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Wednesday, 1 September 1920


Mr TUDOR (Yarra) . -I rise merely to combat the argument advanced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) that the amendment submitted by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) emanates from only a section of the Opposition. Those who have been in this Parliament from the inception of Federation know that when the original Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was introduced in 1904 it expressly provided for the exclusion of State railway servants and other Government employees. That Bill was introduced shortly after the Victorian railway strike in connexion with which the present Chief Justice of Victoria, who was then the Premier of this State, claimed to have smashed for all time the railway unions by introducing one of the vilest Coercion Bills ever brought before Parliament. Mr. Fisher, who was then the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, moved in this House, on 21st April, 1904, to omit from the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill the words excluding from its provisions State railway servants and other Government employees. The whole debate on that occasion centred round the position of State railway employees. The amendment was carried, and the result was the formation of the first Commonwealth Labour Ministry. According to the Votes and Proceedings for 21st April, 1904, only three of the present members of this House voted against that amendment, namely, the honorable member for EdenMonaro (Mr. Austin Chapman), the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Mcwilliams), and the Minister 'for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom). Amongst those who voted for the amendment were the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford), the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Fowler), the Minister for Home and Territories (Mr. Poynton), and the present Speaker (Sir Elliot Johnson). These honorable members to-day are on the other side. The honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. McDonald), the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. James Page), the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins), the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Mahon), the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney), and I voted for the amendment. I voted then as I have always done, to place public servants generally in exactly the position occupied by all private employees. So far as arbitration or any other matter is concerned, there is no reason why public servants should be nut in a separate paddock. As a result of this division the Deakin Government went out of office. The first Labour Ministry was formed, and on 31st May. 1904, State railway servants were specifically brought within the scope of the Bill.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - The honorable member knows why the vote to which he referred a few- moments ago was given.


Mr TUDOR - The right honorable member apparently voted for the proposal on that occasion in order to defeat the Deakin Government. When the new Labour Government took action in May, 1914, to specifically bring State railway servants within the scope of the Bill, the present Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom), who in the previous month had voted against that proposition, voted for it. He has thus been on both sides of the fence.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) told us to-night that State railway servants were specifically excluded from the provisions- of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill of 1910. Will he deny that the Referendum Bills of 1911 and 1913 specifically provided for an amendment of the Constitution to enable the Commonwealth Parliament . to legislate in regard to disputes relating to State railway servants? The same provision was made in the Referendum Bill of 1914. The vast majority of honorable members were in favour of that proposal, and the present Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), who was then Leader of the Opposition, refused to vote upon it. He led his party out of the House, and they did not return until the following day, after the Bills had been carried. Ever since 1904 there has been in this House a majority in favour of bringing State railway servants within the scope of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - And every time the country has turned you down.


Mr TUDOR - The country did not turn us down at the 1910 elections. They knew then where we stood with respect to thi? matter, and we " wiped the floor " with the right honorable gentleman's Coalition Ministry.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - You are a mighty host over there. There is just about a baker's dozen of you making all this noise.


Mr TUDOR - As to that, the Labour party is unanimous upon this point, and has been since 1904. What shall we say of former members of the Labour party, now supporting the Ministry, who advocated the carrying of the referendum proposals of 1911 and 1913? What about the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Laird Smith), the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford); and several others. Their numbers are gradually becoming less. The "has beens" are disappearing, but there are still a few of the " never wasers " in the House. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Burchell) was not a member at the time of which I speak, but was doubtless advocating from the public platform the claim of the .State railway men that they should be treated fairly. I object to any section of the community being, excluded from the benefits of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act-







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