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Thursday, 19 November 1914

Senator MULLAN - There was absolutely no necessity.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- (Mr. Fisher thought not; and the evidence showed that the State was able to quell whatever trouble existed by employing the forces at their own disposal.

Senator Ferricks - There was no trouble at Brisbane till the State forces raised it.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - That is a matter of argument. I have heard opinions expressed in a contrary direction to that in which my honorable friend speaks. I believe that he was one of the active participants in the trouble, and for that reason, perhaps, he is less able to judge of the real circumstances than a man like myself, who had no connexion with the disturbance. I do not want to discuss the strike, though I may say that the whole dispute, in its initiation, was, in my opinion, silly. If my honorable friends could only induce their supporters to accept honorably and fairly the decisions of the Law Courts, whether given for or against them, it would be very much better, and we would not have one-half of the trouble that we now have. Honorable senators, I know, think that possibly I am more imbued with the views of the employer than with the views of the employe; but I tell them that I do not object to any man fighting for his rights, so long as he keeps within the law. If a law is not deemed to be just, let it be altered. Under the Constitution, the majority are entitled to rule. No one can say of me that I have ever been sorry to see any man in the community, the poorest or the least educated, improve his position. I recognise that we are a great community, and that, to a certain extent, it is the .accident of circumstances that men occupy different positions in life. Once we recognise that there are certain rights which attach to every individual, whether poor or rich, and rejoice when a man gets an opportunity to improve his condition, the community will be very much better off, and greater harmony will prevail in the land. As to the amendment, we know that there is only one decision which will be arrived at. It has, however, had the advantage of affording an opportunity to honorable senators to place their views clearly before the Senate. It has also given food for thought, and in this connexion I think that the debate has been valuable. At the same time, I do not know that the amendment, if carried, will make very much difference, except in this way, that it may be a placard held up to the community, "We have selected one particular class of trouble concerning which we shall not allow the Citizen Forces to be used, and that class represents the industrial disputes that occur, unfortunately, from time to timo." I do not think it is desirable to put up a poster of that character when, at the same time, it is said, "For any other purpose we will employ the Citizen Forces, or make them liable to serve," because it would mean that there is one particular class who desire to get certain advantages, but who arc prepared to allow other classes to " go hang."

Senator Senior - I do not see the force of that reasoning at all.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The moment that my honorable friends say that the Citizen Forces shall not be used in connexion with one class of trouble, they place that class almost beyond the control of the law.

Senator Senior - As far as participants in a particular class of work shall not be brought into conflict with their coworkers; that is the position.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD. - All the men who are in the Citizen Forces are not co-workers with all the trades which get involved in trouble, because every lad, no matter what his position in life may be, is liable to serve in the Citizen Forces, and to do the duties which may devolve upon him without fear or favour. It would be a fatal mistake on the part of my honorable friends to bring about a conflict which would tend to show that they are trying to set one section of the community against another section. In these cases we must always look to the Government of the day to act. If it was considered necessary to intervene in any case, it would be their duty to use, in the first place, the Permanent Forces ; and if those Forces were nob sufficient to put an end to the strife, very great care should be exercised as to the men who should be sent to assist them in that work. For instance, the Government could take troops from Victoria to Queensland to deal with a disturbance at Brisbane, for they surely would not employ Queensland troops for that purpose.

Senator Watson - And breed enmity between State and State.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - No. The honorable senator rather appreciated what was said in regard to the course followed in the case of Ulster. Was that course taken to bring about enmity between one part of the country and the other?

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