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Tuesday, 5 December 1905
Page: 6246

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Irc doing that, the honorable member is out of order. He has nothing whatever to do with the views of anybody but himself.

Mr KELLY - I think that I have a right-

Mr Watson - Not to discuss the Chairman's ruling.

Mr KELLY - I think that I have a right to discuss the attitude which certain Ministers adopted upon a former occasion towards a similar proposal to the one now before the Chak. I propose to press this clause to a division, because I particularly desire to ascertain the position which the four Ministers to whom I have referred intend to take up.

Mr. ISAACS(Indi- Attorney-General)." : - We must not allow a proposal of this kind, even although it be unsupported by any reasons, to go to a vote without stating our objections to it. We have had experience in this respect, and I think that

Ave should be prepared, however briefly, to state our reasons for objecting to a proposition of this kind. Whatever reason there might have been - and I do not think there was any sufficient reason - for inserting a similar provision in the Conciliation and' Arbitration, Bill, there is absolutely no analogy between the two propositions. The very essence of Part VII. of the Trade Marks Bill is that it will not give a preference of any kind whatever; it will simply give to the workers precisely the same right that every one else is getting. Instead of offering a preference, it will take away a disability. Therefore the only ground that could be suggested' for the honorable member's amendment does not exist. In the next place, under the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, the unions or organizations are of a limited character. They must be registered, and t consist of at least 100 members ; but under this Bill any individual worker, or association of workers, however small, in addition to the registered unions, may have a trade mark. Then, again, I would point out that the amendment offends exactly as that moved by the honorable member for Kooyong offended against fair play, because it places no corresponding obligations on employers who have trade marks. Whether they consist of companies or not they may employ their funds for political purposes; they may do anything they please, and yet they are to enjoy all the rights of the Bill. Under the honorable member's proposal a disability, and an invidious one, is to be set upon the workers. For these reasons, I think that the Committee ought to reject it.

Proposed new clause negatived.

Amendment (by Mr. McColl) proposed -

That the following new clause be inserted.: - 78Q. This Part shall not apply to any primary product of the agricultural, viticultural (including wine-making), horticultural, dairying (including butter-making and cheese-making) or pastoral industries.

Mr. ISAACS(Indi- Attorney-General). - I would draw the attention of the honorable member to the fact that substantially the Commonwealth trade mark will not apply to anythingto which a State law does not apply,so that it stands in a different position, it seems to me. from that of what is called the union label. The clause relating to the Commonwealth Trade Mark in effect declares that we are to have a Commonwealth trade mark only in. regard to such things as those to which States laws apply. For instance, if it is thought right by the State to apply the mark to wool - and I do not know whether, there is a State law - -

Mr Watson - There is an award of the Arbitration Court of New South Wales applying to the industry.

Mr ISAACS - There would be, of course, one relating to the shearers. Surely it would beright to apply the Commonwealth mark in that case.

Mr Watson - And if the employer desired.

Mr ISAACS - Quite so. This provision, does not apply any new Commonwealth provision. It simply takes up the States law. The States Legislatures cannot pass a trade mark law.

Mr McWilliams - What is the advantage if the States have passed a law in this respect ?

Mr ISAACS - The advantage is that the States cannot pass any trade marks law.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They can pass a marks law.

Mr ISAACS - That is a different thing, but I am not altogether sure that the honorable member is right. My idea is that if the mark were to be used in trade, the State could no longer deal with it. The point is that the Government proposal will not apply if there be no State law to allow it to be carried out.

Mr. McCOLL(Echuca). - Clause 78i provides that -

This Part shall apply to all goods included in or specified by a resolution passed by both Houses of the Parliament that in their opinion the conditions as to the remuneration of labour in connexion with their manufacture are fair and reasonable.

Myobject in moving the amendment is to exclude the rural industries from the operation of the Commonwealth trade mark and workers' trade mark clauses of this Bill.

Mr Watson - There is . no question of unions involved.

Mr McCOLL - No; but I think it would be more satisfactory if the farmers were kept beyond therange of these provisions.

Mr. WATSON(Bland).- I trust that the Committee will reject the amendment.

Mr Isaacs - There is the exception to which the honorable member for Echuca refers. The clause does go a little beyond theState right.

Mr WATSON - I trust that, in any event, the Committee will not make an exception of the character sought by the honorable member for Echuca. I did not press my objection to the application of this proposal to the workers' mark provision of the Bill, although I opposed the exclusion of rural workers from the Conciliationand Arbitration Bill, and, on principle, must still object to such an omission in this case. I take it that the Commonwealth label is to be a certificate that the award of the State authority has been observed in the manufacture of the goods to which it is applied.

Mr Isaacs - There is this addition - although I do not say that it means any addition to the principle involved - that the mark may be applied upon resolution passed by both Houses of the Parliament.

Mr WATSON - I believe that the object of that provision is simply this : That whilst the Commonwealth label might be applied under an award given by a State authority, a man living in another State, where there wasno such legal machinery in existence, might be paying equal wages and observing the same conditions in relation to the same industry, and he would very properly apply to be placed in the same position as were those engaged in the industry in the State in which an award had been given.

Mr Isaacs - Hear, hear.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Where do we find such a statement in the Bill ?

Mr WATSON - I take it that that is the intention in giving the Parliament power by resolution to allow persons who are not working under the award of a State authority to adopt the label.

Mr Isaacs - That is substantially the intention.

Mr WATSON - It will permit the Parliament to place men who would otherwise be at a disadvantage on an equal footing with those who are under the control of a State authority.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - . But it goes further than that.

Mr WATSON - The honorable member would not object to the Parliament doing what it thought rightin this respect.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think that in this respect we have an effective check, and that is the Constitution.

Mr WATSON - In any case, I trust that the Committee will not accept the proposal. I consider that we have gone quite far enough in adopting the previous proposal.

Mr. DUGALDTHOMSON (North Sydney). - I cannot follow the AttorneyGeneral in his statement that this necessarily applies to only goods which are dealt with by the laws of some States.

Mr Isaacs - With this exception, that practically where there is no State law, both Houses of this Parliament have to pass a resolution, in order to apply the Commonwealth mark to primary industries. Unless they are dealt with by the State law it will not apply.

Mr McCay - Could it not be made to apply to a single firm as it stand's ?

Mr Isaacs - No.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is true that it applies to goods, but I see nothing to prevent the Parliament, whether a State has fixed the conditions or not, from fixing the conditions ; that is to say, it could override any fixing of conditions by a State. Where the Commonwealth law comes into conflict with the State law, the former, if it is constitutional, will override the latter.

Mr Isaacs - But the honorable member must see that there is the safeguard of both Houses of this Parliament.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - To my mind, the Parliament of the Commonwealth has already gone very near to exceeding its powers. If it' has the power which is claimed bythe Attorney -General, and it is no safeguard to say that the two Houses of this Parliament have to pass a resolution which will enforce those powers and override State laws. How the Attorney-General can say that it is constitutional to give power to the Houses to override the decision of a tribunal appointed by the State to fix rates of wages and hours of labour, I do not know.

Mr Isaacs - On the contrary, the honorable member, if he supports the amendment, proposes to ignore the decision of the State tribunal in many cases.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not at all, because it only provides that the Commonwealth label shall not be applied to these goods. The Attorney-General is trying, by granting the Commonwealth label, to practically override conditions which may exist under the decision of the State tribunals

Mr Isaacs - I do not think so.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We know that States tribunals, differing as they do in form, and dealing with different conditions, do not impose the same labour conditions. The Commonwealth condition must be, I take it, a universal condition, and there must be no discrimination. They can refuse the granting of the Commonwealth label to one State, although the rate of wages and the hours of labour may have been decided by its tribunal, whilst they can grant it to another State, where different rates of wages and hours of labour may have been established by its tribunal. In my opinion, we are trying to go too far, and, therefore, I support the proposed limitation.

Mr. McWILLIAMS(Franklin).- Since the Committee has unanimously accepted an amendment that certain industries should be exempted from the operation of the law in one particular, I can see no reason why we should not be consistent, and apply the exemption all round. If, however, honorable members really think that the whole of the agricultural industry should be brought under the- operation of the law, they should not have accepted the previous amendment.

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