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Thursday, 23 June 1904


Mr McCAY (Corinella) - It seems to me that some of those who sit on the Ministerial side of the Chamber, and have endeavoured to meet the arguments of those of us who have doubts as to the wisdom of passing the clause as it stands, do not really appreciate the fundamental objection which we have to the inclusion of paragraphs b and c.The honorable member for Darling showed that very clearly towards the end of his speech, in which, if I may be permitted to say so, I was very much interested. He pointed out that he had explained to the union which he has done so much to create and maintain that it was of no use to organize merely for industrial purposes; that unless they used constitutional means to obtain their ends, and, therefore, organized for . political, as well as industrial purposes, no permanent amelioration of industrial conditions would follow.


Mr Spence - I was referring to one particular union.


Mr McCAY - Yes; but to a union, and perhaps the most notable union which the Bill will affect. It is because that union - and other unions which are not in the same position would easily attain that position if the Bill were passed in its present form - has political as well as industrial objects, that we doubt the wisdom of compelling men to ally themselves, for an ostensible industrial purpose, with organizations which have also political objects. I do not for a moment cast, or think of casting, the slightest reproach at this union for having political objects. Its members were given good advice, and were wise in following that advice.


Mr Spence - They do not, as a union, directly meddle in politics, but they provide funds for assisting.


Mr McCAY - The providing of the sinews of war is worthy of a more honorable name than "meddling." It is more effective than meddling.


Mr Spence - The union has always kept clear of politics.


Mr McCAY - I do not think, by the honorable member's showing, that it can have done so. It may not select candidates, or issue circulars to its members asking them to vote for so-and-so, but it is organized for political purposes.


Mr Webster - Nothing of the sort.


Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Darling said so; he is my authority. I have been careful, so far as my memory serves, to quote his own words. It is a union organized with political aims.


Mr Spence - I did not say that.


Mr McCAY - The honorable member said that unless the union were organized for political as well as industrial purposes it could not secure lasting benefits.


Mr Spence - I did not say quite that.


Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - The honorable and learned member does not understand the position-


Mr McCAY - If so, it is not for want of deep sympathy with the subject for many more years than I have been a member of Parliament. The clause, as it stands, will force men who have to earn their livelihood to join unions which are committed to more than industrial objects. That is our fear, and I have heard nothing to dissipate it.


Mr Watkins - Could not any award be evaded if there were no such provision?


Mr McCAY - I shall deal with that point. I. wish,' first, that those who support the clause as it stands should realize what it is that troubles those of us who are in favour of the amendment. Our fears have not been dissipated by the arguments we have heard. It is not that we object to unions having political objects. We have not the least objection to that. I think it is a most proper thing for men who hold common political aims to join together to strive to attain them by constitutional means, and if they succeed no one can complain.


Mr Spence - The honorable and learned member will see the objects of the Australian Workers' Union stated in this pamphlet.


Mr McCAY - I find from the paper, which the honorable member has handed to me that the objects of the union are these : -

By the provision and distribution of funds and by all other lawful means, whether industrial, political, municipal, or otherwise -

(a)   to regulate and protect the conditions of labour, the relations between workmen and employers, and between workmen and workmen:

(b)   to impose restrictive conditions on the conduct of the trade, business, or industry of the members ;

(c)   to promote the general and material welfare of the members, and to improve the relations between employers and workmen ;

(d)   to gradually replace the present competitive system of industry by a co-operative system ;

(e)   to provide legal assistance in defence of members' rights, where deemed necessary ;

(f)   to establish and maintain a funeral fund for the benefit of deceased members;

(g)   to endeavour, by political action, to secure social justice;

(h)   to establish and maintain labour journals;

(i)   to assist, by federation or otherwise, kindred organizations in upholding the rights and privileges of workers, and generally toassist in the emancipation of labour.

I ask the Committee has, or has not, that organization political objects ?


Mr McDonald - Of course, it has. Who has denied it?


Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Gwydir denied it, and another honorable member questioned the accuracy of my statements.


Mr McDonald - The honorable member is quite right. The union is political.


Mr McCAY - I do not quarrel with those who support those objects, but I am opposed to the proposal in the Bill,' which compels men to join unions in whose objects they may not believe.


Mr Spence - We do not compel the in-' dividual man.


Mr McCAY - I do not say that the individual would be coerced, or that he would be driven out of the union because he voted on lines other than those followed by his fellow-unionists, or that any Arbitration Court would allow a union registered under the Bill to boycott or expel one of its members for such a reason ; but there may be men who quite believe in the industrial objects of the union, and who are quite willing to assist in arriving at an arrangement as between employer and employe before the Court, but who may not agree with the political objects of the union, and may not care to put their names to a document which purports to say that they agree with such political objects. If the objects of the unions were purely industrial, the greater part of my objection to this particular provision with regard to preference would be removed. I desire to refer to the black-list, described by the honorable member for Darling. If such a list exists, I have no sympathy with any such method of procedure.


Mr McDonald - We have seen it, and can produce it.


Mr McCAY - I am not questioning the existence of the list, but I have not seen it. If it be true that such means are resorted to, they represent a form of fighting with which I have no sympathy. If fighting is to be done, I believe in the parties fighting above board. I do not believe in hitting below the belt, either in industrial strife, or in the battles of the prizering, little as I know about the latter. I desire to point out that the clause as it stands would not help men who are placed on a black-list, if, as the honorable member for Darling alleges, practically the whole, or, at any rate, the great majority, of the men who go shearing are members of a union, because there will be a sufficient number of unionists offering their services to enable the employers to comply with the preference conditions under this clause without employing the men who are on the black-list.


Mr SPENCE (DARLING, NEW SOUTH WALES) - They could not get enough men.


Mr Page - Every man who shears in Queensland is on the list ""Mr. McCAY. - Then I do not know how the pastoralists get their shearing done. _


Mr Page - I said that all the men were on a list - not on a black-list.


Mr McCAY - I am speaking of the black-list referred to by the honorable member for Darling, and I cannot conceive of that being so extensive as to constitute, more than an expression of hostility to some selected individuals.


Mr Spence - The presence of their names on the black-list prevents the men from obtaining references.


Mr McCAY - The only way in which the men can overcome that difficulty is by taking different names at each station.


Mr Page - That is all they can do now in' order to get a living.


Mr McCAY - However bad the system described may be), this particular clause would not provide a remedy, or prevent a limited number of men from being blacklisted. We have heard - I shall not call them veiled threats, although they sounded very much like threats - broad hints as to the consequences which will be visited upon honorable members who take up a critical attitude with regard to this clause. We were told by the Minister of External Affairs, that this provision would afford the solitary inducement to the unions to put the Bill in operation. I forget the exact words used by the Minister.


Mr Watson - He said it would be their sole compensation for giving up their right to strike.


Mr McCAY - The Minister represented that it would be the solitary motive of the unions for putting the Bill into operation. Those were the words which I noted at the time. I cannot credit that the existing unions say - " We do not want to become organizations under the Bill, and put it in force, unless it contains a provision by which we can obtain preference of employment from the Court."


Mr Watson - They do say that, so far' as I am aware.


Mr McCAY - All I can say is that, although many of the things which the unions have said and done are very much to their credit, their attitude on this matter is not to be commended.


Mr Watson - They have to look at what they are giving up.


Mr McCAY - We were told a dozen times during the debate on the motion for the second reading of the measure, and also at a similar stage of the Bill which was introduced in a previous session, that the general well-being of the community more than justified, in fact, required, that some means should be provided for securing the peaceful settlement of industrial disputes. This was urged, not in the interests only of the employers and employes, but in those of the great masses of the community who were not combatants. That' is why I have supported the Bill - not that the unions might obtain a preference, but in order that the community might be protected against the disturbing and distressing effects of strikes.


Mr Watson - I do not dissent from that view; I was merely stating the position taken up by the unions.


Mr McCAY - Then I think I may fairly say that the Prime Minister does not agree unreservedly, at any rate, with the unionist attitude.


Mr Watson - I say that the clause providing for preference constitutes the sole reason of the unionists for accepting the Bill; but I do not say that it is the only reason why the measure should be passed.


Mr McCAY - The Prime Minister says that this provision affords the only reason for the acceptance of the Bill bv unionists. But that is not the', reason why the Parliament of the Commonwealth should accept it. We are concerned with the reasons why the Bill should be accepted by Parliament, not the reasons why it will be accepted by one side or the other in the industrial world. Therefore, I say that, although the statement made by the Prime Minister, who has been for many years intimately and honorably connected with trades unions, must weigh with us, it is more in the nature of a menace than an inducement to us, and is not likely to resolve the doubts 'that many of us have felt with regard to the measure.

I have been, and still am, a supporter of the Bill, and whether this provision be passed or not, I shall support the measure, as it stands at present, upon the third reading. At the same time, however. I desire to enter my protest against any endeavour - I do not mean to say an intentionally improper endeavour - to influence the decisions of the Committee by the statement that such and such terms are the only terms - to use the words of the Minister of External Affairs - upon which the existing unions, which are primarily interested, are prepared to accept the Bill and act under it. It is a matter of great regret that unions of either employers or employes should take up such an attitude. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports gave us another broad hint. He said that the majority of those who were opposing this provision were hostile to trades unionism, and would be regarded by the people outside as its enemies.


Mr McDoNALD -Hear, hear.


Mr McCAY - The remark is cheered by one honorable member.


Mr Watkins - Would the honorable and learned member give the unions no power ?


Mr McCAY -I want the unions to have every legitimate power. When speaking of the constitution of the unions, I desire . it to be understood that I am favorable to their having every power that they can lawfully exercise. I deny absolutely the statement that any man who criticises this clause adversely is therefore hostile to trades unionism. What I doubt is the propriety of forcing men into trades unions which' may be pursuing objects that are perfectly laudable, but which may not be believed in by those who are forced into membership. It does not necessarily imply hostility to trades unions when one says' that this may result in an inevitable connexion between industrial and political matters which should not be established by the force of the laws of the Commonwealth. I say that the statement of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports was a broad hint to honorable members to be careful of what they are doing, and it was not the kind of statement that should be made from either side of the Chamber.


Mr Johnson - It was an attempt to stifle free discussion.


Mr McCAY - I may say at once that it will not stop my free discussion of this proposal .


Mr Watson - Why should it?


Mr McCAY - I have sometimes hadan unpleasant experience with my electors in consequence of having expressed my opinions freely; but I believe that although they differ from me, they are satisfied that I arn honest. If I have the misfortune to differ from them, they will no doubt exercise their lawful power in explaining to me pointedly, but delicately, that they are not at one with me, and I shall have no objection to the application of majority rule to myself any more than to others.


Mr Wilks - I hope the honorable and learned member will not apply the common rule.


Mr McCAY - I shall not attempt to extend it beyond the limits of one constituency, and therefore the honorable member will not be affected. The Prime Minister said that it would not be fair to eliminate this provision, because otherwise those who have borne the burden and heat of the day would not . receive adequatecompensation. I would refer him to the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, from which the expression he used was taken, as an answer.. The Minister of External Affairs said some- thing to the effect that if we did not provide for preference to unionists, it would be contrary to the principles of the Bill, which was founded on the recognition of organizations. I quite agree that the Bill is founded on that principle, and I have voted with the Government in support of that view.


Mr Webster - Now the honorable and learned member wants to kill the Bill.


Mr McCAY - I do not think that thai is a fair interjection.


Mr Chapman - It is disgraceful. Mr. McCAY. - I would not say that; but I do not think that it is fair. I have said already that I realize the strength of the arguments that .can be used in favour of paragraph .b. I am not endeavouring to kill the Bill, but 1 have condemned the unions for taking up the position that they will not accept the Bill without this provision.


Mr Watkins - The Bill will do no good to any one without the provision.


Mr McCAY - Will the Bill do no good to any one if it leads to the settlement of industrial disputes? If the conditions of labour are unfair to some particular industry, and an organization registered under the Bill submits a case to the Court, and has the hours of labour and wages and other conditions put upon an equitable basis; if the Court says, " Now, every employer must obey these terms, and every man who wants employment must also obey them," and the Court and the community alike say that these are fair terms, and are better than those previously existing, will justice not be done - even though the Court does not give preference to unionists? The honorable member says that the Bill will do no good without this provision. What does he say of those cases in which the Court refuses to give preference? Will no advantage be obtained in such instances? The honorable member would appear, by his interjection, to be favorable to providing by statute that, instead of leaving it to the discretion of the Court, it shall be compulsory to give preference to unionists.


Mr McDonald - That would be better still.


Mr McCAY - Even the New Zealand Act has not gone that far.


Mr Hughes - What shall it profit a man if he gain a rise in " screw " and lose his job? The honorable .and learned member quoted scripture just now.


Mr McCAY - I do not recognise the quotation of the Minister of External Affairs as a scriptural one.


Mr Watson - It is a paraphrase of the scripture. .


Mr Hughes - It is a revised version.


Mr McCAY - I am prepared to admit that there may be a small section on either side who will bear malice, because one side has been instrumental in securing alterations in the conditions of labour to the disadvantage of the other.


Mr Watson - Will the honorable and learned member believe that a black-list has been circulated from one end of a State to the other, by all the employers engaged in a big industry, and that it embraces every man whom they regard as an agitator? We have seen copies of it.


Mr McCAY - I am very sorry to hear it.


Mr Watson - It was not confined to an isolated employer or two.

Mr-. McCAY.- I have condemned that evil, and I have pointed out that this provision will not remedy it. Indeed, it will rather tend to perpetuate it, because it will cause more men to join the unions, and thus give the employers, who desire to exclude the men whose names appear upon their black-list, a larger area of choice. If every man is a member of a union, employers cannot help engaging unionists. Consequently, they will be able to ignore the claims of men whose names figure upon their black-list, without being open to the charge that they have refused them employment because they are unionists. Thus more scope will be given them to indulge in petty malice by refusing employment to the selected victims of their dislike. This provision will not cure that evil. It will only prevent employers from making a general " set " against unionists.


Mr Watson - They will find it no advantage to employ one unionist as against another, because when (once a man has joined a union, he will stick to it.


Mr McCAY - I wish to suggest a compromise. I have an amendment in print which I do not suppose the Government will accept.


Mr Mauger - They have accepted some of the honorable and learned member's amendments.


Mr McCAY - The Prime Minister, it is true, has exhibited a very reasonable spirit, though not quite so reasonable a one as I think he might have displayed, because he is predisposed in favour of the views of the party to which he belongs.


Mr McDonald - That is more than we can say about the honorable and learned member for Wannon.


Mr McCAY - I do not think that the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Wannon is relevant to the question which is before the Chair. At the same time. I believe there is great force in the objection which has been urged by him that men in a union who form a minority of those interested should not be able practically to coerce a majority.


Mr McDonald - Can the honorable and learned member show a solitary instance in which that has occurred?


Mr McCAY - The honorable and learned member for Wannon gave us two or three such cases.


Mr Hughes - It is not fair to say that a minority can coerce them, because in every case a man can state an objection and be heard before the, Court.


Mr McCAY - I can scarcely imagine that a man would come from the other end of the continent to state his case before the Court in Sydney. The power of isolated individuals to state objections, as compared with that of organizations, is not so very great after all. I do not think that a minority ought to be able to compel a majority to join a union which otherwise they would be unwilling to join. The honorable member for Darling has told the Committee that in nearly all the cases in which a preference was granted to unionists by the Arbitration Court in New Zealand during the early days of its establishment, the Judge made it a condition precedent that the union must represent a majority of those interested. That is a very wholesome rule. If any coercion is to be exercised, it is better that it should be exercised by a majority than by a minority. The minority is quite as likely to do wrong as is the majority. Hence I believe in majority rule. During the last session of the New Zealand Parliament a debate took place on the question of whether the granting of a preference to unionists should not be made statutory, instead of being left to the discretion of the Court. On that occasion some very interesting figures were given by Mr. Lewis, the member for Courtenay, who was opposed to a compulsory preference. In speaking to the question, he said -

I want to show what has been the action of the Court for a considerable period. I have gone through the record of disputes, from the month of January up to the 30th September - that is, from the 1st January this year, practically up to date. I find this : that before the Boards of

Conciliation and the Court of Arbitration, there have been sixty-one cases. There have been agreements registered also, and there have been recommendations of the Boards of Conciliation, and there have been awards of the Court of Arbitration - sixty-one in all. In forty-eight of these, preference has been given to the unionists.

I should like honorable members to think of that. In four-fifths of the cases' determined, the preference has been made a part of the award. Of course it may be that the granting of a preference was not so frequent in the earlier days, but evidently this wish for preference is an appetite which grows by what it feeds on. Consequently, we may expect that preference awards will grow in. numbers rather than decrease.


Mr Spence - The Court has had experience now.


Mr McCAY - With the limitation which the Court of New Zealand laid down for itself, and one other condition, I am prepared to support paragraph b. But I desire the honorable member for Darling to assent to the proposal that those who make the application must represent a majority of those interested before such preference shall be granted. After what he has said, I confidently 'rely upon his support, and I trust that he will not disappoint me. Mr. Lewis continued -

In nine cases what has been called the " nodiscrimination " clause has been inserted.

That is a clause which directs that no discrimination shall be made between unionists and non-unionists. That is the fairest proposal of all. He further proceeds -

In four cases I can find no mention of whether preference was given or not.

In one of the nine instances in which the "no-discrimination" clause was inserted, the preference was given as soon as the union had effected certain alterations in its rules, so as to permit of competent workmen becoming members, and' in two others no preference was asked for. So that out of fifty-four cases in which a preference was sought- leaving out of consideration the four of which no record exists- it was granted in forty-eight, presumably with the condition mentioned by the honorable member for Darling, that those applying represented a majority of those interested.


Mr Deakin - Was that in New Zealand or in New South Wales?


Mr McCAY - In New Zealand. I take the case of New Zealand, because legislation of this character has become more settled there than it is in New South Wales.


Mr Kelly - But the section in the New Zealand Act is not quite the same as in this provision, and in New South Wales it is.


Mr McCAY - The section in the New Zealand Act gives the Court practically the same power as does this provision. In a debate which took place in the New Zealand House of Representatives, on the 15th October of last year, a number of members supported the granting of a compulsory preference to unionists on various grounds. For instance, Mr. Arnold, in moving the motion, said -

Sir, Isay that the only rational way of removing that difficulty is to have absolute preference, which would mean that every member in that employment would be a member of the union.

In other words, every man engaged in an industry would be compelled to join a union in order to gain a livelihood. I might cite a number of other quotations to the same effect. I recognise that there is a reasonable apprehension that unionists may suffer by the passing of this Bill. I have no desire to see them suffer, but I do not wish to see them benefited at the expense of others who are equally worthy/ I know a great many unionists, and a great many non-unionists, and I am not prepared to say that in every case the unionist is superior. There are good and bad in both classes.


Mr Spence - The honorable and learned member means non-members of a union, not " non-unionists."


Mr McCAY - The honorable member for Darling interprets "non-unionist "-to mean an anti-labour man. .There are other less choice terms used to describe the same individual. I hold that there are men who are just as earnest in their advocacy of what they believe will be for the benefit of the community as are unionists, and who do not desire to join ^unions, not because they are too mean to pay their subscriptions, but for many other reasons. I think I can claim that my amendment is germane to this discussion. At a later stage, I intend to move that the fallowing proviso be added to paragraph b : -

Provided that the Court shall not direct preference to be given to members of organizations, except as part of a common rule, and with the consent of such organizations and persons as in the opinion of the Court represent a majority of those engaged in the industry within the area proposed to be brought under the common rule who have interests in common with the party or parties applying for such direction.

That means that a preference shall not be granted except where a common rule is being applied, and that it shall not be granted unless the persons applying for it represent a majority of those who will be brought under the operation of the award. The reason why I suggest, first of all, that it shall not be applied except as part of a common rule, is' because there are certain safeguards in connexion with the application of a common rule. Notice will have to be given, so that persons who are not parties, but who will be affected bv the award, will receive intimation by advertisement or otherwise, and have an opportunity to come in and show cause why the common rule should not be made, and, in the same way, to show cause why a preference should not be given. In the second place, I think it would, to a large extent, achieve, although in a different way, one of the objects which the honorable member for North Sydney has in view, and that which certain persons in New Zealand desired to achieve. We should have the preference operating only -where the whole area concerned was affected - where the matter was of sufficient importance to apply the award to all concerned. This is a limitation, but not a very material one. The second part of the amendment explains itself. It provides, in effect, that no one shall be able to apply to have a preference granted unless he represents a majority of those who" will be affected by the award. These two propositions are net necessarily bound up with each other, and when the proper times arrives I propose to submit them separately. They are not unreasonable restrictions.


Mr Hughes - What does the honorable and learned member call a majority - a majority of whom ?'


Mr McCAY - A majority of the persons who will be bound by the award.


Mr Hughes - Employers and employes ?


Mr McCAY - No; a majority of the persons who have interests in common with the parties applying for the preference. If the employes apply for the preference they must represent, or have the consent of, a majority of the employes who will bebound by the award. My proposal does not mean that there must also be the consent of the majority of the employers concerned.


Mr Hughes - Supposing that the others outside the organization do not object.


Mr McCAY - The honorable and. learned member knows very well that persons do not hasten into law courts; they do not hasten even into an Arbitration Court-


Mr Hughes - Surely the honorable and learned member would not say that if certain persons applied for a preference, and. Other persons having an opportunity to object, did not do so, the application should not be granted ?


Mr McCAY - The applicants should not be granted a' preference unless they represented a majority of the persons on their own side, who would be bound by the award. That should be a condition precedent to their being able to apply.


Mr Hughes - Take a case affecting 5,000 persons, 2,000 asking for the award, and 3,000, although being called upon, not putting in an appearance.


Mr McCAY - They would not be called upon collectively, but individually, because they would- not be organized. If 2,000 out of 5,000 applied they should be able to induce 501 of the others to agree, and if they could not do so, they should not be entitled to ask for the preference. That is the very lowest limit on which this provision should be granted. Even if the Prime Minister would not go so far as to accept ray proposition in regard to the common rule; if he was prepared to accept the majority provision, and to insert a provision as to notice being given similar to that required in connexion with an application for a common rule. I should realize the force of this provision from his point of view. I should be inclined to admit the existence of the fears which have been mentioned, and that it was possible that they might be realized. I have great doubts about the matter, but I should be prepared to give him, so to speak, the benefit of the doubts which still remain in my mind. I should like to see this measure operative. I should be very sorry to see it inoperative, even although unions refused to come under it, and although I disapproved of their refusal.


Mr Isaacs - -Would the adoption of the honorable and learned member's suggestion mean securing the consent of the majority of persons in the Commonwealth to be affected by the award?


Mr McCAY - No; because in the form in which I have drafted the amendment it would apply only to the area over which the award was to be extended.


Mr Isaacs - Then it is dependent on being part of a common rule?


Mr McCAY - As the amendment stands, that would be so ; but if- the Prime Minister would agree to insert the provision as to notice, I should be prepared to allow the first part to go by the board, and to alter the second part so that it would read - '

With the consent of such organizations and persons as in the opinion of the Court represent a majority of those to be affected by the award and who have interests in common with the party or parties applying for the direction.

That would require a majority of only those to whom the award would apply. If it were to be made a common rule, it would be necessary to obtain the consent of the majority in the area to which the common rule would apply. If it were to be an award applying only to the actual parties to the dispute, it would require a majority of only the individuals who were parties in the same interest to the dispute.


Mr Isaacs - They would be organizations - -


Mr McCAY - I can scarcely imagine a case in which an. award would not affect some non-unionist. If this Bill became law, , we might have unionists and nonunionists working side by side in the same establishment, without the unionists being able to object unless they had an award declaring that non-unionists should not work with unionists ; at all events, we should, have this state of affairs in different establishments. I can scarcely conceive of a case in which there would not be a few non-unionist employers or employes affected, and ' therefore an award would always bind a few more than the actual parties to the dispute. In cases in which the award would bind only the actual parties to the dispute. I should be satisfied with a provision that the organization asking for the preference should show that it had the consent of the majority of the individuals represented by it.


Mr Isaacs - If the parties to the dispute only were affected, no employes who were not in the organization would be concerned.


Mr McCAY - If only the parties to the dispute were to be affected, this would not apply to them. They would represent the whole of the persons to be affected by the award. But cases will arise in which all the persons to be affected by the award are by no means parties to the dispute. Honorable members will see that I do not require that a majority of the persons affected shall be parties to the dispute, but that they shall be consenting parties to the application for the preference. There are other limitations to be proposed, to which the Prime Minister has already agreed, and possibly others to which he has not agreed. This proposition seems to me to be a reasonable limitation, and one that is essentially fair. I should prefer the amendment to be passed in this form; but if the Government do not accept my suggestion, I shall be entitled to fall back on the further proposal I have made. I ask them, first of all, to agree to provide for notice in the manner required in connexion with an application for a common rule; and, secondly, to agree that where employes ask for a preference clause in an award' it shall be necessary for them to show that they represent or have the consent of a majority of the employe's who will be affected by the award. I do not suppose that employers will very often ask for a preference, although it will be open for them to do so; but if they do they should also be called upon to show that they represent or have the consent of a majority of the employers to be affected by the award. These are reasonable proposals, and must show those who do not agree with me that they have no right to say that I have indicated hostility to trades unionism in the attitude I have taken up with regard to this or any other clause in the Bill. I submit my proposition for the consideration of honorable members. I must frankly confess that if the right to grant a preference were left solely to the discretion of the Court without any guiding lines or limitations, I should fear the result of this provision even more than I should fear the result of rejecting it. I should probably consider it my duty in those circumstances to vote for the elision of the paragraph- I do not wish to do that, because I have no desire to do anything that might affect the subsequent working of this measure. I desire to arrive at some compromise that will give the most, reasonable security, and the security I ask is a very small one. The power to grant a preference should be limited and guarded in some respects. If the Government accept my proposal, I shall resolve the doubts I have in their favour ; if they cannot do so, I shall be free to act in accordance with what my sense of duty suggests.







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