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Tuesday, 5 December 1905
Page: 6227

Mr KNOX (Kooyong) - I move-

That the following new clause be inserted : - Any person who unlawfully conspires with any other person or persons to induce or attempt to induce any person not to deal with or accept employment from any manufacturer, trader, or employer because such manufacturer, trader, or employer -

(a)   does not apply or is not entitled to apply a workers' trade mark to goods; or

(b)   sells goods to which a workers' trade mark is not applied ; or

(c)   does not sell goods to which a workers' trade mark is applied, shall be guilty of an indictable offence.

Penalty : One hundred pounds, or twelve months' imprisonment.

I shall not attempt to deal with this matter at length, because the whole question has been thoroughly debated. The honorable member for Northern Melbourne has justified boycotting in one or two directions. The object of this new clause is to prevent improper boycotting.

Mr Page - Would the honorable member apply it to any one but a unionist?

Mr KNOX - I see no reason why it should not apply all round. It is not intended to apply to any particular case. A law which is right and proper, as applied to one, should apply to all.

Mr Watkins - If an employer says that he will not buy the labour of a certain man, would the honorable member compel him to do so?

Mr KNOX - Such proper discretion is not limited by this clause. An employer may use his own discretion as an employe may do.

Mr Page - What is the difference between the use of proper discretion and a boycott ?

Mr KNOX - We have been repeatedly told during this debate that the whole purpose of this effort is to secure humane conditions for the workers ; that is, fair wages and hours of labour, and proper sanitation. Surely every one desires to secure those conditions for the workers. We are all heartily agreed in that desire. We are told, in addition, that another object is to resist the pirating of trade marks which any individual or association of workers may register under this Bill. I also agree with that. If organized workers are entitled to register a trade mark, they should have the full protection of the law to insure that it shall not be pirated. But there is a fear that the whole force of Part VII. of the Bill will be used for coercive purposes - that is, for enlarging the strength of the labour organizations.

Mr McDonald - Does not the honorable member believe in their being powerful?

Mr KNOX -There is no reason why they should not strengthen themselves as much as they can. But, in my judgment, it is not right that Parliament should pass legislation for giving to one section of the community - employers or employes - power to strengthen their organizations by Act of Parliament. Therefore, in asking the Committee to consider this clause, I am merely asking for the adoption of something which will prevent the Bill from being, improperly used. Honorable members opposite have said, time after time, during the debate, that they have no desire to make this a coercive measure, cr to use it by way of boycott.

Mr Webster - We want to make it ait effective measure.

Mr KNOX - If the common law already provided them with sufficient protection, there can be no possible objection to placing this clause upon the statute-book in order to make clear what the intentions and purposes of the measure are. The clause makes it clear that a trade mark is not to be used for illicit purposes : and I should say that if it is used for political purposes, or to compel men to join a union, it would be used for illicit purposes. The bona -fides of honorable members opposite will be shown by agreeing to the clause. If their professions are to be accepted - and I do not dispute them - they can have no reasonable objection to my proposal.

Mr Webster - The honorable member would have reason to doubt our sanity if we accepted this amendment.

Mr KNOX - Some honorable members doubt that now, but I should not be so rude. I should prefer to say that most honorable members opposite are fully alive to the advantages which they hope to gain under this Bill. The proposed new clause has received a great deal of consideration. We have debated its subject-matter at considerable length. Its language is plain and straightforward. Its object is to prevent boycotting. I have much pleasure in submitting it.

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