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Wednesday, 23 May 1928


Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - -The Main Roads Boards have suffered greater losses than those.


Mr PERKINS - I am dealing only with the bill before the House.


Mr Yates - But the honorable member has referred to friendly societies.


Mr PERKINS - I am dealing not with friendly societies, but with trade unions. The man who makes contributions to a friendly society is protected against fraud by law, but the same man paying contributions to a trade union is absolutely unprotected.


Mr Yates - The accounts of the Australian Workers Union are certified to by competent auditors.


Mr PERKINS - If that is so, the instances of embezzlement and defalcations that I have quoted reflect no credit on them.- The Amalgamated Engineering. Union suffered a loss of £400, and the offender Was sentenced to imprisonment. At a stormy meeting of the waterside workers held on the 23rd February of this year, the accounts were criticized and it was stated that three-quarters of the federation's income for the half-year had gone towards paying officials' salaries and expenses. Surely honorable' members opposite must admit that clause 51, if given effect, would be of benefit to' the unions. It is strange that they see no good in the bill. It is probable that this provision will be improved at the committee stage, and thus give an additional guarantee of protection to the funds of {he trade unions. In conclusion I wish to quote the statement of Mr. W. A. Appleton, Secretary of the British General Federation of Labour. It reads -

The people £re awakening-',- and as they understand themselves arid more clearly understand the facts that govern trade and employment they will demand a form of organization which cares more for trade conservation than for' trade destruction. Reformed trade unionism will, I believe, readily accept the statement that the whole is greater than the part; that the interests of all the people must come before the interests of any group or section...... It will discountenance strikes which elevate any one section of trade or any particular occupation' at the expense of others, and its officials will read trade barometers more skillfully than the bureaucrats of Whitehall..... Enlightened by its experiences, it will base its future enterprises upon the certain . knowledge that trade unionism is subsidiary to trade, and that those who needlessly interfere with the steady operation and development of trade are the worst enemies of the trade unionist. The movement may bo expected to bury the " Red " flag, and resuscitate the old formula of "neither religion nor politics." It will enlarge its outlook until this involves consideration of the whole community, and it will, if it realizes the hopes of its well-wishers, come back, after the suffering and loss and disillusionment of these latter days, to that conception of trade unionism set forth in the first rule of the General Federation of Trade Unions.

I commend the views of Mr. Appleton to honorable members opposite as indicating a means whereby the conditions of trade unionism in this country may be improved. In any case the Labour party would do well to adopt an attitude entirely different from that which it has adopted towards this measure and, in fact, towards most measures that have been introduced by this Government.







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