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Tuesday, 5 July 1904


Mr REID (East Sydney) - I desire to say a word or two with regard to the amendment which has been moved since I last addressed the Committee. As honorable members will know, I referred to the amendment moved by the honorable and learned member for Angas at some length, and I do not propose on the present occasion to occupy any great space of time. There is no doubt that the amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for Corinella is regarded by honorable members opposite in a very serious light. Of course, all those who are not intimate with the inner life of trades unions are in the same difficulty, and we are all very anxious, as far as we can, to follow, the lead of those who have a larger degree of knowledge upon such matters. If I could see that these amendments would destroy the Bill, or that they would be unfair and inequitable to the trades unions, I assure my honorable friends opposite that I should weigh their arguments most carefully. In order, however, to be thoroughly understood in this matter, I have to revert to the consideration of the real object of the Bill before us. If the present Government, or the late Government, had brought the Bill forward as a trades union measure, as a Bill conceived in the interests of the trades unions of Australia,

I could have understood a number of the speeches which have been made. Some honorable members opposite have really spoken upon these important proposals as if this Bill were a trades union measure, and as if, in considering it, we ought always to keep our eyes upon the trades unions of Australia. With every respect to the trades unions, I begin on a platform which is absolutely distinct from that. I look to the main object of the Bill, which was not to promote the interests of the trades unions, as apart from those of other workers of Australia, but was defined to be a national one - that of conferring upon not only the unionists, but all the workers and all the employers of Australia the benefits of a measure which would enable them to go into the Court, which we propose to create, for the peaceful settlement of their industrial difficulties.


Mr Spence - But industrial difficulties exist only between organized labour and the employers.


Mr REID - If there had been no proposal' to enact national laws upon this question, and industrial troubles had existed only between trades unionists and their employers, the answer of my honorable friend would have been perfectly conclusive.


Mr Watson - Do not trade disputes oc- ' cur . mainly between trades unionists and their employers?


Mr REID - Probably so. But I wish to point out that, if the trades unions had not come to us and asked us to pass a national law - if they had asked us to pass a trades union Act - I should have laid particular stress upon the interests of the trades unionists. I should have said - "We are passing a trades union law, and we should constantly keep in mind the interests of the body for whom we were legislating." I think, however, that now my honorable friends opposite are really departing from the broad basis upon which all national laws must rest. We cannot pass a national law which practically looks to the interests of only one class of the community, or of only one section of a class. We could pass a private Bill for such a pur: pose. Such measures have been quite familiar to us in the different Houses of Parliament which have, from time to time, been called upon to consider Bills dealiog specially with the interests of a particular class. But such proposals have not in any way infringed upon the liberty of the people generally or in any sense affected the individual rights of any one but those for


Mr Hughes - Have they no right to ask to be assisted by the law ?


Mr REID - They have no right to ask to be specially assisted by the law at the expense of other persons' If the members of the trades unions had told us that this Bill was intended to help, not the workers in a particular industry, but the trades unionists in a particular industry, the honorable and learned member might still hold his opinion and speak with 'great weight. But I think that in the minds of honorable members generally such a measure would stand absolutely condemned.


Mr REID - What relevance has that statement to the particular situation in Australia, in view of the fact that the trades unionists are confessedly behind this measure? On a former occasion, I referred to the matter mentioned by my honorable friend. When I asked honorable members in another place to look to the trades unionists of England and America, who refused to indulge in these experiments - for they are only experiments yet - my remarks referred not so much to England as to America. The reason why the American unions would not come under compulsory arbitration laws was that they could not trust the Courts of the United States.


Mr Watson - The same fear is expressed in England. I do not 'say that it is justified.


Mr REID - I will add England; although I should not think such a fear could be entertained there, in view of the liberal decisions which have been given by the' Courts.


Mr Watson - The Taff Vale decision* was not regarded as a very liberal one.


Mr REID - I know that some of the other decisions were considered by the employers to involve a great straining of the authorities. It is now stated that, even in England, where the Bench is certainly more independent than in America-


Mr O'Malley - The right honorable gentleman refers to the States Judges of America.


Mr REID - I admit that the Federal Judges stand in a far higher position than do the States Judges. I believe that the greatest lawyers in England and Australia speak of the Supreme Court of the United States with just the same reverence that they display towards the finest British Courts. Therefore, even in' speaking of the United States Courts, we have to differentiate. Only the inferior tribunals of the United States are open to the observations I have indicated.


Mr Isaacs - Not even all the States Supreme Courts are open to such criticism.


Mr REID - I do not profess to have that inner knowledge of the subject that would enable me to discriminate between one State Court and another. It is highly probable that, amongst the States Courts, there are tribunals which deserve the same praise that is accorded to the Federal tribunal ; but I have not the requisite knowledge to make any other than a general statement. I am not making even this observation as my own, but as embodying an objection that has been advanced by others. Is it not singular that already in Australia, where these laws are coming into operation, we have remarks made about the industrial tribunals which, if persisted in for many years longer, will give our Courts the same bad reputation that now attaches to the American Courts? In Western Australia, attacks have been made upon the Judge of the Arbitration Court. His honesty, that is' to say, his imparitality. has been impugned.


Mr Hughes - I think the criticism was directed mainly against the workers' representative.


Mr REID - No. A direct attack has been made upon the impartiality of Judge Parker.


Mr Lonsdale - The same thing has occurred in the case of Judge Cooper in New Zealand.


Mr Hughes - We admit that that is bad.


Mr REID - We all admit that it is bad, and the general community would be very doubtful regarding the wisdom of passing legislation of this kind if it were likely to bring our Courts into disrepute. I do not for a moment think that the Judges of the Arbitration Courts have de. parted from the high standard set by our Supreme Court Benches. It would be singular if our Judges, after enjoying the perfect confidence of the community in one Court, .were, upon entering another Court, suddenly to become unworthy of public esteem. Therefore, I do not think the complaints are well founded. Whilst we cannot ignore the objection raised by -unionists in England and in the United States against this kind of legislation. I do not attach much weight to it. I have always admired the attitude of the trades unionists of Australia in risking a great deal in the interests of industrial peace, but I begin to see that, as in other cases, there is a great deal more business and a great deal less disinterestedness than appeared at first sight. This discussion has been prolonged ; but no one can say that it has been beneath the rank of a Commonwealth parliamentary debate. On the contrary, the speeches on both sides, taken generally, have been worthy of the best parliamentary traditions. They have thrown a great deal of light upon a number of difficult questions, and the question at issue has been well threshed out. But to-day we heard it stated by honorable gentlemen whom we all respect as good trades unionists and men of authority that if the amendment is carried the Bill must be thrown under the table, because it will be no good, and trades unionists would rather have no Bill at all than such a measure. I know the authority of those who make that statement, and I respect it ; but the statement itself, in my mind, deprives the trades unions of a great deal of the credit which I gave them for the disinterested surrender of a terrible weapon. No doubt they have a terrible weapon in their hands ; but apparently they will surrender it only to obtain under the sanction of law a still more terrible weapon. They have found that, in spite of the high character of the leaders of trades unionism, in spite of the high stamp of man who has always been associated with trades unions, in spite of a leadership which, so far as I know, has been most honorable, however zealous, the workers themselves, who must be permitted to know better than we do what their real interests, their real difficulties, and their real opinions are, have not, for some reason or other, " caught on " to this great movement which we all admire. The honorable and learned member for Wannon told us this afternoon that in Victoria there are only 30,000 unionists, speaking in round numbers. Suppose we add 20,000, and say that the number of trades unionists is 50,000 ; is it not an astounding fact that, ' notwithstanding the tremendous labour and success of trades unions in all the walks of life, and especially perhaps in public life, of 400.000 workers in Victoria, or, deducting the members of the other sex, who have never entered the field of unionism, of about 200,000 male workers, only from 30,000 to 50,000 are unionists? Is not that fact entitled to very great consideration? If the trades unionists of Australia numbered 60 or 70 per cent, of the workers of Australia we might say that we could take them as representing, nominally, the actual majority, and the great majority in point of fact ; but it is only trades unionists who can shut their eyes to the great fact that they are a small fraction of the workers as a whole. Why should the interests of trades unionism be the vital point of a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, when the trades unionists number only one-sixth of the workers of Australia? Take the 30,000 trades unionists and the 170,000 nonunionists of Victoria, the 60,000 or 80,000 trades unionists, and the 320,000 non-unionists of New South Wales, and put them in separate masses, side by side. Would it not be. a monstrous thing, in enacting Commonwealth legislation affecting the daily lives and interests of every man, woman, and child in Australia, to pass a Bill to advance the interests of trades unions only ? Honorable members opposite reply to me, fairly, at first sight, "Yes, but the interests of the -trades unionists are practically identical with the interests of the nonunionists." Our honorable friends, however, have called those who are not unionists by foul names. There is no pretence ot equality, of friendship, or of any informal alliance of sympathy. The vilest epithets in the English language have been branded by them upon the backs and breasts of hundreds of thousands of Australian workers.


Mr Hughes - There must be a certain kind of sympathy.


Mr REID - I am dealing only with epithets which have been used by wellknown supporters of the Government.-


Mr Hughes - One swallow does not make a summer.


Mr REID - The honorable member for Kennedy is neither a swallow nor a summer. He is an earnest-minded, fearless man, commanding the respect of every one whether he believes in his views or not.


Mr Wilson - The honorable member for Grey told us this afternoon what he thought of non-unionists.


Mr REID - I am going to leave my somewhat combustible friend, the honorable member for Kennedy, to deal with my grave and reverend friend the honorable member for Darling. I do not know a man who is a more temperate speaker than he. I believe that when there is a strike he is a sort of winged fiend; but in- the ordinary walks of life, and especially in the halls of legislature, no man puts forward his views in a more temperate and sensible way.


Mr Hughes - I do not know that the honorable member's life has been other than it appears to be here.


Mr REID - I know him only as a member.


Mr Hughes - The right honorable member is casting a reflection upon him.


Mr REID - I hope not. I have been trying to do the opposite. I have been speaking of him as I know him, and- 1 give the highest opinion I may be allowed to offer of the moderation and good sense with which he expresses, perhaps, the most absurd observations - that is, from my point of view. There is no doubt, at any rate, about the moderate style in which he speaks. We can all give him credit for that. My honorable friend who weighs his words spoke of persons who are not members of unions as " outcasts," and then - though it is only fair to say that the stronger words which I am about to quote he did not to my mind apply generally, but only to the class which always turns up when a strike is on, to take the bread out of the mouths of their fellow working men. I have no particular admiration for that class of men myself.


Mr Webster - The right honorable member applied somewhat similar terms to the original members of the Machine Shearers' Union.


Mr REID - Well, it only shows what a good unionist I would have made.


Mr Webster - The .right honorable member is defending the same class still.


Mr REID - No; I am doing the opposite. If the honorable member was as anxious to give me fair play as he is to prejudge, he would have waited until I had finished my sentence. The honorable member for Darling used the expression, singling out the class to which I refer, " men of a criminal type." In justice to him I say that I do not think he referred £0 non-unionists generally. I wish to guard myself from seeming to say that. I have no sympathy with men who in any sort of warfare - military, civil, or industrial - try to take advantage of the fighting of others to steal from them their billets. My sympathies are rather with those who are fighting. I do not wish to do the honorable member for Darling the injustice of putting him before the public as applying such expressions as " men of a criminal type " to non-unionists generally.. He applied it to men of a- particular class, and we can all forgive unionists for using pretty strong language in regard to such men. But, so far as I could judge, he applied the term " outcasts " generally, and it was practically in line with other observations which have been made by honorable gentlemen opposite, and show that they are the last men to be trusted with the interests of non-unionists. When men are in friendly alliance, you may trust what one ally says of the other, but when, as in this case, they are engaged in a bitter fight, and cherish feelings of strong dislike, we cease to trust my honorable friends as the representatives of the workers of Australia, and accept them as representatives of the trades unionists only. It is all very well to criticise honorable members for changing their views, but I am not ashamed to say that the debates upon this Bill have taught me a great deal in connexion with the subject of which I had before no idea. They must have been instructive to almost every one of us. -I did not, the other night, see the great gravity of the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Angas.


Mr Watson - Nor, I suppose, its possibilities !


Mr REID - The honorable gentleman may take the remark in any way he chooses. It is only natural for a man when he gets into office to look upon everything as a grave matter affecting his position. If it is a matter of gravity, it will be of far greater gravity to the honorable gentleman than to me, as he will' find before this business is right through. But let that be as it. may, it is the fortune of war. One side wins today, and the other side to-morrow ; but, directly a side wins, it begins to believe in the law of settled government. My fiery friends opposite are all now marching with funereal step under the holy banner of law and order ; though I admit that there is occasionally a break-away from the ranks. But we may eliminate these very important matters from their political consequences, which every man, even labour members or a Labour Ministry, must accept. There is no royal law for them. We are all alike. Every Ministry must take its knocks. I know that, if ever I get into power, I shall receive my share, and if honorable gentlemen in office take their knocks as I will take mine there will be no blood-vessels broken. We cannot accept either Ministers or their supporters as the accredited representatives of the non-unionists of Australia. It is asking us to judge from the mouth of the enemy of the opinions of the other side. We are not going to do that.


Mr Watkins - I suppose the right honorable member would rather have the non-unionists- protected by Gatling guns, as they were in New South Wales.


Mr REID - Here is another recruit breaking loose. If my honorable friend was in office, and had to preserve the community from anarchy and bloodshed, he might have to bring out the Gatling guns. I am happy to say that I never did so. I never had to do it, because I had the Labour Party on my side. There is no greater calamity for one in authority than to have to do anything of that sort. Only the most grave necessity could justify it. If it is done without such necessity, it is one of the most serious offences and blunders which a public man can commit. But as I always took the advice of my honorable friends, the Labour Party, in these civil wars, I was always on the right side. The position before us now is this : The Government and their supporters are at enmity with the non-unionists of Australia.


Mr Webster - Nonsense. They are not.


Mr REID - When it comes to calling them "scabs" and "blacklegs,'"' the relationship is, at any rate, not complimentary.


Mr Wilson - And " parasites "' and " outcasts " as well !


Mr REID - Now, we have another word - " parasites." I think that is a beautiful word compared with some others. They are parasites !


Mr Webster - There are a lot of parasites in this world, besides them.


Mr REID - I think the honorable member is a proof of it. The honorable member once came out for election in a community which knew him well - a large constituency - and he got precisely twelve votes. What sort of a man is it who cannot get more than twelve votes in a large city constituency ?


Mr Webster - On one occasion when I came out the right honorable member stabbed me in the back when I was not present.


Mr REID - Oh, did I ? I was not even aware of the honorable member's illustrious existence until he was projected into the prominence which he adorns !


Mr Watson - On the occasion the right honorable member refers to, the honorable member for Gwydir had retired at the time of the election.


Mr REID - That only shows his good sense !


Mr Watson - He was following his ordinary avocation on election day.


Mr REID - Then I absolutely withdraw my observation. I was not aware of that.


Mr Webster - The right honorable member used it before.


Mr REID - I am sorry I was the means of using the case. I at once express my regret for having done so. Fortunately the antidote will go very close to the bane, which does not get a day's start this time. I strongly put to my friends, the trades unionists, this view: If they preserve their identity, their rights, and their privileges, what is to prevent them from accepting the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Angas? They preserve their identity and their solidarity as trades unions upon becoming registered as industrial organizations. It leaves them free from the entanglements of the Court qua trades unions, and it only brings them into the Court for the purpose of settling industrial disputes with employers, which is the object of this Bill. I think, therefore, that my honorable friends opposite might have seen their way to accept a proposal under which they would preserve their identity and power. They would find themselves side by side in these organizations, for one purpose, with all the workers in so many industries. I believe that when the trades unionists were in the right their association in this one body, for this one purpose, with the non-unionists, would prove the best possible missionary step ; because it would bring them into touch with the mass of the workers, who are at present separated from them so widely. It would not imperil their position as unionists by one hair's breadth outside the Arbitration Court. It would give them infinitely greater power in the Court, because then the representative of an industrial organization would speak with a sense of authority. He would have not the mere technical right, but the moral right, the national right, to speak on behalf of all his fellows engaged in a similar industry, and no man could cross his path and say, " I will not join any industrial organization- for the purposes of this Court, because I do not approve of trades unionism, or of this or of that." The answer to such a statement would be, " You are not asked to do that ; you are asked to stand side by side with your fellow-workers in a matter affecting your occupation, for only one purpose, that of having your case fought out against your common antagonist." Surely there would then be an identity of interest in this sense - that it would lead them to join in one organization for that one purpose. We may speak of bogus unions, but we cannot imagine an honest, straightforward working man playing false to his fellow-workers in a matter of this sort, after joining them in an industrial organization. What I strongly appreciate in the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Corinella is this - that it is a useful thing for the public that some oppor- tunity should be given them of seeing how far each of us wishes to push his views in this matter. I can understand people differing conscientiously, but I cannot understand a man whose position is a conscientious one . shrinking from facts which elucidate the situation. I give my honorable and learned friend the member for Corinella the credit of testing by his amendment one aspect of this matter. We must take the Bill as a preference to unionists Bill.


Mr Isaacs - Oh, no.


Mr REID - We must, because the principle of preference to unionists is in it. I admit that my honorable friends opposite have taken a view which may lead them to endeavour to alter the Bill again, but that will only make my argument all the sounder, because if the amendment which has been made is taken out of the Bill, the Prime Minister himself will admit that there is a preference to unionists iri it.


Mr Watson - If the Court sees fit to award it.


Mr REID - If the Prime Minister gets his way he must admit that it will be a preference to unionists Bill.


Mr Watson - A permissive preference to unionists Bill ; the right honorable member has made that mistake once or twice.


Mr REID - It is wonderful what phrases we get in this discussion. A permissive preference to unionists ! Is it not tlie object of the Bill to give an actual preference? Is the object of it simply to make preference a mere thing to be used at the option of a particular Judge in a particular case ? It is astonishing how we can minimize these things when we choose ! So far as I can see, preference is an actual living principle of great gravity, which is put in the Bill to be generally applied. Could my honorable friend stand before a mass meeting of trades unionists, and tell them that these words were put in simply to give the Judge a chance if he likes-


Mr Watson - Hear, hear.


Mr REID - I do not think it would be receive'd with ringing enthusiasm. It is the substance that is wanted ; it is the thing that is wanted by them - not a delightful play amongst words. We now begin to understand from Ministers themselves that this provision about preference to unionists is put in as a thing that is not to be used except as the Judge himself chooses to apply it or not to apply it. Well, that is a new rendering to the public. My honorable friends opposite, no doubt, held that view all along ; but it is a new rendering to the public of what this Bill means. Surely the amendment of my honorable and learned friend the member for Corinella, at any rate, strikes a principle. If it does not, 1 do not think there is much principle in. anything. It strikes one of the principles which is in the very heart of every man in this country, and that is that a man's politics and his political opinions shall not be things to be regarded in the light of his own personal interests as a worker in the country. There are broad grounds upon which workers can unite to bring about the redress of a wrong. That is not a novel thing. But there is all the difference in the world between redressing a wrong and fastening a chain - inflicting a wrong. I charge these trades unionists, in connexion with this measure, with trying to inflict a wrong upon their own fellowworkers who do not belong to their unions. I charge 'them with attempting to make - under the force of law, and by means of the every-day work of a court of justice - submission to the opinions of trades unionists a test of whether they shall get bread for their children. That is the plain English of it. Where is a man to get food for his children from except from his wages - from his work? It strikes me that if ever a principle was brought out, this is that principle. It is .contained in the more general amendment of the honorable and learned member for Angas, but it is also contained in the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Corinella. It brings out one great issue for honorable members to vote upon. The proposition is this : There is a trades union force in Australia, which is composed of a mere section of the workers. This is a trades union Government. Honorable members opposite are a trades union party - not every man of them, but substantially all of them. So that we see before us now a trades union Government and a trades union party, trying to- mould Commonwealth laws so as to make a man's public . convictions, as to working out the destinies of Australia, a question which is entangled with another question - whether he shall get work on the same terms as his fellow-men. Well. I say that is a serious issue; and I say that unless some such amendment as that of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, or a general amendment such as the honorable and learned member for Angas has suggested, is carried, this is the way the thing will work out : The Judge will find these words in the Act, without even a finger indicating to him upon what principle Parliament intended that it should be applied. We are told that the provision is merely intended to be permissive. What does that mean?


Mr Watson - Not only intended, but so expressed.


Mr REID - I will put it as strongly as the honorable gentleman likes. It is not only intended, but so expressed, that it is to be permissive. I am going to show the terrible position in which the Court is put under this provision. Judges can in some way or other, perhaps, carry out the intention of Parliament if some guide is given to them as to the principles on which the law is to be administered. If ever there was a point on which a Judge had a right to ask- Parliament to give him a principle so that he might apply it, it is this. Surely the Judge of the Arbitration Court would have a right to say to us : " You provide in this Act something about a preference being given to one man over another. Do you mean that I am to be the Judge of all that, or do you indicate a principle to which, all things being equal, I am to give effect?" He will indeed be whirled about in a series of currents, if he sees a phrase about preference to unionists in a. Commonwealth Act, and is told that it is a mere expression which does not indicate to him any line of principle, but leaves him to do precisely what he- likes ! It merely says to him, " You can give a preference in one industry ; you can give a preference in another." I believe that probably no Judge who ever sat on the Bench would give a preference to unionists, unless the law compelled him to do it.


Mr Mauger - Judges have ;done so.


Mr REID - The law in New South Wales is much stronger than this, if I recollect aright.


Mr Spence - No.


Mr REID - All I can say is that if this is the same as the New South Wales law,- 1 absolutely repudiate the interpretation put upon it by my honorable friends opposite.


Mr Hughes - What does the right honorable member think that the law is?


Mr REID - At the present moment I have no opportunity of referring to the New South Wales Act. Of course, I always knew that it was within the power of the Court to grant a preference to unionists. There is no absolute compulsion for it to do so, but the language employed is such that a preference to unionists is to be one of the maxims of the Act.


Mr Spence - No.


Mr Hughes - 'That is not so.


Mr REID - As a matter of fact, do we not know that the Judges have given a preference to unionists?


Mr Hughes - Of course they have. Is the right honorable member reflecting upon the Court by questioning its impartiality ?


Mr REID - Will the Minister of External Affairs be good enough to allow me to finish my sentence before inquiring whether I am reflecting upon the Court? If a preference to unionists were given by a Judge without any indication on the part of Parliament that=- other .conditions being equal - he was to act upon that principle, all I can say is that I should riot call him ugly names, but I should . entertain very serious doubts about his policy in administering the Act.


Mr Watson - The section in the New South Wales Act is exactly the same as this provision.. I have just looked it up.


Mr REID - We come, therefore, to a very serious state of affairs. Without Parliament decreeing it, a preference is to be granted to unionists. Surely we ought to remember that a citizen who sits upon the judicial Bench, is not clothed with lawmaking powers. Our Judges do not make our laws for us yet. It is true that sometimes they do so by; accident, but never by design. According to the theory advanced by the Government, this principle of granting a preference really means that a Judge shall be given power to extend a preference to unionists, 'without any indication on the part of the law that it is a proper thing to do. That would place a Judge in a very_ painful position. Personally I do not think that that is a proper construction to put either upon the New South Wales Act or upon this Bill.'


Mr Watson - The clause says " may."


Mr REID - But the word " may," as it is used in this instance, is not like that word as applied to an executive authority. The distinction between " may " and " shall," in re- *gard to matters which are carried out under executive authority is well known. But where a Judge is concerned, the use of the word "may" is practically . an indication of the will of Parliament and of the policy of the Act. It is practically a direction to him to adopt a certain course-


Mr Isaacs - I think that that statement requires serious qualification.


Mr REID - I repeat that it is practically a direction to the Judge, unless there is some obvious difficulty in connexion with an individual case.


Mr Isaacs - Even that statement needs serious qualification.


Mr REID - I become serious the moment my honorable and learned friend talks upon matters of this sort. But I think he will admit that the use of such words in an Act might be taken as an indication of the wish of Parliament.


Mr Isaacs - I should not think so, in such a case as that.


Mr REID - Even my honorable and learned friend will admit that it is a matter of doubt.


Mr Isaacs - I do not feel any doubt in regard to that part of the Bill.

Mir. REID. - Since this matter is involved! in such an atmosphere of doubt, it is more incumbent upon us than ever to let the Judge know, before he exercises his own sweet will upon the subject, that there shall be no element of choice as between politics and bread.


Mr Isaacs - Does my honorable and learned friend limit his remarks to the question of preference?


Mr REID - I do.


Mr Isaacs - Then I agree with him.


Mr REID - I am glad to know that the honorable and learned member agrees with me, because then I am sure that I must be right, seeing that we so seldom agree. As regards the use of the word "may," I wish strongly to impress my original view upon the Committee. Why should an Act of Parliament provide all these methods for giving a preference to unionists, unless they are intended as an indication to the Court that it is the Wl / of Parliament that such a preference shall be granted?


Mr Isaacs - If the right honorable member looks at paragraph c, he will see that it reads " The Court may appoint a tribunal," &c. Does he think that the word " may " in that case means " must " ?


Mr REID - I presume that the honorable and learned member is referring to the Bill which is now under consideration. I was informed by the Prime Minister that the provisions in this Bill and in the New South Wales Act were identical. I was handed a copy of the latter, and I based my argument upon it, believing that it would serve my purpose. I now find, however, that there is another provision in this Bill which is not contained in the New South Wales Act. The more we lean to the view expressed by the Government that this power should be left entirely in the hands of the Court, the more necessary it is that Parliament should tell the Court that it does, not wish men to- be driven into a union, to sacrifice their political differences and their political prejudices in order to be the first to obtain a piece of work. I shall strongly support the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Corinella, upon the .new ground I have mentioned. If a Judge' is to look upon these words merely as giving him a power which he may not use, then I think that it is just as well to insert this little postscript for his guidance.







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