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Friday, 13 December 1912


The PRESIDENT - Order ! I think that statement is not in accordance with the rules of debate, and the honorable senator should withdraw it.


Senator LYNCH - I am pursuing a line of argument based upon an admission by Senator Fraser, which I contend justifies the statement. We have been told that it is an alleged jesuitical maxim that the end justifies the means. I have based an argument upon that. I asked Senator Fraser, as a native of Canada, to say whether the prosperity of the Dominion has not been largely due to the Canadian Constitution, and the legislation framed under it. The honorable senator admitted that it has, and I now ask him whether he is opposing the endowment of this Parliament with the powers which have been productive of such good results in Canada in order that he may bring about the downfall of the Labour party through a refusal to confer upon the people of Australia powers the exercise of which has done so much foi the people of Canada. Dealing with the statement of the Leader of the Opposition, that we are flying in the face of the traditions of the British race, I have looked closely into the Canadian case, and claim that we in this country are seeking even less power than is enjoyed by the Dominion Government in Canada.

Let us turn to South Africa. There the central authority has greater power than is given here. I say flatly that, so far from flying in the face of the traditions of our race, we are not asking for more powers than are enjoyed to-day by any other selfgoverning entity of the British Empire. In South Africa, the States, which for a long time enjoyed complete autonomy, have been stripped of their powers, and these have been intrusted to a single central authority. Look at the United States of America. We must acknowledge that the Republic of the West, numbering 90,000,000 of people to-day, affords an example which is just as much part and parcel of the experience of the British race as is that of any part of the British Empire. The British Parliament cannot fairly be compared with the

Commonwealth Parliament, however powerful it may become. The British Parliament has to legislate for 300,000,000 people, ami not 5,000.000. It has to deal with territories spread over the five continents of the globe. It has to deal legislatively with peoples alien in race, religion, and economic and social standards - the very opposite of the Australian people. Therefore, the cry of Home Rule, as applied to the question of the referendum, is grotesquely absurd. We turned to the United States of America when framing our own Constitution. But what has been the trend of events there? We can take the opinions, not only of impartial students on the spot, but of jurists elsewhere, who, after an examination of the facts, have come to the conclusion that the State Governments of America are waning in popular favour, and stand in danger of losing the sovereignty which they have hitherto enjoyed. I direct the attention of the Leader of the Opposition to what has been written by Professor Harrison Moore, of the Melbourne University, on the trend of events in America.


Senator Millen - The answer is given by the figures of the last Presidential election, when the people turned down Mr. Roosevelt, who sought to bring about changes such as these.


Senator LYNCH - We cannot judge from a temporary indication of public popular feeling, but must consider the general trend of events. Professor Harrison Moore says, at page 621 of his work on the Commonwealth of Australia - ;

It is the experience of Federal Government in the United States, in Germany, and in Switzerland that the National Government tends to grow in power as compared with the State Governments. In the United States of America the development has been by way of judicial construction rather than by formal amendment, a construction given under a deep responsibility which came from the knowledge that the decisions of the Court were, in face of the difficulty of amending the Constitution, for all practical, purposes final, and yet mav not be "Commerce among the several States." In America, too, as elsewhere, the citadel of natural rights has been stormed, and the securities demanded by the citizen of the eighteenth century against the improvement of his liberties are likely to be more and more regarded in the twentieth century as hindrances to his social welfare.

That passage sums up in a very few compact sentences Professor Harrison Moore's opinion on the tendency of the times in America. He shows that popular feeling and favour are running in the direction of giving increased power to the central authority 'at the expense of the States.


Senator Rae - In spite of the fact that the United States of America have had a more liberal High Court than ours.


Senator LYNCH - Quite so. Professor Harrison Moore says that the temper of the times has been so clearly manifested that even the Judiciary has sought to overcome difficulties by straining the Constitution to meet popular demands. I will also quote the opinion of an American writer, Samuel N. Patton, who, in his book on The Decay of States and Local Government, expresses the following opinion : -

Among the many political changes which have occurred during the history . of the American people there are few that can compare in importance with the growth of the national feeling by which the State and local Government have lost their former independent position and are now valued largely for the places they furnish for partisans of national politics. . . . The average voter of to-day would have been a puzzle to our ancestors. The motives upon which he acts would have been incomprehensible to them. They looked upon the State as a sovereign, and kept State issues independent of those of the nation. They limited the power of the nation as' much as possible with the hope that the States would retain their vitality and be the real centre of power and influence. Each part of our really complex system of government had a meaning to them, and they exerted the utmost vigilance to ensure that no part lost its vitality. Nothing could have grieved the fathers of our country more than to know that before the end of the first century of our national existence, State and local Governments would have sunk to their present condition with a mere nominal existence.

I think that clearly shows that in the opinion of the American people it is necessary to endow the central Government with increased powers, and that that can only be done by taking powers from the State Governments. I shall quote the opinion of another American writer, Mr. Ashley, author of The American Federal StateHe says -

In 1789 we had a Federal system nominally the same as it is now, but then we had States and a nation. Then all spoke of the States as sovereign, and of the Central Government as sovereign only in regard to the powers conferred upon it. Whatever we may think about the permanence of the States, one thing is assured, the Union, i.e., the Commonwealth, will stand, growing stronger with the onward march of the centuries.

Senator Millenwishes to draw that line deep, black, and irremovable. He wishes to place a bar between the two spheres of action and authority. I say that we cannot draw that line permanently. The writer proceeds to deal with the difficulty of changing the American Constitution.


Senator Fraser - It has been changed.


Senator LYNCH - I know that it has been changed in reference to matters of great public concern, as to which all parties were in. accord. But it is almost impossible to change the Constitution to-day, owing to the power of money in the United States. This writer proceeds -

Were Lt not for the fact that the general principles underlying State laws are everywhere the same, and that there are but four or five groups of States with any difference in details, some action by an outside authority would be necessary for the proper conduct of ordinary business.

The writer supports Harrison Moore in showing that the Judiciary of the United States of America has been straining the Constitution to bring about changes demanded by the times, and that is an action which is open to serious question. He proceeds -

In other words, if State lines are not permanent in every-day affairs, they must not make important boundaries of legal systems or they will have to be removed.

All who have studied American affairs know how exceedingly difficult it is to alter the Constitution in any material respect. An amendment requires a two-thirds majority in each House of Congress, or a demand by two-thirds of the States, and has to be ratified by three-fourths of the Legislatures of the States. So that, compared with our own Constitution, the prospect of altering the American Constitution is almost hopeless, if not actually impossible.

In regard to the main features of these referenda proposals, I have referred to what has taken place in other countries with respect to monopolies. During the time of my participancy in public affairs in this country, I admit that I have advocated concerted action by those in charge of industries and their employes. I ; have urged them to come together and to recognise that it was not wise and well to permit unrestricted competition in carrying on business. I have suffered from the cut-throat competitive methods adopted by those engaged in industry, and have been forced to accept lower wages than were reasonable and have been compelled to live under unsatisfactory conditions. This state of affairs was entirely due to the reduction of prices to such an absurd level that they did not pay the employers, or those who were engaged by them. I urged on that occasion and Afterwards that it was necessary for the employers to combine to fix rates that would operate fairly to themselves and enable them to deal fairly with their employes. I was urged to do this by the necessities of the situation and because I was not going to be made a slave so that the public might enjoy cheap prices. Whilst on that occasion I agreed to those engaged in industry combining for their reasonable protection, I did not agree to their going to the further, length of making themselves our masters. I refer particularly to the shipping industry.. When' the shipping companies were not combined, people could travel from place to place around the Australian coast for less than they could obtain board on shore, and hundreds of persons did travel merely for the novelty of the thing and in order to save their board. The employes were made to pay for these holiday jaunts, and that was not a healthy state of affairs. I urged that it was necessary to raise rates to such a level that employers would obtain a fair return for their capital and would be able to pay us fairly for our labour. We are charged to-day with, having encouraged monopolies, but . there is . a great distinction between combinations for the purpose I have indicated ah j combinations which will enable employers to become masters of the situation. I may invite a man into my house to enjoy my hospitality, but at the same time I am not content that he shall become my master. My invitation affords him no warrant for usurping my place in my own home. Those employers who took our advice to combine in order to fix fair prices were not content with accomplishing that object, but have gone much further afield and have constituted themselves masters of the situation.- These proposals are intended to enable the Commonwealth Government to curb this abuse of power, and to deal effectively with those who have gone far beyond the boundary line between a fair reward for their enterprise and exorbitant demands upon the public.

In regard to what has happened in other countries, I shall have to discard a good deal of the matter I have prepared with a view to showing the trend of events in the United States, Great Britain, and New Zealand. But I would refer especially to New Zealand, because it is nearer home, and because in that Dominion we shall find ample evidence in support of the present proposals. A Royal Commission appointed by the New Zealand Government to inquire into the cost of living last year presented its report during the current year. The report contains a list of articles which are the subjects of monopolies. The Commission found that the cost of living had been increased by 21 per cent, during the last seventeen years. They found that the following articles were the subjects of monopolies : -

Sugar, matches, cocoa, Keiller's marmalade, Colman's mustard, Colman's starch, Keen's spice, Keen's blue, Robinson's groats and barley, oatina, gerstena, Neeve's food, Mellin's food, Edmond's baking powder, Sapon, Levers' soaps, Reckitts' polishes, local starch, soap, candles, proprietary teas, Highlander milk, tobacco, cigarettes, and certain brands of cigars.

In all there are twenty-eight commodities that are the subjects of mutual arrangement in the fixing of prices in New Zealand today, and most of these are foodstuffs.


Senator Millen - Does the honorable member say that they are all the subjects of monopolies.


Senator LYNCH - That is what was discovered by the Commission in respect of them. The Commission say -

Acting upon legal advice, individual -members of the Merchants' Association of New Zealand refused to give evidence. The Commission has definite proof that the members of this association have banded together for the purpose of restraining trade in their own interests, and boycotting independent trading. Where they have succeeded in securing control of imported and locally-produced commodities, their operations have been followed by increased prices. In no single instance have they reduced the price of any commodity to the public. They have obtained control and fixed higher prices for at least the following commodities : -

Then they give the list of commodities I have quoted.


Senator Millen - Is there no indication that those increases were not - as in the case of the shipping business justified in the interest of those employed in the industry.


Senator Vardon - What was the advance in wages during the same period?


Senator LYNCH - I am glad the honorable senator has asked that question, because in answering it I shall be able to meet statements, by gentlemen in the same political camp as himself, to the effect that the increased cost of living is mainly attributable to higher wages and labour legislation. That has been a stock argument. In regard to wages the Commission find that from 1895 *o 1907-


Senator Vardon - You took a seventeenyear period in making a comparison as to the cost of living.


Senator LYNCH - I am quoting the report of the Commission. I might mention that the paragraph in the report relating to the increase in house rents reads as follows: -

After the most careful consideration of the evidence submitted, the Commission is of opinion that the rent for an ordinary working man's house, generally of the same style and quality, has increased by about 20 per cent, over the last fifteen years. The increase seems to bemost marked in Auckland - a city which has also exhibited the most rapid increase in population over that period - and it is not improbable that there rents have increased by 45 per cent.

With regard to wages, the Commission found that, taking 100 as the mean, the purchasing power of wages in 1895 was 101, whereas in 1907, it was 101.5, so that during twelve years the purchasing power of wages increased by only 1 per cent. This is a most important point. Whilst the cost of foodstuffs has increased by 21 per cent., and house rents have increased by 20 per cent, all over New Zenland, and by 45 per cent, in Auckland, the purchasing power of wages has increased by only \ per cent.


Senator Vardon - That is no answer to my argument.


Senator LYNCH - It has been stated over and over again that labour legislation has been the chief factor in increasing the cost of living. Let us see what the Commission - upon which there was not one labour nominee - has to say on that point. The report sets out the causes of the increased cost of living. They are twelve in number, and no reference is made to labour legislation as being in any senseresponsible. The first four cases aregiven as follows : -

1.   The increased supply of money, including gold and credit, and the increased velocity of circulation, all of which appear to have outstripped the increase in the volume of goods and services exchanged against them.

2.   The increased cost of production of farm products, and the increased demand, both locally and abroad, for foodstuffs produced in the. country.

3.   Rural depopulation abroad, and the slackened rate of production of foodstuffs in countries such as the United States of America, which have hitherto exported a large proportion of the amount produced therein.

4.   Local combinations, monopolies, and trusts, commercial and industrial, which both raise prices directly to the consumer, and tend to discourage initiative and self-reliance.

Another cause is given as the relatively high increase in the cost of distribution! owing to the increased transport charges, the excessive, number of those engaged ira the work of distribution and the duplication of distributing agencies. Some sidelights are thrown on the way in which the work of distribution is carried on and the extent to which the hand of monopoly is placed so heavily upon the commercial and industrial affairs of New Zealand. The following statement is made : -

Mr. F.Williams, baker, of Christchurch, showed what might happen under the circumstances mentioned above. He was outside the Master Bakers' Association, and was selling bread cheap for cash over the counter, when the Master Bakers' Association, in concert with the Flour Millers' Association, blocked his supply of flour for at least a year, and forced him to import Manitoba and Australian Bour from Sydney, as be could not obtain New Zealand flour from the outside millers at a price low enough to enable him to compete successfully with the Master Bakers' Association.

There are numerous instances given here, sir. In fact, the report is almost strewn with accounts of big independent traders who would not knuckle down and observe the regulations laid down by the Merchant Traders' Association or other monopolies in New Zealand being made the victims of boycotting and intimidation. Here is another reference which I will quote -

Mr. Fultonstates distinctly that this refusal on the part of the British Empire Trading Company to supply him with tobacco followed on a refusal by the associated merchants to supply.. He says, " We were cut off for no reason at all. by the associated merchants as far as we know." The inference, it seems to us, to be drawn from the correspondence and other evidence is that Messrs. Brewer, Fulton, and Co. were being boycotted by the Merchants'- Association and that the Merchants' Association exercised pressure on the Tobacco Campany to induce it to refuse supplies.

I do not wish to weary the. Senate by making repeated reference to the high-handed action of the. Merchant Traders' Association as showing how traders in the Dominion are restrained.

In regard to the remedy to be applied for the threatened danger that is evidenced in the Commonwealth, I wish to place on record again the remedy which Mr. W. H. Irvine, a leading member of the Opposition in this Parliament, proposed two years ago, and by which, unfortunately, he does not stand to-day. It is best known to himself why he has deserted the position he took up spontaneously two years ago. Then he acknowledged that there was something wrong in the commercial and industrial life of this country ; then he could divine the causes which were at work; then he could place before Parliament and the people the remedy, about which there should be no misunderstanding. That remedy he is no longer prepared to apply - that remedy he has abandoned. Why has he deserted his position? The electors will be asked why he and other members of this Parliament, found to-day in the Fusion camp, have turned their backs upon and betrayed their professions of two short years ago. What power or influence is at work that public men should so act, is incomprehensible to me. As a humble unit of this party, I may say that I have never yet turned my back, nor do I know of any member of the party who has made a volte-face in such a shameless fashion as have these men who stand before the country and ask the people to put faith in them. We find that, on this very question, Mr. W. H. Irvine recorded these views in Parliament two years ago : -

There are others which by the powers that they have come to wield and the methods by which they use those powers are visibly becoming - although not so much yet in this country - a menace to liberty.

One does not wish to speak strongly of other countries, and especially of a country which one admires, but on these matters we must speak plainly. The truth has been borne into us that these great aggregations of irresponsible wealth in the United States are rapidly destroying the foundation of the constitutional liberties of the people. The ordinary organs of government which ought to control them in some cases are becoming their instruments? The experience of the United States, especially during the last fifteen or twenty years, goes to show that to deal with this growing evil the arm of the States is " too short, whilst the arm of the Central Government is paralyzed by the constitutional ligature to which f have referred. There is no power to deal with these trusts in the United States, and the point has been made by Dr. Haynes in the passage to which I have referred, that with a Constitution which is practically incapable of being so amended as to do away with this ligature there may be found no other remedy than some form of revolutionary change.

The right honorable member for Swan said -

But the States can deal with these trusts? to which Mr. Irvine replied -

The States cannot; that is the whole point. The right honorable member for Swan again, in whose embrace Mr. Irvine, is found to-day, having deserted and basely abandoned opinions which he voluntarily expressed two years ago, interjected -

Not. with the operations of a trust within a State ? to which Mr. Irvine replied -

No; the whole evil of the position in the United States is that the individual States are' quite powerless.

So we say. I say " Amen ". to everything Mr. Irvine said two years ago, but not " Amen " to the position he is in to-day, and to the false expressions of opinion he is now giving. Referring to Eddy on Combinations and Judson on Inter-State Trade,Mr. Irvine went on to say that they showed - that the State machinery is absolutely inefficient to deal with, the great commercial octopi which carry on their operations over a large territory. The only power that can effectively deal with them is the central authority, and the ' ole question is, "What authority ought the central power to possess to enable it to deal with these injurious combines?"

That is the view of the Mr. Irvine of two years ago, not that of the Mr. Irvine of today. We will take good care, when the time comes, to point out the difference between his attitude of two years ago and the attitude of himself and his colleagues today.

I think it is worth while, even at the expense of delaying the Senate, to point out what has happened in regard to the supply of steel rails, and to show that Governments and those who are engaged in developmental work in Australia are seriously handicapped' by the action of the' Steel Trust to-day, which reserves to itself certain spaces over the surface of the globe, beyond which they do not attempt to trade. No competition reigns- within these allotted areas. In his work on International Trusts Mr. Hermann Levy, professor in -the Heidelberg University - and so important was his work that it was translated into English - sets forth the fact that in 1895 an international arrangement was . entered into between the steel companies of ' the world, that the price of rails in Great Britain was something like -£2 a ton more than the price of rails in the United States of America, and that in spite of the fact that England was Free Trade and that America could land rails at a cheaper price in England, according to the relative price in both countries, after the compact had been entered into, only 477 tons were landed in England. In the meantime, America exported no less than 200,000 tons to foreign countries, but England, although the price was higher in that country, never received more than a paltry 477 tons during the ' time. It is quite plain to those who are conversant with public affairs in the Old Country, that their vaunted policy of Free Trade at least is not .giving the consumers in England any . benefit', but rather that the mighty trusts that sit in conclave in different cities in the world can come to an arrangement which will throw into the waste-paper basket any Tariff which the Parliament of Australia, or the British House of Commons, may take', labour and pains to formulate for the benefit and protection of the people. The Tariff in the Old Country, so far as steel rails were concerned, was powerless. People in that country wanted the rails at a cheap price, but the Americans would not supply them. Therefore, it is clear that these enormous octopi, as Mr. Irvine has described trusts, can play " ducks and drakes " with the Tariffs of the world. It was done in the case of steel rails in Australia when the Germans refused to tender and left the field clear to the American and English competitors.

I' desire to refer briefly to the proposal to enable railway servants to come under the Conciliation and Arbitration Court, should they ever find themselves in trouble, or want a dispute settled. I regard it as a very vital proposal indeed. When we examine closely the objections to the proposal, we find that, unless the railway servants of Australia are given power to approach the Arbitration.. Court, very serious 'consequences, if not evil, will ensue. Senator Fraser may laugh.


Senator Fraser - I am. amazed at your effrontery.


Senator LYNCH - The honorable senator who laughs at this proposal comes from the State where the railway servants went into revolt not very long ago. Why? To obtain fair conditions. I am not personally aware of the conditions under which they worked, but am able to state, on the best authority, the conditions under which they worked up to the time they struck-, as compared with .the railway servants of New South Wales. Prior to the strike, the average wage of the enginedrivers -in Victoria was 12s. n}d. a day, and in New South Wales, 13s. 4d., being a difference of 4jd. a day in favour of the. New South Wales men. The average wage of firemen in Victoria was 8s. 7$d. a day,, and in New South Wales, 8s. 8Jd. - not a. great difference, it is true, but still a difference, to which I shall refer later. Theaverage wage of guards in Victoria ' was 8s. 10¾d. a day, and in New South Wales it was 9s. 7fd., showing a difference of 9d. in favour of the New South Wales men. In addition - and this is all-important - in the New South Wales service, the men worked only eight hours a day, and ninetysix hours a fortnight ; whereas in Victoria, up to the time of the strike, the men worked 108 hours a fortnight. In other words, they worked a day longer for a lower wage than was paid in New South Wales. When they sought a redress of their grievances, what was the result? Mr. Irvine, who is now in this Parliament, and has shown himself so skilful an acrobat, refused to consider what they proposed for consideration, and insisted upon the Government being the only arbiter of the situation.


Senator Fraser - Hear, hear !


Senator LYNCH - I do not agree with the honorable senator. I believe that the railway servants of this State should not be in the position of having the Government as their sole arbiter.


Senator Fraser - They were anarchists, for the time being.


Senator LYNCH - A fair means of adjustment would be to have an arbitrator to decide between those seeking something and those refusing it. The Government of Victoria of that day refused to consider the demands of the railway employes unless they conceded that the Government should be the sole arbitrators in all such matters. We know the history of that strike, and the attempts made to force those men into submission. Nothing serves as a better guide for the future than experience of the past. It is the lamp which may guide our feet. What has happened in the past is a reliable guide to what may happen in the future. The railway men went on strike in Victoria, as they were perfectly entitled to do, because a man should have the right to sell his labour in the highest market, just as a merchant sells his goods in the highest market.


Senator Fraser - He can retire if he likes.


Senator LYNCH - Yes, and starve.


Senator Fraser - There is outside employment for him.


Senator LYNCH - This is a chapter from the history of Victoria, which may be repeated in the future. In order to overcome the trouble a Coercion Bill was introduced in the Victorian Parliament. There was an attempt for the first time in the history of Australia to stain the statute-books of the country with one of the vilest coercive measures which have been such a foul blot upon the laws of the Old

Land. This measure was introduced by the same Mr. Irvine, and I ask the close attention of honorable senators whilst I refer to some of its main features, in order to show what the Government of Victoria proposed to do to men because they insisted upon what they considered a fair thing.


Senator Fraser - They left their engines out in the bush, and defied all justice and reason.


Senator LYNCH - It does not matter where they left them. It was only after they had exhausted in vain every means open to them for theredress of their grievances, and because they were treated with contempt by the Victorian Government, that they resorted to those extreme measures. Here are some of the clauses of the Irvine Coercion Act, which should, I think, be put on record, as indicating what may happen in the future if we are to accept the experience of the past as a guide. Section 2 of the Bill provided that-

Every person employed in the railway service, either in a permanent office or as a supernumerary, who, without the approval of the Commissioners, or before the expiration of fourteen clear days after giving notice of intention to leave the said service, ceases to perform his duties, shall, if the strike is not previously concluded, be deemed to have joined in the strike, and to have become a striker, and to have committed an offence against this Act.

Offences against the Act were to be punished in the following way -

Every person who is guilty of an offence against any of the provisions of this Act shall, for every such offence, be liable, on conviction before any police magistrate (who, whether sitting in a Court of Petty Sessions or otherwise, shall have all the powers and authorities of a Court of Petty Sessions), to a penalty not exceeding One hundred pounds, or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding twelve months, or to both such penalty and imprisonment.

The Victorian Government of the immediate past proposed as a penalty for going on strike a fine of £100, or twelve months' imprisonment, or the payment of the penalty, and also the imprisonment. These were the penalties provided for the punishment of those against whom they were directed for doing what merchants, traders, and all engaged in monopolistic enterprises are doing to-day, and have done in the past, without any interference under the law. Here are a few more gems from this Coercion Act introduced by the Victorian Government. I quote them as showing how Magna Charta was overturned in one act by a Victorian Government.

Every person shall be guilty of an offence against this Act if he -

(a)   uses or threatens violence to or intimidates, or attempts to intimidate, or uses insulting or abusive language to, or of, any employe or any person who is seeking or has been offered employment by the Commissioners, or to, or of, the wife or children of any such employe or person who is endeavouring to induce any other person to accept such employment.

That is a fairly drastic provision. If a a man used abusive language towards the women or children of a person seeking employment, or one who had been offered employment, he was liable to a fine of £100, or twelve months' imprisonment, or to the payment of £100, and twelve months' imprisonment.

(b)   persistently follows any such employe or person about.

That was an offence. A man was liable to the penalties to which I have referred for following a person about -

(c)   injures, destroys, or hides any property, tools or clothes owned or used by any such employe or person, or deprives him thereof or hinders him in the use thereof ; or

(d)   damages or besets or lurks near--

If a person were only found outside the house of a non-unionist - a black-leg - he might be instantly hauled before a court without a warrant, sent to gaol and ordered to pay a fine of£100.


Senator Stewart - What is the meaning of " lurking?"


Senator LYNCH - I do not know; but a person might be studying the phases of the moon, and be said to be " lurking."

The section continues - or lurks near or spies upon the house or place where any such employe or person resides or works or carries out his duties, or happens to be, or the approaches to such house or place; or

(e)   follows any such employe or person in a disorderly manner through any street or road or thoroughfare, or public or private land ; or

(f)   solicits or tries to persuade or instigate any employe not to continue in the service of the Commissioners, or not to carry out all or any of his duties as an employe or solicits or tries to persuade or instigate any person not to accept employment in the service of the Commissioners; or

(g)   interferes or attempts to interfere with the individual liberty of any such employe or person, or with the liberty of any person in or near any railway station who is or has been, or desires to be, a passenger by any train.

Under this Coercion Act it was possible for a man to be fined£100 or twelve months' imprisonment, or both, if he was found near a railway station speaking to a railway passenger. We talk about the liberty of the subject. This was the legislation passed to deal with a railway strike because of the refusal of the Government to grant reasonable terms to their men. I have said that it was only after the railway employes had exhausted every other means of redress and were driven from the steps of the Government offices, that they resorted to extreme measures. The section further provides that -

(j)   organizes, manages, solicits, collects, or knowingly receives or keeps as a banker, custodian, or otherwise, or disburses or distributes any fund or money for the encouragement, maintenance, furtherance, extension, or continuance of the strike ; or

(k)   does any act or thing with the object or which might have the effect of encouraging, maintaining, furthering, extending, or continuing the strike.

I have no objection to that. Then it is provided -

For any of the offences specified in paragraphs; a to h inclusive of the foregoing sub-section, any offender may be arrested, either with or withoutwarrant, and when so arrested shall not in any such case be released on bail..

He could lie in gaol. That is what the State control of railways came to only a few short years ago. In section 7 I find the following with respect to printing.. The Honorary Minister will appreciate this-

Every person who prints, publishes, distributes, issues, circulates, or posts up or exhibits any printed notice, notification, order, request, document, or paper having, or which appears to have, as an object the encouragement, maintenance, furtherance, extension, or continuance of the: strike, orthe collecting, receiving, keeping, distributing of any fund or moneys for any such object, or containing any insulting or abusive language with respect to persons continuing in. or accepting employment in the railway service, shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

A printer, or even a newspaper-boy in the street was liable under this to imprisonment for twelve months.

Any such notice, notification, order, request, document, or paper may, without further or other authority than this Act, be seized and destroyed by any member of the Police Force, or by any person whomsoever.

The police were entitled to enter a newspaper office and seize and destroy the property they found there without reference. to any judicial authority whatever. Did any one ever hear of such a reign of terror as prevailed in Victoria when the State Government had control of the railways? Here is another drastic provision -

Any meeting of more than six persons in any building -

It might be in a person's home. A man's home is supposed to be his castle. These time-honoured shibboleths have deceived the people long enough. A man's home was not his castle in Victoria when Mr. Irvine was Premier of the State -

1.   Any meeting of more than six persons in any building or in the open air, held or being held for the encouragement, maintenance, furtherance, extension, or continuance of the strike shall be deemed and taken to be an unlawful meeting.

2.   Every person whoat tends any such meeting shall be deemed guilty of an offence against this Act.

3.   Any Superintendent, Inspector, or SubInspector of Police, or, if so authorized by any Superintendent, Inspector, or Sub-Inspector, any sergeant of police, may, with such assistance as be deems necessary, disperse any meeting which he has reasonable grounds for believing to be an unlawful meeting as aforesaid.

Here comes the " Crow-bar Brigade," an outrage borrowed from the experience of the country from which Mr. Irvine claims to come - the men who used to tumble the people out of their homes while their breakfast was still being prepared in the pots -

Where any meeting (not being a public meeting, lecture, concert, or entertainment, or service to which the public have access by payment of money or otherwise) is held in a building or premises, or on any land, and any officer or sergeant as aforesaid has reason to believe--

Good old " reason to believe " - the same is an unlawful meeting as aforesaid, he many demand or endeavour to obtain entrance into such building, premises, or land at any time when such meeting is being held, and if admittance be refused or delayed and cannot be otherwise readily obtained, he may, with such assistance as aforesaid, use such force as may be required by breaking doors or otherwise for making such entry, and where necessary he may also so enter any neighbouring or adjoining building, premises, or land in order to obtain access to the buildings, premises, or land where he believes any such meeting is being held, or about to be held. Where at least four strikers are present at any meeting, such meeting shall, unless proof to the contrary to be shown by persons present thereat, be deemed and taken to be an unlawful meeting.

I will quote another clause which penalizes the practice for which Mr. Irvine's uncle went to gaol, and against which he continually thundered -

In order to disperse an unlawful meeting, the said officer or sergeant of police shall attend such meeting and order its dispersal forthwith ; and any person at the meeting who does not disperse and depart therefrom within five minutes after such order may be arrested, either with or without warrant, by any member of the police force.

Where is British liberty, where is Magna Charta, where is the Englishman's home, in the face of that action of the Victorian Government a few years ago? Let me quote clause 10, which embodies another extraordinary reversal of the practice pursued by Courts of Justice -

(1)   In any prosecution for an offence against this Act, a witness shall not, in any Court or before any Justices, be excused from answering any question on the ground that his answer may incriminate, or tend to incriminate, himself.

(2)   A witness who answers truly all questions he is by this section required to answer shall receive from the Court a certificate stating that he has so answered, and such certificate shall be a bar to alt criminal proceedings against such witness in respect to any offence, not being a felony, as to which he has been examined. Here we find the informer encouraged. He could betray those with whom he had been associated, and escape punishment himself. I think I have disfigured and blotted the pages of Hansard by sufficient quotations from this extraordinary measure to create reason for apologizing for placing on record the proposals made by the Victorian Government a few years ago. But the same sort of thing is quite likely to happen in the future.


Senator Fraser - Oh, no.


Senator LYNCH - The only light that can guide our feet is the experience of the past. In Victoria, the "Englishman's home" was dishonoured, the informer was encouraged, the practices of the Courts of Law were set at naught, trade and commerce were completely disorganized and brought to a standstill, and the most repressive means of coercion were resorted to by the Government. I want to prevent the happening of such things again by making these amendments of the Constitution. I make these references to warn the people as to what may happen in the future. The railway system of Australia to-day links up one part of the country with another and the trade and commerce conducted by its means is all part and parcel of one whole. The railways are an indispensable factor in dealing with trade and commerce and if one State Government chose to do what the Victorian Government did a few years ago, the trade of the country would be paralyzed. We should surely be blind to our true interests if we did not institute means of preventing the recurrence of such a state of things. But that can only be done by granting the Federal Government the powers asked for.

I wish to say a word about the work of the Federal Arbitration Court. It has granted fifteen awards, and 214 industrial agreements have been registered under it. By means of awards and agreements combined, the affairs of no fewer than 105,000 employes have been regulated, and the whole of them are working peacefully to-day. There have been no strikes in connexion with the awards and industrial agreements of the Federal Arbitration Court. It has smoothed the path of the industrial chariot, and brought employer and employ6 more closely together, notwithstanding the serious curtailments of its power which have been brought about by the action of the High Court. Let me mention some of the directions in which the High Court has restricted the usefulness of the Arbitration Court. There is, first, the common rule. The Arbitration Court cannot fix a common rule, whilst the State Courts can do so. . Secondly, there is the power to fix the wages of apprentices. The Federal Arbitration Court cannot fix them. The State Courts can do so, having unlimited power in that respect. Again, the Federal Arbitration Court reduced the length of the working week of the employes at the Port Pirie smelters from seven days to six. State Courts could have done so, but the High Court ruled that the Federal Arbitration Court could not. The Port Pirie smelters have to work seven days, instead of six, owing to the limitations of the Constitution. These are samples of the hobbles in which the Federal Arbitration Court has been struggling, owing to the extraordinary action of the High Court. I will not refer to what has been said by the President of the Court, except to indicate that its records speak for themselves. I believe that we shall enter upon an extended area of industrial peace if we can only secure the increased industrial powers asked for by these referenda proposals.

I wish to say a word or two as to the warnings afforded by other countries in regard to the actions of monopolists. In Free- Trade England there are no fewer than fifteen combinations in existence, including the tobacco combine. As to what is happening in connexion with the social life of the Britisher of to-day, the fol- lowing is a passage which I have taken from Mr. Lloyd'sLords of Industry -

Dr. Drysdale,of London, at the last session of the Social Science Congress, pointed out how the death-rate rose with the scarcity of food. The mean age of the rich in England at time of death is 55 ; among the poor it is not 30.

So that the rich live longer, while the poor die at an early age. They have a chance of going out of this vale of tears much sooner than the rich. The death rate amongst the children of the comfortable classes is eighty per 1,000 ; whilst, amongst the cHildren of working people, .in Manchester and Liverpool, it is 300 per 1,000. Dr. Farr has shown that the death rate of England decreases 3 per cent, when wheat declines in price 2s. per bushel. As food grows dearer, typhus becomes more plentiful, and a scarcity of food creates crime. Professor Le Resignola, in his Trusts in America, writes as follows, concerning conditions in the United States -

One-half the material wealth of the United States of America belongs to 200,000 families, or 1,000,000 persons, while the other half belongs to 77,000,000 people.

So that 77 millions of the people have to scramble for one-half of the wealth of the nation, whilst the other half is enjoyed by the remainder. Surely that is not a healthy state of affairs. It has been brought about by the evils that have taken such deep root in America, and which we are trying to prevent by these proposals. What has happened in Germany? The following is the opinion of Mr. Dawson, in his work The Evolution of Modern Germany - " Never before," wrote the Austrian Consul in Berlin to his Government in 1906, " was economic Germany so entirely under the absolute rule of a group of men, barely fifty in number; in no former period of industrial expansion was the old formula of * the free-play of forces ' abandoned to such a degree as in 1906, when the momentous decisions as to the extent of production, sales abroad, prices, the granting of credit, the raising of new capital, and the fixing of wages and rates of interest lay in the hands of a few persons found at the head of the large banks, mammoth industrial undertakings and great cartels. The lion's share of the industrial boom has fallen to these great combinations of interests, whose gains have been the larger the more their industries were ruled by syndicates."

It would take too long to refer to the incipient evils existing in this country, which we hope to cure by means of this policy. It will suffice to say that the same tendencies of the time are making themselves evident iia Australia, as is the case in other countries of the world. Take the report of the Wheat Commission, appointed by the South Australian Government only four years ago, That Commission found, as Senator Shannon is aware, that, owing to the cornering of prices, and the bringing about of "honorable understandings," the price per bushel was reduced by '2d. all round. Taking the products of South Australia for the year with which the report deals, we can say that those manipulators of the wheat market robbed the producers of the State of no less than ,£166,000. Honorable senators opposite can laugh, but what do the people think who were robbed of this money ? What about the men out in the wilds with broken boots and broken hearts? Senator Fraser can afford to laugh because he is in the lap of luxury. But I speak as one who knows these troubles intimately. I know that it is no laughing matter for men who have to earn a bare living on scanty food, and who work with blighted eyes and blighted hopes in the distant parts of this country. They have been robbed systematically by that gang of thieves, the wheat-buyers of South Australia. I say that they are hypocritical who will not give us the power to deal with evils which result in the wholesale robbery of our farmers. The manufacturers of harvesters- abroad have entered into a combination with the local manufacturers to charge certain prices, with the result that the farmer now has to pay j£i8 more than previously for a machine. The farmers are being robbed wholesale by the manufacturers' combine. Being the son of a farmer. I know that the farmers are robbed consistently by these highway raiders, who are everywhere in the field of commerce. When the farmer sends his wheat to market he finds that the price is ruled by world-wide competition, or else by some combine that is operating to his disadvantage. On the other hand, in respect to everything he requires, he has to pay prices which are regulated by halfadozen men sitting in an office in one of the big metropolitan centres. He sells at prices which are fixed by competition, but has to buy at prices fixed by combines which claim to be his friends, but which are piling up the burdens on him all the time. We are endeavouring to save this young Commonwealth from treading in the false steps of other communities. We are endeavouring to protect the people against the monopolies that have already driven their roots into the soil of Australia - as the Victorian Premier, Mr. Watt, has admitted. We want to cut off these roots, and the only means by which we can do so is by strengthening the central Government in the direction indicated by these proposals.

What have these monopolists done ? Even now they are turning round and biting the hand which fed them. In- every civilized country monopolists have flourished under the protection of the Government, and have invariably turned round and rended those who have supported them. We can see in our forests something which will serve to illustrate the methods of the combines. Take the case of the banyan tree. That tree is raised from a seed which is borne aloft by birds and deposited in some hollow recess of a forest monarch. By-and-by the seed germinates and the young plant obtains a foothold and gradually spreads its root downwards along the stem of its supporter which is providing sustenance and fostering it. Eventually it reaches the earth, and its roots soon become embedded in the soil. The plant continues to grow, and eventually surrounds its once lordly supporter, and gradually twists and squeezes the life blood out of it. Monopolies are growing under the shelter and protection of our Government institutions, and by virtue of the security they enjoy, and once they become entrenched they will inevitably squeeze and crush the life blood out of the community. It is in order to prevent the development of this evil, and the dire consequences that will inevitably follow unless it is curbed, that we are asking for these additional powers. We should be wise in our generation, and do everything we can to escape the evils which have overwhelmed other countries. We have here a glorious heritage to preserve. Our lands extend over an immense area, and our resources cannot be questioned. Settlement has merely touched the fringe of our heritage, and not a drop of blood has been spilt to secure the inestimable liberty we enjoy. Those who know Australia, and have wandered through its vast expanses, have learnt to love even its dry and barren wastes. We have also learnt to appreciate the immense resources of our fertile plains and dense forest areas. We have learnt to appreciate the priceless heritage that has been given to us, and the liberty we enjoy, and we should be foolish in the extreme if we did not take steps to prevent this overshadowing evil from destroying us. We have a land that is worth being lived for, as it is worth .dying for, and we should do everything possible to maintain our standard of living and improved social conditions. One of the means to this end is enlarged powers for the central authority, so that it may effectively cope with the evils which threaten us. If we do this, we shall act wisely ; if we fail, we shall pay the penalty of our folly.







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