From Industrial Relations to Personal Relations:
The Coercion of Society
Trade Unionism and the New Protection
Dr Geoffrey Partington
The first half of the nineteenth century saw little
in the way of trade union development in the Australian
colonies. This was in part because of convictism,
partly because there were few enterprises employing
large numbers of employees, and partly because labor
shortages meant that wage rates were higher than British
immigrants had previously experienced. The Gold Rush
of 1851 helped to push up wage rates further, quickly
The legal position was broadly that of British unions
after the repeal of the Combination Acts in 1824 and
passing of the Trade Union Act of 1825. A fundamental
common law principle was freedom of contract: the concept
that people should be free to make bargains with each
other and that the law should enforce such contracts
if necessary. This principle extended to relations
between capital and labor. The courts could, however,
and often did set aside contracts entered into under
duress, misrepresentation, fraud, or if they had criminal
or illegal purposes. It was legal to form trade unions,
but they were not legal corporations able to sue or
to be sued. Unions later pressed for the right to
sue, but sought equally energetically to be free from
tortious actions against them. No statutes declared
collective bargaining unlawful because in restraint
of trade, but common law actions might be pursued against
union activity aimed as restraint of trade and breaking
of contracts. Master and Servant Acts based on pre-1867
English law made possible imprisonment of employees
who, without good reason, broke contracts of employment
or wilfully or negligently destroyed or lost property
entrusted to them. These acts were invoked from time
to time: in 1858, for example, some German masons who
had been brought out to Victoria to work on the railways
and who were then persuaded by Victorian masons to
break their contracts were prosecuted and imprisoned,
and some labourers recruited in Sydney to work in Maryborough
who refused to work once they found their terms were
less than the going rate there were fined. However,
for the most part these acts were not implemented here,
and it was very rare that common law actions were taken
against combinations to increase wages or alter hours
of work, unless accompanied by molesting and obstructing.
The law in all the colonies allowed employers and
unions to select arbitrators to deal with disputes
arising from existing contracts, as in other types
of commercial arbitration. The major changes which
took place during and after the 1870s in laws affecting
unions in Australia arose in response to legislation
in Britain, not to agitation in Australia. J.H. Portus,
whose The Development of Australian Trade Union
Law was dedicated to Henry Bournes Higgins, conceded
that 'there does not appear to be a trace of an Australian
movement for reform of trade union law before the English
trade union legislation of the eighteen-seventies'.
Portus also noted that the population had become used
to good pay and conditions well before the first significant
growth of unions in the 1870s.1
During the last quarter of the century, 1902 in the
case of Western Australia, most of the main provisions
of the British 1871 and 1876 Trade Union Acts and 1875
Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act were enacted
in Australia. Unions became corporations able to own
property and to sue and be sued. This enabled them
to protect their funds from defaulting officials, of
whom there were many. The former common law position
that all acts in restraint of trade were illegal was
reversed and trade unionists were protected against
criminal actions for conspiracy in respect of acts,
such as peaceful picketing, taken in furtherance of
a trade dispute, but intimidation, following, watching
and besetting remained criminal offences, whether taken
in furtherance of a trade dispute or not. What constituted
peaceful and thus legal picketing in the eyes of William
Guthrie, Spence and other militant union leaders often
proved different, however, from ideas on the matter
held by the courts.
The first effective organisations of the 1850s were
mainly craft unions similar to the 'New Model' Unions,
such as the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, recently
formed in Britain. They included Stonemasons, Typographers,
Bootmakers, Compositors, Coopers, Plumbers, Boilermakers,
Tinsmiths and Sheet Metal Workers, Ironworkers and
Japanners, Journeymen Butchers, Firemen, Bricklayers,
and Plasterers. In general these unions were connected
with the building trades and manufacturing industries
in the most densely populated centres. Because of
comparatively high wage levels much of their energy
was devoted to reducing the hours of the working day.
Several unions, such as the Tanners' and Beamsmens'
Union of Victoria were expressly formed for that purpose
and the Eight Hour Day was commonly the first stated
objective of unions. The eight hour day was secured
by legislation in New South Wales and Victoria in 1856,
Queensland in 1858, South Australia in 1873, Tasmania
in 1874 and Western Australia in 1896. Once secured,
the eight hour day provided an excellent basis for
negotiating overtime rates, as well as providing more
leisure time. Yet Henry Parkes warned
- "Civilization would lose its charm and value if it
did not lighten the burden of the masses of humanity.
But I distinguish very broadly between eight hours
being sufficient for a man to labour and Parliament
presuming to say how many hours he shall labour. The
working classes of this country are sufficiently strong
to make good---indeed they have made good---their right
to work eight hours without Parliament to exercise
a power which in all moral justice it does not possess...
Tyranny is an arbitrary interference with your fellow-
men and whether it is in the guise of a trade-union
or the edict of an autocrat it is tyranny just the
Union organisation in the bush lagged behind the cities
before the mid-1880s. Several efforts to form unions
of shearers were unsuccessful, partly because of the
dispersal of the potential membership and partly because
wage rates were generally good without unionisation.
Despite the Eureka Stockade and their ferocious opposition
to Chinese on the goldfields, there was little interest
in unionism among gold miners during the 1850s and
1860s, because both production and sale were very much
on an individual basis so long as alluvial deposits
were being exploited. As gold mining became more highly
capitalised and individual operations became much more
difficult, unionism became more attractive. The Bendigo
Miners' Association was formed in 1872.
Underground mining of coal in the Newcastle district
led to larger numbers of men working for one company
and laid the basis for unionisation. Small unions
based on a single mine were formed during the 1850s
and these combined in 1862 to form the Hunter Valley
Coal Miners' Protective Association, precursor of the
Australian Mining Union. Violent incidents were not
uncommon on the New South Wales coalfields, especially
against non-unionists. Such incidents often started
with women shouting threats and beating tins ('tin
kettling') and then throwing stones, with the men ready
to enter the fray if non-unionists or police defied
the women. Cutting telegraph wires, barricading roads,
besieging the huts of non-strikers, and tarring and
feathering were among tactics used by striking miners.2
On the other hand there were frequent dispute-free
intervals marked by co-operation between mine owners
and mine unions.
Examples of agreements reached by non-compulsory conciliation
and arbitration procedures included one in 1873 between
the Associated Colliery Masters and the Coal Miners'
Association of the Hunter Valley District. A strike
in Melbourne in the boot industry in 1884 was settled
by the Employers' Association and the Trades Hall Council.
In 1885, after a dispute between dock employers and
wharf labourers led to an 18-day stoppage, the two
sides agreed to refer the dispute to the Employers'
Association and the Trades Hall Council, which jointly
selected arbitrators, who in their turn chose Professor
Kernot of Melbourne University as an independent chairman.
As his umpireship favoured the wharf labourers, arbitration
increased in attractiveness to the trade union movement.
Individual unions soon found advantages in co-operation
first on industrial matters and then on wider political
issues. In Melbourne a Trades Hall Committee was established
in 1856, later to become the Trades and Labour Council.
The Sydney Trades' and Labour Council was formed in
1871 and similar bodies in Brisbane and Hobart in 1883,
Adelaide in 1884 and Perth in 1892. These organisations
and the Inter-Colonial Trade Union Congresses which
met from 1879 onwards were generally moderate in policy.
At the 1884 Congress the President, Benjamin Douglass
of the Trades Hall Committee, Melbourne, argued that
'strikes weaken the striker', and that 'combination
and the force of moral suasion' would best serve union
purposes.3 W.A. Trenwith, Trades Hall Council of Victoria
and later one of the first Labor parliamentarians,
called in 1886 for the systematic establishment of
boards of conciliation and arbitration, 'so that disputes
between employer and employed may be in future adjusted
without recourse to the cruel and unscientific means
which have usually been adopted in the past, viz, strikes
and lockouts'.4 W.A. Robinson of the Trades and Labor
Council of South Australia thought 'strikes were only
a relic of a barbarous age' and that 'personally he
thought that the desirability of abolishing strikes
with all their attendant evils and of adopting some
(other) system...was beyond all question'.5 Hugh Kirk
of the Hobart Trades and Labor Council wrote in his
Introduction to the Proceedings of the 1889 Inter-Colonial
Congress that 'Boards of conciliation and arbitration
are becoming more as recognised institutions and we
can hope in a short time to have them legalized. The
evils resulting from Strikes and Lock-outs are such
that it should form part of the duty of every Trades
Unionist never to resort to them without having first
offered arbitration'.6 At that congress it was miners'
delegates from New South Wales who moved a motion that
'the time had come for the establishment of Boards
of Conciliation and Arbitration for the settlement
of all disputes between Capital and Labor, and so prevent
strikes and lock-outs'. Despite the opposition of
the militant J. Hancock of the Melbourne Typographical
Society, who claimed that 'all the advantages the working
classes had obtained in increase of wages and shorter
hours arose from strikes',7 the miners' motion was
carried by 50 to 6.
The 1870s and 1880s proved an extended golden age
for many Australian workers, who enjoyed rising wages,
falling prices and ongoing labor shortages. This period
of prosperity coincided with the growth of unions and
it was easy to conclude that increased unionism was
instrumental in securing increased prosperity. Yet
by 1889 less than a quarter of the workforce was unionised
even in Victoria, the most highly unionised colony.
Restricting the supply of labor
a. Assisted immigration
Not all was sweetness and light before 1890. Most
unions were determined to restrict labor supply by
all means at their disposal. Reductions in working
hours and limitations on apprentices helped to reduce
the supply, but more important for Australian unions
were immigration control and exclusion of non-unionists.
Immigration from the United Kingdom was widely opposed,
even by unionists who had arrived only recently from
Britain. Especially detested was immigration subsidised
by colonial governments. A few voices were raised
to the contrary: J. Atkinson of the Provident Shipwrights
Society complained that 'it ill became them that their
brethren in England, when in distress, when it was
over-populated, should not be assisted out of their
misfortunes'. More common was the argument that 'there
was no other intention on the part of capitalists,
when they advocated immigration, than to lower working
men's wages'.8 Mrs E. J. Cresswell of the Tailoresses'
Union, Victoria, urged that workers 'had a right to
sell their labour at as high a price as they could
get for it. Therefore let them (governments and employers)
bring out no more immigrants'.9 Queensland unionists,
many of whom feared swamping by Asian labor, were the
least antagonistic to assisted immigration from Britain.
D. Bennett of the Amalgamated Engineers, Melbourne,
attacked the Queensland government for trying 'to introduce
a sufficient quantity of white labour to enable sugar
planters to do without the South Sea Islanders, upon
whom they have hitherto depended'10, but a delegate
from the Trades and Labor Council of Queensland declared
that 'whilst they could get European labour he hoped
they would avail themselves of the chance'.11
b. Chinese labor
Trade union hostility to assisted British immigration
was mild compared with its virulent detestation of
Chinese and other Asian labor in Australia. At the
first InterColonial Congress of 1879 at Sydney the
motion was carried unanimously that 'the importation
of Chinese is injurious, morally, socially, and politically,
to the best interests of this colony.' The furniture
trades were especially vitriolic against Chinese labor.
Stephen Gee of the Society of Carpenters and Joiners
(Sydney Branch) cited California as an example of the
effect of Chinese immigration: 'promiscuously huddled
together, creating disease, pestilence and leprosy'.
His colleague, A. Patterson, assured the Congress
that the Chinese quarters of Sydney were also 'hotbeds
of opium, debauchery and degradation. He hoped the
country would be cleared of them'.12 At Melbourne
in 1884 W. Godwin of the United Furniture Trade Society,
Melbourne, argued that Chinese would always undercut
white Australian labor, not only because of lower living
standards in China but because Chinese male immigrants
had only themselves to support, not a family and because
of their subservience to authority, which also endangered
political liberty in Australia.13 John Norton, professedly
representing the Lithgoe miners, although it is unlikely
he ever went down a mine, was entrusted with writing
the Introduction to the Proceedings of the 1885 Sydney
Congress. Norton wrote
- "Another weapon used by capitalists to grind the face
of the poor is the wholesale importation of Chinese
and coolie immigrants...Not only is this one of the
most dastardly means ever conceived for reducing Europeans
to the level of Chinese, but it is a system fraught
with such peril to the good order, morality, and civilisation
of the Christian communities of Australasia, as to
appal the most indifferent. Not only have several
formerly flourishing trades been ruined, but a still
more serious result has been the debauching and demoralising
of large numbers of the male and female population.14
At that Congress arose a rare dispute on the Chinese
question. A resolution moved by H.A. Harwood of the
United Furniture Society, Victoria, urged 'making it
compulsory upon the Chinese to denationalise themselves
by cutting off their pigtails and adopting European
clothes and customs'. W. Trenwith moved a successful
amendment to delete the reference to the pigtail, since
'to cut it off would savour of religious persecution',
but Congress unanimously supported the other resolutions
and agreed with R. Rice of the United Labourers' Protective
Society, NSW, that 'it was all very well to talk of
the brotherhood of man, but what they had to consider
was the civilisation and advancement of the country'.15
J. Meehan of the Queensland Shearers Union claimed
16 that Kanakas and Chinese could not be compared to
Europeans, no matter how low the latter are'.
The union leaders could claim to be following grass-roots
opinion and action. The foremost demand of the Miners'
Protection League established at Lambing Flat in New
South Wales in 1861 was 'the expulsion of the Chinese'.
Spence, the father of militant unionism among first
the miners and then the shearers, wrote that the Australian
Workers' Union he founded barred from membership, 'Chinese,
Japanese, Kanakas, or Afghans or coloured aliens other
than Maoris, American negroes, and children of mixed
parentage born in Australia', although he boasted that
it 'ignored all class or sex distinctions, and admitted
all who had no other union they could conveniently
join'.17 Action followed words. The violence at Lambing
Flat was celebrated by Spence as
- "one of the early developments of democratic feeling
in Australia. So strong was it that ... the diggers
... drove the Chinese off the field, some of the pig-tailed
heathens losing their lives ... But for the action
of the gold diggers and restriction of Chinese immigration
by a poll tax and otherwise, Australia would have been
practically a Chinese possession."
Spence praised the wife and daughter of one Jack McHenry
who stoned 'a boss Chinaman who was on his way to a
mine and attacked him so effectively that 'he retired,
the two women chasing him over the hill back toward
where he had come from'.18 Spence also commended the
fighting spirit of 'a sturdy North of Ireland woman'
at Clunes in 1876, who led a group of women in stoning
the police and the Chinese they were trying to protect
- "she threw a stone, cutting the cheek of the officer.
After that stones flew rapidly; the horses began to
plunge, and the Chinese to yell ... In less time than
it takes to tell it, the horses were turned and driven
off when they had come; the Chinese invasion was repulsed,
and no Chinaman has ever gained a footing in Clunes
even unto this day."
Although Spence often complained the civil authorities
were always on the side of the bosses, he noted of
this incident: 'a fuss was made by the authorities,
but no one was punished. The mayor of the town at the
time ... was an officer of the local A.M.A.'19 The
violent spirit engendered against the Chinese was easily
transferred to non-union labor.
The militant years
The late 1880s saw a significant increase in union
militancy. This was not a response to worsening conditions,
but began during the years of prosperity which preceded
industrial depression. Although the total number
remained small, there was increasing membership of
socialist organisations, such as the Australian Socialist
League founded in Sydney in 1887, and other radical
political bodies such as the Single Tax League based
on Henry George's ideas, which were for several years
more popular than those of Marx or any of his followers.
This radicalization of labor politics reflected that
in Britain and the United States during the late 1880s
in comparable conditions of prosperity and labor shortages,
not growing distress.
The most important figure in pushing the union and
labor movements to the left in those years was William
Lane, an English immigrant. Lane has been dealt with
generously by orthodox Australian progressive historians:
H.V. Evatt described Lane as an 'ardent socialist
and brilliant journalist', whose 'dangerous and effective
leadership' the Queensland pastoralists were determined
to destroy, Edgar Ross as 'a militant trade union
organiser and socialist idealist', P. Ford as 'a Socialist
missionary and mystic with the earnestness of a Jewish
prophet', and J. Child as 'one of the great tragic
figures ... a highly sensitive, puritanical man with
an intensely captivating personality'.20 To R. Gollan,
Lane was the man who 'tried to awaken the conscience
of Queensland' and 'wed the labour movement in Queensland
to the socialist ideal'.21 Lane's slogan that 'Protection
and Federation' were 'the twin steps towards complete
Nationality'22 proved his most lasting legacy but his
calls to action conjured up nightmares rather than
sunny ideals for many citizens. Even defenders of
the 'White Australia' policy may well have had qualms
when they read that Lane, although wishing no 'black
man' ill, would 'rather see his daughter dead in her
coffin than kissing one on the mouth' or 'nursing a
little coffee-coloured brat that she was mother to'.23
In order to stimulate militancy, Lane and other radical
journalists gave great prominence to violent incidents
in union disputes, such as those described by Spence,
and encouraged their extension.
The new militancy started first and then grew among
the shearers during years of high national prosperity,
when they secured many victories in disputes with pastoralists.
The shearers organised before the pastoralists. Spence
stated, 'up till 1890 the struggle had been with the
individual pastoralist, and the Union had won pretty
well all along the line'.24 Spence devised new methods
to compensate for the problems of distance in organising
industrial disputes. If a pastoralist engaged non-union
labor or engaged in any action repugnant to the Shearers'
Union, 'strike camps' were set up near the offending
station and non-unionists were waylaid on their way
to the station or forcibly removed if they managed
to reach it. Shearer militancy grew no less as pastoralists,
in common with most other employers, had to cope with
lower prices. The average price of wool fell by nearly
half between 1875 and 1893. The shearers had been
happy to claim that wages should increase when prices
rose or even when they were steady, but were unwilling
to accept lower wage rates when prices fell substantially.
Instead they continued to take the offensive.
In 1890 Spence aimed to secure the complete elimination
of non-union labor by a boycott of non-union wool supported
by the wharf labourers and maritime unions. The dispute
soon spread throughout eastern Australia. These sympathetic
strikes led to initial victory over pastoralists in
Queensland and Victoria. The employers' opportunity
for revenge came later in the year when the Mercantile
Marine Officers' Association in Victoria sought to
affiliate to the Melbourne Trades Hall Council, as
well as demanding considerable improvements in salaries
and working hours at a time of commercial depression.
The ship owners, who had strengthened their organisation
in recent months, agreed to concessions, but were adamant,
on the grounds that loyalty would be divided when at
sea, that the Marine Officers should not affiliate
to the Trades Hall Council. At this stage the New
South Wales shearers, again in dispute with pastoralists,
called on the Marine Officers to join the wharf labourers
and seamen in blacking all non-union wool. There was
soon the biggest industrial dislocation Australia had
known, with the Amalgamated Miners' Association striking
in sympathy with the shearers, wharf labourers and
marine officers. The ship owners tried to obtain non-union
labor and to charter vessels from outside Australia.
The unions were given financial support by levies
on trade unionists at work in other trades and received
money from British unions, which thus reciprocated
support given the London dockers in 1889 by Australian
unions. The result of the 1890 strike was defeat for
the unions. The shearers and marine officers both
ended their strike action, leaving the miners, who
were not parties to the original disputes, alone on
Spence's autobiography anticipated the contradictions
of many later radical historians. On the one hand
he gave vivid descriptions of union violence against
non-unionists, as previously against Chinese, yet he
also claimed that condemnations of that violence were
based on hostile inventions, or at best massive exaggeration.
He described strikes in terms of military campaigns
of a real class war and wrote25
- "the history of the Movement in Australia, as in the
United Kingdom, is one of self-sacrifice, heroism and
suffering far greater than has ever been shown on any
He claimed that 'the pickets used moral suasion and
intend to use nothing else', but conceded
- "there is always the risk of something occurring to
provoke quarrels which lead further than strict moral
suasion. Sometimes the "scab" interviewed is impudent,
insulting, and a bully, and tries the patience of the
interviewer too far, with the result of an assault
When describing one conflict with non-unionists Spence
wrote that 'it was agreed that moral suasion was to
be used ... but it was understood that in any case
they were not to cross over to the station'26. He
admitted that 'it is not easy to say where moral suasion
ends and coercion begins', and added that the union
considered that 'a strike is a fight. It is warfare,
and must be judged by the ethics of war, if there be
such. Killing is crime in ordinary times, but he who
kills most in wartime is honoured and promoted'.27
Spence described how his union dealt with non-Unionists
- "on many occasions their hut was rushed at night,
and they were taken away to a Union camp, where the
employer would come next day and interview them. They
generally assured him that they were in camp of their
own free will, and intended to stay there until he
gave them union terms ... It is not easy to ascertain
how much the non-Unionists were influenced by fear."
A union organiser named O'Brien was commended by Spence
for his courage in 'lifting' non-unionists from carts
and carriages taking them to the sheep stations. Spence
- "Some of the Unionists were great believers in immersion
as a cure for "scab". One experienced organiser said
he had only known one case which required more than
When the Rodney steamed past a camp of union
men at Swan Hill, some "scabs" on board 'jeered and
hooted'. Naturally enough the union men sought revenge:
some 'wanted to batten down the "scabs" under the hatches
of the Rodney and burn them, but the leaders
refused to hear of any such terrible vengeance'. Instead
they only kidnapped the non-unionists and burned the
boat afterwards. Spence added that the Rodney
was insured, and argued that the union men could not
be blamed for subsequent failure of the insurance company
to meet the claim on them.29 Assaults on non-unionists
were also common on the streets, as well as on wharves
and in factories and mines. Coghlan was surely right
when he emphasised the importance to the unions of
securing monopoly power over the supply of labor30
The ostensible causes of these disputes were now one
thing and now another, but behind them all was the
determination of the trade unions not to work with
non-unionists ... in effect the struggle was as to
whether trade unionism was to be made compulsory upon
Yet Spence expressed indignation that unionists 'were
placed on the footing of persons entering on a civil
war against the state',31 and denied that 'union outrages'
had ever taken place. In subsequent radical histories
actual violence carried out by unionists usually features
lightly, whereas the threat of violence against unionists
made by Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Price to the Mounted
Guards in 1890 about what to do if confronted by a
violent mob ('Fire low and lay them out') is seldom
omitted. As La Nauze noted: 'The tradition lives on
in labour history that in Melbourne in 1890 a reactionary
government had made preparations for an Australian
Defeat in 1890 did not at first make the militants
more conciliatory or undermine their influence on the
union movement.. In 1891 flour-milling in Victoria
and once again shearing in Queensland were racked by
major strikes. Physical force was used again by unionists
against non-unionists, and subsequently by the police
and military against unionists. As in 1890 the outcome
was a defeat for the unions, which had to accept as
a condition to talks to end the dispute a declaration
- 'employers or shearers shall employ or accept labour,
whether belonging to the Shearers' Union or other Unions
or not, without favour, molestation or intimidation
on either side.'
Far inland, the Broken Hill miners, who had struck
in support of the shearers and marine officers in 1890,
engaged in further strikes in 1892, but were defeated
and the Barrier branch of the Amalgamated Miners' Association
was forced to agree, among other conditions, that no
question of any kind apart from those concerning mining
itself should form a basis for any future dispute.
In Queensland in 1894 even more violence than in earlier
years was used on both sides when the shearers struck
again. They were again defeated and in retaliation
the Nelson government in Queensland enacted the Peace
Preservation Act, which gave it greater powers of
coercion against strikers held to be engaged in illegal
actions. Overall the great militant thrust was defeated,
the twin spearheads, the shearers and miners, seemed
in deep disarray, and a return to the status quo before
1890 seemed likely. This was not to be the case,
however, and violence of the militants was to have
The origins of 'New Protection'
1. Relationship to militancy
The union defeats of the early 1890s were soon followed
by the establishment of 'New Protection', a combination
of compulsory arbitration and high tariffs. How did
this development relate to industrial militancy and
its apparent defeat? Gollan and Rickard33 both claimed
that out of the weakness of defeat unions dropped earlier
hostility to state interference and came to support
legislation for arbitration. But we have seen that
most craft unions and the Inter-Colonial Congresses
favoured arbitration machinery before the rise and
defeat of militancy among the shearers, wharf labourers
and miners. Even less convincing is Markey's view
that the continued antagonism of some militants such
as Harry Holland represented 'dogged resistance' by
the union movement to compulsory arbitration.34 The
defeat of the strikes turned many moderate unionists
further against militancy. The 1891 Inter-Colonial
Congress supported unanimously a motion refusing 'to
credit the acts of violence and lawlessness attributed
to the Queensland bush workers, and pledge themselves
to use every effort to assist the bush workers in resisting
the encroachments on their just rights on the part
of Australian capitalism', but most unions showed a
determination not to follow the path taken by the shearers.
The 1891 President, W. Hurdsfield of the Ballarat
Trades and Labor Council suggested that 'the great
social disturbance that passed over the colonies last
year could, to my mind, have been averted if Capital
and Labor had assembled and discussed in conciliatory
terms the grievance that existed'.35 There was some
applause when Charles McDonald of the Brisbane Council
of the Australian Labor Federation told the 1891 Congress36
- "Peace was all very well, but what had peace done
for them in the Past? They must have justice before
peace, even at the cost of a revolution."
But he was immediately answered by W. Trenwith, by
then a Victorian parliamentarian as well as President
of the Melbourne Trades and Labor Council, who was
also applauded when he said
- "The man who spoke of a revolution by force was an
enemy to labor whether he knew it or not ... If he
were in Russia he would be a dynamitard. He believed
in force and bloody revolution where it was necessary;
in Australia it was not."
Some employers, non-labor politicians and union moderates
were attracted to compulsory arbitration because the
militants generally denounced it, especially those
who had read Karl Marx and were in principle deeply
suspicious of intervention by the capitalist state
apparatus into contracts of employment. When, during
the course of the twentieth century, it proved that
conciliation and arbitration systems favoured the unions
and were by no means incompatible with strikes and
industrial militancy, many Australian Marxists came
to hold two contradictory opinions. They retained
the older theoretical view that the state is 'the executive
committee' of the bourgeoisie, so that state interventions
into industry and commerce must favour employers and
the rest of the capitalist class. Yet in practice
they supported ever further extensions of state intervention.
This ideological confusion is shown today by leading
figures such as John Halfpenny and Laurie Carmichael,
but in fairness to them this defect has not diminished
their political and industrial effectiveness. Similarly,
in my own particular sphere of interest, Australian
Marxist historians and philosophers of education routinely
denounce the establishment of compulsory education
as a policy by which the bourgeoisie extended social
control over the masses and ensured that the ideas
of the ruling classes were more fully accepted by the
children of the working class. At the same time these
intellectual paragons denounce the availability of
non-government education and demand more complete control
of curriculum and teaching methods by Canberra. Such
contradictions have not prevented them from gaining
control of university departments of education, or
from shaping the ideas of the leadership of our teacher
Let us consider more carefully employer attitudes
to compulsory arbitration. There is no evidence for
Fitzpatrick's claim37 that employers generally took
the initiative in pressing for compulsory arbitration
in order to dampen union militancy, or Patmore's claim
that 'the slow and cumbersome arbitration process advantaged
employers by delaying workers' demands for a tight
labour market'.38 Yet there is little support either
for the contrary judgment of Coghlan that39
- "Fortified by the experience gained in 1890, the employers
as a body ceased to set any value on [arbitration]
as a means of settling disputes, and it was natural
for them, convinced of their ability to defeat Labour
on any field, to consider that an appeal to law would
be a hindrance to complete triumph."
What we can say with confidence is that after the
defeats of industrial militancy there was far more
support among the unions for compulsory arbitration
than among employers. Patmore conceded that three
quarters of union witnesses and only a third of employer
witnesses who appeared before the New South Wales Royal
Commission of 1890 favoured state intervention into
industrial disputes through arbitration machinery.40
We can also say with confidence that employers and
non-labor politicians who supported compulsory arbitration
did so on the basis of two entirely opposed positions:
one was that compulsory arbitration was needed because
of the ongoing high potentiality for further and perhaps
more successful union militancy, the other, propounded
most actively by Higgins, was that compulsory arbitration
was needed because of the weakness, even the helplessness,
of the working class in direct bargaining about wages
and conditions. The first group feared the eruption
of even more violent industrial disruptions from which
they might not emerge as successfully as in the conditions
of the early 1890s, which had perhaps been exceptionally
favourable to them. Furthermore, union militancy had
coincided with the massive economic depression which
affected every colony, but especially the previously
booming Victoria, which suffered bank closures and
the collapse of many businesses and where unemployment
peaked in 1893 at 28 per cent. Although union militancy
had not caused the economic depression, it was associated
with it in many minds. The real significance of militancy
was that it scared opinion fearful of increasing social
dislocation and violence. The IWW and Australian supporters
of direct action kept these fears alive in the new
century. During the Broken Hill strike and lock-out
of 1909 it was a Labor Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher,
that Harry Holland told to 'remember that the workers
may themselves have to MEET FORCE WITH FORCE'. Holland's
lawyers subsequently told the court and the public
that this was mere rhetorical froth, but few people
were convinced. The attraction of the new arbitration
system as 'the lesser evil' was extremely important
in its early development. Yet many militants were
disillusioned by their reverses and the departure of
William Lane and his followers to Paraguay in 1893
epitomised their disenchantment. Lane had perhaps a
more accurate estimation of the relative strength of
the militant unions and the forces opposed to them
than had the timorous elements among the employers
and non-labor politicians who feared a renewal of militancy.
The view that compulsory arbitration was needed, not
because union militancy might again prove a threat
to industrial and social stability but because without
it workers were helpless victims of ruthless and powerful
employers, was advanced most persistently by Higgins.
Higgins told the Victorian Parliament in 1895, that
the mass of Australians were 'helpless people' without
any genuine 'degree of free will', who required constant
protection by inspectors. As a judge he declared in
1907 in the Harvester case 41
- "The provision for fair and reasonable remuneration
is obviously designed for the benefit of employees
in the industry; and it must be meant to secure to
them something they cannot get by the ordinary system
of individual bargaining with employers. If Parliament
meant that the conditions shall be such as they can
get by individual bargaining---if it meant that those
conditions are to be fair and reasonable, which employees
will accept and employers will give, in contracts of
service---there would have been no need for this provision.
The remuneration could have safely been left to the
usual, but unequal contest, the 'higgling of the market'
for labour, with the pressure for bread on one side,
and the pressure for profits on the other. The standard
of 'fair and reasonable' must, therefore, be something
From this disingenuous argument, one would suppose
that no trade unions existed, collective bargaining
was unknown, and each worker depended on individual
bargaining. Higgins revealed a similar blindness
in 1911 in the Engine-Drivers' Case42
- "The power of the employer to withhold bread is a
much more effective weapon than the power of the employee
to refuse to labour. Freedom of contract, under such
circumstances, is surely misnamed; it should rather
be called despotism in contract; and this Court is
empowered to fix a minimum wage as a check on the despotic
power. The fact that the Court is not also empowered
to fix a maximum wage (as under the Elizabethan laws)
is a recognition of the difference in the position
of the contracting parties. The worker is in the same
position, in principle, as Esau, when he surrendered
his birthright for a square meal, or a traveller, when
he had to give up his money to a highwayman for the
privilege of life."
b. Mutuality of restrictive practices
Many employers and politicians who supported New Protection
did not do so out of fear of renewed militancy, still
less from a belief that employees were weak and helpless,
but because they believed that their support for compulsory
arbitration would be met by the unions with a fuller
acceptance of high tariffs, not only in Victoria but
in New South Wales and the rest of Australia. The
state had, of course, played a much larger role in
the Australian economy than in the British: in the
original convict colonies the government was inevitably
the dominant employer, the 'tyranny of distance' and
sparsity of population encouraged much more central
control over education and public relief of poverty
from the colonial capitals than was the case in the
United Kingdom. Soon after the end of the first gold
rushes Victoria began to establish high tariffs, with
David Syme of the Age the earliest influential
advocate of the combination of tariff protection and
compulsory arbitration which received the name of
'New Protection'. Another precursor of 'New Protection'
was collusion between employers and unions in the coal
industry in New South Wales. Edgar Ross complimented
them for displaying even in the 1860s 'a keen appreciation
of the position developing in the industry, which was
already suffering from over-capacity'43 During the
1870s miners' unions in the Hunter Valley placed an
upper limit or 'darg' on coal they would dig in a day.
On their side the Northern Coal Owners' Association
operated a fixed market price for coal, or 'vend'.
The miners' union supported the vend, since they held
that high coal prices meant high wages. In 1873 a
formal district agreement, the 'Newcastle Agreement',
established a sliding scale of wages based on the market
price of coal, as well as establishing arbitration
procedures between miners and owners. Such evidence
of the union's influence proved a powerful incentive
to non-unionists to join. In 1879, when coal prices
were generally falling, the Hunter Valley miners agreed
to help owners maintain prices by striking against
any owner who sold under the vend price, the first
strike being against the Lambton colliery, even though
the Lambton miners accepted lower wages consequent
on a lower coal price and refused to join the strike.
They were expelled from the union. R. Gollan commented44
- "At first sight it might seem extraordinary that the
union should attempt to prop up a monopolistic arrangement
of employers, but in the circumstances of the time
it was perfectly understandable."
In fact this collusion, although it lapsed during
the militant late 1880s and early 1890s, was far from
extraordinary. It anticipated a key feature of Australian
economic life during the twentieth century.
Australian unions, especially those of Victoria, unlike
those in Britain which usually adopted Free Trade as
part of the loose 'Lib-Lab' political alliance of the
1880s, generally but far from universally supported
Protection, or 'Encouragement for Native Industries'.
A delegate from the Melbourne Bookbinders' Society
told the 1889 Inter-Colonial Congress45
- "trades unionism and Protection were connected for
one was the corollary of the other. One object of
trades unionism was to keep up the rate of wages and
it would be impossible for the employers to do so if
they had Freetrade."
There were cries on "No!" when a Queensland delegate
claimed that 'to protect industries through the Customs
was a fallacy, for it meant that the consumers had
to pay the greater portion of the increased amount'.46
Another Queensland delegate felt forced to 'take exception
to the remarks of a number of speakers that a man could
not be a consistent Trades Unionist and also a Freetrader'.47
Critics of protection included P. Stokes of the SA
Builders' Labourers Society who considered it meant
that 'the majority would be called upon to pay for
the few who would derive any benefit. The great majority
of the wage-earning community would be called upon
to pay a higher rate for the articles produced by a
few persons, while the wages were not proportionally
increased'. Another South Australian, R.E. Rogers,
considered it 'a mistake to put on a big tariff to
foster a small industry and make the whole colony pay
a higher price for one man's benefit'.48 Opponents
of tariffs in several colonies feared their adoption
would bring special advantages for Victoria, whose
industries they saw in the same light the Victorians
regarded British competition. A South Australian delegate
to the 1889 Inter-Colonial Congress felt 49
- "in justice to the colonies which only recently adopted
protection, they must give them time to develop their
own industries before making them showrooms for Victorian
H. Elmslie of the Masons' Society, Victoria, agreed
'it would be selfish for Victorians' to impose a high
tariff policy on all colonies, but that policy continued
Union congresses often revealed a gap between what
delegates said and what they did. At the 1886 Adelaide
Congress the patriarchal J. Ashwood of the Port Adelaide
Masons' and Bricklayers' Society assured delegates
that he 'never allowed his family to trade with Chinese'
and in 1891 J. Meehan of the Queensland Shearers' Union
- for the last three years the Queensland laborers had
only dealt with unionists. He had been without vegetables
for two years because he would not buy them from the
On the other hand in 1891, after listening to some
indignant attacks on sweating in the tailoring trades,
A. Hughes of the Tailors' Trade Protective Society,
Melbourne, issued the challenge that 'there were not
twenty unionist-made suits in the room', to which Mrs
Muir of the Tailoresses' Union, Melbourne added 'Hear,
hear; that's true'.51 No delegates came forward to
try to prove them wrong. Outwork in men's and boy's
clothing was to be the first victim of awards by Wages
Boards in Victoria, since the piece rates set made
it more expensive than factory work. This could hardly
be considered an unmixed blessing for women who preferred
to work at home than in factories. Under the economic
theory held by some Australian unionists, service occupations
made no contributions to national wealth. 'Servant
girls' were described as 'parasites on society'.52
The well-named F. Flowers of the New South Wales Gardeners
and Gardeners' Assistants even feared that his own
members 'came somewhat under the domestic servant clause
... and were catering for the luxuries of the rich'.53
Many workers in the clothing and other trades also
catered more for the rich than the poor and on that
basis might be excluded as parasites from the ranks
of productive workers.
Outside Victoria the unions and the new Labor Parties
formed during the 1880s and soon gaining significant
parliamentary representation were thus far from solidly
protectionist before Federation. This was especially
the case in New South Wales. Billy Hughes stated in
1901 that he 'had never been able to see that men were
better off under protection than free trade',54 but
when he came to see the advantages compulsory arbitration
had for trade union and labor organisation, he embraced
the protectionist polices he had previously attacked.
When Hughes and Holman negotiated in 1902 with the
protectionist William Lyne about a possible transfer
of political support to him away from George Reid and
the Free Traders, one of their central demands, which
Lyne met, was that he should introduce compulsory arbitration.55
Hughes took it for granted that the unions would remain
allied to the Labor Party and subject to its political
leadership, but even after he and Holman broke with
the Labor Party he retained his fondness for compulsory
arbitration. Shann noted ''the eager drive of self
interest' with which the New Protection inspired the
Labor Party.56 Coghlan observed long before the Clarrie
O'Shea case of 195457
- "To the leaders it seemed that compulsory awards need
have no terrors for Labour, as there did not exist,
and could not be brought into existence, the means
to punish effectively any body of Labour refusing to
abide by a decision against it; while, on the other
hand, employers would be under a severe penalty if
they failed to comply with an award"
- "As a matter of fact it would be impossible to exaggerate
the quantum of the debt of the labour movement in Australia
to industrial legislation, and to the industrial tribunals
appointed to translate the aims and intentions of that
legislation into practical effect. A trade union in
Australia, where registered ... under the relevant
arbitration legislation, has, except in the isolated
case where there is more than one registered employee
organisation in the same field, what amounts to a sole
right of representation before such a tribunal ...
Among the better-known countries there is none where
organised labour has profited in such a degree from
legal enactments, and the operations of the industrial
authorities created in pursuance of its provisions."
Portus noted, that as well as making many awards which
gave explicit preference to unionists, the effect of
Commonwealth compulsory arbitration on unions was that59
- "From being associations tolerated by the state they
have become semi-official associations which are given
a part in the making and administration of law. Also
because they are semi-official bodies and charged with
responsibility, they are given increased legal power
over their members."
Higgins and New Protection
The first influential advocate of compulsory arbitration
was Charles Cameron Kingston, when a cabinet minister
in South Australia. Kingston argued that, if industrial
disputants could not agree, they should be compelled
to put the matter before a third party, whose award
should be legally binding. The NSW Royal Commission
recommended in 1891, however, that the state should
intervene only if one party asked it to do so and that
the arbitral decision should not be legally enforceable.
Legislation along these lines was enacted in Victoria,
New South Wales and South Australia between 1891 and
1894. The first enactment of compulsory arbitration
was by New Zealand in 1894. Any registered union or
association of employers could refer a dispute for
settlement, first if possible by conciliation and if
that failed by arbitration. Any consequent award was
binding on both parties, but a trade union which did
not wish to register under the act could not be compelled
to refer its disputes to arbitration. In 1900 Western
Australia enacted similar legislation to that of New
Zealand. The 1901 New South Wales Industrial Conciliation
and Arbitration Act replaced the voluntary arbitration
system with a much more intrusive scheme than the New
Zealand one: the Registrar of the Arbitration Court
could intervene in a dispute even though neither side
asked for intervention, the conception of a common
rule was adopted, so that all comparable employers
and employees were bound by the award, irrespective
of whether they had been in dispute or if the firm
employed union labor, and strike action could be taken
against the terms of an award, although not before
the award was made. This legislation in New South
Wales received far more enthusiastic union and labor
support than any of its predecessors, since it extended
union influence throughout an industry, irrespective
of its level of unionisation. Broadly speaking the
typical sequence in each colony or state was that disputes
could first be referred to arbitration only with the
agreement of both parties, then unilaterally by one
party, and finally by the initiation of a Registrar
or other officer or judge of an Arbitration Court,
even if neither party sought arbitration. In a parallel
sequence the powers of Arbitration Courts increased
from conciliation only to making unenforceable awards
and finally to making enforceable ones.
More important than any state legislation was the
entry of the Commonwealth government into industrial
arbitration. The first efforts of Kingston and Higgins
at the second federal convention of 1897 to give power
to the Commonwealth Parliament with regard to 'industrial
disputes extending beyond the bounds of any one state'
failed by 22 votes to 12, but a similar proposal succeeded
in 1898 by 22 votes to 19, largely because of a change
of heart by Sir John Forrest of Western Australia.
This was despite George Reid's witty warning60
- (Higgins) "does not propose to hand over all trade
disputes to settlement by the Federal Parliament.
He hands over only those which extend beyond the limits
of one state. Cannot one see that giving such power
results in a most unfortunate state of affairs arising?"
That almost every dispute could artificially be extended
beyond the limits of one state was a fortunate circumstance
in Higgins' view. He noted in 1926
- "The mood of the convention (in 1897) was such that
there was no hope whatever of succeeding in an attempt
to extend the whole legislative power as to labour
to the Australian Parliament. But in the first session
of the first Australian Parliament a resolution was
carried (on my motion) in favour of committing the
whole power as to labour to that Parliament."
At that time, to Higgins' regret, 'the state authorities
were jealous of any encroachment on their existing
powers', so that that resolution of the Commonwealth
Parliament had no effect. However, soon afterwards
the 1904 Conciliation and Arbitration Act, based on
placitum xxxv of section 51 of the new Federal Constitution,
awarded the Commonwealth power to effect 'conciliation
and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of
industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of
any one state'. As Reid had anticipated, ever new
ways were found to extend disputes beyond the limits
of one state.
This was despite the resistance of the High Court
of Australia, particularly Barton CJ and Griffiths
J, who held that placitum xxxv was put in the Constitution,
not to hear ordinary claims of unions registered under
the Commonwealth, but to settle serious cases of industrial
dislocation such as the Maritime Strike of 1890.61
These two judges were in the minority when in the
Builders' Labourers case of 1914 they held
that a dispute of a local character in the building
industry could not qualify as a dispute extending beyond
the limits of one state and thus fall under the jurisdiction
of the Commonwealth arbitration system. By this stage
it had long become apparent to earlier doubters in
the union and political labor movements that the conciliation
and arbitration system could be used to their own massive
advantage, rather than placing them under the control
of machinery which the militants asserted would inevitably
be hostile to union interests and many moderates saw
at first as neutral.
Higgins became Attorney-General in the first federal
ALP government and remains the only non-party member
to be a member of an ALP cabinet. Before his elevation
to the bench he expressed the occasional fear that
compulsory arbitration might work against the unions,
since 'powers are to be given to this Court, which,
unless fit men occupy seats on the Bench, the employees
may some day find injurious to their position'.62
Once such a fit person as himself was there to lay
down the law, Higgins entertained no further misgivings.
The consummation of the New Protection was the Harvester
Judgment of 1907, in which Higgins felt able to deny
the Harvester Company the blessings of protection unless
it paid 'fair and reasonable' wages, as required by
the Customs Tariff Act 1906 and the complementary Excise
Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act 1906. To quote
- "local manufacturers would be protected provided that
the fruits of protection were shared between management
and labour, provided that it did not result in 'unfair'
prices, and provided it did not result in 'unfair'
Enormous scope was provided for regulation in the
name of fairness. The term 'social justice' had not
yet been coined for use in such contexts. Higgins
was his own authority for what was fair and reasonable:
after questioning nine housewives and fewer tradesmen
in Braybrook and Sunshine about retail prices and rents,
he decided that 42 shillings a week was the bare minimum
he could certify, an increase of over 20 per cent on
the prevailing unskilled wage rate of 33 shillings
a week in the industry. He declared that this minimum
wage was 'sacrosanct' and could not be negotiated or
modified, unlike rates paid for more skilled labour.
Higgins based his scales on the supposed needs of
a family of five. Shann pointed out that 'the payment
of such wages to all adult male employees provided
for over two million non-existent children and nearly
a million non-existent wives'64 and attributed to Higgins65
'renovating as a novel extension of democratic jurisprudence
the mediaeval ideal of the just price'. Had 'equal
pay' doctrines emerged in the early 1900s, he could
have extended his scales to women, so that any two
employees of either or indeterminate sex living together
would have required a basic wage capable of keeping
ten persons in reasonable comfort. The rate found
suitable by Higgins for Melbourne was also to be applied
to similar industries in rural areas and provincial
centres with lower retail prices and rents, a policy
which undermined such economic advantages that these
areas possessed and encouraged centralization in Melbourne
It did not worry Higgins that paying the new wage
rates, especially in export- oriented industries which
could not pass on higher costs to Australian consumers,
might bankrupt some firms and increase unemployment.
He declared in the Arbitration Court in 1909 about
the Broken Hill dispute66
- "I face the possibility of the mine remaining closed,
with all its grave consequences, but the fate of Australia
is not dependent on the fate of any one mine, or any
one Company .... If shareholders are willing to stake
their own money on a speculation, they should not stake
part of the employee's proper wage also."
Rickard, almost as eulogistic a biographer of Higgins
as the judges's niece, Nettie Palmer, suggested that
'to call him a fellow traveller would be to draw misleadingly
on the rhetoric of another era'.67 On the other hand
Rickard conceded that 'there was a strong Marxian flavour
in the contrast he drew between the middle class and
the class which receives wages'. Higgins spoke with
contempt of the
- "shop-keeping class, with their parasites, such as
doctors, and agents, and brokers, and lawyers, and
Once launched the system was greatly to expand, even
though successful challenges by the anti-protectionist
Central Council of Employers of Australia led to determinations
by the High Court in Rex v Barger (1908) that
the first Excise Tariff Act of 1906 and then the Trade
Marks Act 1905 were constitutionally invalid. To
Higgins such interference by hostile governments was
shocking, although when those of his own persuasion
were in office his principle was that no evil should
be spoken of the powers that be, as was illustrated
in the celebrated exchange in the Engine Drivers'
and Firemen's Award Case 1911, to which this society
owes its origins
- "Mr H.E.Starke, Q.C.: Of all the labour organizations
I have ever heard of, Broken Hill and that field seem
to be the strongest and most tyrannous I have eve heard
of. They not only do not do their work but they break
their agreements with impunity and they are encouraged
by their Unions and by the Government of this country.
- Higgins J.: I will not allow you to speak
in that way of the Government of this country. You
have no right to speak in that way, and you will understand
I will not listen to it ..... I will not allow you
to speak in that form of a Government of the country
and those above us."
Rickard, by the way, insultingly refers to H.R. Nicholls'
'slipshod editorial' and describes him as 'decrepit'.69
Nicholls was indeed 83 in 1912, but Rickard would
be unlikely to use such expressions about Higgins or
another radical hero in old age.
The effects of New Protection
The adoption of the New Protection of high tariffs
and compulsory industrial arbitration was followed
by a steady fall in Australia's standing in international
standard of living tables from first or second in the
1880s. Post hoc does not entail propter
hoc, of course, but there is a strong prima
facie case to answer, especially from those who
claim the living standards and employment opportunities
of the masses are their main concern. The decline
of coal from an exporter in the 1880s to a sheltered
non- exporter in the 1920s, before the great depression
struck, was a case in point. An Australian economy
based, if not on Free Trade, at least on very modest
tariff protection and, if not on untrammelled freedom
of contract, at least on a voluntary conciliation and
arbitration system, would surely have been more competitive
and prosperous. Pre-1890 trade union law, taken together
with the organisational capacity of unions and facilities
for voluntary conciliation and arbitration, was by
no means perfect and did not prevent abuses of sweating
and the like in some industries. Yet wage rates and
conditions of work were better than in almost any other
place in the world and negotiations between employers
and employees were in general conducted on a basis
of equality and comparatively in reasonably friendly
terms. Furthermore, the system was capable, as in
the United States, and Canada, two countries with comparable
common law traditions to those of Australia, of different
and superior developments from those which took place
The legacy of compulsory arbitration and high tariffs
bequeathed by the union and labor movements, by some
non-Labor politicians such as Kingston and Deakin,
and by Higgins as both legislator and judge, has held
back Australian economic development and standards
of living, and disadvantaged country and provincial
centres for nearly a century. As Ian Webber put it
recently, it created 'a system that is extremely complex,
still heavily regulated and increasingly legalistic'
and characterised by 'a lack of consultation with one
major participant in employee relations---the business
community'.70 These obstacles to progress would not
have been erected had it not been for the fears aroused
by the militancy of the early 1890s. Violence and
contempt of the law did not achieve immediate success,
but they gained their ends without very much delay,
because people of insufficient resolve feared the return
of even worse violence and were persuaded that the
only alternative was the milder hangman of compulsory
arbitration. Instead of creating conditions of industrial
peace, the system of compulsory arbitration and the
reasons for its adoption gave massive long-term encouragement
to industrial blackmail and backstairs deals. The
collusion between protected employers and protected
unions to restrict competition in goods or labor elevated
the 'darg' and 'vend' to the status of public policy.
One prime objective in celebrating the centenary of
federation should be to remove obstacles to progress
which had their origins in contempt for the rule of
law, intolerance of dissent and statutory restrictions
1 Portus, J.H. (1958). The Development of Australian
Trade Union Law. Melbourne: Melbourne University
Press, pp. 92-3; pp. 88-9.
2 See Ross, E. (1970). A History of the Miners'
Federation of Australia. Sydney: Australian Coal
and Shale Employees' Federation, pp. 22-3, 37-8, 49,
3 Intercolonial Trades and Labor Unions Congress of
Australasia. (1884) Official Report of Second Congress.
Melbourne: Trades Hall Council, p. 52.
4 Intercolonial Trades and Labor Unions Congress of
Australasia. (1886) Official Report of Fourth
Congress. Adelaide: Trades and Labor Council of
South Australia, p. 66. 5 op.cit., p. 68
6 Intercolonial Trades and Labor Unions Congress of
Australasia. (1889) Official Report of Sixth Congress.
Hobart: Trades and Labor Council of Tasmania, p, vi.
7 op.cit., p. 53,
8 Intercolonial Trades and Labor Unions Congress of
Australasia. (1879). Official Report of First Congress.
Sydney: Trades and Labour Council of NSW, pp. 33-4.
9 Intercolonial Trades and Labor Unions Congress of
Australasia. (1885) Official Report of Third Congress.
Sydney: Trades and Labour Council of NSW, p. 67.
10 1884 Congress, p. 109.
11 1886 Congress, p. 99.
12 1879 Congress, pp. 36-9.
13 1884 Congress, pp. 45-50.
14 1885 Congress, pp. xi-xii.
15 op.cit., pp. 70-4.
16 op.cit., p. 97
17 Spence, W.G. (1901). The Awakening of Australia:
Thirty Years in the Life of an Australian Agitator.
Sydney: Workers' Trustees, p. 49.
18 Spence, 1909, p. 21.
19 Spence, 1909, pp. 34-5.
20 Evatt, H.V. (1964). Australian Labour Leader:
The Story of W.A. Holman and the Labour Movement.
Sydney: Angus and Robertson, p. 18; Ross, E. (1970).
A History of the Miners' Federation of Australia.
Sydney: Australian Coal and Shale Employees' Federation,
p. 94; Child, J. (1971). Unionism and the Labour
Movement. Melbourne: Macmillan, p. 88; Ford, P.
(1977). Cardinal Moran and the A.L.P. Melbourne: Melbourne
University Press, p. 64.
21 Gollan, R. 1976). Radical and Working Class Politics:
A Study of Eastern Australia 1850-1910. Melbourne:
Melbourne University Press in association with the
Australian National University, pp. 123-4.
22 The Boomerang, 1 Sept. 1888.
23 The Hummer (Wagga), April, 1892 (cited
by H. McQueen. (1975). A New Britannia. Ringwood,
Vic: Penguin Books, p. 48).
24 Spence, 1909,p. 57.
25 op.cit., p. 12.
26 op.cit., p. 137.
27 op.cit., p. 132
28 op.cit., pp. 60-1.
29 op.cit., pp. 133-5
30 Coghlan, T.A. (1969). Labour and Industry in
Australia: From the First Settlement in 1788 to the
Establishment of the Commonwealth in 1901, vol
31 Spence, p. 115.
32 La Nauze, L. A. (1979). Alfred Deakin: A Biography.
Sydney: Angus and Robertson, p. 130.
33 Gollan, 1960, p. 183; Rickard, J. (1976). Class
and Politics: New South Wales, Victoria and the Early
Commonwealth, 1890-1910. Canberra: Australian National
34 Markey, R. (1988). The Making of the Labor Party
in New South Wales 1890-1900. Kensington: University
of New South Wales Press, pp. 268-81
35 1891 Congress, p. 16
36 op.cit., p.65
37 Fitzpatrick, B. (1969). The British Empire in
Australia: An Economic History 1834-1959. Melbourne:
Macmillan, pp. 228-9.
38 Patmore, G. (1991). Australian Labour History.
Melbourne: Longman Cheshire, p. 104.
39 Coghlan, vol. IV, p. 2104.
40 Patmore, 1991, pp. 104; 107.41 C.A.R., vol. 2,
p.4 ((cited in Rickard, J. (1984). H.B.Higgins:
the rebel as judge. Sydney: George Allen &
Unwin, , p. 172).
42 Engine-Drivers Case, CAR, vol. 5, p. 27.
(cited in Rickard, 1984, p. 185).
43 Ross, 1970. p. 21.
44 Gollan, R. (1963). The Coalminers of New South
Wales. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
45 1889 Congress, p. 21.
46 op.cit., p. 24.
47 op.cit., p. 27.
48 1886 Congress, p. 22.
49 1889 Congress, p. 22.
50 1891 Congress, p. 32.
51 op.cit., p. 31.
52 op.cit., p. 38.
53 op.cit. p. 40.
54 Sydney Morning Herald, 6 March 1901 (cited
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Why HR Nicholls?