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Tuesday, 5 December 1905
Page: 6241

Mr McCOLL (Echuca) - I move-

That the following new clause be inserted : - 75A. No person shall apply any workers' trade mark to any product of the agricultural, viticultural, horticultural, dairying, or pastoral industries.

Penalty : One hundred pounds.

This clause should not require very much explanation. It may be said that there is no necessity for such a clause, but if that is so there will be no harm in inserting it in the Bill.

Mr Hutchison - It will cover everything.

Mr McCOLL - No, it will not. The people who have to make their living from the land are placed in a very different position to those working in factories or in cities or town industries. They have no certainty whatever that they will get any return for their labour. They are the sport of the seasons, and it is therefore well that they should be far removed from any risk of loss to which they might be subjected by the application of these provisions.

Mr Isaacs - The honorable member intends that the clause should apply only to primary products.

Mr McCOLL - That is all. I had framed the clause at first in another way, but there were certain objections to it, and I thought it better to put it in the form in which I now submit it. It is intended to apply only to primary products, and perhaps "butter and cheese are the only products to which, it would apply which might in any way be termed manufactured products. I need not take up the time of the Committee in further explaining the clause, the intention of which must be perfectly clear to every honorable member.

Mr. ISAACS(Indi- Attorney-General). - I can see that it is the honorable member's intention, as he has now expressed it, that his clause should apply only to the primary products of the industries re'ferred to. But, as framed, I' think it would go much further. I have no objection to expressing, in a clause, what I think would really give effect to the honorable member's intention. I do not think there is any possibility, of the natural operations - if I may so refer to them - on farms and vineyards being affected by this part of the Bill. There was no intention to apply this part to those primary operations. I have framed a clause which I think the honorable member will admit will carry out his intention, and if the Honorable member will move his clause in the form I suggest I shall be willing to agree to it. I do not, for instance, like the expression "mo person shall apply any worker's trade mark to any product."

Mr Watson - That would subtract from the common law rights of individuals.

Mr ISAACS - Exactly. I suggest that the honorable member might propose his clause in the following form : -

This Part shall not apply to any primary products of the agricultural, viticultural (including wine-making), horticultural, dairying (including butter-making and cheese-making), or pastoral industries.

That, I think, would carry out, in perhaps, a more perfect form what the honorable member desires, and at the same time will clearly not impinge on the real intention of the Bill to cover manufactured products.

Mr Kelly - Would the proposed clause apply to wool ?

Mr ISAACS - Yes, as a primary product of the pastoral industry. If the honorable member for Echuca will move his clause in the form I have suggested, I am willing to accept it.

Mr. McCOLL(Echuca). - I have very much pleasure in accepting the AttorneyGeneral's suggestion. The clause as the honorable and learned gentleman has framed it appears to me to cover all the ground that I intended should be covered.

Mr. WATSON(Bland). - I have informed the Committee on several occasions that personally I believe that, as a matter of principle, we should extend legislative protection to a trade mark, symbol, brand, design, or whatever other form it might take, whether it is held or owned by a nonunionist, an employer, or an employe, or any one else in the community. So long as it is his own property, I think we should extend legislative protection to i't. In view of that principle, I certainly see very grave objections to the proposed new clause ; but I must admit that, as a matter of practice, I see no possibility of the union label, which has been made the bone of contention in this, Bill, being applied to the products described. For that reason, I am not prepared to press the objection I undoubtedly hold to the principle involved in the new clause, even in the form suggested by the Attorney-General.

Mr. HUTCHISON(Hindmarsh).- I see no reason why the Committee should agree to the proposed new clause, even in the amended form suggested. Why should we pass this exceptional legislation when we are being continually charged by honorable members opposite with supporting class legislation? I agree with the honorable member for Bland that there is very little likelihood of the union label being applied to the primary products of the industries referred to; but if it should happen that any wine-maker or any other primary producer should desire to make use of a workers' trade mark, why should we prevent him ? An associated body of agricultural labourers might desire to use such a mark, and, as it could only be applied to the products of their labour with the consent of their employer, why should we prevent its use where that conSent is obtained ? I think that the honorable member for Echuca should not endeavour to interfere with the primary producers. If they do not want this workers' trade mark, they need not have it; but if they do desire it, the honorable member's clause would1 prevent them having it, and I am unwilling to assist the honorable member in that.

Mr. SPENCE(Darling).- The position taken up by the honorable member for Bland is a sound one. I am connected with probably the only industry referred to in the new clause that is organized. I refer to the pastoral industry. I think it most improbable that those concerned in that industry would ever desire to apply a union label to its products, because the whole object of the label is to aid the sale of the employer's product.

Mr Watson - The retail sale.

Mr SPENCE - Exactly. The pastoralists' bales of wool are not likely to sell any better, because they happen to have a union label applied to them. I admit that it is possible that on occasions they might have sold better if such a workers' trade mark had been applied to them, because, at one time, it was admitted that union-shorn wool fetched higher prices and was better classed because it was shorn by unionists. That was in the days when strikes arid difficulty existed which, under the laws we have passed, may not exist in future. I do not think it likely that the primary industries will ever call for a union label, and for that reason it appears to me to be unnecessary to insert any such clause in this Bill. I can conceive that the time may come when those engaged in the butter trade may desire to make use of a workers' trade mark.

Mr Watson - Most of the products of the dairying industry are disposed of wholesale.

Mr SPENCE - That is true, and really the union label will be effective only in connexion with the retail trade. I have no strong objection to the proposed new clause, but it does not appear to me to be worth while to include it in the Bill. My difficulty is that if pastoralists or others engaged in the industries referred to in the clause should desire to make use of a workers' trade mark, whilst it is possible the unions concerned would not object, I do not see why they should be prevented from doing so.

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