Labor Movement in Australia
Maoriland Worker, Volume 5, Issue 165, 1 April 1914, Page 5
Labor Movement in Australia
f_ — .. — Some Impressions
Having just returned from * trip to Australia. I took occasion to enquire into the progress of the Labour movement there. It is seven years ago since I left that continent arid emigrated to these- isles, and it> was. most interesting to mo to contrast the changes that havo taken place during that* time. Then, New Zealand was generally referred to in the Australasian press as
THE LAND OF SOCIALISM and tbe Workingman's paradise. With that brief notice the subject was generally dismissed, ignorance as to what Socialism constituted, and correspond-* mg. lack of interest in it, being profound. I. at any rate, never ran up against any Socialists, <and if the question was ever raised it was explained as Communism, an impracticable theory, with the Paraguay fiasco pointed as a moral; However, I had not been, in New Zealand many months before I ran up against Socialists, who sacn taught mc -all I wanted to know about, Socialism. I met them in, controversy when I wrote to the papers, I met them in business, and I met them in travelling about the country. I have come oack from Australia the second time feeling that we still maintain
THE SOCIALISTIC SUPREMACY though New South Wales, I am delighted to note, is running us closo. The change in this State is as astonishing as it is gratifying; everything is seething with life, and they are getr ing ready for, a big upheaval there. I should not be surprised if in five years they inaugurate the Socialist Commonwealth. , What makes things' so very promising is the' establishment of the colossal Labour daily which is to be launched about the end of this year. Recognising that the daily press should be the first point of attack, they ibiave concentrated their energies on tn6 taking of this citadel
EX-PREMIER J. C. WATSOISf is the managing director. I had a note of introduction to him frOm th«editor of the Adelaide "Daily Herald. I '-r-a Labour riapei- which has also been sifCr cessfully launched since I have been away. Mr. Watson is. a fine presence of a man, polished, educated, and in every way fit to bo a loader of men; he would take his place in any country of the world—a. man we Labour people should be proud of. He received, mc very kindly, and gave mc over an hour's interview, showing mc everything and telling mo all I wanted to know unreservedly. They raised their capital for the venture by striking
A LEVY OF £2 PER HEAD nn every member of the Australian Workers' Union, and gave them a year to pay it. The A.W.U. is also a new thing since I left Australia, and shows the modem trend of unionism to federate into big things. It covers every class of manual worker, from shearers to labourers and is linked up into one big union all over the continent. When it is reflected that the membership of this colossal union is well' over 100,000, it is easy to sec that it can "do things."
Geuerally speaking, the response- to the levy was good, but occasionally grumblers were heard from the backblocks of, say, Western Australia, who could not see what good a Labour daily in. Sydney would be to them, and were not public-spirited enough to contribute to the common good. These defaulters were, however, made to do their duty through the courts, and in tbe end every man of the union parted up. The result was the
MAGNIFICENT TOTAL OF £120,000. Now this has been accomplished, even the grumblers are gltid they were sued I Mr.--Watson told mc they were deterr mined from the outset to compete against tbe capitalist press on capitalist lines. Nothing would be attempted till they were in a position to heat them off their own bat. A business site in the best part' of Pitt Street, Sydney, was purchased, and now
" MACDONELL HOUSE," one of the most modern and up-to-date of structures, rears its stately head to Labour. This imposing building is just on completion, and is about to have tho lift put in. The ground; floor is already let for shops, and the rent from this sourco will be sufficient to run the pape- itself. This income is to accrue, however, till Christmas, so as to constitute 'a. nice iittle cash balance at the Bank. The plant will he installed in the upper Ftoreys of the building, and thei sum of £40,000 has been oarmarkod for it. This sum is sufficient to purchase absolutely the
BEST AMERICAN MACHINERY, capable of turning out a paper :il lea&t equal to anything in this hemisphere. With the commercial side of tho piper provided for by other means
than its own earnings, it is seen at a glance that & largo proportion of the output can bo devoted to propaganda purposes. As the revenue accumulates, it is intended to establish dailies on similar lines, from tbe parent papea- to the other States, sO with all this it is easy to see how Labour will booih in the next few years. An almost equally important stop has been taken in providing for an
CABLE SERVICE Outside that vicious monopoly, the P7ess Association. Already l sis Labour dailies throughout Australia have subsidised this independent service, and as niore are started the number of correspondents can be increased and their scope enlarged. This will only bo a, matter of a comparatively short time.