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Wednesday, 4 August 1920

Mr MAHONY (Dalley) .- I direct the attention of the Government to the seriousness of the situation which is now developing. I hold the maintenance of industrial peace dear to my heart, and I am prepared to go a long way to secure its maintenance. One thing which is essential to the establishment of industrial peace is that the good-will of the workers shall be gained. If the unionists in Australia's industries are given cause to look upon this piece of legislation with suspicious eyes the Government will fail to achieve their object. I know what is about to happen in this House. Unfortunately, partyism is going to force honorable members' hands; it is going tostifle full and proper discussion.

Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - ls the honorable member prepared to discuss the Bill tomorrow ?

Mr MAHONY - I am prepared to discuss it now. I am out for the achievement of industrial peace throughout Australia; and the Government should know that the first step towards bringing that about would be bv giving honorable mebers sufficient time to discuss this measure, and by permitting a long enough period to elapse for the great trade organizations outside to discuss the principles of the Bill and furnish their suggestions either direct to the Prime Minister or to honorable members on this side, who represent the Labour organizations of Australia. If such a course is prevented, however, the Government will be left in no doubt as to what is bound to happen. If full and fair opportunity is not given to the organizations and their representatives in this Parliament .to express their considered views upon the Bill, then, if the Government want to kill the Bill, they can do it in no- way more effectively than by proceeding as they now propose. I represent - one of the largest industrial constituencies in Australia. ,1 have been in conversation and consultation with prominent members of trade organizations; and, above all, they have asked me to endeavour to secure sufficient time to permit their members to consider this Bill. I want to be frank and fair. These representative men were not bitterly hostile to the Bill, and to the principles which it enunciates, merely because it has emanated from the Prime Minister. They were prepared, if given an opportunity, to adequately consider and discuss it, to give Parliament the benefit of their views. This assistance, I feel convinced, would have been of great benefit in the direction of bringing about and maintaining industrial peace. But the procedure now -launched by the Government can only create suspicion and distrust. The Government have caused me to doubt their bona fides. Their actions make me believe that there is a trap set - a pitfall somewhere - to catch the great trade organizaions; and when I am suspicious of the actions of the Government it is a reflexion of the suspicions created in the minds of the leaders of the bulk of trade unions throughout the Commonwealth.

The Government, of course, can pass any piece of legislation they choose to introduce. They may use their numbers to bludgeon through as many Bills as they desire in order to hamper and tie down the trade unions movement. But they must not forget that the organizations will maintain and increase their strength. They will protect their own dignity and their own rights. If, however, the Government are prepared to meet the unions fairly and honorably, and to endeavour, with them and their representatives, to bring about peace by way of an honest legislative effort, then now is the opportunity. But the Government must give honorable members and the organizations outside full opportunity to consider and discuss their proposition

Mr.GREGORY (Dampier ) T4.10].- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) was quite incorrect in his assumption that honorable members on this side were not aware that this Bill was to be treated as an urgent measure. Honorable members were consulted, and the only point we had to consider was whether the time specified in the Prime Minister's motion would provide ample opportunity for the discussion of a small measure of this nature.

Mr Blakeley - A small measure, but important.

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