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Wednesday, 7 December 1927

Senator VERRAN (South Australia) . - I support the expenditure incurred in sending the Industrial Delegation to the United States of America. I cannot understand the attitude of honorable senators opposite, particularly as it should be the desire of every man to help another, and to endeavour to study the great' problems of life from not only his own viewpoint, but that of the other fellow. The delegation went very thoroughly into industrial matters in America, and has submitted a report containing much valuable information. It is true that certain difficulties arose prior to its departure, but they were such as we might have expected when all the circumstances were considered. Its suggestions should act as a tonic to Australian trade unionists, and if some of them are adopted it will be of benefit to our industrial life. I know that if the recommendations get into the hands of certain individuals, they will not be allowed to see daylight. It is not surprising to find that piece-work - a system under which -I have worked all my life - is generally adopted in America to the complete satisfaction of the workers. This is only natural, as under it they are able to earn more money than under the daywork system. Unfortunately in Australia the unskilled labourer very often earns more than the skilled workman. One would almost think that work was something of which we ought to be afraid. Man, who is the greatest of God's creation, should always be willing to exercise his physical and mental ability, not only in his own interest but for the benefit of the country in which he lives. Who made Australia ? Who put her on the slate if not the men who work? In these days some people think that to work is a disgrace. We find men laying only 400 bricks a day. At all events, that is what they were doing on the Thousand Homes scheme in Adelaide. They lay bricks not according to principle, but according to policy. The principle of trade unionism ' demands that a. man should lay 90C bricks a day; but the policy is to lay only 400. In America the home life is so interwoven with the industrial activities of the nation that the workers are equal to any task that is set them. Unfortunately, a certain section in this country was born tired, and has not had a rest yet. The mission has presented a report which contains much valuable information ; but two shiny-eyed trade unionists, signed an addendum behind the backs of the other delegates. What is going to happen to those members of the mission who were denounced by the executives of the Labour movement? Presumably they will have to earn a living somewhere else. It is impossible to get the best out of men when they are guided by an unscrupulous set of leaders - men whose souls are gone.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Plain).Order ! The honorable senator's remarks have nothing whatever to do with the items before the committee.

Senator VERRAN - The' mission went to America to discover the best that is being revealed in the industrial life of that country. The Government is to be congratulated for having appointed the mission, and certainly I shall support payment of the amount asked for.

I notice, on page 264, an item £1, funeral expenses of late members of the Commonwealth Parliament. Can the Minister explain that ? What sort of a " sendoff " did they get ? Senator Pearce knows that whenever a Cornishman dies he gets a good " send-off," but it costs more than £1.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - That was for a wreath.

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