Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 24 June 1926

Senator GRAHAM (Western Australia) . - I fear that if this power is conferred upon the Commonwealth the military forces will be used to quell industrial disputes. It would not be the first time that that had happened in Australia. We should not follow the example that was set recently by Great Britain. During an industrial disturbance in South

Africa the Trades Hall was bombed from an aeroplane. That was a most cowardly action, as hundreds of innocent people were killed. In 1892 a strike, which lasted five months, occurred amongst the miners in Broken Hill. The New South Wales Government sent to that town an armed force. I witnessed its arrival. It comprised 500 or 600 men, with rifles, ball cartridges and bayonets, and it paraded the streets day and night for six or eight weeks. That action was taken to incite the people to a breach of the peace. The Melbourne newspapers at the time said that the streets of Broken Hill were running with blood, and that people were being murdered. The fact of the matter was that Broken Hill was the most tranquil place on the face of the globe. It was intended to re-open the silver mines with thousands of free labourers, and this armed force was sent to protect them. I am afraid of similar happenings under this measure. Senator McLachlan referred to the police strike in Victoria. Who but the State Government was responsible for that? It had ample time to deal with the men and give them what they were asking. Had it done so no trouble would have occurred. The strikers were discharged, and the men by whom they were replaced were given what the Government had denied to them. I hope that the bill will not be passed. I shall fight it tooth and nail, both inside and outside this House.

Suggest corrections