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Tuesday, 5 December 1905


Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I do not wish to give a silent vote on this question, but I shall not occupy very much of the time of the Committee. I think we all realize that it is about time we brought the discussion of this question to an end. We are all getting tired of the union label, but not nearly so tired, perhaps, as we shall be twelve months hence. I wish to have the matter settled as early as possible, and [ hope that the speakers who follow me will not occupy so much time as did the honorable and learned member who preceded me. > The honorable and learned gentleman has said that he always likes to hear both sides of the question. I also am very pleased to hear the arguments for and against any proposal with which we are called upon to deal. In this way, in common with others, I am better enabled to arrive at correct conclusions. On Friday afternoon I listened with very great interest to the able and moderate speech of the honorable member for Bland. It was a much more moderate speech than many I have heard1 the honorable gentleman make in this House. I am afraid, however, that able as the speech wad, and strong as the arguments advanced by the honorable gentleman were, he was unable to convert or to make any very great impression upon any honorable member on th-"s side.


Mr Page - Did the honorable member expect him to do so?


Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I cannot say that [ did. We on this side have a greater interest in the welfare of the workers generally than to take up the attitude assumed by honorable members opposite. With the exception of the- Attorney-General, no honorable member on the other side has risen to defend the trade union label, and were it not that it is in accordance with parliamentary usage for the Minister in charge of a Bill to make a speech explaining it, I believe the honorable and learned gentleman would have been very glad to be able to throw this measure on the table and say, " There it is. Pass it, and be done with it." We have heard no speech from other honorable members opposite in defence of the trade union label. They have confined themselves to interjections, which have certainly been very numerous indeed. They have not, however, been able to prevent what I consider very fair criticism of these provisions from honorable members on this side. The honorable member for Bland, on Friday afternoon, stated that something like four weeks of ordinary sitting days had been spent in the discussion of this Trade Marks Bill. I dp not believe the honorable member was quite correct in that statement. I understand that the discussion of a similar question occupied five months in Canada, and its discussion has certainly not occupied anything like four weeks of ordinary sitting days here. A very great deal of the time was taken up in discussing the trade union label, and what arose from its introduction, when we were deliberating upon the closure standing orders. That is the way in which our time has been taken up, and, I think, wasted to a very large extent.


Mr Johnson - At the instance of the Government, under pressure by the Labour Party


Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I think that the members of the Government are very much to blame for the waste of time that has taken place. It is true that they may have said as little as they possibly could, but at the same time I think they have lacked discretion, and have exhibited bad management. Some of them are new to office, but I think they should all have known better. I am not opposed to a legitimate Trade Marks Bill, such as this measure was when first introduced in another place last year. But when it is proposed to tack on to it provisions for a trade union label, a thin"; utterly foreign to such a Bill, I feel that I am quite justified in assisting mv colleagues on this side to prevent the passing of the measure if that be possible.







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