike in England. The Government of the day passed a coercion act. It was introduced in the House of Commons on the day following the murder of Lord Frederic Cavendish and **Mr. Burke** in Ireland. The tragic circumstances in which that coercive bill was introduced might perhaps have been advanced as justification for the measure ; but coercive as it was, it was a mild legislative proposal compared with the bill introduced and passed by the Premier of Victoria, **Mr. (now Sir William)** Irvine, the present Chief Justice of that State. I have lived to see that act repealed unanimously with loathing and contempt by the Victorian Parliament. **Mr. Prendergast** considered it his duty, for the benefit of future historians, to insert in *Hansard* the bill as originally introduced. It was so savagely penal in character that even the Parliament of that day refused to pass it in its original form. Even in its modified form, it was the most coercive measure ever passed by the Victorian legislature. The English law to which I have referred, provided for three months' imprisonment for certain offences. Under the Irvine act, the penalty for a similar offence was twelve months' imprisonment, and there was the further provision that if five persons were seen talking together at, a street corner they should be liable to arrest. That bill was not introduced on the eve of an election. We can only conclude, therefore, that since this measure has been brought down just before we go before the electors, it has been introduced for political purposes. I am sorry that I cannot help thinking that. In conversation with one of the advisers of His Royal Highness the Duke of York, I remarked that never in the history of the world have the employers as a body voluntarily offered to the employees reduced hours of labour or increased wages, and he, an intelligent and keen observer, said " and they never will!". Even the Kaiser Wilhelm had more sense of justice than is shown in some of our measures. Many years ago a strike occurred in the coal mines of Silesia. The miners wanted their hours reduced and their wages increased to the German equivalent of approximately 16s. a week. The mine-owners refused to negotiate with them, and a few minor disturbances occurred. The Kaiser visited the district and issued a proclamation, stating that if the miners caused riots they would be shot down like dogs, but he said to the mine-owners, " If you do not within 24 hours appoint delegates to confer with the representatives of the men, I shall appoint them for you, and you must abide by the result." Within 36 hours the strike was ended, the men receiving what they had asked for, and I believe there have been no strikes in the mines of Silesia since. Whatever I may think of the Kaiser's character, I commend him for his iron hand on that occasion. I shall put on record again, as I have done on dozens of occasions - for I never issue a pamphlet or souvenir without mentioning it - the following extract from the *Age,* the most powerful newspaper in Victoria, regarding the National Union, which is composed of wealthy men, trusts and combines : - >This " inner circle " is the head and front of Money Power - in large capitals. It receives almost fabulous cheques from shipping, pastoral, commercial, importing, mining and financial concerns, and in dark secrecy it allocates the money to various branches of the Nationalist party, for expenditure along definite lines carefully laid down by the union itself. The main avenues of expenditure may be set out as follow: - > >Publicity in support of the Nationalist party. > >Advances to cover the election expenses of candidates. > >Provision for conveyances for speakers and organizers before election day, and for voters going to the polls on election day. > >Payment of the salaries and expenses of huge organizing and publicity staffs, who spend money like water at election time. > >Provision of consolation prizes for men who consent to run in the Nationalist interest in electorates where there is no possibility of success. This is a device to keep opposing candidates busy in their own electorates, and prevent them from assisting others who need their help. To my knowledge **Mr. Nicholls,** when he opposed me in the Melbourne constituency was paid over £15 a week and all expenses. This pleased him so much that, at the next election, although another candidate was to be chosen by the National Union, he again offered himself to the electors, but, I understand, on that occasion the funds were not forthcoming. I think I read in the press an allusion by the Prime Minister to the National Union in terms certainly not of praise, but rather of contempt. If so, his candour was to his credit. *Smith's Weekly* published a statement of the expenses paid in all Federal constituencies in Victoria by that body, and the amounts ranged from £900 each for Melbourne and Melbourne Ports to £3,700 in the constituency of Flinders. This information was disclosed to the newspaper by a dissatisfied official of the union. Similar information has not been published in regard to any other State, possibly because no official has been willing to disclose it. This bill provides for something very similar to martial law. The Attorney-General pays too much attention to the letter of the law, and does not rely sufficiently on that greater force, justice. In a country like Australia, where every man and woman has a vote, the laws should certainly be obeyed, subject always to the inherent right of British people to strive for the repeal or amendment of bad laws. I sincerely wish that the referendum, initiative and recall, were embodied in our Constitution. If that machinery were in operation, no legislation of this character could become law without the approval of the people, for within three months of its enactment, a petition signed by from 5 per cent. to 10 per cent. of the population, would be sufficient to get the bill referred by referendum to the people. In Switzerland, the home of the initiative referendum and recall, with a population of about 3,000,000, a petition by 50,000 voters can secure a referendum upon any subject. If, within three months, no petition for the referendum were lodged, the people would be considered to have accepted the law. I do not believe that this Government would expect this bill to survive a test of that character. I would stake my existence that if it were put to a vote of the people it would be rejected. At any rate if the referendum was in operation such a law could not come into operation until the people had had an opportunity to express their opinion of it. I had the pleasure and privilege of being a member of the delegation from this Parliament to the meeting of the Empire Parliamentary Association in South Africa. There I met men who had participated in the tragic strike at Johannesburg, which was attended by regrettable bloodshed. The real reason for the outbreak was explained to me. The Boers, who were non-unionists, were brought into the mines to compete with the other whites, mostly British, in the hope that the strength of the unions would be broken down. But when the young Dutchmen learned of the advantages of unionism, and its high ideals for the uplift of humanity, they too became unionists, and just as enthusiastic as the others. Unfortunately, later, a volunteer regiment, consisting mainly of men between the ages of seventeen and nineteen years, was sent up from Durban. They swaggered about the streets of Johannesburg, and finally, in their youthful exuberance, fired off some of their guns. This roused the fighting spirit of the Boers, a combination of Dutch and French Huguenot blood, and they immediately had recourse to their weapons. I heard the second man in the present Union Ministry in South Africa, say that the martial law, declared by General Smuts, was illegal. **Dr. Steyn** is one of the most famous barristers in South Africa, and has fought more elections in a short period than any other man. He addressed the Labour congress in the town hall at Kimberley, for in South Africa the town halls are always placed at the disposal of Labour congresses. Some of those town halls are magnificent buildings. No town hall in Australia is comparable with that in Durban, and I doubt whether even the fine town hall of Sydney equals that of Johannesburg. Addressing that congress **Dr. Steyn** said that although it would not be proper for him, as an officer of the court, to say that the judge had acted wrongly in sentencing those men to 'death, he was of the opinion that if evidence which had been suppressed had been placed before the judge, he would not have found them guilty. He added that under martial law legalized murder was rampant. Pointing to one prominent member of the congress he said : " If they had caught you, you would have been hanged. " Much as I dislike the legal profession, it is to its credit that a great number of its most prominent members in South Africa offered, without fee or reward, to defend those men. Thielmann Roos, the strong man behind the present Prime Minister of South Africa, addressing the meeting said that he had told them previously to wait for the next election, when General Smuts and all his blood-stained companies would be driven into the limbo of oblivion. They are there now, because of that great strike in South Africa. This bill, with all the ignominy associated with it, will also pass into the limbo of oblivion. It may be that the two ministers who have had most to do with it - I refer to the Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce)** and the Attorney-General **(Mr. Latham)** who as yet are young men,, will live to regret the introduction of this bill as I feel sure **Sir William** Irvine regrets today having introduced and passed through the Victorian assembly a somewhat similar measure years ago. Should the regulations to be made under this legislation provide that to assist women and children who suffer because of the strike, is an offence, T, for one, shall not hesitate to disobey them. I have never **Dr.** *Maloney.* advocated strikes, because I see behind the striker, as behind the soldier, the wife and infant, and I know the misery and suffering they bring upon women and children; but if *a* strike is declared, with the knowledge I have of them - knowledge which any honorable member may learn for himself by reading Frosts' *History of Strikes* - I shall feel it my duty to assuage the misery of the helpless women and children who are affected by it. Many of the younger men who will vote for this measure will live to regret having voted for it. {: #subdebate-14-0-s14 .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST:
East Sydney -- I protest against being forced to discuss legislation at this hour of the morning. The whole of the staff of Parliament has been forced to work long hours merely to satisfy the ambition of men whose only desire seems to be to injure their less fortunate brethren. I feel confident that so drastic a bill has never previously been introduced into any parliament in the British Empire. It is to be regretted that the Prime Minister and the AttorneyGeneral of this fair land are men capable of bringing before Parliament such wicked legislation. No legislation which any government may introduce will ever force unionists to work side by side with non-unionists. The shipping combine is behind this legislation. The Prime Minister never visits Sydney without meeting some of the members of that combine and having dinner with them. There is to be an important dinner in Sydney next week, at which members of the shipping combine and of the Chamber of Commerce, and some- but not all - of the members of the Chamber of Manufacturers, will be present. Should the Prime Minister attend that dinner he will be greeted with cheers. Instead of being condemned for introducing such tyrannical legislation, he will be acclaimed as one who has done much to prevent the onward march of the industrialists of Australia. I cannot understand the AttorneyGeneral's action in this matter, for he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I did not think that it was possible that he would allow himself to be made the too] of one section of the community to injure another section. The AttorneyGeneral has been in consultation with a fellow-member of the legal profession, who also is a member of this Parliament ; I refer to the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Maxwell),** who represents that district only because, with three candidates in the field, he received a large number of Labour votes. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr MAXWELL: -- That is not correct; I did not obtain a section of the Labour votes. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- Because of a disagreement among the supporters of Labour the honorable member was elected. No more wicked provision was ever included in an act of Parliament than the clause in this bill which provides that, notwithstanding anything in any other act, regulations made under this legislation shall have the effect of law. Now that the effect - of that provision has been exposed, surely honorable members opposite will not. agree to it. During the war men guarded by armed escorts were conveyed in motor cars to take the jobs of strikers, and when the dispute was settled, they were told that their services were no longer required. That was certainly harsh treatment; but it was to some extent deserved because these men were scabs, and were preventing loyal unionists from obtaining conditions that would have enabled them to take their proper place in a civilized community. It is a contemptible and miserable trick to introduce a drastic measure like this in a democratic country. The Arbitration Court is presided over by judges that were appointed by a Nationalist Government. These gentlemen have decided leanings towards the Nationalist party, and when they were appointed it was only to be expected that they would be subject to political influence. Had the Federal Labour party been in power at that time, it would not have made those appointments. In the past the Australian workers had great confidence in the Arbitration Court, but to-day they are bitterly opposed to it. This Government will never be satisfied until the workers of this country are humbled to the dust, and have to crawl on their stomachs to the employers asking for work. That is a wicked spirit, and it. should not -be present in a representative chamber such as this is. It is not the spirit even of the great conservative party of Great Britain. The late Charles Cameron Kingston, of South Australia, would never have sponsored a measure of this kind. The late Edmund Barton was a man who mixed with the people. He was imbued with democratic ideals and this legislation would have been repugnant to him in the extreme. The right honorable member for North Sydney **(Mr. Hughes)** must condemn this legislation. It is unfortunate that we have as Prime Minister of Australia a man who has no knowledge of the psychology of the great masses of the people. When this measure is passed and becomes law the right honorable gentleman will be invited by the interests whom he served, to convivial functions. He will make a speech and receive the applause of his hearers. They will say : " Thank God that we have a Prime Minister like this! He will increase our profits, he will make the workers crawl to us, begging for work." The older I get the more I realize the necessity of appointing to the Prime Ministership a man who is tolerant and will not abuse the powers that are vested in him as head of the Government. I should be false to my beliefs if I did not oppose this legislation. A few days ago, I picked up in the library, a book entitled *Fact-finding in Labour Disputes;* and edited by Parker Thomas Moon. It is a record of the proceedings of the academy of political science. This publication contains some information which, if honorable members care to read it, would be of great value to them. Among those who have assisted the committee in compiling this work are Lloyd George, **Sir Herbert** Samuel, **Sir John** Symon, Philip Kerr, W. T. Layton and J. M. Keyes. **Mr. Keyes** is the greatest financier that the world has known. He is at present the managing director of the Midland Bank which has the largest turnover in Great Britain. At one time that institution was called the Midland County Bank. It has branches in every city in England. If I ever return to the Homeland I shall visit some of the institutions that I saw when a boy. According to this publication, before a change can take place in the economic position of a country the feeling of discontent and dissatisfaction must be removed from the minds of the great mass of the -people. This is the very latest authority on the subject, the book having arrived only today, and I am the first to delve into the wisdom that it contains. Speaking of the causes of discontent in industry, this committee of remarkably intellectual and highly educated men observes : - >What are the causes of this discontent, which finds expression in wasteful strife or still more wasteful restriction of effort and output? The thinking workman makes five main complaints against the existing industrial system. First, for all his toil it does not supply him in many cases with an income sufficient to give a comfortable livelihood for himself and his dependents, together with a margin for rational enjoyment and for saving. Surely honorable members opposite realize that the worker is entitled to enjoy a measure of the good things that abound in this existence? I urge them to give their careful consideration to these wellthought out conclusions, which have been rendered in such splendid literary form. The second complaint is set out as follows : - >That industry has failed to give him security of livelihood, however eager and willing to work he may be. Accident, a spell of sickness or a shortage of work due to no fault of his own, may at any moment throw him out of employment, use up his savings and inflict hardship and humilitation upon his children. Of all these menaces unemployment is the most serious and it inspires the belief that there must be something wrong with a social order in which amidst flaunting luxury such insecurity haunts the life of the worker. While the third complaint reads - > That the existing industrial order denies him the status which seems proper for a free citizen. He may be dismissed at a week's or a day's notice and thus deprived of his livelihood without redress or appeal, perhaps for no better reason than that he has offended an autocratic foreman. While as a citizen he has an equal share in determining the most momentous issues about which he may know very little, in regard to his own work, on which he has knowledge, his opinion is seldom asked or considered, and he has practically no voice in determining the conditions of his daily life except in so far as trade union action has secured it. Indeed, where management is inefficient and autocratic, he is frequently compelled to watch waste and mistakes, of which he is perfectly well aware, without any right of intervention whatever, and this despite the .fact that when these errors issue in diminished business for the firm concerned, he and not the management will be the first to suffer by short time working or complete loss of employment. Surely those words will literally burn into the brains of honorable members opposite, and cause them to realize their heartlessness and cruelty to those who, through the turn of fortune's wheel, are less plentifully endowed with prosperity than the individuals whom honorable members seek to placate with this bill. I beg honorable members to realize that without our workers the wheels of industry would cease to revolve, thereby depriving their supporters of that wealth which affords them such luxury. The object of the bill that is before the House is to thwart the efforts of the industrialists to attain a modicum of comfort, and to give preference to a contemptible class that is not worthy of consideration. I warn the Government that their action will blight the harmony and prosperity that Australia has hitherto enjoyed, and breed in their place hatred and discontent. Here is another paragraph from the findings of that committee, one that is worthy of special consideration - >Knowledge of the financial results of industry and of the division of its proceeds is denied to the worker and of this he is becoming increasingly resentful. He has little means of judging to what extent he is in fact participating in the fruits of his own labours or whether or no he is getting " a square deal ", and his dissatisfaction with the existing order is proportionately intensified. I may be accounted foolish for acting as the protagonist of the oppressed, but I am here to voice the opinions of those whom I represent, and my only desire is to fulfil my obligations. I am quite indifferent to the hostility of those who disagree with my line of action. The next paragraph, which is a most important one, reads : - >The worker believes that the products of industry are unfairly divided between Capital and Labour; that under the capitalist system society is divided into two classes: a small class of masters who own the means of production or live luxuriously by owning, and a huge class of workers who receive in return for their work only what they can force the owners to pay. He believes that under such a system there can be for his children no true equality of opportunity with the children of more fortunate classes. I hope that honorable members opposite will for a moment set aside1 their conservative instincts, and the miserable animosities with which they are so frequently animated, and that those of them who have children will contemplate the future of- their offspring. Who can say that their lot may not be that of the worker. I urge them not to imperil that future by forcing this measure through the House. The hour is never too late for me to demonstrate to our political opponents the error of their ways. It gives me pleasure to address even ultraconservatives, although I realize that their hearts are not in the right place, and that they are anxious to dominate those who are compelled to work for them to provide the means of sustenance for their wives and families. I deplore the fact that this measure has been introduced so shortly before the election, with the object of deceiving the people. This is a repetition of the action which the Government took three years ago, and is in accordance with the wishes of the shipowners, the mine-owners, and the landowners, who throughout history have been responsible for all the sufferings of the working classes. Up to the days of Plimso'll, ships were loaded beyond their capacity, and sent to sea with human lives on board and with no chance of reaching their destination. They were called " coffin " ships. Plimsoll took a strong stand against the practice, but he had to be guilty of disorderly conduct in the House of Commons before notice would be taken of him. The big landowners for centuries have done their utmost to prevent the great mass of the people from obtaining any benefit from the land. Similarly, the mine-owners have endeavoured to secure for themselves only the whole of the mineral wealth. In the Newcastle district, coal mining leases were obtained -originally upon a payment of Id. or 2d. a ton. In the beginning mining operations were conducted on a very small scale; but as soon as it was found that the seams were six or seven feet thick, companies were floated with a capital of about £40,000. The next stage was the watering of their stock so as to increase the capitalisation to about £60,000. Subsequently the different companies became registered under other names, >and raised the capital values of their holdings to as high as £500,000. These three classes to whom I have referred have been the greatest persecutors of trade unionists, and I am sorry that the Attorney-General has allowed them to make a tool of him. Of course he is an ambitious man, and hopes that some day he will be appointed to the bench of the High Court. But he should have applied his talents to a more worthy purpose. When **Mr. W.** M. Hughes was Attorney-General in the Fisher Ministry every measure that he brought forward had to run the gauntlet of the whole of the party, with the result that frequently it was considerably improved. I am sorry that a similar practice is not adopted by the present occupant of the office. He ought never to have framed such an obnoxious measure. It is not worthy of discussion by a parliament of intelligent men. I think it was the Prime Minister who said that before a man can work on a wharf he will have to obtain a licence. That will be most objectionable. The late **Mr. Justice** Lilley, who would not have countenanced legislation of this character, said to me at a friendly society gathering in Queensland some years ago, "West, the brainy people of the future will be the sons of men who engage in physical labour." The members of the Fisher Government, who so successfully controlled the destinies of this country, for some time, were men of that origin, and it is remarkable to note the difference between the capabilities of the members of this Cabinet and those who constituted the administration I have mentioned. During the Fisher regime constructive legislation was passed, the Commonwealth prospered, people were contented, and there was an absence of industrial unrest, but if this Government persists in introducing legislation of this character, it will- be many years before peaceful conditions are restored. The Government should work with the people, the people work with the Government, and until that principle is adopted we cannot hope to prosper. Notwithstanding the utterances of the Prime Minister- and those associated , with him, concerning their endeavours to ensure industrial peace, they have never done anything to assist the working class. All they are capable of doing is to introduce vicious legislation of this character, under which they propose to permit the employment of " scab " labour on the wharfs. The members of the medical and legal profession, scientific and commercial men, all have their organizations, and the trade unionists who work on the wharfs, and who will be severely penalized if this measure becomes law, should also be permitted to have their organizations. Why should honorable members opposite desire to deprive these men of the benefits they enjoy as members of an organization? I have endeavoured to understand why the Government should have introduced such a bill, and have come to the conclusion that it is due to the fact that one section of the Government meet upstairs and another downstairs, with the natural consequence that there is an entire and complete misunderstanding of each other. There should be only two parties in this Parliament. I have endeavoured, somewhat briefly, perhaps, to place my views before honorable members, and I hope that those who have not been privileged to hear my remarks will read what I have said, so that they will understand the drastic nature of the action which the Government proposes to take in order to destroy trade unionism, and prevent honest men from protecting themselves. This Government will not help them. Question - That the bill be now read a second time - put. The House divided. AYES: 30 NOES: 12 Majority . . . . 18 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to. Clause 3 - >The Governor-General may make regulations, which, notwithstanding anything in any other act, shall have the force of law, with respect to the employment of transport workers, and in particular for regulating the engagement, service, and discharge of transport workers, and the licensing of persons as transport workers, and for regulating or prohibiting the employment of unlicensed persons as transport workers, and for the protection of transport workers. {: #subdebate-14-0-s15 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN:
Batman -- This is the operative clause of the bill. The honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Maxwell)** manifested so fine a sensitiveness about it that I feel obliged to say a few words upon it. The question has been raised whether the regulations made under this measure will be subject to the same conditions as apply to other regulations, and whether the Acts Interpretation Act will be applicable to them. Section 10 of the Acts Interpretation Act of 1904 reads - >Where an act confers power to make regulations, all regulations made accordingly shall, unless the contrary intention appears - > >take effect from the dateof notification, or from a later date specified in the regulations; > >be laid before both Houses of the Parliament within thirty days of the making thereof, or, if the Parliament is not then sitting, within thirty days after the next meeting of the Parliament. > >But if either House of the Parliament passes a resolution of which notice has been given at any time within fifteen sitting days after such regulations have been laid before such House disallowing any regulations such regulation shall thereupon cease to have effect. If the regulations made pursuant to this clause must be laid before both Houses of the Parliament, it is obvious that they cannot be reviewed until early next year. It may be safely assumed, however, that the object of the Government in submitting this measure for consideration at this stage is to make regulations under it to meet the circumstances of an existing industrial dispute, which will have ended before Parliament meets again. It is, therefore, so much affectation and camouflage for the honorable member for Fawkner or any other member to pretend that the regulations will be less objectionable for all practical purposes because they will need to be laid before Parliament when it meets next year. But if the English language still retains any clear meaning the object of the Government in using extraordinary, instead of the ordinary, language in this clause, is to remove every possible restriction and formality from the immediate application of these regulations. There is no ambiguity in this clause. It is quite clear that the regulations will take effect immediately they have been gazetted. Otherwise the words, " Notwithstanding anything in any other act," can have no meaning. The Prime Minister and the AttorneyGeneral both ignored the request for information on this point. The fact is that we are being asked in the dying hours of this Parliament, to grant unprecedented powers in an unprecedented way, although the Government knows very well that we can never call upon it to answer for the manner in which it may use them. The clause may provide matter for some interesting arguments for legal gentlemen whose business it is to pick constitutional flaws in the legislation that we pass. But the Government will have to take the responsibility for that. The clause is vicious in every sense, but apparently the docile followers of the Government do not mind that. We, on this side of the chamber, feel it necessary to point out that before Parliament will have an opportunity to consider the regulations the mischief will have been done. We enter our protest against the clause, and must let it go at that. {: #subdebate-14-0-s16 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT -- The point was raised during the second-reading debate whether, in view of its verbiage, the provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act would be applicable to this clause. I did not deal with the matter on the second-reading debate because I felt that it could be more effectively dealt with at the committee stage. I had no intention whatever of being discourteous to any honorable member. I submit for the consideration of the committee that the' words in the Acts Interpretation Act " unless the contrary intention appears," mean that any contrary intention must appear in the act itself and not in any regulations which are made subsequently under the act. The Government has no intention whatever to exclude anything that may be done pursuant to the provisions of this bill from the operation of the provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act, but to make the intention clear I shall move an amendment to the clause. With regard to the other point that has been raised, I say quite definitely that if the need arises before Parliament reassembles for the Government to use the power conferred upon it by this measure, we shall certainly use it. I move - >That after the word " Act ", the following words be inserted: "but subject to the Acts Interpretation Act 1901-18 and the Acts Interpretation Act 1904-16". {: #subdebate-14-0-s17 .speaker-KYX} ##### Mr C RILEY:
COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- I am not much concerned about the amendment, but I wish to point out that if Parliament decides to license transport workers, it will be equally right to license transport employers, and that therefore the precedent now being set up is a dangerous one. If it is my privilege to be elected to the next Parliament in support of a Labour government, I shall not hesitate to ask that Government to use the power conferred by this bill to license transport employers. Furthermore, as the power to issue a license will carry with it the power to charge license fees, a Labour government will be able to decide just what employers shall be permitted to carry out the transport or other services of the country. Amendment agreed to. Question - That the clause, as amended, be agreed to - put. The committee divided. AYES: 29 NOES: 12 Majority . . . . 17 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported with an amendment; Standing Orders suspended and report adopted. Motion (by **Mr. Bruce)** put - That the bill be now read a third time. The House divided. AYES: 30 NOES: 12 Majority . . . . 18 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 7172 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### ESTIMATES, 1928-29 *In Committee of Supply:* Consideration resumed from 20th September (vide page 7063). Department of the Treasury. Proposed vote, £628,200. {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I desire to ask the Treasurer whether he is able to demand information from the Directors of the Commonwealth Bank, and get that information supplied in detail. The other day I asked a question about a certain matter, and the Treasurer was good enough to answer it, but the answer was not satisfactory, because the bank declined to give the necessary details. That, I contend, is not the way in which to treat the Treasurer of the Commonwealth under whose control the bank is supposed to be. {: #subdebate-15-0-s1 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Treasurer · Cowper · CP -- Ever since the inception of the bank, the directors have declined to make available to Parliament the details of the working and accounts of the institution. That attitude, I think, is a wise one, if we desire the business of the bank to expand. They have always been prepared to give information on general matters, but I have no knowledge of the inside working of the bank. Such information can be obtained only from the directors, and whatever information they have given me I have freely given to Parliament. {: #subdebate-15-0-s2 .speaker-L1J} ##### Mr LISTER:
Corio .- I should like some information from the Treasurer in regard to the items shown as salary and salary allowances to the Secretary of the Leader of the Country party. The amount is £450. Why does not this item appear under the Prime Minister's Department, in the same way as do the salary and salary allowances to the Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition in this House, and to the Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. {: #subdebate-15-0-s3 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Treasurer · Cowper · CP -- This change was made several years ago. The item previously appeared under the Prime Minister's Department, but it was thought advisable to place it here, so that it would appear as part of the Treasurer's estimates. If the Leader of the Country party should become the head of another department, the amount would appear under that department. {: #subdebate-15-0-s4 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- I ask the Treasurer if he will have his department devise some means of paying old-age pensions, so that the pensioners will not have to go to a post office to collect their money. Oldage pensioners or their relatives are put to great inconvenience, and sometimes to a considerable amount of suffering, in the collection of the pensions every fortnight. Superannuation payments are made by cheque, and there seems to be no reason why oldage pensions could not be sent through the post. I do not think it right that pensioners should have to congregate at post offices, and have their names called like witnesses in a law court to come up and receive their pensions. {: #subdebate-15-0-s5 .speaker-L1J} ##### Mr LISTER:
Corio .- I support the request of the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton).** It has been brought under my notice that some old-age pensioners in Geelong have had to travel to the post office by cab at a cost of 2s. 6d. or thereabouts in order to collect their pensions. It is not right that this drain should be made on their slender resources. Many of the pensioners arrive at the office as soon as it is open, but have to wait a considerable time before receiving their money. It should be easy to overcome this difficulty if the suggestion of the honorable member for Maribyrnong were given effect. {: #subdebate-15-0-s6 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP is sympathetic towards this request, and that it is only a matter of re-organizing the method of payment. Old-age pensioners should not be forced to wait in groups about a post Office, in order to collect their money. They have some feeling; in the matter, and do not desire everybody to know the business on which they are there. {: #subdebate-15-0-s7 .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN:
Reid .Failing the acceptance of the suggestion of the honorable member for South Sydney, I should like to see in operation some method of paying pensions which would relieve the present congestion in the post offices. Not only is inconvenience caused to the pensioners at the present time, but , the public are also inconvenienced by having to wait while the pensions are paid. I hope that consideration will be given to the possibility of providing accommodation, not necessarily in the post offices, where the pensions may be paid with some degree of privacy. {: #subdebate-15-0-s8 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Treasurer · Cowper · CP .-The suggestion of the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** and other honorable members has been discussed by me with the Commissioner of Pensions, who finds insuperable difficulties in the way of paying the pensions by means of postal notes; but he is now making exhaustive investigations to see if he can possibly meet the views expressed by honorable members this morning. {: #subdebate-15-0-s9 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN:
Batman **.- Mr. Kell,** who was formerly DeputyGovernor and more recently Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, was appointed Governor on the 10th October, 1925, for one year, under the terms of the Commonwealth Bank ; Act 1911-1924, at a salary of £4,000 per annum. {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr Latham: -- He was not a member of the Public Service and the payment to him has nothing to do with the superannuation fund. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- The act gave **Mr. Kell** no pensionrights. According to information received from the Treasurer, he retired on the 31st May, 1927, but actually his period of service ended on 10th October, 1926. His remuneration was such as might be fixed by way of salary by the Governor-General; but no provision was made for the payment of any pension or superannuation to him. The act contains a provision that he must not engage in any paid employment outside the duties of his office. *Hansard* of the 13th June, 1928, recorded that I asked the Treasurer, *upon notice,* the following questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What were the terms of appointment for the second time of the late Governor of the Common wealth Bank **(Mr. Kell)?** 1. Did **Mr. Kell** acquire any pension rights by virtue of such appointment? 2. ls he, in fact, entitled to, and does he draw a pension; if so, to what amount? 3. Was **Mr. Kelt's** right, if any, of pension, affected by an alteration in the rules of the Officers' Superannuation Fund? 4. What was the date of **Mr. Kell's** retirement, and the date of such alteration, if any? The reply of the Treasurer was - 1 to 5. **Mr. Kell** was re-appointed Governor of the Commonwealth Bank in the terms of the Commonwealth Bank Act 1911-1924 for a period of one year from and inclusive of 10th October, 1925, at a salary at the rate of £4,000 per annum. The date of **Mr. Kell's** retirement was the 31st May, 1927. The Commonwealth Bank is being requested to furnish the other information asked for in these questions. On the 14th June, 1928, the Treasurer stated, *by leave -* >Yesterday, I gave the honorable member certain of the information asked for. I am now in a position to furnish the balance of the information, which has been supplied by the Commonwealth Bank, namely : - > >No. Rights were acquired as a result of payments made by **Mr. Kell** to the fund under the new rules of the Officers' Superannuation Fund. > >Yes. £1,000 per annum. > >Yes. > >Date of retirement, 31st May, 1927. Date of alteration of rules, 1st July, 1926. It appears from this information that the rules of the officers' superannuation fund were altered on the 1st July, 1926. **Mr. Kell** was due for retirement on 10th October, 1926, so it would appear certain that the rules of this fund were altered by the directors of the bank, including **Mr. .Kell,** immediately before his retirement, and by such alteration the governor became entitled to a pension of £1,000 per annum. The question that naturally arises is " How did he qualify to receive that pension?" The honorable member for South Sydney **(Mr. E. Riley)** raised that point in the House on the 13th September, 1928, when he asked the following questions: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is the pension of £1,000 per annum which is being drawn by **Mr. Kell,** ex-Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, payable from the superannuation fund of- that bank? 1. Did **Mr. Kell** contribute for this amount to be paid on the date he retired. If so, how much per fortnight was paid, and what was the total amount of his contributions? 2. Is it a fact that whilst drawing this pension **Mr. Kell** is employed by another bank? The answer supplied by the Treasurer was - >I have now received the following information from the Commonwealth Bank: - The pension being paid to **Mr. Kell** is strictly in accord with his rights under the Superannuation Regulations as amended in June 192G, he having complied with all the conditions provided under these during his term of appointment to the bank. The bank does not feel called upon to enter upon details connected with the business of the institution. The bank has curtly informed the Treasurer that it declines to give the information asked for by a member of this House. I point out that the information sought is of a very important character. I have heard privately that the amount actually paid by the exgovernor to qualify for a pension of £1,000 for the rest of his life was £800. He qualified by simply, . with his codirectors, amending the regulations. In other words he gave himself this pension. He was the principal, at all events, who was instrumental in securing it for himself. That is pretty hot. The judges of the High Court were originally appointed to their honorable positions at less salary than this gentleman received, and no pensions were provided for them. Pursuant to Commonwealth policy this gentleman was appointed without pension. Under the original superannuation rules he was excluded from a pension. At the time he was instrumental in altering these rules, the date was fixed for his retirement, which took place practically a few days after the rules had been altered in that way to enable him to secure the pension. I take leave to say that this is a most indecent thing. It must be borne in mind that the pension comes either out of the Consolidated Revenue or is a charge upon the employees of the bank. In the one case it is a scandal, and in the other an unjust imposition on the bank. In any case, it is, in my opinion, an improper manipulation of public funds. The offence is aggravated by the fact that the directors decline to give any information: Apparently they wish it to be hushed up. It should not be hushed up, because it affects the public generally. The people are interested in these funds, and in addition the employees of the bank are interested. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Did not the rules of the bank superannuation fund provide for the payment of pension to the governor? {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- They did not. On the contrary they expressly excluded the. governor of the bank. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Then how did he come on the fund? {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- Because the rules under which pensions are paid to officers were drawn up by the directors of the bank and altered by them. This I gather from information supplied to me by the Treasurer. **Mr. Kell,** as one of the directors, was chiefly instrumental in altering the rules so as to secure a pension for himself. The directors decline to say how much **Mr. Kell** paid to get his pension, but I am informed that it was £800, and I feel at liberty to use the information because the directors desire to hush the . matter up. It will not be hushed up. We shall have something to say about it. I now direct attention to this most extraordinary and, to me, indecent position of a governor of the bank, not being previously entitled to a pension, probably because of the high salaries paid to the governor coming under the superannuation benefits, to the extent of £1,000 a year, upon retirement, after a brief period of service as governor. I also direct attention to the fact that this gentleman was apparently a director of the Royal Exchange Insurance Company during October, 1926; a director of the Goodyear Tyre Company in December, 1926 ; and ofthe Mutual Life and Citizens Association, in April, 1927. It would appear that he was occupying those positions, and apparently drawing directors' fees in contravention of the Commonwealth Bank Act which, as I have already stated, lays it down that a director of the bank shall not be entitled to be engaged in any paid employment outside his office. The rules of the Officers' Superannuation Fund provide *inter alia -* {: type="1" start="8"} 0. Any pension payable to a member or other on his behalf, under these rules, shall be absolutely lost or forfeited except so far as payments which have already been made, {: type="a" start="b"} 0. ) If he shall enter some service or employment which, in the opinion of the board, should be prejudicial to the interests of the bank. I gather from inquiries that have been made that the gentleman mentioned is now a director of the Australian Bank of Commerce operating in competition with, and to that extent prejudicial to, the interests of the Commonwealth Bank. As a director of that bank I take it, if my information is correct, and I have no reason to think otherwise, he is drawing fees at the same time that he is drawing his superannuation allowance at the rate of £1,000 a year from the bank. The whole business is so unpleasant that, in my opinion, it calls for explanation. I am the more inclined to press for information because these superior gentlemen controlling the Commonwealth Bank appear so disinclined to give any. In a leading article in *The Australian, Banker* of the 2nd August, 1928, there appears the following comment - In his annual address to the shareholders of the Australian Bank of Commerce, **Sir Mark** Sheldon repeats much of the old wearying and uninstructive warnings, so parrot like of some chairmen of directors, relating to the financial affairs of their respective companies, and coincidentally of the state also. Why **Sir Mark** Sheldon should make any comparison is beyond all comprehension in this age of wisdom. His colleague on the board is **Mr. Kell,** who, when associated with the Commonwealth Bank, made the observation that a fly had appeared in the ointment when he returned from London, because the officers had formed an association. That association still exists, but **Mr. Kell's** observations evidently fell flat as another governor is now controlling the destinies of that bank, while its directors cooperate with our association which might be a worthy consideration for those directing the affairs of the Australia Bank of Commerce, as it (The Commonwealth Bank) like the association, is more prosperous than ever. The matter to which I have called attention is referred to rather scathingly in an able article contributed to the *Labour* *Daily,* Sydney, on 30th June, 1928. I take from it the following extract - >It was revealed that the date of the alteration of such rules was 1st July, 1926, a few weeks before **Mr. Kelt's** announcement of his intention not to re-apply for re-appointment. The officers' superannuation fund is contributed to by the staff, and previously to the alterations of 1st July, 1926, the governor was, it appears, excepted. > >The only conclusion that can be come to, is that the payments of the late governor must have been made under the provision of the new rules, altered just about the time he retired to enjoy his pension. > >Such benefits as he derives would seem to be (outside such payment as he made to the fund) either at the expense of the staff, who have contributed regularly since joining the bank, or from the establishment of the fund, or at the expense of the public, since the fund is supplemented from the profits of the bank, which, of course, belong to the public. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Do the rules of the superannuation fund permit of a recipient of a pension accepting other employment ? {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- They do not encourage it, as the honorable member will note if he reads rule 8, which I have just quoted. But apparently the gentleman mentioned may engage in any occupation, no matter to what extent it may be detrimental to the bank, if the directors declare that, in their opinion, it is not prejudicial to the bank's interests. I know of course, that the general rule is that persons drawing pensions or superannuation allowances forfeit their right to such payments if they act in a manner inconsistent with the interests of the institution which provides the pension. This general rule seems to me to be based on common sense. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- If **Mr. Kell** were employed in another financial institution would he be acting in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the bank? {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I take it that he would. The Australian Bank of Commerce, of which he is a director, would be such an institution. I think we are entitled to an explanation from the Treasurer. I do not propose to accept the view, offered up to the present, that the bank in this regard, or indeed in any regard, is to be immune from public criticism in this House. It would be a dangerous theory to propound if Ministers of the Crown could withhold information from members concerning the operations of a public institution like the Commonwealth Bank, merely because the Governor considers that he should bea law unto himself. I protest most strongly against this view being accepted, and I hope that the Treasurer will now be able to offer a satisfactory explanation. {: #subdebate-15-0-s10 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Treasurer · Cowper · CP -- I regret that I did not know that the honorable member for Batman intended to raise this point, otherwise I should have obtained precise information concerning the operation of the superannuation fund of the Commonwealth Bank. The fund was instituted many years ago by the first governor of the bank. About two and a half years ago the directors submitted an amended scheme for my approval. I then asked them for information to enable me to ascertain how it compared with similar schemes in other banking institutions. The information supplied showed that the amended scheme was practically on all fours with those of other banks, and I approved of the regulations that were drawn up. Apparently this payment to **Mr. Kell** has been made since then. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -Must the regulations be submitted to the Treasurer for his approval ? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- Generally, all regulations are submitted for the approval of the Treasurer. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- Is that a provision in the Commonwealth Bank Act? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- There is a provision in the act dealing with the regulations generally. These are brought before the Treasurer and then presented to the Executive Council for approval. I have no knowledge of the particular matter referred to by the honorable member. To the best of my knowledge, there is a provision for a subvention or payment by the bank to the superannuation fund in the same way that a subvention is provided for in connexion with the Commonwealth Public Service Superanuation Fund. It provided in all such superannuation schemes that beneficiaries shall make substantial contributions to the fund. Although I have no definite information, I doubt the statement that only £800 was contributed by the former Governor of the bank. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Superannuation at the rateof £1,000 a year for one payment of £800 would be a good bargain. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE: -- I do not think those figures can be correct, but I shall bring this discussion under the notice of the board of directors, and if I can obtain any information in regard to the matter I shall convey it to honorable members. According to section 32 of the Bank Act it is for the directors to make the regulations for the classification of officers and the provision of a superannuation fund. I consider that I did my duty when I satisfied myself that the proposed alterations to the fund would bring it to practically the same basis as the funds of other institutions. We can only get the best class of officers into the service of the Commonwealth Bank if they are offered the same privileges as are available to them in other services. {: #subdebate-15-0-s11 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Apparently when the Treasurer was asked to consent to an amendment of the rules governing the superannuation fund he was deceived in order that **Mr. Kell** might draw £1,000 a year as superannuation allowance. Does the honorable member remember the alterations that he was asked to approve? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- They were extensive and I remember that one was to increase the contribution by the bank from 2 per cent. to 3 per cent., to enable the payments to beneficiaries to be slightly increased. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- If the bank is contributing 3 per cent. towards the fund it is our duty to see that it is adequately protected. As a result of a trick the exGovernor of the bank is able to draw £1,000 a year for one contribution of £800. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr Earle Page: -- I do not think the rules would permit that, but I shall ascertain. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- We have asked for information regarding this matter, and the bank has declined to give it. If some worker conspired to alter the rules of a fund to which he was a contributor, in order to improperly increase his own benefits, he would be prosecuted for conspiracy. It seems to me that **Mr. Kell** conspired with the directors of the bank to get the rules altered in order that he might retire on a superannuation allowance of £1,000 a year. If action cannot be taken to recover that sum from **Mr. Kell,** he should be prosecuted for conspiracy. {: #subdebate-15-0-s12 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- Apparently there are some anomalies in this superannuation scheme. I have received communications from one officer who wastransferred from the Defence Department to a civil position in the Public Service, and thereby was excluded from certain benefits under the Superannuation Act. I have not the full particulars before me, but it appears from the facts as I remember them, that he is suffering some injustice. Considerable dissatisfaction is felt also because of the refusal to allow officers to increase their elected number of units. Some of them, when they first came under the fund, elected through a misapprehension to contribute for only a small number of units. A limit was fixed to the time within which they could increase their election, and those who failed to apply within that time, but did so subsequently, were told that their applications were too late. I do not desire to jeopardize the actuarial stability of the fund, but an injustice seems to have been done to these officers and, if necessary, the act should be amended to enable the wrong to be righted. {: #subdebate-15-0-s13 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
Treasurer · Cowper · CP -- I repudiate the altogether unwarranted statement that the ex-governor of the bank conspired with the directors to get improper benefits for himself. Everybody must appreciate the public service of the directors; they are doing their duty with ability, energy, and enthusiasm, and for that are entitled to the thanks of the House and the country generally. Whatever criticism may be directed against the management of the institution, the statement by the honorable member for South Sydney **(Mr. E. Riley)** was certainly not justified. In regard to the remarks of the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton),** yesterday I tabled the report of the board of management of the Superannuation Fund, together with the report of the quinquennial actuarial investigation. If honorable members will refer to those reports they will see that certain amendments of the act are suggested, and in conjunction with them the remarks of the honorable member for Maribyrnong will be taken into consideration. Proposed vote agreed to. Attorney-General' s Department. Proposed vote, £181,250. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Will the AttorneyGeneral explain the item for the salaries of peace officers? {: #subdebate-15-0-s14 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT -- Only one peace officer remains now, and he is attached to the investigation branch in Sydney. The police force at Canberra was recruited mainly from the former peace officers, and the salaries paid under the appropriate item. The only amount that will be spent under the item of peace officers is the salary of the one officer in Sydney, probably about £400. {: .speaker-F4Q} ##### Mr Scullin: -- Was £3,700 spent on the peace officers last year? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- Yes; but all but one have been transferred to Canberra. {: #subdebate-15-0-s15 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- I see an amount of £11,560 for the Commonwealth investigation branch. Are not some of the officers of that branch in the service of the Customs Department? {: #subdebate-15-0-s16 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT -- All the officers of the branch are under the control of the Attorney-General; but, except those at Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney, are located at the Customs houses. A great deal of their work is done for the Customs Department and other departments. The head office of the branch is in Canberra. Proposed vote agreed to. Department of Home and Territories. Proposed vote, £320,500. {: #subdebate-15-0-s17 .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN:
Reid .-I have asked questions in the House regarding the mileage allowance to Ministers who run their own cars in the Federal Capital Territory, and have sought to learn why public servants are allowed only 7d. a mile when Ministers receive1s. a mile. I understand that this differentiation is causing a good deal of dissatisfaction. I asked also what amount is being paid per month to Ministers on this account, and I was given the gross total. Honorable members are entitled to contrast this expenditure with the maintenance cost of private cars. I do not suggest that there has been any abuse of this allowance, but I think that, if Ministers are allowed to collect1s. a mile, they should pay the same amount to the poor public servants. {: #subdebate-15-0-s18 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- A few days ago I asked a question regarding the salary and allowances paid to Colonel Thomas, a member of the Federal Capital Commission. I understand that he receives, in addition to his salary, 30s. a day as travelling allowance, and has had his furniture stored in a cottage in Canberra for about six months, although he has not paid rent for the cottage. I desire to know the value of the cottage, and the rent which would have been derived from it had it been let to a public servant for the period during which Colonel Thomas' furniture has been stored in it. {: .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir Neville Howse: -- I thought I had given the honorable member the information he asked for. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr E RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- No. If it is true that Colonel Thomas has accepted a travelling allowance to which he is not entitled, he is not a fit person to be a member of the commission. {: #subdebate-15-0-s19 .speaker-L1J} ##### Mr LISTER:
Corio .- On many occasions representations have been made for increased allowances to Divisional Returning Officers. I should like to know whether all Divisional Returning Officers receive the same salary. Some divisions contain as many as 70,000 electors, while in others the electors do not exceed 30,000. Moreover, the population in some districts is much more settled than in others. Officers in charge of thickly populated districts with a moving population, should be paid more than those officers who havenot nearly the same amount of work to perform. **Sir NEVILLE** HOWSE (Calare- Minister for Home and Territories [6.49 a.m.]. - This matter was discussed last year and referred to the Public Service Board. Later, the electoral officers concerned applied for additional remuneration, but without success. I shall look into the question. Proposed vote agreed to. Department of Defence. Proposed vote, £3,666,000, agreed to. Special Defence Provision to Cover Developmental Programme. Proposed vote, £1,000,000, agreed to. Department of Trade and Customs. Proposed vote, £911,260. {: #subdebate-15-0-s20 .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN:
Reid .- I desire to refer to the action of the PostmasterGeneral's Department in importing listening keys in spite of the recommendation of the Tariff Board that encouragement should be given to the Australian industry making these articles. The keys were brought here under dumping conditions, but were exempt from duty. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN: -- I have here a letter from the department stating that the keys referred to were not covered by item 131 of the tariff schedule. An Australian firm interested in the manufacture of these keys has protested strongly against the action of the department. The firm submitted its case to the Tariff Board which after hearing considerable evidence, recommended an increased duty. I understand that the firm has a modern factory and plant worth between £15,000 and £20,000, and can produce articles equal to those imported by the Department. I support the firm's protest. Proposed vote agreed to. Works and Railways Department. Proposed vote, £388,000, agreed to. Department of Health. Proposed vote, £156,300, agreed to. Department of Markets. Proposed vote, £90,000. {: #subdebate-15-0-s21 .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr GIBSON:
PostmasterGeneral · Corangamite · CP -- A few days ago the honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Seabrook)** referred disparagingly to the members of the Canned Fruits Export Control Board. He stated that one of the members of the board and the secretary were not fit to hold their positions because they had recorded as present at a meeting of the board a member who was not present. He also stated that a resolution agreed to at that meeting, and approved by the Minister, provided that two cases of peaches were to be sold to every case of apricots or pears. No such regulation was passed or rescinded at the meeting. The honorable member's reference to the minutes of the meeting having been altered is, therefore, incorrect. The Minister for Markets did not convene the meeting, as stated by the honorable member; it was convened by the chairman of the board. In fairness to the board, which is doing good work, I make these facts known on behalf of my honorable colleague. Proposed vote agreed to. Miscellaneous Services. Proposed vote, £376,944. {: #subdebate-15-0-s22 .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN:
Reid .Recently a company engaged in the manufacture of cotton thread asked that effect' be given to the Tariff Board's recommendation that the duty on cotton thread be increased. I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs either to give effect to that recommendation or, at least, to advance reasons why it is not proposed to do so. {: #subdebate-15-0-s23 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister - Minister for Trade and Customs · Flinders · NAT -- The cotton thread industry has engaged my attention during the last two weeks. I have had an interview with a representative of the company principally concerned, and explained to him the reasons which actuated the Government in deciding not to grant the increase of 20 per cent. in the duty asked for. After considering further evidence which had been submitted to me and consulting with other Ministers whom the company had approached, I wrote to the company last night confirming the previous decision. {: #subdebate-15-0-s24 .speaker-K4M} ##### Mr COOK:
Indi .- I desire to refer to item 14, " Investigation of tobacco-growing industry, £4,732." Each year Australia imports tobacco leaf to the value of about £3,000,000. At least twothirds of the leaf now imported could be grown in Australia. That would mean that £2,000,000 now sent out of Australia would circulate in this country. It might also be necessary to amend the tariff schedule. I point out that a duty of 5s. a gallon has been imposed on imported whisky in order to encourage the local industry, and I plead for similar treatment of the tobacco industry. If the duty on tobacco was increased, and the excise duty reduced by one-half, the growers would have a better chance to make good. {: #subdebate-15-0-s25 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister - Minister for Trade and Customs · Flinders · NAT -- I am aware of the interest displayed by the honorable members for Indi **(Mr. Cook)** and New England **(Mr. Thompson)** in the tobacco industry. Some time ago I received a deputation from the tobacco-growers, and recently a conference was held in Melbourne. The Government is carrying out an investigation to determine whether it is possible for us to supply our own tobacco requirements, and thus retain in Australia the money now paid for imported tobacco. There appears to have been some slight misunderstanding between the tobacco growers and the committee controlling these investigations. If any misunderstanding still exists, I am desirous that it should be dispelled, because the Government is quite convinced that the steps that have been taken are in the best interests of the growers and of the industry as a whole. I suggest to the honorable member that if, as a result of a statement that was made some two or three weeks ago in regard to tobacco investigations, the growers are still feeling any anxiety, he should get into touch with my right honorable colleague, **Senator Sir George** Pearce, who has been closely associated with this matter, and I am quite sure that if there is misunderstanding it can be readily cleared up. Regarding the actual work that is being done by the investigation committee, a full statement was made during the last few weeks and I think that that will serve the purpose that the honorable member indicated when he suggested that I should make a further statement. Proposed vote agreed to. Refunds of Revenue. Proposed vote, £800,000, agreed to. Advance to the Treasurer. Proposed vote, £1,500,000, agreed to. War Services Payable out of Revenue. Proposed vote, £1,221,310, agreed to. Commonwealth Railways. Proposed vote, £636,015. {: #subdebate-15-0-s26 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh -- I wish to ask the Minister for Works and Railways a question concerning Commonwealth railways affairs. A man named Horwood was engaged on certain contract work in connection with dam and well cleaning. A dispute arose about the work and also the survey quantities set out in the specifications. This man became insolvent and several men who worked for him on this contract have not yet received their wages. I understand that there is an amount still due to this contractor and I wish to know whether the Minister will make inquiries and see whether the wages owing can be paid out of the amount still due to the contractor. This work was done for the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth is reaping the advantage although it has not made the final payments. {: #subdebate-15-0-s27 .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr HILL:
Minister for Works and Railways · Echuca · CP -- I know of this contract with Horwood. He was a most unsatisfactory contractor. I am not aware that there is any payment due to him, but I shall make inquiries and see whether it is possible to pay any wages owing to the workmen out of the amount due to the contractor. I shall be pleased if the honorable member will give me the names of the workmen concerned. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- I am afraid that I cannot do that, but the information can be obtained from the chief engineer at Port Augusta. Proposed vote agreed to. Postmaster-General's Department. Proposed vote, £10,449,670. {: #subdebate-15-0-s28 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN:
Batman -- I wish to say a few words respecting the wireless and cable services. It is curious and I think very regrettable that we have heard practically nothing from the Government concerning the allimportant merger of cable and wireless companies, in which Australia is vitally interested. We have had no information on this subject except a couple of short answers by the Prime Minister to questions raised on this side of the chamber. I submit that we should before this have had a considered statement from the responsible member of the Government, showing where the Commonwealth stands in regard to this merger. {: #subdebate-15-0-s29 .speaker-JOG} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Bayley:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND The honorable member will not be in order in discussing the cable and wireless merger. The only vote in connexion with the wireless agreement is to be found on page 337 of the Estimates and it deals solely with the upkeep of coastal and island wireless stations, the amount set down being £35,000. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- The agreement with the Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited is mentioned and surely I can discuss that. {: #subdebate-15-0-s30 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member will be out of order in dealing with any part of the agreement that does not relate to the upkeep of coastal and island wireless stations. The merger of cable and wireless services could have been discussed in detail during the budget debate, but now that the Estimates are before the committee, only the items mentioned may be discussed. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I had to discuss on the budget other matters which took up my full time. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I cannot allow the honorable member any latitude to discuss the cable merger otherwise other honorable members would demand a similar privilege. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- The agreement is specifically mentioned in the item and surely the merger of cable and wireless services is bound up with that. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member can discuss the agreement only so far as it concerns the upkeep of coastal and island service stations. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I do not propose to do that. {: #subdebate-15-0-s31 .speaker-KFA} ##### Mr R GREEN:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- Under the heading of " Conveyance of mails per Orient Line of Steamers, £130,000 ", I wish to bring under the notice of the Postmaster-General, the subject of the conveyance of mails overseas and the rates charged. In this connexion I shall read to the committee a letter which I have received from a business man in Sydney. It relates to newspaper charges, and it bears out the figures with which the Postmaster-General supplied me some months ago. The letter reads - >Postage on newspapers. It seems to me, that the bulk of our newspapers are the best form of advertising the Commonwealth over seas, yet the postage rate is, in the bulk of cases, absolutely prohibitive. Of course I am aware that to foreign countries, it is governed by the International Postal Union Rules and Regulations, although special arrangements can be made with individual countries, as is evidenced by the fact that to the United States of America, the rate is Id. per 4 oz., whilst the rate to all other foreign countries is Id. per 2 oz. The point which I particularly wish to direct your attention to is, that whilst we can post newspapers via Prance to the United Kingdom, at Hd. up to 10 oz. in weight, and by the all-sea route Hd. per 16 oz., to send the same newspapers to, say, Colombo - a place within the Empire - costs Id. per 4 oz. By direct steamers from here to Vancouver, I see no earthly reason why the postage rate should be any more than *lid.* per 16 oz., or certainly not more than 1½d. per 10 oz., yet the rate imposed by the authorities, is Id. per 4 oz. I think you will agree with me, that the more of our newspapers which go into Canada, the better it is from an advertising point of view, and that the postage rate to a place within the Empire, with which there is direct steamer communication, should be reduced to not more than lid. per 10 oz., but preferably per 10 oz. The rates referred to relate to newspapers sent to British possessions, British dominions, the United States of America, and other countries, and they range from Id. for 2 oz. up to l£d. for 16 oz. That is a wide range. I ask that the PostmasterGeneral give consideration to this matter and since we have a direct sea route to places such as Colombo, Vancouver, and South African ports, where newspapers, weekly or daily, can be sent in bulk, I suggest that the rate should be l^d. for 16 oz., or at the least l^d. for 10 oz. {: #subdebate-15-0-s32 .speaker-JZK} ##### Mr COLEMAN:
Reid .Some time ago, I sought from the Postmaster-General information with reference to the staff investigation committee, which is at present examining the staffing of post offices. The honorable gentleman stated that he would endeavour to obtain the information that I required, but so far it has not been tabled. I should like him to state whether the information is yet available, and also to make a st atement calculated .to allay the dissatisfaction that is felt by postal employees, who regard this investigation as likely to interfere with the classification recently passed by the Public Service Board, and fear that it will result in widespread retrenchment. {: #subdebate-15-0-s33 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh -- I should like to know whether any return of receipts and expenditure will be tabled in connexion with the agreement which exists between the Commonwealth Government and Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited regarding coastal wireless stations. We are entitled to receive some account of the expenditure involved, and I desire to be assured that this Government is receiving an adequate return for the amount expended. {: #subdebate-15-0-s34 .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr GIBSON:
PostmasterGeneral · Corangamite · CP -- I assure the honorable member for Richmond **(Mr. R. Green),** that the rates for overseas postage are so low that the department makes an actual loss after paying the shipping company its subsidy to carry the mails. The matter was investigated in 1923, and the weight . allowed was increased by 2 oz. for the same rate of postage. Our rates compare very favourably with those charged in any other part of the world. Replying to the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Coleman)** the staff investigating committee has no authority to do other than to investigate departmental work and report to the Deputy Director of the State concerned. It has made recommendations which, in some cases, have advocated increases as well as decreases in staff. The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Makin)** referred to an agreement with the Amalgamated Wireless Company. This Government pays £45,000 to that company, from which there will be a deduction of £10,000, leaving £35,000 as the payment to the company, which is an estimate of the revenue which will be derived from coastal stations. The agreement has not been in force for twelve months, but as soon as that period elapses a balance sheet will be placed upon the table of this chamber. {: #subdebate-15-0-s35 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- In certain localities, linesmen have to undertake jobs which are remote from their place of residence, and frequently they are not able to return to their homes at night. Representations have been made to the department to have those men returned to their homes each night, and I should lite to know whether the Postmaster-General will take steps in that direction. The following letter has been received from **Mr. Peterken,** secretary of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union of Australia, which very clearly explains the situation - **Mr. J.** H. Scullin, M.H.R., Federal Parliament House, Canberra. Dear **Mr. Scullin,** I am enclosing copies of correspondence that has passed between the Postal Department and myself, relative to the supply of a number of light motor trucks for the use of linemen employed in country centres, and principally at Geelong. Some of the Geelong members of my union approached **Mr. Lister,** M.H.E., on this matter some few months ago, and then requested me to write him with a view to obtaining his assistance in the direction of influencing the department to make provision in the next Estimates for extra motor vehicles. He has replied to the effect that he considers the request a reasonable one, and that he will urge upon the Postmaster-General the advisability of complying with our request. The great majority of our country members desire to return to their homes each evening, but this is only possible when adequate motor transport is available. To assist in this direction I shall be pleased if, when the current year's Estimates are under consideration by Parliament, you will use your best endeavours to have as large an amount as possible allocated to the purchase of additional motor conveyances. Thanking you in anticipation, I am, Yours fraternally, (Signed) J. J. Peterken, Secretary. I believe that the transport of these employees would effect a considerable saving, as it would enable the work to be carried out more expeditiously. What is more important is that it would enable the men to return home each evening. {: #subdebate-15-0-s36 .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr GIBSON:
PostmasterGeneral · Corangamite · CP -- It has been the practice of the department to supply such transport as liberally as possible in each State, and the innovation has effected a considerable saving. Naturally, it has not been possible to supply the needs of every district, but steps arebeing taken to extend the scheme. Proposed vote agreed to. Territories of the Commonwealth. £228,500. Proposed vote agreed to. Motion (by **Dr. Earle** Page), agreed to- >That the following resolution be reported to the House: - > >That, including the several sums already voted for such services, there be granted to His Majesty to defray the charges for the year 1928-29, for the several services hereunder specified, a sum not exceeding £22,992,927. Resolution reported. Standing Orders suspended and resolution adopted. *In Committee of Ways and Means:* Motion (by **Dr. Earle** Page) agreed to- >That towards making good the supply granted to His Majesty for the services of the year 1928-29, there be granted out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund a sum not exceeding £10,649,292. Resolution reported and adopted. {: .page-start } page 7183 {:#debate-16} ### APPROPRIATION BILL 1928-29 *Ordered -* >That Dr.Earle Page and **Mr. Latham** do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution. Bill presented by **Dr. Earle** Page and passed through all itsstages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 7183 {:#debate-17} ### INCOME TAX BILL 1928 *In Committee of Ways and Means:* Motion (by **Dr. Earle** Page) agreed to- >That a tax be imposed on income derived from sources in Australia at the following amounts and rates, namely: - > >-- *Rate of tax upon income derived from personal exertion.* > >For so much of the whole taxable income as does not exceed £7,600, the average rate of tax per pound sterling shall be threepence and three eight-hundredths of one penny where the taxable income is one pound sterling, and shall increase uniformly with each increase of one pound sterling of the taxable income by three eight-hundredths of one penny. > >The average rate of tax per pound sterling for so much of the taxable income . as does not exceed £7,600 may be calculated from the following formula: - > >R = average rate of tax in pence per pound sterling. > >I = taxable income in pounds sterling. For every pound sterling of taxable income in excess of £7,600, the rate of tax shall be sixty pence. R = average rate of tax in pence per pound sterling. I = taxable income in pounds sterling. In addition to the tax payable under the preceding provisions, there shall be payable, in the case of incomes in respect of which the tax is calculated under Subdivision A, B, or C, an additional tax equal to eight per centum of the amount of the tax so calculated. 13. - *Tax payable where amount would otherwise be less than Ten shillings.* Notwithstanding anything contained in the preceding provisions, where a person would, apart from this provision, be liable to pay income tax of an amount less than Ten shillings, the tax payable by that person shall be Ten shillings. For every pound sterling of the taxable income in respect of which a trustee is liable to be separately assessed and to pay tax, the rate of tax shall be at the rate which would be payable under Subdivision A, B or C, as the case requires, if one individual were liable to bc separately assessed and to pay tax on that taxable income. That* tax in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this resolution shall be levied and paid for the financial year beginning on the first day of July One thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight. That the foregoing provisions of this resolution shall also apply to all assessments of income tax for financial years subsequent to that beginning on the first day of July One thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight made prior to the passing of the Act for the levying and payment of income tax for the financial year beginning on the first day of July One thousand nine hundred and twenty-nine. Resolution reported. Standing Orders suspended and resolution adopted. *Ordered -* >That **Dr. Earle** Page and **Mr. Bruce** do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution. Bill presented by **Dr. Earle** Page, and passed through all its stages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 7184 {:#debate-18} ### BANKRUPTCY BILL {:#subdebate-18-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT -- I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. This is a bill to amend the Bankruptcy Act 1924-27. Apart from the correction of some typographical errors, the alterations number two. The object of the first amendment is to remove a difficulty that has been suggested regarding the necessity to proclaim the Bankruptcy Act in order to make it apply to all Commonwealth territories. The effect of the amendment will be that the act will apply to the whole of the Commonwealth of Australia, and that a proclamation will be necessary only to make it apply to the territories of the Commonwealth outside Australia. The second amendment alters the phraseology of the sections which enable the Parliament to confer jurisdiction upon State courts. In some of the States objection has been raised to the existing provisions, which require the nomination of particular judges by agreement between the Commonwealth and the States. It is considered more proper to vest the jurisdiction in the State court in order that it may be exercised by any judges of the court. Provision also is being made for carrying on pending proceedings, in the event of a change being made in the court which has been chosen to exercise the bankruptcy jurisdiction. The other provisions, as I mentioned earlier, merely make verbal corrections in the language of the statute. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. ' *In committee:* Clause 1 (Short title and citation). {: #subdebate-18-0-s1 .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST:
East Sydney -- Does the Attorney-General intend that the central administration of the Bankruptcy Act shall be carried on from Canberra? That question has been asked of me in Sydney. . **Mr. .** LATHAM (Kooyong- AttorneyGeneral [7.38 a.m.]. - I am not able to say definitely when the central office will be transferred to Canberra. At the present time, and while the new system is being initiated, it is more convenient to have the Inspector-General located in Melbourne ; but he will certainly be transferred to Canberra at an early date. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- Is not rental being paid for an office in Melbourne for the InspectorGeneral ? {: .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM: -- That is not the case. He is occupying a room in the Commonwealth offices, Treasury gardens. {: #subdebate-18-0-s2 .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN:
Parramatta -- I should like to know whether there is any possibility of the fees being lessened. A good deal of criticism has been levelled against the administration of the bankruptcy law by the Commonwealth. It is being said that whenever the Commonwealth takes over a depart ment the expenses of administration are very much higher than when it is managed by the State. In the present instance the fees are nearly double what they were formerly in Sydney, and I believe quite double those that were charged in Adelaide. It is almost too expensive now for a man to go insolvent! In the long run the fees have to be borne by the creditors. It is a great pity that the first step taken by the Commonwealth in connexion with the administration of the Bankruptcy Act should have been to increase the fees to such an extent. {: #subdebate-18-0-s3 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT -- I am informed that the fees charged are a fair average of those in the States. I am aware that complaints have been made, particularly regarding the fees charged in connexion with smaller bankruptcies, and also with respect to deeds of assignment. The object of the Government is to do no more than make the administration selfsupporting. It has been self-supporting in Victoria and New South Wales, but not in any other State. Consequently the Commonwealth has had to strike an average. It may be possible, after the experience of a year or two, to reduce the fees; but until we see how those at present being charged work out, it is impossible to make any such adjustment. Clause agreed to. Clauses 2 to 7 agreed to. . Title agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Standing Orders suspended and bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 7185 {:#debate-19} ### SEAT OF GOVERNMENT RAILWAY BILL {:#subdebate-19-0} #### Second Reading **Mr. HILL** (Echuca - Minister for Works and Railways) [7.43 a.m.]. - I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. The bill deals with the railway between Queanbeyan and Canberra, and its object is to vest the railway properly and legally in the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner. In the ordinary course this railway, like all others owned by the Commonwealth, would, under the provisions of the Commonwealth Railways Act 1917-1925, be vested in the Commissioner, but it was built some considerable time before the passing of that act. Not having been built under a specific railway authorizing act it did not, like the other railways owned by the Commonwealth, become automatically vested in the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner when the Commonwealth Railways Act of 1917 was passed by this House. Under section 16 of the Commonwealth Railways Act 1917-25 provision is made for vesting in the Commissioner - >All railways and all rolling-stock heretofore constructed or acquired by or on behalf of the Commonwealth pursuant to any act in force for the time being authorizing the construction or acquisition of railways or rollingstock. The railway embraced by the bill now before, the House, however, was not constructed or acquired pursuant to any act; and, as I said before, it did not, upon the passing of the Commonwealth Railways Act in 1917, automatically become vested in the Commissioner. The legislation I am now introducing is, therefore, necessary to effect that purpose. The railway was constructed primarily for the carriage of materials for the building of the Federal Capital, and it was proposed in the first instance to construct it of secondhand material of a comparatively light type, making it more of a tramway than a railway. Eventually, however, it was decided to construct the line of a heavier type of rails, &c., than originally was proposed, and 80-lb. rails were used, standard sleepers, ballast, &c, being also provided. The railway is now carrying heavy passenger and goods traffic. It was built by the State of New South Wales for and on behalf of and at the cost of the Commonwealth Government, and was first used for traffic on the 25th May, 1914. The cost of the work carried out by New South Wales represented approximately £45,000. Since then deviations have been carried out, station buildings, sidings, &c, provided, and the total cost of the railway to the 30th June, 1928, in the books of the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner, amounted to approximately £87,000. There are no peculiar features in the bill; it simply seeks to vest properly the railway property in the Commonwealth Railways Commisisoner Being in a temporary location only, none of the lands are permanently vested in the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner, but under the bill they are being granted by the Federal Capital Commission for his exclusive use on the understanding that when the railway is placed in its permanent location such of the lands being granted by this bill as are certified to by the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner as being no longer required will automatically revert to the Federal Capital Commission. The matter of vesting in the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner the lands that will be required when the railway is built in its permanent location will be dealt with when the bill for the construction of the railway in the permanent location is submitted to this House. For the present it will be sufficient as provided, in the bill, to set aside for the use of the Commonwealth Railway Commissioner the strip of land one chain on either side of the centre of the line of the railway between Queanbeyan and Canberra, and also lands at Canberra for the railway station and sidings, &c., as shown in the schedule of the bill. The Commonwealth Railways Commissioner and the Chief Commissioner of the Federal Capital Commission have been dealing with this matter, and have arrived at an agreement in so. far as the lands required by the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner are concerned. A plan snowing the railway lands is now laid on the table of the House for the information of honorable members. The railway does not form part of the Federal Capital Commission's property. Its cost is not a liability of the Federal Capital Commission,' its earnings are not credited to the Federal Capital Commission's accounts, and the commission is charged the same as the general public for transport. The introduction of this bill was contemplated previously, but there were difficulties, particularly with regard to the lands, which have now been adjusted. For the time being the Seat of Government Railway Ordinance No. 8 of 1923 was issued. That ordinance, however, does, not enable the commissioner to exercise all the powers conferred upon him by the Commonwealth Railways Act 1917- 25. His powers under it are limited, and the' only solution is the passing of an act of Parliament. The ordinance is not regarded by the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor as satisfactory, and he strongly urges the passage of such a bill as that now introduced. The Commonwealth Crown Solicitor says - >I desire to point out the inadvisability of operating a railway without statutory authority. Persons operating a railway in such circumstances are subject to a great many legal liabilities under the common law, and claims may arise at any time in respect of acts for which, if the railway were worked under statutory powers, the commissioner would not be liable. He states further - >The Commonwealth Railways Act 1927, and the by-laws made therein do not apply to the railway, consequently the railway has no statutory protection. I desire to point out that both as regards Commonwealth railways and State railways generally, the railways have the protection of a railway act and of a' set of by-laws. The Queanbeyan-Canberra railway, under the present law, can only be protected by by-laws made under a limited power. The position is not, I think, satisfactory, and I doubt whether it is possible, without some amendment of the law, to make an effective by-law for the protection of the railway. > >I still think that the position is very unsatisfactory from a legal point of view, and T. think that it ought to be put right by Commonwealth legislation. > >In the first place, I think that the actual railway lands should be clearly defined; at present, so far as I know, there is no definition of them whatever, and consequently it would be extremely difficult to deal with trespassers. > >But until proper authority by Commonwealth legislation confirming the construction of the railway, and defining the railway lands, has been passed all sorts of difficulties may arise. The bill now submitted meets with the approval of the Commonwealth Crown Law authorities. As members are aware, the railway is only short, being approximately 4 miles 75 chains in length. It, however, has grown in importance considerably since the establishment of the Seat of Government at Canberra, and numbers of trains, both passenger and goods, are now run daily. The traffic will largely increase. Until recently the railway was managed and maintained by the New South Wales Railways Commissioners for and on behalf of the Commonwealth; but a short time since arrangements were completed for its management and maintenance to be undertaken by the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner who now has a controlling officer at Canberra. This arrangement took effect on 1st July last, and is proving satisfactory and economical. The bill now submitted for the consideration of the House deals with the railway as it now is, and does not concern the railway as it will eventually be. Our only concern to-day is to pass legislation to properly cover the railway in its present position, and the bill is introduced accordingly. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate. Report adopted. Standing Orders suspended and bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 7187 {:#debate-20} ### SEATOF GOVERNMENT (ADMINISTRATION) BILL *In committee:* (Consideration of Senate's amendment). Senate's amendment, inserting after proposed new sub-section (5) in clause 4, the following sub-section (on motion by **Sir Neville** Howse) agreed to - 5a. If at any meeting of the commission any commissioner disagrees with any decision arrived at he may request that a memorandum of the grounds of his objection be recorded in the minutes of the proceedings of the commission, and thereupon the Chief Commissioner shall cause a memorandum to be so recorded and a copy of that memorandum to be forwarded to the Minister within, seven days after the date on which the meeting was held. Resolution reported; report adopted. {: .page-start } page 7187 {:#debate-21} ### PUBLIC SERVICE BILL {:#subdebate-21-0} #### Second Reading **Mr. LATHAM** (Kooyong - Attorney- General) [7.50 a.m.]. - I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. This bill extends the provisions of the Public Service Act in relation to the garnisheeing or attachment of the salaries of certain public servants in order that creditors may receive payment of their debts. The principal act at present applies to all permanent public servants, but strong representations have been made to the Government from many quarters that an exemption based upon a mere technicality of the law should not protect temporary or exempt officers from ordinary garnishee proceedings. Briefly, the chief amendment which the bill makes extends the provisions of the principal act to such officers. A further small amendment is made in the definition of "paying officer." Section 64 provides that an officer termed a " paying officer " shall deduct the amount due to a judgment creditor from the salary of the officer owing the judgment debt. This has been found inconvenient in departmental administration. The Public Service Board has pointed out that it is sometimes very embarrassing for a junior officer to have to deal in this manner with a senior officer, because he has to satisfy himself whether the judgment has been met. The definition has therefore been altered so that under the section a senior officer may be appointed as a technical paying officer under the section. The amendment has been introduced at the request of the Public Service Board, and to meet a general wish of public servants themselves. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate. Report adopted. Standing Orders suspended and bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 7188 {:#debate-22} ### INCOME TAX ASSESSMENT BILL 1928 *In committee* (Consideration of Senate's amendments) : {: #debate-22-s0 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT -- I move - That the Senate's amendments be agreed to. The Senate has amended clause 5 in accordance with an undertaking given by the Treasurer to provide for bona fide prospectors, and in clause 7 has also amended proposed new section 16o, which, as passed by this chamber, provided that when a claim was made for apportioning income earned in Australia and that from ex-Australian sources, the Commissioner of Taxation should determine the apportionment, when it was not determined under regulations to be framed, and that such determination should be final. The amendment made in another place has the effect of preventing the determination of the Commissioner being final, and allowing that determination to be reviewed by the board of review. There is also a purely formal amendment. Motion agreed to. Resolution reported; report adopted. {: .page-start } page 7188 {:#debate-23} ### ESTATE DUTY ASSESSMENT BILL *In committee* (Consideration of Senate's amendment) : {: #debate-23-s0 .speaker-KZO} ##### Mr LATHAM:
AttorneyGeneral · Kooyong · NAT -- I move - That the Senate's amendment be agreed to. Clause 5 of the bill, as introduced into this chamber, provided for inclusion in the property of deceased persons, for the purposes of the assessment of estate duty, property held in joint tenancy. There was a certain amount of discussion on that provision in the House, and it was the generally expressed view of honorable members that the tax should be assessed only upon such interests as were held by the deceased person at the time of his death. The amendment which was prepared, somewhat hurriedly, to meet that view was founded on the Victorian Act and in that form was adopted. The provision has been greatly simplified and clarified by the Senate's amendment so that it reads that the term "property" shall include *inter alia* the " beneficial interest held by the deceased person immediately prior to his death in a joint tenancy or joint ownership with other persons." The words "joint ownership" are introduced to make it clear that the provision refers to personal property as well as to real estate and the effect of the amendment in this simple form is that the intention of the House is fully met, in that when a person who is a joint tenant of realty or joint owner of personalty dies the beneficial interest which he held prior to his death and which by survivorship passed to another person will be for the purposes of the act a portion of his estate. Motion agreed to. Resolution reported; report adopted. {: .page-start } page 7189 {:#debate-24} ### SUSPENSION OF SITTING {: #debate-24-s0 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT -- It would probably meet the convenience of honorable members if you, **Mr. Speaker,** vacated the Chair until 5 p.m., at which hour we hope to receive messages from another place. {: #debate-24-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- In accordance with the suggestion of the right honorable the Prime Minister, I shall resume the Chair at 5 p.m. *Sitting suspended from 7.59 a.m. to 5 p.m.* {: .page-start } page 7189 {:#debate-25} ### ASSENT TO BILLS Assent to the following bills reported : - Tasmania Grant Bill. Loan Bill (No. 2) 1928. Land Tax Assessment Bill 1928. Customs Tariff (No. 2). Customs Tariff (No. 3). *Sitting suspended from 5.1 to 6.50 p.m.* {: .page-start } page 7189 {:#debate-26} ### BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment or requests - Transport Workers Bill. Income Tax Bill 1928. Appropriation Bill 1928-29. {: .page-start } page 7189 {:#debate-27} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-27-0} #### PERTH-ADELAIDE AIR SERVICE Preference to Australian Manufacturers {: #subdebate-27-0-s0 .speaker-KMW} ##### Mr MARR:
Honorary Minister · PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- On the 20th September the honorable member for Ballarat **(Mr. McGrath)** asked the following questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether it is a fact that Australian manufacturers were prevented from tendering for the supply of engines for lighting plants used by the Western Australian Airways Limited in connexion with the Perth-Adelaide air service? 1. Is it a fact that no clause covering preference to Australian manufacturers was1 mentioned in the conditions ' of tender for the aerial service? 2. If so, will the Minister inform the House who was responsible for failing to give Australian manufacturers an opportunity to tender ? 3. Is it a fact that before the sub-tender was signed an application of an Australian manufacturer was before the Controller of Civil Aviation; if so, why was such application ignored ? 4. What subsidy, if any, is paid to Airways Limited for the Perth-Adelaide service? I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. It is desired to explain that while under the conditions of tender the Commonwealth undertook to provide night lighting equipment for a section of the route, the tendderers for the aeroplane service were required to specify particulars of the night lighting equipment they would require to be installed for the operation of the service. The successful tenderer for the aeroplane service submitted a very complete scheme for the night lighting required, and. also an offer from an electrical firm to carry out the installation. This offer, with some minor modifications, was considered satisfactory, and has been accepted by the Department of Works and Railways. 1. Clause 21 of the conditions of contract ensures absolute preference to British or Australian manufacturers of equipment for aircraft and engines to be used on the service. The same proviso was not included in regard to the provision of night-lighting equipment as, with the exception of certain auxiliary components, such is not manufactured in Australia. 2. In view of the explanation given under ( 1 ) it was not desirable to place restrictions on the proposals of tenderers for the night lighting equipment which is to be operated and maintained by the successful tenderer, and upon which the efficient and safe operation of the aeroplane service may depend. 3. It is a fact that such an application was received. The application was not ignored, but was given full consideration by the Civil Aviation authorities and the Works and Railways Department. 4. The contract provides for a subsidy of 12s. 8d. for each pound weight of mails carried on each trip, with provision for a guaranteed minimum load of GOO lb. per trip, and if and when the mails forthcoming average not less than 800 lb. per trip for a period for four consecutive months, the guaranteed loading will be increased to 1,200 lb. per trip. {: .page-start } page 7189 {:#debate-28} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-28-0} #### NAVAL AND MILITARY COLLEGES {: #subdebate-28-0-s0 .speaker-KMW} ##### Mr MARR:
NAT -- On the 19th September the honorable member for Melbourne **(Dr. Maloney)** asked the following questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the total annual cost of the Naval College at Jervis Bay and the Military College at Duntroon respectively? 1. What have been the total costs of such establishments to date? 2. What is the number of students at present in each institution? 3. What are the present numbers of (a) teachers, and (b) other Government employees . in each institution? 4. How many graduates have passed through each college? 5. How many of such graduates are still in the service of the Commonwealth? I am now in a position to inform the honorable member as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Royal Australian Naval College, £67,454 in 1927-28. Royal Military College, £52,758 in 1927-28. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Royal Australian Naval College, £871,976. Royal Military College, from 1910-11 to date, £1,021,508. 1. Royal Australian Naval College, 51. Royal Military College,69. 4. (a) Royal Australian Naval College, seven civilian masters. Royal Military- College, eleven teachers. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Royal Australian Naval College - Naval complement is 14 officers, 108 petty officers, and men. There are 22 temporary civil employees. Royal Military College - Other Government employees, 87. {: type="1" start="5"} 0. Royal Australian Naval College - 208. Royal Military College - 295 Australians and 60 New Zealanders. {: type="1" start="6"} 0. Royal Australian Naval College - 161. Royal Military College - 192 Australians; 42 made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War 1914-18. {: .page-start } page 7190 {:#debate-29} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-29-0} #### FEDERAL CAPITAL COMMISSION Allowance to Colonel Thomas {: #subdebate-29-0-s0 .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir NEVILLE HOWSE:
NAT -- On the 19th September, the honorable member for South Sydney **(Mr. E. Riley)** asked me nine *questions relating to the storage at* Canberra of furniture belonging to Colonel Thomas. I am now able to supply the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The circumstances in Colonel Thomas' case are exceptional. In this connexion the honorable member is again referred to the answer given by me to Part 3 of a question asked by the honorable member for Melbourne on the 30th August, 1928, *Hansard,* page 6200. There are no other public servants appointed to the Territory in like circumstances to those of Colonel Thomas. The question of the application of a similar policy has not, therefore, arisen. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. See answer to No. 1. The commission advises, however, that in special circumstances for which an officer himself is not responsible, it would give favorable consideration to a similar application, if storage accommodation were available, without involving any inconvenience, as in the present instance. 1. The value of the house is £2,117, and the land, £375. The prescribed rental is £3 5s. per week exclusive of rates. It is situated on block 12, section 3, Forrest, and together with other vacant houses of the commission has been open to selection by any civil servants who might desire it. 2. £84 10s. 3. The total amount of salary and travelling allowances drawn by each member of the commission is as follows: - The salaries shown are up to the 5th September, 1928; retaining fee in the case of **Sir John** Harrison, up to the 30th June, 1928; and allowances to this date. The cost of rail fares is not included. {: type="1" start="6"} 0. There has been no necessity to consider this point. The Chief Commissioner lives at Canberra House, and Commissioner **Sir John** Harrison lives in Sydney. 1. No circumstances have arisen requiring such a question to be considered. 2. The commission has received no application for the house in question, although it is available for selection. It is proposed to allow the present arrangements to continue so long as no one requires the residence during the period for which Colonel Thomas is temporarily seconded from the Commonwealth Public Service. 3. Yes. {: .page-start } page 7190 {:#debate-30} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-30-0} #### CANBERRA Rentals {: #subdebate-30-0-s0 .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir NEVILLE HOWSE:
NAT -- On the 19th September, the honorable member for Melbourne **(Dr. Maloney)** asked me certain questions relating to the rentals charged for residence in the Federal Capital Territory, the valuations upon which such rentals are based, and the number of houses at such rental rate. The information desired by the honorable member is set out in the attached schedules - The above schedules set out the present rentals, valuations, and numbers of the commission's occupied houses; they are exclusive of 315 workmen's tenements which are let at rentals ranging from 6s. to 13s. per week. {: .page-start } page 7191 {:#debate-31} ### CANBERRA BRICK WORKS {:#subdebate-31-0} #### Charges Against Manager - Price of Bricks {: #subdebate-31-0-s0 .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir NEVILLE HOWSE:
NAT -- The honorable member for Herbert **(Dr. Nott)** asked me earlier in the sitting, whether I would have an investigation made into certain charges which had been made by a workman against the manager of the Canberra brickworks, and I replied that the manager had been suspended and that an inquiry was being held into the charges made. I now inform the House that the inquiry has been completed, every charge made against the manager has been proved to be wrong, and the workman who made the charges in a sworn declaration has withdrawn them. The manager has been reinstated. With further reference to the question of the honorable member **(Mr. Gregory)-** regarding the price of bricks at Canberra, the schedule of prices which was tabled in the Parliamentary Library, and which, it is understood, the honorable member saw, has been located. In it £6 5s. is clearly shown as the price of face bricks, and £5 as the price of common bricks. The price list was the one in force for the months of March, April, May and June. The price of common bricks was raised from £5 to £5 5s. in July last. {: .page-start } page 7191 {:#debate-32} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-32-0} #### GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS, CANBERRA Interim Report on Foundations. {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-KI7} ##### Sir NEVILLE HOWSE:
NAT -- On the 19th September the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Brennan)** asked that the papers relating to the foundations of certain public buildings at Canberra should be placed before Parliament. I now lay on the table of the House a copy of an interim report which has been furnished by the committee of experts which is testing the question of the amount of cement supplied, and the adequacy of the foundations for the purpose for which they were constructed, together with a copy of a memorandum from the Chief Commissioner relating to the tests of the samples taken from the completed foundations. {: .page-start } page 7191 {:#debate-33} ### SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT Motion (by **Mr. Bruce)** agreed to - >That the House at its rising adjourn until a date and hour to be fixed by **Mr. Speaker,** which time of meeting shall be notified by **Mr. Speaker** to each member by telegram or letter. {: .page-start } page 7191 {:#debate-34} ### LEAVE OF ABSENCE Motion (by **Mr. Bruce)** *(by leave)* agreed to - >That leave of absence be given to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of this sitting of the House to the date of its next sitting. {: .page-start } page 7191 {:#debate-35} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Valedictory Remarks - Federal Commission: Allowance to Colonel Thomas {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT -- I move- >That the House do now adjourn. I am sure that it is the desire of honorable members that I should convey to you, **Mr. Speaker,** our appreciation of the manner in which you have discharged' the duties of your high and honorable office. As presiding officer you have won the esteem of honorable members, and maintained the dignity of this Parliament. To the Chairman of Committees and the Temporary Chairmen also, I express our thanks. The duties of the Chairman of Committees are most arduous, involving long periods of vigilance and attention to the business under discussion, and 1 would like him and the Temporary Chairman to know that their conduct of the proceedings in committee has met' with the appreciation of all of us. We owe particular thanks to the clerks at the table. In the conduct of parliamentary business the intricacies of procedure have to be carefully watched, and honorable members generally, but especially Ministers who have had to pilot bills through the House, are indebted to the clerks for the assistance they have on all occasions given to us. One of the few pleasures associated with the termination of a Parliament, and possibly one of the greatest, is the opportunity we have of expressing our gratitude to the members of the *Hansard* staff for their efficiency in the discharge of very difficult duties. All honorable members recognize that the task of the *Hansard* staff is one of the hardest in connexion with the Parliament, and I express on behalf of the House our admiration of the expertness with which these gentlemen have served us. To all who are in attendance upon the House honorable members are grateful for the unvarying courtesy and help they have rendered on all occasions ; they have our respect as well as our thanks. The tenth Parliament of the Commonwealth which is about to end may come to be regarded as one of the most notable in the history of federated Australia, because in its time the Seat of Government was transferred from Melbourne to the National Capital, an occasion made memorable by the visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of York, who, with his duchess, came to Canberra to unlock the doors of its new House. We who were privileged to be associated with that important event will always retain the pleasantest recollections of it. During the sittings of this, as of all, Parliaments, differences between its members have occurred, but these are inevitable in assemblies of this character, and although at times feeling has run high, it has not destroyed our personal goodwill. As Leader of the House it has been my responsibility to try to uphold the prestige of the Parliament, and I sincerely thank, for myself and my colleagues, my fellow members for their help in that endeavour. Many friendships have been made which are unaffected by political differences. It is too much to anticipate that every member of the present House will be in his place in this chamber when the new Parliament meets after the elections. But, though some of us may be missing, I trust that the friendships which have been born of our political association may continue throughout our lives. {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- As the Leader of the Opposition is leaving Canberra this evening he is unable to participate in these valedictory compliments, and, therefore, the task of saying a few words on behalf of His Majesty's Opposition devolves upon me. I heartily endorse the appreciative remarks made by the Prime Minister regarding the manner in which you, **Mr. Speaker,** the Chairman of Committees and the Temporary Chairmen, the clerks at the table, the *Hansard* staff, and the attendants have discharged their duties and assisted honorable members in the discharge of theirs. Possibly you, sir, and the Chairman of Committees may have regarded mc at times as a rebel, who did not render easy your task of maintaining order. But slight breezes will arise in the quietest corners, and in the heat of conflict tempers sometimes get a little beyond control. These' differences, however, are but momentary, and make no difference to personal friendships that subsist between us. Political life may have many objectionable features, but as public men we have the consoling knowledge that although we exchange hard blows in the arena we can meet afterwards as man and man, and retain unstinted regard one for the other. This sitting of Parliament has been most memorable, and will be so inscribed upon the pages of Australia's political history. I wish to give a special measure of praise to the gentlemen who sit at this table. The tragic happenings of last year have shown that, good as those officers were who then passed away, they had behind them others so well trained that there were capable men to All the vacancies their deaths had made. I cordially congratulate the Clerk, the Clerk Assistant, and the Second Clerk Assistant on the splendid way in which they have carried .out their duties despite these sudden and unexpected changes ; the death of **Mr. Gale,** in particular, being a great loss to the department. In the performance of the duties of their offices, they have displayed considerable ability and extended every courtesy to honorable members. I re-echo the other congratulations and sentiments that have been expressed by the Prime Minister. Soon from the platforms of this country will resound our different political views, and, although in saying good-bye to one's fellow members one feels inclined to say, "I hope to see you back again," that cannot be said sincerely to those from whose political convictions ours differ. But I am sure that honorable members will realize that our political differences are due to no personal antagonism. "We must all submit ourselves to the electors, and I trust and believe that they will do their duty. An old friend of many of us, **Mr. Thomas** Hadkinson, who has been connected with this assembly for many years, will be one whose face will be missed when we re-assemble, because he is now on the eve of retirement. I agree with the Primo Minister that we are indebted to **Mr. Speaker,** the Chairman of Committees, and the Temporary Chairmen, the Clerks of the Parliament, the members of the *Hansard* staff, and the attendants for the manner in which one and all have discharged their onerous duties. {: #subdebate-35-0-s2 .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH:
Ballarat .- 1 wish to address a question to the Minister for Home and Territories in connexion with the charge that has been made and proved against Colonel Thomas, one of the Federal Capital Commissioners, of appropriating an amount of 30s. a day that was not due to him. I ask the Minister does he intend to suspend, dismiss or prosecute this officer? What action does he intend to take with regard to him? **Sir NEVILLE** HOWSE (CalareMinister for Home and Territories) the information he desires from the replies which have already been given to the questions upon notice which he has addressed to me on the subject. {: #subdebate-35-0-s3 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir Littleton Groom: -- On behalf of the clerk at the table, the *Hansard* staff, the messengers and attendants, including the members of the library staff - who, I believe, honorable members would desire to include - I thank the Prime Minister and the honorable member for Maribyrnong for their kind expressions of appreciation. All of them have, during the last three years, had to carry out work of a very heavy nature, and only those who are closely associated with the administration of the affairs of the House know under what trying conditions their duties have been performed during the transfer to the Seat of Government. In their capable hands everything has gone smoothly, and the details of the operations of transfer were so carefully thought out in advance that there was not the slightest interference with the comfort and convenience of honorable members. On behalf of the Chairman of Committees and the Temporary Chairmen, I thank honorable members for their kind expressions of appreciation, for which I add my own acknowledgments. I thank honorable members generally for the courtesy and assistance which they have given me in carrying out my duties. I frankly confess that it has been mainly due to their support that the business of the Parliament has been so smoothly conducted. I can say sincerely, after the many years that I have served in this House, that I am proud of it. Here at Canberra the best traditions of parliamentary institutions have been maintained. I leave the Chair this evening with much - gratification for the way in which our proceedings have been conducted during the last three years. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: #subdebate-35-0-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The House stands adjourned until a date and hour to be fixed, and notified to each honorable member by telegram or letter. House adjourned at 7.7. p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 September 1928, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.