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Wednesday, 30 May 1928


Mr LAZZARINI (Werriwa) .- The Attorney-General has endeavoured to convince honorable members that the provisions in section 7 of the principal act are to be repealed because of the representations of industrial organizations. When he was asked if those organizations had approved of the new proposal he was obliged to answer that .they had not. The Attorney-General has no more idea than an unborn babe of what job control means. Nothing in this bill can counteract the application of job control to industry in Australia. In its industrial sense the term means " restriction of output." The miners years ago used the word " darg " to describe it. It is also described as " sabotage," a word which originated, not only outside of Australia, but outside of the British Empire. Job control can only be. practised while the wheels of industry are running. It is impossible to apply job control to industry in which a sectional strike has occurred.


Mr Scullin - It is then jobless control.


Mr LAZZARINI - That is so. Perhaps the Attorney-General is confusing job control with the irritation strike, a method of improving wages and working conditions which is not practised in Australia. It is said that the American workmen use it extensively. It is applied as follows :- When the workers desire to obtain better conditions in a certain industry, they decide that they will cease work for Jones, but continue working for Brown, with the idea of enabling Brown to secure Jones' trade until Jones decides that he had better submit to the demands that are being made upon him. When that stage in the dispute is reached the workers decide to resume operations in Jones' establishment, but to cease them in that of Brown. In some countries this is regarded as a legitimate means by which the workers may better their position, but it is not practised in Australia, for our workers have available for the improvement of their conditions the machinery of the Arbitration Court. As the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, it happens at times that the workers in a section of an industry in Australia are subjected to such harsh conditions that they are forced to strike even though they cannot prove a technical breach of their award. I submit that this clause appears in the bill for one purpose only. The AttorneyGeneral has told us that the liability to a fine of £1,000 will frighten the employers and prevent them from causing a lockout; but we do not believe it. It is impossible to prove that a lockout has been engineered. The workers are not so stupid as to believe that because ten or twenty of their comrades have been sacked a court would declare that a sectional lockout had been caused. We have heard a good deal about the virtues of the word "may ". I suggest that it is used purely and simply to allow the court to meet the desires of the employers. The tendency to-day throughout the world is to beat down the economic standards of the workers; and this bill has been introduced to make it easier for the employers of Australia to do that. American industrial methods are being rapidly introduced into this country, to the detriment of our workers. We heard, during the second-reading debate on this measure, of how the American employers had their " stool pigeons " in every industrial organization. This Government is not only making it possible for " stool pigeons " to operate in our organization, but is itself acting as a " stool pigeon " for the employers. Surely every one realizes how easy it would be for a few " stool pigeons " to go on strike and so cause a general lockout in an industry at any time the employers might desire it. It is easy, also, for the employers to adopt irritation tactics without committing a technical breach of an award, and so practically force their employees to cease work. Then the way is open for them to move the court to declare that a strike exist3, and they are subsequently able to declare a general lockout. By the adoption of these tactics they hope to reduce the workers to a state of semistarvation. Reference has been made to the cooks' strike. The Attorney-General has told us that this is a sectional strike. If he means that the cooks have gone on strike because the employers would not engage an extra cook on one boat, he is correct; but if he means that they have done so because they wish to improve the conditions of their award, he is quite wrong. The workers realize that the best means they have of improving their awards is to move the Arbitration Court for the varying of them. The ship-owners have used the cooks' strike as a means to tie up the whole of our shipping service. If this bill becomes law, they will be able to do such a thing legally. To-day it is being done illegally. It is impossible to amend this clause as the AttorneyGeneral suggests, for even if the words " if it thinks fit " are included, the court will only think fit to do what the employers desire. There is no way in which this bill may be made acceptable to the workers. All the vital principles of it are utterly obnoxious.







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