Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Tuesday, 19 July 1904

Mr POYNTON (Grey) - I take it that the amendment submitted by the right honorable member for East Sydney will be taken as a test of the feeling of the Committee as to the whole of . these clauses. If that be so, we have thrown on us the duty of considering what will be the effect on the Bill if the clauses be rejected; and we first must have regard to the objects of this measure. We are trying to legally enact a new method of settling all industrial disputes which extend beyond the limits of any one State, and to that end we are creating a tribunal, at the head of which will be a President, who, in his capacity of Judge, will hear evidence from both sides, and on that evidence ' arrive at a decision. This brings me to the clauses immediately under consideration. Why do we attempt to insert what are apparently navigation clauses in this Arbitration Bill? The answer is twofold; in the first place, it is thought that if the Bill is to be of any use to seamen there must be some such legislation to make their position sure, and, in the second place, we are attempting to give a certain degree' of protection to Australian. ; shipowners' as against oversea shipping companies. We could attain our object in one of two ways; we could decide, as in the United States, to prohibit any coastal trading by foreign vessels, or we could adopt the New Zealand method. I 'want to impress on honorable members the significance of .the- fact that 'in New Zealand, in 1896; there was passed concurrently with the Arbitration Bill, another measure containing clauses similar to those which are now under our consideration. It was seen, as we see here, that unless such provision was made in the Arbitration Bill, or concurrent navigation laws passed, the seamen would be placed at a disadvantage. I do not think that in the Commonwealth, at this juncture, we could advocate prohibition, which would be much more serious than the present proposals; but I believe that it is essential for the protection- of those whose interests we have in view that ship-owners who desire to trade on our coasts - this is not a matter of steamers which come direct to deliver or take away cargo - must be told that they must, in fairness to our own shipping companies and our own men, be subject to the Australian law equally with the latter. Assuming for the moment that these proposed clauses were rejected, I think it very problematical whether the seamen would register under the Bill. I have no hesitation in saying that, if I were connected with the Seamen's Union, I should under such circumstances hesitate before I recommended the members to take advantage of the provisions of the measure. But the fact that the seamen did not register would not get them out of the difficulty, because the ship-owners would register, knowing the position that they themselves have gained under the. Bill. Where the competition' comes from is immaterial to our workers. I am not a sentimentalist who thinks that the competition of British shipping is any better for those interested than is competition from any other part of the world. But if we reject these clauses, we shall in effect say that we are willing to face all the competition of the world. If, after deliberately discussing this matter in Parliament, we came, to the conclusion that seamen are not to be included, the probability is that the- Seamen's Union would not register; but the ship-owners would register their association, and would give notice of a reduction of wages. The case would come before the Court, and the local ship-owners would be able to show at once that the wages in Australia were twice as much as, and in some cases considerably more, than the wages paid on oversea vessels trading on the coast. For able seamen the wages range from £6 ios. on Australian ships to £2 17s. 6d. on foreign ships, while the wages for firemen run from £8 ios. to as low as £1 14s. The ship-owners would be able, without difficulty, to show this difference in wages, and prove what, indeed, cannot be denied, that competition 'does exist. This competition does not prevail to such an extent in regard to freight ; but the right honorable member for Swan told us that in the year 1898-99 £66,477 was l°st t0 local shipping companies by competition in the passenger trade.

Mr Robinson - The local companies did very well, all the same.

Mr POYNTON - That has nothing to do- with the case.

Mr Robinson - It has a great deal to do with the case.

Mr POYNTON - I submit that whether one company is paying well or not, has nothing to do with the matter. The success of the local companies, despite the competition, mav be a matter of management or of machinery. Would the honorable and learned member for Wannon apply the same .method to other industries? Would. he say that one woollen manufactory, simply because it was able to pay only small dividends, should not be subject to the common rule, but should be allowed to pay a lower rate of wages than another woollen manufactory, which was earning larger dividends? The honorable' and learned member will see where his argument would lead him. In the case I ami supposing, the ship-owners would give their evidence, and, under the circumstances, would naturally ask - and will ask as sure as we are here - for a reduction of wages. Could the President of the Court, whoever he were, . justify the keeping up of wages .in Australia, while vessels belonging to a large number of different foreign companies were allowed to compete for the Australian trade? I venture to submit that he would be compelled to admit that the ship-owners had made out a case for a reduction of wages. It has been asked, in what way would Australian seamen benefit by an increase of wages on foreign vessels? But what is to be dreaded is a decrease of wages ; the question of an increase does not come into consideration under present circumstances. With the seamen, it is a matter of holding what they have at present ; and if we pass this Bill without these clauses, we shall provide the shipowners with machinery, which they will use to obtain a reduction of wages, while the seamen will have no course open to them but that of submitting to the award of the Court. It has been said that dividends regulate wages. I am astounded at the position taken up by some of the representatives of Western Australia in this matter. The honorable member for Perth stated the other night that the oversea companies are justified in paying what are low wages in comparison with the wages paid on Australianowned vessels.

Mr Fowler - I did not justify the wages paid, but I proved that the oversea companies are at a disadvantage as compared with the local owners.

Mr POYNTON - The honorable member's argument was to the effect that, as the oversea companies do not pay as high dividends as have been paid by the Australian companies - and he quoted share lists anddividend notices to show that that is so - they are justified in paying lower rates of wages than are paid on the vessels engaged in our coasting trade. I should like him to apply that argument to mining operations. Would he say that a British company owning a mine in Western Australia, the working of which did not produce dividends, would be justified in paying lower wages than the proprietors of other mines in the locality ; or would he say that a woollen factory which, perhaps, in consequence of obsolete machinery and bad management, was not paying dividends, should give its men lower wages than a woollen factory which was paying dividends? Cannot the honorable member see where such an argument would land us? The honorable member for Fremantle by interjection took up the same position, but when I asked him if he would apply the principle' to the mines of Western Australia, he said that the case was different. I am thoroughly aware that when things are different they are not the same; but honorable members cannot get away from the fact that the principle involved in all these instances is one and the same.

Mr Fowler - Will the honorable member argue that rates of wages should be uniform throughout Australia? That is the logical conclusion of his argument.

Mr POYNTON -There may be reasons, such as the high cost of living, inconvenience of position, and so forth, which justify exceptions, and, but for these exceptions, there is not a large difference between the wages paid in the various parts of Australia.

Mr Fowler - The difference between the wages paid to miners in Western Australia and those paid to miners in Vic toria is as much as 100 per cent. Would the honorable member level down the Western Australian rate?

Mr POYNTON - Does the honorable member mean to say that, taking into consideration the cost of living, there is a difference of 100 per cent. ?

Mr Fowler - In some cases there is very nearly that difference.

Mr POYNTON - Is not the rate of wages largely determined by the cost of living? In some places £4 a week does not buy as much as £2 a week in other places. When I say that there is not much difference between the rates of wages prevailing in the various parts of Australia, I take into consideration the difference between the cost of living in various places.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A British sailor receiving £-6 1 os. a month would be a great deal better off than the local seaman who is paid that rate of wage.

Mr POYNTON - I wish to know from the representatives of Australia when their antipathy to legislation of the kind proposed first began. In November, 1902, when the Commonwealth Trades' Union Congress was held in Sydney, the following motion was moved: -

The introduction of a Federal Navigation Bill containing provisions for the protection of Australian shipping from the competition of foreign and British steamers in the coastal trade of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the abolition of the employment of kanakas upon Australian steamers trading from Australian ports to the South Sea Islands is advisable.

Senator deLargie seconded that motion, and in doing so said that it " touched a matter in which he felt a great interest." He proceeded to deal chiefly with the employment of Lascars, and pointed out that the question was greatly one of conditions of life and labour surroundings generally. He thought that the motion should secure the support of every delegate. Senator Pearce took up a rather careful and shrewd attitude. He used an argument which might have been valid on that occasion, but is not valid now. He thought that the motion should be made a lever to obtain the passing of a Commonwealth Arbitration Act, and pointed out that in New Zealand there is- a Navigation Act compelling the registration of Aus.tralianowned vessels, which brought them under the Arbitration Act. Then he asked what would be the position if similar steps were not taken here. He showed that the position would be that which I have placed before honorable members to-night, and, in conclusion, he said -

If the owners were helped without the workers also being safeguarded, the latter might find themselves in the position of the Victorian employees, who, after assisting the employers to obtain protection, were forced to fight them for the Factories Act.

I submit that the reason why the Premier of New Zealand, iri 1896, introduced an amendment of the Navigation Act to come into force concurrently with the Arbitration Act was that he saw that without such legislation the seamen would be in a very bad position. I ask those who object to the insertion of the proposed new clauses in the Bill if they would support them if they were introduced in a separate Bill, or proposed again as part of the Navigation Bill? The Government should seriously consider the advisability of reinserting these clauses in the Navigation Bill if the reason urged against them is that they are not clauses which should be inserted in this Bill. '

Mr Conroy - I think the honorable member, will agree that it is undesirable to insert them in this Bill.

Mr POYNTON - Some provision of this kind must be passed, unless our legislation is to injure and not to assist the seamen.

Sir John Forrest - The proposed new clauses do not apply to local seamen at all.

Mr POYNTON - I have not said that they do. But I contend that unless they are enacted, either in this Bill or in a Navigation Bill, our seamen will be in a worse position after the passing of the Arbitration Bill than they are in to-day.

Mr Conroy - In New Zealand they have practically one port only for oversea vessels.

Mr POYNTON - They have a number of large ports in New Zealand. The position of those who are altogether opposed to legislation of this character is at least logica] and consistent, and therefore can be understood. But when we find men expressing sympathy, and then giving us more sympathy, and more sympathy again, but no votes, I am reminded of the old saying that without relief sympathy is like mustard without beef. We want more than sympathy ; we want votes ; we want practical assistance to enable us to pass this legislation. I will deal now with some of the objections to the insertion of the proposed new clauses in the Bill. We have been told by every honorable member who has spoken on the Opposition side of the chamber that there is no competition worthy of the name between the local and oversea shipping companies. In the very next breath we are told by them that the passing of this legislation would result in the creation of a monopoly. Surely these are contradictory statements.

Mr Conroy - There is no competition between the local shipping companies, because they have practically formed a trust.

Mr POYNTON - If there were no competition what possibility would there be of a monopoly?

Mr Conroy - Unfortunately there is a monopoly.

Mr POYNTON - Should we be in any better position if we refused to embody these clauses in the Bill ?

Mr Conroy - The fear that oversea steamers might enter into competition with them keeps the operations of the trust within reasonable limits.

Mr POYNTON - If these clauses were not embodied in the Bill all the oversea shipping companies would be able to enter into competition with Australian vessels in the coasting trade. They would be free from any restriction, while, on the other hand, the Australian vessels in the trade would be subject to this measure. That would be unfair. I do not take up the position that there is no competition; I merely refer to these two arguments in order to show that one practically destroys the other. As a matter of fact, there is considerable competition on the part of oversea steamers in our coasting trade. In 1898-9 these oversea steam-ships carried 10,000 passengers to and from Western Australia, representing fares amounting to , £66,477.

Mr Conroy - That was to and from Western Australia?

Mr POYNTON - I am speaking of the Western Australian traffic. The figures quoted by the right honorable member for Swan show that in 1903 41,402 passengers travelled to and from Western Australia, and that of this number 13,144 were carried by oversea steamers. That shows an increase of 3,144 as compared with the number of passengers carried by them during the year 1898-9. Practically one-third of the Inter-State passenger traffic of Western Australia was secured in 1903 by the oversea steamers, and yet we are told by some honorable members that there is no competition in the trade.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But the rates charged by the oversea steamers are 50 per cent, higher than those levied by the InterState companies.

Mr POYNTON - In spite of that fact this competition exists. The returns show that the oversea steamers cut very deeply into the coastal passenger traffic. Although there was a large decrease in the total number of passengers carried in 1 903, there was an increase in the number who travelled by oversea steamers.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If I were going to Western Australia I should want to travel bv the largest steamer.

Mr POYNTON - No doubt; but my point is that if the owners of the oversea vessels wish to cater for our trade they should be willing to be subjected to the laws which extend to the Australian coasting steamers. In common fairness both should be under the same law. We might have adopted the United States system, and have refused to allow any but Australian steamers to carry a ton of freight or even one passenger in the coasting trade ; or the Government might have proposed to adopt the New Zealand system.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable member wishes the Commonwealth to have complete control over oversea steamers owned by our fellow-countrymen. That is something different from the system adopted bv the United States.

Mr POYNTON - In what respect? What difference does it make to an Australian ship-owner whether the vessels which compete with him come from England, Germany, or France? What difference does it make to a manufacturer in the Commonwealth whether the free goods which compete with his own come from England or Germany?

Mr Reid - What . about preferential trade?. We are going to get it by-and-by.

Mr POYNTON - I have vet to learn that the average protectionists of Victoria would be satisfied to allow the manufactured goods of England to enter this State free of duty. When they are prepared to do so, it will be time enough for us to discuss the question of preferential trade. From a local stand-point, there is no sentiment associated with business ; there is no sentiment attaching to the search for employment. If a man be out of work, it is immaterial to him when he comes to settle his baker's and butcher's bills whether his want of employment is due to competition in the shape of the importation of manufactured goods from Germany or from England. The United States passed shipping laws which apply to every vessel other than those owned in America. Do they allow an English vessel to engage in their coasting trade ?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Could the Legislature of an American colony exclude American steamers from its coasting trade?

Mr POYNTON - I do not suppose it could, but the United States exclude all foreign vessels from their trade. I do not wish to apply that system to the Australian coasting trade, because I do not think we are ready for it; but I believe the time will come when it will be adopted. I fail to' see, however, that any injustice would be done to owners of oversea vessels by adopting these clauses. If I go to any country to earn a livelihood, I am compelled to have regard to the local laws; and, if owners of oversea vessels participate in our coasting trade, then, in fairness to our own coastal shipping they should be subjected to hie same conditions that men working here have to recognise. One honorable member told us that these provisions would be unfair to oversea shipping companies, and yet a little later on he asserted that if they were passed, they would be inoperative. That is a curious piece of logic.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The two statements are not contradictory. The honorable member said that if these clauses were operative, there would be one result, and if they were inoperative, another.

Mr POYNTON - If these provisions were inoperative, how would the oversea ship-owners be affected?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - " If " they were inoperative.

Mr POYNTON - We are told by some honorable members that these provisions would be unfair to oversea shipping companies, and by others that they would be inoperative. A more serious argument is, that if these provisions were passed, the Bill would necessarily be reserved for the Royal Assent. There is something tangible in that objection; but it is, after all, only a matter of degree. Without some provision to protect them against the competition of oversea shipping this Bill would be worse than useless to the seamen of the Commonwealth.

Mr Reid - If the clauses were put in a separate Bill there would be no disadvantage to the seamen, while those engaged in other industries would at once secure the advantages of this measure.

Mr POYNTON - Would the right honorable member support legislation similar to that adopted in New Zealand in 1896, when, concurrently with the passing of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, a Bill to amend the Shipping and Seamen Act was passed? I have a copy of that amending Act, and will read its provisions to the right honorable member. If he is prepared to support similar legislation it is not too late for him to do so.

Mr Reid - That is not the question. The question is whether the honorable member wishes to assist in causing this Bill to be '' hung up, ' ' and to adopt any view of my own as a reason for doing so.

Mr POYNTON - That is too thin. I do not wish to see the Bill " hung up," but, at the same time, I do not desire to see the seamen in a worse position than they are at present.

Mr Reid - It is admitted that the insertion of these clauses in the Bill would cause it to be " hung up."

Mr. POYNTON__So far as the seamen are concerned, the measure would be " hung up " for all time if it did not contain these provisions. They would be left perfectly helpless. The Inter-State shipping companies would register under it, and the local seamen would come within its purview, but those employed on oversea vessels would not. In that event the very fact that we had refused to agree to these provisions would be urged as a reason for making an award reducing the wages of the local seamen. As I have already mentioned, the New Zealand Parliament in 1896 passed a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and at' the same time a Bill to amend the Shipping and Seamen Act. They must have considered that there was some reason for passing the two measures concurrently. The last-named measure contains these provisions : -

Notwithstanding anything contained in the principal Act or any amendment thereof, it is hereby declared that whenever the master, owner, or agent of any ship -

1.   Engages seamen in the colony, or

2.   Having engaged them abroad, employs them in the colony, such seamen whilst so employed, shall be paid and may recover the current rate of wages for the time being ruling in the colony, and in the former case the engagement may be determined in the colony at any time after the ship's arrival at her final port of discharge in the colony, consequent on the completion of a round voyage, by 24 hours' previous notice on either side ;

This is the way in which they exempted the direct trade - provided that this section shall not apply to ships arriving from abroad with passengers or cargo, but not trading in the colony further or otherwise than for the purpose of discharging such original passengers or cargo in the colony, and there shipping fresh passengers or cargo to be carried abroad. .

We have been told that, by passing these provisions, we' should penalize the primary producers of Australia. Are there no primary producers in New Zealand, wherethis legislation has been in operation since 1896?

Mr Reid - They have an abundant rainfall in New Zealand ; unfortunately, we have not.

Mr POYNTON - They had a good rainfall during the time that Sir Julius Vogel was in office - they had the same soil and the same sunshine as they have now - but the results obtained were very different. Since then their exports have increased at a marvellous rate. I am not aware that the amending Shipping and Seamen's Act has in any way increased freights. I believe that they are lower to-day than they were even before the passing of that measure. Let us see what Mr. Seddon has to say as to the effect of the passing of that measure. I am indebted to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who has handed me a copy of a telegram received from Mr. Seddon, in reply to one forwarded to him inquiring -

Do navigation laws injure producers' export trade ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What a simple question to ask.

Mr POYNTON - Does the honorable member regard the Honorable Richard Seddon as a simpleton?


Mr POYNTON - Does not the honorable member admit that he knows as well as any one else what is good for his own people ?


Mr POYNTON - He says, in reply-

Our navigation laws have proved beneficial both to workers and producers. They have kept down coastal freights all the year round. To say that our navigation laws have not been beneficial, or that they have injured the producers, is a pure fabrication.

That is the opinion of the Premier of New Zealand, and, as we know, no country in the Southern Hemisphere has, in proportion to its size, exported as much produce as has that colony. It has been stated that, because the Navigation Bill has been referred to a Commission, these clauses should also be made the subject of inquiry. I have, however, already urged that the Arbitration Bill must contain provisions which will protect the interests of those who are connected with our local shipping industry, or it will be absolutely useless, so far as the seamen are concerned. The Navigation Bill consists of over 400 clauses, and the measure is of no special urgency. Therefore, I can understand that there were very good reasons for referring it to a Commission. If the clauses now under our consideration are not included in the Bill, a short measure embodying them should be introduced - as was done in New Zealand. Unless some such provision is made I shall not hesitate to advise the Seamen's Union to have nothing to do with the measure. There is no sentiment about steam-ship owners, and they will take advantage of any opportunity that may present itself for- reducing the wages of their employes under the Bill.

The seamen would be worse off than at present, because they would be deprived of the weapons they now possess. If they went before the Arbitration Court, the employers would be able to justify a reduction of wages on the strength of the low rates paid by the oversea companies which compete with them in the coastal trade. It has been urged that, if the provisions now before us were embodied in the Bill, some of the States would be placed" at a disadvantage; but I fail to see that there is any good reason for taking that view. Western Australia will not be in any worse position than at present. Is it supposed that the mail steamers will be taken off the line, or that they will fail to make Fremantle a port of call?-

Mr Conroy - Great difficulty was experienced in inducing the mail companies to make Fremantle a port of call.

Mr POYNTON - If there was any disposition on the part of the mail companies to ignore Fremantle, they would do so without waiting for such legislation as is now proposed.

Mr Conroy - This may prove to be the last straw.

Mr POYNTON - I do not think that it will have any effect. The number of steamers calling at Fremantle will not be reduced in the slightest degree.

Mr Conroy - If the provisions will have no effect, why should we adopt them?

Mr POYNTON - They will have the effect of protecting the very men in whose interests the measure was first conceived. Was not that made perfectly clear by the right honorable member for Adelaide? From time to time conferences have been held between the seamen and their employers with reference to the wages rates, and final consideration has been held over pending the passing of legislation such as that now contemplated. The steam-ship owners first reduced the wages of the seamen from £7 to £6 10s. per month, and then proposed a further reduction to j£6.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The sworn figures show that that was an absolutely unjustifiable proposal.

Mr POYNTON - Be that as it may, the fact remains that such an attempt was made. After a great deal of discussion, it was agreed that the wages should be maintained at £6 10s. for a certain period, which, about four or five months ago, was further extended for twelve months. The main reason for this extension was the expectation of the steam-ship owners that legislation would be passed that would protect them from unfair competition on the part of oversea steamers. If the Government proposals are rejected, a serious ^attempt will be made almost immediately to reduce the wages of the seamen.

Mr Reid - The steam-ship companies would have to show their books, which would disclose the payment of big dividends, before that could happen.

Mr POYNTON - It is all very well for the right honorable gentleman to talk about the companies having to show their books. I' have had some experience in connexion with industrial disputes, and I know that the fact that the employers are making big profits does not safeguard the employes against a reduction of wages. What occurred during the big strike at Broken Hill? Did the enormous dividends which were being paid by the companies protect the employes in the mines from a reduction?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There was no Court to appeal to in that case.

Mr POYNTON - There will be no Court in this case either, unless special provision is made by means of the clauses now submitted to the Committee. How would the honorable member like it, if he were in business and had to pay Australian rates of wages and comply with many other special conditions, whilst certain of his competitors were exempt from compliance with all such requirements. I am sure that he would not consider it fair. I would make one last appeal to honorable members not to reject the clauses. During the debate which took place this afternoon with regard to the unemployed, the right honorable member for East Sydneyasked us not to give men a stone when they were asking for bread. I may tell honorable members that they are now offering to the unionists a stone instead of the bread for which they are asking. Everything that is dear to the hearts of the trade unionists has been denied them under this measure.

Mr Conroy - Do the trades unionists constitute the whole of the citizens of the Commonwealth

Mr POYNTON - No; but they have done their share in building up the Commonwealth, and have performed more than their part in bringing about reforms. They have always formed the advance guard of the great reform movement, both in England and Australia. They have paved the way for the weak-kneed politicians, who have been impelled to associate themselves with movements brought within the range of practical politics through the efforts of the trades unionists, long before the Labour Party was directly represented in Parliament. The trades unionists are asking for legislation based upon the experience of New Zealand for many years. It' has been proved there that such enactments do not interfere with the primary producers, and do not penalize the humane employer, but, on the other hand, place him in a better position by protecting him against the avarice and greed of his unfair competitors. They are asking for this legislation in exchange for the sacrifice which they are making in giving up all their old methods. These have proved very useful, but in hine cases out of ten were very costly. In many a struggle the trades unions have been the victors, but much loss has been incurred by the rank and file, and much suffering has been entailed upon all concerned. The men were . urged to abandon their barbarous, methods of settling disputes, and to take advantage of the franchise in order to secure by legal enactment that which they had practically been taking by force. Now they are being offered a measure which I am absolutely ashamed to mention before them. Every consideration has been given to the nonunionists, and none has been shown for the unionists. Now it is proposed to exclude from the benefits of the Bill the seamen employed along our coasts, who follow the most dangerous of callings, and who, when they leave their homes to enter upon a voyage, do not know whether they will ever come back again. It is desired by those honorable members who are opposing the Government proposals to place these men in a worse position than they occupy at present. Some honorable members complain because it is proposed to make arbitration compulsory. They say that they believe in arbitration, but they say, " Let it be voluntary." I desire, in connexion with this aspect of the question, to quote the opinion of an authority, who said -

All the enemies of the law, in fact, avow themselves passionate devotees of arbitration, and' all they ask is that the compulsion shall be stricken out of the law, so that they can give the world the magnificent spectacle of voluntary arbitration for which they yearn. But these same men refused arbitration when it was not compulsory. At the worst, the .compulsion, we think, can do them no real harm, since it only forces these devotees of arbitration to do what they profess to be willing to do without the law. If they had given us conciliation when it was in their power, we would not have asked for compulsion.

That is the position taken up by any man who has had any experience in connexion with disputes between capital and labour. [ have seen men begging almost on their knees for a conference, or for any reasonable method of settling a dispute, when a few individuals who have stood out were able to defeat the others. I wish to give a summary of the effects of a similar law in New Zealand. Strikes and lock-outs have been stopped; wages and terms have been fixed, so that manufacturers can make their contracts ahead, without fear of disturbance ; workmen knowing that their income cannot - be cut down, and that they cannot be locked out, can marry, buy land, and build houses in security.

Suggest corrections