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Friday, 15 July 1904


Mr HUGHES (West Sydney) (Minister of External Affairs) . - The right honorable member for East Sydney has taken up a different attitude from that which other honorable members sitting upon the same side of the Chamber have adopted.


Mr Henry Willis - A different attitude from some of them.


Mr HUGHES - The Lord only knows, what attitude the honorable member intends to take. I cannot attempt to prophesy what it will be, but doubtless it will be disclosed in due time. The right honorable member for East Sydney affirms that this is the wrong place in which to introduce these provisions. Other honorable members declare that it is the wrong time to introduce them.


Mr Reid - I agree with them as to that. I think that the information with which the Navigation Bill Commission will furnish us would be of great assistance to us. This is an urgent matter which that body could deal with at once, whereas its investigation of other matters could be delayed. Legislative action following their inquiry need not be delayed as long as the Prime Minister has suggested.


Mr HUGHES - The pathetic regard which the right honorable member is exhibiting' at this juncture for the welfare of this Bill and its speedy passage into law is rather remarkable. It is very singular that he should pose as the heaven-born personage upon whom it has devolved to point out that this measure will be " hung up " if these provisions are included in it. From what I remember of the speeches which he delivered in connexion with certain amendments, he has done what he can to prevent its becoming law in any effective shape.


Mr Reid - I take up the Bill just as earnestly as the Minister does. It belongs to honorable members on this side quite as much as it does to any one else. .


Sir William Lyne - Hear, hear.


Mr HUGHES - I take it that honorable members .wish it to be understood that they are thoroughly in favour of this Bill.


Mr Cameron - The Minister's imagination leads him far if he thinks that I am in favour of it.


Mr HUGHES - I think that when I deal with the honorable member it is better to rely upon imagination than upon facts. T should be able to deal with him more leniently upon that basis. So far as the facts are concerned, the honorable member is confessedly an opponent of the principle of compulsory arbitration. On the other hand, the right honorable member for East Sydney is in favour of that principle, but is opposed to everything which is essential to bring it into operation. He suggests that these clauses should not be inserted, because they will result in the " hanging up " of the Bill for the Royal Assent. In my opinion, the measure will accomplish little or nothing for the seamen if it does not contain these provisions, or some others of like effect. During the discussion on this Bill, it has been pointed out by many honorable members that various trades ought not to be brought within its provisions. It was said, for example, that rural industries could not properly be brought under it, and consequently they were excluded ; but we have never heard any one declare that the seamen ought not to enjoy the full benefits of the measure. It is because of the great maritime strike, which took place some years ago, that this Bill is before the House,' and yet it is now urged that the very men for whom it was ostensibly introduced should be excluded from its benefits. It is asserted that to embody these clauses in the Bill would be to imperil it, and to postpone the giving of the Royal Assent. There can be no doubt that since these provisions conflict with the Merchant Shipping Act the Bill containing them would have to be reserved for the Royal Assent. I do not, however, understand why the right honorable member for East Sydney asserts that the reservation would involve a lengthy postponement. I am aware of some cases in which a Bill has been " hung up " for a year or more in this way; but we know of numerous instances in which the reserving of a measure for the Royal Assent has not delayed it for more than a month or six weeks.


Mr Reid - There will be tremendous opposition to these provisions.


Mr HUGHES - I do not deny that ; but the matter to which they relate is not new to the Colonial Office. The question was considered at the Conference of Colonial Premiers; the Imperial authorities are well aware of what we desire, and it is now merely a question of whether they are prepared to assent to our proposal. It, therefore, seems to me that the reservation I of the Bill for the Royal Assent' would not result in any lengthy delay. There is ona phase of the question to which I should like to direct the right honorable member's attenion. I wish to know whether, in making the proposal which he has just outlined, he spoke on behalf of his party.


Mr Reid - I spoke absolutely without any consultation with them. We are a Committee of the whole upon this Bill. Surely we are not split up into parties in regard to this measure?


Mr HUGHES - I do not know whether there is one party or whether there are many parties in the House, so far as the consideration of this Bill is concerned. I asked the question in all seriousness.


Mr Reid - I am not fond of fettering the independence of any Honorable member who follows my leadership.


Mr HUGHES - In making this proposal the right honorable member is simply acting on his own suggestion?


Mr Reid - It is my own suggestion. The members of my party are not chained up like the honorable and learned gentleman's "crowd."


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - On this particular question the Ministerial " crowd " is not chained up.


Mr Reid - Then surely they will let the members of our party have aflutter.


Mr HUGHES - Those honorable members of the Opposition who preceded the right honorable member in the discussion of the Government proposals denounced the occasion and the principle itself.


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not all of them; they have merely suggested that the consideration of these clauses should be deferred until the report of the Commission dealing with the principle has been received.


Mr Reid - I indorse that statement.


Mr HUGHES - Honorable members of the Opposition who preceded the right honorable member for East Sydney denounced these clauses. The right honorable member for Swan dealt with them in detail, and the honorable and learned member for Parkes, who also discussed them at great length, did not suggest for' a moment that if they were inserted in any other measure they would be more acceptable to him. If they were placed under the table he would be much better pleased ; beyond that, it would be immaterial to him whether they were embodied in the Navigation Bill, in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, or in a short separate measure. If these clauses were introduced in the form of a separate Bill, would the right honorable member approve of them?


Mr Reid - I will consider the matter when it comes before us.


Mr HUGHES - That is most encouraging. Honorable members of the Opposition have unmercifully dissected these provisions ; they have found a dozen reasons why every syllable that they contain should be rejected ; they have asserted that they are vicious in principle, that they would interfere with the liberty of the subject, that they threaten to destroy the great shipping interests of the Commonwealth, and that they would ruin the producer; yet the right honorable member for East Sydney now suggests that they should be placed in a separate Bill, and says that in that event he would deal with them on their merits. When I inquire what his attitude would be if these clauses were ' embodied in a separate measure, he replies, " Bring- them in and see." No doubt the right honorable member would join in the chorus that we have already heard, and out would go the little Bill in which these clauses were embodied.


Mr Reid - But this Bill would be safe ; if these clauses were omitted, it would simply be a local measure, and would at once receive the Roval Assent.


Mr HUGHES - That would be the position of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, if it did not contain these provisions?


Mr Reid - Yes; surely the Government do not wish to sink it?


Mr HUGHES - Unless the Bill con tained some such clauses it would be useless to the . seamen. What answer has the right honorable member to give to that assertion ?


Mr Reid - Embody these clauses in another Bill, and then the Government will ' have secured something in this Bill.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not correct to sav that without these clauses the Bill would be of no value to the seamen.


Mr HUGHES - Is it incorrect?


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes.


Mr HUGHES - That is about the only admission I am likely to secure from honorable members opposite. That line of argument reminds me of the style adopted by a member of the New South Wales Legislature. The honorable member's admission is of no value to the argument. I contend that it is correct to say that without these provisions the Bill would be of no value to the seamen. Seamen engaged in the Australian coasting trade naturally compete with those employed by shipping companies that would come under these clauses, and it would be in the last degree unfair to place the ship-owners of Australia at a disadvantage as compared with those of other countries. No court would ever dream of making an award of so one-sided a character. Therefore, one of two things would happen - either the court would make no award, because it I would hesitate to inflict an injustice upon the ship-owners of the Commonwealth, or, if it did, it might crush them out of existence. i should be quite ready to hear the arguments of those who favour the putting of these clauses into a separate Bill, provided they would support them if dealt with in that way. But it is, to say the least, somewhat curious that we should be told by honorable members, who have expressed bitter opposition to these provisions, that we ought to embody them in a separate measure. If that course were adopted they would be able to renew this debate, to cover once more the ground that had already been well traversed, and then to reject our proposals. Would that advance the cause which the Government have at heart ? Would such a line of action be of any advantage to the seamen ? i wish now to deal with a few of the arguments that have been brought forward against the merits of these clauses. After I have discussed them, the Government will be very pleased to hear anything that may be said about the advantages of dealing with the clauses in another way. If they were inserted in the Navigation Bill they would not come into operation for at least eighteen months from the present time. That measure is now before the Royal Commission, which cannot possibly conclude its labours and submit a report to the Parliament in time to be of any service during the present session. It would thus be impossible for us to deal with the Bill before next session; and such a measure would take at least four or five months to pass both Houses. It would then have to be reserved for the Royal Assent ; and assuming that that assent were given within three or four months of the passing of the Bill there would be a delay of at least eighteen months from the present time before these provisions became law. During all that time the seamen would receive no benefit whatever. If these clauses were embodied in a separate measure the same argument would not, of course, apply. The position would be different if we received an assurance that honorable members merely opposed these clauses because of the proposal to embody them in the Conciliation and Arbitration' Bill, and would support them if they were placed in a separate measure. The honorable and learned member for Ballarat is opposed to these provisions, not because they possess, in his view, any inherent defect, but because it is proposed to embody them in this Bill , instead of in a separate measure. We can understand and approve of that attitude. It would be a wholly different matter if the House were not in favour of the insertion of these provisions in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, but would adopt the suggestion of the right honorable member for East Sydney that they should be dealt with in a separate measure ; but I repeat that to insert them in the Navigation Bill would be to postpone their becoming law for at least eighteen months. I do not know that there would be any lengthy delay if they were embodied in a short Bill, but personally I see no reason why the Government proposal should not be adopted. I have no reason to believe that this Bill is urgently required for any other purpose than to settle a possible dispute in the maritime trade, and the seamen, perhaps, are the most likely body to be early involved in some trouble. I would remind honorable members that the last great maritime dispute did not arise from any difficulty in which the seamen were directly affected, but that a sympathetic strike was really the cause of the trouble. A difficulty in regard to any of the branches of the maritime trade might readily extend to all of them. Let me now say a word or two on some of the objections that have been urged against the Government proposals. In dealing with them a day or two ago, the honorable and learned member for Parkes adopted a completely opposite attitude from that assumed by the right honorable member for East Sydney. He urged that the provisions to which the right honorable member now takes exception as being alien to the Bill, were the primary clauses of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill; that they were drafted by the right honorable member for Adelaide, and would properly belong to it.

I It is a very obvious fact that if they are alien to the, measure they can hardly be considered to be primary clauses. If they have nothing to do with, it they cannot be regarded as properly belonging to it. It has been said that these clauses constitute an interference with the liberty of the individual, and would have a very prejudicial effect upon the producer. It has also been urged that we ought to regard the matter through Imperial spectacles. I agree with this last assertion, and I propose for a minute or two to consider.it from that aspect. The shipping trade of Great Britain is, perhaps, of all trades, the most deserving of the attention of the citizens of every British-speaking country. The British Empire to-day is dependent wholly for its continued existence upon . both its mercantile marine and its Navy. It is impossible to suppose that the Empire could cohere for any length of time if either of these forces were crippled. The pre-eminence of the mercantile marine is necessary., and the pre-eminence of the Navy is absolutely essential. The very kernel of Imperialism depends upon the command of the sea. I have before me a copy of the report of the British Steam-ship Subsidies Committee. That Committee was appointed to inquire into the increasing competition to which the mercantile marine of Great Britain is subjected by foreign countries. It took voluminous evidence, and furnished a report, which is most interesting and well worthy of our attention. Another committee on the manning of British ships sat in 1896 under the presidency of the Right Honorable A. J. Mundella, President' of the Board of Trade. Both of those committees pointed out the alarming decrease in the number of British seamen and the causes to which this decrease might be attributed. I request those honorable members who speak about the Imperialistic views which we ought to take of these clauses, to look at those reports, to consider the position of the real bulwark of the Empire, and to see how it is crumbling to decay before our eyes. In the report on the manning of British ships, it is pointed out that 47 per cent, of the seamen employed, in the British mercantile marine are foreign, consisting either of lascars or of foreign white seamen. There are, of course, engaged in the coastal trade of Great Britain a much smaller proportion of foreign sailors; but in the ocean trade there are 47 per cent, of aliens amongst the crews of British vessels. That proportion is increasing year by year. British seamen are becoming noticeably fewer and fewer. Apparently nothing is being done to encourage. English men to take to the sea. Much is said with regard to re- lieving the competition to which the chief British shipping companies are exposed, but nothing whatever is proposed with a view to remedy the most cruel and onesided competition to which the British seamen is subjected. I for one can derive no consolation from the fact that a ship flies the British flag whilst her crew consists principally of aliens. Men like Lord Brassey, Lord Charles . Beresford, and the members of the Navy League - who may be considered to be experts upon this subject, and to have the best interests of the Empire at heart - say unreservedly that unless something is done to encourage British seamen the mercantile marine, as a nursery for British seamen, will become extinct. We seek by these clauses to avoid the condition of things which is unhappily existing in the British mercantile marine, and we are endeavouring to build- up on the coast of Australia a mercantile marine which will be manned by Australian seamen, who may in times of difficulty and distress be of some service to the Commonwealth.


Mr Cameron - Can the honorable gentleman tell us how many seamen in Australian vessels at the present time are Australian born?


Mr HUGHES - I cannot. But I can tell the honorable member that no effort has ever been made in this country to encourage native-born Australians to ship aboard the mercantile marine. The first effort that I know of in that direction is now being made in New South Wale.o, where the Imperial Naval Authorities have placed the Dart at the disposal of the State Government for the purpose of training as seamen a certain proportion of the boys on the Sobraon - the reformatory ship in the harbor - whence they will be transferred as opportunity offers to the coastal trade of Australia. That is the first instance of which I know - there may be others ; if there are I 'shall be glad to hear of them - of an effort to man the Australian mercantile marine with Australianborn seamen.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Can the honorable gentleman tell us how many of the seamen in Australian coasting vessels are Swedes, Scandinavians, and Germans?


Mr HUGHES - The bulk of the seamen of Australia are British, not Scandinavians. I say that most emphatically


Mr Cameron - The proportion is about half and half.


Mr HUGHES - If the honorable member were to correct me as to the number of men engaged in a certain occupation in Tasmania, probably I should stand well corrected. But I know something of this matter by virtue of the constituency which I represent, and. the men with whom I have mixed for the last ten or twelve years. I know what I am speaking of when I say that the bulk of the men in the Australian coasting trade are British, not Scandinavians - and when I say Scandinavians I include all persons who are not British. I should say that at least 70 per cent, of those engaged in the coastal trade of Australia are British. If I -had my way that proportion would be very much increased. No one has ever accused me of leaning towards the foreigner, and I do not think they will ever have the opportunity.


Mr McCay - Except as regards goods !


Mr HUGHES - Looking at this subject from an Imperial stand-point, we are endeavouring to see that the Australian mercantile marine shall be manned by Australians. I may point out that many British ships that come to our ports have hardly a British citizen aboard. The Peninsular and Oriental and other vessels have crews largely composed of coloured persons. That is not calculated to inspire us with much hope with reference to our security in times of difficulty. Without going into the matter at great length, it appears to me that it is highly desirable that the seamen manning Australian vessels should be British, and that every effort should be made by us to bring about that result. So, much for the position viewed' through Imperial spectacles. Now for the statement that the clauses interfere with the liberty of the subject. The honorable and learned member for Parkes said, amongst other things, that these clauses constituted an unwarrantable interference with the' liberty of the individual, and stTuck a blow at the producing interests. I would point out one case to show that the honorable and learned member was entirely ignorant of the facts when he declared that the section of the Customs Act, which imposes a fine for the breaking of seals outside the territorial waters, is a class of legislation unknown in the British Empire. It was stated in the case of Kingston v. Gadd that for the last forty years it has been an offence against the Customs law of Great Britain, for which the offender is liable to punishment, to break a seal placed upon a ship's locker or door while the vessel is proceeding from one port of the United Kingdom to another, whether in her voyage she keeps within or goes outside the territorial waters of. that country. Section 135 of the Customs Laws Consolidation Act, 39 and 40 Victoria, Cap. 3ft, enacts -

If any officer of Customs shall place any lock, mark, or seal upon any stores or goods taken from the warehouse without payment of duty as stores on board any ship or vessel departing from any port in the United Kingdom, arid such lock, mark, or seal be wilfully opened, altered, or broken, or if such stores be secretly conveyed away either while such ship or vessel remains at her first port of departure, or at any port or place in the United Kingdom or on her passage from one such port or place to another before the final departure of such ship or vessel on her foreign voyage, the master shall forfeit the sum of £20.

The Earl of Halsbury, Lord Chancellor, in giving judgment in the case of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company v. Kingston, stated -

As had been pointed out by counsel, the legislation proceeded on precisely the same lines as section 135. of the " Customs Act 1876 " (39 and 40, Vic. c. 36), and under that section, if a foreign ship were to take goods so sealed from one bonded warehouse in the United Kingdom to another, although in the course of a voyage she might go outside the territorial limits of the United Kingdom, the very same question might arise, and upon her arrival at any other port in the United Kingdom, the master would undoubtedly in their lordships' opinion be liable to the penalties created by that section.

Under another section of the English Act, anything upon which the Customs House authorities have put. their seal is regarded as in the position of a bonded warehouse. I mention these fact's to show that when the honorable and learned member for Parkes declared that the provision in our Customs law dealing with the breaking of seals was unprecedented, and an interference with the liberty of the individual, unknown to English legislation, he was ignorant of the fact that a similar provision has been the law of that country for forty years past, and I might traverse the whole of the arguments of the honorable and learned member with similar effect. The clauses now before the Committee,' or some similar clauses, are essential in order to give our seamen the benefit of compulsory conciliation and arbitration. There seems to be a disinclination on the part of the Committee to realize that the measure . we are now discussing was introduced for the specific purpose of preventing or settling great industrial disputes.

The lesson we must learn from the history of the past is that if such disputes arise in the future they will probably be due to the action of the very unions whose members are likely to be excluded from the full benefits of the measure if the clauses which the Government propose to insert are not agreed to. The contention that these clauses interfere with the liberty of the individual may be set on one side as unworthy of consideration, seeing how much the liberty of the individual has been interfered with for the benefit of all in other legislation during the past half century. In reply to the contention that the clauses aim at handicapping Imperial trade in its competition with foreign trade, I say that, if they are agreed to, the Ministry propose to insert a new clause, excluding foreign subsidized vessels from the benefits of the measure ; that is to say, that under no circumstances will permission be given to such vessels to take advantage of the permit to trade on the coast provided for in these clauses. Therefore, the wild beating of the Imperial drum which we have heard goes for naught, for. the simple reason that British ships will be given a preference.


Mr Cameron - What does the Minister mean by that?


Mr HUGHES - If the honorable member has read the clauses, he must be aware that it is proposed that no ship shall be allowed to trade on the Australian coast unless its master has signed a certain agreement; and the Ministry intends to exclude from the benefits of ' that provision all foreign-going subsidized vessels.


Mr Cameron - In other words, the Ministry propose to prevent foreign vessels from trading between our ports.


Mr HUGHES - We propose to allow British ships to trade on our coasts on precisely the same terms as are imposed on Australian vessels, and to exclude from the coastal trade of Australia all foreign subsidized vessels.


Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yet the Government propose to give a mail contract to foreign subsidized vessels.


Mr HUGHES - The vessels chiefly concerned are the ships of the North German Lloyd Company and of the Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes. British vessels are unfairly handicapped where they have to compete against these foreign subsidized vessels, and in the evidence taken by a Select Committee of the House of

Commons upon steam-ship subsidies, bitter complaints are made by British steam-ship owners about the unfair competition to which I refer. The Government, therefore, propose, if the clauses now before the Committee are agreed to, to prevent foreign subsidized vessels from competing in the Australian coastal trade with British and Australian vessels. In no case will a vessel subsidized by a foreign Government be permitted to trade on our coast. But British vessels will be permitted to do so if their owners pay the same rates of wages, and are subject to the same conditions, as apply to the owners of Australian vessels.

Mr.McCay. - The intention of the Government is to move the insertion of a new clause which will have that effect?


Mr HUGHES - We propose to place in the Bill a clause which is now in the Navigation Bill, and which . would have the effect I speak of.


Sir William Lyne - Does not the clause in the Navigation Bill allow foreign vessels to trade on the coast under licence, if they conform to certain conditions?


Mr HUGHES - We propose to giv: British vessels the same rights as are given to Australian vessels, if the same wages are paid to the men on board them as are paid to the crews of the Australian vessels, and to exclude foreign subsidized vessels from the benefits of the measure by refusing them permission to engage in the Australian coastal trade under any circumstances, so long as they are subsidized.


Sir William Lyne - The clause in the Navigation Bill allows foreign vessels to trade on our coastunder certain circumstances.


Mr HUGHES - What we now propose is what was proposed in the Navigation Bill by the late Government, of which the honorable member was a Minister. The only difference is that we intend to take the provision which they framed out of the Navigation Bill, and to place it in this Bill.


Mr McCay - What has that provision to do with conciliation and arbitration?


Mr Mauger - At any rate, it is good protection.


Mr McLean - It is real destruction.


Mr HUGHES - The interjection of the honorable and learned member for Corinella is irrelevant. It is obvious that our seamen cannot benefit by the measure unless foreign vessels are brought within the jurisdiction of the Court. The honorable and learned member barely knows a ship from an omnibus, and is quite ignorant of the requirements of our seamen. Yet he sets himself up to say what they desire and what they do not desire. There is no way of bringing Australian vessels effectively within the jurisdiction of the Court unless all other vessels coming to Australia are also brought within that jurisdiction.


Mr McCay - That is merely an assertion.


Mr HUGHES - Last Parliament the honorable and learned member was prepared to give protection to the Australian manufacturer, but he is not prepared to place Australian seamen on the same footing.


Mr Cameron - Last Parliament the Minister flew the free-trade flag, but now he is flying the protectionist flag.


Mr HUGHES - I pity the mental condition of the person who thinks that a proposal such as I am discussing has anything to do with the fiscal question. I say emphatically, with the right honorable member for East Sydney, that it has nothing to do with that question. What we are concerned in is the preservation of Australian trade, and the giving to Australian seamen of that amount of protection by means of the Court of Arbitration which is given to every other person in Australia. Why should we exclude the seamen from the benefits of this measure? There is absolutely no reason why we should. On the other hand,, there are a hundred reasons why we should include them, the chief reason being that the Bill will be in a large measure incomplete and almost worthless if they are not included. If the proposed clauses are not inserted in the Bill or embodied in a separate measure - I care not' which - and an industrial crisis is precipitated, the responsibility for what happens will be upon the heads of those who are opposing them merely because they have been brought forward by a Labour Ministry. If such a crisis arose in connexion with a great industrial dispute affecting the shipping, those honorable members would be in favour of any panic legislation to allay the difficulty.


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why, one of the members of the Labour Party is opposing these clauses !


Mr HUGHES - Certain honorable members representing Western Australia desire that the trade between that State and South Australia shall be carried on uninterruptedly until railway communication is given between the eastern States and Western Australia.


Mr Fowler - That is my irreducible minimum; but I want more than that.


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The PostmasterGeneral took the same view last Parliament.

Mr. HUGHES.Do I understand the honorable member for Perth to say that he will not be in favour of these clauses, if provision be made for carrying passengers between Fremantle and Adelaide?


Mr Fowler - I certainly do not like the clauses, and I shall oppose them in the present Bill.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.


Mr HUGHES - I am sure that the honorable member ought to feel himself very much flattered by the lusty cheers with which his statement has been greeted by honorable members opposite. They should show him better than anything else what sort of game he is playing. In my opinion, it is essential to allow the seamen to partake of the benefits of this measure. Honorable members opposite are not opposing the proposed new clauses because they are in the wrong place. I could have understood their taking up any such attitude. There is a suspicious air about honorable members, who first of all find that something is inopportune so far as time is concerned, then find that something is wrong so far as place is concerned, and always have some excuse, or excuses, for not doing that which they ought to do. Some provision must be made for the seamen of Australia; otherwise they cannot take full advantage of this measure. If we are to make this Bill something more than a mere hollow pretence, I earnestly ask honorable members to give to these clauses the consideration on their merits, which they deserve. That this consideration has not been given in every case by honorable members who have spoken is obvious. I can understand the position of those who profess to oppose the Bill, because they do not believe in compulsory arbitration. Their attitude is at least consistent. I cannot, however,' understand why honorable members who believe in compulsory arbitration should not be prepared to do something for the seamen of Australia, except on the assumption that they are prepared to vote against anything that this Government proposes, and that, for the purpose of showing their hatred of the Labour Party, they are prepared to sacrifice the seamen of Australia, the very men for "whom this Bill was introduced, and invite an industrial crisis by emasculating a measure which would dp much to replace barbarous methods of warfare by providing for the peaceful settlement of industrial disputes bv an impartial tribunal.







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