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Wednesday, 29 November 1905

The CHAIRMAN - We are now dealing with the second reading of the proposed new clause, and I would suggest to the honorable and learned member that its details could be more conveniently disussed at a later stage. I presume that the clause itself is not objected to as a whole.

Mr McCAY - If the clause is to go through as it is, I would sooner have none of it. I desire to direct the attention of honorable members to the wording of the clause. It provides that where any association undertakes the examination of any goods in respect of conditions of manufacture, and certifies the result of such examination by a mark used upon such goods, the Minister may, if he judges that it would be to the public advantage, permit the association to register the mark. It does not need a lawyer to understand what that means. That means that any association may have its mark, and that it may examine goods in respect to conditions of manufacture - as to whether they are unionmade goods or not, not as to whether they are made under fair or unfair conditions

Mr Carpenter - That is included.

Mr McCAY - No, that is a mistake. There are plenty of non-union made goods which are turned out under fair conditions.

Mr Page - Then let them have a label.

Mr McCAY - I say the same thing, and if the honorable member will look at some amendments I have suggested, he will find that I am in favour of adopting that course. The clause would enable a trade union to undertake the examination of goods, and to certify whether they had been made under union conditions- irrespective of whether other goods have been made under fair conditions. And if the Minister considered it in the public interest - and I think some Ministers would have generous ideas upon that point - the association would be enabled to register its mark as a trade mark. The mark would then belong to the union, which could agree or refuse, as it chose, to place it on goods. It could decline to attach the mark to goods made under conditions that would justify its being applied to them. All the union would have to do,would be to undertake the examination of the goods with respect to the conditions of their manufacture, and no doubt they would perform; that part of the work with great cheerfulness. They would also succeed in giving the Minister reasons why their label should be registered. I think that some Ministers, in the generosity .and kindness of their hearts, might be very easily persuaded on that point, and yet the only bulwark between the position I have put and the discriminating use of the union label is the non-approval of the Minister. Much as I esteem that gentleman, and highly as I value his powers of resistance - I have seen him resist the opposition coming from this corner with great vigour-

Mr Robinson - Has the honorable and learned member ever seen him resist the Labour corner?

Mr McCAY - I have not. I fear that he would not be able to resist it. I say that these words have been inserted for a specific purpose. To my mind, it is desirable that the bond fide dispute between honorable members, as to the wisdom of incorporating these provisions in the Bill, should take place upon definite proposals, and not upon a proposal to insert a few words which are apparently harmless, but the introduction of which, as a matter of fact, is fraught with the greatest danger. Unless the Attorney-General agrees to omit "or conditions of manufacture," I trust that the second reading of this clause will not be carried.

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