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Thursday, 31 July 1930

Senator RAE - A membership spread all over Australia takes a lot of sorting out, and a lot of time is occupied in preparing a list of the members of an organization so wide-spread. Even while the work of preparing the list is in progress changes take place; deaths frequently occur. In any case, a list of members is not of much value, because it is the commonest of things for shearers, in particular, to change their names.

Senator Guthrie - So that they may be on the rolls of two or three electorates ?

Senator McLachlan - Or for the purposes of evading income taxation ?

Senator RAE - Not for either of those sinister purposes. If I have written months previously to a squatter or contracting firm asking for a stand or a pen in a particular shed, and I have received an affirmative reply, it may not always suit me to take that pen. In the meantime, I may get a very much better job. I may, however, meet a mate looking for a pen, and may say to him, " Use my name and take mypen ; take the whole box and dice." He then goes shearing under my name for the time being. He may be Bill Jones in one shed and Tom Brown in the next. This practice has, to my knowledge, been followed for over 45 years. I have not done it myself; but I would not hesitate to do it if necessary. Seamen do the same frequently, and I daresay that it is done in other callings. If a man does not value his own particular name, I do not see why he should not take another if it is more convenient, so long as there is no criminal intent.

Senator Sir George Pearce - What would be his namein the books of the union?

Senator RAE - Heaven knows. Probably his real name would appear there, but I have known of men who worked under an assumed name for two or three years. The point I wish to make is that, in a big organization like that of the Australian Workers Union, the membership of which is spread over an area two-thirds the size of Europe, it is impossible to maintain accurate lists of members and their addresses.

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