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Tuesday, 13 September 1904

Mr ROBINSON (Wannon) - I have just spent two or three minutes in looking up the Hansard report of the discussion upon this amendment, and I must say that I am astounded at the attitude which has been taken up by honorable members opposite. No doubt the Committee will recollect the debate which took place upon a former occasion. The honorable and learned member for Angas moved ari amendment to limit the organizations which could register to organizations which were constituted solely for the purposes of the Act. The honorable and learned member for Corinella moved a lesser amendment, prohibiting organizations which had political aims or objects from coming before the

Court. Then the honorable and learned members for Darling Downs and Indi prepared an amendment to the effect that no organization should be allowed to ask for preference if it were a political organization. The reasons which they gave are fully set out in Hansard). The honorable and learned member for Darling Downs is reported on page 2918 of that record to have said -

For my part, I should prefer that unions should not have political rules. At the same time, I say that if there is a large organization, composing nearly all the employes engaged in a specific trade, and if they have political objects in view, I do not believe that when they come before the Court for a decision in an industrial dispute the Court will be actuated in any way by a consideration of the politics of the union.

Later on, he said -

I again point out that the difficulty can arise only in connexion with the giving of a preference to unionists. I should like to ask the Minister of External Affairs, who is at present in charge of the Bill, if he will consider the advisability of dealing with this difficulty. Could we not provide that, where unions are political bodies, no preferences shall be given them until the objectionable political features are removed from their rules?

So that the first suggestion came from the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs. He continued -

The honorable and learned member for Indi and I have given this matter considerable consideration. We have tried to see whether we could not meet what is the substantial objection against the clause.

Later on, he said -

When we come again to deal with the question of preference to unionists, what I desire to see carried is an amendment which will provide that no preference of any description whatever shall be given to a union if by rule its funds may be appropriated in whole or in part for political objects.

Mr Lonsdale - They could be political up to the last moment, and then be dropped.

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