STANLEY BRUCE’S GREAT INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS BLUNDER
The Howard authorities and its conservative angels are fixing with considerable ostentation for an assault on the trade brotherhoods through alleged reform of the industrial dealingss system after Howard gets control of the Senate on June 31.
This raises the issue of how the reactionist proposals of the Liberals can be defeated, as the labour motion faces these onslaughts in a instead defensive state of affairs.
Peoples who think there will be a monolithic groundswell of immediate industrial rebellion against these proposals are deceiving themselves. The labour motion at the minute is instead battered and dispirited.
The traditional socialist mottos of mobilisation are still necessary and appropriate, but it ‘s highly of import to carry on a rapid educational plan in the labour motion about the dangers of the conservative industrial proposals and approximately historical case in points.
A run for a hawkish industrial response has to be combined with researching all the legal possibilities for get the better ofing the Liberal offense. Rhetoric about industrial mobilization, on its ain, wo n’t acquire really far.
It ‘s besides necessary to build the broadest united forepart, including the bureaucratisms in the labour motion, whose involvements are threatened to some extent, and province Labor authoritiess, whose traditional privileges are threatened.
The Liberals have a tall order before them, lawfully. They ‘re speaking about utilizing facets of corporations jurisprudence to catch control of province industrial systems, coercing most industrial affairs into the federal domain and so get rid ofing most of the maps of the province systems.
Legally, that is a bad scheme. Even the current conservative-dominated High Court is likely to reject such proposals if they ‘re strenuously opposed by the provinces.
A large danger in this state of affairs is left talk by subdivisions of the brotherhood bureaucratism and province Labor authoritiess about passing over the province systems to the federal authorities on traditional Labor centralist evidences.
Such moves should be strenuously resisted. The dramatic thing about the Liberals ‘ proposals is that they are an extraordinary rerun of the policies of the Bruce-Page conservative authorities in 1926 and 1928-29, which were defeated foremost in a referendum in 1926 and eventually by the electoral licking of the Bruce-Page authorities in 1929.
In some ways the societal fortunes of the late twentiess were similar to now. The labour motion was in a comparatively defensive state of affairs and the economic system was in a comparative roar.
The political state of affairs in the labour motion was rather similar excessively, with Matt Charlton, the federal parliamentary leader, back uping the transportation of industrial powers to the federal domain, instead like Gough Whitlam did more late.
The major difference is that in the late 1920s there was rather a spot of struggle on the conservative side about the proposals, with the disruptive figure of Billy Hughes opposing Bruce every inch of the manner. There does n’t look to be the same graduated table of dissent on the conservative side in current conditions.
The most recent illustration of successful industrial opposition to conservative onslaught is the battle of the Maritime Union a few old ages ago. That was a authoritative agitation uniting industrial combativeness, community mobilization and the intelligent development of every legal mechanism, which mostly contributed to accomplishing the coveted result: the saving of the MUA.
In Jack Lang ‘s utile memoir, The Great Bust, which was mostly ghost-written by Norm Macauley, there is a utile history of the Bruce-Page authorities ‘s failed effort to make what the Howard authorities is trusting to make. The two relevant chapters are available below to help the beginnings of a treatment, which will hold to take topographic point reasonably fast if the following few months are to be used to fix for mobilization.
Imagine a referendum in which every political leader in the Commonwealth was rejected in his ain domain of influence. That was what happened in Australia on September 4th, 1926. No 1 escaped the axe. It was a referendum to manus over industrial powers to the Commonwealth, and to supply limited powers over trusts and combines. Prime Minister Bruce sponsored the proposal. He was non merely defeated throughout Australia but in his ain province of Victoria as good. The federal leader of the Labor resistance, Matt Charlton, supported Bruce. He besides had his advice rejected throughout the Commonwealth and could n’t even transport his ain electorate of Hunter.
As Premier of New South Wales I advocated a no ballot. But this province voted yes. T.R. Bavin, who was leader of the Nationalist resistance, besides advocated a no ballot, but his province electorate of Gordon gave an emphasized yes ballot. Mick Bruxner, Dave Drummond, Frank Chaffey and other outstanding members of the province resistance, were against increased federal powers and met the same destiny.
E.G. Theodore was premier of Queensland, and besides was on the no side, merely to hold his province ballot yes. Scullin, Latham, W.M. Hughes, Frank Brennan and Dr Maloney were all on the losing side.
If anyone wants to analyze the referendum device to turn out merely how unpredictable public sentiment can be, and how hard it is to transport a referendum, this ballot provides a authoritative survey. I have opposed every referendum since the first muster referendum. Although the Labor platform provided for fusion, I was ever a Federalist. I believed that the autonomous provinces had really existent maps. The Commonwealth was ever seeking to pilfer them.
The province of New South Wales was ever in the vanguard of societal reform. We were many stairss in front of the other provinces. Many of the referenda were inspired by the hope of taking over control of our personal businesss, in order to strip the people of this province of hard-won additions. That was exactly why Bruce introduced his referendum proposals in June 1926.
My authorities had passed a 44-Hour Week Act, which provided for a on the job twenty-four hours of eight hours, and a 51/2 twenty-four hours hebdomad. Alternatively of go forthing the inquiry to the tribunals, we had introduced it by statute law. The Tories were hostile. They said we were destroying the province. Industries would reassign to other provinces. We besides introduced mandatory workers ‘ compensation, a new mills act, the widows ‘ pension and had motherhood endowment ready for Parliament. The Tories were in a terror.
Bruce had merely swept the state in his law-and-order election and believed that he had a authorization to cover with the trade brotherhoods. The Crimes Act had been the first measure merely. He wanted to present mandatory ballots for trade brotherhoods. He besides wanted power to bolster up the Crimes Act. There were still sedate uncertainties as to whether it was constitutional.
In the 44-Hour Act, we inserted a proviso that it applied to all workers within the province, whether they worked under federal or province awards. The employers, through the Clyde Engineering Company, Lever Bros and Metters, took the instance to the High Court. It is known in the jurisprudence books as the Cowburn and Amalgamated Engineers ‘ Union instance. By four to two the High Court ruled that federal awards prevailed over all province awards, as did federal Torahs over province where the Commonwealth has legal power.
Chief Justice Sir Adrian Knox, Sir Isaac Isaacs, and Justices Rich and Starke upheld the federal power. Messrs Justices Higgins and Powers, both good versed in industrial jurisprudence, had the opposite point of view.
After analyzing the judgement, the Bruce-Page Cabinet decided they could obstruct the 44-hour hebdomad right off if they could obtain full power over industrial affairs for the Commonwealth. Merely New South Wales and Queensland had the 44-hour hebdomad.
They appointed a Commonwealth Arbitration Court of three Judgess & # 8211 ; Chief Justice Lukin, and Justices Dethridge and Beeby. They were given assignments for life at & # 163 ; 2500 a twelvemonth. The following move was to acquire the inquiry of hours and rewards transferred to their tribunal.
Bruce and his Attorney-General, J.G. Latham, decided that the clip was opportune for a referendum to increase Commonwealth powers. One of their jobs was that a Nationalist Party conference in 1923 had voted in favour of restricting Commonwealth powers and reassigning them back to the provinces. But that did n’t worry Bruce. He had merely obtained a fresh authorization. Most of the provinces had returned Labor authoritiess. In a address to a choice assemblage at the Hotel Australia, presided over by Sir Owen Cox, Bruce, shortly after he had become Prime Minister, had suggested what was truly needed in this state was a “ absolutism of six of the best encephalons of the land ” .
Bruce knew that the Federal Labor Party had ever favored fusion. Fisher had put a referendum to the people in 1911 and 1913, which had suggested changes to the fundamental law giving the federal authorities absolute power over all industrial jobs, trusts and monopolies and other points in the Labor platform. They had been rejected on both occasions, with New South Wales taking the resistance. Hughes tried once more in 1919 with proposals covering trade and commercialism, every bit good as arbitration, together with power to nationalize monopolies. Again the Australian people had turned their pollexs down and nowhere more decidedly than in this province.
Bruce ‘s trump card was to ask for Charlton and the federal Labor Party to confabulate with him on proposals which they could jointly subject to the people. The Federal Caucus referred the suggestion to the province subdivisions of the ALP. Three provinces were in favour of coaction while three were against. Again New South Wales opposed the suggestion. Charlton so decided that he would travel in front.
Bruce ‘s main proposition was that the fundamental law should be altered in such a manner as to manus over all power covering with the ordinance of the footings and conditions of employment, and the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees in all industrial affairs to governments to be established by the Commonwealth. That meant giving absolute power to the Commonwealth Arbitration Court.
There was a 2nd clause, intended as a sop to the Federal Labor Party, to allow control over trusts and combinations runing “ in restraint of trade ” . Charlton and his party did n’t gain that the clause could be used against trade brotherhoods every bit good as against powerful trusts. Then as a separate inquiry there was a proposal to give the Commonwealth power “ to protect the involvements of the populace in instance of existent or likely break of an indispensable service ” .
The federal caucus, after many approachs and departures between the two parties, eventually agreed to back up Bruce in an entreaty to the people. In Sydney, I instantly denounced it as an effort to strip the people of the 44-hour hebdomad. I pointed out that the provinces would jettison all rights to ordain factory Torahs. Conciliation and arbitration tribunals would no longer be province personal businesss. Workers ‘ compensation, early shutting, maternity gift, would be entirely federal affairs. The Commonwealth could kill the province Torahs. “ The whole societal and industrial life of the Australian people will be at the clemency of three legal gentlemen, who will be superior to all Torahs, federal or dtate. Mr Bruce ‘s proposals are fraught with enormous danger to the peace, order and good authorities of the Commonwealth, ” I told the Labor Party. The ALP executive backed my base.
In Melbourne, Bruce and Charlton collaborated to the bound. The lone unfavorable judgment came from within the authorities parties. A West Australian member of the Country Party, Mr Gregory, called it an unhallowed confederation. WA Watt, a former financial officer and deputy premier curate, said that it would divide all parties. He had grave uncertainties. He described the rival groups as two well-mannered Canis familiariss watching the bone held in the Prime Minister ‘s manus. He was leery of giving Judgess excessively much power. “ Even if they were angels from Heaven, I should waver to repose in these three Judgess of the Arbitration Court the tremendous powers contained in this step, ” said Watt.
Hughes was besides against giving the power to the Judgess. He said it should stay with Parliament. That was the original proposal of 1911. But it did n’t fulfill Bruce. He wanted Lukin, Dethridge and Beeby to hold the power, and non Parliament. However, Hughes eventually agreed that half a loaf was better than none and agreed to back up the Bill. Mr Rodgers, a former Nationalist curate of trade and imposts from Victoria, openly attacked the Bill. He said he preferred to go forth industrial affairs to the rewards boards as they had so in Victoria. He said the Labor Party could name its ain Judgess to convey in a 30-hour hebdomad and & # 163 ; 10 a hebdomad pay.
The Bill to mention the proposal to a referendum was carried by 56 ballots to two & # 8211 ; the dissidents being Messrs Gregory and Rodgers. Watt and Hughes supported the Bill. A figure of Labor members, including Frank Anstey, Percy Coleman and Billy Mahony, did n’t vote.
The battle so moved into the electorates. A council of federal brotherhoods was formed in Melbourne to press a yes ballot. The commission had limitless money to pass and 1000000s of booklets were distributed with statements by Matt Charlton and Scullin in favour of the Bruce proposals.
The counter came when Albert Willis called an All-Australian Congress of Trades Unions in Sydney and invited Charlton to go to. It was the first meeting of the ACTU.
Charlton put up a passionate defense mechanism of his base. He was told that he had been guilty of an act of perfidy against the on the job category. The mineworkers were peculiarly acrimonious, and they controlled his choice. Charlton said that the proposal was the same as Labor supported in 1911 and said that Bruce had seen the visible radiation. “ For God ‘s interest do n’t allow your sentiments bring break to the Labor motion, ” he pleaded. He said every member of the Labor Party was free to vote as he liked.
By 144 ballots to 10, Charlton was rejected by the Congress. It was a demeaning licking. In Melbourne, Maurice Blackburn was one of the few to come out in resistance. On the other side of the political fencing there was turning confusion. The Nationalists in this province wanted it. They wanted to kill the 44-hour hebdomad. The makers, retail merchants and sweeping houses all backed Bruce with hard currency.
But Thomas R. Bavin, province leader of the Nationalist Party, was against it. “ You will ne’er acquire industrial peace through a Court. ” He pointed out that they would be giving the power to the following federal Labor authorities. He had the foresight to see what such powers could take to in the hereafter. “ The federal proposals would enthrone the whole power over the lucks of Australia in a organic structure of professional politicians sitting at Canberra who would be far removed from contact with the voters, ” he told the Constitutional Association. “ An tremendous administrative machinery, such as had ne’er been attempted in the universe before, would be created to administrate the personal businesss, of a big continent. ”
Bavin and I had disagreed on practically every issue in political relations. We were acrimonious oppositions. But for one time we thought likewise. The Nationalists back uping no formed a Federal Union with R. Clive Teece, KC. as its president. Bavin led the run in NSW for the Nationalist no side, while I led the Labor side.
In Victoria, Bruce had more problem with his ain angels. The Victorian makers were afraid it would convey the 44-hour to that province. Some of the Nationalist documents openly opposed Bruce for the first clip. Sir Arthur Robinson, a powerful industrial figure, led the no run for the federal brotherhood in that province. He said he was opposed to giving more power to politicians who ever wanted more power. “ These politicians will be run intoing stat mis from anyplace surrounded by 1000s of public retainers and they will acquire a deformed physiological reaction of public sentiment, ” he said prophetically. “ Politicians can non acquire a physiological reaction of public sentiment when they are out of touch with the populace. The ambiance of Canberra will be that of government officials, the ambiance of the revenue enhancement gatherer, and non of the taxpayer. ”
Sir Walter Massy Greene agreed with that point of view. “ It is as easy to happen icicles at the equator as to acquire the federal Parliament to hold to restrict Commonwealth powers, ” he said. Among those to fall in the Federal Union run with the large money battalions in Victoria was a well-known barrister with political aspirations, R.G. Menzies. He was besides on the no side. It was all really, really confounding to the mean voter.
I campaigned throughout the province denouncing any program to give power to a legal oligarchy. There were immense audiences everyplace. In Goulburn there were two attractive forces: Toti Dal Monte, the opera vocalist, and our meeting. We attracted the bigger house, but Toti got the money. In Bathurst, the mover of the gesture complimenting me was a former engine-driver who been victimised in the 1917 work stoppage, J.B. Chifley. He pledged his trueness and was supported by Gus Kelly. Chifley still had to seek political awards. On the Sunday there was a huge meeting of 75,000 in the Domain, all with custodies upraised for a no ballot. Some of the federal Labor politicians had switched sides, go forthing Charlton isolated. Our concluding advertizement was directed against control of Australia by the “ Three Men. ” They were Judgess Lukin, Dethridge and Beeby, who would go economic dictators of Australia as visualised by Bruce.
Bruce himself left Australia two yearss before the canvass to travel to an Imperial conference. We appointed province authorities canvassers at every polling topographic point. Before go forthing, Bruce ordered the PMG to allow him an extra broadcast, although it was against the old order of the PMG that sides should hold equal clip.
Then the Numberss went up. We were all beaten. There were two proposals. Both were defeated by some 400,000 ballots in all. The bulk against them for no in Victoria was merely on 250,000, in South Australia 120,000, West Australia 70,000 and Tasmania 10,000. There was a yes bulk of 33,000 in New South Wales, and 16,000 in Queensland, on the chief proposal. The bulks for no were smaller on the inquiry to give the Commonwealth powers to cover with industrial exigencies.
The existent figures in NSW on the chief inquiry were:
Bruce ‘s blooper Bruce ‘s blooper
When a authorities realises that it is losing its clasp on the political state of affairs it constantly commences to travel from one blooper to another. It panics. It loses its position. It listens to excessively many advisors. Then in a minute of desperation it is likely to take a despairing hazard.
That was what happened to the Bruce-Page authorities. The 1928 election had rattled it severely. It was being sniped from its ain cross benches. Its most effectual critics were those on its side of the House. W.M. Hughes, Mann, George Maxwell, K.C. , P.G. Stewart, wholly contributed to the decomposition procedure.
Then S.M. Bruce played right into their custodies. He committed the blooper of bloopers. He gave no preliminary warning. He did n’t confer with his party. Even his curates were in the dark until he had gone excessively far. It was a determination really much like that reached by Chifley in 1949 in connexion with control of banking.
Bruce ‘s fatal error was to seek to get rid of Federal arbitration. It was a complete Volta face. At every election he had campaigned for “ jurisprudence and order & # 8221 ; . He was the great apostle of arbitration. He believed in build uping the industrial tribunals with greater powers. He believed in punishments for those declining to obey the awards of the tribunals. He wanted stronger ties between the tribunals and the parties.
In 1926 Bruce had tried to obtain supreme power over all trade brotherhoods by keeping a referendum to give the Commonwealth complete control of arbitration. His existent concern at that clip was to upset my Government in New South Wales. He wanted to destruct our 44-hour hebdomad. He besides wanted to hedge child gift. He besides wanted to upset the province basic pay. But the people had rejected his proposals.
Then the Bavin Government came to power in New South Wales in 1927. The Nationalist Consultative Council believed that Bavin could make what Bruce had failed to make. They still wanted to acquire rid of the 44-hour hebdomad, which I had enacted by statute law.
Bavin promised that he would make it. He promised to acquire rid of the Industrial Commission. In peculiar, he promised to acquire rid of Mr. Justice Fiddington, who was a irritant in his flesh. His first suggestion was that he get rid of the tribunal wholly. He would trust on a sort of corporate bargaining. There were to be commissions of employers and employees. But they were to be drawn from panels approved by the Government. When Bavin realised that his program was non operable, he compromised by naming two extra Judgess to the Industrial Commission & # 8211 ; Mr Justice Street and Mr Justice Cantor. They could, if necessary, outvote the president of the committee, Mr Justice Piddington.
But Bavin could non travel through with his complete program while the brotherhoods could still travel to the federal tribunals. It would be no usage get rid ofing the 44-hour hebdomad for province awards if a frederal justice could still give a 44-hour hebdomad. Bruce ‘s first reaction to the force per unit area of large concern was to propose to the Prime Ministers that they should manus over all their industrial powers to the Commonwealth. He proposed an change of the fundamental law by consent. It was to be another Loan Council expression. But Phil Collier, from Western Australia, shied clear. He did n’t swear Bruce. Queensland objected. Even Victoria had uncertainties. So Bruce had to withdraw once more.
Then the large four told Bruce that the costs of production must be reduced. That meant that either rewards had to be reduced or the working hebdomad lengthened. It could intend both. There was besides a really of import recommendation reading:
“ A alteration in the method prevalent in Australia of covering with industrial differences appears to us to be indispensable, and we hold that there should be a lower limit of judicial and governmental intervention in them, except in so far as affairs impacting the wellness and safety of the individuals engaged in industry may be concerned. ”
Bluffly, that meant the return to the jurisprudence of the jungle. Arbitration had protected the workers against sudating, against famishment rewards and inordinate hours. Now they wanted to travel back to those barbarous patterns. Bruce was merely excessively willing to listen to the large four.
Bruce besides resented the ill will aroused over his backdown of the biddings against John Brown. Hughes told him to his face that it meant the loss of 1000s of Nationalist ballots at the following elections. The large mulcts inflicted on the lumber workers, the waterside workers and E.J. Holloway had merely hard-boiled sentiment against the authorities. Bruce did n’t wish unfavorable judgment, particularly when it came from powerful newspapers like the Melbourne Herald
They were much excessively close to place.
Then, without warning, came the bolt from the blue. Bruce sent a long wire to the Prime Ministers offering to resign the field of arbitration wholly with the exclusion of the maritime industry.
At the same clip he sent an pressing wire to members of the Government parties informing them of his determination. Most of them were appalled. From platforms all over the Commonwealth they had preached jurisprudence and order. They had defended arbitration. They had alleged that the Communists wanted to destruct arbitration. Now their leader was making exactly that himself.
Bruce, who had wanted absolute power over arbitration, now wanted none. He had no authorization. No one knew the grounds behind the move. His ain party administration was stunned. It was a complete reversal of signifier.
The Commonwealth had been in the arbitration concern for merely five old ages. The first Commonwealth Arbitration Act was passed in 1904. C. Kingston had drafted it and crusaded throughout the state explicating ow it would convey peace and justness to industry. He had been backed up in the early phases by his Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, and subsequently by his replacement, Alfred Deakin. It was Deakin who described it as the “ new epoch in industrial dealingss ” . Then Mr. Justice Higgins had laid down the foundations of the New Province in Law and Order, as he described his tribunal subsequently.
For a one-fourth of a century every federal authorities had been seeking to obtain more, and non less, powers over industrial affairs. Now Bruce was seeking to destruct it with one barbarian blow.
All the federal awards were to travel into the discard. State awards were to predominate. The province authoritiess were to hold absolute power to specify conditions regulating hours and rewards. But still no 1 knew what had moved the normally cautious Prime Minister to such a radical province of head. His ain followings were every bit nonplussed as the brotherhoods. The applied scientists and the trainmans had spent 1000s of lbs in fixing and reasoning instances in the Federal Court. Now they were to be denied an award. But why?
One account was that the attorney-general, Sir John Latham, had been so disquieted over the backdown of the John Brown prosecution that he had insisted that there must be no center redress. If the authorities was traveling to withdraw before John Brown, so it could non afford to remain in the field. It could n’t hold one sort of justness for the affluent mine proprietor and another for a dramatic union member. If that was the ground it at least did Latham considerable recognition for consistence, even though the proposed redress was a death-dealing cathartic.
The timetable of events was most interesting. The ballot on the John Brown animadversion gesture was taken at 7.30am on Thursday, August 22, 1929. At 3.30pm that afternoon, Bruce rose in the House and produced his bombshell. He gave notice of his purpose to convey in a Bill, called the Maritime Industries Bill, which would cover with industrial affairs in relation to merchandise and commerce. Theodore, who was taking the Labor Party in Scullin ‘s absence, wanted to cognize something about the proposal. But Bruce told him that he would hold to wait until the 2nd reading phase.
Dr Page so presented his Budget. It contained a twosome of dazes. But the financial officer was full of abounding optimism about the hereafter.
Following twenty-four hours Mr Bruce produced his Maritime Industries Bill. The ground for the rubric was that the maritime and waterside workers were to be the lone brotherhoods left with Commonwealth awards. They were to come under the trade and commercialism powers of the fundamental law. The Conciliation and Arbitration Act was to be repealed. Existing federal awards were to stay in force merely until June 1930. After that clip they would come under province awards.
The arbitration Judgess were non to lose their occupations. They were to go Judgess of the Maritime Industries Court. They would look after the mariners, the Marine stewards and the wharfies merely. But they would non do the award in the first case.
Alternatively there were to be commissions stand foring both sides with an independent president, who could be a justice. But the brotherhoods were non free to put up their ain representatives. The authorities would make that out of a panel submitted. The main justice would do the recommendations. There was to be no grounds in unfastened tribunal. The full proceedings were to be in-camera without naming grounds.
There was besides proviso that the courts had to take into history the economic consequence of their awards on the national economic system. The Maritime Court would hold the right of reexamining determinations reached by the commissions. It would automatically reexamine every determination, whether there was an entreaty or non. The new expression satisfied the shipowners. They did n’t desire to hold their net incomes made public. They did n’t desire their personal businesss probed.
For the remainder, all the awards were to be torn up and tossed in the wastepaper basket. Why was Bruce taking such radical action?
His subject was that Australia was already in a sedate fiscal and economic predicament. It was the first clip the Prime Minister talked depression. To bring around the depression he had one charming expression: acquire rid of arbitration. He offered it as his part to the economic crisis. His ground was naif: “ The passing of this statute law will liberate industry from many of the embarrassments from which it has suffered in the yesteryear. ”
By industry, Bruce meant large concern. He meant Flinders Street, the transportation combine, the coal vend, industrialists and the graziers. How were they being embarrassed? By the shorter working hebdomad and award rewards.
Bruce left the state under no mistake. His policy was traveling to accommodate the John Browns. Of class, he clothed it in his usual holier-than-thou smarm, that the Bill was non being brought frontward in a party spirit. It was merely for the benefit of the state and the imperium. Subsequently he was to repent his statement that it was non-party. Some of his ain followings took him literally.
Then he proceeded to sketch the predicament of the state. Public finance was in a bad manner. Both the Commonwealth and the provinces had shortages. Bavin had one of more than a million, while Page had one of about five 1000000s. Prosperity was swaying severely. Loan money was hard to obtain abroad. Public outgo had to be reduced. But he still did n’t believe that he could get rid of old age pensions or cut down them. So revenue enhancement had to be increased. But he was afraid that increased taxe
s might increase the cost of production.
Wool and wheat were the lone two merchandises which could be sold at a net income abroad. Even there there had been a heavy diminution in monetary values. Secondary industries were being threatened by imports from abroad beingsold lower than local monetary values. But Bruce said that he could non hold with any addition in duties.
Then Bruce produced his charming elixir. The costs of production must be reduced. So they must acquire rid of duplicate of awards and courts. His solution was a sort of corporate bargaining. But because of large-scale unemployment, that placed the employer in the box place when it came to the bargaining. So the authorities had decided to resign the field of arbitration. Bruce wanted round-table conferences. Then the workers would gain that their claims for higher rewards, shorter hours and better conditions would merely take to more unemployment. He was all of a sudden wholly in favour of the American system of corporate bargaining alternatively of holding industrial tribunals.
In peculiar, Mr. Bruce thought the workers should accept the piecework system and payment by consequences. They would so gain plenty to maintain their households. Of class, there would necessitate to be precautions.
“ At present Australian industries are go throughing through a serious economic crisis. Tens of 1000s of our workingmans are unemployed. It is indispensable, hence, that we should all recognize the urgency of bettering the dealingss between employers and employees, ” he said.
He besides wanted equality in competition between the provinces. “ Has any more fatal blow been struck at equality in interstate competition than the 44-hour hebdomad and kid endowment statute law of the last Labor authorities New South Wales, ” asked Bruce, once more joging me out as his King Charles ‘ caput. But he still had no thought of the political hurricane constructing up. He was non left long in suspense.
Of class, Bruce knew that he had enemies. The enemies within his party were more unsafe than any on the Labor side. Head of them was the uncontrollable William Morris Hughes, who had founded the Nationalist Party. There were times when he believed that he had founded the Labor Party. That, of class, was historical license. But there was no uncertainty about him being expelled from the Labor Party. There was besides no uncertainty that he founded the Nationalist Party after the muster interruption. He even hand-picked his ain executive.
But his interruption with Bruce was now unretrievable. He was out to acquire his retaliation for what he believed was the double-cross perpetrated by Bruce in 1923. He had waited patiently for about seven old ages. Now it seemed as if might acquire his chance. But Bruce got in the first blow. He expelled Hughes from the Nationalist Party. With him went E.A. Mann, a acerb critic of the authorities, who was Nationalist member for Perth.
The Labor member for East Sydney, Jack West, raised the affair in House when he asked whether Hughes and Mann were to be barred from certain suites and, if so, for how long. Bruce tartly replied that if he wanted know whether it was true that Hughes and Mann would non in future be invited to go to meetings of authorities protagonists, the reply was in the affirmatory. In short, they had been expelled from the Parliamentary Nationalist Party.
Riley Senior so asked Bruce whether the Nationalist Party had blown out its encephalons. Bruce said the suggestion was wholly indefensible. Frank Brennan followed by directing the attending of the Speaker to the fact that P.G. Stewart, Country member for Wimmera, had withdrawn his commitment to the authorities, that the member for Wannon, A.S. Rodgers, had retreated to a private room in the cellar of Parliament House, and now Mann would necessitate a room, while even W.M. Hughes had been turned out of his ain house. He wanted to cognize what steps the Speaker intended to take to suit all the sections of the authorities that were interrupting off. Latham suggested they could all happen safety in the Labor Opposition suites.
Bruce still had the Numberss if he could keep the remainder of his party together. His proposal was non acquiring the newspaper support he had anticipated.
Theodore, in the absence of Scullin, led the onslaught for the Labor resistance. He said at the impulse of one adult male, and without warning, the Bill had been flung on to the tabular array of the House. One adult male was about to undo the work of coevalss. It was a wrecker ‘s policy. He recalled all Bruce ‘s addresss in favour of arbitration. How he would ne’er give it up. How Latham had defended it.
Bruce had appointed a royal committee to ask into the fundamental law. It had non yet finished its work. Yet the authorities was traveling in front without waiting for the study.
Theodore said Bruce was the prophesier of day of reckoning. Whenever an anti-Labor leader wanted to take away reforms, or cut down rewards, he constantly tried to warrant himself with mournful prognostications. Even Sir Robert Gibson, president of the Commonwealth Bank, had said things were non every bit bad as they were being represented. The stock exchange was still floaty. To Theodore that was most of import. Bruce was conceive ofing the troubles. The stock exchange citations were at their highest degree in 20 old ages. The Bankss were doing record net incomes. So how could at that place be a depression?
The attorney-general, Mr Latham, tried difficult to support the proposition. As usual, he was academic. Latham argued from a legalistic brief. He had no clip for political rhetoric. He tried to trust on logic. But he was reasoning against his ain old strong beliefs. He tried to rationalize the job. He went back over the dry legal tomes covering with the development of industrial jurisprudence in Australia: the Harvester judgement, the applied scientists ‘ instance. They were all given full intervention. He was on the defensive. He referred to the work stoppages of the Marine stewards, led by Bob Heffron, the applied scientists, the waterside workers and the lumber workers.
But he made no reference of the lockout of the mineworkers. He said the brotherhoods had campaigned against arbitration. Senator Arthur Rae had written a book, The Curse of Arbitration.
The ARU had rejected arbitration. Yet, at other times, the authorities was assailing those against arbitration as red-raggers and extremists.
Then Latham gave the show off. He referred to the action of my authorities in go throughing the 44-Hour Week in 1926. He said that if the lumber workers had been deregistered in the Federal Court they would hold obtained a 44-hour hebdomad under a province award. The authorities was uncluttering the manner for Mr Bavin to convey in a 48-hour hebdomad once more in New South Wales.
At that clip there were merely 88 federal awards in force in NSW as against 455 province awards. Once the province authorities had exclusive control of industrial affairs, Mr Bavin could enforce whatever industrial conditions were wanted by the Nationalist Consultative Council.
Latham rejected a suggestion by Curtin that the work forces could elect their ain representatives to the Industrial Boards for the maritime industries. Frank Brennan said the proposal was begotten out of a recreant spirit by cynicism. Bruce had given the feeling that he knew small or nil about the topic, while Latham had given the feeling that he knew all about it but wanted to maintain it dark.
They had appointed their ain Judgess at bigger and better wages, with bigger pensions and term of office for life. Now there was to be a blue emanation of self-confessed failures traveling back on their paths.
Labor members like Norman Makin, J.B. Chifley, George Martens and Ted Riley Sen, who had practised in the industrial tribunals as advocators, trotted out all the accomplishments of arbitration. They were more legal than the attorneies. They cited the Commonwealth Law Report. They talked about common regulation, and gave Forth with drawn-out infusions from assorted judgements. It was about as if they were being deprived of their professional position.
Bruce ‘s main guardian from New South Wales was Archdale Parkhill, who had been Hughes ‘ main propagandist when the Nationalist Party was foremost formed. He subsequently went into the federal Parliament as member for Warringah. He said that when he was talking on one street corner in Mosman, Theodore had been on another back uping the AWU campaigner. Parkhill said that Theodore had said: “ Mr Lang must be disciplined ruthlessly, with the baseball mitts off. ” An interjector had retorted, “ Your figure is up for Dalley, ” and Theodore had replied, “ There will be no shriveling on my portion. ” Yet, said Parkhill, a few months subsequently Theodore was creaming Lang ‘s manus. Parkhill did n’t like me. In that regard I was 2nd merely to Jock Garden in his hatred list.
Then E.A. Mann, Nationalist member for Perth, entered the lists against Bruce. He started off delightfully by remembering Grecian imposts:
“ A quaint local usage of one of the old Grecian provinces was that anyone wanting to convey into the province a new jurisprudence should look before an assembly of the citizens to propound that jurisprudence with a hackamore unit of ammunition his cervix, so that should the jurisprudence non run into with the blessing of the assembly, or non be considered necessary for the demands of the province, the hackamore might decently be used to strangulate him. ”
W.M. Hughes: “ Oh, that those yearss might come back once more! ”
Mann replied they had. If the House rejected the Bruce Bill, the authorities would be politically executed.
In his budget Page had opened with a note of sunniness, with what was the victory of hope over experience. Following twenty-four hours the Prime Minister had reversed the image. Yet Bruce had described people who had issued similar warnings as Jeremiahs and diing pessimists. Now he was stating, “ We are in a bad manner. We ca n’t transport on. ” Now he said the lone manner was to cut down the cost of production. By that he meant cut downing rewards. Mann said the authorities was assisting the Communists, who besides attacked arbitration.
Bert Lazzarini quoted an interview given by Bavin to the Sydney Morning Herald,
which indicated that he besides proposed to trash the bing system of arbitration. He proposed to follow the Bruce theoretical account.
Then another outstanding member of the Government side took the floor against the step. He was G.A. Maxwell, K.C. , member for the select Nationalist place of Fawkner in Victoria. He said that Bruce had said that the Bill should be considered on non-party lines. He proposed to accept the invitation. He refused to be branded a Rebel or a treasonist. He proposed to exert his ain judgement on a affair of sedate national importance. The authorities had no authorization. It was against the Nationalist Party plan. The party had non been consulted. He refused to be bound by the Prime Minister ‘s caprice. His voters had returned him believing he supported arbitration. The first he knew of the volte face was the reception of the Prime Minister ‘s pressing wire. He had reserved his sentiment until he had heard the Prime Minister ‘s defense mechanism. Having heard, he was satisfied that he had non made out a instance. Alternatively of supplying one supreme authorization in industrial affairs, the authorities was making six & # 8211 ; the province courts.
Maxwell was a superb attorney. He dissected the step. He exposed the failings of the authorities ‘s statements. He described it as the negation of every rule for which the Prime Minister was supposed to stand. In peculiar, he stripped Latham ‘s instance of all its supports. He even had a excavation at the moral and religious facets of the affair. With regret, but without scruple, he proposed to vote against the step.
On Thursday, September 5, the argument was resumed in a posing that was to last until 12.30pm on the undermentioned Saturday. For two yearss and darks the Bill was torn to scintillas.
W.M. Hughes took up the onslaught. He said that it was without analogue in Commonwealth statute law. For 25 old ages they had advanced towards their end. Every party had wanted more power. Now the Bruce authorities had sounded the cornet for a general and black retreat. The temple of industrial arbitration was to be torn down. Not one rock was to be left standing. Bruce ‘s address was full of sophistries, irrelevances and cliches. Latham had made a pretension of logic but had followed his leader. After being in deferral for six months, the authorities now said they had to twenty-four hours and dark to acquire the measure through. Delay would be fatal. Had some at fiscal catastrophe occurred?
Bruce had accepted a portfolio in his ministry cognizing that arbitration was portion of its policy. When Bruce became Prime Minister he took the policy with him. He had gone to the people for a authorization to implement the industrial jurisprudence. He had obtained his authorization. Now he said that compulsory arbitration was incorrect, punishments were brutal and all tribunals and courts must travel. Yesterday he was the supporter of punishments. Today he preaches the Gospel brotherly love. The parties are to turn the other cheek, punishments are to be kept off. The system is as it was 10 old ages ago. It is the Prime Minister who has changed. He says he believes in a high criterion of life, but the cost of production must come down. So he proposes to get rid of the tribunals that have been the defenders of the economic and industrial public assistance of the people and the lone barrier between them and pandemonium.
“ What would go on if the parties did n’t hold? ” asked Hughes. The framers of the fundamental law had placed arbitration in the fundamental law merely after the greatest industrial inferno the state had of all time seen, and while its coals were still warm. Those work forces had seen the “ print of the nails, ” they had thrust their fingers into the lesion. He was reminded of the Limerick:
There was a immature lady of Riga
Who went for a drive on the tiger
They came back from the drive
With the lady inside
And a smiling on the face of the tiger
That would be the place of the workers. If the monetary value of meat came down would non the graziers suffer? If the monetary value of staff of life was reduced, would non the husbandmans get less for their wheat? Mercilessly Hughes stripped Bruce down to his really spats. Bruce was a dabbler, said Hughes. He had made one effort to amend the fundamental law but had walked out go forthing the occupation to Latham. He had been renegade to his trust. He had betrayed the people. He had insulted their intelligence. He had affronted their sense of decency. “ He is the animal of a twenty-four hours. What he does today, another can undo tomorrow. ” The Bill was an effort to salvage his face so that he would non be everlastingly confronted with the shade of the horrid blooper he had made when he had withdrawn the prosecution of John Brown.
Frank Anstey rapidly tangled with his old antagonist, Dr Page. He said that the financial officer had lifted the argument to the exalted distinction of the cloaca. “ Far better it is to be nescient than to be cultured, educated, talented and to sell one ‘s endowments for the first muss of pottage that offers, ” said Anstey, assailing Hughes ‘ former co-workers in the ministry who had betrayed him for Bruce.
P.G. Stewart was another to declare himself against his former leader. He said while the mines were still closed, the adult females were hungering, John Brown still could be seen at Randwick with his field spectacless slung over his shoulder.
Hughes: “ John Brown ‘s organic structure lies a-moulderin ‘ is the grave but his psyche goes processing on. ”
Stewart said members of the authorities had referred to merchandise brotherhoods as “ basher packs ” , “ a seething mass of maggots ” , “ running sores ” , and “ fangless serpents. ” He would go forth them with such nauseating looks. He would oppose the Bill.
Bruce, in answer, showed how profoundly he had been nettled by Hughes. He referred to his “ baleful suggestions, toxicant and violative charges ” . At one phase in Bruce ‘s answer, Hughes interjected “ Hear, hear. ” The Speaker called him to order. Hughes naively wanted to cognize how he had offended. He was told that it was the tone in which he had uttered it that was violative. Billy repeated “ Hear, hear. ” Bruce admitted it was contrary to his party ‘s platform with Hughes come ining. “ L’etat, c’est moi. ”
Bruce once more repeated that the depression was non impermanent and was due to a cardinal defect.
The 2nd reading passed by 34 to 30 with W.M. Hughes, E.A. Mann, G.A. Maxwell and P.G. Stewart voting with the resistance.
But the battle was non yet over. When the Parliament adjourned on Saturday afternoon, it still had no thought of the events in front.
At the weekend members returned to their places believing that the crisis was merely approximately over. But Bruce was still really disquieted. He to the full realised that the battle was come ining the critical unit of ammunition.
Although arbitration was the issue before Parliament, outside there was ramping a new political twister. In the Parliament it was kept badly in the background. But in every metropolis and in every shrub town the people were sing the full impact of the best organized political force per unit area run in the history of the Commonwealth.
The film involvements had declared war on the Bruce authorities. The talking picture age had merely arrived. Like their ain merchandise the film people had switched from the old silent movies to full-blast talking pictures on the political forepart. But the bad work forces were non the scoundrels of the Hollywood sets. They were in Canberra.
Stanley Melbourne Bruce and Dr. Earle Page were being depicted as seeking to prevent on the mortgage of the old film homestead. They were seeking to rob the hapless widows and orphans of the film moguls. They were the lamias sucking the blood out of the guiltless movie distributers ‘ organic structures. It all arose out of a really little reference in Dr Page ‘s Budget address. After explicating that there was a heavy Commonwealth shortage, he announced that the Government had decided to increase revenue enhancements. Income revenue enhancement was to be increased by & # 163 ; 10 1000000s. In add-on it was proposed to impose an Amusements Tax.
Page proposed a revenue enhancement of 5 per cent. , or 1/- in the lb, on the entire grosss for admittances to all amusements. “ This revenue enhancement will be a levy upon a national luxury, which, it is considered should do a particular part in the present fortunes. ” In those yearss it was still possible to obtain admittance to a movie theater for a shilling. To propose that those indulging themselves to that extent were immersing into wanton extravagancy was barely good political relations.
Page said the authorities expected to raise & # 163 ; 600,000 from the revenue enhancement. He pointed out that attendings at amusements had risen from 78 1000000s in 1922 to 126 1000000s in 1928. What he overlooked was that they largely had ballots. To do affairs worse, the authorities announced an excess responsibility of a penny per pes on all foreign film movies imported into Australia. The movie involvements instantly got busy. They abandoned political neutrality. They decided to travel after Bruce and Page. The run was organised by the Motion Picture Distributors ‘ Association. Its president was Sir Victor Wilson. He had been curate for markets and migration in the Bruce-Page authorities from 1923-26. He had been near to Bruce. Now he was the general in charge of the forces unifying to get the better of him.
Requests against the Amusement Tax were signed in every theater in the Commonwealth. Members were bombarded with wires. Employees were told theaters would hold to shut. Builders were informed there would be no new theaters built. Stockholders in movie companies were told that they` would lose their dividends because the industry could non stand the strain. The member for Angas, Mr Parsons, read to the House a wire he had received:
Your relentless silence suggests that you intentionally ignore vested involvements whose life and support is at interest. Unless hint received your return instantly, our representative foliages by plane to demand you take action.
Jepson, Secretary, United Amusement Interests.
All the weekend there were hectic treatments. Every member was lobbied. The Labor Party realised that it was acquiring unexpected Alliess. It did n’t waver to give the necessary pledges non to travel in front with the Amusements Tax. The thought of holding all the resources of the film people to name upon appealed greatly to Theodore.
In order to upset the authorities it was necessary to acquire three more ballots, in add-on to those who had voted against the authorities on the 2nd reading.
Hughes was transporting the keg of dynamite. He had the clip fuse all ready. Nothing gave him more satisfaction than this opportunity to acquire even with his two greatest enemies. He knew that Mann, and P.G. Stewart would make anything to help him. They hated every bit much as he hated.
George Maxwell K.C. had already indicated that he was against the Prime Minister on evidences of rule, because it was a volte face on party policy. W.J. McWilliams, the Nationalist member for Franklin, had besides indicated that he was against the measure being rushed through, and saw in it some sort of menace to Tasmania.
That made up two ballots. Another was necessary. Where was it coming from? That was the large inquiry canvassed over the weekend. There were all sorts of wild rumours. Bruce said that if there was any hold in implementing the proposal, he would travel to the state.
Hughes threw down the challenge every bit shortly as the House resumed consideration of the Bill in commission on the Tuesday. He moved an amendment that it should non be proclaimed until it had been submitted to the people either at a referendum or a general election.
Again he thrashed Bruce with go againsting his ain platform. He said Bruce had concealed his purpose from the people. He had promised that they would shortly round Cape Desolation and continue into the Bay of Plenty. Alternatively he had put the helm hard over and reversed class stating: “ Unless you stand behind me in this, you will walk the board. Unless you tear up your election pledges, I will unchurch you. ”
Hughes accepted the election offer. “ It will be the terminal of the authorities and honest members who support it, ” predicted Hughes “ The finding of fact will do it impossible for any political thimble-rigger further to overcast the issue… Let us travel before the people and battle this conflict one time and for all. ” Bruce took up the challenge. He denied that he had invited his followings to “ walk the board ” . Many of them had voted against authorities steps. But Hughes and Mann had impugned the honestness and decency of the authorities on the John Brown issue. That was why they had been expelled. That was why they had “ walked the board ” .
Bruce rejected the thought of another referendum. It was non constitutionally possible. He said that if Hughes ‘ amendment were carried the authorities would travel to the people. He was confident that he would once more win. Bruce ‘s proclamation caused a disruptive scene. There were cheers and counter cheers from both sides. Members were rocked by the daze.
J.H. Scullin, who had returned from a ill bed for the flood tide, said the authorities was somersaulting on its ain policy. It was seeking to lade the tribunal against the workers. He said the Prime Minister reminded him of a regimental sergeant-major processing his recruits around a drill hall. “ The Prime Minister says, `Quick March! ‘ They march. The Prime Minister says, `Halt, right about face, speedy March. ‘ They march back. They are the political awkward squad. ”
The thought that a politician was non bound by the platform on which he was elected was hideous. The authorities had betrayed its trust to the people.
The member for New England, Mr. V.C. Thompson, who had openly attacked the authorities ‘s proposal in his paper, The Tamworth Northern Daily Leader
backed out. He was non in favour of a disintegration. He said that the issues would be twisted and distorted. They would hold to wrestle with the bias of 10s of 1000s whose heads were being poisoned by baneful American propaganda. He differed with his leader. He was still in favour of federal arbitration. But a referendum would be defeated.
“ Can the resistance in this House speak for Mr. Lang? ” asked Thompson. Scullin retorted, “ Can the authorities speak for the large concern and oil involvements? ” Thompson said that what Lang decided would travel with the Labor Party in New South Wales. So he would vote against the Hughes amendment.
Then came the most dramatic minute of all. A new figure came into the limelight. He entirely held the fate of the authorities in his custodies. It was the speckless figure of Walter Marks, Sydney canvasser and member for the conservative select place of Wentworth. He had served in the Royal Naval Forces in the First World War and was Parliamentary Under Secretary for External Affairs from 1921 to 1923. Then Bruce dumped him.
Representing the elite of Vaucluse and Rose Bay, he had expected to be invited to fall in the Cabinet on the decease of Pratten. Alternatively Bruce selected one of his most vocal critics & # 8211 ; H.S. Gullett. To do affairs worse, he gave him the portfolio that Marks wanted most, trade and imposts. It was Gullett who took over movie censoring. That was Marks ‘ peculiar avocation. For two old ages Marks had presided over a Royal Commission, which had inquired into the movie industry. He had travelled abroad. In Hollywood he had been feted by the stars. He met Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow and Joan Crawford. There was even a suggestion that he might be invited to go forth his footmarks in concrete. On his return he spoke for hours about his thrilling experiences. He was full of programs. But Bruce put his study into a pigeon-hole. Marks was really disquieted about the backdown of the John Brown prosecution. He knew the Baron. Some of his clients had money invested in his mines. The Baron had even bought him a bottle of beer at Randwick. But still Marks thought the jurisprudence should hold taken its class.
When Marks rose, the House was tense and anticipant. Marks to the full appreciated that the cameras and visible radiations were on him. Veteran gallery work forces said that the muted silence was about shattering. The destiny of the authorities was in the balance and Marks knew it. The Herald
following twenty-four hours said: “ The house was literally dyspneic with exhilaration. As Mr Marks unfolded his grounds it would hold been possible to hear a pin bead. Mr Bruce entirely, of all his co-workers, remained unflurried. He was brilliant. ”
Mr Marks said that he had promised his voters to vote for the 2nd reading. That was his lone pledge. He recalled that he had appeared in the first arbitration instance before Mr Justice O’Connor on behalf of the employees, with Hughes. He proposed to vote for the amendment. He would non be a party to revoking 15 Acts by a individual ballot. Even the graziers were opposed to abolishment of the tribunal.
It was the first clip that he had of all time recorded a ballot against the authorities. He objected to Mr Bruce taking everything into his ain custodies. He had failed to confer with his party. The Prime Minister had besides failed to confer with them on the John Brown instance. But his head grudge was that Bruce had non consulted him personally on the Amusements Tax. After all, he was the great authorization on that topic.
“ If any adult male knew the place of the industry, I did, and I should hold been really pleased to give the authorities the benefit of all the information I had gained, but I was non consulted refering the proposed addition in the revenue enhancement on amusements, ” declared Marks.
So Walter Marks, faced with the pick between Mr Bruce as Prime Minister and his trueness to the film involvements, decided in favour of Hollywood.
“ I told the Prime Minister he would hold to travel one manner, and I would travel another, ” he said. He would non follow him in the proposal to enforce the Amusements Tax, so he proposed to register his protest by voting for the Hughes ‘ amendment. “ The present place can non go on. Let the people give their finding of fact. There is one board of the Nationalist Party in which I have ever believed & # 8211 ; that is liberty of idea, address and action. ”
He so disclosed that he had been bombarded by wires from subdivisions of the Nationalist Party in Wentworth, although he had merely told the Prime Minister. The wires had all been lodged within proceedingss of one another. The subdivisions had non met. So who had lodged the wire? He knew that the Nationalists would oppose him, but his scruples compelled him to vote for the amendment.
That settled it. The gallant crewman had torpedoed the Government. The ballot was rapidly taken. The House was in Committee with J.G. Bayley in the chair. Sir Littleton Groom, the Speaker, did non enter a ballot. He regarded himself as an impartial umpire above party discord. Bayley ‘s ballot was lost to the authorities unless there was a dead heat.
Hughes, Mann, Stewart, McWilliams and Marks all remained in their seats while the remainder of the authorities side crossed to vote against the gesture. Hughes was one time more back with his former Labor associates. He sat following to Theodore. Marks was in most unusual company, sitting following to Frank Brennan. The Hughes amendment was carried.
The Bruce authorities was defeated. Bruce was still supremely confident that the state of affairs was good in manus. He had small thought of the farther dazes in shop for him.