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Thursday, 30 November 1905


Mr KELLY (Wentworth) - I am prepared to discuss the question of the union label now, if the Government wish to go straight ahead. Excellent feeling has been displayed on all sides of the Chamber this week. We have passed through a long"stone wall." I do not suppose that a "stone wall" had ever been previously conducted with such good feeling on all sides. If it had not been for that unfortunate occurrence, we should have got rid of this Bill at least a week ago. The only reason why I would suggest to the AttorneyGeneral the propriety of not proceeding further to-night, and not trying to force the Opposition into the position which he has laid down, is that there are at least ten amendments to be moved, each of which involves a separate principle. I recognise the force of what he said about concluding the debate on this question, but I cannot see how he can propose to compress ten hours' work - for I presume that any amendment i's worthy of an hour's discussion - into a six-hours' day. However, if he does not see the force of that, I shall proceed with my speech.


Mr Isaacs - The time is getting so short.


Mr KELLY - I can assure my honorable and learned friend that we, on this side, do not wish to stay any longer than he does. We are just as anxious to get home as any honorable member can be. We recognise that a measure of this character, which has not been before the country, deserves educative debate in the House. That is only fair to the constituencies.


The CHAIRMAN - I think it would be betterfor the honorable member to proceed now with his speech.


Mr KELLY - In the course of the debate several honorable members have referred to the silence of the members of the Labour Party. I do not see any reason why the members of that party should address themselves particularly to this question, because their views are fairly well known. For that reason, I do not think that we. can rightly object to the silence which has been observed by honorable members, with the. exception of the honorable member for Darling.


Mr Hutchison - We spoke long ago on this question.


Mr KELLY - I amspeaking of what has happened to-day. The leader of the Labour Party spoke to this question some few weeks ago.


Mr Watson - I have spoken twice.


Mr KELLY - The honorable member has addressed himself to it, but I do not think that the party generally can claim that they have done so. I do not blame them ; it is fair for the Labour Party to adopt this attitude, in so much as they have thrown down the gauntlet on this question. But honorable members who until quite recently have been opposed to any such principles as are incorporated in these clauses should mostcertainly have addressed themselves to the question: There are three honorable, members - Ministers - who are always mentioned in this connexion, but there is one who so far has escaped mention. This is only another indicationof the truth of the saying "Least 'said, soonest mended." Three of these honorable gentlemen have statements in coldprint showing their principles, the fourth hasshown his principles byvotes, but, I think, has rarely expressed himself in the same forcible way as have his colleagues in opposition to the principles he is now prepared silently to espouse. It is for this reason that the Post master-General is in a much better position than are his colleagues, the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council. These honorable gentlemen should without doubt try to explain the reasons which have prompted their change of front. If they do not, the country must come to the conclusion that it is because of sordid reasons which they cannot express.


Mr Isaacs - That is not fair.


Mr KELLY - I refer simply to the sordid desire for power. I should not demean myself by inferring that they wish to cling to office because of any other consideration. Their seeking for power, or, should I say, "place without power," has necessarilybeen regarded by the country as the only reason for their change of front and for their being ashamed to give expression to the opinions that have prompted that change. The Attorney-General this afternoon made a speech upon which we can all congratulate him, because his arguments were clear, even if his deductions were not so patent. He told us that the case for this proposal has not hitherto been put. I do not know whether he remembered at the time the two able addresses which I understand the leader of the Labour Party has made on this subject. If he did, I agree with him.


Mr Isaacs - I think that I said that the case for the Government had notbeen put.


Mr KELLY - I am not seeking topin down the Attorney-General to any disrespectful utterance in reference to the honorable member for Bland ; I should not like to place any supporter of the honorable member in such an awkward position. But I shall pass from that subject. I take it that this is the first exposition that has come from the Government of its corporate view with regard to these provisions: We are told in, this official pronouncement that the various sets of amendments which have been circulated are the same in principle, the only difference being an improvement in drafting and in verbiage, due mainly to the more concise form in which they now appear. That is a straightforward statement, for which I honour the AttorneyGeneral. It shows us that; so far as these different proposals are concerned, we have only to consider the same fact, and so we shall not waste time in looking up former amendments to see what they meant. But after putting our minds at rest in regard to this fact, the Attorney-General went on to put into flowery language the bald terms of his proposal ; and after two hours of rhetoric and able argument, we have still as vague a comprehension of the ground meaning of these proposals as we had before the honorable and learned gentleman rose to address the Committee. I may say, in passing, that each section. of his speech was truly able and clear, but the natural sequence between each progressive argument was not equally clear, at all events to myself. It is for that reason only that I say that we knew as little after the honorable and learned gentleman had concluded his address as we knew before. We were told, however, that at the present time any union or association of employes could use the union label ; at the present time they have absolute liberty to apply the union label to any goods, subject, of course, to the consent of the manufacturer. If that be the case, what is the reason for these provisions? The honorable gentleman will naturally say that the proposal is one to prevent the pirating of union labels. I hold that, if the unions can already use union labels, and that the only thing which necessitates this part of the Bill is piracy, the Attorney-General ought first to show that there has been piracy of union labels in Australia. If he cannot show that, his whole case falls to the ground. I challenge him1 to prove a single instance of piracy of a union label in the Commonwealth. Never has a union label been, of sufficient importance in Australia to cause any dealer or manufacturer to pirate it ; such a thing has never been done, and until it has, the AttorneyGeneral's case must, perforce, fall to the ground. It must be clear to all honorable members that in Australia, where the sense of fair play is so inherent amongst the people, piracy of a union label would be almost impossible, for the label, we are told, relies for its efficacy on the good-will and sympathy of the people generally, and that sympathy would be doubled if any employers resorted to piracy. According to my honorable and learned friend's own showing, if a manufacturer were to resort to the despicable practice of pirating a union label, he would at once have all his goods boycotted. I use the word " boycott " in the venial sense - that is, the individual refusal to buy. That manufacturer's or dealer's goods would be refused by every sympathizer with unionism, and there are many sympathizers with bona fide unionism in the Commonwealth to-day. I suppose that every one in the community is such a sympathizer. If that be the case, it is clear that under present conditions any piracy of a union label which had not been improperly used would react on those who were guilty of it. What, then, is the position? Do honorable members urge that we should guard against piracy in order to secure the unions from the natural consequences of any folly or malpractice in regard to the use of the union label? So long as it is properly used, piracy will be impossible, but if it is employed to promote such boycotting as has taken place in the United States ever since its institution there, should the unions be shielded from the natural consequences of such action? At the present time, if such practices were indulged in in the Commonwealth, the unions would lose the sympathy and support of the public, and that alone would make it possible for any manufacturer or dealer to pirate the union label. So long as the unions enjoy the sympathy and support of the public, no manufacturer or dealer will dare to pirate their label. Why. then, should we legalize the registration of the union label, and allow the unions to use it as they choose?


Mr Fisher - The union label cannot be used except with the consent of the manufacturers.


Mr KELLY - Granting that, I ask if a conspiracy between employers and employes is not more serious than a conspiracy on the part of employes alone? The consumers are infinitely more important to us than are either the manufacturers or those who work for them.


Mr Fisher - The consumer need not buy goods to which the union label is applied, unless he wishes to do so.


Mr KELLY - The Attorney-General told us that the union label can be applied to goods at the present time, and he asked the House to prevent labels from being pirated ; but I am showing that piracy is impossible, so long as the unions have the sympathy and support of the public.


Mr Fisher - By the same reasoning the honorable member could show that our criminal laws are unnecessary, because the people, as a whole, are honest and lawabiding, and have no sympathy with crime.


Mr KELLY - I do not wish to labour the point. The Attorney-General has told us that the provisions inserted in the Bill by the Senate were too far-reaching and stringent, and that those which he is now proposing to insert are a considerable modification of them. I do not challenge that statement, but the expression of the Labour members when he was making it indicates how they regard the proposed modification. They showed unmistakably how pleased they were with it, and I leave it to honorable members to judge therefrom the nature of the modification. The honorable gentleman made a point by stating that Senator Sir Josiah Symon did not strenuously oppose the introduction of the clauses originally inserted in the Bill in the Senate.


Mr Isaacs - He assisted to strengthen those provisions.


Mr KELLY - Did he say that the action which he took was to strengthen them?


Mr Isaacs - I do not think that he used' those words.


Mr KELLY - That is the whole point. I have not a report of the proceedings at hand, so that I cannot say that there may not have been some technical reason for what he did, and there may be grounds for difference of opinion as to the effect of his action. No doubt he naturally looked forward to the provisions being opposed in this Chamber. Will any honorable member say that they would have been agreed to, had they been brought forward here last session? They would have been defeated by three or four votes at least. The late AttorneyGeneral looked at the matter from the point of view of al public man and a politician. He recognised that it was of no use to waste the time of the Senate in fighting the question there, especially as when the Bill came to this House he could rely upon the present Prime Minister, the present Postmaster-General, the present Treasurer, and the present Vice-President of the Executive Council as supporters of his Government. That is what the late AttorneyGeneral recognised, and that is why he did not undertake a useless fight in the Senate.


Mr Isaacs - I do not think that he would acknowledge that that is the way in which he treated the Senate.


Mr KELLY -- The Attorney-General, although' he has not perhaps actually misstated the facts, has put them in such a sequence that honorable members have been led to believe that the late AttorneyGeneral viewed with sympathy these trade union label proposals.


Mr Isaacs - I did not say that.


Mr KELLY - I merely wish to disabuse the minds of honorable members of the impression which they may have formed that the late Attorney-General supported these proposals.


Mr Isaacs - I made it clear that his personal view was against them.


Mr KELLY - But the honorable and learned gentleman also made it clear that the late Attorney-General recommitted the Bill with the express object of strengthening the provisions. That was the comment that stuck in the minds of most honorable members.


Mr Isaacs - There could not have been very strong Governmental objections to the proposal.


Mr KELLY - What did it matter to the late Attorney-General that the clauses were carried in the Senate, when he knew that he would have the support of the present Prime Minister and other members of this Government to reject them when they came to this House ? We are all politicians here, although we are saints before our constituents, and we know what would be in the mind of any reasonable leader when put in such a position. The Attorney-General in his speech to-day went on to explain that in the United States the union label was not prominent in any boycotting case. I have already given the Committee numerous instances where undoubtedly the label has been used in that country to further the boycott. I do not wish to pursue the matter, as I have already dealt with it sufficiently. But the Attorney-General went on to ask whether there was any boycott in union sympathizers voluntarily purchasing only union-labelled goods. Of course, one would not describe that as boycotting. We hare no wish to prevent free agents from buying any goods thev wish to buy.


Mr Tudor - That is all that has ever been done in America.


Mr KELLY - That is not so. Suppose, for instance, that a union is formed especially for the purpose of using the union label. A union of that description would not come under the Arbitration Act, and consequently would not be hedged round with those safeguards that apply to unions working under that Act. It would make it one of its first rules that ,no article should be purchased by any of its members to which the union label was not attached. Then that union would appoint walking . delegates to go round and see that, not only its mem- bers, but also their wives and families, wore no articles except such as had the union label attached to them. That, I say, would be boycotting. The action of the members of that union would not be voluntary. It would not be the action of free agents. And such unions would be the inevitable consequence of passing these union label provisions ! I can, quite understand that members of unions should be governed by a. majority of their fellow-members; and if the majority of the members of a union choose to pass a rule of the character I have described, it is only a fair thing that the whole of the members should be bound by it; for, if they do not care to be bound by it they can, of course, leave the union. But, in such a case as I have instanced, not only the members of unions, but also their wives and families, would be bound. In this country we have not only manhood suffrage, but adult suffrage. The rights of women have to be considered, as well as those of men. A woman has to make the pounds, shillings, and pence of ihe household go as far as possible. I .am afraid that in many families there are only shillings and pence to spend. The woman has to make the money go as far as it will. She purchases the stock to keep the household going. Is not such a woman to be a free agent? Can she not buy her goods in the market where she can get the best value for the money she has to spend? Is she to be affected by the tyranny of the union label? Certainly she should not; but that is a consideration which obviously has not struck the Attorney-General. That is one form of boycott that naturally results from the adoption of this legislation. Honorable members have asked what is a boycott. I will tell them : If a walking delegate, upon entering a shop, and finding that 10 per cent, of the stock did not bear the union mark, afterwards hired a couple of sandwich men - of course, at the union rate of wages - to parade up and down outside) and announce that the shop should not be patronized - that would be a boycott. There are other forms of boycott to which I could refer, but to which I shall not allude, for fear that I may unduly lengthen the debate. The opponents of these proposals have been accused of antagonism to trade unionism. Personally, I deny the charge. I regard unionism as one of the best and most hopeful institutions in our industrial life.

I also regard the voluntary co-operation of its members as constituting the very life-blood of unionism. What has made unionism a living force to-day ? Not compulsion, but the voluntary co-operation and mutual enthusiasm of the unionists. These elements alone have enabled the unions to tide over their most serious difficulties. If any system of compulsion were adopted, the involuntary recruits gained thereby would prove a source of weakness, and would eventually lead to the downfall of the institution. For this reason alone, the advocates of true unionism should range themselves alongside the opponents of this proposal. The AttorneyGeneral has laid considerable stress upon American precedents. He has told us of the States that have adopted union, label laws, and has given us particulars as to their population, which I presume, in the case of the southern States, would include the negro element. He told us further that some of the States had passed restrictive measures, in order to prevent blackmailing and boycotting by means of the union label. Honorable members seem to forget that in a number of the States union labels have been deliberately introduced, with the object, by levy upon the trusts, of raising funds with which to fight proposals for the enactment of restrictive measures.


Mr Thomas - What is the honorable member's authority for that statement?


Mr KELLY - There are a number of authorities. My statement is absolutely correct. America is the home of political corruption, and the system to which I have referred has been deliberately resorted to by the political parties in the States Legislatures. I do not think that the AttorneyGeneral was wise in asking us to follow American precedents. The United States is the home of Tammany, and also the home of "place without power," .and "power without place." We have already had experience in this country as to what is meant by " place without power," and " power without place," and we have had a sufficiency of American precedents for the present. The Attorney-General and the honorable member for Darling talked all round this subject, without touching its real crux. Neither of them attempted to explain the true reason for the anxiety of the Labour Party, to get these proposals adopted. We have been assured that the object of the introduction of the union label is to insure that goods shall be manufactured under proper conditions. But we know that in Australia we have already established Courts for that special purpose. What, then, is the object of these proposals? Undoubtedly it is a political one. As a proof of that, I would remind honorable members of the extreme anxiety exhibited bymembers of the Labour corner to dispose of this Bill during the current session. In order that this may be done, we are being detained here unduly long hours.


Mr Kennedy - It is cruelty to animals.


Mr KELLY - And the .animals are on the other side.


Sir William Lyne - I know upon which side the " cads " are.


Mr KELLY - The Minister's interjection shows on which side they are !


Mr McColl - That is a mean remark for a man in the Minister's position to make.


Mr Skene - I beg to draw attention to the remark of the Minister of Trade .and Customs. It was a most improper one.


Mr KELLY - He was speaking for himself.


The CHAIRMAN - As the remark of the Minister is offensive to the honorable member for Grampians, I ask him to withdraw it.


Sir William Lyne - I did not say upon, which side the "cads" were. I merely said that I knew upon which side they were. My remark did not apply to the honorable member for Grampians.


The CHAIRMAN - Under those circumstances, I think that the honorable member for Grampians will be satisfied.


Mr McColl - The Minister has not half the spirit of a man.


The CHAIRMAN - I would point out that all interjections are disorderly. But, as I understand that the remark of the Minister of Trade and Customs was not applied to any member of the Committee, I do not see how I can ask him to withdraw it.


Mr McColl - You are very obtuse, Mr. Chairman; that is all I can say.


Mr KELLY - The Minister merely said that he knew upon which side of the Chamber the "cads" were. His interjection would seem to settle the matter !


The CHAIRMAN - I am afraid that the honorable member is getting away from the question, and is discussing a matter which is not before the Chair. I would point out that certain expressions have been used which should not have been employed. For instance, honorable members were referred to as " animals." That was not a proper remark, ,and it provoked another interjection which was not in order. I am afraid that I heard still another remark which was not strictly in order. I think, however, that if we allow the matter to remain where it is, no great harm will be done.


Mr KELLY - The Labour Party desire this Bill to be passed, in order that their political organizations outside may become conversant with the details of administering the union label, so as to make it effective at the next election. The moment they have secured their object they will throw over the present Government, and assume the reins of office themselves. Ever since the -inception of the Commonwealth Parliament, the Labour Party have been endeavouring to increase the strength of their political unions. When the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was under consideration, they desired a preference to be extended to unionists. They were defeated upon, that, proposal, with the aid of several of the present Ministers. They did not get their undiluted preference, nor did they get political preference. They had then to consider a new method, or a new form of the old method, to increase their political organization ; and they devised the union label. If there is one thing on which I can congratulate the Labour Party it is on the possession of a Machiavelian trait, which no other political party in Australia can equal. There is no party in this country so far-seeing, if so selfish, as is the Labour Party. The moment thev were beaten in their endeavour to utilize this House as a recruiting agency for their own political strength they began to reach out for the union label. I shall show how they will use the union label to improve their political position. Under these clauses it can be used by any association, and not merely by a union registered under the Arbitration Act. I appeal to honorable members opposite to say, before this debate closes, whether they are prepared, to restrict the use df the union label to unions registered under that Act.


Mr Tudor - Would the honorable member vote for the clauses if they agreed" to do so?


Mr KELLY - I should be prepared very, seriously to consider the advisability of doing so, should they be made innocuous in that way. If these clauses are passed in their present form, the result will be that new unions will be formed -to use the union label. They will be unions having political objects, finding funds for the Labour Tarty and voting for Labour candidates. Union label boycotts will be fostered in order to compel men to enter these political unions at the peril of their livelihood, because the products of workers who are not members of these unions will not be purchased. Honorable members are prepared to compel men, at the peril of their livelihood, to enter unions formed to vote for themselves, and to pay funds into the party chest that supports them. These are the objects of these provisions. If honorable members opposite were in a Court of Law they could not deny that, and I hope they will not have the temerity to deny it in this .House. This accounts for their anxiety to have these provisions -passed this session - that they may be used as a means of organization for the next Federal elections. In these Clrcumstances. the Attorney-General cannot complain that the Opposition, feeling that this is the case, and knowing that these proposals have not been before the country, should desire that a reasonable time should he devoted to their discuission. If I were in order in saying so, I should be prepared to say that the Opposition hold the view that one of the grossest conspiracies ever known in the history of Australia is at present being, carried on in this Chamber.


The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member would not be in order in saying so.


Mr KELLY - -Then I shall not say so ; but, though I am unable to express certain opinions in an orderly way, I still must hold them, and when, in common with other honorable members, I hold such strong views in connexion with this matter, I claim that we are entitled to ask for a. reasonable time to permit the debates in this House to operate as an educative medium throughout the Commonwealth. The associations who will take advantage of these proposals are associations which will be paying subscriptions to the Labour Party and voting for Labour candidates. As a proof that I am in no way extreme in holding these views, I should like to mention one of the reasons which induces me to hold them. One of the most important unions in the Commonwealth, ably and subtly presided over by the honorable member for Darling, a year ago had rules which compelled its mem bers to vote in a certain direction. I refer to the Australian Workers' Union, which took a part in politics and ran a newspaper, circulating strongly partisan views, and which issued a levy upon its members of is. per annum. Under the Commonwealth Arbitration Act that union was compelled, if it3 wished to register under the Act, to give up its political objects. Now there is nothing so certain as this : The moment the Trade Marks Bill is passed into law, with its union label provisions complete, the Australian Workers' Union will register a trade mark ; and, under its old rules and its political objects, start on a general propaganda under new auspices. Apart from the merits of these provisions, we certainly have the right to consider the inadvisability of bringing one Act of this Parliament into direct conflict with- another. If we pass this Bill with these clauses, it will be found to be a direct inducement to one of the greatest unions in the Commonwealth to sever its association with the Arbitration Court in order that it may try to gain its object in another way. Is not that a condition of things which the Committee should regard with the utmost seriousness?


Mr Wilkinson - Is the honorable member aware that there are some members of the Labour Party who do not belong to any trade union ?


Mr KELLY - I am aware of that. I have already expressed my complete sympathy with trade unionism. What I object to is that political unionism should, in this House, be encouraged to the detriment of persons outside them. I do not object even to political unionism, so long as it is voluntary, but I do object to giving political unionism power over its competitors by Act of Parliament. I do not object to the Australian Workers' Union having political rules. All I say is that if, for any reason, it wishes to compel persons by Act of Parliament to join its ranks, it must so frame its rules that every member will have absolute liberty of action.


Mr Wilkinson - It does that.


Mr KELLY - I know that it has completely changed its rules, but my fear is that the change has not been voluntarily made by the majority of the members, and that, when it gets an engine which will enable it to proceed without the help of the Arbitration Court in. the settlement of disputes, it will revert to its old political rules and register a union, label in order to increase its membership. That is a point which I submit the Committee must take into serious consideration when it is considering these proposals. This danger could be guarded against in two ways. In the first place, political unionism should be guarded against so far as it affects the liberties of outside persons. I have no quarrel with political unionism, or any other form of unionism, when it is voluntary. But, in view of the fact that to express a predilection in favour of any goods made by any union necessarily means to drive persons, willingly or unwillingly, into the union, since they can get no sale otherwise for the product of their labour, I submit that it is really another form of preference to unionists. We must guard against political unionism by seeing that no union which devotes itself to political objects shall get any of the advantages of the union label proposals. If they are absolutely free and open, if any recruit is not compelled to vote for any political party-


Mr Wilkinson -There is no such compulsion in any union that I know of.


Mr KELLY - It was done in the case of the Australian, Workers' Union.


Mr Spence - There are no societies which interfere with the voting of their members.


Mr KELLY - I shall take one fact out of the rules of the Australian Workers' Union.


Mr Spence - There is no rule of that kind in any union.


Mr KELLY - I accept the assurance of the honorable member that : no member ofhis union has ever been coerced in "the exercise of his vote. But is it not a fact that until quite recently it had a rule, which was registered with the Arbitration Court in New South Wales, which permitted of a levy of1s a year upon, its members?


Mr Spence - That is not correct.


Mr Wilkinson - For election purposes, but not for part? election purposes.


Mr KELLY - We know the party on whose behalf this levy has been used. The honorable member for Darling will not deny that the Australian Workers' Union supports a large newspaper, which has lately moved into more commodious offices, and which is, perhaps, as strongly partisan as any paper in the Commonwealth. Suppose that a recruit to his union were strongly opposed to the platform of the Labour Party, and the policy of the Sydney Worker.

Would it be equitable to compel that man to contribute to the up-keep of a newspaper in whose views he did not believe? A union or association must give up its politics, or else not take advantage of this measure.


Mr Spence - The Australian Workers' Union could not come under the measure, because they have nothing on which to put a union label.


Mr KELLY - Six months hence will it not be quite possible for the Australian Workers' Union, to affix its label to bales of wool, which have been shorn by union labour ?


Mr Spence - No. The employers would not agree to that, or ask for it, because it would not help the sale of the wool.


Mr KELLY - Suppose that the union wished to increase its membership, it could affix a union label to bales of wool, showing that it had been shorn by Australian Workers' Union labour; and it could then arrange with the honorable and learned member for West Sydney to see that his union - the Wharf Labourers' Union - refused to handle any wool which did not bear that label. There ia not a union which could not, by co-operation with other unions, use the union 'abel in that. way.


Mr Spence - The suggestion is. utterly ridiculous.


Mr KELLY - I am satisfied that within six months it will be acted upon by the honorable member's union.


Mr Spence - Mr. W. E. Abbott is more unlikely to use the union label than are even the members of the Opposition. The union would have to get his consent before the label could be applied to the bales.


Mr KELLY - The description of an association reads as follows : - " Association " includes any number of associations acting together, and in such case the members of the " association " shall be the members of the associations which are acting together;

If I understood the honorable member for Darling aright, that proposal does not go as far as he would be prepared to go. It will enable associations to come together - for what object? According to the honorable member, the object is to enable consumers to know whether or not the goods they buy Have been made under proper sanitary 'and' labour conditions. I take that statement on the part of the honorable member as being the only reason that prompts him to support the proposal. He will recognise that if it be essential that consumers should have a true indication in that regard, there must be as few union labels as possible in any one line of trade. The union hatters of the United States furnish a case in point. They have one label for all the hatters of America.


Mr Tudor - Because there is only one union. Before the label was introduced there was only one.


Mr KELLY - But, according to the arguments of my honorable friends of the Labour Party, it is to the advantage of the consumer that there should be only one union associated with an industry.


Mr Spence - We are for letting them do as they please.


Mr KELLY - I am not suggesting that there should be any compulsion. I am simply pointing out that, according to the argument of my honorable friends opposite, it is to the advantage of the consumer that there should be only one union of employes associated with any industry, because he has then to" make a bald choice between the product of good sanitary and labour conditions, and that of " sweat " shops and tenement houses. That being so, it is clear that in. this Bill we should, as far as possible, encourage the practice of having only one Union ofemployes connected with an industry. As that is the object of my honorable friends in the Ministerial corner, I hold that every labourer whose conditions of labour are vouched for by either of the States Courts as being sound should be allowed to use a label in his trade. I think that is clear, and I propose to test it when we proceed to deal with the amendments. I wish to test the bonafides of the opinions put forward by honorable members of the Labour Party.


Mr Kennedy - Is it not correct that under this Bill an employe working for less than union rates will be able to register a mark ?


Mr KELLY - Yes ; but I think that the provision to which the honorable member refers is a most misleading one. No article manufactured in Australia is the product of one man's toil. In the present state of our industrial life, an article, before it becomes a finished product, has to pass through dozens, perhaps hundreds, of hands, and therefore every article to which an individual worker attempted to attach his brand would necessarily bear the marks of hundreds of men. Therefore the provision to which my honorable friend alludes will be absolutely inoperative ; and I regret that it has been inserted. Honorable members have argued, in the course of this debate, that if the union label proposal be unpopular, it will meet its own reward - that people who have no unionistic ideals will combine and refuse to buy politically-union-made articles. That is begging the question. These proposals will not be flung broadcast over the country. I have too much respect for the Machiavelian tactics of my honorable friends in the Ministerial corner to suggest that they would make such a serious blunder. The union label will be brought into use, first of all. In those districts which sympathize with militant unionism, to force storekeepers and others to sell none but union-made goods; and from those districts it will spread outward, until the whole Commonwealth comes within its noxious embrace.If it were put into general use at once, Ft would be scouted; but those who control the unions are too clever and far-seeing to let that happen. The boycott will grow by the boycott. In conclusion, I wish to show that the principle of preference to unionists is diametrically) opposed to the objective which the Labour Party have announced on every platform in Australia. We have been told that they desire the equalization of opportunity for every man, woman, and child in the Commonwealth". Does preference to unionists mean equalization of opportunity ? Will not its adoption make it more difficult for those who are worst off to earn an honest livelihood ? Who is it deserves our sympathy and aid - the man who belongs to a strong and powerful corporation, who will be succoured in his darkest hour by its funds, or the man who has no settled occupation, and wanders from job to job, never knowing what the morrow will bring ? I oppose the trade unionlabel provisions, because I believe in absolute liberty. I believe that every man in the community should have absolute liberty to live as he will, and to work as he will.


Mr Thomas - Would the . honorable member give a man leave to starve?


Mr KELLY - If, in the city of Sydney, a man dropped on evil days, and tried to get a job on the public wharfs, he would be asked to pay an entrance fee of10s., and, in advance an annual subscription of 10s., to the Wharf Labourers' Union be- fore he could get a job. A wretched man, who had not the means to buy a meal, would' be asked to pay £1 to this rich organization for the privilege of working! I oppose these proposals because they are opposed to liberty, and designed to foster the organization of a party which, while being particularly clever in manoeuvring to increase its own political organization, does not necessarily deserve our support in doing so.







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