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Thursday, 12 August 1920

Mr HUGHES (Bendigo) (Prime Minister and Attorney-General) . - Let us consider a concrete case. As the result of the 1917 dispute, the members of the Sydney branch of the Waterside Workers Union, or some of them, were thrown out of work; a body of men, whom some said were non-unionists, but of whom 99 per cent, were blacklegs from other unions, formed a union and put them out of their jobs. I am not commenting on what was done; I am merely stating the facts. There is a dispute now, not between these so-called nonunionists and the employers, but between the bond fide unionists and the employers ; and if a tribunal were appointed, its members would be representative of the employers and of the Sydney branch of the Waterside Workers. The nonunionists, with whom there is no dispute,. would not be represented oh the Tribunal. They might, of course, be called as witnesses, but they would have no standing in connexion with the inquiry.

Mr Makin - There is no guarantee that a iona fide organization will be protected.

Mr HUGHES - We are considering the establishment of Tribunals to settle de facto disputes. A dispute must exist before a Tribunal can be appointed to settle it, and there must be no other way of settling it, or, at any rate, no other must have been found. In the coalmining industry there is a dispute which cannot be settled in any other way than by a Special Tribunal, or, at any rate, it has not been settled in -any other way. It may be that in some of the mines there are a few men working on tribute who do no°t belong to a union - I do not know whether that is so or not - but in creating a Tribunal to deal with a dispute :n that industry, we should appoint representatives of the employers and representatives of the Federation of Coal and Shale Workers. The interests of the unionists are absolutely safeguarded. In the constitution of a council for the prevention of disputes, men will naturally be selected who represent 99 per cent, of the workers who are organized; but when dealing with do facto disputes, it must be the parties to a particular dispute who must be represented on a Tribunal, and these are always the employers and the unionists, not the employers and the bogus unionists.

Mr Makin - Bogus organizations might be made a convenience of.

Mr HUGHES - How?

Mr Makin - By the creation of an artificial dispute.

Mr HUGHES - What would it be about?

Mr Makin - In the industrial . field, as on the race-course, all sorts of things can be " rigged up."

Mr Considine - At Broken Hill there is a registered organization which is a " scab " organization, the great majority of the miners who are on .strike not helonging to it. From which body would the Prime Minister summon representatives to settle the dispute ?

Mr HUGHES - Between whom is the dispute?

Mr Considine - The Prime Minister said that the disputing was always between the employers and the .bond fide organizations.

Mr HUGHES - I know that_ at Broken Hill there are two organizations. The honorable member belongs to one of them, and calls the other a " scab " organization ; and, no doubt, a member of this organization would have something similar to say of him. If a dispute arose between one of the organizations and the employers, the Tribunal to settle it would be constituted of members representative of the employers and of the organization, whichever it might be, interested in the dispute. The members of the honorable member's organization are those who never will give in, but will stand out to the last. Obviously, therefore, the dispute must always be with them, in which case they will be represented on the Tribunals.

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