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Thursday, 2 May 1957

Mr CLAREY (Bendigo) .- 1 have listened with interest to the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson), and whilst 1 can appreciate the views he has put forward, I assure him that he has very little knowledge of either the functions or the administration of a trade union when he makes the rather reckless statements he has made here to-day. I shall not have an opportunity, in the few minutes left for this debate, to deal with all the matters raised by the honorable member and I simply content myself with dealing with one, namely his statement that trade unionists are compelled to pay levies or separate charges to a political party.

The honorable member mentioned the fact that New South Wales legislation provides that a political levy must be paid with the consent of a member. My own organization, which has somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 members, has never had one member who has declined or refused to pay the levy of ls. that has been fixed for political purposes, in most States, union contributions are fixed at so much per quarter or per year, and the organization itself decides what money shall be made available from those contributions for political or other purposes. Before any funds are voted in any trade union the approval of the members has to be obtained at a properly controlled and democratically called meeting. That is something which we, as a community, believe in.

I suppose that I have had as much experience of trade unions as most people. I have been in the trade union movement in the State of Victoria for 47 years, and I have never known payment of a sustentation fee to the Labour party to be objected to by members. In the main it has always been agreed to unanimously. Once or twice I have known of cases in which members have not been satisfied that the Australian Labour party was going fast enough.

Debate interrupted under Standing Order 291.

Question resolved in the negative.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.

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