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Thursday, 29 September 1904


Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo) - It is to be deeply regretted that certain honorable members will continuously and persistently endeavour to introduce into this House ancient squabbles in a State Parliament. I believe, however, that every reasonable man here deprecates any efforts of that kind, and I rejoice to notice that, at any rate, the Labour Opposition, to their credit, are no party to those disgraceful attempts. Resuming the thread of my address, which was interrupted last night, I desire to draw attention to a remark made by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney in the course of his speech. That honorable and learned member complained that the Labour Party had been " butchered " - had not received fair play. In reply, I am justified in saying that if there was any ' ' butchery ' ' it was self-inflicted. As to the treatment which the Labour Ministry received during their term of office - which extended from 27th April to 17th August, or nearly four months - I may say, from my knowledge of the inner life of the party to which I belong, and of those with whom I was associated while sitting in Opposition, that we did all we could to secure fair play for Ministers. I was not aware of any underhanded attempt to displace the Government ; on the contrary, it was generally thought that a little Ministerial innings would do them good - that no harm would result. It was thought that whilst in office the Labour Party were practically " on the chain " - that they had given securities for good behaviour, and that they would emerge from office better and abler men, probably more appreciative of a Minister's difficulties and responsibilities. There was a general consensus of opinion, so far as my knowledge goes, that they should have a fair trial, which, I believe, they got. The Government went on with their measures, and challenged the verdict of the House upon a certain clause in the Arbitration Bill, with the result that they were fairly and honorably beaten.


Mr Spence - No; the business was taken out of the hands of the Government.


Sir JOHN QUICK - That is the complaint I heard made last night. But surely the House is not to be so impotent and so recreant to its trust that, if a Ministry objects to the introduction of a clause into a Bill, it is to surrender its powers and prerogatives. In this case the House viewed the Bill with generous fairness, and with a desire to see it passed into law. There was no wish whatever to emasculate the measure ; on the contrary, there was a desire to have workable legislation, and I believe that as a result of our deliberations the Bill is one which we can recommend to the electors of Australia.


Mr Carpenter - Unions will not register under the Bill.


Sir JOHN QUICK - We shall see about that later on. During the exhaustive debates on the Bill a flood of light, of which we previously had not the advantage, was cast upon its provisions ; the debate, indeed, amounted to a revelation to many of us. I admit that, with reference to the clause enabling the Court to give preference to unionists, I, for one, like the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, when the Bill was first introduced, acquiesced in it without a murmur. We thought that the power thus given would only be used on rare occasions, such as when a strike or dispute occurred regarding the employment of unionists or non-unionists. We regarded the clause' as an incident in the Bill, and not as one involving its very spirit and essence. But as the debate went on, our eyes were opened, and it dawned on the House that this apparently harmless provision, intended to be a mere incident, was being utilized in New South Wales, and would be utilized under the Bill, as a great transforming agent - that the clause would convert a judicial tribunal, for the bond fide settlement of industrial disputes, into a great electioneering agency. I am sure that that was not the intention of the original framers of the Bill when they inserted this harmless provision. It only shows how a clause, which maybe well meant in its inception, may, in the course of experience and manipulation, be transformed into an instrument for a. purpose not originally intended or contemplated.


Mr Hutchison - That is an absurd exaggeration.


Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - Who framed the Bill?


Sir JOHN QUICK - It is not a matter for surprise that many friends of the Bill, such as the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, who brought it in, and others, when this light was gradually being thrown upon its provisions, thought it time to surround and hedge this power of giving preference to unionists with certain reasonable and legitimate safeguards.


Mr Webster - Impracticable safeguards.


Sir JOHN QUICK - We shall see whether they are impracticable. In the debate on that clause, the then Prime Minister, in endeavouring to persuade honorable members not to pass the amendment ofthe honorable and learned member for Corinella, said -

The Government do not desire that preferences shall be granted to minorities. ... So far as I have been able to ascertain, the New South Wales Court has never granted preference to a union which did not appear to have a majority within the district to which it was toapply.

I assume that that statement was founded by the honorable member upon an intimate knowledge of the unions, and of the working of the Arbitration Act in that State. If that be so, what was the objection to the amendment, which was intended to restrict the exercise of the power by the Court to cases where majorities wanted preference?


Mr Hutchison - Because the Court could not find out if there was a majority.


Sir JOHN QUICK - How has the Court of New South Wales found out that there was a majority, according to that provision ?


Mr Watson - The Court has not required absolute proof.


Sir JOHN QUICK - No absolute proof would be required in this case.


Mr Watson - Yes, there would.


Sir JOHN QUICK - No; any affidavit filed by a member of a union stating that to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief, the people represented in the dispute before the Court constituted a majority of those affected, would be sufficient. I have no doubt that the Court, in the exercise of its judicial discretion, would accept an affidavit founded upon knowledge and belief.


Mr Hughes - What rot !


Mr Deakin - This Court is not bound by the ordinary rules of evidence.


Mr Hughes - An affidavit filed by the other side would knock that one out.


Sir JOHN QUICK - This Court is so constituted that it may accept evidence founded upon knowledge and belief.


Mr Deakin - It is to be especially so constituted.


Sir JOHN QUICK - It is not bound by the ordinary strict rules of evidence, which require statements to be verified on oath.


Mr Mauger - Then, why stick to the provision ?


Sir JOHN QUICK -Because we wanted that majority principle, admitted by the then Prime Minister, chrystallized in the form of a section in an Act of Parliament. We desired the Court to have notice as to the conditions on which the power of granting preference is to be exercised.


Mr Hutchison - What is to be done if each side makes an affidavit ?


Sir JOHN QUICK - We shall leave it to the Court to decide.

Honorable Members. - "Trust the Court " !


Sir JOHN QUICK - There can be no doubt that the division on that clause of the Bill established in this House a line of cleaveage and demarcation which remains at the. present moment unobliterated. That division is responsible for a change of Government, and for our presence on the Ministerial benches this afternoon. There can be no doubt that this provision about preference to unionists, originally an incident, has been converted into the essence of the whole struggle. Take the honorable members on this side who belong to the Liberal Protectionist Party. We were all strongly in favour of the Bill as originally launched for compulsory arbitration in matters of industrial dispute.


Mr Watson - And promptly voted against it.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Certainly not.


Mr Watson - On nearly every occasion when an amendment was moved.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Certainly not.

We never voted against the fundamental principle of compulsory arbitration to settle industrial disputes. Surely the honorable member will grant the main principle of compulsory arbitration for the settlement of industrial disputes. If so, why object to reasonable conditions being attached to it ?


Mr Hughes - The conditions proposed are not reasonable.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Those conditions do not in any way assail or impair the main principle.


Mr Hughes - Undoubtedly they do. They render the Bill ineffective.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I think we can appeal to the sense of fair play of the people of Australia when they read its provisions to find that it is a Liberal measure - one which is founded on logic and reason, and which will give effect to the original intention of its framers.


Mr Deakin - The Opposition did not support 10 per cent. of vital alterations proposed by the Government themselves.


Mr Watson - There was only one vital alteration proposed by the Government.


Mr Deakin - The Government proposed five vital alterations, as I shall show presently.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I contend that preference to unionists is not an essential to compulsory arbitration.


Mr Groom - But the honorable and learned member favoured the granting of preference to unionists.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I supported it as an incident, but it is not an essential to compulsory arbitration. I think we can appeal to the people of Australia to decide this point.

Honorable Members. - Hear, hear !


Sir JOHN QUICK - I hold in my hand a copy of a report by the Chief Inspector of Factories in Victoria, dated 25th June, 1904. Referring to the provisions of the Victorian factory law, he says -

The principle of compulsory arbitration, which has been abolished, so far as several boards were concerned, by the substitution of seven-tenths majorities by the Act of 1902, was restored by the Act of 1903.

In this State we have in force a number of boards charged by Act of Parliament with the duty of determining rates of wages, hours of work, and conditions of labour. In this report it is shown that a large number of boards have been appointed, have done their work, and have made awards dealing with various branches of trade and industry.


Mr Batchelor - But the machinery is entirely different.


Sir JOHN QUICK - There are no less than thirty-eight boards affecting over 38,000 operators, and according to this report -

Determinations made by the above boards are now in force, with the exception of the Artificial Manure, the Dressmakers, the Ironmoulders, and the Tinsmiths' Boards. The determinations in force appear to be well observed considering the numbers affected. There have been breaches of the law during the year under review, but many were the result of misunderstanding or inadvertence.

In Victoria, therefore, we have no less than thirty-eight trades in connexion with which there has been compulsory arbitration for the settlement of labour disputes.


Mr Mauger - There is no compulsory arbitration.


Sir JOHN QUICK - There is.


Mr Mauger - Where is the compulsion ?


Sir JOHN QUICK - Under the Factories Act not one of these boards has power to give preference to unionists.


Mr Mauger - Where is the compulsion ?


Sir JOHN QUICK - Why does the honorable member, who is one of the strongest advocates of the Wages Boards system, ridicule what I say ?


Mr Mauger - I am not. I am only ridiculing the comparison which is sought to be established between the two systems.


Sir JOHN QUICK - The comparison is most important, and quite relevant, because one of the tests applied to a democratic candidate in this State hitherto has been, " Are you in favour of Wages Boards and the Factories Act?" These boards have made determinations in thirty-eight industries, and the awards have been enforced by the Government without reference to the question of preference to unionists.


Mr Mauger - With what result?


Sir JOHN QUICK - The chief inspector told me yesterday that the awards have been enforced very satisfactorily.


Mr Mauger - With what result to those who helped to enforce them?


Sir JOHN QUICK - There are inspectors appointed to see that the awards are enforced, and receive complaints if there is any breach of an award. When there is a breach of an award the occupier of the factory is prosecuted.


Mr Mauger - And some of the best men are starving to-day, because they are out of work.


Mr SPEAKER - Order ; I ask the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who has not yet spoken, and who will therefore, have an opportunity to reply to any speaker, not to interject.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I noticed that the Hansardreport of my speech last night contains more interjections than observations of mine. I have no objection to occasional interjections from a friendly source, but when they come like a hurricane, one is upset, to some extent.


Mr Mauger - I apologize.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I would ask the honorable member to reflect upon the good work done by the Wages Boards here, and to consider whether it does not support my argument that, whilst we may put preference to unionists as an incident, there is no necessity to make it the essence and the condition precedent to Federal legislation on the subject.


Mr Hutchison - Then the unionists will stick to the strike weapon.


Sir JOHN QUICK - No.


Mr Batchelor - Thev will.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I do not believe that there has been a single strike in this State after an award has- been made by a Wages Board. The workmen, after having fought out the matter before the Wages Board, on which they are represented, generally acquiesce in the award. I believe that the workers, not only of Victoria, but of Australia generally, would acquiesce in the awards if there were not on the scene agitators, who are only too willing to stir up strife and prevent men from obeying the law. I think it is well that this issue should be emphasized at every stage of this debate, and now, having called in evidence the Victorian Fac: tories Act in support of my contention that preference to unionists is not an essential part of compulsory arbitration-


Mr Poynton - The honorable and learned member does not seriously compare the two measures?


Sir JOHN QUICK - I do, most decidedly.


Mr Poynton - What power does the State law give to enforce an award ?


Sir JOHN QUICK - When there is a breach, the award is enforced by a prosecution in the Court.


Mr Poynton - What guarantee is there that the award will be given effect to?


Sir JOHN QUICK - The guarantee is that the Court will give effect to the award.


Mr Poynton - There is no power in the union to make- the award effective.


Sir JOHN QUICK - The honorable member assumes that an award, when it is made, will not be carried out by the workmen. He has no right to make that assumption.


Mr Poynton - I did not say that.


Sir JOHN QUICK - If the honorable -member believes in compulsory arbitration, surely he ought to believe that the parties to a dispute will obey an award when it is made ?


Mr Poynton - No machinery is, provided in the Act for enforcing an award.


Sir JOHN QUICK - What right has the honorable member to assume that the workmen will not obey an award ?


Mr Poynton - Are the Wages Boards empowered to enforce their awards ? I


Sir JOHN QUICK - No; because the Wages Boards are founded upon the assumption that the workmen will obey their awards.


Mr Poynton - Any excuse is better than none.


Sir JOHN QUICK - The honorable member appears to assume that the workpeople would have to be forced to obey the awards by criminal- prosecutions.


Mr Poynton - Any excuse is better than none.


Mr SPEAKER - Order. The honorable member for Grey will have an opportunity to speak later.


Sir JOHN QUICK - If the honorable member continues to interrupt me, I must continue to direct my remarks to him. I say that the honorable member seems anxious that there should be a provision in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill for the purpose of coercing workpeople. That is what he desires. I contend that that is not necessary. If the workpeople of Victoria and Australia generally are let alone, they will obey these awards without coercion.


Mr Poynton - The Miners' Association sars that preference is necessary.


Sir JOHN QUICK - They will obey these awards without the intervention of any Court or trades union council. I may say that they have done it in Victoria, and it is therefore not necessary that we should create these huge trades union organizations, and intrust them with Ministerial powers to coerce workmen- I believe that most of the democratic organs of public opinion in Australia have arrived at the conclusion that compulsory preference to unionists, as developed in the Bill, and as advocated by the Labour Party, is a menace to personal liberty, and a danger to those whom it is intended to .benefit. In this connexion, I should like to quote one or two passages from the Age newspaper, which has always been the advocate of the working classes in this State. It has advocated the passing of factory laws, and the due administration of those laws.


Mr Mauger - Will the honorable and learned member quote what the Age says about the Coalition at the same time?


Sir JOHN QUICK - The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is interrupting again, but I can tell him that I shall come to the Coalition presently, and to the honorable member's participation in the alliance. -Will -the honorable member- kindly listen to this, from the Age of 27th July. It is rather interesting reading, and it will probably be found to be useful to honorable members during the Federal campaign ? -

The proposed wholesale dismissal of men and women from their employment by order of an Arbitration Court is becoming more distastefulto members of the Federal Parliament the more its moral and industrial consequences are inquired into. Preference to unionists must mean the dismissal of non-unionists ; and this must take place on a very extensive scale if the principle of preference is to be applied in anything like the way proposed by the Watson Government.


Sir John Forrest - Honorable members opposite are all silent now.


Mr Hutchison - They cannot come under the Act at all unless they are unionists.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Here is another passage -

Members do not take kindly to the idea of instructing any Court, or even giving it the power to compel employers to dismiss one set of employes and give a right of preference to others.


Mr Hutchison - Does notthe honorable and learned member see how ridiculous that is, when they must belong to unions before they can come under the measure ?


Sir JOHN QUICK - Let the honorable member ask the editor of the Age.


Mr Hutchison - Apparently he does not know it either, and requires instruction.


Mr Tudor - The honorable and learned member for Bendigo may have to ask the editor of the Age to support him in a little while.

SirJOHN QUICK.- Here is another passage -

The true influence which in this matter of the Arbitration Bill has converted the Watson Government's majority into a minority has been the thought that the measure, instead of being a means of promoting industrial peace, is being converted into an instrument for ejecting large numbers of persons from their billets.


Mr Hutchison - Yet they must be unionists before they can come under the law. How absurd !


Sir JOHN QUICK - Here is another passage -

Extreme State Socialists, who are concerned in the working of the Political Labour Councils, are acting quite logically in setting great store by the preference clause. A Trades Hall Council, sitting in judgment to determine who was to be thrust out of employment in favour of its nominees, would be almost an exact counterpart of the Socialistic rulers whom such theorists as Marx and Lasalle would have installed in absolute control of the universal State industry. But the more this kind of scheme is realised in actual life, or in proposals which have been advocated in the arena of practical politics, the less it commends itself to common-sense people who retain their ordinary notions of justice and humanity.


Mr Kelly - What does the honorable and learned member for Indi say to that ?


Mr Frazer - I think the honorable and learned member must be quoting from the Argus.


Sir JOHN QUICK - That is from the Age of 27th July. I now propose to quote some passages from a leading article appearing in the Age of 12th August, which was published on the eve of the great division upon the amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for Corinella, and in this leading article we are invited to support the amendment, by language and argument stronger than any used by honorable members on the floor of the House.


Mr Webster - Did that influence the honorable and learned member?


Sir JOHN QUICK - No, certainly not; but I place these arguments on record for the use of the honorable member for Gwydir during the Federal campaign..


Mr Webster - The honorable and learned member need not trouble about me; he will have plenty to do in looking after himself.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I take these passages from the leading article of the Age of 12 th August -

Members have now fully realised how deeply they will be compromised in the eyes of many of their constituents if they use the mandate given to them at the general elections for the purpose of driving men and women out of their employment instead of promoting industrial peace and goodwill among the workers. . . . Nothing could be imagined more repugnant to the spirit of British liberty and toleration than to permit any kind of labour organization to use a Court of law as the instrument for offering to those who differ from it the alternative of joining or being dismissed. . . The more formidable and insidious attack on all outside the unions will have the effect of alienating the sympathies of many thousands of electors. There are a very large number of men who are compelled to vary their employment, and who cannot possibly belong to a union for each class of work which they must take up.

I say that those extracts from leading articles which have appeared in the leading Liberal organ of Victoria, and one of the leading democratic journals of Australia, are entitled to greatweight and consideration.


Mr Webster - After the experience of the New South Wales Arbitration Court they are.


Sir JOHN QUICK - They show that it is possible to have a system of compulsory arbitration for the settlement of industrial disputes founded upon democratic principles, without the introduction of a provision which may be used as an instrument of hardship and tyranny - for the purpose of driving innocent men and women out of employment. '


Mr Webster - I deny the honorable and learned member's statement of the case.


Sir JOHN QUICK - As I have said before, the division on the amendment proposed by the honorable and learned member for Corinella was one which established a line of cleavage in this House, and led to the resignation of the late Ministry. As a matter of personal opinion, I do not think that it was necessary that the late Ministry should have resigned on account of the result of that division, especially in view of the statement made by the late Prime Minister himself, that this preference provision was only intended to be brought into action where the majority in any trade or industry required it, and that it was merely giving legal effect and expression to the practice of the New South Wales Court. If that be so, it merely expressed in writing, in the form of an Act of Parliament, what the late Prime Minister himself desired, and intended should be done. If that be so - and I accept the honorable gentleman's honest assurances at the table that it was so - then why all the uproar ? Why all this fuss because of the insertion of an amendment which was merely intended to give' effect to the desires and intentions of the framers of the Bill? The amendment was merely intended to give effect to the desire that the principle of preference should be applied only where the majority of those engaged in any trade or industry desired it. It should not be forgotten that the clause after all was not introduced for the protection of minorities. It was introduced for the protection of majorities. That was the essence of the clause. It was introduced to prevent any small union which might be scratched up for the purpose of raising a dispute and bringing a case before the Court of Arbitration, being able to snatch a preference behind the backs of the majority of the workers in a trade.


Mr Tudor - That would give the preference to Chinamen in the furniture trade, because they form the majority of the workers in that trade.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I am not the friend of Chinamen. We are dealing here' with white men and Europeans.


Mr Watson - The Chinese would come in under the amendment moved by the honorable and learned member for Corinella.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I point out that the honorable member for Bland himself said - and he cannot go behind it - that he only intended the principle to be brought into operation where majorities were agreed that it should apply.


Mr Watson - Yes; but I proposed to give the Court power to go beyond that if it wished.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Then the honorable gentleman's statement, as reported in Hansard, to the effect that it was only intended to apply in the case of majorities, does not accurately express his intention. I believe, as I said last night, that if the late Prime Minister had been left to his own sober judgment and discretion, he would have cheerfully acquiesced in the decision of honorable members, and would have allowed the amendment to remain in the Bill without raising such a noise about it.


Mr Batchelor - The honorable and learned member does not know the man.


Sir JOHN QUICK - It was only because other influences were at work.


Mr Watson - Ridiculous ! The honorable arid learned member has a keen imagination.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I point out that the honorable member for Bland did not exhibit much alarm when the amendment was first proposed. He allowed the debate to go on in a complacent sort of manner, and scarcely took any part in the discussion.


Mr Watson - There was no debate on the .amendment.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I told the honorable gentleman very clearly what my attitude was upon it.


Mr Watson - The honorable and learned member did' nothing of the sort ; he never said a word about it.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I did. If the honorable gentleman will read my speech, as reported in Hansard, he will see that I expressed .my intention to support the amendment moved by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. The honorable gentleman got up afterwards in reply, and said formally that he objected to the amendment.


Mr Poynton - There are only sixteen lines altogether in Hansard upon it.


Sir JOHN QUICK - He did not give any grave reason why it should be objected to.


Mr Kelly - The amendment of the honorable and learned member for Corinella was referred to by several speakers before him.


Mr Watson - It was never mentioned by any other honorable member.


Mr Kelly - We all knew of it; it was mentioned by half-a-dozen honorable members.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Honorable members will remember that the amendment was carried by the substantial majority of five, after the lapse of a considerable time, during which honorable members on the Government side at the time had an opportunity to reconsider the matter. The Government asked the House to reverse its decision. Honorable members who had voted for it were invited, forsooth, to reverse their previous votes on a clause1 which was suddenly regarded as one of immense vitality and importance. So far as I am concerned, having thoroughly understood and considered it, and having spoken on it, I could not plead ignorance of its effect. The honorable member for Riverina has complained that he was taken by surprise, and desired time for further consideration; but I could offer no such plea as that. I do not think that the honorable member for Bourke pleaded ignorance.


Mr McCay - He has not given any explanation yet.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Because he has not altered his vote. He has not had a chance to alter it.


Sir JOHN QUICK - The honorable member announced his intention to alter it.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I did not.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Then I beg the honorable member's pardon, because I understood that he had done so. While some honorable members may justifiably plead ignorance, or misapprehension, or inadvertence, as a reason for reversing their vote, those who understood what they were doing had no reason for reversing it. The members of the Watson Administration voluntarily staked their existence upon the.chance of procuring a reversal of that vote. I believe1 that they thought that the vote would be reversed, but they miscalculated the material upon which they were operating. They thought that if they could not obtain a reversal of the vote, they would be granted a dissolution, and that the resignation of office would not be necessary. The Go vernor-General upset their calculations on that point. But, having resigned office upon that vital question, why is it that they are so anxious to get back again? Because the same situation will be reproduced, the same vote will have to be taken, and the same or a similar crisis will eventuate, if they again take office. In my opinion, they were practically outgeneralled. If they had shown better generalship, they would have allowed the decision of the Committee to stand, and left the development of the matter to the ordinary course of debate in the other Chamber, and afterwards of messages between the two Houses. Instead of doing so, they asked us to rescind our votes, and to give up a provision which a large number of us were determined to fight for in this House, and, if necessary, in the country.


Mr Poynton - In order to kill the Bill.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Certainly not. I have already pointed out that it was not to kill the Bill. In the Victorian factory legislation there is no such thing as compulsory preference to unionists, and the absence of such a provision has not killed that legislation. The honorable member for Yarra is a powerful advocate of the settlement of industrial disputes in Victoria by means of the Wages Board system. He knows what an immense amount of good has been done by those boards without the granting of preference to unionists. That fact, coupled with the arguments which I have already given, is sufficient to show that the qualification of a provision giving preference to unionists would not kill the Arbitration Bill. But such a qualification may do this : It may . prevent organizations registered for the settlement of industrial disputes from being converted into political organizations. Indeed, the only object of preference was to bring that about. It was desired that the unions should be clothed with a certain amount of power and patronage in connexion with industrial disputes, so that they might be used as the outposts of the Labour Party. I think that I have now said enough on the subject of preference to unionists, though, as it was the main issue which caused the crisis, I think it is as well to accentuate the fact. But I would ask honorable members why are we requested to make a .change of Government at the present time? The Liberal Protectionists were divided as the result of a division on the clause, a large number of them voting for the Bill as it stood, and a still larger number voting for the Bill as amended by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. His amendment having been agreed to, and the Ministry having resigned in consequence, it became the duty of those who voted for it to take the constitutional and parliamentary responsibility for their votes. We could not shirk that responsibility. The Labour Ministry resigned, and a new Ministry had to be formed to carry on the Government. Those who were responsible for the vote which displaced the Watson Administration were bound to see that arrangements were made to carry on the Government of the country, and we should have been recreant to our duty if we had failed to do so. Consequently, we had to cross the floor of the Chamber, and the line of cleavage between -the two parties in this House at the present time was caused by the division to which I have referred. We are kept apart by that division, and we shall have to remain apart pending the settlement of the question. If we do not remain here, we must be identified or associated with it for the purpose of maintaining, and fighting for the principle upon which we are divided. I do not see how we can escape the responsibilities of the situation, whatever its consequences may be. The Ministry was formed as the result of that division, and those of us who sit on this side of the Chamber feel that we are bound, as men of honour, to maintain it, so long as it is able to carry on the Government of the country in a manner consistent with our views, our policy, and our programme. There may not be the same amount of individuality in. the Ministerial organization that there would be if the Ministry were not of a composite character. It is neither a straightout free-trade, nor a straight-out protectionist Administration, and its programme is limited by the composition of its members. I believe that the work which it .will be capable of performing will be of a non-contentious character, but none the less necessary for the welfare of the Commonwealth. It will have to carry out, if it be successful in maintaining its position, a considerable amount of work of a noncontentious character which the late Ministry undertook to perform. One of the grounds of attack which 'has been suggested from the Opposition corner is that it should be turned out in order that we may have a protectionist revival ; but I do not see that there is any reasonable prospect of a protectionist revival, even if the Ministry is dislodged. The vast majority of honorable members were returned to '.support a fiscal peace during the present Parliament. That was the policv laid down at Ballarat by the honorable and learned gentleman who represents that place* and I, in common with a large number of my protectionist friends, went to the country in advocacy of it. I informed my constituents that we had had so long a battle over free-trade and protection, that I was getting pretty sick of it,, and would like a rest.


Mr Watson - The honorable and learned gentleman declared himself to be sick of the Arbitration Bill a day or two ago.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Only for the time being.


Mr Reid - It was the leader of the Opposition who threw up that Bill.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I think that we have all declared that there should be no more tinkering with the Tariff during the present Parliament, so that trade and commerce may be allowed a short respite and freedom of action, instead of being hampered and harassed by constant threats of changes. I told my supporters at Bendigo that I should be no party to any tinkering with the Tariff during the present Parliament, and I believe that that was the view taken by protectionist candidates generally at the last elections.


Mr Reid - The leader of the Labour Party was very sound on that point, too.


Sir JOHN QUICK - When the Labour Party came into office, they had no fiscal policy, except one of a negative character, and in the Age of the ist June last, there appeared the following passage on the subject : -

On the fiscal issue, the sole issue which has held the Deakin party together, the Watson party has no policy. Its members are free lances, and although about 75 per cent, of them are protectionists, the party, as such, can never take any part with protectionists.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - That was before the alliance.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Is the magic of an alliance going to convert them ?


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - It has done so.


Sir JOHN QUICK - To show that we cannot expect a protectionist revival from the Labour Party, I would quote from the Age of the 9th August last the following passage from the report of the speech delivered by the honorable member for Bland at Wagga : -

He believed there was no probability of a Bill altering the Tariff being brought in during this Parliament, and it was certainly desirable that there should be some rest from the turmoil of fiscal strife. It was a desirable thing to have a rest from the eternal fight on the fiscal question, especially in view of the present circumstances of Australia. They had not had time since the passing of the Tariff to get any clear ideas as to what its incidence would be in the future.

Then he goes on to say -

It is too early to judge accurately of the effects of the Tariff.

Perhaps the honorable member for Bourke has been able to 'instruct the leader of the Opposition with regard to that matter. Then I find in the Age of the 12th August the following statement : -

Watson Ministry hostile to protection - Those who turned out a strong protectionist Ministry in order to instal in office one which (as Mr. Watson's Wagga speech abundantly proves) is hostile to protection, certainly put on a very bold front when they want to know how a protectionist can oppose the present Prime Minister.

Then it goes on to say -

It would be much more reasonable to ask how a true protectionist can support him ? This is indeed becoming daily and more conspicuously the question of the hour.

Now, we are invited by the alliance to support the honorable member for Bland, and to restore him to office, in the hope and anticipation that he will break and violate the undertakings in his Wagga speech, and all the apparent understandings of his party and his friends. Surely these things cannot be. Surely such a change could not be brought about even under the magic influence of the alliance. In offering a few observations upon the alliance, I do not wish to say anything offensive to my old friends. I merely wish to offer what I consider to be fair criticism.


Mr Kennedy - They will apply for a divorce ; do not be too hard on them.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - In the honorable and learned member's case, there has not been a marriage' even.


Sir JOHN QUICK - When the LiberalProtectionists were on the opposite side of the House, I think we worked fairly and harmoniously upon all political questions. We .met in the same room, and held consultations, without any serious differences, until the Minister of Defence proposed his amendment in clause 48 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. There was nothing up to that time to sever us or break our unity or integrity as a party. I know of nothing as between man and man. I believe that it was the desire of the majority of us to keep together as a party.


Mr Isaacs - That was conveyed by the resolution that we passed.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Yes, exactly. The resolution arrived at on 1st June, and generally concurred in, was that we were to keep together as a party.


Mr Groom - And yet there are now four protectionists sitting as Ministers under a free-trade leader.


Mr McCay - That is the trouble, is it?


Mr Reid - We have got the wrong men in. have we?


Sir JOHN QUICK - I find that the Watson Ministry resigned on the 16th August, and Mr. Reid was then sent for. On looking over the files of the Age, I find that on the very day that the Watson Ministry resigned the honorable member for Bourke, the whip of the Deakin-Liberal Party, issued circulars calling a meeting of a certain section of the party.


Mr Reid - Hear, hear; that was the split.


Sir JOHN QUICK - They did not send an invitation to the other members of the party. The circular was issued only to those members who voted with the Watson Government, who were invited to meet for the purpose of considering an alliance with the La'bour Party.


Mr Isaacs - Did the honorable and learned member say that circulars were issued ?


Sir JOHN QUICK - The Age said so. I am only stating what was published in the newspapers. Perhaps a letter was sent, or, at any rate, an invitation in some form.


Sir William Lyne - No letter or circular was issued.


Sir JOHN QUICK - The point is that the invitations to attend the meeting were confined to the few members grouped over in the Opposition corner at present. There was nothing to sever or divide our party before that. I was in the country, and never came down between the time that the vote was carried against the Watson Ministry and the reassembling of Parliament. I had no invitation to attend any meeting to consider an alliance with the Labour Party, and the leader of our party was not invited. What had he done that he should have been left out of consideration?


Mr Deakin - I was not even informed of the meeting.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Why should the leader of the party not have been invited to attend, even though he might have objected to what was proposed ? Why should not the members of the Liberal Party be invited to meet together to consider the situation ?


Mr Isaacs - The honorable and learned member for Bendigo and the honorable and learned member for Ballarat had as much' invitation as any of us.


Sir JOHN QUICK - That is absolutely impossible. The last time that we met in caucus as a party was when" we passed' the resolution affirming that we should preserve the unity and identity of our party. And 'if it was intended to change the constitution of our party, why were we not all invited to attend the meeting convened to consider the question?


Mr Isaacs - All the members of the party were invited.


Sir JOHN QUICK - No, we were not. The meeting was exclusive from the first because I find that those honorable members present at the meeting, which was held on the 17 th August, and reported in the Age of 1 8th August, were the honorable and learned member for Indi, the honorable member for Bourke, the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs, the honorable member for Bass, the honorable member for Moreton, and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. Apologies were received from the honorable member for Hume, and the honorable member for Riverina.


Mr Isaacs - And they had no more invitation than had any one else.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Then it is very strange that they should have known about the meeting.


Mr Deakin - They told me that they had received verbal invitations. .1 had not even a verbal invitation.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I told the honorable and learned member for Ballarat about the meeting.


Sir William Lyne - It was stated that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat was informed of the meeting.


Mr Deakin - That is not true. I had no invitation.


Mr SPEAKER - Will the honorable and learned member kindly withdraw that remark.


Mr Deakin - I do not think I need. The honorable member for Hume intimated that a certain statement had been made by some one' else, and I said that that statement was not true.


Mr SPEAKER -I heard the honorable and learned member say in reply to an honorable member - I do not know whom - " That is not true." That is not a remark which should be made in this House by any honorable member, and I would therefore ask the honorable and learned member to withdraw it.


Mr Deakin - I would point out, Mr. Speaker, that you are under a misapprehension. The honorable member for Hume said that some one had made a statement to him, and I said that it was not true. I do not, however, desire to raise a point or order, and I will content myself with withdrawing my remark, and saying that the statement is incorrect.


Mr SPEAKER - I am sorry if I asked the honorable and learned member to withdraw a remark that did not apply to a statement made by an honorable member of this House. If the statement were made bv some one outside, there was no obligation upon him to withdraw.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I contend that an invitation of some kind should have been sent to all the members of our party, asking them to attend the meeting that was held, so that they might have an opportunity to consider- the situation. It is true, I admit, that three of our party had seen fit to accept office.


Mr Isaacs - The honorable and learned member had just the same chance as we had of hearing about the meeting.


Sir JOHN QUICK - The fact that three of our party had agreed to accept office under the leadership of the Prime Minister did not in any way deprive us of our rights and privileges as members of the Protectionist Party. Those honorable members took office on their own responsibility, and in the exercise of their deliberate judgment and discretion, as they had a perfect right to do. Their action did not dismember our party, and did not release us from our obligations to the leader who was appointed by us. I think there should be something like loyalty to a leader, so long as he remains in his position. If he betrays his trust, if he does not lead the party aright, there is a way of applying a remedy, but to go behind Ms back and to call a hole-and-corner meeting is to display disloyalty of the most contemptible character.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - I say that the leader of the party knew of the meeting.


Mr Deakin - That is incorrect.


Sir JOHN QUICK - The leader of the party would not be justified in crawling to a meeting merely because he heard that it was to be held. Surely the leader of the party was entitled to give directions as to the convening of the meeting, and no small party or clique should have convened a meeting behind his back, and have left him to find out as best he could what was intended to be be done.


Mr SPEAKER - Order. At the moment of my rising three or four honorable members were carrying on a conversation across the Chamber. I have not yet named any honorable member within the meaningo f the Standing Orders, although I have mentioned the names of some honorable members. If honorable members do not make a more dignified use of the liberties which they enjoy, I shall have to adopt the extreme course of naming them, and I need scarcely inform them that that procedure would be followed by suspension for such term as the House might direct. I hope I shall not be called upon to proceed to any such extreme.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I am inclined to believe that in certain quarters, for some time past, there has been a little more going on than appears on the surface. The Age of 1 8th August contained a report of the meeting of the Labour-Liberal section, and it was stated that a conference was held between the Liberal Protectionists and the Labour Party the same evening.


Mr Reid - Hear, hear; there was no room for the leader of the party.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Now I desire to give honorable members a real tit-bit. The conference was held upon the evening of the 17th August, and was reportedin the Age of the 1 8th, as "the outcome of negotiations which had been quietly proceeding ever since the Labour Party took office."


Mr Groom - Who says that ?


Sir JOHN QUICK - The Age. I was not aware that any underground engineering of this kind was going on, but I thought that as a party we were working together harmoniously under our common leader, and that although we had divided over the amendment proposed by the Minister of Defence, there was nothing in that to separate us as a party. I complain bitterly that a change was made, and that negotiations were commenced behind the back of our leader, and behind the backs of the majority of the Liberal Protectionist Party, without giving us any opportunity to come in, or to be heard.

If we had been heard we might have been able to prevent this disruption. As a result of this alliance our party has been prejudiced and damaged in the country, as well as in this House; our usefulness and our influence have been impaired. If this alliance, by which our unity and integrity as a party was destroyed had not taken place, do not honorable members see what a powerful position we should have occupied in this Chamber. We should undoubtedly have been the dominating force, and able to exact terms from any Ministry.


Mr Page - That is what the honorable and learned member's leader at Ballarat said that he did not want.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I am not aware that my leader said anything of the kind. It is quite possible for us to work together with another party for one purpose, and remain united as a party for another purpose. We might work together, say, to keep in a Labour Ministry or a Reid Ministry for the time being, if we thought fit, without impairing the integrity of the party. The Labour Party, when supporting the Barton Administration, did not destroy themselves as a party. A political organization or political party does not necessarily destroy itself by giving support to a Ministry for, the time being. We could have maintained our homogeneity without an alliance. In my opinion the true destiny of the party was' to avoid entangling alliances. What has become of the Protectionist Party ?

An Honorable Member. - They are in the Reid Ministry.


Sir JOHN QUICK - How can that be so ? Three members of the Ministry accepted office for the purpose of carrying on what was regarded as a Government evolved out of the necessities of the situation, but that does not destroy their position as members of the Liberal Party, or as Protectionists. They may be called upon by irresistible circumstances, and the drift of events, to retire from their present positions at any time, and we expect that they will be loyal to their old friends and colleagues, and come back to the Liberal Party to which they belong-


Mr McLean - And to their old leader.


Sir JOHN QUICK - And to their old leader, should that time arrive. It is to be deplored that so many of our old and esteemed friends have joined in what I might almost call a colourless coalition with the Labour Party, and for a valueless consideration.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - -Why bother about it ?


Sir JOHN QUICK - We have to consider, not so much the consequences and results in the House, as the effect of the alliance upon the party throughout Australia. What is the consideration ? Immunity from opposition. What a shadowy consideration the honorable member for Bourke is receiving ! I think he is being treated very unfairly j but it is just what we all expected.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Is that the reason the honorable and learned member did not come in?


Sir JOHN QUICK - No, I knew long ago that the Labour Party would have nothing to do with any persons except those who would sign their pledge. And quite right, too; let the Labour Party stick to their colours and their platform, But let us also stand by our colours and principles. The Labour Party have, in my opinion, shown a considerable amount of cleverness and astuteness in these negotiations, the result of which is that our Liberal-Protectionist friends have sold themselves to the Labour Party for a mess of pottage. They will have to support the Labour Party " through thick and thin." They will have to support this motion, and any other proposal the Labour Party may make, under the penalty that if they do not go the " whole hog," out they go.


Mr Reid - They will go out anyhow


Sir JOHN QUICK - It is rather a melancholy spectacle and I regret it. I do not know whether it is too late for our Liberal-Protectionist friends to retrace their steps. They have elected to join this alliance, not as a mere temporary combination for a special purpose, but, I believe, for a period extending over two Parliaments. They are tied hand and foot to the Labour Party; and what do they get in return? Will they get protection to native industries? They cannot get that during this Parliament, according to the declaration of the leader of the Opposition. Will they get preferential trade? They cannot get that, unless the leader of the Opposition, breaks his pledges and understanding with the party to which he belongs. I do not see what the LiberalProtectionists are to gain except revenge. That apparently, is at the root of the combination - revenge ' and resentment seem to be the basic principles on which the alliance is founded, irrespective of) the political situation, irrespective of the necessity for carrying on the King's Government and maintaining that fiscal peace and industrial progress for which we all have worked, in which we are all interested, and which the country expects. The House ought to determine to deal with the Arbitration Bill during this session. No political changes ought to be encouraged by any party in the House which may lead to the defeat or loss of that Bill, about which there has been so much contention and fighting. It is inevitable that the Bill will be lost if the changes now being agitated for are brought about. The Labour Party, who desire , to have this Bill placed- on the statute-book, ought to subordinate any resentment which they feel through their defeat, and exercise a certain amount of self-restraint and selfabnegation in order to assist the House in making this Bill law. It would be a great mistake to bring about a change which might result in the loss of the Bill. And if the Labour Party are in earnest - if they do not want merely to see the Bill dangling before our eyes indefinitely - they ought to assist the Ministry in passing it.


Mr Page - The honorable and learned member surely does not doubt our earnestness?


Sir JOHN QUICK - Then I invite the Labour Party not to bring about a change which may result in its defeat. It is plain that the Labour Party are in a position to exercise an influence which might, and no doubt would, lead to the successful accomplishment of this measure. I am not going to take up time in discussing the abstract question of Socialism ; there are more burning questions claiming our notice and attention. But I should like to give a word of advice to the Prime Minister. I am prepared to extend to the Ministry at the present moment, and under present circumstances, much indulgence for the apparent meagreness of their programme. That meagreness is the inevitable result of the present circumstances. But I think that, should the Government be able to pilot the vessel through the present storm, and get anchored in the safe haven of recess, we shall be entitled, when the House meets next year, to demand from them a workable progressive programme.


Mr Reid - Hear, hear.


Sir JOHN QUICK - The Prime Minis.ter will not be able to sustain his Ministry, party, or supporters, merely on the cry of anti-Socialism. We desire an alternative policy.


Mr Reid - Hear, hear.


Mr Page - The honorable and learned member has knocked away the only prop which the Government had to lean on.


Sir JOHN QUICK - That is only one prop. We want practical legislation - legislative proposals in the direction of industrial peace and prosperity in Australia. I am sure the Prime Minister will not hesitate, as far as may be reasonable and necessary, to bring into play the power, authority, and force of the Commonwealth Government and Parliament for the promotion of trade, commerce, and industry. In the July number of the Independent Review there is an interesting article by Mr. Sidney Webb, the well-known Socialist; and I desire to quote a passage, which expresses the views of myself, and, I believe, a number of other honorable members as to the differentiation between what may be regarded as the functions of individualism and the functions of the State1. The passage is as follows : -

Whilst the community may leave the conduct of industrial operations to personal initiative, it cannot, for its own sake, allow the conditions of employment to fall below acertain standard deemed indispensable to social health. This involves nothing more revolutionary than an extension, though a big one, of our Factory Act -

That is the English Factory Act - in the direction in which New Zealand and Victoria have shown the way.

There is a marked differentiation between the functions of the State and the functions of the individual. Mr. Webb says that we should leave the conduct of industrial operations to personal initiative generally ; but, at the same time it is the true right and true function of the State to so regulate the conditions of labour and employment that they do not lead to injustice or oppression. I am sure every Liberal in the House will acquiesce in that view ; and this should form a rallying point around which we can all venture to fight.


Mr Chanter - Where are the approving cheers on that side of the House for those sentiments?


Mr Reid - Every Liberal is in favour of that view.


Sir JOHN QUICK - I consider that this dictum of Mr. Webb, who is a wellknown writer, affords us a true definition of the distinction between the collective regulation and the socialization of industries. The collective regulation of industries is something we can all justify,so far as it may be necessary, for the protection of the weak against the strong - for the protection of those who cannot alter their surroundings or environment. On the other hand, where the individual can exercise his powers, resources, and faculties without intervention, we ought, of course, to allow him to do so.


Mr Isaacs - Does Mr. Sidney Webb approve of the New Zealand Arbitration Act?


Sir JOHN QUICK - What Mr. Webb recommends is an extension of the Factories Act of England in the direction of the legislation in New Zealand and Victoria.


Mr Isaacs - There is preference to unionists in the New Zealand Act.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Mr. Webbis speaking of the Victorian Factories Acts, as well as of the New Zealand Arbitration Act. It is well known -that when Mr. Sidney Webb was in Australia he studied well the provisions of the Victorian Factories Act, of which he spoke highly. Here he recommends the adoption in England of an Act which, while it makes no provision for preference to unionists, is capable of preventing oppression and sweating in various forms and phases.


Mr Isaacs - There is a "common rule" under the Victorian Factories Act.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Yes, but there is no preference to unionists.


Mr Hutchison - There is in New Zealand.


Sir JOHN QUICK - Mr. Webbpoints not only to the New Zealand Act, but to the Victorian Factories Act, as models at which the democracy of the mother country should aim. I did not wish to take up any more time on that branch of the question. But, to sum up my position ; in the present state of public affairs, I consider that I and my friend's around me here, who belong to the Liberal-Protectionist Party, are not only justified in our present attitude, but are bound to judge this Ministry not merely by its name, or its personnel, but by its measures, as they are severally submitted. I believe that at the present juncture of affairs, there is no probability of any more workable combination being called into existence, and that it is our duty, as far as we possibly can, to avoid any further violent and revolutionary changes. I consider that, in view of the way in which the Commonwealth has been drifting of late, with so many changes, we are undoubtedly in a position of imminent danger, and' that there is a risk of the people losing faith and confidence in and respect for our Federal institutions, if things go on much longer as they are doing. Recently


Mr Groom - Hear, hear !


Sir JOHN QUICK - I invite my honorable friend, who says, " hear, hear " to my remark, to endeavour to work for the re-organization and re-constitution of thai. Liberal Party which he helped to break; up, because unless that be done then we on this side of the House feel bound to support this Government so long as the period of fiscal peace endures, and so long as they are prepared to respect the traditions of the past laws and administration of the Commonwealth, and bring in measures to meet varying emergencies as they arise. On these grounds, sir, I intend to vote against the motion of want-of-confidence.







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