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Thursday, 19 October 1911

Senator MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What about men who are not employers, and cannot form' a union ?

Senator Long - They can give their adherence to unions representing their political views.

Senator MILLEN - Men who cannot be represented in unions on the industrial side could not pretend to employ an organizer as trade union organizations may do.

Senator Needham - The Liberal League pay organizers all the year round.

Senator MILLEN - I repeat that my honorable friends opposite want to stop that under this Bill. I claim that we should have the right to do that, and I do not quarrel with my honorable friends opposite for doing it. My quarrel with them is that, while they permit the right of unions to call their canvassers organizers, and pay them as such, they want to withhold that right from their political opponents.

Senator Needham - It is a quibble.

Senator MILLEN - It is too silly to call it a quibble. Senator Needham's overwhelming ability may enable him to read into the words of the clause to which I have referred more than I can read into them; but I say that they can have only one interpretation.

Senator Needham - The honorable senator has given his own interpretation.

Senator MILLEN - I have read the words of the Bill ; and I need not interpret them at all.

Senator McDougall - They are all right.

Senator MILLEN - It is all right to permit the Labour party to have paid canvassers, but it is not right to permit the same privilege to their political opponents. It is a curious thing that this Bill, which comes to us after eighteen months of Labour administration, and which comes from a Department whose Ministerial head has not been out of the country, contains a proposal as to which the Minister who moved its second reading has intimated that an amendment will be moved to strike it out. I refer to the proposal with regard to the hiring of vehicles. Senator Pearce, in his introductory speech, said that it was proposed to drop that. Why? I am going to suggest a reason. The party opposite would like to adopt the clause to which I refer, but they find that it would affect too many of the votes of cabmen and others who derive a profit from the hiring of vehicles at election times.

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