4 November 1904

2nd Parliament · 1st Session

The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 6531



Senator WALKER:

– I desire to ask the Attorney-General, without notice, whether the Government has any immediate intention to appoint a Commonwealth Statistician?


– Personally, I think it extremely .desirable that there should be a Commonwealth Statistician: I think that his services would be useful to every one concerned in the advancement of the Commonwealth ; but I am unable to say definitely that there is any immediate intention to make an ap: point ment. I ask my honorable friend to repeat the question on some other occasion. 6532 Conciliation and [SENATE.] Arbitration Bill.

page 6532



Senator O’KEEFE:

– I desireto ask the Attorney-General, without notice, if he will lay upon the table of the Senate a copy of the judgment recently delivered by the Chief Justice of the High Court in the income tax cases?


– I have no copy of the judgment at the present time, and I am not quite sure when a revised print of it will be ready ; but when it is I shall take an opportunity to make it available to honorable senators, if not by laying it upon the table, at any rate by circulating it, if they so desire.

Senator Lt Col NEILD:

– Will the Attorney-General see that both the original judgment and the judgment in which leave to appeal was refused, are supplied to honorable senators, as the one seems to be of as much consequence as the other?


– I shall take care that both judgments are included, because they are of equal constitutional importance.

page 6532


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South

Australia - Attorney-General). - I promised the other day to make an intimation with regard to sitting on Tuesday next. I am sure that it will meet the convenience of honorable senators if I state as early as possible that, recognising that substantial progress has been made with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, I do not propose to ask the Senate to sit on that day. I hope that honorable senators will be in their places during the present sitting as continuously as possible, with the view of having divisions taken without unnecessary delay. I move -

That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday next.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 6532



Senator HIGGS:

asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Is it the intention of the Government to appoint a duly qualified Government officer whose special duty will be to look after the welfare of the aboriginal natives of British New Guinea?
  2. Has the Government any objection to the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into and report upon matters affecting the peace, order, and good government of British New Guinea ?

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -

  1. It is. the duty of the New Guinea Executive to look after the welfare of the aboriginal natives, and the Government are not at present aware of any need to appoint a special officer for the purpose.

    1. The Government do not propose to appoint a Royal Commission.

page 6532


In Committee (Consideration resumed from 3rd November, vide page 6477) :

Clause27 -

On the hearing or determinationof any industrial dispute an organization may be represented by a member or officer of any organization, and any party not being an organization may be represented by an employee of that party ; but no party shall (except by consent of all the parties, or by leave of the President), be represented by counsel or solicitor.

Upon which Senator Croft had moved by way of amendment -

That the word “or,” line 6, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ and.”

Senator PEARCE:
Western Australia

– I intend to support the amendment, because whileI believethat there may be occasions when it will be necessary for lawyers to appear before the Court, I anticipate that they will be rare, and can only arise where a doubt is entertained as to the jurisdiction of the Court. Who is the right party to decide that constitutional point? Neither the employers nor the employes are qualified to give a decision, and it should rest with the Judge who will be the only lawyer in the Court. If the Judge entertains a doubt as to whether a case comes within the provision of the Constitution, and expresses a desire to have the point argued by counsel, I cannot conceive of any employes or employers refusing to engage counsel for that purpose. That is the object of the amendment, which is notdictated by any desire to ban lawyers from the Court.

Senator Staniforih Smith:

– But the desire of the Judge might be thwarted by either or both of the parties refusing to accede to his request.

Senator PEARCE:

– If the honorable senator were a party to a dispute, would he be so foolish as to prejudice his case by refusing to have a constitutional point argued by counsel?

Senator Sir Josiah Symon:

– Does not the honorable senator think that it is a little infra dig. to require a Judge to get the consent of the parties before he can hear counsel on a constitutional point?

Senator PEARCE:

– I think that the Judge would appreciate the reason why the provision was inserted in the Act. From my point of view, it is inadvisable to have lawyers in the Court to argue industrial questions. In Western Australia we have “had some experience of an Arbitration .Court dealing with industrial disputes without the aid of lawyers. It. has been proved to be a cheap method. There have been no objections raised as to the improper notifying of parties, or as to whether a party was qualified to appear. 1

Senator Keating:

– That is all provided for in this Bill.

Senator PEARCE:

– It is all provided for in the New South Wales Act.

Senator Keating:

– Not to the same extent.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon:

– In New South Wales either party can have counsel.

Senator PEARCE:

– In Western Australia no points of law are raised. There is no hair-splitting as to whether a man has been properly summoned, or a case properly before the Court.

Senator Keating:

– Our “ equity and good conscience clause “ provides for that.

Senator PEARCE:

– In New South Wales the Court is constantly called upon to listen to long and tedious arguments on technical points. A lawyer naturally looks at a dispute from the legal aspect, whereas the lay advocate of an employers’ union merely -considers how the conditions which the employes ask for would affect the industry if granted. He is there for the purpose of stating the reasons why the conditions should not be accepted. In the same way the employe looks at the case from the industrial stand-point. In such cases there is no necessity for the presence of a lawyer. The men who are best qualified to argue industrial questions are those who are engaged in industry , whether as employers or employes

Senator Mulcahy:

– Cannot the honorable senator trust the Court to decide a question of jurisdiction?

Senator PEARCE:

– It is not a question of trusting the Court, but a question of trusting the parties. If either party to a dispute were to ask for the assistance of a lawyer, is it conceivable that the Judge would refuse to grant the request?. It is not likely that he -would ever ban the profession of which he is =a member. I trust that the Committee will recognise that this is an industrial question, and that by inserting the word “ and “ we give the President power to ask the parties to have a constitutional question argued, but that we leave industrial matters to be settled on industrial, and not on legal lines.

New South Wales

– The. Committee should remember that the Judge of the Arbitration Court will be one of the Judges of the High Court, which is the supreme authority in Australia. This amendment would put the Judge in an extraordinary position. He might desire that counsel should be heard, and might express a wish to that effect ; and it would be in the power of the representatives.either of the employe’s or the employers, to overrule his judgment, and to refuse. That is not a position which is desirable.

Senator DE LARGIE:
Western Australia

. Arbitration Bill. circumstances. In every profession, men are obliged to do the same kind of thing. There are any number of journalists who are writing articles quite contrary to their own consciences. We cannot blame the lawyers for being guilty of similar conduct.

Senator Mulcahy:

– The only sincere people in the world are the Labour Party !

Senator DE LARGIE:

– No; but I do say that there is not a journalist in the precincts of this building who will contradict my assertion.

Senator Millen:

Senator Higgs was a journalist once.

Senator DE LARGIE:

– If I make any exception, I should make it in favour of labour journalists, who. come nearer to the ideal, than do those who sell themselves to the capitalistic press. I know men who in private life hold to the free-trade theory, who repeatedly write protectionist articles, and vice versa. Therefore, lawyers are not a bit worse than members of many other professions. They must get a living somehow. It is the cursed system under which we live that forces them to do it. When they go into Court, they must do their best for their clients, no matter what their opinions may be. If we allow them to enter the Arbitration Court,they will do their best to get there on every occasion.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon:

– That is a reason why we should not allow them to appear even with the consent of the parties.

Senator DE LARGIE:

– There, may be occasions when there will be purely legal questions to be argued, and the parties will then mutually agree to be represented by counsel. There are no better men for such a job than professional men. But where technicalities were cencerned, the lawyer would only waste time.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon:

– We all admit that there are subjects with regard to which lawyers should not be introduced.

Senator DE LARGIE:

– We desire to do what we can to prevent any abuse of the privilege. The amendment will be the best way out of the difficulty.

Senator CROFT (Western Australia).There has been no real opposition to my amendment ; but we have been asked by the Attorney-General, and by Senator Keating, to trust the Judge. “ Surely “ it is said, “the Judge will do what is right.” One of the defects of the Western Australian Act has arisen in consequence of the acceptance of that view. When the Bill was being passed, it was argued that we could! trust the Judge to determine whether lawyers should be allowed to appear or not.. Mr. Gardiner moved an amendment with the object of making it impossible for any lawyer to appear. The opposition which he met with was based on the argument that the point should be left to the Judge to determine, and that if he so determined, lawyers might appear without the consent of the parties. The result was that after a certain time, a gentleman named Clarke, who had been a lawyer in Victoria, cameover to Western Australia. He was not admitted to the Bar in that State, and was. allowed to appear on behalf of the employers in the. painters’ case.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon:

– He was an agent ; he was not even a lawyer.

Senator CROFT:

– The Attorney-General is splitting straws already. It was argued that this gentleman was not a lawyer in Western Australia, although he was a lawyer in Victoria. I objected to his presence, but the Judge of the Court, and the two day members were unanimously against me; the Judge holding that though Mr. Clarke was a lawyer in Victoria, as he had not been admitted in Western Australia he was not a lawyer there. That is an example of what comes from trusting the Court. Had Mr. Gardiner’s amendment been carried, Mr. Clarke would not have been allowed to appear.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon:

– That would not be possible under this clause ; the agent has to be an employe.

Senator CROFT:

– It is desirable that we should pass the amendment, and make it quite clear what we intend to do. As the Attorney-General points out, when the measure is passed, it does not matter about the intention of Parliament ; the Judge will be guided solely by the wording of the Act.

Question - That the word proposed to be left out, be left out - put. The Committee divided.

AYES: 12

NOES: 16

Majority … 4



*Conciliation and* [4 November, 1904.] *Arbitration Bill.* 6535 Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to. Clauses 28 to 39 agreed to. Clause 40 - >The Court, by its award, or by order made on the application of any party to the proceedings before it, at any time in the period during which the award is binding, may - > >direct that as between members of organi zations of employers or employees and other persons offering or desiring service or employment at the same time, preference shall be given to such members, other things being equal ; And provided further that no such preference shall be directed to be given unless the application for such preference is, in the opinion of the Court, approved by a majority of those affected by the award who have interests in common with the applicants. {: #debate-4-s4 .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator WALKER:
New South Wales -- On the second reading, I expressed my intention to vote against preference being given to unionists. I do not propose to take up the time of the Committee, but I am glad to be able to inform honorable senators that within the last week, an effort made in the New South Wales Arbitration Court to have an agreement arrived at in that State, made binding on the whole of the people engaged in laundry work, has failed. The Court decided not to give preference to unionists, it having been shown that while there were only about 250 unionists in the trade, there were about 950 nonunionists, the total number of employes being 1,200. The Court further decided that unionists and non-unionists must be at liberty to work together. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Does the honorable senator object to that? {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator WALKER: -- Certainly not; my objection is to preference being given to unionists unless they form a large majority of those engaged in the trade. Even under those circumstances, I personally wouldob- ject to preference being given, and I know that I am in touch' with my constituents on the matter. If I can get only one honorable senator to join me, I shall protest against this preference provision. {: #debate-4-s5 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria -- I move- >That the word " unless," line 12, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " if." I intend to follow this by another amendment, to omit the word " approved," and insert in lieu thereof the word "opposed." In New Zealand, the Government which introduced legislation of this character, made no secret of their desire to encourage trade unionism, it being recognised that with organized bodies of employers and employes,there would be less likelihood of disputes arising. In Victoria, and in some of the other States, there seems to be a disposition on the part of certain public men to do all in their power, not only to prevent preference to unionists, but to prevent the growth of trade unionism itself. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Which trade unionism - the new, or the old? {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Both old and new, but the new for choice. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- The old unionism is all right. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- What is the new unionism ? {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- Preference. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- To whom? {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- To trade unionists themselves. SenatorFINDLEY. - The new trade unionism is a humanitarian movement, allembracing, excluding no one. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- Assertion is no argument. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Those worn-out fallacies of **Senator Walker** ought to have been sent to the dead-house long ago. Those bogies are trotted out day by day by men who have never expressed sympathy for either unionists or non-unionists. It is not the non-unionists who are making this hubbub about preference, but the enemies of both unionists and non-unionists. In New Zealand preference has been given by the Arbitration Court, and since the passing of the Act, there has not been either a strike or a lock-out in that Colony. I have said that the enemies of this provision are not either unionists or non-unionists, but employers who are opposed to any restrictions by Act of Parliament. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- That is absolutely incorrect. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- There was recently held in Brisbane, a meeting of masterbuilders. I do not like the word " master," preferring "employer," and "employ^"; but that is by the way. At that meeting in Brisbane, .the following resolution was passed : - >That in the interests of industrial growth and prosperity, and for the successful development of the resources of Australia, it is imperative that the political weight and united efforts of all em'ployers be directed against the Federal Arbitration Bill, which, in its operation, would bc equivalent to a restraint of trade, in its worst form, and a flagrant violation of ihe whole spirit of economic and industrial freedom. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- Hear, hear ! {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- That is an appeal for freedom of contract - for a system of go-as-you-please, so far as the employers are concerned. That is the system which causes sweating under the worst possible conditions, such as existed in Victoria prior to a live agitation to minimize the evils which arise therefrom. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Over and over again unionists have declined to. work with nonunionists. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- And why should they not have that power? {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- Why should they? {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The honorable senator believes in individual liberty, and yet he asks why unionists should not be forced to work with non-unionists. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- No. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- A man should be able to please himself whether he will or will not work with non-unionists. After al!. I do not think there are many nonunionists at heart, either in this or in any other State. All the advantages which non-unionists enjoy to-day have been won, not by their own efforts, but by the united efforts of trade unionists in every State of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- By the old unionists. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- There are benevolent men on both sides. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I make bold to say that in every country on God's earth, the most intellectual, the most selfsacrificing, and the best workmen are trade unionists. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- If they are selfsacrificing they should let others have a chance to earn their living. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Trade unionists do not deny the right of others to earn their living ; on the contrary, they desire to get for non-unionists the same advantages which they themselves enjoy. I make bold to say that there is a conspiracy to strip this Bill of its "meaty" provisions, and leave it merely dry bones. I would sooner see the Bill tossed into the political boneyard than passed in its present form. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Hear, hear ! {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- That is what **Senator Walker** would also like. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- In another place, an amendment was moved by **Mr. McCay** - probably assisted by other legal luminaries - which could have had no other object than to make the Bill almost valueless, and at the same time bring about the downfall of the Labour Government. As to the amendment, let me read the opinion expressed by **Mr. B.** R. Wise, K.C., ex-Attorney-General of New South Wales. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- He is a lawyer. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- And a very eminent lawyer. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- Hear, hear ! {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: **- Mr. Wise** is in the forefront of the legal profession, and has won his spurs as a politician and a statesman. He is one who probably has a better grip of the industrial movement in Australia than any other legal gentleman of whom I know; and I say that, with due deference to members of the legal profession in the national Parliament. **Mr. Wise,** in referring to the wording of **Mr. McCay's** amendment, said - >I have never yet met a lawyer who was able to tell me what those words mean, or how such a fact could be proved. Nor do I know of any one, who has had any experience of the practice of the Court, who does not admit that the insertion of such an amendment would make the preference clause a dead letter. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- That is what is desired. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I indorse the view expressed by **Mr. Wise.** If this preference clause is not included in the Bill, no trade union or labour organization will register. How could such a Bil] be described as a measure to prevent disputes between employers and employes? In New Zealand, preference is given to unionists, but employers there found a means of evading the provision. In many cases, when employes had gone to a great deal of trouble in preparing evidence for the Court, the men who undertook this responsible work were singled out by employers, and dismissed for no reason assigned. The conclusion which has been arrived at by the Right Honorable Richard Seddon. and others interested in industrial matters is that these men have been dismissed simply because they have made themselves prominent in the work incidental to the preparation of cases for the Court. In order to protect the victims of such a system, I may inform honorable senators that there was recently passed by the New Zealand Parliament an Act, one section of which I shall read. In the opinion of some persons in the Commonwealth, preference should not be given, but what would they think if, in addition to such a provision, a law were introduced here to further protect workmen, as they are protected by another Act on the statute-book of New Zealand, section 6 of which reads as follows: - >Every employer who dismisses from his employment any worker by reason merely pf the fact that the worker is a member of an industrial union, or who is conclusively proved to have dismissed such worker merely because he is entitled to the benefits of an award, order, or agreement, shall be deemed to have committed a breach of the award, order, or agreement, and 'shall be liable accordingly. I very much' regret that we have not a similar provision in force in Victoria. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- That provision is practically contained in this Bill. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I desire to inform honorable senators of what has recently happened in connexion with one small trade society in this State. I refer to the Confectioners' Society. For a long period of time the men employed in this industry received but inadequate remuneration for the work which they had to perform. Since the passage of the Factories Act in Victoria they have been successful in bringing into existence a trade society, fairly strong numerically. Certain members of the society were appointed to represent the employes in the industry on the Wages Board. They sat side by side on that board with their employers, with, of course, an independent chairman. One of the workmen who sat as an employes' representative on the board had been in the employ of Dillon and Burrows for a period of thirty-five years. During twelve years of that time he occupied the position of foreman. He had Been for fifteen years secretary of the Confectioners' Society. After the determination of the Wages Board had been gazetted and had come into operation, I am informed that his employers did not continue to treat this man with the same courtesy and consideration which he had received from them previously. Recently, without any reason being assigned, this man, who had been for thirty-five years in the employ of the same firm, was dismissed. He asked for a reason for his dismissal, and he was told that he had not been dismissed because he was an incompetent workman. On the contrary, his employers said that they were satisfied that he could get employment in any establishment in the city. Now, for what reason was he dismissed ? The president of the union was also working for this firm, and he too has been dismissed. After the dismissal of the president and secretary, one member of the society, working in the same establishment, was offered the position of foreman if he would leave the union. The man declined to do so, consequently he did not get the foremanship, and the probability is that he is out of work now. A few weeks ago some of the -men who were working in the same establishment as unionists, and were subscribing to the union and to a fund to keep the men who had been unjustly dismissed, were informed that if they continued to do that they would meet with the same fate as the men who were out on the street, because of their advocacy of the principles of unionism. We hear much said with respect to the tyranny of minorities. We hear much from men who, during the whole of their public career have been consistent only in inconsistency, in the advocacy of that which the Labour Party has always warmly advocated, and to the principle of which they have always heartilysubscribed, namely, majority rule. I am a bit suspicious of the eleventh hour conversion of men who have always been opposed to that principle. I have always my suspicions of the sincerity of eleventh hour converts. I know that there are persons in public life in the State of Victoria who are to-day clamouring for majority rule in matters industrial, and who, to be consistent, should advocate majority rule in matters political. In this State' we have perhaps the most conservative Legislative Council to be found in any State of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- It is not worse than the Legislative Council of Queensland. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Perhaps **Senator Givens** does not know it as well as Victorians do. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- The Legislative Council of Queensland threw out a Franchise Bill only tthe other daw {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The Legislative Council of Victoria will never do anything that the people desire, unless great public determination is shown after a measure has been passed by the Lower Chamber of the State Parliament. In this institution there are gentlemen, employers of labour, who, together with a number of sympathizers, are today ardent advocates ' of majority rule in the industrial world. The members of the Victorian Upper House are elected by a narrow and restricted franchise, and if they believe in majority rule why do they not be consistent and advocate the extension of the franchise on which they are elected, on the lines of the franchise which governs Federal politics? But no, they do not believe in majority rule; they do not believe in the enfranchisement of the people, because if the people were enfranchised as they ought to be, it would be possible for the House to which they belong to be elected by the majority of the people. Even those who do not believe in preference to unionists, but who do believe in majority rule, will find it very difficult to give any valid reason for refusing to support such an amendment as I move. We do not propose to place any restrictions in the way of any workmen or work-women. On the contrary, our hands and our sympathy are extended to them all. But we say that in justice to the men who have done the pioneering in the industrial world in this and in every other State in the Commonwealth, some consideration should be given to their efforts. If this is done I am satisfied that this Bill in the form in which we desire to see it amended, if it will not prevent strikes of a gigantic character occurring in the Commonwealth, will to a very large extent reduce any repetition of the suffering and misery which have been endured by workers in past years, because of the absence of such a measure. {: #debate-4-s6 .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator MACFARLANE:
Tasmania -- I desire to ask **Senator Findley** to be good enough to withdraw his amendment for the time being, in order that I may be permitted to move a prior amendment in the same clause. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- I have no objection. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. **Senator MACFARLANE.-** I move- >That paragraph (i) be left out. My reason for submitting this amendment is that I object to preference being given to any one in these matters. I am aware that in a later portion of the clause it is provided that the views of the majority of the persons interested may be taken into consideration, but the giving of preference in any case is to my mind repugnant to fair play. In the case which has been quoted bySenator Walker, the New South Wales Arbitration Court declined to give preference to 250 laundry workers who were unionists, because there were 1,200 employes in the trade, and 950 of them were non-unionists. In that case equity was attained, because the views of the majority were considered, but under ' this clause it is provided that preference shall be given not to a majority alone, but to members of organizations making an application to the Court. It seems to me that we ought to object, on the broad principle, to preference being given to any one. {: #debate-4-s7 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
VicePresident of the Executive Council · Queensland · Protectionist -- It is impossible for the Government to accept the amendment. The object of the Bill is to provide a Court to deal with industrial disputes. We know that in a great many of these disputes it is in the power of the parties to agree to a preference. In a case where the parties cannot settle a dispute, we provide a tribunal with power to enforce its decisions, and thus prevent disastrous. strikes or lock-outs. The principle of the measure is that the Court may practically make an industrial agreement in that case, and compel its acceptance by the parties. It seems right that it should have the power to give a preference. In fact, it is hard to see how any measure of conciliation and arbitration could be worked, unless there were organizations upon which an industrial award would be binding. The Bill contemplates that there shall be these organizations, and that they shall submit ,to an agreement, such as might have been come to by the parties, if they were reasonable. I think it has been agreed by almost all persons who have advocated courts of conciliation and arbitration, that it is absolutely necessary that power should be given to the Court to grant a preference in favour of the organization making the application. I think it is generally recognised now that it is desirable that some rule should be laid down as to the conditions under which preference should be given. But. so far as the principle of preference is concerned, that is embodied in the Bill, and the Government cannot consent to any such amendment as that which has been proposed. {: #debate-4-s8 .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER:
Victoria -- I do not think it is of very much use to move an amendment in this .regard, but it is quite right that every honorable senator should express his opinion. I hold that it is a monstrous thing, even for Parliament to create a Court to give preference to one human being against another human being. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- Did not the honorable senator, when he was a member of the Legislative Council of Victoria, have a preference against nine-tenths of the people? {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER: -- No. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- Yes, because .the honorable senator had to possess a certain qualification before he could enter that body. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER: -- The members of the Legislative Council were elected in accordance with the Statute {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- Preference to unionists is proposed to be given by Statute. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER: -- It was supposed that the members of the Second Chamber would be matured; grey-haired men like myself. But what sort of' men do I find here? Well, I .shall leave honorable senators to imagine what I think. I cannot conceive of even the general body of working men being willing to empower a Court to say that A, B, or C shall be employed, and no one else. A man may land here without a shilling in his pocket, and yet he is required by the Bill to join a union before he can get a day's -work. I understand the ideas of working men as well as any honorable senator does. But I cannot understand why unionists should persist in forcing this proposal upon Parliament. I know that it would be of no use to divide on the amendment, because .the Government is anxious to carry the Bill with as few alterations as possible. If I could, I should alter the clause so that no preference would be given. After a man has been punished for a crime, he should be allowed to earn his living; he should be invited to come back to the fold, and to be an honest man. But this clause will not give an honest man a show to earn a living. To me it appears to be an immoral provision. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- But have not private employers over and over again agreed to a preference to unionists?. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER: -- I know that, for the sake of peace, private employers have frequently been compelled to give preference, though much against their better judgment. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- And now we propose to allow a Court to give preference for the sake of securing peace. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER: -- It does not strike one as an outrageous thing for a private individual to prefer John Smith to John Brown, because he has a right to give a preference if he likes. But it is proposed to enact that a man shall not be permitted to earn his living unless he joins a union whose members may be a very small minority of the persons, engaged in the trade. I protest against the inhumanity of a proposal which would give 100 unionists in an organization a preference over 1,000 non-unionists, because, it appears to me -to strike at the root of all fair play and decency. Nobody can pretend that one set of men is better than another set. Let us be fair, and do justice to all. The Commonwealth will not rise in the estimation of civilized peoples, or progress by means of such extraordinary legislation. If we pass a measure which will work incalculable injury, how can we expect that society will be able to conform to its provisions ? We must allow a certain amount of liberty to human beings in regard to their avocations, provided that they do not infringe the rights and privileges of other persons. {: #debate-4-s9 .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY:
New South Wales -- I intend to support the amendment. I propose to answer the allegation of **Senator Findley,** that employers as a body are absolutely against trade unions. As a representative of that body, I distinctly deny his assertion. In years gone by, there was a very strong bias against unions ; and in my own opinion the employers were wrong, and the men were right. The unions have done good service to labour in all its varied conditions. Labour has been badly paid, has had to work long' hours, and in many instances has been subjected to gross tyranny. Trade unionism secured not only an amelioration of the conditions of labour, but also .the advantages to be derived from the combination of skilled artisans. The very essence of the old unionism was that the. men, while combining to defend their interests, should continue to be governed by a spirit of emulation, so that they should come to be recognised by employers as skilled artisans. That was to a great extent the strength of the unions. I freely acknowledge that, on the whole and broadly speaking, trade unionists are better workmen than nonunionists. But I say that that state of, things is passing. I venture to assert that the average trade unionist of to-day is not the equal of the trade unionist of the past,' and that this decline has, to a large extent, been caused by the political element in modern unions. By entering into the political arena the trade unions thought that their position would be strengthened, and particular individuals thought that they would be able to satisfy their own ambitious ain.s. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The honorable senator has slated that the present-day unionist is not the equal of the unionist of the past ; can he give us any proof of his assertion ? {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- I will ask the honorable senator whether it is reasonable to ask for proof in that matter? I give him my opinion as a manufacturer, and as one who is, to a certain extent, the representative of manufacturers. It is an opinion which, I believe, many men would corroborate. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The honorable senator's opinion is an insult to every trade unionist in the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- It is not an insult; it is absolutely the reverse. Is it not a fact that the unions have made rules not only in regard to hours of work, but as to the quantity of work that shall be done in those hours? Honorable senators opposite know that that is a fact. They know that there are unions to-day which, to a certain extent, specify the quantity of work that a man shall do during .a day. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- There is not a union on the face of the earth that does so. Let the honorable senator give an instance. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- Has not an instance been given in regard to bricklayers, as to the quantity of bricks they may lay a day ? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Where? {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- In England or anywhere. Is there a bricklayer who can lay as many bricks as he is able to lay in eight hours of work, and still remain in his union ? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Does the honorable senator say that that is true in New South Wales? {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- I ask whether in New South Wales or elsewhere a' bricklayer can lay as many bricks as he likes in eight hours without notice being taken of his action? {: .speaker-K8W} ##### Senator Turley: -- He can. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- I am very pleased to know that the honorable senator is able to make that statement. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator Henderson: -- Can the honorable senator confirm his own statement? {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- I was making a statement which had previously been made by an . honorable senator in this Chamber, and1 which, so far as I know, has not been denied. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- It was branded asa lie then, and the same is repeated now. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- I have done good, at all events, in affording honorable senators an opportunity to refute a statement which has been publicly made. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- It was an absolute lie. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- I an. glad to know that it is so, because it has been repeatedly stated that unions while refusing to. allow their- members to work more than a certain number of hours per day or for less than, a certain rate of pay, do not allow them to do more than a certain amount of work. I contend that that practice would be an abuse and an injustice. **Senator Findley** has given an illustration of tyranny on the part of an employer. Unfortunately, hundreds of cases might be quoted. But if he was fair he would also acknowledge that there are hundreds of cases in which men have exercised tyranny in regard to their employers. One case which occurred in New Zealand, was mentioned by **Mr. and Mrs. Sidney** Webb, who visited that country to gather information regarding the labour movement. This is what they state - >A master painter engaged two unionists for a job of painting and papering ; one he selected because of his being an expert paperhanger, and the other because of his skill 'as a painter. On visiting the job for the first time he found the paperhanger doing the painting and the painter doing the paperhanging. On asking the men to change places, one of them, instead of complying, told his tyrannical master to go to- with his job, and left. This is what unionists would call a spirit of independence. I give that as an illustration of what workmen ' sometimes do. I believe that trade unionists as a whole are anxious to do what is fair and just to their employers ; but this case shows that the tyranny is not always on the one side. The fact is that we are all to some extent tarred with the same brush in that respect. I do not object to workmen organizing'. I have always been in favour of unionism. But the unions should depend for the strength of their cause upon the fact that they are organized, and that they have to be taken into account in regard to labour conditions. I intend to read an extract from an American newspaper, which gives a report of a very important judgment recently delivered. The extract is taken from the *Railway Age* of 17 th June, 1904. It illustrates what can occur under compulsory preference. The Judge said - >Liberty includes the right to make and enforce contracts, because the right to make and enforce contracts is included in the right to acquire property. Labour is property. To deprive the labourer and employer of this right to contract with one another is to violate section 2 of article 2 of the Constitution of Illinois, which provides that " No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." It is equally a violation of the 5th and 14th amendments of the Constitution of the United States. The provision embodied in section S is a " discrimination between different classes of citizens" founded on no justifiable ground, and an attempt to exercise legislative power in behalf of certain classes and against other classes, whether labourers seeking work or employers, lt falls under the condemnation of the Constitution. The agreements in question would, if executed, tend to create a monopoly in favour of the members of the different unions to the exclusion of workmen not members of such unions, and are, in this respect, unlawful. Contracts tending to create a monopoly are void. The legislature of the State cannot create a monopoly. That is stated to be one of the most important decisions affecting both employers and employes which has been delivered in America in recent years. It was delivered by Judge Adams, Judges Ball and Windes concurring. It practically lays it down that every citizen of the "United States is a free citizen, that he shall enjoy the rights of citizenship; that citizenship gives him the right as a free man to seek for work, to get work, and to use his labour, which is his property, to the best advantage ; and that no man shall have any preference over him in that respect apart from the natural preference of being an abler or a better artisan, or mechanic. It is in that spirit that I regard the recent policy of the trade unions with dismay. I realize that this is the beginning of a system of class legislation which in itself must be injurious to the Labour Party. In the years previous to the Reform Bill in England the land-owners as a class dominated the country. In consequence labour suffered under conditions that we can scarcely realize to-day. I venture to say that if this Bill is passed, and if preference is given to unionists, they will have reason to regret it. We shall have another system of class domination. All class domination is injurious to the country, whether it is on the part of the employers or the employed. The unions will suffer more than they realize. I speak as an employer who sympathises with labour more perhaps than some honorable senators opposite realize. I contend, for instance, that the labour of the seaman or the miner should be paid for at wages over and above a living rate, in order that these workmen may put by a little to enable them to live in their old age quite apart from old-age pensions. They ought to be able to save enough to prevent themselves from being dependent upon :ne community in the closing years of their lives. I venture to prophesy that some years hence honorable senators opposite will realize that labour in Australia has suffered in consequence of this measure. Labour absolutely depends on permanent work, and there cannot be permanent work unless the country is prosperous. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Labourers depend on their own labour. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- Of course, but if Robinson Crusoe possessed Australia, while he might live, it would not be in a manner any way satisfactory to himself. Labour ultimately depends on the production of the country, and if the producers do not thrive labour must suffer. The wharf labourers in Sydney have a union, with a membership of about 2,000, and yet I am informed that the average earnings last year were only about 15s. per week per nian. That was simply because of the reduced number of ships which had to be loaded or unloaded. In the same way, the building trade depends on increased population, and there cannot be any increase unless the country is prosperous. The imposition of conditions which may have the effect of reducing the manufacturers' output cannot improve the position of labour ; such conditions are against all reason and all economic laws. I have no doubt that honorable sena- tors opposite regard such a provision as under consideration as only fair and equitable. But it would be of no use. for example, to enact that a man's wage should be per week, when the standard of wages is absolutely dependent on the prosperity of the industry in which he is engaged. All the laws in the world will not make men happy and prosperous in their callings, unless the economic conditions of the country are favorable. We must pay regard to the inter-dependence of the different industries. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- What is the good of the labourer to the producer if the former has no money with which to buy produce ? {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- What I am endeavouring to point out is that if the progress of a country is retarded, or a country is going back, there can be no natural increase of population. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- There can be no natural increase if the people are starved. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- If there is starvation, it only shows that some fundamental condition is wrong. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- And we know what that fundamental condition is - private enterprise. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- What I say is that labour depends on the prosperity of the industries of the country. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The honorable senator means that labour depends on itself. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- The honorable senator who is a reader of Henry George, should know that a man's wages are the value which his labour will bring to himself; and the same principle applies throughout all industries. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The honorable senator is now mixing up labour and wages. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- If the development of the country is retarded by the exclusion >( capital and. labour, the result recoils on both employer and employe. I will give an illustration.' A gentleman in England bought land in that country valued at nearly £100,000 in order to present it to his native town. He had to dispossess fifteen farmers, whom he proposed, if they were willing, to send to Australia, advancing money for tha payment of their passages and to give them a start. He wrote to me, asking me to make inquiries as to the price of land, labour conditions, and so forth. I fixed upon the Richmond River as a good place, and seat home all the particulars I could gather, pointing out that so far as the employment of labour was concerned the conditions were much more favorable to the farmer in England than in Australia. I suggested that, under the circumstances, farmers with grown-up families would be in a much bt-tier position than those who had to employ labour - that the former would not only be able to make a fair, but a very good living. The farmers were called together, and the position explained, with the result that seven decided to go to Canada, and *the* other eight decided to stay at horns. . {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Because the honorable senator frightened them. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- I did not ; I only stated the absolute facts. I did all I could to induce the farmers to come to Australia, but as an honest man I was bound to tell the- truth as to the conditions of labour. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Did the honorable senator tell the farmers that they cu'.'ld not get any land here? {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator GRAY: -- I told them that they could get land here equal to the best in the world. There are thousands of people in New South Wales who not only have happy homes, but are making little fortunes on the land. In that State there is some of the finest land which only requires developing, and it can be .developed only by people who have the will and the necessary expert knowledge. Those farmers, if they had come to Australia, would have been the means of employing labour, not only on their farms, but indirectly in Sydney and elsewhere, in the handling of their produce. Every business man knows the bias which capitalists and others in England have against Australia, and it is essential that we should restore the confidence on which our prosperity depends. That is an object which I shall do my best to assist in attaining, but I shall fight with all my strength against legislation which, in my opinion, would be detrimental to the development of the country. I believe that trade unionism is a good thing, but I shall fight against the injustice and tyranny which would prevent a citizen of the Commonwealth from working as he pleases for himself and those dependent upon him. {: #debate-4-s10 .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE:
Western Australia -- I have hitherto credited **Senator Gray** with a sense of the fitness of things, but after .his remarks this morning, I am almost inclined to believe I have altogether misjudged him. He has told us the information he sent home about Australia, with the result that certain farmers who contemplated coming here were scared, and went to Canada. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- Can the honorablesenator blame them ? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I hold that those farmers were very foolish not to come to Australia. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- I quite agree with the honorable senator. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- If those farmers were capitalists they were very foolish not to come to Australia, because they would certainly have been able to obtain good labour. I am not quite sure, however, of what **Senator Gray** was driving at when he gave us this illustration. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- I should like to explain. I did not complain of the labour conditions, so far as the labourers' wages are concerned. In my opinion, labour in the agricultural districts is not paid one farthing more than it has a right to expect; indeed, I hope the present wages may be improved on. I only stated that, in simple fairness, I had to obtain information as to the rates of wages which would have to be paid. 1 did the best I could to get the farmers to come to Australia; and I do not want it to be assumed that I in any way inferred that agricultural labourers should not receive their present rate of wages. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I am afraid that explanation has only put **Senator Gray** in a worse position. I know that agricultural labourers in New South Wales, for many years, have been paid wages ranging from nothing up to 5s. per week and their keep. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Do not exaggerate. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- If those were the rates of wages which **Senator Gray** quoted to his friends- {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- I did nothing of the kind. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- If those were the rates quoted, and they were thought too high, thank God those farmers did not come to Australia ! I may deplore the fact that we lost population ; but if those are the kind of men in the country **Senator Gray** comes from, I am glad they stayed away. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- **Senator Playford** quoted the wages of farm labourers the other night. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: **- Senator Gray** has told. us that those would-be employers thought that the labour conditions in Australia were too harsh. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- They could get better terms elsewhere. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- The conditions of agricultural labour in New South Wales are simply disgraceful, and men who regard them as too favorable to the employe are better outside Australia. We want none of them. If the labour conditions which might be secured under an arbitration law applied to the agricultural industry there might have been some reason for **Senator Gray's** cry. But we know that there has never been an organization of those engaged in the agricultural industry ; there has never been a case brought by them before' an Arbitration Court, and there has been no rise in their wages as a consequence of such legislation as this. There can be no doubt that we should be much better off without the kind of people who look for lower wages than those to which **Senator Gray** has referred. If they are countrymen of **Senator Gray's,** the honorable senator should be glad that they have not come here to bring discredit on ' Australia. The honorable senator has also told us about wharf labourers working for 15s. a week in Sydney. Is that a fair wage? {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- I say that that is the average for the year. I did not say that they received only 1:5s. a week. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I am taking the average. I hold that 15s. a week is not a living wage, and these men are not getting justice. They are not receiving a sufficient wage for their labour. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- They get over 35s. a week. . {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- There is no nailing the honorable senator to anything. He will not stand his ground. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- At times they may get only one day's work in a week. {: #debate-4-s11 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: **- Senator de** Largie has objected to interruptions, and I must ask **Senator Gray** not to continue his interjections. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I hold that these men have been robbed of the produce of their labour. 1 have already submitted figures to show how the shipping industry in Australia has advanced in prosperity. I have compared the position of the industry at the present time with its position in 1891, which it will be admitted was a most prosperous year for the industry in Australia. It cannot therefore be said that I contrasted the state of the industry during a year of depression with a more flourishing state of affairs. I have shown that the figures compiled by *Coghlan* make it clear that the increase for the period to which I referred, from 1891 to 1901, was from 56 to 75 per cent, in' inter-State and oversea shipping. I therefore repeat that the men to whom **Senator Gray** has referred as having to work for 15s. a week, are not getting a fair share of the wealth which their labour produces. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- **Senator Gray** has said that that is the average wage. It does not show what each of these men get every week. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I point put that if 15s. a week represents the average wage paid to wharf labourers, it is clear that some of these unfortunate men have to live on less than 15s. a week. If the average is only 15s. a week, I wonder what is the minimum. Honorable senators opposite will dispute their own figures, and if we quote *Coghlan,* who is the highest statistical authority in Australia, they will dispute his figures. I have no doubt that **Senator Gray** will be prepared to argue against what he has said to-day. The agricultural labourer in New South Wales is the most sweated individual in the country. **Senator Gray** has told us that capital is being driven out of the Commonwealth, and yet those carrying on the agricultural industry in New South Wales cannot afford to pay their labourers 5s. a week. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Who said that? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- The honorable senator's friends who would not come to New South Wales because of the high wages then existing among farm labourers. I have shown that the prosperity of the other industry to which the honorable senator has referred is increasing by leaps and bounds, and from the dividends which are paid by Australian shipping companies there can be no doubt that a far better rate of wages than that to which **Senator Gray** has referred should be paid in that industry. The hon.orable senator has so mixed up labour, wages, and capital that there is really no following him. He has told us that if Robinson Crusoe had arrived in Australia he would have starved. I do not think that he would. I hold that Australia is one of the richest countries on the face of God's earth. I have no doubt that if Robinson Crusoe had arrived in Australia he would never have left it as he left the island on which he did land, and his descendants would be here to-day. The only capital which he had was the power of his hands to produce wealth. He produced wealth, and it was not until he became a bloated capitalist, so to speak, and captured his man Friday, that he followed the usual role of the capitalist and made of his man Friday a slave. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator Best: -- Friday would have had to be deported from Australia. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- It was the labour of Friday that had afterwards to provide for both. There is a lesson for **Senator Gray** in political economy. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- The honorable senator is an expert. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I am anxious to put **Senator Gray** right. I am charging him nothing for this lesson in political economy, and I am quite sure that if the honorable senator follows it he will be much benefited, and will better understand the drift of the existing condition of affaris. He will then be able to understand why the unfortunate farm labourer in New South Wales has to work for 5s. a week, and why the unfortunate wharf labourers in Sydney have to work for 15s. a week. Some of those men may have been foolish enough to vote for the honorable senator, and I hope that he will now do something to better their condition. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- I would do so if I could. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I hope the honorable senator will see that it is advisable that we should give those men some protection in their work, and some degree of permanency in their employment. One of the reasons why the work of the wharf labourer is so badly paid is that the flotsam and jetsam of the population cut into their work, and I hold that that is not fair to the men who follow the occupation continuously. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- How would the honorable senator alter that? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I would alter it by providing that the men who make this their regular calling should get more than 15s. a week for their labour, that they should be given a fair amount of work every week, and that the flotsam and jetsam workers should only be given employment when there is a surplus of work. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- How generous ! {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I think that that would be only fair to the men who are following this work as their regular calling. It is not in my opinion fair that when there is a scarcity of employment at this calling, the unemployed who do not follow it continuously should be allowed to divide with those who only get a half-loaf, which is already too much divided. I would go as far as any other honorable senator in finding work for the unemployed, but I think I should be doing them no injustice in refusing to divide with them work which is looked for by men continuously engaged in the calling, and whose wages are already too small. I hold that the amendment which has been moved is out of order. One of the objects of this Bill is to encourage trade unionism. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator Macfarlane: -- But not preference. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- We cannot possibly encourage trades unionism unless we give a preference to trade unionists, and I, therefore, hold that the amendment is not in order. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Trade unionists have managed to do without a preference for many years. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I grant <har, but evidently all the battles we have fought and all the victories we have won have to be fought and won over again. It may not be the desire of honorable senators opposite, but the effect of the amendment would be to smash up trade unionism, and we should have to commence at the beginning again. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator Macfarlane: -- No; all men would have to stand on their merits. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- We have never been afraid to stand on our merits as workmen ; but we know the prejudice which exists against us as trade unionists. Our merits as workmen are not questioned. Even honorable senators opposite will agree that the best tradesmen are trade unionists, and that they cannot find a good tradesman who is not a member of a union. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Nonsense. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- If such a man can be found, he will be found to be one of those miserable small-hearted individuals who think .more of a threepenny or sixpenny contribution than of their manhood ; one of those creatures who will not contribute to a fund' for the benefit of the trade by which they get their living. That is the type of man whom this amendment would encourage. I desire that there should be no more of the bitter battles which have been fought in the past between trade unionists and employers. But honorable senators opposite must, understand that if the necessity is forced upon trade unionists they will be found equal to the occasion. Although it has cost us much' to do it, we have always been prepared, to fight for our rights, and let the consequences be what they may, they will not deter trade unionists from fighting for what they believe to be their rights. I say that trade unionists must be given preference in this measure if it is to be of any use! to them. If preference is not given, they will not register under the Bill, and so far as they are concerned, it will remain a dead letter, and we mav as well do without any arbitration law. Non-unionists never have submitted and never will submit a case to an Arbitration Court, and the trade unionists have been, and will be, made targets of. They will be regarded by their employers as agitators, and will, get no advantage from this legislation. I* appeal to the sense of justice in honorable senators opposite when I ask whether it is fair that the men who will be the means of putting this law into operation should receive np consideration whatever. T hold that unless a clear and distinct preference be given to unionists, honorable senators, instead of bringing about industrial peace, will bring about a repetition of those old industrial upheavals with which we have all been very familiar. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- The wonder is that there is any trade union left. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- The honorable senator will find that the crushing, or op- .pression of men is the best possible way to promote the growth of trade unionism. If an extra turn be given to the screw, it will be found that trade-unionism will increase. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- The honorable senator seems to be in favour of a monopoly for trade unionists. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I am in favour, not of a monopoly, but of fair play. If honorable senators will not give a preference to the trade unionist, they will subject him to the danger of a boycott, or of being branded as a ringleader. If this measure is to be of any use, preference to unionists must be conceded in clear and distinct terms ; otherwise we are only wasting our time in discussing its provisions. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable senator I understand raised a point of order? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator DE LARGIE: -- I desire to know 'whether the amendment is in order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I would direct the attention of the honorable senator to standing order No. 130 - >A question having been proposed may be amended - (1) by leaving out certain words only; {: type="1" start="2"} 0. by leaving out certain words in order to insert or add other words ; (3) by inserting or adding words. The question before the Committee was that clause 40 should stand as printed, and **Senator Macfarlane** moved to leave out certain words. The amendment is in order. {: #debate-4-s12 .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator HENDERSON:
Western Australia -- I wish to record my objection to the amendment. I was very glad when, towards the close of his remarks, **Senator de** Largie recalled the attention of the Committee to the real principle at issue in the discussion. I admit at once that it is very difficult for one to closely discuss the principle which underlies the amendment, unless he be prepared to ignore entirely many of "the arguments which are set up against its acceptance. I cannot refrain from referring to some statements which **Senator Gray** made in his speech. He laid immense emphasis on the deterioration of trade, and the stagnation of the country, being responsible for lack of employment, and all that kind of -thing. But I have yet to learn that it has ever been contended that the existence of an Arbitration Court would insure a prolific harvest, or prevent the occurrence of droughts. We feel that these calamitiesare destined to come upon us, whether we have an Arbitration Court or not. Our desire is that men who are working by the sweat of their brows for a livelihood, may have an equitable deal in the distribution of the good things which exist in this world. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- That is exactly what we want. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator HENDERSON: -- The honorable senator has rather a peculiar method of showing where his sympathies lie. In the course of his speech, he frequently said that he was quite favorable to a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, in so far as it embodied the principles of the old unionism, and did not give effect to any of the aspirations of what he chose to term the new unionism. Will it surprise any honorable senators to learn that preference is not a new proposal ? Strictly speaking, it ought to be called protection - that is, protection to men who would otherwise be cast out. It is as old as I am. When I was a little over nine years of age I was working in a coal mine, and within twenty minutes of the time I commenced work, I 'was a trade unionist. Whenever a man came to a mine in that county, and asked an employer if there was a possibility of obtaining employment there, the first question of the manager was, "Are you a member of a trade union?" If the man said " Yes," the manager answered, "Well, show me your proof." If the man drew out his trade union card, that was sufficient proof, and if a hand were wanted, he was given employment. But if the man had not a trade union card, the manager asked whether he was prepared to become a member of the trade union, and if the question were answered in the affirmative, he was employed. If it had been answered in the negative, I doubt verv much whether the manager would have seriously thought of giving him employment. So that there is nothing new about the unionism which inculcates protection to ihe. worker. On the contrary, it is unionism of the oldest kind. It is imbued with the spirit of humanity, with an intense desire, to protect the labourer from those admitted tyrannies to which **Senator Gray** referred. The arguments in favour of what he terms the new unionism must appear to him to be but a repetition of the cry which has been going on for very many years. When I was quite a youngster, I heard the same arguments as the honorable senator has used, advanced from the platform by men who were in deadly earnest in their opposition to the combinatiin of labour. The fact must be recognised that along with what the honorable senator regards as the new unionism, there is the new industrialism. He shuts his eyes to the fact that changing conditions in industrial life have necessitated changed attitudes in unionist operations. It must be recognised that the real new unionism is simply the highest development of that light which has been shining through the centuries. When trade unionism was opposed in the olden days, it did not prevent organizations from growing in strength .and number, and the result of its growth and development may be seen here just as it is seen in all other parts of the world. **Senator Gray** cited an American case to show how' preference to unionists had absolutely failed. I never attach great importance to American authorities. I recognise that in that country there are three " fundamentals," as some honorable senators term them. America has a large number of millionaires, it makes more paupers than any other country I know of, and it has larger strikes than any other country. **Senator Fraser** has contended that we are endeavouring practically to exclude nonunionists from employment. We have never made any such attempt, and do not do so now. But we say that the trade unionist is menaced every day in his life. I will give an instance. There is a coal-mining industry in Western Australia, and during the last "two years the whole of the men engaged at one mine have no less than four times been notified of their dismissal as a body. The reason given was that the employers desired to shorten hands. But I wish the Committee to understand what this pretence of shortening hands really meant. The same company is to-day employing as large a number of hands as has been employed at any time. What the company has done has been to give fourteen days' notice of their intention to shorten hands, and to dispense with a certain number. I was one of the victims myself on one or two occasions. We determined "to have a ballot as to whose services should be dispensed with, rather than .give the company the opportunity to single out and dismiss the men whom they particularly disliked. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- The honorable senator denies their right to select the most skilled workmen. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator HENDERSON: -- We did nothing of the kind. We denied the right of the employers to victimize a man because, he was a unionist, and had brains-enough to look after his own interests. As soon *ax* this position was taken up the company reluctantly accepted it, but instead of desiring to dispense with the services of halfadozen men they dispensed with a hundred. What was the result? If the men whom they really wished to get rid of were four in number out of a hundred, the company took the other' ninety-six back again within forty-eight hours. The other men were not less valuable, nor were they less desirable citizens, but they were dismissed because they were always to the front when the principles that they belie,ad in were at stake, and when questions affecting the livelihood of the workers were to be looked after. To my own personal knowledge that practice has been adopted within the last two years at no less than four mines. I have had a great deal of experience of employers, and I do not brand every employer as being unfair towards unionists. There are employers with whom I am personally acquainted who have the handling of large numbers of men. and who sincerely believe that the life of their industry is best conserved by employing union men, who are true to themselves and to each other. Why? Because under such conditions, as employers have told me scores of times, they know whom they are dealing with. They know that in negotiating with the officers of organizations they aire dealing with men who will tell them directly what they want and what they mean. Once a compact has been arranged they can depend upon union men. The opposition to preference to unionists is simply a bit of political fat. We are not asking for preference to unionists. We are asking for protection to unionists. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- -Would non-unionists be employed in a mine where union men were employed ? {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator HENDERSON: -- I have never worked where there were non-unionists. All the coal-miners are unionists. They recognise that their rights and privileges have been secured by the agency of unions. Their unions have been political organizations in the true sense. There is no class of men who have had to fight more strenuously for the intervention of the law than have the miners. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- Does the honorable senator say that theirs is a political organization? {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator HENDERSON: -- The coalminers' unions have always been political organizations. 11,hey have had ito look after Coal Mines Regulation Bills, and to agitate for them. They have been, their own principals in every case, anc? have had to fight for all their requirements. They have had to make up their minds as to what was needed to benefit their industry, and then they have sailed straight to the harbor where they could obtain it. That has been the case for the last century at least. The sanitary conditions under which coal miners have had to work in the past are almost inconceivable to men who know nothing about mining. If honorable senators who are opposing this provision would don the miner's jacket for three months I venture to say that they would hold a different opinion in respect to preference. It is want of knowledge and of experience in these matters that leads to many of the arguments which are advanced against preference. {: #debate-4-s13 .speaker-K1U} ##### Senator PULSFORD:
New South Wales *Arbitration Bill.* desire to see the conditions of the great mass of the people improved. Heaven knows there is plenty of scope for improvement, but we must beware lest, in our efforts, we make matters worse. **Senator de** Largie made an observation which shows the direction in which unionism may be apt to go if not carefully watched. Referring to the position of wharf labourer's in Sydney, the honorable senator allowed himself to speak of the flotsam and jetsam of humanity. I stand here to-day on behalf of that flotsam and jetsam, who should always be remembered by people better off, and no endeavour should be made by legislation to make the conditions still worse for those unfortunates. It is unnecessary to deal with the question at any length ; I am content to place on record my faith in freedom, and my hope that the Commonwealth will not commit itself to legislation which will make us more a by-word in the world than we are to-day. A few days ago I saw that President Roosevelt had delivered an address, in the course of which he said : - >The well-being, indeed, the very existence, of the Republic depends on the spirit of orderly liberty. Every man, according to a phrase in the American Constitution, is supposed to be engaged in the pursuit of happiness and well-being; and in that pursuit we ought to beware of picking and choosing - of trying to do anything special for certain classes of the community, to the prejudice of other classes. **Senator WALKER** (New South Wales). - I desire to say a few words in support of the amendment of **Senator Macfarlane.** I was particularly struck with **Senator Henderson's** observation that all coal miners are unionists. If that be so, where is the necessity for preference? {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator Henderson: -- The fact is not altered. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator WALKER: -- I can only suppose that the object of obtaining preference is to prevent others taking part in the same occupation. I do not propose to do more than express the hope that whatever may be the result of the division, it will be placed on record that some honorable senators, at all events, denounced interference with the liberty we have inherited from our British ancestors. **Senator GUTHRIE** (South Australia).I should not have risen but for the last words of **Senator Walker,** to the effect that he is in favour of British liberty. What is **Senator Walker** attempting at the present time? He is absolutely attempting to take an underhand advantage of unionists. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- I think, **Mr. Chairman,** that I am justified in asking your protection. {: #debate-4-s14 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Here is another illustration of **Senator Walker's** love of British liberty - he wishes to restrain me from expressing an opinion on the views which he expressed {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- **Senator Walker** complains of the expression " underhand." {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I cannot use a more appropriate expression. What is the position ? Unionists are giving up the right to strike - that is the sacrifice they make for the sake of obtaining this Bill. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- Have non-unionists not to give up that right ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Certainly not. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Non-unionists are the only men who will dare to strike. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- And, what is more, unionists are penalizing themselves to a very considerable extent. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- Who asks them to do so? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- The country has asked them to do so. There is a great association of employers seeking to crush trade unions out of existence if they can. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- No, no ! {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- That is the whole object of the Employers' Association. What is the object of the emissaries of the Employers' Union who are travelling about the country - the Walpoles and others? {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Do the Labour Party abide by all Tom Mann says? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Senators opposite wish to father on labour representatives every remark made by Tom Mann, and, that being so, I am perfectly justified in saddling them with the remarks of **Mr. Walpole.** {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Labour members acknowledge that Tom Mann represents them in everything. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- We do not. **Mr. Walpole** is the representative, not of a section of the employers of Australia, but of the whole of them. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- He does not represent me, or my firm. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- But I take it that the honorable, senator is a member of the Employers' Union. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- I am not. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Then all I can say is- {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- That he ought to be. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Yes, he ought to be. I shall hail with satisfaction the day when every employer and every employ^ is a member of an association or union. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Is all this heat due to **Senator Walker's** remark? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- There is no heat ; I am as ccol as **Senator Millen** could possibly be. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- The honorable senator dissembles very well. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- This Bill will involve a considerable amount of trouble and expense to unions, who must register, and every half-year send a return to the Registrar, containing the name of every member. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- The unions need not do that unless thev like. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- But they will have to do it. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- The unions need not register. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- But if the members of a union strike, they will be liable to a penalty of *£1,000,* or imprisonment. That is the sacrifice which the unions are prepared to make in the interests of industrial peace. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- In the interests of themselves. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- No; in the interests of the whole community. There is no class legislation in this Bill. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- Oh ! {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- What is the history of this movement in Australia? The movement took practical form in New South Wales when .the disastrous results of the great maritime strike were realized. A Royal Commission was then appointed, and on the report of that Commission the New South Wales Parliament passed an Act providing for voluntary conciliation. We all know of the failure of that Act. Since then we have gone onward, until to-day there is before us a Bill providing for compulsory conciliation and arbitration in disputes extending beyond the limits of a State. We are asked to say that unionists who will have to pay fines in the event of there being a strike, shall have no preference. Such a proposal is ridiculously one-sided. Where there are responsibilities, there ought to be privileges, and nowhere else. We are asking nothing but what is absolutely fair and British ; and the country will know what value to place on the protests of honorable senators opposite. The country has only recently been polled, and with what result ? An absolute majority of the honorable senators returned to this Chamber at the last election are pledged to support preference, for the one purpose of securing industrial peace in the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- Where does the honorable senator find that ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- In South Australia, three honorable senators, the whole number to be elected, were returned pledged to support preference, and the three gentlemen who were opposed to them were against it, and their opposition to preference constituted one of the reasons for their rejection. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- Where was the distinct issue of preference to unionists raised ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- The Bill providing for preference to unionists was before the country. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- What was before the country was the principle of arbitration and the inclusion of railway servants in the Bill. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- And the question of preference also. The question of preference to unionists was discussed not only from the public platform in South Australia, but, as the Attorney-General must know, in the organ which usually sides with him in politics. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- I do not know of any organ that sides with me. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- New South Wales returned three senators who are not in favour of preference to unionists. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I am coming to that. Victoria returned three out of four pledged to preference to unionists, Queensland returned three, Western Australia three, and it was left to old New South Wales- {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator Macfarlane: -- And Tasmania. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Tasmania did not return three honorable senators opposed to it. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- Will **Senator Macfarlane** say that Tasmania returned any honorable senator who declared .himself against conciliation and arbitration? {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator Macfarlane: -- No; against preference. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- We do not need to quibble; and it is sufficient that I am able to say that four States against two returned representatives to this Senate in favour of preference to unionists. The AttorneyGeneral has said that the question was not before the country. I can tell honorable senators that one of the daily newspapers in Adelaide raised the question as a bogy to frighten the electors of South Australia, and told them that if representatives of the Labour Party were returned that was what they might expect. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- Did that newspaper refer to preference to unionists ia terms like that? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Of course I am not giving the exact terms, and the honorable and learned senator is not fair in asking that I should give the exact terms used. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- I do not ask that, but I ask whether the newspaper dealt specially with the question of preference to unionists, or merely with the principle of this Bill.- {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- With preference to unionists and the Arbitration Bill generally. This newspaper suggested that the Bill was to be passed in the interests of unionists. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- Preference was never discussed. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- It was discussed, and we were returned to this Senate to put the Arbitration Bill, which was before the country, through Parliament in such a form that no injustice should be done to any one. I claim that no injustice will be done to non-unionists if the small measure of preference to unionists asked for in this measure is conceded. As I have already said, all the sacrifices will be made by trade unionists, whilst the non-unionists will be m'aking no sacrifices at all to bring about industrial peace. {: #debate-4-s15 .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON:
Tasmania -- I am only too pleased that the electors of the Commonwealth should know that there are a few members of the Senate, whose sense of British fair play and justice impels them to protest against this provision which the Labour Party are seeking to force upon the community. I think that our friends of the Labour Party desire the liberty to kill liberty, and I am very much inclined to think that they will succeed in killing liberty, when the electors of this Commonwealth will say in lament, " Save us from our friends." As a matter of fact, the workers of the Commonwealth are now say ing, "Save us from our friends." Not a single honorable senator opposite can explain why it is that the majority of the workers of the Commonwealth- remain outside the unions. We have listened to volumes of eloquence as to what unionists have done, and how. much consideration they deserve for the advantages they have conferred upon their class, but, notwithstanding all that, instead of the workers rushing to join the unions they steadfastly remain outside of them. We have had no satisfactory explanation from any newspaper, or from any member of the Labour Party as to why non-unionists refuse to join the unions. I take, it that if the workers generally believed that in unionism they would find liberty, justice, fair play, and the advantages which honorable senators opposite claim for it, they would enter the unions. When we find unionists in such a hopeless minority, we are justified in examining most critically the basis upon which honorable senators opposite rest their defence of unionism. Since criticism has been directed to the unions in this way, every newspaper we .take up has something to say concerning the tyranny and thraldom of unionism. We are given the details of facts which go to show that the unions are political, and desire to tyrannize over non-unionists, and everybody else. We have had specific instances to prove this. We know that the Australian Workers' Union practically compelled another association - the Machine Shearers' Union - to register, and we found that the Registrar of 'the New South Wales Arbitration Court decided that the rules of the Australian Workers' Union were such that no free, workman should be asked to subscribe to them. We have learned that .they passed rules concerning the politics of the country under which men were robbed of the right to exercise their conscientious convictions. We learned that trade unions are political institutions, and we are here being asked to pass a Bill to give them power to tyrannize over all the workers of the Commonwealth. I hope .that there will be a clear-cut issue when we next go before the electors. I deny that any honorable senator has a right to say that the electors of the Commonwealth seat to this Senate a majority of honorable senators in favour of preference to unionists. ' That is not a fact. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- It is a fact, and my word is as good, as the honorable and learned senator's. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- The principle of preference to unionists was not before the electors. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It was in the Bill which was before the electors. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- It was not before the electors in any State in any such way as to enable our honorable friends opposite to . say that it was an issue on which they won, and on which candidates, opposed to the principle, lost. I do not wish to deny to the Labour Party any victory they may have obtained. I prophesy that they are going to obtain further victories, but as their efforts will be in the direction of tyranny and injustice, the workers will some day have reason to say, " Save us from our friends." We have the afternoon before us, and I have some very interesting reading here which I propose to give .to the Senate. I should like honorable senators opposite to learn what **Mr. J.** Macgregor, of New Zealand, has to say on the subject of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in that Colony. He is not a member of the Labour Party, but he had at the outset the greatest possible sympathy with this legislation. He is. a master of arts, a barrister at law, and he was a member of the New Zealand Legislature. This is what he says - >It only remains to add that the writer did his best as a member of the Legislature to secure the passing of the Act; that. he believed it would prove a beneficent measure, and still believes it would have so proved had it not been perverted to improper uses; that he has watched it closely ficm its inception, hoping against hope that it might yet fulfil its promise and justify the expectations of its author ; that he has been reluctantly driven to the conclusion that it is proving, anr) must more and more prove, a curse instead of a blessing. That will be found at the close of this gentleman's pamphlet, from which I quote. Let us learn something of the grounds on which he bases this opinion of the working of the New Zealand Arbitration Act. I presume that .this Arbitration Bill will pass, and in an extreme form, but I believe that the very extreme of injustice and tyranny to which it will be carried, in the hands of our honorable friends opposite, will render it impracticable. **Mr. Macgregor** further says - >It has been truly said that unionism must dominate Parliament if it is not controlled by Parliament, and in New Zealand for some years, it has dominated the Government, and through it the Parliament. The ultimate aim of the ringleaders in the conspiracy is to dominate the employers and control all the industries of the Colony ; and Parliament has deliberately furthered their aims, whilst the Court, by awarding prefer ence to unionists has unconsciously played. into their hands. They have achieved their object, and the employers from end to end of the Colony feel themselves to be at their mercy. This is no exaggeration, but a sober statement of fact. Is it possible or conceivable that such a system can be a success? I am aware, from experience, that my honorable friends opposite do not like facts. It is only by trying to dodge facts, and to avoid economic truths that they can make any headway at all; but as their anticipations rest upon these rotten foundations, they will sooner or later end in failure. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable and learned senator in order in slinging off wholesale insinuations that honorable senators on this side are dodgers, and are trying to dodge facts ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I did not understand the honorable and learned senator to say anything of the kind. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- This is what the honorable and learned senator gives to the ladies' meetings. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- It is rather an un- ' happy circumstance that the members pf the Labour Party can never listen to any argument against themselves, without endeavouring .to sneer at and drag down the man who uses it. It never occurs to them to ask whether the argument used is sound, or whether it can be met. They never think of learning anything from the teachings of history, and the operation of the Arbitration Acts already in force in the Commonwealth and in New Zealand. They have not sufficient courage to answer the arguments which are used, but by sneering and jeering at him they try to pull down .the man who uses arguments against them. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- This is the kind of thing the honorable and learned senator tells the ladies' meetings, where he speaks of domestic servants as " the meanest servants." {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- And they try sometimes to put statements into his mouth which he never uttered. I do not want any more sneers or jeers, and I do not want anything put into my mouth by **Senator McGregor** which I never said. If the honorable senator will be good enough to hold his tongue, I shall be much obliged to him. I do not want irrelevant interjections, nor rude ones ; I have had too much of that kind of thing from the honorable senator, and I wish to have no .rr.ore of it. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- The honorable and learned senator is becoming tender-skinned. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- No; but I am getting tired of these sneers, and I intend to hit back at those who use them. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- What was " dodging the facts " ? Was not that a sneer ? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- "Dodging the facts " ! Do we not all try to dodge the facts sometimes? Honorable senators opposite make a habib of it, and that is my objection to them. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The honorable and learned senator should speak for himself. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I an. speaking now for the members of the Labour Party, who are always dodging the facts. They have not sufficient patience to allow the facts to be pronounced. Whenever I have had the pleasure, as I sometimes have had, of speaking to gatherings of the Labour Party outside, I have found that they will not listen to facts. One is only allowed to half state a fact, when they begin to sneer and to jeer. I wish honorable senators opposite to listen now to what this **Mr. Macgregor** says. He is a barrister-at-law, and though I am aware my honorable friends opposite do not like lawyers, they should have some respect for the opinion of a thoughtful and cultured man, who has taken his degree at a University, and who assisted to pass the New Zealand Conciliation and Arbitration Act. This is what he says about unionists in New Zealand, and I suppose they may be considered first cousins to those represented by our honorable friends opposite - >Unionism in New Zealand has become a triple tyranny - the ringleaders and agitators tyrannize over the general body of unionists; the unionists, who are only a minority of the workers, have established a tryanny over the workers generally, and they exercise almost complete control over the Ministry and (he Legislature. They are at present concentrating all their efforts upon one object - to compel employers to use their capital according to the determinations of the unions, dictated through the Court of Arbitration, and, in the meantime, to give the least possible return to the employers for wages received. We have proof of those statements. We know well that through the Arbitration Court the workers are trying to secure more and more of the profits of industry. In some instances, they may have a perfect right to share in them, but what this writer points out is that while they subject their employers to the irritation of litigation they are not prepared to give them a fair day's work for the wages they receive. It has bean proved over and over again. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- That is a libel on the workers. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I pointed out before, that no Act of Parliament can ever make them give a fair day's work. My honorable friends opposite think it is a question of unionism. It can never be rammed home too often that it is a question of character. If employers do not possess a proper character, no Act of Parliament will ever make them do justice. And if employes have not a character for steady thrift, sobriety, and industry, all the Acts of Parliament which may be passed will not make this a. prosperous industrial Commonwealth. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- The honorable and learned senator said that all workers are lazy. Sentor DOBSON.- I did not. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- That is exactly what the honorable and learned senator did say. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- Why does the honorable and learned senator brand the workers as a body with the delinquencies *>>f* one or two men ? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- When I said that I did not make the statement referred to, my honorable friend, if he wishes to sit in an assembly of gentlemen, should have accepted my assurance. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- The honorable and learned, senator's statement was not very clear. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- Well, I have made it clear by my denial. If the honorable senator can make a point against an opponent he will make it. If he cannot do it by fair means, he will resort to foul means. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- The honorable and learned senator is making points against workmen as a body. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I am offering a fair criticism of the methods of the Labour Party in trying to make use of this Bill to build up political unions. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- The honorable and learned senator is branding the whole body of workmen with the faults of one or two men. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I have assured my honorable friend several times that I am not branding the whole body of workmen. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- Very good; I shall accept that assurance. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I am trying to point out that on the side of both employers and employes it is a question of character in the last resort, and not a question of an Act of Parliament, or trying to create wealth out of a wage fund which does *not exist.* There is plenty of good reading in this pamphlet, and as honorable senators seem to like it so much I shall quote a little more. One of the features of 'new unionism generally is its contempt for the old unionism, and especially for its encouragement of thrift and self help. The inculpation of thrift is looked upon with coldness, if not with aversion, by our New Zealand variety pf unionism, as, indeed, it is by materialistic Socialism generally. Experience shows that amongst the workers as a rule, thrift goes with unselfishness and a sense of duty and responsibility, and unthrift with selfishness and self-indulgence. The whole tendency of unionism amongst us is to destroy in the worker the one thing on which his manliness and his chance of real happiness depend, by disparaging the old unionist idea that it is a man's duty to carry at least his own burden ; it tends also to discourage the foresight and selfcontrol which form one of the elementary factors of morality - "a quality in moral character which determines the happiness or misery of them who possess or do not possess it, in a way that goes far deeper into life than by mere success or failure in laying by a sum of money." The difference between the old unionism and colonial unionism-, is clearly seen in their different attitudes towards the question of old age pensions. The tendency with .us being to look to the State for everything, and to discourage self-reliance. It is still more clearly seen in the fact that amongst the unionists in New Zealand there is almost complete indifference to real co-operation, which in England has made such remarkable progress in recent years. The whole tendency of our boasted labour legislation is to discourage real co-operation, and one of the worst evils of our arbitration system is that it tends, not only to divide permanently employers and wage earners into two hostile camps, and to render it more and more difficult for the wage earner to become an employer, but also to segregate the wage earners more and more from the other classes of the community. From my experience - and I read everything on Socialism or labour politics that I Can get hold of - that is exactly what labour legislation is tending to. I do not say that the unionists set to work to do this wilfully, but that is the result of almost all their efforts. They are setting class against class. They fail to recognise this fundamental fact, that the interests of the workers and the owners in a factory are identical ; that the larger the profit made, the better it is for both parties. They must consider what profit can be made. On the one hand there is the capital and the directing skill of the owner, while on .the other hand there is the labour of the men and its efficiency and skill. All these factors ought to be safeguarded whenever we pass a law. All these factors must be present whenever we desire to go in the direction of successful industry. But my honorable friends leave them all out of consideration. They think pf nothing but wages, and how to increase wages. They do not consider both sides of the question. I hope to submit, next week, an amendment in which I shall try to define some of the principles which should guide the Court in adjusting wages between owner and worker. We have not done with this admirable pamphlet yet. Judging from the attention which it commands from my honorable friends, it is making them think. I do not desire to convert every one of them. I merely ask them to consider the reasons they will submit to the electors for placing an Act of Parliament, and a secretary to a union, between a man and his daily bread. If that is what they call liberty and justice, let them gp to the country on that cry, and let us fight out the question whether we are to be governed by tyranny. If we are to be governed by political unionism, let us know it as soon as possible, so that a man can elect to stay in the country and part with his capital, or clear out with his capital. Let us all know exactly what the conditions are to be. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- Where is he to find a resting-place when this agitation is going on all over the world? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- Let a man take his choice. Let us know what the conditions are to be. I am inclined to think that under the power which the Labour Party are getting we shall never know what the conditions are to be. I do not suppose that any place could be found in which there is more unrest and discontent. My honorable friends on the other side believe in the gospel of discontent. The unrest in the Commonwealth is dreadful. The uncertainty of our legislation must tend to make men timid in investing their capital. It must tend to make men look for investments in other places. While this state of things continues we cannot expect to get the best investment of capital. Its investment must be limited. Do my honorable friends mean to tell me that if there were uncertainty of work and prosperity here labour men would not go out to the first gold, coal, or tin mine, which they could hear of? We know that they would. If the conditions for the employment of capital be made more uncertain, capital will go too. In his pamphlet **Mr. Macgregor** goes on to say - >Such are the general tendencies and character of unionism of the colonial type, and it must be admitted that the probabilities are against the success of a system of conciliation and arbitration in which unionism has such a preponderating influence. Coercion and class warfare are of the very essence of it, and we can now see that failure was the inevitable fate of any system based upon conciliation. Unionism, like other institutions, posesses no other virtue than that of the men of flesh and blood who apply it; and the leaders of colonial unionism, like their master, Karl Marx, profess the most profound contempt for moral ideals generally. Their reliance is upon force, not upon character. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- That is a most unmanly thing to say. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- The man who wrote that pamphlet is an absolute liar. Is that plain enough for the honorable and learned senator ? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I always find that the more angry my honorable friends opposite get, the better my arguments are, I am not branding working men, but merely reading the opinion of **Mr. Macgregor,** M.A. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- Does the honorable and learned senator believe in that quotation about morals? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- Never mind what I believe. I am not going to answer interjections by honorable senators who take a delight in twisting my remarks. I told my honorable friends that there was some good reading in the pamphlet, and I hope that they are enjoying it as much as I am. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- We can fairly assume that the honorable and learned senator believes in that quotation about morals. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I accuse my honorable friend of treating me very unjustly. He is determined to put in my mouth something which I did not say, and which he thinks will damage me throughout the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- I asked the honorable and learned senator straight if he believes in the quotation about morals. **Senator DOBSON.** - I have said that I am quoting **Mr. Macgregor.** I shall not reply to the honorable senator when I find him persisting in perverting everything I say. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- The honorable and learned senator is dodging my question. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I shall face the honorable senator, or anybody else, before the electors, and answer the question there. But I shall not give an answer here, because the honorable senator is disposed to twist my remarks to my prejudice and disadvantage. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- It is the honorable and learned senator who is always dodging. I asked him straight if he believes in the quotation about morals, and he will not answer. , j {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- **Senator Millen** has suggested to me that perhaps this remark by **Mr. Macgregor** has been misunderstood. I understand him to mean that the unionists do not pay attention to moral forces. He is referring to the forces of thrift, industry, and co-operation, and not of morality in the ordinary sense. {: .speaker-KLS} ##### Senator Givens: -- But **Mr. Macgregor** does not use the phrase " moral forces." {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I have said what I think **Mr. Macgregor** is referring to. I have sometimes said that the Labour Party do not seem to give the slightest attention to that side of a man's character which " confronts the eternal." The whole range of their politics is materialistic. Their great cry is, " Never mind what comes after us. Wages, wages, wages ! " {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- And the honorable and learned senator's cry is, " Fees, fees, fees !" {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Does the honorable and learned senator think it is fair to load up *Hansard* with fudge of that kind ? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I have quoted all the passages bearing on the question of unionism. There are plenty of passages about the Arbitration Act generally, but I cannot use them in relation to this clause. I protest against its retention. I have always pointed out how various unions are decreasing in number. Although this legislation has been promised, still the unions have been decreasing in number during the last two years. How idle, therefore, is it for **Senator Guthrie** to talk about the electors sending a majority here in favour of this legislation. It rests with my honorable friends on the other side to show that the unions are doing good, and not harm ; that they exist merely for the sake of working this Bill; and that their membership is gradually increasing. When they must admit that there is a majority of two to one against the unionists, and that some unions are decreasing in number while this discussion is proceeding, how can they ask that a minority shall receive a preference from the Court? What is one to think about this democracy? Every honorable senator on the other side would feel insulted if I did not admit that he was a full-fledged liberal-socialistic-democrat. If he is, does he not believe in government by majority ? Are we to have government by majority all over the Commonwealth, except in the case of trades unionists? Are we. to listen to this rant and nonsense about unionists having given up the right to strike? They have not given up that right. Their representatives come to us with nothing in their mouths but " Compulsory arbitration." {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Is the honorable and learned senator discussing the amendment, or the Bill ? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I am discussing an argument used by **Senator Guthrie** to the effect that unionists are entitled to preference because they have given up the right to strike. I contend that they have given up nothing. They are the wrong sort of people to give up anything. When they begin to give up a little, and consider the rights of others, they will get a little more respect from me. That argument is used here again and again, but does it contain a shadow of truth? How dare the men who are trying to dominate the whole Commonwealth and begging that this Bill shall be made law, as it does justice to the unionists, say that they are giving up a right? My honorable friends talk about restricting liberty, and get angry when liberty is taken away from them. This provision for preference to unionists will ' create a great deal of friction, and will be found to be utterly impracticable. It will deprive many men of employment, and will harass employers. In the long run the unionists will tyrannize. They have tyrannized in the past, just as the employers have done. We shall not alter human nature by passing this Bill. Unions have been shutting out the cooper, although he could make a cask, and they have been shutting out the wharf labourer by closing their books. This Bill will convert them into legal political organizations. We have no right to pass a provision of that sort "unless we have the rules and the agreements of every union in Australia placed upon the table of this Senate. I believe .that if this clause is to be carried, we ought to embody in the Bil! a set of rules for the unions ; and any other rules which the unionists sought to make should be certified to by the Attorney-General that they were not. contrary to the spirit of the measure. We have no right to let the Court find out years hence that there are large unions that have restrictive clauses in their rules. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Is not .that provided for in the Bill? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- It is not provided for as it ought to be. Four or five cases have already come before the Court, in New South Wales, in which the Registrar has found that the rules are unfair and unjust, and took away the liberty of men. I maintain that by passing this clause we shall be taking a step in the dark, which we have no right .to do. {: #debate-4-s16 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western Australia -- Every Australian who loves his country can feel nothing but contempt and scorn for the terms which have been applied to it by the three speakers on the opposite side of the Chamber - **Senator Dobson, Senator Gray,** and **Senator Pulsford.** Those honorable senators, during the whole of their speeches, have been reviling the country which has returned them to .this Parliament, and. have been reviling a large section of its people. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- That is false. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order, order! I must ask the honorable senator to withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- I withdraw, and substitute the word " incorrect." {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I say again that these honorable senators have been reviling a large and, I venture to add, a respectable section of the electors of this country. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- Will the honorable senator show how I have reviled them? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The honorable and learned senator, and the others whom I have mentioned, have been reviling the trade unionists of this country, and have imputed to them motives of a most gross and base order! {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Do not confound trade unionists with the country. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I say that the honorable senators referred to have been reviling a large section of the community, and they have reviled the country, because **Senator Pulsford** and **Senator Gray** spoke of the contempt in which this country is held in the eyes of the world. I say that this country is not held in contempt in the eyes of the world. I am proud' to believe that Australia is looked up to by the rest of . the world, especially in matters of social legislation. I believe that the workers of the world look to Australia, and believe that we are leading the way towards their salvation. We are setting an example to them. Who is it that is bringing Australia into contempt ? It is honorable senators who make absolutely incorrect statements as to the meaning of our legislation. They bring Australia into contempt when they stand on the floor of the Senate and 6556 *Conciliation and* [SENATE.] *Arbitration Bill.* say that we are preventing our own fellowcountrymen from coming to Australia. They know that the statement is not correct. Statements of this kind are scattered broadcast through the press of the world, and they create a false impression with regard to Australia. **Senator Dobson** read a quotation which he dare not father as to the morality of the party to which I have the honour to belong. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- No, no. I rise to order. I have not imputed any kind of immorality. The pamphlet, as. I distinctly said, uses the term "moral ideals." As I understood it, **Mr. Macgregor** did not allege immorality against the Labour Party. **Senator. Pearce** is putting into my mouth the word "immorality," when he knows that I never used it. It is not right to put words into my mouth. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Then the honorable and learned senator disclaims what **Mr. Macgregor** has written? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- I have not disclaimed what he has said. I do not disclaim a word of it. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- If he does not disclaim it, I say that he was guilty of making that charge against the Labour Party. The statement was as to the moral ideals of the Labour Party ; and if the ideals of the Labour Party are immoral- {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- They are immoral as to economic affairs. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I understood **Senator Dobson** to disclaim any suggestion of charging the Labour Party with holding immoral ideals, and I think that **Senator Pearce** ought to accept his disclaimer. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I accept it if **Senator Dobson** makes it unreservedly ; but when I accepted it he immediately reaffirmed the statement. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- Will the honorable senator get a dictionary and look up the word " moral " ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Before **Senator Dobson** leaves the chamber - as he is in the habit of doing when he has made reckless charges of this kind - I ask him to listen to some figures in reply to one statement which he made. I take these figures from an official document. He said that in all the States of Australia the number of unionists is dwindling, and that the working men are not joining the unions. He referred especially to those States in which there are Arbitration Acts. I am going to explode that statement, and to show that it is on a par with many other statements which **Senator Dobson** makes. I have here the official report of the Registrar of the Arbitration Court in Western Australia. That report shows that in the year 1901 the number of registered trade unionists in Western Australia - and these figures do not include the unregistered unionists - was 8,920. In the year 1902 the number was 11,442, an increase of 2,522. In the year 1903 the number was 15,294, an increase in the year of 3,852 ; or an increase in the two years of over 6,000 trade unionists. I ask the honorable and learned senator, in view of that statement, whether he is again prepared to make the assertion which he has made to the Senate? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- I still assert that in some of the unions the numbers are decreasing. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The honorable senator made a general statement. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Are those figures for Western Australia only? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Yes. They show what little weight is attached to the statements and assertions of **Senator Dobson.** {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- The question is whether the number of unionists is increasing or decreasing in Australia generally. **Senator PEARCE.** - In Western Australia, where there is an Arbitration Act, the number of unionists has increased in three years by over 6,000. That is to say, the unionists have nearly doubled their numbers. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- There is a large mining community in Western Australia, and the miners are nearly all unionists. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I shall have to go into details to show that it is not only in the mining centres, but also in the industrial centres, that there has been an increase. I will, for instance, give the figures for the south-western district of Western Australia, where thereis no mining whatever - absolutely none. In 1901 there were 3,708 unionists, and in 1903 there were 7,948, an increase of over 4,000. That number does not include any miners - not one. The honorable and learned senator asks us to accept the opinions of the alleged expert whom he has quoted on the subject of arbitration. He calls him an impartial expert. A . gentleman who claims to be impartial should use impartial language; and when I hear a person stigmatize the trade unionists of New Zealand as tyrants I have grave doubts as to his impartiality. When I hear him stigmatize the labour movement as a dwindling movement I have still graver doubts as to his impartiality. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- The honorable senator is quite sure of his ignorance. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I am perfectly certain of his ignorance. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- So am I. **Senator PEARCE.** - When I hear an honorable senator who is endeavouring to make out a case against unionism stigmatize the Labour Party of Australia, which has recently formed a Government in Australia, as a party which dodges facts, I ask him what is his own attitude towards the facts which I have quoted, and which absolutely refute the statements which he has made. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- The honorable senator thinks that he has upset my statements, but assertion is not proof. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It is said that we wish to secure preference for unionists because we desire to secure an unfair share of the profits which the workers are producing. **Senator de** Largie, when he spoke on this question, said that we desire this Bill in order to get a fairer share of the wealth which labour is producing for the workers. I am going to show that, under the present condition of affairs, without preference to unionists, the workers have not had a fair share of the increasing wealth of the community. That remark applies not only to this country ; the same thing occurs in America also. And I shall quote figures to prove it. Here arc the American figures. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- The honorable senator will see that the point is not whether the working man should get a. fair share- every one concedes that - but what is a fair share. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- We contend that the only way to determine what is a fair share is by means of an Arbitration Court, and in order to secure a fair Bill we must have protection for unionists. Those honorable senators who are endeavouring to strike out protection to unionists are endeavouring to kill this measure. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- " Preference " for unionists is the term used in the Bill. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It is really protection for unionists ; the term is misused in the Bill. These figures show the distribution of wealth in the United States of America. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- What is the honorable senator quoting from? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- From the *Tocsin,* a paper published in Melbourne. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Does the honorable senator believe what he sees in the press? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I believe what I see in the *Tocsin,* at an" rate. These are official figures. The output of American factories in 1902 totalled in value 13,004.4 million dollars, apportioned in millions of dollars as follows: - It will thus be seen that the factory workers and their hired supervisors (for all salaries are included in the item " wages ") increased the value of the raw material by 5,659 million dollars, of which they themselves received less than half. The article proceeds to deal with Australia, and we learn the kind of distribution of . profit there has been under the goasyouplease liberty system of which **Senator Dobson** is such an admirer. The article proceeds - >According to Coghlan's "Statistics," 1901-2 (page 689), the output of all the Australasian manufactures for the preceding year was valued at £80,596,000 ; and in the following year (" Statistics," T902-3, page 956) the amount had increased to £92,032,000. > >These amounts are made up as follows : - From (his it will be seen that, although the output rose* by £11,436,000, the amount paid to th.; workers was only increased by £393,000, while the profit mongers took an additional £4,534,000. **Senator Dobson** says that under conditions of liberty, with no Arbitration Act or preference to unionists, there is a fair distribution of profits. Do the figures I have quoted disclose any fair distribution? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The figures disclose a "fundamental," which **Senator Dobson** understands. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The figures disclose a fundamental which the workers of Australia are beginning to understand, and, because of that understanding, they are determined to have a different system of distribution. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- - I do not think this is relevant to the amendment before the Chair. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The honorable and learned senator in his remarks wandered all over the globe - discussed the constitution of the Labour Party, Karl Marx, and every available authority ; but when I produce fact's which he cannot dispute, and place them in *Hansard* side by 'side with his rash assertions, he takes the stand that I am irrelevant. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- The honorable senator's remarks certainly are irrelevant. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- That may be **Senator Dobson's** opinion, but we have a Chairman of Committees to settle such points. If **Senator Dobson** thinks my remarks are irrelevant, let him rise to a point of order. The honorable senator was allowed full scope and every opportunity to produce facts, but he contented himself with mere assertions, whereas I have given indisputable figures. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- And the honorable senator has put words into my mouth which I never uttered. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I Have laid those facts and figures before the Senate to enable the workers of Tasmania who voted for **Senator Dobson** at the last election to decide whether they will any longer support a man who traduces the class to which they belong - a man who would make the people of Australia believe that a trade unionist is synonymous with a criminal. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- I did not go so far as that. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- **Senator Dobson** presented the view that trade union organizations stand for tyranny and wrongdoing. I repudiate those charges made by honorable senators - charges which are absolutely inconsistent with the professions of admiration of trade unionism which characterized their opening remarks. There has been disclosed to the Chamber the undying hostility - the little less than hatred - which exists in the minds of those gentlemen towards men who band themselves together for the purpose of defending their interests, and insisting on a share of the wealth they produce. **Senator MACFARLANE** (Tasmania).I should like to say a few words on the amendment, which I regard as vital to the prosperity of the country. We cannot but pay regard to the opinions of those outside, who are observing the tendency of legislation in the Commonwealth Parliament. **Dr. Parkin,** a highly-respected, well-known gentleman, who travelled throughout Australia making arrangements in connexion with the Rhodes scholarships, was on "his return to England asked his opinion of Australia. Speaking at the Royal Colonial Institute, He used words to this effect - >I love Australia, but I fear very much for its future. I have told my friends in Canada that I am the son of a farmer, and that I believe in farming, but when they ask me whether they ought to go farming to Australia I am obliged to tell them, from my knowledge of the tendency of legislation there, that they ought to remain at home. When an eloquent and impartial outsider expresses such a judgment we ought to pause before we commit ourselves to coercive legislation of the kind proposed. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- Does the honorable senator not think that the people of Australia are better qualified to know what they want, than is **Dr. Parkin?** {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator MACFARLANE: -- I am giving the opinion of a mature, learned man, who is highly respected for his judgment ; and outsiders very often see most of the play. I cannot help thinking that while we may be of opinion that we are quite right, people outside, who think otherwise, are, perhaps, the best judges. I am amazed that **Senator de** Largie should declare that unless preference is given, the Bill will be of no value. Have honorable members opposite no belief in the equity and justice of- the Court? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The Court can only determine according to the Bill. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator MACFARLANE: -- Why is it that, instead of giving preference, a man is not allowed to go to the Court and have his case settled, on its merits ? {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- Only organizations can appeal to the Court. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator MACFARLANE: -- Why should trade unionists have any preference? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Senator BEST:
VICTORIA · PROT -e Largie. - Because they are the only people before, the Court. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- The object of the Bill is to prevent strikes and locks-out, and its intention is to give preference. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator MACFARLANE: **- Mr. Justice** Cohen, of New South Wales, who has had much experience in the administration or the Act in that State, is thus reported in the newspapers of to-day - >During the hearing in the Arbitration Court to-day of an application by the Operative Bakers' Union to have a common rule in the trade extended so as to operate in the Newcastle and Illawarra districts, the President stated that he was of opinion that if this matter had been left to those concerned in the business at Newcastle it would have been settled, with perhaps the exception of the minimum wage question. He could only say that it was unreasonable to expect to settle these matters by rule of thumb, as the conditions in different districts were not always similar. He could not understand why men should insist upon acting on this rule of thumb method. He could understand them trying to get uniform conditions, but he thought the men ought to bend a little in response to the different conditions which prevailed in different .places so long as they were being fairly treated by their employers, and were getting fair wages and working reasonable hours. He repeated that he considered the whole matter could have been settled if the Newcastle branch had been left to itself with the exception of the minimum wage. This question involved an amount of only 2s. 6d. a week. There was no magic in the hour for starting work. In Sydney it was 9 o'clock, but such hour might not suit the employers at Newcastle. So long as the men were not sweated, but obtained reasonable conditions, he thought they should consider a little more the interests of those who employed them. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- That does not apply to preference. {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator MACFARLANE: -- If there be a Little give and take, we have conciliation, but with preference we have compulsion ; and no man should be in a position to take away the employment of another man. **Senator CROFT** (Western Australia).I intend to oppose the amendment. I shall not go over the ground traversed by the supporters of the Bill as it stands, except to join with them in the belief that trade unionists should have preference, by reason of the fact that they are members of organizations recognised by the Bill. While that aspect of the case has been laboured, the main question as to giving preference, in order to insure protection, has not been answered from the other side. An attempt has been made to deny that individual employers discharge men because they are trade unionists, or that organizations of employers boycott and discharge men for the same reason. But, as a matter of fact, ,the official organs of the employers advocate iri leading articles that trade unionists should not be employed. Is it denied that that is the case ? {: .speaker-KSH} ##### Senator Macfarlane: -- The employers wish to please themselves, I suppose. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- It is not fair that men should be discharged for such a reason. {: #debate-4-s17 .speaker-JTH} ##### Senator CROFT: -- Iti the Bourke *Banner,* a well-known journal in New South Wales, there appeared the following in aleading article on the loth August, 1904, after an election, in which a labour candidate opposed and defeated **Mr. Willis** - >We now advise a course which may seem drastic, but which alone can be effectual. No employer should give employment to a member of the Australian Workers' Union. Let the hundreds of union men, to whom the union is their god, look to their union, and not to the capitalist, for work and wages, for food and clothes for themselves and their families. That is from a newspaper which supported the candidature of the nominee of the Reform League of New South Wales. How much further will an organization of employers go in an attempt to boycott trade unions? I shall give an illustration. The secretary of the Tailoresses' Union in Western Australia was discharged from her employment because of her official connexion with the organization, and thereupon the other employes, male and female, numbering about eight, came out on strike. No other tailor would employ them, and they walked about idle for weeks. I organized what we called the Industrial Co-operative Tailoring Company, and .made arrangements with Messrs. Sargood, Butler, Nicol, and Ewen for the purchase of material. The first supply was received, and the manager put in charge of the company. However, the Master Tailors' Association met and went in a body to Sargood, Butler, Nicol, and Ewen, and to other wholesale merchants, whose names I do not know, and intimated that if the co-operative company was supplied with material, the members of the Master Tailors' Association would have no further dealings with them. The result was that the Industrial Co-operative Tailoring Company, found it impossible to get a yard of material in Perth at any price. {: .speaker-KMT} ##### Senator Gray: -- That is tyranny. {: .speaker-JTH} ##### Senator CROFT: -- Here was a body of employers who would neither employ those hands, nor allow the latter to obtain the material with which to employ themselves. Preference as a means of protection is absolutely necessary, as the instances I have given prove. I shall not inflict on the Senate my own' experiences on one ot two occasions when I have been unable to obtain employment, owing to my unionist proclivities. **Senator DOBSON** (Tasmania).- It is not my intention to answer the hysterical heroics of **Senator Pearce,** who played his part of trade union advocate in a very proper manner, except that he could not refrain - honorable members opposite seem unable to refrain - from imputing words I never uttered, and twisting my words and arguments. I gave honorable senators three different examples of what the newspapers call the " tyranny and thraldom " of unionism, and I adhere to every word I said. In my opinion, those unions acted in a tyrannical, cruel, and unjust manner. I did not vilify or condemn the whole of the unionists of this State or of the Commonwealth, but merely applied my remarks to the three instances. **Senator Pearce** does not seem to pay any regard to the fact that the numerical strength of the Australian Workers' Union has dwindled down from 21,000 to 13,000. The members of this union had certain rules which the Registrar of the Court considered unjust and unfair, and which deprived men of their liberty. They were so strict as to take away a man's conscience and judgment in connexion with anything political, and they handed him over bodily to the executive of the union. I say that to give a union of that kind any legal status would be to do a gross wrong. I say that the members of the Coopers' Union, in setting a man to make a cask out of wood which he was not accustomed to work, and then excluding him, did a gross wrong. I have said that their work was the work of tyrants, and so far from withdrawing the words I now repeat them. I say that the members of the Wharf Labourers' Union, in preventing some fifteen wharf labourers from working where they had worked for years, unless they agreed to join their union, and then bluffing them in every possible way to prevent them joining, acted unjustly and tyrannically. I stick to that, but the honorable senator has twisted my statement into a vill. ,fication of the whole of the workers of the Commonwealth. That is not fair argument. I have not vilified men whose actions I know nothing about. I have given three examples, and I stand by the words I have used in connexion with the unions to which I have specially referred. I say that unions which would be guilty of such gross wrong should be given no political power whatever. **Senator Pearce** has repudiated the statement that by this legislation we are bringing ridicule upon Australia. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I said that the honorable and learned senator was bringing ridicule upon Australia. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- The ridicule has appeared in scores of newspapers published in Great Britain and in other parts of the world. I shall quote a short paragraph giving the opinion of the *Daily Mail,* of London. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- We need not be surprised that newspapers print these things when the honorable and learned senator says them on the floor of this Chamber. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I remind the honorable senator that it .is labour legislation which these newspapers are criticizing. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The honorable and learned senator is aware of the old adage about the bird that fouls its own nest? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- That is very smart, but it is incorrect. Referring to the decision of the Full Court of New South Wales, in the case of the Brickmakers' and Pipe Manufacturers' Union, the *Daily Mail* makes some significant comments. I think the award in that case was that whenever the men thought it was too wet *to* make bricks they need not make them ; thereby taking the whole conduct and control of the ' industry out of the hands of the employers and enabling the men *to* knock off if a small shower came on. Commenting upon the criticism of the members of the Full Court- {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- As cabled home. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- The *Daily Mail* says - >The solemn warning of the members of the Court of the social clangers of compulsory arbitration should carry some weight with the people. It is remarkable that a nation of workers should forego its right to strike, but they apparently find that the Arbitration Court's awards amply compensate them for their attitude. It is only a question of time, and such interference wilh the right of bargaining must break down through its inherent contrariety to the facts of human nature - but it may break Australia in the process. Honorable senators must have read scores of statements by writers in England, and by noblemen, members of the House of Commons, commercial men, and members of every class in the community who have visited Australia, ridiculing some of the extremes of our labour legislation. I find that **Mr. Nesbitt,** the Town Clerk of Sydney, in his last annual report, stated - >That after two year's most careful observation and anxiety to do justice to the working class as a community, he found trade unions, as exemplified in Sydney, did not appear to exist for the original purpose for which trade unions were established, namely, combinations for protection against sweating and rapacious employers ; but they were degenerating into what, for want of a better term, might be called legalized extortion. I remind honorable senators that it is not **Senator Dobson** who uses these words. They are the words of the Town Clerk of Sydney. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- But the honorable and learned senator indorses them ? {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- I am quoting them for the benefit of my honorable friends opposite, who perhaps know better than I do whether they are correct. *Conciliation and* [4 November, 1904.] *Arbitration Bill.* 6561 {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- The honorable and learned senator quotes them as evidence of the prevailing opinion. {: #debate-4-s18 .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator DOBSON: -- That is just what I do. Honorable senators will remember that I commenced by saying that the headlines in the newspapers to-day are " The Tyranny of Unionism," and " The Thraldom of Unionism." It is on this account that I am as anxious as any one can be that when the time comes for us to go before the electors again, the issue will be put clearly before them, and I believe the Labour Party will come down upon it. {: #debate-4-s19 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
South Australia -- I do not think that any honorable senator on this side can feel very much surprised at the objection which the " MacWalker Party " have put forward against unions. We know that all their statements, when they think they can escape without contradiction, are against unionism and the Labour Party. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- They are very consistent, are they not? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR: -- They are very consistent. Our honorable friend, **Senator Dobson,** is, I believe, conscientiously objecting to unionists. I believe the honorable and learned senator would do anything and everything he possibly could to sweep unionism out of existence, and to sweep the Labour Party along with it. The honorable and learned senator has expressed very serious objection to the interjections which I sometimes make, although they are entirely relevant to his attitude towards unionism and the Labour Party. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- The old unionism to which the honorable and learned senator refers is dead. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR: **- Senator Dobson** and the class to which he belongs opposed the old unionism, and any preference to it, quite as much as they oppose the new unionism of to-day. What has the honorable and learned senator been doing during the last six months, when he thought he could escape contradiction? He has' been attending meetings of the Ladies' National League, and telling the ladies gathered at them that all sections of the community must combine against this tyrannical Socialist Party, against preference to unionists, and everything else. {: .speaker-JVC} ##### Senator Dobson: -- I never said anything of the sort. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR: -- The honorable and learned senator told the ladies at one meeting that they must combine " from the highest lady in the land to the meanest servant," and when a lady in the audience interjected that servants were not necessarily mean, he did not know what to say. That is exactly the position in which the honorable and learned senator finds himself here. He tries to dodge round every statement he has made, and how can honorable senators on this side fix gentlemen of that description? When their arguments are knocked to pieces, they simply repeat them,, or trump up new ones. The honorable and learned senator has to-day referred to the rules which have been adopted by trade unions in New South Wales. He has told us that the Australian Workers' Union had rules that were tyrannical, and that the members of that union should therefore receive no preference. But the honorable and learned senator must recollect that before they can receive any preference under this Bill, those rules must be altered in accordance with the judgment of the Registrar and the Arbitration Court. Again, in connexion with the coopers' incident, **Senator Dobson** should know that if any trade society acts unjustly towards any worker who is entitled to be a member of the society, it can receive no preference. In connexion with the incident of the wharf labourers, to whom reference has been made, if the statement, that they are only earning on the average 15s. per week, be true, I see no reason why any one should be very anxious to become a member of the Wharf Labourers' Union. Whether that statement be true or not, if the members of that union place obstacles unfairly in. the way of any one becoming a member, do not **Senator Dobson** and his friends see that before they can claim preference under such a Bill as this, their rules and their methods of conducting their business must be altered in such a way as to give to every qualified person the most perfect liberty to join their ranks? Does not **Senator Dobson** see that that would be the very best thing for the community ? If unionists are to share the advantages of this measure, their rules must be fair and just to everybody,and the condition of things under a Bill of this description will be better than that which has prevailed in the past. Instead of arguing against preference to unionists, honorable senators opposite, even from their own point of view, should argue in favour of it. It has been clearly pointed out that this clause provides not so much for preference as for protection. I could tell **Senator Dobson** of thousands of people in Australia, and of hundreds who are amongst my own acquaintances, who would be members of trade unions to-morrow but for the fact that if they joined a trade union the bread would be taken out of their mouths straight away by those by whom they are employed at the present time- I have no desire to publish the names of particular workers and firms, but if the honorable and learned senator will come to me privately I can give him a number of names, and he can make his own inquiries as to the facts. The honorable and learned senator will then learn how necessary it is that preference of some description should be given to the men who have taken, and who will take, an active part in the readjustment of the industrial affairs 'of . the community. If some such provision is not made law, these men will be sacrificed every day, and the result, in a few years, will be that **Senator Dobson's** desire will be accomplished, and there will not be a unionist left in Australia. Amendment negatived. **Senator MCGREGOR** (South Australia). - I am aware that the Attorney-General desires that this clause shall be fully debated, and is prepared to give every opportunity for that purpose, but I should like, before the Senate adjourns, to put the position from another point of view. With the permission of **Senator Findley,** who has already moved an amendment which he has temporarily withdrawn, I desire to move an amendment which I believe will carry out the wishes of the majority of honorable senators with respect to this clause. A number of honorable senators on the other side, including the Attorney-General, have asked, "Why not give the Court power to do this, that, and the other? Why place any obstacle in the way of the Court deciding?" {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- What? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR: -- Preference to unionists, for instance. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Deciding whether preference should be granted, or as to a majority ? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR: -- I shall give the honorable senator an opportunity of supporting that view. It is better to leave the decision to the Court. In the case of the laundry trade in Sydney, the Arbitration Court refused to give a preference because there were about 250 unionists as against 950 non-unionists. After taking everything into consideration, the Court, in its wisdom, decided that the unionists were not entitled to preference. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- The representative of the unionists objected on principle to that decision. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR: -- I am quite prepared to put the trade unionists of Australia in exactly the same position by leaving the decision to the Court. In some instances there might be a vast majority of unionists and only a very small minority of non-unionists, and if the Court, in its wisdom, thought that no preference was necessary, or should be given, why should it not be at liberty, to decide, quite apart from what the nonunionists think? In other instances there might be a very small proportion of unionists interested in the decision, but the Court might come to the conclusion that, under existing circumstances, those persons might be very hardly dealt with if some preference were not granted.- It is the duty of this Parliament, I think, to allow the Judge to decide in the light of the evidence whether preference is necessary or should be granted. I move - >That the words "And provided further that no such preference shall be directed to be given," lines 11 and 12, be left out. If my amendment be defeated, **Senator Findley** will have an opportunity of proceeding with his proposal. But if it be carried', it will be an indication that a majority of honorable senators are in favour of omitting the proviso and leaving the question of granting preference entirely to the Court. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- I do not rise to debate the amendment, but merely to prevent any misapprehension on the part of my honorable friend. I shall not accept the division on this amendment as a test division to the extent which he has suggested. If the amendment of **Senator Findley** is to be abandoned, well and good. If the proviso is sought to be struck out, well and good. But I shall not accept the amendment of **Senator McGregor** as a test amendment, because if the words he seeks to omit were retained without reference to what followed .they would assert the opposite principle, namely, that no preference should be given. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- But the honorable and learned senator knows the reason why the amendment is moved in this form. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON: -- I am no party to that understanding, and my honorable friends on the other side must not play fast and loose. I shall be very glad if **Senator Findley** abandons his proposal, but I cannot consent to a sort of double-barrelled *Conciliation and* [4 November, 1904.] *Arbitration Bill.* 6563 arrangement, which would create confusion, and not bring us to the real issue on this question. {: #debate-4-s20 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western Australia -- This is a most extraordinary position for the leader of the Senate to take up, when senator McGregor is merely following a recognised practice here. Whenever an honorable senator indicates his intention to move an amendment in a clause, an honorable senator who desires to strike out the clause moves in the first instance to strike out only so much of the clause as precedes the part in which if he be unsuccessful, the other amendment will be sought to be. introduced. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- But the vote retaining the words sought to be omitted would have the very opposite signification. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- If the words sought to be omitted be retained the clause will be left as it is and the question of preference to unionists can be tested on the amendment of **Senator Findley.** {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- No. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Those who will vote for the amendment of **Senator McGregor** will vote with the intention of striking out the proviso. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- That they do not want preference to unionists? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I am surprised at the Attorney-General saying that he will not accept this amendment as a test one on the question of the qualification of preference. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- I do not want any misapprehension on that. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The action of the honorable and learned senator is in the direction of creating a misapprehension. Surely if it is intended to test the question whether there should be a qualification of the preference or not, **Senator McGregor** has taken the proper course to attain that end? Surely the Attorney-General would not have **Senator McGregor** take such action as would prevent any honorable senators from testing the question whether the onus of proof as to a majority should rest with unionists or non-unionists? {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- He would rather be beaten three times than once. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It seems to me that the Attorney-General is endeavouring to obscure the real issue. I feel sure that whatever view he takes,the Committee will accept the amendment as a test on the question as to whether. there shall be a qualification of the preference or not. Progress reported. Senate adjourned at 3.41 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 November 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.