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Friday, 10 November 1911

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I can only express my very sincere regret that in the case of a Bill which unquestionably is a difficult one to deal with the Minister of Defence has not seen his way clear to accede to the very reasonable request of the Opposition, especially seeing that it was backed up with the assurance that every effort would be made to make up for any time which might be lost to-day by the expeditious passage of the Bill when we meet on Wednesday next. . I venture to say - and I do not want it to be understood as in the nature of a threat, for nothing is further from my thoughts - that the Government will, not find that they have saved any time by handling the business in this fashion. Had they accepted my offer I believe that every honorable senator on this side would have felt himself under a bond of honour to curtail his remarks as much as possible, and to assist .the passage of the measure. However, we are compelled, whether we like it or not, to discuss ' the measure this morning. I shall limit my speech to-day to general observations on the purpose and the effect of Arbitration Acts. I feel quite unable to-day to go into the particular amendments contemplated by this measure ; but I do think that it affords a very reasonable opportunity of looking into the whole question of arbitration. In the first place, I would draw attention to the marked difference in the mental attitude, both of the general public, and of those who work or strike under arbitration awards, regarding arbitration »hen it was mooted some years ago and to-day. The early advocates of this method of settling industrial disputes approached it with confident hope, and any one who ventured to dissent from their point of view was immediately and bitterly denounced as an enemy of the working classes. Contrast the bright confidence which marked their attitude then with their open attitude to-day. One will not find to-day any person, so far as I am aware, who speaks of arbitration in the same confident and hopeful tone as he did when it was first brought under legislative notice. There are certain reasons which have brought about this change in mental attitude. It is quite clear that for any Arbitration Act, or any method of arbitration, even if it is voluntary, to be at all effective it must proceed on the one and the only foundation which is available, and that is absolute loyalty on the part of the parties concerned. Has that loyalty been present? I think that I have only to put the question for the answer to immediately spring to the minds of honorable senators. Has that loyalty been forthcoming?

Senator McDougall - Yes.

Senator MILLEN - Let us inquire into the matter

Senator McDougall - Absolute loyalty for seven years.

Senator MILLEN - If the honorable senator will look back over the events of the last few years, and amuse his leisure moments, of which, apparently, he has plenty, by reading some of the utterances delivered even in this chamber, he will see that loyalty is the last note which is now struck. I might remind the Senate that only recently Senator Rae, who is not singular in this respect, expressed the hope that unionists never would give up the right to strike.

Senator de Largie - If he is not singular in that Tespect it is about the only thing he is not singular in.

Senator MILLEN - I shall leave Senator de Largie and Senator Rae to argue out that very fine point in metaphysics. The fact is that the latter, although he expresses himself with more directness than domany of his associates, has only given expression to a view which is very generally held, and frequently expressed, toda.v in and out of Parliament.


Senator MILLEN - I cannot understand how the honorable senator can deny that that view is expressed. It is only recently that not very far from this chamber members of the Labour party did claim the right to strike. Not merely is it claimed outside, but it is acted upon. I do put it to honorable senators hat the original conception of legislation for the purpose of insuring arbitration was that it was to be an alternative to the strike. Ts that the view to-day?

Senator Henderson - Is it correct to say that any one for a moment assumes that arbitration to-day is an alternative to the strike.

Senator MILLEN - Is it not more correct to say that those who look to arbitration to-day look to it, not as an alternative to the strike, but as an additional lever to secure the end at which they aim?

Senator Henderson - That is not correct.

Senator MILLEN - I think that that view will be generally assented to, having regard to the utterances to which I have referred. But there are things which speak more loudly than utterances, and these are facts. I defy any one to find any period in the history of Australia which was so fruitful of industrial troubles and strikes as have been the last five years, yet that is the time during which we have had most arbitration legislation, Arbitration Courts, and arbitration awards.

Senator de Largie - Can you mention one arbitration award of a Federal Court against which there has been a strike?

Senator MILLEN - I shall answer that question in a minute, but I want first to direct attention to a fact. It is now assumed that it is not arbitration which the honorable senator, by his interjection, wants to defend, but merely the awards of one Court.

Senator de Largie - That is all that our concern extends to.

Senator MILLEN - Because that is an admission that there are strikes against arbitration awards when they emanate from any Court but a Federal Court.

Senator de Largie - We have no power over other Courts.

Senator MILLEN - I am dealing with the effect of arbitration generally. We have no power over the Federal Arbitra tion Court.

Senator de Largie - We have.

Senator McDougall - Does Senator Millen refer to Wages Boards awards as arbitration awards?

Senator MILLEN - Yes, I include them in the general term of arbitration awards.

Senator de Largie - That is where you err.

Senator MILLEN - Of course, it is very pleasant to be told in the confident tones of Senator de Largie that T err, but I venture to say that anv one dealing with the question of arbitration, and using the term as I did. who did not in his mental compass include Wages Boards, and all the other tribunals designed to arbitrate between employers and employes, would overlook a very important fact. Senator de Largie asked me to mention one award of the Federal Court which had been violated. What about the strike of waterside Workers which is proceeding?

Senator de Largie - That was not a violation of an arbitration award.

Senator MILLEN - What was it a violation of?

Senator de Largie - Of an agreement between two parties.

Senator MILLEN - It was a violation of an agreement under the Federal arbitration law.

Senator de Largie - No.

Senator MILLEN - Yes, it is registered in the Arbitration Court. It is a little out of the order in which I proposed to deal with it, but seeing that this matter has been brought up now, I think that there could be no more appropriate time for a quotation I intend to submit to the Senate showing the view which Mr. Hughes, the Commonwealth AttorneyGeneral, took of this matter.


Senator MILLEN - Quite recently, in the following telegram which he sent to Sydney to be read at a meeting of the Wharf Labourers' Union

Please read following wire at meeting. I earnestly recommend members to resume work immediately as desired by Council of Waterside Workers Federation, and so honorably carry out agreement entered into by Federation verbally reported to Sydney Union and duly signed on your behalf.

Might I urge upon this that without that loyalty, which means the carrying out of an honorable agreement, arbitration must break down.

Senator O'Keefe - We are all with the honorable senator in that.

Senator MILLEN - Mr. Hughes has been an official of the Wharf Labourers' Union for a great many years, and he writes to tell the members of the Sydney branch that their breach of the agreement was a dishonorable act.

Senator O'Keefe - I do not think any honorable member of this Parliament supports it.

Senator MILLEN -Then, what becomes of the interjection in which I was asked to give an instance of want of loyalty to the Federal law ?

Senator de Largie - This was not under the Federal law.

Senator MILLEN - Then how comes this agreement to be registered in the Federal Arbitration Court? If agreements are not to be considered worth the paper they are Written on- and theevents of the last few months seem to show that that is the way in which they are regarded - it is useless to speak of loyalty to the law.

Senator McDougall - A casual labourer cannot be said to be On strike when he does not resume work.

Senator MILLEN - All these interjections demonstrate my statement that there is a want of that loyalty which must be the foundation of any successful operation of an arbitration law. Honorable senators apparently do not regard the tearing up of an agreement as something to be regretted or lamented.

Senator Pearce - That is unfair. Every member on this side has not only regretted it, but has publicly said so.

Senator MILLEN - They regret that this has happened. I quite agree, after Senator Pearce's interjection, that it might have been assumed from what I said that my honorable friends are glad that this industrial trouble occurred. I do not think that for a moment. The fact remains that whether this agreement was made under the Federal Arbitration law or not, it is registered in the Federal Arbitration Court, was arrived at under the procedure of the Federal law, and it has been broken. I venture to say that men who are not prepared to abide by an agreement which, as Mr. Hughes says, was entered into on their behalf, with their concurrence, and signed for them, are not prepared to observe the award of any Court.

Senator de Largie - The honorable senator should admit that the majority of the men engaged in the industry insisted on the Sydney men standing honorably by the agreement.

Senator MILLEN - then what are they on strike for now?

Senator de Largie - They are not on strike now.

Senator Pearce - They went back to work last Monday.

Senator MILLEN - What about the report this morning that they are out again?

Senator Pearce -I did not hear that.

Senator O'Keefe - Does the honorable senator not admit that the leaders of the nien desire that they should keep to the agreement ?

Senator MILLEN - I am quite prepared to admit that certain of their leaders did implore these men to go back ; but Senator. O'Keefe is missing my point, which is that, to insure the successful working of any arbitration system, we must have loyalty, by which I mean willingness, on the part of both parties to an agreement to stand by its terms.

Senator Henderson - That is absolutely logical.

Senator MILLEN - I am glad I have made that point.

Senator O'Keefe - How can we do better than insist on loyalty by the men through their leaders?

Senator MILLEN - We have got this far : I take it that unless there is a determination to loyally abide by awards given under an arbitration law, that law must fail.

Senator O'Keefe - I admit that absolutely.

Senator Rae - Provided always that the agreement is not entered into under pressure - that it is a voluntary agreement.

Senator MILLEN - In other words, we are to loyally abide by an agreement so Jong as it suits us.

Senator Rae - No.

Senator MILLEN - All agreements are entered into under pressure. No party to an agreement can secure all that they desire, and every agreement is the result of pressure of some sort.

Senator Rae - Not pressure, but com.promise

Senator MILLEN - Is not compromise the outcome of pressure ? Men do not compromise unless they are pressed in some way.

Senator McDougall - The honorable senator would like to give the other fellows all they want,

Senator MILLEN - It is not a question of whether a man gets all he wants or not. Of course, the point I am making now will be brushed on one side by Senator McDougall ; but I still say that if an arbitration law is to be worth the paper on which it is printed, there must be a loyal determination on the part of every one concerned to abide by any awards given under that law, whether they regard them as favorable or not. That being so, I want to ask whether that loyalty has made itself manifest during the last five years. I shall not go into details, but I defy any one to find any similar period in the industrial history of -Australia in which there were so many strikes, stoppages of work, and industrial disturbances as there were during the last five years.

Senator O'Keefe - There might hia ve been many more without arbitration.

Senator MILLEN - Honorable senators may try to get over the difficulty in that way, but I again remind them that arbitration, as an alternative to strikes, has absolutely failed.

Senator O'Keefe - It was an honest effort to prevent strikes.

Senator MILLEN - I join with the honorable senator, and no one was more sanguine than I of the results when the first arbitration law was passed in New South Wales.

Senator McDougall - That is how all the trouble occurred ; there must be sympathy with it on both sides.

Senator MILLEN - I should offer no objection to any efforts made to remove disabilities or defects in the law. But I say that we can amend the law as much as we please, and we may entirely remodel it, but our latest effort will still be a failure unless we have as the foundation of all such legislation a general determination to loyally stand by awards given under the law.

Senator McDougall - On both sides.

Senator MILLEN - Yes, on both sides.

Senator McDougall - There should be no appeals to the High Court then by the employers.

Senator MILLEN - I did not quite catch the interjection, but I suppose it was not pertinent to my argument. In explanation of my attitude towards this Bill I wish to impress upon honorable senators that during the last five years there has been not merely an absence of the loyalty to which I have referred, but a considerable weakening of whatever little loyalty was manifested at the inauguration of our arbitration law. When Senator McDougall says that there should be loyalty on both sides, let me point out how essential it is, in view of the fact that it is impossible to give effect to the penal sections of any arbitration law yet framed. The AttorneyGeneral quite recently, when a question was put to him in another place, said, "How can you punish 5,000 men?" - the number of men out on strike in Sydney at the time. The same question arose in New South Wales when the miners were out on strike. How can we enforce the penal provisions of the arbitration law against a big body of men like that?

Senator O'Keefe - How would they be dealt with if there were no arbitration law?

Senator MILLEN - Just as they are dealt with now. Men strike under an arbitration award just as they struck without it. My point is that we are no better off. Every session a new arbitration law is proposed, Courts are established at the public expense, and in New South Wales an army of inspectors is being created in order that the penal provisions of the lawmay be carried out against employers, but when the men strike we at once recognise the fact that it is impossible to punish them.

Senator O'Keefe - Can the honorable senator suggest anything to meet the difficulty ?

Senator MILLEN - I am trying to bring home to my honorable friends the fact that if they desire arbitration to be successful they must instil into the minds of unionists that the only way to bring that about is to loyally observe all awards.

Senator O'Keefe - That is as much as to say that we have not hitherto done so.

Senator MILLEN - No, I am saying that there has been an utter absence of loyalty to the principle of arbitration manifested during the last five years.

Senator O'Keefe - That is an unfair statement.

Senator MILLEN - Its fairness or unfairness depends upon the facts. Senator O'Keefe can, if he is able, justify his statement that I am speaking unfairly by going into the records. I do not propose to do that; but I have made a statement that during the last five years there were more industrial troubles and strikes, although there were awards of arbitration courts in existence, than during any similar period in the industrial history of Australia. I will refer honorable senators to the strike history of the union which is just now occupying a large share of public attention. I refer to the Wharf Labourers Union.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Will the honorable senator mention the locks-out also?

Senator MILLEN - There cannot be a lock-out without an immediate penalty upon the offending employers, but no penalty can be imposed upon the wharf labourers who strike against an agreement they have made. The penalty of£1,000, which might have been recovered by the employers in the shipping industry, would count for nothing ; it would not pay one of them for the laying-up of one ship for any length of time, and, spread over the members of the union, it would not represent is. a head.

Senator Rae - Can the honorable senator find only one case to prove his assertion?

Senator MILLEN - I cannot follow all the unions through their eccentricities during the last few years. I can prove what I have stated by a brief sketch of the strike history of the Wharf Labourers Union.

Senator Findley - The honorable senator might go back to 1890, when we had a strike which paralyzed Australia.

Senator MILLEN - So far as I can see, we are now approaching another 1890 in spite of all our arbitration laws.

Senator DE LARGIE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator has shifted his ground considerably since those days.

Senator MILLEN - That is no doubt what Senator de Largie is pleased to regard as his strong point.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It breaks my heart to think of it.

Senator MILLEN - It is a revelation to me to learn that the honorable senator has a heart to break. I want to be allowed to justify my statement by a reference to the strike history of one, and not the least, of the unions of Australia. I need not go very far back for my purpose. I find that in January, 1907, the wharf labourers of Sydney were working under an award of Mr. Justice Heydon, of the State Arbitration Court. They struck then for special rates for certain lines of cargo, such as bullion, ore, and so on. The strike lasted for a month, when an agreement which amended the award was arrived at. Efforts were made to bring the two parties together, and the award of the Court was ignored altogether in the matter. The Arbitration Act absolutely broke down, the ship-owners conceded the demands of the men, and work was resumed. In October of the same year, 1907, further trouble presented itself with regard to overtime, and, to avoid a strike on this occasion, the owners at once conceded the demands of the men. The award was still in existence so far as the official records of the Court were concerned.

Senator Rae - The honorable senator does not explain whether new conditions arose which had not been provided for in the award.

Senator MILLEN - The only new condition which arose and which had not been provided for was that of the men breaking the award. The award laid down certain rates and hours, and the men no doubt believed that the condition of the trade was favorable to their action, and they tore the award up. The matter of overtime had been dealt with in the award, and a special rate provided, but the men did not like it, and, in order to avoid a strike, the ship-owners immediately conceded their demand.

Senator McDougall - That shows that the men were right.

Senator MILLEN - I am not dealing with that. I am showing that the men were exactly where they are to-day without any arbitration law at all, because, in order to .get what they .want, they do not hesitate to defy the law. I started my review of these industrial troubles by reference to a disturbance which took place in January, 1907. Amidst very considerable interruption I have got down to October of the same year, with two strikes during that period. In January, 1908, the deep sea and wharf labourers again struck. That strike was of brief duration, the main body of the men returning to work Within three or four days. But in regard to a section of the vessels the trouble continued till March, 1908. I have no record of how it was dealt with, but I believe that it was settled by the men getting what they wanted - that is, getting it because they broke the law and the award.

Senator Rae - It shows that they were right.

Senator MILLEN - All I am pointing out is that the advantages which they gained on that occasion were obtained because they broke the law.

Senator Rae - Nearly all progress in the world has been made by breaking the law.

Senator MILLEN - Senator Rae as an advocate of progress is, ergo, an advocate of law-breaking. I can quite imagine him defending his attitude by saying, " I make the laws. Why should not I break them?" In November, 1910, the overtime question cropped up in this union. On that" occasion the owners, to avoid a strike, once more conceded the demands of the men. The agreement under which the men were officially working expired in February, 1910.

Senator Rae - The fault is that the agreements should be made of indiarubber, and then they could be stretched without any fear of them breaking.

Senator MILLEN - There is no need to have agrements made of indiarubber, seeing that the men can tear them up and trample on them just when they please.

Senator McDougall - Does not an employer trample on them ?

Senator MILLEN - Immediately he does so the law is set in motion, and he is fined.

Senator McDougall - We do not fine half of the employers who break their agreements.

Senator MILLEN - That is a reflection on the authorities. I know that in New South Wales a staff of inspectors is maintained to see that the awards are carried out, and in some cases employers have been fined for breaking awards. But the mere fact that one party breaks an agreement is no justification for the other party doing likewise.

Senator Rae - It is every justification.

Senator MILLEN - We have a right to ask that an honest attempt shall be made to observe the agreements entered into.

Senator Rae - Surely if one party breaks an agreement that agreement falls to the ground.

Senator MILLEN - If I have, an agreement with Senator Rae and I break it, my action is no justification for Senator Pearce breaking an agreement which he may have with Senator O'Keefe. Because an employer in some other industry has broken an award, the employes in the shipping industry are not entitled to break their agreement. The agreement under which the wharf labourers were working expired in February, 1910, though it had long previously been dead - killed by the action of the men themselves. It is impossible to regard an agreement as being in existence when it has been disregarded two or three times during its nominal currency. Negotiations for the renewal of that agreement followed, and extended over some time. Those negotiations were made ridiculous because, right through their progress, little sectional troubles were bubbling up daily. The first big disturbance occurred when the wharf labourers refused to handle the machinery turned out by the harvesting works of this State.

Senator Rae - That was an instance of loyalty.

Senator MILLEN - I am not suggesting whether the men were right or wrong in any one of the strikes to which I have referred. I am not sitting in judgment upon them. But I say that the frequency of these strikes evidences a determination on the part of the men to tear up any agreement into which they may have entered whenever that agreement fails to suit them. This strike was followed by the trouble over the cement. In that case, it was not a question of loyalty to the members of any other union. The men simply discovered that the wages paid them under their agreement was not sufficient to justify them in handling cargo which they said - but which the doctors denied - was injurious to health.

Senator Rae - The doctors do not handle it.

Senator MILLEN - The men may have been right or wrong. My point is that they were striking.

Senator McDougall - To refuse to handle cargo is not to strike.

Senator MILLEN - I am not going to enter into such a refinement of words as Senator McDougall evidently wishes me to do. If a refusal to handle cargo is not a strike, then the refusal on the part of the ship-owners to allow men to handle cargo is not a lock-out. Senator McDougall knows perfectly well that, so far as that cargo was concerned, the refusal of the men to handle it constituted a strike. Then there was a refusal on the part of the wharf labourers to handle sugar. Senator Rae may say that their action on that occasion was prompted by loyalty to their brother unionists. That may be so. I am merely pointing out that this long record of strikes shows that no law which we can pass will ever compel a body of unionists to observe an award longer than it suits them to do so.

Senator McDougall - The honorable senator has not shown one instance of that.

Senator MILLEN - I suppose that the threat of 5,000 wharf labourers to tie up the shipping industry is nothing to the honorable senator? Why should he worry over such a little matter as 5,000 men threatening to disrupt a big industry ? '

Senator McDougall - If 50,000 were concerned it would be a big thing.

Senator MILLEN - If these strikes are so small, why should we bother to pass any law dealing with them? The refusal of the men to handle sugar was followed by trouble in regard to the handling of Lithgow iron. What the men did on that occasion was due to their loyalty to the central idea of unionism. But just in proportion as they wire loyal to that idea they were disloyal to the idea of arbitration. Then in September of this year there was a refusal on their part to handle wheat for export unless extra rates were paid for it. That trouble was settled by the payment of the higher rates, but it was none the less a violation of the law. That strike was so successful that another section of the wharf labourers struck for special rates for handling superphosphates, and a little later for similar rates for handling all manures.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I should think they would.

Senator MILLEN - Personally I am not able to enter into the levity in which Senators Rae and McDougall are indulging. I cannot say whether the rates received by the men were high or low.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator is saying all that he can against the men.

Senator MILLEN - I am merely endeavouring to show the absolute failure of all our arbitration laws.

Senator McDougall - They have been a partial failure, that is all.

Senator MILLEN - I do not for a moment question whether the men asked for a reasonable or an unreasonable rate of wages. The fact is that they struck for increased wages, although they were working under an agreement. That Senators W. Russell, McDougall, and Rae should applaud their action in tearing up the agreement does not surprise me in the slightest. A little later we had the recent strike which started on the 9th October. That was denounced by the officials of the union - practically by the heads of that body. I think it may be said that they recognised the great mistake which the men had made, and that they used their best efforts to terminate the trouble. I am sure that all of us were particularly pleased when we learned that the men had returned to work. But let me remind honorable senators of how that strike was terminated. It was terminated by the most ludicrous incident in the history of our arbitration laws. The men were violating an agreement which had been entered into under the auspices of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court. Then the Government of New South Wales came along, and in effect said to them, " If you will resume work we will appoint a tribunal to arbitrate upon whether you ought or ought not to observe the award of the Federal Court." Let us carry the matter a little further by supposing that Mr. McGowen's tribunal had given an award as to whether the men were right or wrong in breaking a Federal agreement. In that case I presume that we in turn should have been called upon to create a Federal tribunal to decide whether or not the men ought to observe the decision of the State Court as to the original award. All these circumstances emphasize the fact that industrial agreements are of value only when the conditions under them are satisfactory to both parties.

Senator McDougall - The honorable senator's party were squealing for the State Government to do something to end the strike, and now that something has been done they are still squealing.

Senator MILLEN - If Senator McDougall thinks that anybody will be satisfied with such a grotesque statement of the position as that, he is very optimistic. I am not aware that I have made any comment on the action of the State Government until the present moment. But an agreement having been in existence some steps should have been taken to enforce its observance. I venture to say that had the ship-owners locked out the men there would have been a very vehement shriek from Senator McDougall, who would have loudly called upon the State Government or some other Government to enforce the law. The Minister of Defence is doubtless aware of the fact that, according to telegrams which appeared in this morning's newspapers, the wharf labourers who returned to work a few days ago, lured by the promise of Mr. McGowen to create a second tribunal to arbitrate on their action, are again on strike.

Senator Pearce - I am informed that that is not so - that they have merely decided to endeavour to get a revision of the agreement.

Senator Givens - Does not the honorable senator think that it would be better to wait for certain information before he bases an argument upon that case?

Senator MILLEN - Whether the men are out on strike or not is, of course, an important fact. If we are to judge from telegrams appearing from Sydney this morning the men have struck with regard to the time when they shall knock off for tea, which in itself involves the question of when overtime pay shall commence. Whether they are actually out on strike or not is, as I have said, a matter of considerable importance to themselves, and to the community, but it is not important for the purposes of my argument. It is quite clear that they are seeking to disturb an agreement which has been arrived at. Is there to be any finality in these matters at all ; or is it not better frankly to recognise, as I have been compelled to do, that these agreements and awards are absolutely useless unless and until there is an honest determination on the part of the men that they will loyally adhere to any arrangement made on their behalf?

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator would not say that it is not better for the men to secure what they want in an» orderly way?

Senator MILLEN - This agreementwas only made- a few weeks ago.

Senator Guthrie - Did it deal with the tea-hour ?

Senator MILLEN - That is not the important point.

Senator Guthrie - Yes; that point might be outside the agreement.

Senator MILLEN - According to the information conveyed in this telegram from Sydney it was provided that the tea-hour should begin at a certain time, and that thereafter overtime should commence. Now there is an effort to vary that agreement.

Senator Pearce - Our arbitration law provides for that.

Senator MILLEN - It is true that the law does provide for the varying of agreements under certain conditions, but when an agreement is made, ostensibly for a number of years, it ought not to be disturbed by a strike. The statements made by members of the Ministry in their efforts to bring the dispute to an end prove that what occurred was a strike, and not a variation of the agreement. Now we have steps being taken to patch up the trouble, not by asking for a loyal adherence to theagreement at all; but the men are to helured back by promises that if they will' only return to work a tribunal shall be established to arbitrate as to whether they should adhere to the agreement originally made on their behalf. Can these things go on indefinitely ? They may, and it appears at present as if they would. But so long as they do continue as at present it appears to me that there is no justification, for asking any one, unless he is the most optimistic of men, to believe in the efficacy of our arbitration laws.

Senator Givens - Would the - honorable senator prefer to go back to the old order, when we had no other remedy for industrial discontent than strikes and locks-out?

Senator MILLEN - What are we having at present but strikes ? I venture to say that we should have no more industrial troubles than is the case now if we wiped the arbitration laws off the statute-book altogether. The history of the Wharf Labourers Union during the last five years, which I have given, clearly proves that when the men see an opportunity of securing advantages over and above those secured to them under arbitration awards, they have not the slightest hesitation in going on strike.

Senator Givens - Does not the honorable senator think that arbitration has minimized striking ?

Senator MILLEN - No, I do not.

Senator Givens - How long have the seamen adhered to their award?

Senator MILLEN - The seamen I believe, are working under an agreement which was not determined in the Arbitration Court at all.

Senator Guthrie - No, there was a provisional award last December.

Senator MILLEN - I have said before in this Senate that the real explanation of the agreement between the ship-owners and the seamen is that it was brought about by the operation of the shipping ring itself.

Senator Guthrie - No.

Senator MILLEN - The ship-owners made friends of their workmen, and the workmen were quite content to see the public " taken down " so long as they shared the spoil.

Senator Guthrie - The freights and passage rates in Australia are the cheapest in the world. You can travel for1d. per mile on our coast, and you cannot do that anywhere else in the world.

Senator MILLEN - Senator Givens has asked me whether I think we should have been any worse off without our arbitration laws. I have already stated that I feel satisfied that if a search were made into the records for the last five years, it would be found that more strikes and industrial troubles and disturbances have occurred in that period than in any other corresponding period in the history of Australia.

Senator Givens - Surely the honorable senator does not attribute that fact, if it be true, to the existence of the Arbitration Court.

Senator MILLEN - But the fact does demonstrate the failure of the Arbitration Court.

Senator Givens - How many more strikes would there have been without the Court ?

Senator MILLEN - I do not think there would have been a single one more. The proof of that statement is that there have been more strikes in those industries which are workingunder awards than in industries which are not working under them.

Senator Rae - There might not have been more strikes, but there might have been a bigger one infinitely worse in its effects.

Senator MILLEN - It does not appear to me to make much difference whether men are working under an award or not. The moment they are dissatisfied with their conditions they exercise what may be called their natural right, and say, " We will not work unless we get better conditions."

Senator Givens - Will the honorable senator say, then, that he is in favour "of wiping out our arbitration laws?

Senator MILLEN - No.

Senator Givens - The honorable senator is arguing that way.

Senator MILLEN - The whole drift of my argument is that if these arbitration laws are to be successful there must be a marked change in the attitude of the men working under them, who will have toexhibit more loyalty to the principle than they have done in the past.

Senator Givens - The honorable senator has said a great deal about workmen refusing to obey awards, but he has said nothing about employers who try to get outside an award that does not suit them.

Senator MILLEN - What I say on that point is that you can enforce an award against an employer, but that it is impossible to enforce it against a large body of workmen.

Senator McDougall - An employer can defeat the law easily without actually breaking it.

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