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Thursday, 30 November 1905


Mr KNOX - The letter proceeds: -

4.   The Bill appears to be framed solely as a means of coercion in the hands of the unionists, and is certain to be detrimental to the trade of Australia, both at home and abroad.

The provision to enable an individual free workman to register a label, the Council considers, is of no value whatever under modern conditions of manufactures, and the proposed Commonwealth label is also regarded by this Chamber as worthless, either to the workmen themselves or to the manufacturers and producers.

I am also desired to inform you that the above reasons were forwarded to the Hon. the AttorneyGeneral, and for your information am to enclose copy of the correspondence which has since passed between Mr. Isaacs and this Chamber on the subject.

I have the honour to be,

Sir,

Your obedient servant,

C.   Hallett,

Secretary.

The President of the General Council of Chambers of Commerce of the Commonwealth of Australia, Melbourne.

The Attorney-General, in reply to these reasons, wrote a letter, through Mr. R. R. Garran, as follows: -

Commonwealth of Australia.

Attorney-General's Department,

Melbourne, 20th November, 1905.

Sir,

I am directed by the Attorney-General to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th instant with reference to the union label clauses in the Trade Marks Bill, and to inform you that the Attorney-General would be glad to be informed at your earliest convenience -

1.   What allegations of piracy by Australian manufacturers of goods reputed to be made by trade union labour are referred to, and where shall he find those allegations ?

2.   When and where was the admission of Mr. Watson made that is referred to, as the Attorney-General has never heard of such an admission?

3.   What provisions in the Bill will afford means of coercion?

I have the honour to be,

Sir,

Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) R. R. Garran,

Secretary.

The Secretary,

Chamber of Commerce, 60 Market-street, Melbourne.

The following reply was sent to the AttorneyGeneral's letter: -

Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, 60 Market-street,

Melbourne, 23rd November, 1905.

Sir, Ihave the honour to acknowlege the receipt of your letter of the 20th instant, and am directed to reply to the questions contained therein, in their regular order -

1.   With regard to the allegation of piracy, I am directed to refer you to the remarks made by the Hon. J. C. Watson, M.P., which appeared in theAge newspaper of the . '2nd October, 1905 : - " As to the Trades Union Label, to which exception has been taken, at present there was nothing in the law to prevent persons putting a label upon goods. What the Federal Government proposed to do was to prevent the fraudulent piracy by those who wanted to use another person's label. The opponents of the Trades Union Label were actually showing sympathy with thieves and pirates."

Again, Mr. Tudor, M.P., is reported to have stated at Prahran on the11th October (see Age, 12/10/05), that the object of the Trades Union Label was " to prevent goods made by union labour being pirated."

2.   In answer to this question, I beg to refer you to the sub-leader of the Age newspaper of the 17th instant, as follows : - "The case for the union label clauses, from the workers point of view, was practically given away by Mr. Watson, when he remarked in the Federal Parliament last Wednesday evening that he would glory in a boycott undertaken to prevent some of the conditions which prevailed before the institution of Wages Boards and Arbitration Acts." (See Hansard, p. 5202.)

3.   In regard to your last question, I am desired to mention that it is notorious that in America the Union Label has been used as a means of boycott, a forcible and tyrannical means of coercion, and there is no reason to suppose that the unions here, who desire to force this measure upon the public against the interests of every other section of the community, willre f rain from making similar coercive use of the power they covet.

I have the honour to be,

Sir,

Your obedient servant,

C.   Hallett,

Secretary.

The Secretary,

Attorney-General's Department,

Melbourne.


Mr Watson - There is an evasion contained in that reply.







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