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Tuesday, 31 August 1920

Mr GABB (Angas) .- I oppose the amendment moved by the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford). I have not much fault to find with that part of it which provides that there shall be a secret ballot of the members of an organization involved in a dispute to determine whether or not a strike shall take place, because I, too, have had inside experience, and might bear out some of the statements which the honorable member has made. But I resent very strongly his proposal that the wives of the men should take part in the ballot. No doubt the honorable member thinks that if the women-folk had a right to vote, there would be no strike. In other words, he is casting a reflection on the wives of the unionists by suggesting that they would be such crawlers as to allow their husbands to put up with any industrial conditions rattier than risk the privations that attend a strike. The unionist, after all, is but. the son of his mother ; he is of the stock from which he has sprung, and when it comes to making a sacrifice, or to standing up for a principle, no one is more ready to do so than a woman.

Mr Bamford - Then let the women have an opportunity of expressing their opinion.

Mr GABB - We are not opposing this amendment because of any fear of the result of such aballot as is suggested. We oppose it because it is a reflection on the wives of unionists.

I have been wondering during this debate what has happened to cause the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. RichardFoster) to present bouquets to the honorable member for Herbert. A few years ago one would not have dreamt of bouquets being handed to him by either the honorable member or the honorable member for Dampier (Mr. Gregory). I have read somewhere that Herod and Pilate became friends over the crucifixion of the Nazarene ; and here we have a modern Herod and Pilate becoming friendly over the crucifixion of the principles and loyaltyof the working women of this country. When the honorable member for Herbert was seeking to benefit, I will not say his industrial, buthis financial, position, he did not ask that a ballot of the wives of members should be taken in regard to the salary grab; he was quite satisfied to trust to the wisdom of members themselves, so far as that matter was concerned. If it is good enough for us to deal with our own business, it is good enough for the unionists outside to settle their own business without calling upon their wives to settle it for them.

Proposed new clause negatived.

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