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Tuesday, 5 December 1905
Page: 6234


Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) - I object to the withdrawal of the clause. I was astonished to hear the honorable member for Kooyong declare that he knew nothing whatever of the black-listing which took place in connexion with the miners" strike at Broken Hill. That black-listing meant the starvation of innocent women and children.


Mr Knox - That is rubbish. If the honorable member can cite any specific case of that character, it will be inquired into.


Mr HUTCHISON - -Scores of such cases can be specified. Several were mentioned by the honorable member for Barrier, and I know that in some instances innocent women and children' had to suffer. Cases in which the boycott has been used could be multiplied, but I am sure that the honorable member for Kooyong will not be ready to lift his finger to put an end to that practice. I have seen employers' black-lists in connexion with the Australian Workers' Union, of which I have been an officer for many years. As labour members are aware that such lists existed in connexion with the Shearers' Union, and the mines at Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie, it is curious that the honorable member for Kooyong should know nothing whatever about them. Not long ago, the hotel and restaurant employes in Kalgoorlie brought a case before the Arbitration Court in Western Australia. That tribunal' decided that the conditions under which they laboured were far from satisfactory. What was the result? The officers who took that case into Court were" able to obtain a fair award, but when they returned to their work they were instantly dismissed. Yet the honorable member for Kooyong talks about boycotting. He declares that the union label will be used for the purpose of establishing a boycott. What kind of boycott can it be used to initiate? Only the boycott that we all indulge in to-day - that of extending a preference to the tradesman whose goods we favour. The honorable member for Kooyong has said that it is becoming an offence to be an employer. The very reverse is the case. I was just as good a unionist when I was an employer as I was when a workman. It is becoming an offence to be a unionist. Let the honorable member ask the directors of the Melbourne Tramway Company, or of the Melbourne Gas Company, if they will allow one of their employes to belong to a trade union. For any person in. the service of those companies to jo.in such an organization would mean instant dismissal. That is the so-called " liberty" that exists, not only in Victoria, but in the other States, and yet those who say that they are opposed to boycotting and shout for liberty do nothing in this House to rectify such a state of affairs. I am glad that the honorable member for Kooyong has submitted this amendment, because it has given us an opportunity to afford the public an insight into the condition of affairs existing throughout the Commonwealth. But for the fact that it is time we passed this Bill through its remaining stages and proceeded with the consideration of other measures, I should be disposed to detain the Committee by citing the numerous cases of intimidation on the part of employers that have come under my observation. At Port Adelaide, for instance, when the workers dared to stand up for their rights, the guns of the Protector, which was at that time the only Australian warship were loaded to the muzzle to shoot down the finest body of men with whom I have had the pleasure of being associate'. But I am glad to say that the Ministry of the day thought better of it. Then, again, we have actually seen guns taken to Newcastle to shoot down innocent men, simply because they dared to stand up for their rights.


Mr Bamford - And also to Western Queensland.


Mr HUTCHISON - That is so. This action was taken, not because of any offence committed by the men, but because they dared to assert that they were unable to keep their wives and children in the. comfort they deserved.


Mr King O'Malley - That was the tyranny of the "boodleier."


Mr HUTCHISON - Tyranny is not the word to describe it. Every one is aware of what was attempted in this direction in Victoria. When the Attorney-General quoted a provision in a Victorian Act against intimidation and conspiracy, I was almost led to think that he was. reading from the infamous Irvine Coercion Act. The Statutes of the States amply provide against intimidation without any action on our part. I shall not press my objection to the withdrawal of the motion, but if it went to a division I should be very much surprised to find even half-a-dozen honorable members of the Opposition supporting it.


Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - Nonsense.


Mr HUTCHISON - At all events those who supported the amendment would lower themselves in the estimation of the people, and I think that the honorable member for Kooyongis well advised in proposing to withdraw it.







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