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Thursday, 30 November 1905

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I have already indicated that I intend to ascertain from the honorable member's quotations whether it is necessary for him to lay the documents on the table. It really depends to some extent upon whether or not the extracts are partial.

Mr Henry Willis - I wish to know whether it is competent for a private member to place public documents on the table ? Is not that privilege reserved to Ministers of the . Crown ?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - If an honorable member quotes from a public document it must be laid on the table.

Mr WILSON - The letter to which I have referred was- written bv the President of the Store-keepers' and Traders' Association of Victoria, which is an important organization, comprising not only large store-keepers, but also small shop-keepers, who have voluntarily combined in order to protect their interests. The honorable member for Bland, and those who follow him, are believers in voluntary unionism. I believe in it myself.

Mr Kennedy - The honorable member does not support it.

Mr WILSON - For various reasons I have thought it wise to withdraw from the unions and associations with which I was formerly connected. To that extent. I am a non-unionist.

Mr Kennedy - Some people would call the honorable member a black-leg.

Mr WILSON - I am not a black-leg, although I may be a non-unionist. I have never clone anything that would justify any one in stating that I was a black-leg or a "scab." I would not care to be called such names, and I would suggest to members of the Labour Party that it is unwise to apply to their fellow-men. such opprobrious terms. The letter to which I have referred is one of some importance, in view of the fact that the Store-keepers' and Traders' Association is a union just in the same sense that a workman's organization is a union. The letter states -

Rethe union label clauses. Having considered the matter fully, your Committee is convinced that such legislation would be detrimental and extremely harassing to the trader who would be called upon to discriminate between individuals as unionists and non-unionists by the stocks he kept, although both are df equal value to him ; in all ways it would make for coercion, dissatisfaction, and loss. I trust that you, in common with all well-wishers of the Commonwealth, will use every effort to have these obnoxious and mischievous clauses expunged from the contemplated legislation.

Now, I propose to read a letter which has been forwarded to me by the secretary of the Shire of Warrnambool, which is one of the most important in the State of Victoria. The letter is as follows: -

At a large and representative public meeting held in the Town Hall, Warrnambool, on the 29th inst., with- a view to discussing the Trade Marks Bill now being debated in the Federal Parliament, the following resolution was adopted, and I was instructed to forward the same to you, namely, " That this meeting strongly protests against Part VII. of the proposed Bill, known as the union label clause, firstly, as to its being antagonistic to the liberty of the people, secondly as to its being detrimental to the producing and trading interests of the community, and thirdly, as to its discrimination between union and all other labour."

I have also received a letter from the Town Clerk of Warrnambool, who says - -

I have the honour by direction of the Warrnambool Town Council to inform you that at a public meeting held here on the 20th ultimo the resolution as under was carred by a large majority, and for the very grave reasons stated therein I am to request your valuable influence and support thereto.

Then follows the resolution previously quoted. I have received another communication from the Farmers', Property-owners', and Producers' Association - a body which works throughout the whole of the country districts of Victoria. It is an antisocialistic organization, but, nevertheless, it wields a very great influence. The letter is dated Geelong, 18th November, and reads as follows : -

I am directed by the Executive Committee of the Farmers', Property Owners', and Producers' Association to notify you that the following resolution has been agreed to by all the branches of this Association in Victoria, namely, - " That the members of this Association protest against the union label on the ground that it will interfere with industrial liberty, and give to unions - controlled for political purposes - the power to boycott those who have an equal right with unionists to freely dispose of the produceof their labour." .

My Executive Committee trusts that you will give consideration to the above resolution, which has been carried unanimously by 130 branches of this Association, which exist throughout theState of Victoria.

Yours faithfully,

H.   J. D'Helin, Secretary.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think that we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed].

Mr WILSON - The next letter that I have to read is from the Colac branch of the Australian. Women's National League. It is dated 16th November, and reads -

Sir, -I beg to inform you that a meeting of theabove branch, which was largely attended, was held on 16th November. The secretary referred fully to the union label clauses of the Trade Marks Bill, and the following resolution was carried unanimously : - " That in the opinion of this meeting, the union, label clauses of the Trade Marks Bill now before the Federal House, will if passed be a direct interference with the liberty of the subject, and a discrimination of persons, and that in favour of a minority as against a majority. It will hamper storekeepers in their operations, and penalizethe purchasing public, of which so large a classare women." ,

I am, Yours faithfully,

Emma Greig, Secretary.

I have also received a telegram from Inverleigh >

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Where is that?

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