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Wednesday, 2 March 1932

Mr MARTENS (HERBERT, QUEENSLAND) - And issue a garnishee without a judgment.

Mr LANE - The legal aspect of the proposal has been explained to the honorable member by men with legal knowledge. Mr. Lang must be dealt with like a man who is seeking to leave the country in order to get away from his creditors. There is a legal provision for seizing and holding such a person until his debts are paid. One cannot deal gently with a man who has repudiated his obligations and broken his word. The other day a criminal in Brisbane tried to escape, and was given a warning. When he tried to do it again he was shot. Lt New South Wales there is a political bandit trying deliberately to destroy the State, and the Commonwealth Government would be lacking in its duty if it did not do everything in its power to bring him to book.

Mr Beasley - If it did not shoot him?

Mr LANE - Only those who reside in the electorate of West Sydney talk of shooting. I earn my living honestly, and do not encourage basher gangs as an adjunct to government. I have always had the support of the respectable element in the community, and have no patience with the arguments of ignorant, stupid men. West Sydney is not very well represented in this House.

On the 9th February, 1931, Mr. Lang announced as the policy of his Government that he would not pay any interest to bondholders until certain things had been done. On the 24th March of the same year he advised the Prime Minister that he would not pay interest to the Westminster Bank. In May or June of that year, when he saw that he would be unable to pay the civil servants, he came crawling to the Commonwealth Government, and said that he would join the Loan Council, and adhere to the Premiers plan, if financial accommodation were granted to him. On the 15th July he asked for £500,000 to pay .salaries and wages, and from that date until January of the present year he accepted the Premiers plan. On the 23rd January, 1932, he again refused to meet his obligations. I cannot understand how the members of the Opposition can be patient with such a man who, besides dishonouring his obligations and dragging in the mud the good name of his State, has dealt such a heavy blow to their own party.

And Mr. Lang has done much more than that. Consider for a moment the Arbitration Bill which, at this moment, is before the Upper House in New South Wales. By that measure he proposes to take away from the citizens of New South Wales the right to earn a living. A very different line of action was followed during England's time of crisis by Mr. Ramsay MacDonald and Mr. Phillip Snowden, who were themselves great socialists. They declared that it was no time for socialistic" experiments, but that every man should put his shoulder to the wheel in an endeavour to save the country. The result is to be seen even now in the steadily improving trade returns of Great Britain, as revealed by the official reports, which, no doubt, are unpleasant reading to some honorable members opposite who desire the downfall of Mr. MacDonald. There seems no doubt that before long Great Britain will have regained her position as the greatest commercial country in the world.

Besides repudiating debts, Mr. Lang also repudiated his promises to the workers and to the people generally. . A new departure has been made in the Arbitration Bill, which seeks to grant power to union officials to say whether or not a man has the right to work, and to demand of an employer, under a penalty of the law, that he shall, in certain circumstances, dismiss an employee. I know that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) will agree with that. It has been a plank of hist platform for many years. The honorable member has so much in common with Mr. Lang that he and other members of the Opposition in this Parliament refuse to support the Government in the action it now seeks to take, because they wish, even if only afar off, to follow along the track which Mr. Lang is blazing.

Mr Holloway - The honorable member knows too much.

Mr LANE - I have been living in industrial districts longer than the honorable member has been representing Melbourne Ports, and I know a good deal of these matters. This Arbitration Bill further provides that employers shall engage labour only at or through the office of an industrial union. A lad came to me the other day, and said that he had had offered to him a job as a plumber. He went to the union office and asked for a ticket giving him the right to work, but was told that there were 150 others in front of him, and that he would have to give up the job to some one else. That was. a friendly gesture from one unionist to another! Mr. Lang further proposes in this bill to bring under the scope of the Industrial Arbitration Act persons in managerial and other executive positions, including technical experts, who are rightly the representatives of employers, and cannot possibly serve two masters. The. most astonishing part of the bill is clause 24, concerning which a committee which inquired into the matter has declared in the course of its report -

Clause 24 " Award to prevail over acts ", the committee regarded as probably the most far-reaching clause of the bill. Under it, where an order or award, in respect of any industrial matter, is inconsistent with any provisions contained in any act, the order or award is to prevail.

The effect of this will bc that, when the court is established, the conciliation committees will have power to override any act of the State Parliament.

Mr Beasley - The honorable member should be discussing these matters in New South Wales, not here.

Mr LANE - Mr. Lang is seeking to disrupt the existing social organization of the Commonwealth. If he continues unchecked he will bring about a revolution, but it will not be of the kind which honorable members opposite will approve. There are in New South Wales enough men under 30 years of age with the interests of their country at heart to ensure that Mr. Lang and his proposals will not be tolerated.

Mr James - Bring out the New Guard.

Mr LANE - During the timber strike, when honest men were endeavouring to carry on the industry, honorable members opposite virtually gave their support to the basher gangs, and encouraged them to carry weapons for the purpose of intimidating the loyal workers.

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