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Thursday, 12 August 1920


Mr Hughes - Very well, what more do you want?

Mr.CONSIDINE.- But the Government did not accord the recognition.

Mr Hughes - This Bill will.

Mr Mathews - The trouble is that the other " Bill " did not.

Mr CONSIDINE - The two "Bills" were in conflict. The fact remains that these safeguards for the unions are not required while industrial peace is maintained, but in time of industrial turmoil all the safeguards in the world-

Mr Hughes - These Councils have nothing to do with industrial turmoil. They are to advise on the general industrial situation.

Mr CONSIDINE - Listening to the Prime Minister's introductory speech, I was under the impression that this Bill marked the last achievment in machinery for the preservation of industrial peace.

Mr Blakeley - The honorable member must understand that these Councils are to create the trouble which will be settled by the tribunals.

Mr CONSIDINE - I understood that the Commonwealth Council and the District Councils were to be representative of employers and employees, and would make suggestions to the Government for the preservation of good relations between the parties, thereby obviating industrial unrest.

Mr Hughes - I am still waiting for a suggestion from the honorable member.

Mr CONSIDINE - I suggest to the Prime Minister that he should recommit the Bill, and introduce some amendment on the lines of my speech on the second reading. Such a proposal would have some effect on industrial unrest. The multiplication of words in the definition of organization of employees does not give any more protection to the organization than if the additional words were omitted, because the Prime Minister has not stated what authority shall accord recognition. If recognition is to be left to the Ministry of the day, their decision will depend upon the strength of the organization engaged in the industrial fight. The Prime Minister illustrated that fact earlier in the evening when he spoke about different organizations. He first assured us that the bond fide trade union would be the organization recognised, but when he was asked to apply the same method of determining a bond fide organization which operates under the Arbitration Act, he refused to do so.

Mr Hughes - I did nothing of the sort.

Mr CONSIDINE - The Prime Minister refused to incorporate in the Bill a registration clause.

Mr Hughes - I said that I would incorporate in this Bill the same machinery as is in the Arbitration Act, if honorable members opposite so desire.

Mr CONSIDINE - But the Prime Minister did not incorporate it.

Mr Hughes - I am willing to do so if honorable members opposite can make up their mind as to what they want. But as soon as I attempt to meet one of their objections, they immediately find another one.

Mr CONSIDINE - The Prime Minister cannot complain of the criticism which the Bill and his amendments have received. This measure is supposed to represent the Ministerial policy in regard to the prevention of industrial unrest. In the process of discussion, the Governmenthave made amendments in response to criticisms from both sides of the House. Whilst the Prime Minister, by the amendment he has moved, is ostensibly giving something to the unions, he is actually giving them no more than they will have if the amendment be not made.

Mr Hughes - Very well; shall we leave out the words I have moved to insert ?

Mr CONSIDINE - The inclusion or omission of the words is immaterial.

Mr Hughes - You go and march on Warsaw.

Mr CONSIDINE - I do not know that that has anything to do with industrial peace in Australia.

Mr Hughes - That is the honorable member's idea of bringing about industrial peace.

Mr CONSIDINE - The Prime Minister is doing what he told the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews) to do - he is walking around himself. When he returns to his body he may be able to criticise intelligently the march on Warsaw, and to understand the criticism of his own Bill. The amendment does not interfere with the existing industrial organization. It is the powerful organizations that the employers wish .to get before the industrial Tribunals and the Arbitration Court. Organizations like those of the waterside workers and the miners are so powerful that they will be accorded recognition whether recognised by the Bill or not, and it does not much matter whether the Ministry of the day or the Arbitration Court and the industrial tribunals accord recognition to organizations that have power. The de facto organizations will enforce actual recognition, whether they get nominal recognition or not. By tinkering with the Bill by an amendment like this, the Prime Minister is indulging in his old pastime of camouflaging the issue, and is pretending to give something while actually giving nothing.

Amendment agreed to.

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