Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Tuesday, 22 June 1926


Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - During the debate an extraordinary speech was delivered by Senator Barwell. I take no exception to an honorable senator holding whatever views he may think fit, but Senator Barwell made some statements of such a serious character that they should he examined to ascertain whether they are in accord with the facts or not. If we accept the honorable senator's statement we must admit that he built up a logical case in opposition to industrial legislation. But a very little examination will show that his statement is absolutely incorrect. In justice to Australia that fact should be placed on record. Senator DrakeBrockman and others have effectively answered Senator Barwell's statement that arbitration had caused strikes, that there were more strikes in Australia than in other countries. But Senator Barwell made another extraordinary statement. He Said that arbitration legislation was not the cause of the abolition of sweating in

Australia; and he endeavoured to prove his case by stating that sweating had ceased to exist in other countries where the economic conditions were similar to those in Australia. The honorable senator's statements - that arbitration has caused strikes ; that there are more strikes in Australia under arbitration than in other countries which have no arbitration legislation ; that arbitration has not abolished sweating; that wages in other countries where there is no industrial legislation have been raised to high levels and working conditions bettered - constitute a challenge which must be accepted by those who disagree with him. Let us deal, first, with Senator Barwell's contention that arbitration did not abolish sweating in Australia. Honorable senators know that at one time sweating did exist in Australia, particularly in the clothing industry. The clothing industry is one which in many countries has been associated with sw eating.


Senator H Hays - That is easily understood, because the work can be done in the homes of the people.


Senator PEARCE - No one denies that, about 25 years ago, there was sweating in the clothing industry in Australia. From 1896 onwards attempts were made to deal with this evil; in Victoria by the introduction of the wages board system, and in the other States by arbitration and factories legislation. That sweating does not now exist in any industry in Australia, the people believe to be due to those laws. Sweating has been effectively wiped out in Australia; let us see whether it has disappeared in other countries. As the greatest industrial country in the world to-day is the United. States of America, I have taken the trouble to look up the records of that country in relation to sweating.I have here an extract from an article entitled, "American Children in Bondage," by Benjamin P. Chass, a writer on political, social, and economic questions, in the Current History Magazine. To show that his figures are not fanciful, he quotes from the United States of America Census Report of 1920 - the latest available. Mr. Chass said that in 1920 there were 1,060,858 children of from ten to fifteen years gainfully employed in the United States of America, that figure representing 8.5 per cent, of the total number of children between those ages.. In 1910 the number was 1,990,225. The decrease was due to a large number of the States, as well as the Congress of the United States of America, having legislated against child labour, although some of the legislation passed was afterwards declared by the High Court of the United States of America to be unconstitutional. The report of Mr. Chass went on to say that it was obvious that the figures compiled by the Census Bureau of 1920 were incomplete, and insufficient for a study of child labour in general. In June, 1924, the National Child Labour Committee almost doubled the number given by the Census Bureau. During the time that it operated, the Federal law had the effect of driving a number of children out of employment. Further on in his report Mr. Chass gave instances of the occupations which the children followed, and the wages paid to them. His report reads: -

Children were found working on these truck farms for the lowest wages imaginable; five, ten, fifteen and twenty cents, an hour were the common wages paid, the older children receiving the higher amounts and those of the younger classes - manywho were below eight years of age, and some below five - usually earned five and ten cents an hour. In speaking of these wages, the bureau stated that the earnings, especially of the younger children, seem a meagre return for the hours of labour, the physical strain of constant stooping, the exposure to heat and dampness, and, for many, the loss of time in school that the work entailed. . . . Children as young as six years of age were found at work in thebeet fields of Colorado and Michigan. Some 150 cases of mal-nutrition were found among l,022 children studied. The health of these children was found to be very much impaired. Constant stooping resulted in 676 cases of "winged scapulae".

Later on in the report, we find the following passage: -

Wherever else the Children's Bureau conducted these surveys of child labour the same conditions were found. Throughout the cotton regions children between the ages of six and sixteen were found at work for long hours for rewards of a few cents an hour, and the evidence was at hand that their health, education, and welfare had been grossly neglected.

A national child labour committee reported : " We saw wrists that were swollen and lame; hands that were sore, cracked, and full of dirt; and knees that were sore, cracked, and calloused. The glare of the sun is a very severe strain upon the eyes of many children." In the cotton-fields of California, children as young as four pick from sunrise to sunset.

According to the last census there were 5,850 children employed in and about the coal mines.


Senator Guthrie - Were they white children ?


Senator PEARCE - Yes. Dealing with the children employed in the coal mines, the report stated: -

It is underground, however, that the worst suffering is endured by these children. Here, the older boys, from twelve to sixteen years of age, toil in a kind of Dantesque inferno, isolated in a terrible dark world. Here, they often are forced to work in mud and water, sometimes stripped to the waistline because, of the intense heat, and sometimes groping through suffocating gas and smoke. A more intolerable condition could not exist anywhere for the youth of America. Yet here, mother's little tots are forced to slave away their childhood days - the time of play and gladness.

The Terre Haute Advocate, of the 25th January, 1924, contained the following statement : -

Margaret A. McGroarty, a visiting teacher, told of frightful conditions in the Italian section of Upper New York. She said that manufacturing work is done in nearly every home she visited. Children as young as three work on artificial flowers. With their fingers they apply paste to the flower that the mother or older sister may apply the petals. " The wages are deplorable, she testified. " Conditions in East Harlem are simply appalling. . . The children come home from school; do not even wash their hands, but go right to work and eat when they can."

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.


Senator PEARCE - At the dinner adjournment I was replying to some of the contentions of Senator Barwell, who. said, among other things, that it was not the arbitration laws of Australia that had abolished sweating, because, as a matter of fact, it had been abolished in other countries where compulsory arbitration did not operate. He instanced the United States of America, Canada, and other countries, where, he said, sweating was now a thing of the past. I quoted a number of statements in the Current History Magazine of March, 1925, which show that that is not the case. I propose to quote only one more from the same article -

The MonthlyLabour Review, in its issue for August, 1924, reported that " women and children workers are usually paid starvation wages. . . . Child labour was found to be prevalent in nearly a quarter of the 15,000 houses licensed to engage in homework in New York State, according to the 1924 report of the New York State Commission to examine laws relating to child welfare. The report states that " children of tender years- many of them under ten years of age - are commonly permitted or required to engage in this work."

The most horrible form of sweating is that which exploits child labour, and I have shown that it exists to a large extent in the United States of America today. On two occasions Congress has passed laws, which have been declared by the High Court of the United States of America to be unconstitutional, in an endeavour to deal with the evil. I now refer honorable senators to the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. xxv., 1905. In an article dealing with " Child Labour in the United States, and its great attendant evils," the writer states -

At the beginning of 1903 it is estimated that there were in the factories of the South - chiefly cotton factories - about 20,000 children under the age of twelve.

A year later, in volume xxvii., 1906, the same publication contains another article on child labour, in which occurs the following passage: -

The president of the American Cotton Manufacturing Association, Mr.R. M. Miller, of Charlotte, North Carolina, in an interview deprecating the raising of the age limit in North Carolina from twelve to fourteen, for girls and for illiterate boys, claimed that 75 per cent, of the spinners of North Carolina were fourteen or under. The average for children under sixteen, employed in Southern mills, as given by the census of 1900, was 25 per cent. On that basis there must be 60,000 children, from six to sixteen, now working in themills of the Southern States, and my own opinion is that there are 60,000 under fourteen years of ago. And just now the mills are running night and day, and even the rule of 66 hours a week makes the working day of these little ones for five days of the week twelve hours.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - That does not touch the point that I made about employers and employees meeting in conference and settling disputes, irrespective of compulsory arbitration.


Senator PEARCE - It is an answer to the honorable senator's statement that sweating has been abolished in the United States of America and other countries where compulsory arbitration does not exist. If this is not sweating, I do not know what is - and this in the United

States of America, the leading country so far as efficiency in manufactures is concerned, and where labour receives the highest wage because of its efficiency.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - I said that the people of the United States of America do not accept arbitration.


Senator PEARCE - In the North American Review for December, 1924, appeared two articles on the proposed amending legislation respecting child labour. One of these artilces states -

First, as to the numbers of working children : - The decennial census is our only source of information for the United States as a whole. For the purposes of this discussion it does not give an adequate picture, for several reasons: (1) Working children under ten years of age were not enumerated. Their numbers, it is to be hoped, are not large; but the serious effects of their employment make even small numbers important.

Nevertheless, the census showed more than a million (1,060,858) children between ten and sixteen years of age gainfully employed, and nearly half a million (413,549) employed in. non-agricultural industries.

In 1920, it should be remembered, the Federal law was discouraging, by a prohibitive tax, the employment of children under fourteen in mills and factories, and the Federal eight-hour day made it more difficult and less profitable than formerly to employ them in mills which operated on a ten or eleven-hour schedule. The census figures for 1920 show that the textile mills were then employing 54,649 child operatives; iron and steel mills, 12,904; clothing factories and sweatshops, 11,757; lumber mills and furniture factories, 10,585; shoe factories, 7,545; coal mines, 5,850. Child servants and waiters were reported to the number of 41,586. Messengers, bundle wrappers, and office boys and girls numbered 48,028; sales boys and sales girls in stores, 30,370; other child clerks, 22,521. Newsboys numbered 20,706, and there were 147.048 children between ten and sixteen in other miscellaneous occupations.

Regarding the inability of the United States of America to solve this problem, the writer of the article points out -

In Mississippi more than one-fourth of all the children ten to fifteen years of age were at work; in Alabama and South Carolina, 24 per cent.; in Georgia, 21 per cent.; and in Arkansas, 19 per cent. Of the New England States, Rhode Island had the largest proportion of children from ten to fifteen years of age, 13 per cent., "employed in gainful occupations."

Referring to the. absence of labour laws, the writer continues : -

Nine States hove no law prohibiting all chil dren under 14 years from working in both factories and stores. Twenty-three States, with a fourteen-year minimum age limit, have weakened their laws by permitting exemptions under which children not yet fourteen may work. Thirty-five States allow children to go to work without a common-school education. Nineteen States do not make physical fitness for work a condition of employment. Eleven States allow children under sixteen to work from nine to eleven hours a day ; one State does not regulate in any way daily hours of labour of children.


Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does that happen in a protectionist contry?


Senator PEARCE - Yes.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - That does not meet my point at all. No compulsory legislation will prevent that.


Senator PEARCE - The honorable senator endeavoured to strengthen his argument against compulsory arbitration by claiming that sweating had been abolished in other countries by reason of their economic conditions. He said that in any event sweating would have been prevented in Australia on account of the strength of the industrial unions; but it is well known that when compulsory arbitration was introduced here the unions were numerically weak. In nearly every industry unionists were in the minority, and were powerless to enforce their will. It is our arbitration law that has enabled the unions to become the powerful bodies they are to-day. The honorable senator also said that arbitration had prevented capital from coming into this country. That is a serious statement, and honorable senators have every right to inquire into the truth of it. One would have thought that before making a statement so damaging to Australia - because it is damaging - the honorable senator would have been sure of his ground. If it is a fact then, in allowing our Federal arbitration legislation to remain on our statute-books, we are risking the progress and development of Australia. If the honorable senator had applied to the Trade and Customs Department he would have ascertained whether his statement was one of fact.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - I know that it is a fact.


Senator PEARCE - We shall see. I have before me a list of industries that have been established in Australia in the last few years by British companies, in nearly every instance.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - That does not disprove my statement.


Senator PEARCE - In nearly every instance British capital has been invested in these industries, and, although the list is somewhat lengthy, I think that it might well be read, since the honorable senator's statement, to which it is an effective reply, has been placed on record. The list is as follows : -

Firms in the United Kingdom Which Have Established Interests in Works and Factories in Australia.

Allen Liversidge Limited, London - Allen Liversidge Limited, Sydney, compressed acetylene.

Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited, London - Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited, Melbourne, oil boring and refining.

Babcock and Wilcox Limited, Glasgow; - Babcock and Wilcox Limited, Sydney, boilers, &c.

Blyth and Platt Limited, Liverpool - Blyth and Platt (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, boot paste.

Boston Blacking Company Limited, Leicester - Boston Blacking Company of Australasia Limited, Melbourne, boot paste, &c.

British Imperial Oil Company, London - British Imperial Oil Company, Melbourne, oil storage.

Bovril Limited, London - Bovril Australian Estates Limited, Melbourne, meat extract.

British Insulated and Helsby Cables Limited, London - Metal Manufactures Limited, Port Kembla, copper wire, lubes, &c.

Bryant and May Limited, Liverpool - Bryant and May, Bell Proprietary Limited, Melbourne, matches.

Cellular Clothing Company Limited, London - Cellular Clothing Company Limited, Melbourne, cotton underwear.

Chubb and Sons Lock and Safe Company Limited, Manchester - Chubbs (Australia) Company Limited, Melbourne, safes, strongrooms, &c.

William Cooper and Nephews, Glasgow - William Cooper and Nephews, Sydney, sheep dip.

Colonial Ammunition Company, Melbourne, cartridges, brass sheets.

Cadbury Brothers Limited, Bourneville - Cadbury's Australasian Company Limited, Tasmania, cocoa, chocolates.

John Dickinson and Company Limited, London - John Dickinson and Company Limited. Melbourne, envelopes, &c.

Dunlop Rubber Company Limited, Birmingham - Dunlop Rubber Company of Australasia Limited, Melbourne, rubber tyres, &c.

Dorman Long and Company Limited, Middlesborough - Dorman Long and Company Limited, Melbourne, fabricated steel.

English Electric Company Limited, Bradford - English Electric Company Limited, Sydney, electric plant and machinery.

Goodlass Wall and Company Limited, Liverpool - Goodlass Wall and Company (Australia) Limited, Melbourne, paints.

Henry Lane, Wolverhampton - Henry Lane (Australasia) Limited, Newcastle, rabbittraps.

Kelsall and Kemp Limited, Rochdale - Kelsall and Kemp Limited, Launceston, wool mills.

Kynoch Limited, Birmingham - Kynoch Limited, Melbourne, explosives.

Load Sulphate Limited, Dudley - Lead Sulphate Limited, Launceston, white lead.

Lamson Paragon Supply Company Limited, Manchester - Lamson Paragon Limited, Melbourne, account books, stationery.

Lever Brothers Limited, Liverpool - Lever Brothers Limited, Sydney, soap,&c.

Lewis Berger and Sons Limited, Liverpool - Lewis Berger and Sons Limited, Sydney, white lead and paint.

John Lysaght Limited, Bristol - Lysaght's Australian Works Limited, Newcastle, galvanized iron sheets.

John Lysaght Limited, Bristol- Lysaght Brothers and Company Limited, Sydney, wire netting.

Lloyd Attree and Smith Limited, Glasgow - Lloyd Attree and Smith (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, men's wear.

Metropolitan Vickers Electric Company Limited, Manchester - Electrical Equipment Manufacturers Proprietary Limited, Melbourne, switchgear.

Newbold Silica Fire Brick Company Limited, Newcastle, silica bricks.

Nugget Polish Company Limited, London - Nugget Polish Company of Australasia Limited, Williamstown, boot polish.

F.   and A. Parkinson Limited, Leeds - F. and A. Parkinson Limited, Sydney, electric motors.

Paton and Baldwin, Tasmania, woollens.

Reckitt and Sons Limited, Hull - Reckitt's (Overseas) Limited, Melbourne, blue, &c.

Roneo Limited, Liverpool - Roneo Company of Australasia Limited, Melbourne, filing system.

Rylands Brothers Limited, Warrington - Rylands Brothers (Australasia), Newcastle, steel wire.

Rylands Brothers Limited, Warrington - Austral Nail Company Proprietary Limited, Newcastle, wire nails.

Thos. Robinson and Son Limited, Rockdale - Thos. Robinson and Son Limited. Sydney, milling machinery.

Schweppes Limited, London - Schweppes Limited, Melbourne, aerated waters.

Shanks and Company Limited, Glasgow - Shanks and Company Proprietary Limited, Melbourne, sanitary ware.

Henry Simon Limited, Manchester- Henry Simon (Australasia) Limited), Sydney, milling machinery.

Vestey Brothers Limited, London - Vestey Brothers Limited, Port Darwin, meat.

Welch, Margetson and Company Limited - Welch, Margetson and Company Proprietary Limited, Melbourne, men's wear.

Whitehead, E., Bradford; Gates, E., Bradford -Yarra Falls Spinning Company Limited, Melbourne, woollens.

Alexander Fergusson and Company Limited, Glasgow; Brandram Brothers and Company Limited, London; Cookson and Company Limited, Newcastle-on-Tyne; Cox Brothers and Company (Derby) Limited, Derby; Foster Blackett and Wilson Limited, London: John Hare and Company, Bristol - British-Australasian Lead Manufacturers Proprietary Limited, Sydney, white lead.

Locke, Blackett & Company Limited, NewcastleonTyne - Australasian United Paint Company Limited, Port Adelaide, paints, colours, &c.

Locke, Lancaster, & W. W. & R. Johnson & Sons, Limited, London - Australasian United Paint Company Limited, Port Adelaide, paints, colours, &c.

Mersey Whitelead Company Limited, Warrington - Australasian United Paint Company Limited, Port Adelaide, paints, colours, &c.

Walker Parker & Company Limited - Australasian United Paint Company Limited, Port Adelaide, paints, colours, &c.

Areameter Company Limited, London - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

Avonmore Engineering Company Limited, Haselmere - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

Alex. Wood and Sons, Glasgow - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

W.   & T. Avery Limited, Birmingham - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

Bartlett and Sons Limited, Bristol - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

J.   Garland and Company, Birmingham - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machines and appliances.

Hodson and Stead Limited, Manchester - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

Kosmoide Limited, London - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

Parnell and Sons Limited, Bristol - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

H.   Pooley & Sons Limited, Birmingham - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

Zachariah Parkes & Son Limited, Birmingham - Australasian Scale Company Limited, Sydney, weighing machinery and appliances.

Australian Coking & By-products Company Limited, London - Australasian Coking & By-products Limited, Newcastle, coke, tar, sulphate of ammonia.

A.   V. Roe and Company Limited, London - Australasian Aircraft & Engineering Company Limited, Sydney, aircraft.

Moritz Bergl & Company Limited, London - Bergl (Australasia) Limited, Bowen, Queensland, meat, tallow, &c.

Barimar Limited, Glasgow - Barimar Scientific Welders (Australasia) Limited, Brisbane, electric welding.

Thos. Borthwick & Sons Limited, London - Thos. Borthwick & Sons (Australasia) Limited, Brisbane, Melbourne, Portland, meat, tallow, &c.

Brown and Poison, Paisley - Brown and Poison Limited, Sydney, cornflour.

British United Shoe Machinery Company Limited, Leicester - British United Shoe Machinery Company of Australasia Proprietary, Melbourne, boot machinery.

Thos. Brown & Sons, Limited - Thos. Brown & Sons, Limited, Brisbane, clothing.

Central Queensland Meat Export Company Limited, London - Central Queensland Meat Export Company Limited, Rockhampton, meat, tallow,.&c.

Alex. Cowan and Sons- Limited, Edinburgh - Alex. Cowan and Sons Limited, Melbourne, stationery.

Docker Bros. Limited, Birmingham - Wm. Docker and Robt. Ingham Clark & Company (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, paints, varnish, and enamel.

Robt. Ingham Clark & Company Limited, London - Wm. Docker and Robt. Ingham Clark & Company (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, paints, varnish, and enamel.

Ferguson, Palin Limited, Openshaw - Ferguson, Palin Limited, Sydney, electric switchgear.

Foster Clark Limited, Maidstone - Foster Clark (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, custard powder, jelly crystals, &c.

Fletcher, W. & B., Limited, London- W. & R. Fletcher Limited, Geelong, meat, tallow, &c.

Had fields Limited, Sheffield - Hadfields (Australia) Limited, Sydney and Perth, acquired Australian Electric Steel Limited.

Holbrooks Limited, Birmingham - Holbrooks Limited, Sydney, vinegar, olives, capers, jelly crystals, custard powders.

Howard & Sons, London - Hudson's Eumenthol Chemical Company (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, medicinal pastilles, insect powders, &c

British Drug Houses Limited, London - Hudson's Eumenthol Chemical Company (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, medicinal pastilles, insect powders, &c.

Newbury & Son, London - Hudson's Eumenthol Chemical Company (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, medicinal pastilles, insect powders, &c.

McKenzie & Holland Limited, Worcester - McKenzie & Holland Limited, Brisbane and Melbourne, railway signal apparatus, &c.

Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Company Limited, Manchester -*hompson & Company Proprietary Limited, Castlemaine, turbo-condensers.

Edgar Allen and Company Limited, Sheffield -*Thompson & Company Proprietary Limited, Castlemaine, cement - making plant.

Nobel Industries Limited, Glasgow - Australasian Explosives and Chemical Company Limited, Deer Park, Victoria, explosives.

Jas. Spicer & Sons Limited, London - Jas. Spicer & Sons, Melbourne, stationery.

Sulphide Corporation Limited, London - Sulphide Corporation, Cockle Creek, New South Wales, silver lead, spelter, tar, sulphate of ammonia, sulphate of copper, superphosphates, sulphuric acid.

Trewhella Bros. Proprietary Limited, Birmingham - Trewhella Bros. Proprietary Limited, Trentham, Victoria, land-clearing tools.

Taylor Bros, and Company Limited, Leeds - Commonwealth Steel Products Limited, Newcastle, steel wheels, tires, and axles.

Ward, T. W., Limited, Sheffield - Fifleld Magnesite and Refractories Company Limited, calcined magnesite, and magnesite bricks.

Underfeed Stoker Company Limited, Manchester - *H. Perks, Melbourne, mechanical stokers.

Murray's Confectionery - Murray's Conf ecery, confectionery.

Bullivants - Australian Wire Rope Works, metal cordage.

Nettlefold's - screws.

Gramophone Company Limited - gramophones and records.

Spalding and Company - sports goods.

* Manufacture under licence from United Kingdomfirms.

That is a list of British firms which have invested their money in Australia with a full knowledge of our labour conditions.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - It depends, of course, upon the extent to which protection has helped them to start here.


Senator PEARCE - But the honorable senator made an unqualified assertion. He also dealt with the relative wages in the United States of America and Canada, and said that wages in Australia would have been just as good without arbitration, because they had increased to the same extent in the United States of America and Canada. I have facts to show that that is not correct. The daily wage rate in out-door occupations in those countries is higher than in Australia, but it is well known that all outdoor work there practically ceases in the winter months and, taking a year's earnings, the wage rate would have to be much higher than it now is in America and Canada to be equivalent to the Australian rate.


Senator Guthrie - Then the effective wage per annum in Australia is greater than that in Canada or the United States of America.


Senator PEARCE - Yes.


Senator Guthrie - That is a very important point in favour of Australia.


Senator PEARCE - It is. When Senator Barwell was speaking, I had by me an issue of the Herald, in which Mr. W. S. Sharland stated that -

Life in Canada for the unskilled worker is exceptionally hard, owing to the poor wages, the severity of the winter, and the lack of permanent work.I met many men who formerly held high ranks in the permanent military forces of Britain, who were working for a pittance in Canada as labourers.

The statement that wages would have risen to the same extent if we had not had an Arbitration Court is not justified by facts.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - I made my comparison with the United States of America, not with Canada.


Senator PEARCE - The imaginary line drawn between those two countries does not affect the economic conditions on either side of it. Wages are practically the same in Canada as in the United States of America. I am a member of a world-wide organization which issues a quarterly statement of the wage rates of its members in various parts of the world. Those statements show that the wage rates for carpenters and joiners are practically the same in Canada and the United States of America.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - But the same seasonal conditions have not to be contended with in the United States of America.


Senator PEARCE - Unfortunately, for the honorable senator's argument, they have. The statements show the number of unemployed, and if the returns for a whole year are studied, it will be seen that there are very few unemployed in summer, but a very large number in winter - when it is almost impossible to carry on building operations - and that this occurs both in the United States of America and Canada. Coming to yet another statement made by Senator Barwell, Senator Drake-Brockman has quoted figures showing that the Arbitration Court, so far from having been provocative of strikes, has prevented a large number of them, and that Australia is not the economic sinner that she is sometimes represented to be. Those figures could be elaborated in greater detail. During the last election I had analyses made of the number of men in the unions that had been the chief cause of strikes, and they showed that, although the Seamen's Union had been responsible for 70 per cent, of the wages lost by strikes during a period of years, that union only had 8,000 members out of a total of 700,000 unionists. Therefore, the greatest trouble-makers in our industrial life can be narrowed down to 8,000 men at the most - an insignificant number when compared with the total of 700,000 unionists - who have been responsible in the last few years for enormous losses of wages, time, capital, and goodwill. I wish to say a few words in reply to some of the other criticisms of honorable senators.







Suggest corrections