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Tuesday, 5 June 1928

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -(Mr. Duncan Hughes).- Interjections must cease. The honorable member for Swan must be allowed to proceed without interruption.

Mr GREGORY - It would appear from the statement that I have just quoted that the representatives of the union have not attempted to discipline the men, who, in defying the law, are holding up industry.

Mr Scullin - They were endeavouring to conduct peace negotiations; but their efforts were frustrated.

Mr GREGORY - Have any honorable members opposite openly denounced the maritime cooks for the action they have taken ?

Mr Scullin - I have done more to avoid industrial trouble than the honorable member who has only tried to stir up strife. That is what he lives on.

Mr GREGORY - We have a law ou the statute-book which one section is obeying, whilst another section is openly flouting it. If one side will not obey the law the other side should be free to act as it wishes.

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The ship-owners are free; but what is the result?

Mr GREGORY - Are they free? It is very doubtful. If they are, why should honorable members object to this clause? I believe in upholding the law, and in every section obeying a statute which has been framed for the protection of the community. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) seemed. to think that we should have an arbitration law under which the employers would be shackled and the employees allowed to do as they pleasedHe did not suggest any remedy. Surely this is a policy of despair!

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What does the honorable member suggest?

Mr GREGORY - When this measure is in operation the employers will be- able to deal, with these men. Personally, I do not favour a compulsory arbitration system under which a judge is able to fix the conditions of industry throughout Australia. I believe in the Canadian arbitration system, under which there is no compulsion; but whilst we have a compulsory arbitration system, both parties to a dispute should obey the law. The right honorable member for 'North Sydney pointed out that if free labour were employed on ships they would not be manned by the members of the maritime unions. The cooks are attempting to coerce the law a.nd hold industry to ransom, careless of the injury to other workers and to the employers, and neither the unions nor honorable members opposite dare to denounce them. I believe in loyalty; but loyalty such as that which was displayed when the engineers in the coal-mining industry went on strike, was carried too far. The only way in which ho overcome the difficulty is to give both parties a free hand.

Mr Lazzarini - Would that settle a dispute?

Mr GREGORY - It would give the Other side an opportunity to fight the organization that is responsible. Honorable members opposite seem to think that the employees should have a free hand and that the employers should be manacled.

Mr Scullin - We think that every effort should be made to prevent a dispute from extending.

Mr GREGORY - The only way to overcome sectional disputes is to pass this clause and to give the employers the right to protect their interests.

Mr Scullin - The honorable member believes in a general strike.

Mr GREGORY - No; but the Leader of the Opposition does not wish to give the employers privileges which are now enjoyed only by the employees.

Mr Scullin - We do not wish a strike to extend.

Mr GREGORY - I intend to support the clause, because I believe it will give employers an opportunity to overcome many of the difficulties, with which they are confronted owing to the fact that while they have been obeying the law others have been defying it. This provision will force the unions to bring pressure on those officials who are eternally creating strife in industry.

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