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11. CHAPTER XI

OPENING OF PARLIAMENT, APRIL 29, 1890—THE FEDERATION CONVENTION—MY ACCIDENT OF MAY 18—WIDESPREAD SYMPATHY— LORD CARRINGTON—HIS HIGH QUALITIES—MR. DIBBS AND THE OPPOSITION—THE GREAT STRIKE AND ITS DIFFICULTIES—SPECIAL CONSTABLES—DECISION OF THE GOVERNMENT NOT TO INTRODUCE CONTENTIOUS BUSINESS IN PARLIAMENT DURING THE STRIKE TROUBLES—ROYAL COMMISSION ON INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES

PARLIAMENT opened for the Session of 1890 on April 29. The second paragraph of the opening Speech said: ‘During the recess accredited representatives of the Australasian colonies assembled in conference to consider the expediency of holding, under the authority of the several Parliaments, a convention to originate the great work of Australian federation; and the conference unanimously resolved that the time has arrived for the union of these colonies under one Legislative and Executive Government, and that the members of the conference should take such steps as may be necessary to induce the legislatures of their respective colonies to appoint delegates to a National Australasian Convention, empowered to consider and report upon an adequate scheme for a federal constitution. Both Houses of Parliament will be invited to take the necessary steps to give effect to the decisions of the conference; and I feel assured that the prayers of the people of the parent


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colony will follow the endeavours of the concordant Governments to bring the whole of Australia into one enduring bond of national existence.’

A number of important measures were announced, including several much-needed new lines of railway, and a new Electoral Bill; and the Assembly steadily proceeded with business largely in charge of the Minister at the head of the Public Works Department. Outside Parliament, matters of serious public concern were engaging attention, among others a devastating flood in the far Western interior, which did great damage to the town of Bourke. My hands, as usual, were full. But my health was fairly good, and I never shrank from labour.

On May 7 I moved that the House concur in the resolutions adopted by the Melbourne conference on February 13, in substance as follows:—

  • (1) That the Australian colonies agree to unite in the constitution of a Federal Government.
  • (2) That the remoter Australasian colonies be admitted into such union at such times and on such conditions as might hereafter be agreed upon.
  • (3) That the members of the conference take the necessary steps for the appointment of members to a National Australasian Convention for the purpose of framing a constitution.

And my motion proposed four members of the House for election to the convention. My speech in support of this motion was received with much approbation,


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and my motion, when the division took place in my absence some weeks later, was carried by the over-whelming majority of ninety-seven votes against eleven.

The names submitted by my resolution were those of Mr. McMillan and myself on the Government side, and of the present Speaker, Sir Joseph P. Abbott, and Mr. J. P. Garvan on the Opposition side. I did not nominate Mr. Dibbs for the plain reason that Mr. Dibbs had recently declared himself in the broadest terms hostile, while Mr. Garvan, whom Mr. Dibbs himself, when forming his last Ministry, had chosen as his Treasurer, was a consistent and earnest friend of federation. It never occurred to me that Mr. Dibbs would or could consent to sit in a convention to promote the union of the colonies when he had lately declared in public that it ‘would take a good deal more time than fifty-seven years for the Australian colonies to be bound together in union.’ A ballot was, however, called for, and Mr. Dibbs was elected by the lowest number of successful votes, in place of his friend Mr. Garvan.

On May 18 I met with a severe accident, which, in grateful acknowledgment of the generous outburst of sympathy it called forth, and on account of the depressing influence it has had upon my whole life since, must be noticed with some particulars. The following note contains the substance of paragraphs in the public papers:—

On the afternoon of Sunday, May 18, 1890, Sir Henry Parkes, accompanied by Lady Parkes, left Hampton Villa, Balmain, a little before 3 o'clock P.M., and crossed by the ferry to Erskine Street,


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Sydney, with the object of paying a visit in the city. At the foot of Erskine Street they engaged a cab, in which they drove up to Wynyard Square, thence along York Street into Margaret Street. On turning the corner into Margaret Street the horse shied at some object and dashed down the hill at a gallop; in a few moments he crossed the street obliquely and upset the cab with a crash on the pavement, nearly opposite Pfahlert's Hotel, apparently getting stunned by the fall. Lady Parkes extricated herself from the shattered cab with no more serious injury than a few bruises. Sir Henry, on trying to rise, found himself unable to stand on his right foot; on trying a second time the foot hung loosely by the skin and flesh. Some persons in the crowd offered assistance. ‘Lean on us,’ they cried, to which he replied, ‘I cannot lean on you, for my leg is broken.’ Two gentlemen then offered to carry him to another cab, which they did. He at first asked them to drive to the Hospital, but, correcting himself immediately, requested to be driven to Dr. Maurice O'Connor's, in College Street. Dr. O'Connor was not at home, and Sir Henry, with Lady Parkes, was then driven by way of Pyrmont to his residence at Balmain. Dr. O'Connor arrived about an hour afterwards, when it was ascertained that the injury consisted of a comminuted fracture of the tibia and simple fracture of the fibula of the right leg. The broken bones were set about three hours after the accident, and, under the skilful treatment of Dr. O'Connor, the progress towards recovery continued steady from the first.

Addresses of sympathy from public bodies, and letters and messages of like import from all the Australasian Governors, and from leading men throughout the colonies, and in England and other countries, including the Secretary of State, were received by Sir Henry Parkes, with a large number of letters from ladies and gentlemen in private life.

When Parliament met on the 20th, as soon as the Speaker took the chair in the Assembly, the House was informed of the accident by my colleague, Mr. Bruce


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Smith. I copy from the official debates the speeches delivered on the occasion:—

Mr. BRUCE SMITH: I regret to have to announce to the House, what they have already learnt through the press, that a very serious accident happened to the Premier on Sunday evening, when he was thrown from a cab, which resulted in his leg being broken. It is highly probable, as the accident is a very serious one, that the Premier will be prevented from attending the House for some weeks. I saw the Premier last night, and he desired me, in the first place, to express to the House his very great regret that he should be prevented from fulfilling his many official obligations to the House and the country. He also desired to express his very sincere appreciation of the very many kind messages and expressions of sympathy which have come from both sides of the House. Honourable members will be glad to know, from the very last report, the Premier having been seen by the Principal Under-Secretary this afternoon, that although he suffered considerable pain, and had not a particularly good night, he seemed very cheerful under the circumstances. I believe he is himself very sanguine that he will be able to come to the House again in four or five weeks.

Mr. DIBBS: I desire to say a few words with regard to the future Government business, and to take the earliest possible opportunity of expressing on behalf of myself as leader, and on behalf of honourable members on this side of the House, the extreme pain and regret with which we heard of the serious accident which has happened to the Premier. There is no doubt that I am as strong an opponent of the Premier as any man in this country is, and I feel as strongly with regard to many of his views as any man can feel; but an accident of the painful character which has overtaken him is an occurrence which touches the finest feelings of human nature; and I am capable of sympathising with the Premier as much as any man in this country can be. All the honourable members on this side of the House with whom I have conversed have expressed the deepest sympathy with him in his misfortune, and we hope that


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the assurance which has been given to us that the Premier will be able to return to the Assembly at an early date will be realised. While we may differ with the Premier, we sympathise with him in his misfortune, which at his time of life is no doubt a very great and serious calamity. I am sure it will be gratifying to the Premier to know that he has the sympathy of the whole House in his misfortune. While availing myself of the first opportunity of expressing the feelings of honourable members on this side of the House, I wish also to make a suggestion to the Government with regard to the very important business of which the Premier is the mover—I refer to the federation resolutions which are now before the House. I think it will be only showing to the Premier the respect due to his position, and to the great interest he has taken in the question, if we postpone the debate on those resolutions. I hope that the Government will see their way to postpone the further consideration of the question until the Premier returns, so that he may have an opportunity of replying to the various speeches which will be made on the subject. I say this with all sincerity. The question is now fairly launched before the House and the country; it is one of the most important subjects ever submitted to this Chamber; it is a question which will be fully discussed; and we are only anxious that the discussion should end in what is best for the whole country. In justice, therefore, to the Premier in his position, and with due sympathy for the calamity which has befallen him, I would suggest—without in any possible way dictating to the Government as to the order of their business, that we might, if they think it desirable out of respect to the Premier, adjourn the further consideration of the debate until he has an opportunity of being present again. The public business need not suffer; there is ample other business fore-shadowed in the Governor's speech, notably certain measures of great public importance—I allude to the public works proposals. Those matters may be dealt with, and other Government measures may be introduced, and the House so be kept in full work. It must always be remembered that whatever our private sympathies may be, we are here to represent the country. These


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public works are of very great importance, and the time might be usefully employed in their discussion. The Government will receive from this side of the House the utmost possible generous treatment, always having regard to what is due to the country, in consideration of the great calamity which has befallen the Premier.

Mr. GARRETT: I hope the Government will not accept the suggestion thrown out by the honourable member. We have entered on a debate upon a very important question in which the Premier has taken his part, so far as he has initiated it. If that debate is interrupted all that has gone before will be practically thrown away. It can be continued in the Premier's absence as well as in his presence.

Mr. BRUCE SMITH: Perhaps I may be allowed to say one or two words. I should like to assure the honourable member first of all, that I and my colleagues fully appreciate the kindly feeling which prompts him to make the suggestion; but regarding the federation question I can only say that if the desire of the Premier is to be consulted, I am quite sure, from my conversation with him last night, that he has every desire that this debate should proceed. If it should go beyond this week, then inasmuch as the Premier has the right of reply, and subsequent speeches may render it necessary that that reply should be delivered, then I should be very happy to consult him, and indicate to the House his wishes on the question; because I apprehend from the very kind speech of the leader of the Opposition that his only desire is to show regard for the Premier in this matter.

Mr. DIBBS: Hear, hear.

Mr. BRUCE SMITH: It will be time enough at the end of the week to intimate what the general desire of the Government is regarding the continuance of the debate until next week.

Though my residence is inconveniently situated for visitors from Sydney, being only accessible by ferry or a long, out-of-the-way drive, it was thronged for several


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days by callers with kind enquiries and messages of sympathy. Among the public manifestations of sympathy were addresses from the Mayor and Aldermen of Sydney, from the Chamber of Commerce, from the Senate of the University, from professional bodies, from working-men's associations, from municipal councils in all parts of the colony, and from many other societies. Among the messages from across the sea, Lord Knutsford, reading the telegrams in the London papers, wrote the morning after the accident; my old friend Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, seeking health in Switzerland, wrote from Lucerne; Sir Henry Loch from South Africa; and others from different parts of Europe and America.

But to one man, above all others, I owe a life-long debt of gratitude for his unsleeping sympathy and affectionate solicitude, which continued all the dreary time I was confined to my bed. Lord Carrington, during his stay in New South Wales, endeared himself to all classes by his frank participation in all that concerned their welfare, by his simple and unaffected manliness under all circumstances, his noble attachment to our free institutions, and his genuine love of the country and its people. To me he was more than gentle and courteous at all times, and throughout the trying illness which followed my accident, no words of mine could describe his goodness. My home is fully three miles from Government House by the shortest road, but every morning brought a mounted orderly to my door with a bright and hopeful letter from the Governor, and often with some delicacy which others never


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thought of. His Excellency had occasion to visit Victoria and Tasmania during this time, and he no sooner reached Melbourne, or Launceston, or Hobart, than a telegram came to me of the same solicitous and consoling character. The gracious lady who shared Lord Carrington's viceregal duties in Australia was equally considerate of me in my heavy affliction.

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the kind consideration I received from Mr. Dibbs and other gentlemen opposed to me in Parliament. The acrimony and bitterness which marked our unfriendly relations disappeared for a time.

I was within a few days of seventy-five years of age when this accident occurred, and I have never recovered the buoyancy of life which I had enjoyed up to the unfortunate hour of its occurrence. I still feel it as equal to the weight of many years. I know I ought to be thankful for many things—for the skill and diligent attentions of the able medical man into whose hands I fell, for the strong constitution which enabled me to beat off peril, for the tender nursing hands that never wearied of my infirmities; but it seems hard to be doomed to consider one's steps at every turn, and never more to revel in the freedom of the eagle. It cannot be long; it may be measured by the life of a little child, one, two, three, or seven years at the most. God's will be done.

My enforced absence from my place in Parliament, and from my chair in the great Department under my Ministerial control, produced effects not seen by onlookers, and not measurable by ordinary processes of


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calculation. If it had been possible, it would have been better for me to have retired into private life. A new difficulty was now before the Government.

The year 1890 proved a year, not only of disaster to myself, but of unparalleled trouble to the colony. A great strike of the workers in all branches of trade took place in Sydney, extending itself to other parts of the colony, especially among the shearers in the interior. It shook the whole fabric of commercial industry, paralysing some trades and destroying others. The sum of affliction and misery to the workers themselves must have been heavy beyond calculation. In the homes of the working class, little hoards of thrift squandered, women and children reduced to destitution, the bread-winner placed under a ban, told a woeful tale which is still ringing in the ears of many a solitary sufferer. Petty conflicts disturbed the streets, workmen were maltreated to force them to desert their employment, drivers of drays were torn from their charge, and intimidation put on a bold and savage front. There is no tyranny like that of the many-headed monster with the million hands. Away from the homes of the workers, the palatial mail steamers alongside the wharves had to resort to novel means to get to sea; great warehouses had to work all night with emergency hands to prevent a dead lock in business, and in many places work had to be carried on under a guard of armed men. Everything for a time was out of joint.

I had some advantages in dealing with this trouble. I had had more experience than any other Minister,


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or any other person in the community, in administering affairs at similar times of popular excitement. Having been at that time the Minister in charge of the military and the police, at different periods for ten years, I knew intimately the character, even to shades of capacity, of the officers at the head of these forces; and I had more knowledge than anyone else, directly and indirectly, of the leaders of the excited masses. This I could not expect others to know or to learn. Probably there is nothing in human conduct which men are slower to learn than the teachings of experience in the lives of others older than themselves. We see this eminently in the lives of great soldiers; there is always some epauletted shoulder ready to shrug itself at the mere idea of their superiority. I was still suffering severely from my broken leg, which interfered with my physical activity; I could only get about in a carriage. But I had from the day following my accident performed the routine duties of my Department by the Under-Secretary bringing to my bedside a box of papers every day, and sometimes twice a day; and the General commanding the military and the head of the police frequently saw me, and could communicate with me by telephone in a branch office close at hand. I was not surprised, because so many persons in severe difficulties had volunteered to teach me my duties, but I was deeply pained when one of my young colleagues proposed to me, apparently after consultation with other Ministers, to authorise him to communicate with the heads of the military and the police in any emergency. I simply replied that there was no occasion


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for any such step, and that I intended to keep the control of both services in my own hands. But the incident led to much unpleasantness, involving explanations to Parliament.

I must express my view here, not formed hurriedly, that it is a bad augury for the effective Ministerial action of any Government in the self-governing provinces of the Empire, when two or more Ministers consult on serious matters behind the back of their chief. It is sure to reach their leader's knowledge, directly or indirectly, often in distorted form; mutual confidence begins to be shaken; hints, dropped from motives of caution or mischief, and silent surmises, fan the small flames of jealousy or discontent, and open rupture comes. Men should seriously consider before they join a Government where leadership is a paramount condition, whether they can accept the proffered place; but having accepted it, and while they remain, there is no escape from the bond of loyalty except with dishonour.

In dealing with the strike troubles, I scrupulously adhered to the rule of careful consideration, absence of demonstrative threatening, quiet and continuous observation, and uniform civility; while I took pains to let it be silently seen that there was a reserved power to act, and quite prepared to act, if occasion should arise, for the defence of society and the maintenance of law. I never for a moment listened to the rash counsels of ‘stamping the thing out’ and ‘treading it under foot.’ I knew that the tumultuous crowds, often numbering many thousands, contained many of the best as well as some of the worst of the working population, and I


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admitted in my own mind that they had grounds of grievance and undeniable rights within lawful limits. They had been led into an unwise movement by foolish leaders. But then men in high places have suffered themselves to be misled by foolish counsellors.

I appealed to the well-disposed to enrol as special constables, and my appeal had an instant and a spirited response. Men of all grades came forward at once. A deputation of four of the Trades Union leaders waited upon me to offer four hundred picked men of their class. I pointed out to them that if I accepted men from them, I must accept men from the Employers' Union also, and that I could only accept men in their individual capacity and on their direct responsibility. Happily the strike came to an end without bloodshed, and without any grave outrage, considering how industrial relations were torn to pieces; but the traces of its ruinous effects will long remain. One officer of the Government deserves mention, Mr. Edmond Fosbery, the Inspector-General of Police, who acted throughout with great sagacity and prudence.

The Government were under a promise to introduce a revision of the tariff in the direction of a more scientific system of Free-trade taxation, and the Protectionists were loudest in clamouring for this measure, obviously with the hope that it would land us in difficulties. The Treasurer, Mr. McMillan, who felt himself specially committed to it, was anxious to introduce the Bill. But it did not appear to me that we were justified in opening the floodgates of Parliamentary strife in the midst of the great industrial crisis of the strike. I


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explained these views to a Cabinet Council, and my colleagues, including Mr. McMillan, finally concurred in their soundness. On behalf of the Government I communicated the result of the Cabinet's deliberations to the Assembly in the following statement, on October 14:—

I desire to make a short statement on behalf of the Government. I scarcely need remind anyone of the long disturbance which society has sustained owing to this unhappy strike. It has now gone on over four months. The effect has been to disturb the whole industrial life of the country. In many instances it must have produced enormous distress amongst children, and persons dependent on the bread-getters of families; and the amount of wages lost can scarcely be calculated. While that has been going on—and it is no part of my duty to express any opinion on one side or the other of the dispute—it has produced a most serious disaster, I think quite as great a misfortune to this country as if Sydney had been bombarded by a foreign fleet. I think that the country in all probability would have lost less in material wealth and in reputation by having an enemy at its doors than it has lost from the effects of this great strike. But now it has assumed a new form; it has assumed the form of an open enemy to the constituted Government of the country. The railways of this country belong to the Government—popularly to the people of the country. The railways cannot be carried on either for the purpose of business or for the convenience of the population without fuel; and the strikers have taken up the deplorable attitude of opposing themselves to the Government of the country in obtaining this fuel, which brings us in reality close upon the lines of a revolution—a very little further would plunge the country into undisguised anarchy. Well, in this state of things we have had already—God knows greatly against my wish and my feeling—to send armed forces to enable the work of getting coal for our own Government railways to be carried on, and that is going on at this time at great cost. And


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it should be remembered that the Railway Commissioners applied in the first instance—and it is humiliating to think that they had to apply—to some unauthorised persons to allow what are called Union men to get the coal for the railways. I say again it is enough to make the blood of a free man tingle to think that the Commissioners had to apply to these unauthorised persons for the permission to have this coal cut. It was refused, and, it having been refused by one section of the working population, there is arrayed against the laws of the country and against the Government another section of the working population to prevent coal being obtained by any means. I do not exaggerate— my words are not used for the sake of exciting passion—when I say that that state of things is little short of a revolution. Somebody must be master, and the Government of the country must be master. Sympathising as I do with the great bulk of my fellow-men in the honest and earnest desire to see their condition improved, I know that in this movement the only sufferers are the poor working-men themselves, their unhappy wives, and their still more unhappy children. Instances have come to my own knowledge of children almost perishing already for want of food. Well, in this state of things the Government has imposed upon it—not the men who sit on these benches, but whoever may form the Government, and the Government I apprehend, consists as much of the Houses of Parliament as of the Ministerial officers—the Government of the country has imposed upon it the maintenance of law and the protection of personal liberty, let the cost be what it may. I bring the matter now in this way before the House, after counselling the Government, as I have done, to the most moderate steps, counselling them to forbear from taking any step that would have the appearance of one-sidedness in this unfortunate struggle. Having done all that, I now appeal to this House to support the Government in doing whatever may be necessary to support the law and to maintain order. I have now to pass from this very grave matter, which I feel to be of most painful weight, and which I am sure my colleagues must equally feel of painful weight. I pass on now to communicate to the House that the


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Government has decided not to enter into any contest whatever so long as our hands are so full. The Government is composed of men who have announced to the electors that they are advocates of certain principles of fiscal policy. They stated the same thing to the House, and it is their duty, beyond all question, to adhere to those principles, and to endeavour to implant them in the policy of the country as soon as they possibly can. But they are not to attempt anything of that kind when an enemy is at our doors, or what is a thousand times worse, when we have an enemy in our midst. Nor can any harm result to anybody if what is aimed at is a righteous and sober settlement of the question. No one can want to have it settled now, especially when it can be settled within a very short time at the furthest. We cannot remain the Government except by constitutional support. We at the present time are the proper persons to declare what course we will take. We, and not persons who would relieve us of our responsibilities, are the persons to say whether we, in this state of things, will incur further disturbance, or whether we will not. It is for Parliament to say whether we are right or wrong. If we do not declare what is right, there is a power residing in Parliament to declare that we are wrong, and to punish us. We, at all events, feeling that our hands are full, feeling that every sense of patriotism, every desire to promote the true and solid interests of the country, counsel us from plunging into new difficulties at this particular time—we say that we will not do it.

Mr. COPELAND: You are political blacklegs!

Sir HENRY PARKES: All the abuse of the honourable member for New England will not affect me. I am stating in words —perhaps in impassioned words, because I feel that the occasion is one for resolute words, but still in calm words, words free from bias—I am stating what our position is, and what we have decided not to do. We believe that that is in the interests of the country; we believe that the people of the country will support us in that course. We say that we will not incur the grave responsibility of increasing the disturbance of the country until this strike is at an end. And we say that we will do our utmost


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in the meantime, if permitted, to bring that to a conclusion as early as possible; and when that is concluded, we shall be quite ready to go into any conflict such as gentlemen opposite seem to want above everything else. My object, however, was to state the grave sense we entertain of the present state of the country, and at the same time to intimate that while we are the Government we expect the support of Parliament, and at the same time to declare that we will not incur the responsibility of new public troubles for the mere sake of preserving an idle consistency.

One decision arrived at by the Government, as a consequence of this great disturbance to the relations between capital and labour, was to appoint a Royal Commission to investigate and report upon the causes of such conflicts, and to consider measures devised in other countries by the constitution of Boards of Conciliation or other similar bodies, to obviate extreme steps in trade disputes. The Commission consisted of seventeen well-known persons, of whom six belonged to the capitalist class, nine to the workers, and two—men of much information and large experience—could not be said to belong to either. The Commission held fifty-one meetings, and examined fifty-five witnesses. The following significant passage occurs in the opening of their report:—

Many investors are timid about embarking their savings in any industrial pursuit, which can at any time be brought to a stop by a strike or lock-out; and if this uncertainty could be removed there would in all probability be a great development of industry. The resources of the colony, it is admitted, are at present but very imperfectly developed, and the openings for industry are many and promising. But the spirit of enterprise is considerably damped by the unwillingness of many to set up


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at their individual risk establishments employing a considerable number of workmen, and who consequently prefer to be idle shareholders in joint-stock companies or to accept a small interest on fixed deposits at the banks rather than run the risk of losing their capital in a venture that may be ruined by strikes. The timidity that exists may be in excess of what the facts of the case justify, but savings are principally made by cautious and prudent people, and they as a class seem to be much affected by the danger to them of quarrels which they can neither prevent nor control, and which sometimes they cannot even understand.

The report then proceeds to state the existing case thus comprehensively:—

The federation of labour and the counter-federation of employers are the characteristic features of the labour question in the present epoch. A few years ago each Union was an independent organisation, though the sympathy between different trades was strong, and showed itself repeatedly in the form of subscriptions to assist other trades when their members were on strike or were locked out. But now the union of men in a trade has developed into a union of different trades together, and practical sympathy has taken the form of aiding a strike by striking also. This, of course, has the effect of increasing the area of contest, and of dragging into it persons not originally involved. It is obvious that there is no limit to this extension of any strike, except the limit of the labour organisations themselves, and what the colony has already experienced in the way of suspension of industry is only a fraction of what it might possibly experience if a more general strike took place. The difficulty in any one trade may become a cause of quarrel in many trades, and employers and workmen in no degree connected with the point at issue, and otherwise working harmoniously, may be forced into hostility. The effect of this organisation of labour has already been to draw employers together, and, though their organisations have not at present the mature experience or the proved loyalty of the labour organisations,


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and although, from the nature of the case, it is more difficult for employers to come together and to hold together than it is for workmen to do so, still the sense of danger is now so keenly felt that jealousies and rivalries are being overpowered by fear of loss. The industrial community is thus being organised into two vast camps, jealous and suspicious of each other, and preparing for a possible conflict, which, in a few months, may destroy the savings of many years. The extent to which this organisation of employers and employed has now attained gives the whole question its present public and even its national importance.

It then gives a summary of the evidence as to the origin of disputes:—

It is frankly admitted that a great many disputes originate in ignorance, in mutual misunderstanding, in unfounded suspicions, in exa gerated alarms, and that very much is gained if all these disturbing accessories can be got rid of, and the controversy can be narrowed to its simple issue. No better method of dispersing the mists that surround a controversy of the sort under our consideration can be found than a friendly conference.

The report suggests a Board of Conciliation, and states that the great weight of testimony goes distinctly to show that the existence of such a body with authority from the State would have a wholesome and moderating effect. But, though the majority of disputes would be settled by a body of this kind, there would ‘survive an irreducible residuum.’ Where conciliation fails, arbitration is to begin.

The report deals at considerable length with the different modes of constituting such bodies, enters into much historical research on the subject, and makes a


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distinct recommendation in favour of Tribunals of Conciliation and Arbitration.

The President of the Commission was Dr. Andrew Garran, to whom, for his care, patient labour, and ability in conducting this enquiry, the colony is much indebted.

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