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Wednesday, 19 September 1928


Mr MANNING (Macquarie) .- Honorable members will agree with me that the budget speech of the Treasurer provides food for serious thought. Having given the matter careful consideration, T have come to the conclusion that the Treasurer is well advised in dealing with the deficit as he proposes; in fact he has adopted the only possible course. He has made provision against a repetition of the deficiency whilst at the same time avoiding drastic action which might cause serious trouble throughout the community. The period of financial stringency through which we are passing is entirely responsible for the deficit, for, inevitably, it has caused a curtailment of private expenditure. During the boom period which preceded the depression, many people not only spent their income but mortgaged their prospects. Promissory notes cannot be renewed indefinitely ; the day comes when they must be met. Consequently, private people and business firms whose outgoings were exceeding their income, were forced to resort to economy. We have had the benefit of a free criticism of the budget by the Leader of the Opposition. We have also had the advantage of hearing the Prime Minister in reply, and any unbiased person will admit that the right honorable gentleman's answer to the Leader of the Opposition was most effective. There has been much talk regarding the increase of Commonwealth indebtedness during the last six years. The Leader of the Opposition did not explain that although the total indebtedness of the Commonwealth has slightly increased, the dead-weight war debt has been considerably reduced. On the 30th June, 1922, the dead-weight war debt amounted to £333,000,000. On the 30th June last it was £294,000,000 - a reduction of. £39,000,000. The works debt, on the o'ther hand, had increased from £32,000,000 on the 30th June, 1922, to £79,000,000 on the 30th June last, showing an increase of £47,000,000. Therefore the net increase of the total indebtedness of the Commonwealth has been only £8,000,000. ' A comforting fact is that a large proportion of the new debt is paying not only interest but sinking fund. The Postmaster-General's Department is responsible for about £25,000,000 of it, upon which it pays interest and lj per cent, towards sinking fund. Generally, the position of the public debt is very satisfactory. We have been told that the increase of indebtedness is largely responsible for the adverse trade balance and financial depression, but the critics of the Government omit to mention what has happened in regard to the State debts during the same period. The following table is illuminating : -

As against a total increase . of £166,640,556 in the indebtedness of the States, the Commonwealth indebtedness increased by only £8,000,000. If there is any force in the contention of the Leader of the Opposition it applies to State borrowing to a much greater extent than to Commonwealth borrowing, arid during the six years under review most of the States were governed by Labour administrations. Recently, when the Leader of the Opposition was in Queensland, he criticized at a public meeting the folly of borrowing abroad. His chairman, the Premier of that State (Mr. McCormack) was most uncomfortable, because only a short time previously he had made a public statement justifying borrowing abroad as the only means of obtaining money without hampering local industries. I am told that after attention was drawn to this inconsistency of the two Labour leaders by a Queensland senator, the Leader of the Opposition refrained from alluding to the subject again during his tour of that State. It is always interesting to contrast the opinion of Labour in office with the opinion of Labour in opposition in regard to borrowing.

The Government is to be congratulated upon the financial agreement it has made with the States. That is one of the most important matters that has been dealt with for a considerable time. Some honorable members regarded the per capita payment of 25s. as sacrosanct ; but I believe that the new arrangement will prove beneficial not only to the Commonwealth, but also to the States. The

Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) is to be congratulated, especially upon having made the stipulation that a sinking fund shall be provided for the liquidation of not only the present, but also future State debts. We have thus departed from the old Micawber practice of renewing our promissory notes when they became due, and exclaiming " Thank God, that's paid." New South Wales furnishes an example of what happens when that practice, is followed. A metamorphosis is taking place in the city of Sydney and its suburbs, the system of propulsion by steam in the railways being replaced by -electric traction. New stations have had to be built and new lines laid; yet interest is still being paid upon the money borrowed to install the old system, because no sinking fund for the liquidation of the debt was established. Such a fund would have enabled it to be discharged long ago.

Justification for the action proposed by the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page) in connexion with the deficit is provided by the fact that, if drastic economy were practised the existing unemployment would be accentuated. Speaking in this committee only last week I quoted figures which proved the necessity for a radical alteration of the methods adopted for recording the number of unemployed persons. A large number of workers were called for, but not one in ten of those who had registered as unemployed responded. It is a fact, however, that the amount of unemployment is greater than is desirable. It is well known that some of those unfortunate people who are suffering through lack of employment have not registered, and that they are being exploited by the professional unemployed. I trust that this matter will be further investigated by the Government, and that it will endeavour to have provided a more authentic record of unemployment than that which is at present compiled.

There is a great deal of depression in the coal trade, the unfortunate miners working only one or two days a week. In the western district of New South Wales that is not due to a lessened demand for coal. A greater quantity is now being produced than has been previously produced in the history of those mines. The trouble is caused by over-production, a larger number of mines being now in operation.

There is a State mine which is producing fortnightly about 20,000 tons of coal for the use of the railways. Before it was developed to its present extent that quantity was supplied by the other mines in the district. Another cause of unemployment is the local rule which forbids any of the miners who are working part time in the other mines to accept employment in the State mine, which consequently is worked by miners from other centres in Australia and overseas. In the northern fields, unfortunately, the consumption has decreased considerably. Every honorable member must have listened with interest to the scheme outlined by the Prime Minister the other night to assist the industry. If, as a result of the negotiations that are proceeding between the Governments of the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales, and the mineowners, this industry can be placed upon a better footing, a very great service will be rendered to the community as a whole.

We must recognize that the majority of our primary products are just now realizing a lower price than has been the case for some considerable time. The seasonal prospects are in the balance. A little while ago it looked as though the future of the wheat-growers was very bright. It is earnestly to be hoped that before the end of the month beneficial rains will fall' and save our crops; but there is no certainty that that will happen. The wheat-growing industry at the present time is not in a healthy position. With bumper crops, wheat-growing can be made to pay even if a comparatively low price is obtained; but if only average crops are garnered, the price we are likely to receive will not recompense us. I speak as a wheat-grower in a fairly large way. I remember making, 'in this Parliament, six years ago, the statement that I was not despondent regarding the future, because we enjoyed advantages that are enjoyed by practically no other country. In the United States of America and in other countries in which wheat is produced, the land is put to a more profitable use when the price is not greater than the present world's parity. We could adopt a similar policy. The land in our wheat-growing districts has been very much improved by cultivation. and if it were turned into pasture land and used for grazing purposes the return would be greater than that received from the growing of wheat at the present price. At the same time I am a strong advocate for the continuance of wheat-growing, because I know from experience what prosperity it brings to a district, even though the farmer himself does not benefit appreciably. I trust that, as the season progresses, we shall find ourselves in a much better position.

In a time of financial depression such as that through which we are now passing our troubles are accentuated by continual industrial unrest. There is at present in progress a strike in the shipping industry, and I congratulate the Government upon the prompt and firm action taken to deal with it. Whether it proves successful or not, that is the only sane attitude which could have been adopted. The Waterside Workers Federation has caused more trouble in Australia than probably any other union. It is led by men who do not desire industrial peace, but whose one wish is to create discord. That assertion cannot be contradicted. It is really the spoilt child of unionism. Every endeavour has been made to placate these men; they have been kissed, coddled and cajoled to such an extent that they consider they are a law unto themselves. The time has arrived for them to be cudgelled into submission by the stern arm of the law, and made to abide by the awards of the court. The one thing desired by the leaders of this union particularly is the scrapping of the arbitration system.


Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - That is not so.


Mr MANNING - Before I resume my seat,' I shall give substantial proof that it is so. It has been said that it is impossible to enforce an award against a large body of unionists; but it is not impossible to make the leaders suffer for their indiscretions. They, and not the rank and file who are being led blindly into an untenable position, are the men against whom we should direct an offensive. I compliment the AttorneyGeneral upon not being blinded by the attitude of these men, who always retire when trouble threatens.


Mr Fenton - The honorable member would not make such a statement at Lithgow.


Mr MANNING - The honorable member for Maribyrnong does not know me, or he would realize that I am not afraid to express my opinions anywhere. That is why I usually obtain such a big vote at Lithgow. On only one occasion has the Australian Workers Union departed from the practice of accepting the awards of the Arbitration Court. They were misled then, but they quickly retraced their steps, and the leaders had to pay the penalty. As a result this union is in a remarkably strong position, and its members have benefited correspondingly. It is not right that the responsibility should be placed upon the employers in an industry to police awards. It would be much better if there were an independent staff to see that awards were obeyed. We have a police force which takes action to bring to justice offenders against our ordinary laws. A similar practice should be adopted in connexion with Arbitration Court awards. The penalty provided can be exacted from the men who lead unionists into trouble.

The other night the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin), following upon a statement by the Prime Minister, said -

The right honorable gentleman apparently does not understand the psychology of the great mass of the working men, and particularly of those who perform their arduous duties on our wharfs.

That is characteristic of the attitude of honorable members opposite. They assume an air of superiority in regard to matters in which, they consider, the opinion of the employees is the predominant one. I have no wish to be unkind, but I cannot refrain from suggesting that a comparison of the number of honorable members who sit opposite with the number of those who sit on this side, makes it fairly obvious that the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters failed three years ago to understand the psychology of the great mass of the electors of this country.


Mr Cook - The position will be no different when the next appeal is made to the people.


Mr MANNING - I agree with the honorable member.


Mr C RILEY (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If we are victorious, we shall win on our merits.


Mr MANNING - It will be a very poor victory, because honorable members opposite have few merits.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.


Mr MANNING - The time has arrived when, instead of the Government studying the psychology of those men, they must consider the psychology of the majority of the people of Australia, who have shown in the past in no uncertain way that they have no sympathy with the leaders of the unions who are leading the rank and file into trouble. Last night when the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was speaking on the adjournment of the House, in answer to an interjection of mine, he said that I had no right to speak on this subject because I had not served five years on the wharfs. I certainly plead guilty to not having that qualification, and there are other things that I have not done. I have not worked my way into a safe seat in this House either from the "cushy" seat of a unionist secretary or through being a union delegate. One thing that I can claim to have done is to have performed in one year of my life more genuine hard work than most of the honorable members opposite have done during the whole of their lives. I may have no knowledge of the psychology of working men, but let me inform honorable members opposite that I have employed a number of men in my time. I have worked with them and lived with them. I have entered into their sports, and I can claim to have had no trouble with them.


Mr Maxwell - Did the honorable member find that the psychology of the worker is different from that of anybody else?


Mr MANNING - No. I claim that the working man of Australia has no compeer in the world. On some occasions I have employed wasters, but they have never returned to me asking for work. It may have been that they understood my psychology. On the other hand, men have worked for me year after year, and I am proud to say that someof the strongest friends that I have are men with whom I worked side by side for a considerable period.

Many people who do not know the industrial history of the past six years will find it hard to understand that every main strike in that period has been caused by the transport unions, or some other union' closely allied to them. I made that statement in this House some months ago, and honorable members opposite took exception to it; but it is an absolute fact.. The reason for these strikes is in a plot for the overthrow, not only of the union democracy, which this Government has fought hard to preserve, but of the British Empire as a whole. In 1921 the second world congress of the Red International of Labour Unions met at Moscow and decided on a programme of action which was brought to Australia by the Australian representative, Mr. J. Howie, who, while at Moscow, sat on all the committees of the congress. The programme of action included the following paragraph : -

The direct actionof the revolutionary masses - by direct action we mean all actions, direct pressure of the workers upon employers and State, boycotts, strikes, street demonstrations, seizure of factories, uprisings, and every revolutionary activity which tends to unite the working classes in the fight for communism.

The interruption of transport and the coalmining industry on an international scale is a mighty weapon. The trade unions must attentively study the course of events all over the world, choosing the most appropriate moment for their economic action. These militant institutions should take the initiative by stopping all freight and products transported to their respective factories and all other enterprises, and the unions of transport workers ought to play a specially important part of the case.

The Labour Council of New South Wales adopted this programme of action, and, in the words of Mr. Howie, "Declared the unity of Australian labour with the programme of action of the Red International of Labour Unions." Mr. Howie, in explaining his position, said the Red International of Labour Unions is "the general staff of the world's workers army in the class war." From then onwards the international trade unions set out to carry out their programme. It is of particular interest at this juncture to note the phrase "choosing the most appropriate moment for their economic action." There is no period of the year to which that would apply more than at present. Every one who has the welfare of this country at heart is anxious to see the end of the financial depression, but there are certain members of the community who wish to prolong the misery and to extend the financial depression by bringing about industrial disorder and unrest.


Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No one wishes that.


Mr MANNING - I do not suggest for a moment that the honorable member wishes that, but unfortunately there are men in this country with no other object in view than to bring about industrial unrest.


Mr Maxwell - That is the element which honorable members opposite are trying to protect.


Mr MANNING - That is so. Every week that this strike is prolonged means a loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds to this country. At present we have inquiries for wool, wheat, meat, maize, dairy produce and sugar, and those interested in these products feel a keen anxiety in respect of the existing dislocation of trade. In New South Wales there is a considerable quantity of old wheat. We have a reasonable prospect of a bumper harvest, and it is essential that that wheat should be placed on the world's market before the new wheat is harvested. If this wheat is not shipped immediately it will help to glut the market later. Buyers will not operate unless they have a certainty of shipment. The export of maize is seriously threatened. It was anticipated prior to the strike that 7,000 tons would be carried overseas in one shipment. The value of the maize directly affected is from £90,000. to £100,000. The export of eggs is becoming a valuable industry to Australia. When in London only a couple of years ago I was pleased to find out that Australian eggs were in strong demand on the London market. One person told me that he would rather risk an Australian frozen egg on his table than a London new laid egg in the middle of winter. The export of eggs has already commenced, and it is anticipated that the quantity shipped will be double that of last year. There are awaiting export approximately 50,000 cases of eggs valued at £115,000. There will be a considerable loss if this shipment is delayed, because when it is ultimately taken overseas it will help to congest the market. Only three years ago a similar position obtained. The greatest demand for eggs in London is before Christmas, and if we miss that market lower prices must be accepted. There is not only the immediate loss, because of delay in shipment, but ' also the loss through congested markets later. At present it is anticipated that there are 750 tons of butter in transit. If that is delayed the quality will suffer. The dairying industry is one of the most important in Australia. For the year ending the 31st July last, Australia exported 44,250 tons of butter of an approximate value of £7,100,000. A cessation of supplies means the loss of our markets to foreign competitors. We have also a stoppage of meat and wool exports. At present we have the prospect of a good market for meat and lamb. A cessation of supplies will benefit our Argentine competitors'. Our seasonal prospects to-day are better than they have been for four years and the prospective values on the London market are better than they have been for eight years. To keep these markets we must ensure a continuity of supplies. We all know that old but true saying that Australia is carried on -the sheep's back. Because of the shipping strike the wool sales have stopped. The buyers will not bid for wool if they cannot export and, therefore, millions of pounds a week are being kept out of circulation to-day. The sugar growers of the north are suffering acutely. Instead of shipping nearly 20,000 tons a week, representing a value of over £500,000, the mills between Mackay and Cairns are held up.


Dr Nott - The mills are closed.


Mr MANNING - Let me review the position in respect of past industrial strikes. We find that subsequent to the return of Mr. Howie from the conference that he attended at Moscow in 1923, Mr. Garden, the President of the Trades and Labour Council and Secretary of the Communist party went to Moscow and there told the congress how 1,000 communists controlled 200,000 unionists in New South Wales, and how eleven out of twelve of the New South Wales Labour

Council were communists. He was accorded the right to sit and vote in the

Soviets while in Moscow, and on his return, in the LabourDaily, 7th October, 1924, he wrote an article ending: " Forward to the new revolution ; forward to the world battle."' We know that Mr. Garden has recently been appointed to assist the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Theodore) in conducting the Labour campaign for the forthcoming Federal elections.


Mr Watkins - That is absolutely incorrect.


Mr MANNING - My information came from the official organ of the labour movement. While Mr. Garden was in Moscow the international of the Labour unions met and further developed its programme for world conquest. I have in my hand a pamphlet entitled " The Task of the International Trade Union Movement," which is marked "Price1s.". It was bought in Mr. Garden's office for 6d. It purports to contain " the resolutions and decisions of the Third World Congress of the Red International of Labour Unions, Moscow, July, 1924." Article 14 reads -

XIV.   CONCENTRATION OF EFFORTS UPON THE KEY INDUSTRIES.

An equal distribution of the forces throughout the various industries will not produce the best results. The attention of the Red International of Labour Unions' adherents should be focussed upon the organization of the workers of those industries which play a decisive role in the struggle of labour against capitalism (transport, mining, metal, chemical, electrical industries, gasworks, telegraph, radio, &c. ) . Without the conquest of these key industries, the Labour struggle is doomed to 'failure. Concentration of efforts along this line is dictated by the elementary consideration of the most effective application of revolutionary energies designed to strike at the most vulnerable and the most important points of the capitalist system.

I could read a number of other equally interesting extracts from this pamphlet, but I shall not do so at the moment. It will be seen that the aims of the new movement" are to cripple industry by holding up certain public facilities, the first of which are transport and mining; and to white-ant the old-established unions, the objectives of which are merely the bettering of working conditions and not world revolution, by settingup a number of shop committees or internal

Soviets. It is a singular thing that fol lowing the visit of this delegation, every delegate who went from Australia to Moscow was already associated with either our transport or mining unions, which were the first on the list. It is significant also that the Australian Railways Union was persuaded, almost immediately after the 1924 conference, illegally to pass over the applications of 49 Australians for the position of general secretary, and to appoint a British immigrant, a Mr. Chapman, who is one of the two greatest experts in the world in shop-committee organizing or internal soviet whiteanting. Mr. Chapman had just previously spent two years at Moscow. He is a syndicalist, and the founder of the British Shop Stewards movement, of which Mr.. Tom Mann is the head. He is a member of Mr. Mann's National Executive Committee, and is ex-editor of the shop stewards' journal Solidarity. He had only been in Australia a couple of months when he was made secretary of the Australian Railways Union.


Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Dreadful !


Mr MANNING - I am glad that the honorable member realizes that it is dreadful.


Mr Blakeley - In what part of the honorable member's constituency is this speech intended to circulate ?


Mr MANNING - I can quite understand that the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) does not appreciate these home truths. At the annual conference of the Australian Railways Union, which contains 11,000 members, Mr. Price was in the chair. When the business of appointing " Comrade " Chapman was reached Mr. Price, surrounded by the organizers and the petty officials, who sat with becoming meekness, in the presence of the tyrant said- I quote from the report of the proceedings which appeared in the official organ of the. union - "Comrade Smith, Grady (who was then your president), and myself, from a number of applications - I think it was 50 - decided to appoint Mr. -'Chapman. I am not going to throw bouquets at him, and I am not going to make any apology for our appointment. . . Under ordinary circumstances, it is the duty, of the annual conference to appoint the State secretary, but we have to take into consideration the amount of money spent by this particular branch - thousands of pounds which has come, not out of your pockets, but out of the pockets of members of the Australian Railways Union, in other States. . . . You recognize that you owe us something, and that we have the right to be masters of this particular branch for some time to come. . . In the ordinary course of events you would appoint your State secretary to-day or to-morrow, but the Australian executive has decided, in view of the circumstances prevailing at the present time, to make the appointment. This may seem to you a high-handed action, but you have to visualize what has happened in the past. ... I do not know who you have in your mind, but we are going to do the job on this occasion.

I do not know whether you want Chapman, or otherwise, but I want an expression of opinion, and that will be considered by the executive, who will make the appointment.- . . We are not doing this for the purpose of electing Chapman to the job, but we do want an expression of opinion, and if Mr. Chapman has the confidence of this conference, it will receive the consideration of the Australian executive. If you show by your vote that Mr. Chapman has not the confidence of this conference, that also will be considered."

In reply to a question the speaker pointed out that the Australian . executive had power to override a decision of the conference if it thought, it in. the interests of the union.

Is it any wonder that in these circumstances the conference gave Mr. Chapman an overwhelmingly favorable vote? It was told it must.

Since these events took place, it is strange that every strike of importance in the Commonwealth, . and for that matter in the world, has been in either transport or coal mining, and the strike leaders have been directly connected with Moscow. . This has been so beyond all question in Australia. Some of the stoppages that have occurred have been the Port Littleton strike, the " ham and egg " strike, and the British seamen's strike. At the back of all of them we find Mr. Garden, the apostle, as we have seen, of world revolution, and an official of the Communist party. The same gentlemen is the driving force of the Council of Trade Unions.

In the coal industry we have had endless trouble. At the back of it is Mr. "Willis, of the Labour Daily, of which, too, Mr. Garden was also a director in 1924-25, and a most ardent collector of funds for it. In the background has been Mr. Emil Voigt, who visited Russia and Germany four years ago, and wrote the preface to the programme of action which I quoted earlier in my speech. Incidentally Mr.: Voigt was the head of the

Labour Council Propaganda Bureau. Of course, the miners had very little dealing with him, but he was secretary to Mr. Willis, and during his secretaryship the views of Mr. Willis changed. He became more of an Internationalist than ever, and the northern miners were induced to become an international trade union directly affiliated with Russia.

There were at least two serious strikes in the Railways Union in Queensland, where there was a Labour Government and where the Moscow leaders believed there would be least resistance.

In the first of these strikes the chief leaders were Mr. George Rymer, who had been to Moscow in 1924, and Mr. R. J. Carroll, who, for his lawless activities in conjunction with .Russians in Brisbane, could not be saved from imprisonment in 1919 by even the Labour Government.

I need not express an opinion on that strike, because the views of the then Labour Premier of Queensland, Mr. Gillies, which are on record in the Queensland Hansard/ are so very definite." '-Mr J Gillies said in the Queensland Parliament on the 9th September, 1925 -

I want to say here that the strike was illegal and unnecessary. The strikers could have obtained all they asked for without striking at all - there were certain influences at work in the community which the workers alone could deal with - I admit that these revolutionaries could harass the Government and that they can destroy what it has taken the Labour movement 25 or 30 years to build up. If they do that it will be in defiance of all right thinking people.

Since that time there, has been another railway strike in Queensland, and again Moscow delegates, Messrs. Rymer and Moroney, were the leaders. I do not need to quote from Mr. McCormack's speech, for we all remember it very clearly. I have no doubt that all right-thinking people agree with what he said.

Of other strikes, three stand out. One of these is the British seamen's strike, which occurred before the last election. Of that, the Workers' Weekly said in September, 1925, when it was in progress -

The present world-wide crisis in the British Mercantile Marine constitutes a. mighty blow to the much-vaunted supremacy of" British shipping interests,' and., marks a definite '.step. in the growing militancy of the British working class, which is pointing to the dismemberment of the robber Empire.

The same newspaper referred to " striking at British transport " as " cutting the artery along which the life blood of modern society must travel."

The second strike which stands out is the British coal strike. I was in England while that unfortunate conflict was in progress. The leaders of it were in the closest contact with Russia. It was stated at the time, and not denied, that of the £1,300,000 contributed to the strike fund, more than £900,000 came from Russia. The only regret that I have is that the whole of it did not come from Russia. This strike caused indescribable misery throughout Great Britain. The number of unemployed was increased from 1,000,000 to more than 2,000,000, because the coal-miners refused to work. It is extremely regrettable, in my opinion, that funds from Soviet Russia should have been used to keep the strike going. When the strike failed, as it inevitably had to fail, the leader of the miners, Mr. A. J. Cook, visited Russia, and was feted as an honoured guest. At the time it hurt me more than I can say to think that this man, who had caused so much misery in England, should have been treated as a hero in Russia, and afterwards allowed to return to Great Britain.

The third strike that stands out is the present one. I have already dealt with that fairly fully. The object of it is, of course, perfectly clear. It is designed to discredit absolutely our compulsory arbitration system. When I made a statement to that effect earlier in my speech, an honorable member opposite challenged it accuracy. I propose now to quote the Workers Weekly, of Friday, 14th September, in support of my assertion.


Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Who publishes that newspaper ?


Mr MANNING - It is a Communist publication. It announces what it calls "A programme of immediate demands for Queensland State election." Incidentally one must admire the discretion of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Theodore) in leaving Queensland for New South Wales before Labour politics reached the crisis at which we now find them in that State. One of the " immediate demands " to which the Workers' Weekly referred is -

Abolition of the Arbitration Court and the elimination of State interference in industrial disputes.

An article on the front page of the newspaper is headed, " Watersiders' special conference; A big blow at arbitration; Beeby award repudiated." The following paragraph appears in the article: -

The decision to repudiate the award does not mark a very big step forward for the watersiders, because the implication is that a new award might be regarded as satisfactory by the men. This will mean a continuance of the Arbitration Court as a fetter on the actions of the workers.

No time should be lost in forming industrial committees of action in all ports for protection against any attempt of the ship-owners to force any obnoxious condition on the wharfs.

The Attorney-General pointed out last night that the watersiders apparently had no intention of obeying the award. After Judge Beeby had drafted the terms of his proposed award, he followed the usual custom of calling the parties together to consider the minutes of it. The representatives of both sides attended, and the attitude of the watersiders was shown clearly, for they took exception to every item in the proposed award which was not in accordance with the claims that they had made. They showed their impudence by again reasserting every claim that they had made. Then, when an award was issued, the first thing they did was to repudiate it.


Mr Maxwell - With them it is a case of " Heads I win ; tails you lose."


Mr MANNING - That is so. The question is: Are we going to scrap our arbitration system, or are we going to stand by it? The only way is to exact every penalty we can against those union leaders who are responsible for the trouble, and whose object is not to benefit the members of their organization, but simply to make trouble. Personally, I applaud the Government for what it has done. We must show those who caused the trouble that we are not concerned with their point of view, but with the welfare of the people of Australia..

Mr. BERNARDCORSER (Wide Bay) on the budget which it has brought down. The realization that we have a government in office whose history is so full of achievement as is that of the Bruce-Page Government should give us a feeling of confidence. The present Administration has, by its legislative record of the last six years, earned the gratitude of the people of Australia, and, I am sure, has also earned the confidence of those to whom we have to look for loan moneys. The budget is the record of a period of very careful administration, and it is a creditable statement of the results of a period of six years of office.

As a new member of this Parliament, I am under a considerable disadvantage in dealing with the problems which confront it, although I have had considerable experience of State politics. I understand how the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Graham Pratten) felt when he addressed himself to this chamber the other day, and I congratulate him upon his maiden speech. I am sure that he will agree with my statement 1 that we have both reason for thanking the members of the Cabinet for the kindness shown to us since we entered this Parliament, and for their ready assistance in regard to the affairs of our electorates. I realize, too, that by honorable members on both sides of the House there is shown a genuine courtesy to new members which is both pleasing and helpful, and which we appreciate greatly.

During the Government's term of office it has put into operation a progressive developmental policy, for which it deserves the support of every one who desires the advancement of this country. The assistance, by way of duties and bounties, which the Government has always readily given to our primary industries has been of the very greatest advantage to those engaged in those industries. The work done by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has done much to solve many of the difficulties which confront the men outback, as well as those engaged in industries in and about the coastal towns. The Rural Credits Department, which has been set up by the present Government, has been of tremendous benefit to the primary producers, by financing the marketing organization established in the various

States. I trust that the day is not far distant when these marketing organizations will be placed, not on a State, but on a Commonwealth basis. Until our marketing arrangements have been organized on such a basis the primary producers will not receive the full value for their labour. Every one will agree that the primary producer is entitled to receive the full return for his labour without taking from any other section that which belongs to it. I hope that the Commonwealth Constitution will be altered to permit of the Commonwealthwide organization of rural industries and marketing arrangements, so as to ensure an adequate return to the men on the land. In this way the primary producer will be fully rewarded for his time and Labour, and the consumers may not necessarily be charged more than he pays at present. The Commonwealth Government has established a very high standard of administration, and it will have my assistance and support to continue and extend its policy of the past six years. I trust that the reasonable requests which I may place before the Ministry on behalf of the Wide Bay electorate will meet with that fair and impartial consideration with which the Government has already treated such applications.

The Commonwealth of Australia is faced at the present time with serious industrial trouble on the waterfront. It seems to me that this continual trouble on the waterfront is due to something more than a desire on the part of the men to enjoy good conditions and high wages. The Arbitration Courts which have been set up have made it impossible for the men to be deprived of a fair return for their labour. The workers have secured all those things which they could reasonably desire, and yet they continue their strikes and pin-pricking policy. This makes it clear that the objective of their leaders is not to secure better conditions for the men, but to realize the ambition of the Labour party, which is to break down the capitalistic system under which all civilized countries are working. This policy is a step towards bringing about the abolition of the wages system, and of the capitalistic system of society, together with the destruction of democratic government. The Government is only doing its duty when it insists that'-'the

Arbitration Courts must be respected, and their awards obeyed. No half measures can be accepted at this stage. Too long has industry suffered as the result of Labour's present policy, which has imposed hardships, not only on the employers, but on the working people as well. The Government's action is not directed against the workers, but is intended merely to ensure that industry shall be carried on. When we realize that right throughout Australia great quantities of primary produce are awaiting shipment, and that the producers are running the risk of serious loss, it will be understood how grave the situation is. Great loss may be suffered by the maize producers on the Atherton tableland if they cannot get their products shipped to market. They have had to contend for a long time past against low prices for their commodity. For three or four years they received an average of £8 a ton for their maize. In 1926 the price was £12 14s. 6d.; but in 1927 it fell to £5 10s., whereas it cost £6 a ton to produce. This year there is a large quantity of maize in Queensland and throughout Australia, and it was hoped that by arrangement through the pooling board much of this would be shipped. Now, instead of the farmers being able to get a satisfactory return for their product, which may enable them to make up for previous losses, their maize is being held up at the waterfront by the action of men whose desire is not to better themselves, but merely to subvert law and order. The representatives of Labour claim on the platform that they uphold the principles of arbitration. Yet they obstruct the Government in every way they can when it endeavours to put the arbitration system into operation. Not only are the maize-growers of Queensland suffering as the result of the present trouble on the waterfront, but loss is also being occasioned to the producers of butter, wool, beef, sugar, and cotton. The women and children belonging to those who are unemployed as the result of the present trouble, are also suffering, and to a greater extent, probably, than is realized by those who are the cause of it. The time has come for the Government to act firmly, and I shall support it in whatever action it may take to enforce the awards which have been made by the court. We are faced with very serious danger, and the trouble must be met now. The workers throughout Australia enjoy good conditions, which have been given to them by the Arbitration Court awards. If they are not satisfied with those conditions, let them get out into the back country and take up ' land themselves. The Government's duty in the present crisis is clear, and I am pleased that it has determined upon its line of action. The people can decide during the next election whether they are in favour of an administration that is prepared to uphold law and order, or whether they favour those who are prepared to overthrow the Constitution.

We find from the budget that the Treasurer is faced with a deficit of £2,630,237, chiefly due to a decline in customs and excise revenue to the extent of £2,105,748. This drop may be attributed to a falling off in the imports of luxuries) principally motor cars, tires and musical instruments, the duties on which declined to the extent of £1,413,000. This was probably due to the advocacy of those who believed that these commodities should be manufactured iri Australia. If that be so, every advocate of the manufacture of goods in Australia, as far as possible, is necessarily a supporter of a principle that results in a reduction of imports and customs- duties. We find also that there has been a decline of £181,000 in the excise duties on spirits, but the local production, may have caused that drop. In the State Parliaments, Commonwealth Governments are twitted from time to time with increasing customs duties and causing the workers and other consumers to pay increased prices for their commodities, but on this occasion the Labour party can only say that under the existing Government there has been a decline in the importation of motor cars and spirits.

Every Australian realizes that the improvement of our home market is the objective at which we should aim. A scientific tariff must be framed. It should be so flexible that unusual conditions could be met and altered duties could be brought into operation when needed at the earliest possible moment. Steps taken by the present Government have brought about a flexibility of the tariff that did not exist when it came into office. If anything can be done to expedite the operation of the Tariff Board in cases of necessity it would be advantageous to do it. The tariff should be of such a nature that economic assaults could be successfully countered as soon as made. Australia is suffering at the present time, to some degree from such an assault on its trade. If we have to go to other countries as we must for some of our requirements, it is evident that the Government must take every possible action to ensure, so far as lies in its power, that the goods we import come from countries that are trading with us. Wot only is Government action necessary in that regard, but a healthy public sentiment on the matter is also essential. We must trade with the countries that trade with us. Over a period of years, 50 per cent of our export trade has gone to British countries, and 50 per cent, of our import trade has come from British countries. But we are faced with anomalies in that regard. Thirty per cent, of our primary products is exported, and of our dairy produce 21 per cent is exported. Over a period of years 50 per cent, of the total imports, as I have already said, have come from Great Britain, but no less than 25 per cent, has been obtained from the United States of America. Unfortunately, Australia pays annually to that country no less than £38,000,000, and the United States of America does not take our products to a corresponding value. If the Government could induce the countries with which Australia trades to reciprocate by trading with Us, by threatening a trade barrier against them, it would enable us to increase our exports,' instead of having to send away our gold in payment for goods received, from countries that refuse to take our commodities. The primary producers of Australia are not helped by the United States of America. That country does not take our butter, it buys little of our wool, none of our meat, and very little of any other commodity; but it takes as much of our gold bullion as it can lay its hands on. We must endeavour to balance our trade by exporting more primary products and less gold. It is most desirable to secure a better trade balance ' with such countries as the United States of America, instead of importing motor cars that are rendered obsolete in a couple of years by small changes of design.

One of the most valuable services that the present Government has rendered to the people is the increasing of the postal, telegraphic and telephonic facilities. I notice that the annual cost of these services has been increased from £8,189,000 to £12,8S7,000. These improved facilities have been of the utmost benefit to the people living in the back country. It is satisfactory to know that these services are paying their way. Since this Government has been in office, it -has not only doubled the telephonic services, chiefly in country districts, but has also reduced the cost of the postal services. In travelling through country districts one is impressed by the large number of new telegraph and telephone lines that have been erected from the smaller towns to the little villages, and from these to the homes in the backblocks. This has brought the out-back settlers nearer to their markets. The womenfolk feel that they are closer to their friends, and that they are within nearer reach of medical and hospital assistance. These increased benefits were denied to them prior to the advent of the present Government.- I find from the budget that it is proposed to make provision in the Estimates for the year 1928-29, for a further increase in these facilities by an additional loan of £3,800,000.

When we consider what has been done in other parts of Australia we realize that it is good to be able to support a government that has accomplished something with its loan expenditure. The Leader of the Opposition compared the administration of the present Government with that. during the five years prior to its advent. I shall compare the record of this Government with that of a ministry of another kind that has been in office in Queensland for a long period. In 1914 the Queensland' railways were paying. Since that time the administration in that State has increased the freights from 10 to 50 per cent, and a deficit of £16,127,000 has been brought about.

For invalid and old-age pensions the present Government has provided £4.620,000. Of the £1 per week paid to-day to each pensioner the Labour party, although it was in office for five or six years whilst the Pensions Act was on the statute-book, has been responsible for only 2s. 6d., the present administration having provided the greater part of the remaining 17 s. 6d. The provision of the large sum required for these pensions is responsible to some extent for the present deficit. The State enterprises in Queensland have been carried on at a loss, which includes uncharged interest to the extent of no less than £3,000,000.

One can visualize the position that the Commonwealth would be in if a Labour administration were in power. Labour members profess to have ideals similar to those of Ministerial supporters, and declare that when they get into office they will put an end to public borrowing; but their promises are not fulfilled. The Labour .Government in Queensland made similar statements to those I have heard from members of the Opposition in this Parliament since I have been a member of it; but during that Government's term of office it has increased the indebtedness of Queensland from £56,000,000 to £106,000,000. The Commonwealth Government, on the other hand, has reduced the war debt by £39,000,000 during its period of office, and its general indebtedness has been increased by only £8,000,000 for public works.

As it has been stated that the Commonwealth Government has a deficit of £2,600,000, and the Queensland Government a surplus of £10,000, I ought to draw attention to what has been done by these respective administrations. The Commonwealth Government decided that there should be no increase in taxation to meet its obligations. It has had to provide £7,610,000 for war pensions, and £10,000,000 for invalid and old-age pensions, while the Queensland Government obtained its surplus of £10,000 as the result of re-imposing the super-land tax, proving that there is something radically wrong with the financial control under Labour regime. The WarTime Profits Tax which in 1921-22 yielded £1,306,708, has been abolished, and direct taxation has fallen under the Commonwealth Treasurer's administration from £4 to £2 4s. Id. per head of the population, or 45 per cent., while the per capita payments by way pf taxation in Queensland have increased from £1 8s. 2d. to £5 9s. 6d. It will be realized that if the affairs of the Commonwealth were administered by a government similar to the extravagant Labour Government of Queensland, Australia would be in a very unfortunate predicament. Instead of that, we have been able to carry on our institutions, and so enjoy the increased benefits that have resulted from the administration of the present Government, and it is to be hoped that it will continue in office 'for many years.

There has been a reduction in direct taxation in the Commonwealth of about 45 per cent., while during twelve years of Labour rule in Queensland the taxation of that State was increased by 425 per cent. During the five years up to 1927 it increased 32.50 per cent. The policy of the Commonwealth Government has encouraged the investment of capital ; people have been able to come to Australia with an assurance that they would not be unduly taxed" as far as the Commonwealth is concerned in order to pay for losses on State enterprises and other foolish ventures. On the other hand, the Labour Government in Queensland by its maladministration brought about a reduction of the number of factories in that State by twenty in 1927 alone, a decline in the output by £4,500,000, and a reduction of the number of employees by 2,363. The long sufferings of the people of Queensland under Labour rule should be a sufficient warning to those people who might be tempted to support a Labour Administration in the Commonwealth sphere. Although the Federal Budget shows a deficit for last year, the five years' administration by the present Treasurer has resulted in a net surplus of £266,155. During the same period the Labour administration in Queensland has been responsible for a deficit of £507,671. The Commonwealth Government has reduced the dead weight war debt, and direct taxation, and has managed public expenditure in such a way as to ensure a maximum return from it. Although critics of the Government have emphasized the recent increase of loan expenditure, the Prime Minister has shown convincingly that such expenditure has been incurred upon reproductive works and not upon State enterprises that cannot pay their way. No exception can be taken to the expenditure of loan moneys upon enterprises that are of advantage to the people and are at the same time earning interest on the capital invested.

Throughout Queensland an agitation against the Commonwealth Government by certain politicians has been engineered on account of its attitude towards the cotton industry. It is likely to be one of the greatest industries in the Commonwealth, and it exists to-day solely because of the help it has received from the federal authorities. It has had no other assistance, and I deplore the efforts of certain politicians to make political capital out of misrepresentation of the Commonwealth Government's policy. Admittedly certain anomalies exist, particularly in regard to percentage yarns and customs, duties, and evidence in regard to them will be furnished in connexion with the request for an extension of the bounty and greater assistance for the secondary industry. But whatever may be done to help the manufacturers, I trust that the growers of raw cotton will be assured of "a reasonable price for their product. I have already said that the only assistance received by the industry is given by- the Commonwealth. When the seed cotton is sent to the ginneries and graded the grower immediately receives a cheque representing the first payment from the Rural Credits Branch of the Commonwealth Bank, and the bounty of l£d. per pound provided by the Commonwealth. Further assistance is given in the form of a bounty to the manufacturer who uses Australian cotton. I hope that the existing anomalies will soon be. remedied as the result of the forthcoming investigation by the Tariff Board. An agitation was commenced in Queensland recently to get a preferential hearing of this application by the board; unfortunately that could not be arranged, and . the board's report will not be before Parliament until it reassembles after the general election, but the Prime Minister has assured honorable members that the report will be considered by the Government as early as possible. I accept that assurance, and am confident that the majority of honorable members will support the Government in honouring its promise so that anomalies in the cotton industry may be rectified for the next crop. Those politicians who are responsible for the present agitation say nothing of the jeopardy in which the industry was before the Commonwealth came to its assistance. They do not tell people that the industry was doomed, and that the privations of the growers were such that they asked the Prime Minister to remove it from the control of the State Government and practically take it over by the instiltution of a bounty. The agitators do not remind the cotton-grower that the State Government^ by act of parliament, commandeered the whole of his crop, compelling him to sell it through Government channels, or render himself liable to a fine of £1,000 or imprisonment for twelve months. That was the treatment the grower received from the State Labour Government, which also introduced into the Queensland Parliament a bill, based on an agreement with the BritishAustralian Cotton Association, providing that the whole of the seed, which represents two-thirds of the weight of the cotton crop, should go to the British-Australian Cotton Association free of charge in the first year, for £1 per ton in the second and third years, and for 30s. per ton in the fourth year. In the fourth year cotton seed was selling in Great Britain at up to £13 15s. per ton ; yet the State Government made that valuable byproduct of the boll available to the British-Australian Cotton Association for 30s. per ton, instead of permitting the grower to receive the full value of his commodity in the open market. The Offal was sold to dairymen at £7 during the drought. So badly did the industry suffer under the control of the State Government that it appealed to the Prime Minister to rescue it. The State Government prohibited the marketing of the rattoon crop, and the product of thousands of acres had to be used to feed stock. Because other countries were not permitting the marketing of rattoon cotton the State Government claimed that it was not a serviceable product, but expert evidence showed that owing to the mild Queensland winters it .is possible, to produce rattoon cotton of .good quality. When the Commonwealth Government instituted the bounty it provided for payment for both annual and rattoon crops, and thus conferred a great benefit upon the growers. The . producers have reason to complain because the Commonwealth Government has not increased the bounty from 1½d. to 2d. per lb., but they have been granted something for which they did not ask, that is protection of the secondary industry which is now recognized to be essential for the development of primary production. This should have meant an extra Id. per lb. to the growers, who were assured also that hundreds of thousands of pounds were available for investment in extensions of the cotton manufactories. Everybody was satisfied with the conditions offered by the Commonwealth Government, and even the Queensland Minister for Agriculture said that the industry was operating under conditions that would develop both cultivation and manufacture, and that the growers were assured of a good return. The conditions of which he spoke so approvingly ' were the same as those which exist to-day, and have proved, to operate contrary to expectations. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has not been able to make headway, and the expectations of the. Government and the Tariff Board have not been realized. To-day further protection of the industry is necessary, and I am glad to know that the Government has asked the board to conduct a further investigation of the industry , at th-~ earliest possible, date. '

The Commonwealth Government has assisted also the sugar-growing industry. Its embargo on the importation of sugar, the preference it obtained from ." the British Government, and the assistance granted in other ways have greatly improved the growers' returns. Last year the sugar production in Queensland was a record.

Another industry which exists solely because of the help given by the Commonwealth is peanut cultivation, which is likely to 'extend considerably. Last year 9,000,000 lb. of peanuts were produced. The growers claim, that further ' assistance is' necessary, and evidence may be adduced that the embargo on imported peanuts should, be reimposed. The embargo was originally imposed at the request of growers who feared the introduction of plant diseases into Australia. When that argument was broken down, imports were again permitted, and last year the quantity imported was 5,000,000 lb. It is desired that the Commonwealth Government shall take action to see that better varieties are imported, with a view to protecting the industry still further. I admit that the duty on the imported article is up to 6d. a lb., and that therefore this is the most highly protected of our industries. I feel sure that the present Commonwealth Government will afford the protection and assistance that are essential to it in its infancy.

I sincerely trust that during my association with this Parliament I may be able to advance the interests of Australia. I shall always endeavour to support measures that will assist both the primary and secondary industries, and benefit both employers and employees by rewarding thrift. We shall bring comfort and prosperity to all sections only when we see to it that our primary and secondary industries are prosperous. I, and others who belong to the Federal Country party, do not stand for any sectional gain; but have at heart the general good of the whole country and the prosperity of the primary producer is essential to that end. We- wish to uphold the dignity of this democratic Parliament, and to see that its laws arc obeyed.







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