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Thursday, 31 July 1930

Clause 46-

After section 60 of the principal act, and before the heading "proclaimed organizations" the following section is inserted: -

61.   During the pendency of any dispute or matter before the court, no resignation of or discharge from the membership of any organization shall hare effect unless the member accepts employment in an industry other than that to which the dispute or matter relates.

Senator SirGEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) [2.25]. - I move -

That proposed new section 61 be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof, the following new section: - "61. A member may resign his membership of any organization -

(a)   if he accepts employment in an industry other than that represented by the organization, or

(b)   on giving one month's notice and the payment of all dues to the date of his resignation."

The proposed new section 61, as printed, provides that a member shall be entitled to resign if he accepts employment in an industry other than that to which the dispute or matter relates ; but that otherwise he may not resign during the pendency of any dispute. In practice, that means compulsory membership of an organization. It is a practice of the bigger unions to file another plaint as soon as an award has been given. They do not necessarily go on with it; but the filing of the plaint gives them a hold on their members, because no member may resign while that plaint is before the court. Seeing that the plaint may never be proceeded with, members of a union are committed to a life-long membership. Senator Rae said that this is a free country.

Senator Rae - I said an allegedly free country.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - It is not a free country if a man cannot please himself whether or not he should remain a member of a union. I have always believed that a man should join the organization representing his craft, trade, or calling. I believe so still. But, after all, it is a matter of opinion. Another man might conscientiously believe otherwise: if he does he should be allowed to remain outside an organization. He. may disagree with the policy of a union. For instance, a member of a political trade union might conscientiously find himself unable to. endorse the policy of the Labour party. Under the bill, he would be compelled to remain a member of the union, and to contribute towards its funds, which might be used for political purposes. If he cannot conscientiously remain a member of that union, he should be free to resign from it, so long as he gives due notice and pays all fees to the date of his resignation.

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