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Wednesday, 1 June 1904

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) - The Minister of External Affairs made a very sarcastic speech a few minutes ago, mainly in refutation of the hideous calumny hurled at hisparty by the right- honorable member for East Sydney. Before getting to the crux' of what I have to say, I should like - toagain point out whal has been already demonstrated, that the amendment now before the Committee differs greatly from that moved by the honorable member for Wide Bay. Every honorable member opposite apgears to be a leader, and apparently all have changed their convictions in this matter, to the discredit of the whole body. The Minister of External Affairs dealt at great length with the meaning of the word " industry." I am not a lawyer, as is the honorable and learned member for Wannon, but it seems to me that we can obtain the meaning of the word better from an ordinary dictionary than from an Act of Parliament.

Mr O'malley - What does Webster say ?

Mr KELLY - I am about to tell honorable members. Webster's definition will be as unwelcome to the Ministry as most other American precedents have been. Webster's definition of " industrial " is this -

Consisting in industry ; pertaining to industry, or the acts or products of industry ; concerning those employed in labour, especially in manual labour-their wages, duties, and rights.

Labour " is defined as " physical toil, or "bodilv exertion," as " intellectual exertion, mental effort." "Industry" is-

Any department or branch of art, occupation, or business; especially one which employs much labour and capital.

According to that authority, the term " industry " can be applied to any department or branch of . art, occupation, or business. Surely that is wide enough to include all the public servants of the States. I do not think that the Minister of External Affairs acted fairly in asking us to accept a definition contained in a clause with which we have not dealt, and which he may subsequently move to amend. It. seems to me rather dangerous to pass one clause on the assumption that another clause will remain unaltered.

Mr Batchelor - The Bill must be considered as a whole.

Mr KELLY - Yes ; but the Government ask us to accept their assurance that the amendment has been framed to include all public servants, and in support of that statement they refer to the definition of industry " in another and later clause. Furthermore, the Minister of External Affairs seems to be at variance with his colleagues. The Prime Minister, in defining the policy of the Government, stated that-

Guided by the opinion of our learned AttorneyGeneral, we take the view that this Parliament is empowered by the Constitution to include within the scope of the Bill all industrial servants of the Commonwealth or of a State.

Beyond that we feel, according to our reading of the Constitution, that we are not entitled to go-

Mr Fisher - What does the honorable and learned member contend that that qualification means?

Mr KELLY - I will read further-

We propose to bring within the scope of the Bill, first the railway servants of the States and, secondly, all other servants of the Commonwealth, or of the States, who are engaged in industrial enterprises carried on by those Governments.

A distinction is drawn between clerical and so-called industrial -employes. '

Mr Batchelor - The distinction is drawn in the Constitution.

Mr KELLY - The Constitution empowers us to legislate for the " prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State." I have quoted Webster to show that the word " industrial " practically covers all employment, so that the Government cannot shelter themselves behind the provision in the Constitution. I think that they should admit that they feel that they could not get the Committee to pass their original proposal, and do not wish to be placed in ahumiliating position.

Mr Watkins - The Committee would again pass the amendment of the honorable member for Wide Bay.

Mr KELLY - It might not. At any rate the Government fear that a few honorable members, in addition to their own followers, may have discovered an equal aptitude for changing their position. The Minister of External Affairs said that he first proposed to include railway servants within the scope of the Bill. He said that railway servants were especially mentioned, but that the same measure would apply to all the public servants of the States. If so, why should any distinction be made between two classes of servants ? Why should one class receive special mention? Why should a blue ticket be given to the railway servants, and a white ticket to other public servants? Surely this differentiation was not. necessary. If the amendment must be passed - I disagree with it, and hope that it will not find a place in our statute-book - I trust that the Government will be consistent, and introduce a provision in the same form as that which was put forward by them prior to their accession to office. We can then ascertain the exact feeling of the Committee with regard to the Government proposal. It seems to me that the amendment, in its present shape, is intended by the Govern- menr.40 afford them a means of escape from a very awkward position. They swallowed their principles in order to obtain office, and now they find them very indigestible. We cannot expect them to stand or fall by the amendment, because, apparently, they are determined to retain office, no matter how many votes may be given against them. I hope that the Committee will be afforded an opportunity of definitely expressing its opinion.

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