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Friday, 11 December 1914


Senator MULLAN - He is in charge of the Remount Depot at Enoggera, and his word is accepted by the Minister in preference to that of the men. On receiving this correspondence I wrote to the Minister as follows: -

Dear Senator Pearce,

A number of men engaged at the remount station at Knoggera, Brisbane, have forwarded to me, through the secretary of the Carters Union (Mr. George Lawson, Trades Hall, Brisbane), a serious complaint against the officer in charge, Mr. Thompson.

If the statements can be substantiated, and I believe they can, Mr. Thompson appears to be going out of his way to harass unionists and unionism, and as they have had to submit to more than their share of this sort of thing under Liberal Governments, I trust that you will sec that they will, at least, get a fair deal while a Labour Government is in power.

I remain, yours faithfully, J. Mullah.

To this I received from the Minister an acknowledgment promising that a full and complete inquiry would be made into the charge that Thompson was harassing unionists. I waited patiently for a month - and one must be very patient when dealing with the Defence Department. It takes only two days for a mail to reach Brisbane, and two more for it to return, yet I did not get the result of the socalled exhaustive inquiry - which consisted in getting the opinion of the State Com- mandant and ignoring the men concerned - until 4th December. I am not surprised at this, because when the famous Cockatoo Island dock inquiry was held, Mr. Manisty, then secretary to the Naval Board, said it was not usual to acknowledge correspondence at all, the regular course being to wait until a matter had been disposed of and then send a reply. A man who sends a letter to the Department would certainly like to know before a month has passed that the matter is being attended to. No decent commercial house could be successfully run in such a slip-shod fashion, and if the Minister has no time to inquire into the grievances of these unfortunate unionists in Queensland, I hope he will at least be able to investigate the happy-go-lucky way in which his Department deals with correspondence. Thus, even if the unionists cannot secure redress, the Commonwealth may benefit. I have often attacked Liberal Governments for injustices to unionism, but I should be sorry to think that any Minister could treat such a serious charge as these men made so lightly as the Minister of Defence has treated this definite charge. A one-sided inquiry took place, and the unionists who made the complaint were not even called to substantiate it.


Senator Stewart - Who held the inquiry ?







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