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Tuesday, 22 June 1937

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) . - by leave. - The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) has not quite correctly quoted from my speech on Friday last. This is what I said: -

In Western Australia thousands of men who were out of employment were offered relief work; but a. condition imposed by the Labour Government of that State -

I did not say that the condition was imposed by the Australian Workers Union in Western Australia - is that each man, before he becomes eligible for employment, shall take out a ticket in the Australian Workers Union. The membership fee is 25s. per annum. If the relief workers have not sufficient money to pay the foe in a lump sum - and many of them being on the verge of starvation cannot do so - they arc permitted to spread the amount over four payments.

Evidently my speech was reported in newspapers in Western Australia, because yesterday I received the following telegram from Mr. H. K. MacLean, general secretary of the Nationalist party of Western Australia : -

Before man can get government-provided sustenance workhe must have Australian Workers Union ticket. If he has not means to pay necessary 25s. he cannot enter into full union membership. If he has 25s. cash he cannot get sustenance work. Alternative is to buy ticket in successive payments, with result that at no time during year is worker full union member, consequently disfranchised from voice in union affairs. Portion 25s. compulsorily goes on per capita basis to political funds, nortion goes to Federal Australian Workers Union organization, portion goes compulsory subscription to Worker weekly newspaper remainder absorbed in union administration affairs in which he is voice less. Possession of union ticket does not avert compulsory standing-down period, and although he is not fuil-time worker, full-time union fee is charged.

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