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Wednesday, 5 May 1920


Mr SPEAKER - I am afraid that the honorable member is not now speaking within the terms of the motion.


Mr TUDOR - I am pointing out the direct action that is being taken by these people who yell if any trade union dares to do the same. There are some honorable members in this House who do not care much for the Arbitration Act, and would willingly vote to repeal it, butI can tell them that it does not take very much persuasion to induce many of the organizations to takedirect action. The trouble is rather the other way. I have always stood up as an advocate of arbitration, and shall continue to do so, but I realize that to-day many of the organizations are in favour of direct action, because they cannot get to the Arbitration Court, while, as they point out, the employers can take direct action, and charge what they like for the goods they supply or for the advertising space they have available, and if they have men working for them for a number of years they can throw them out on the industrial scrapheap as was recently done in Melbourne. The employers do this, yet some honorable members will denounce the workers for taking the same course of action. The organization to which I had the honour to belong, before the Arbitration Act prevented me from continuing a member of it, will not be very slow in taking direct action if they find that they will be obliged to wait for years to get to the Arbitration Court. They will probably endeavour to have a conference with the employers. Three weeks ago I told the Prime Minister across the table that it was the organization which defied the Arbitration Court that got its claims heard first. The Prime Minister admits that the union of which he was an official for many years took direct action when it found that it could not get its case to the Court in the ordinary way. In the list of forty-two cases awaiting a hearing by the Court there are nine unions involved who could, by suspending their work, absolutely upset the wheels of industry in Australia.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - Perhaps they would upset themselves at the same time.


Mr TUDOR - Of course. I realize that the workers also suffer. It is all very well to be comfortably situated as some honorable members are, so that it is a matter of no consequence if a strike lasts a week, a month, or a year.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - Unions are a portion of society.


Mr TUDOR - Yes, and that is why I am always advocating that they shall go to the Arbitration Court for the settlement of disputes, but it is hypocrisy on the part of some honorable members to pretend to urge the unions to go to the Arbitration Court when there is no means by which they can get their cases heard. I would not act the part of a hypocrite before a trade union and say Go to the Arbitration Court," well knowing that it would have to wait years to have its case heard.







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