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[By Vrruux.] "*■""* v',.i . Brief eantribut'jons on matter*' tottn reference to the Labor Movement art invited. STATE ENTERPRISES. Laet week I pointed out that the British l*bar party were urging the Government to continue the running of the railways which they took over at the commencement of the war. Now we have Mr Robertson-Scctt. a recognised authority m England upon agricultural subjects, contributing to the ' Nineteenth Oer.tury ' an article in which he ■enters an urgent plea for tho establishment of Stato sugar factories in Great Britain as one of the opportunities of the war. After pointing out that 8:7 per cont. of the sugar consumed in tha United Kingdom last year was beet sugar, of which 80 per cent, was imported, he. says: " Sugar production of this country should bi eet going by the Government boldlv goiog into the sugar business and hrilc'lng Slate factories, which at the end of tht war might bo leased to approved and largely co-operative companies. ' Mr Robertson-Scott's suggestion is a good one, but why should the Government Itwe them or part with the sugar factories at the end of the war? Smely if they can carry them on during the war they will bo better r.ble to do so after the war is over. Whereevor State enterprises have been undertaken they have been the means of cheapening commodities and services, in addition to, in most cases, returning a profit, to the State. Tno New Scuth Wales Department of Tublic Works has submitted to Parliament a statement of the operations of State industrial undertakings, .showing not only diiect profits and losses, but indirect savings resulting from the past financial v ear's, operations. Tho State enterprises enumerated in the balance-sheet are the brickworks at Homebush, sand-brick and I'mcwork.i. Monier pipes, building construction branch, metal quarries, and the Stat*- carpentry work.* at Bozelle. The diiect profits on nil the works and savings between tho prices at which the undertakings carried cut works for various departments and the next lowest tender towdled £41,329 Is 9d, while the loss, including tho big' tiro at the Stato carpentry works, amounted to £31.397 3s 2d. thus showing a net saving of £9.021 ISs 7.i. Included in the manufacturing and wages costs for the respective undertakings is a sum of over £7.C00 which the concerns have paid to their workmen for public and annual holidays, charts which private enterprises have not to carry. Further than this, tho very much more liberal accident pay which the Government departments give to injured workmen constitutes 1 very considerable charge against the rork-i. ''"liking Government works all round, ♦i, they ,-,.- tone fairly well up to the pre-.-c.'ut. and WLh age and experience will do much " ttenjta the future. It is evi.'iJ it that the Federal Labor Government i Australia) are taking a bold step in the way of establishing _ a national line of steamships, as indicated by the following extract from an Australian Labor paper: —As a j nucleus of a Commonwealth-owned nnd controlled line of steamships the Federal Labor Government are now possessed of seventeen vessels captured from the enemy. Th* vessels are being put into commission, and are to be used by the Minister of Defence for the transport service. Captain F. Tickel! has been appointed snipping manager, and he has been instruct'"! to man ail the vessels with Australian otli cers and seamen, pav union rt'tes, and give preference of employment to unionists. The private shipping interests are, of rourse, raising . noisy objections to the fsiablishment "i the Commonwealth line, tint the crews employed are delighted .it the idea of being given an opportunity to help build up a national mercantile tbot for Australia. There are both wisdom and \ economy in this move 'in the part of the Federal Labor Government. With a national line of steamers firmly ;rtablish "d shippers of goods and travellers by sea will have .-nine regulating voice iu freights and fares, which they haven't got, now. J; is the only possible way of effectively dei'ing with the shipping combine. Beside*' helping to defray naval expenditure, a line »F steamers wijl find , employment and training '""i' Australian seamen with much advantage and benefit to the Commonwealth. When introducing a Bill in the New South Wales Assembly enabling the <h>vernnient to purchase the whole nt the wheat crop in New South Wales f<>r the present harvest at a price which wou'd he os per bu.shel in advance. Mr Holiuan Premier) was asked : " Do you want to rorner wheat?" Mr Holmari replied: "No. We want to prevent the ' cornering ' of ivheat, and to'see that it is used for the lecessities of the general public. The profiteer would get a more satisfactory price .it ss. The onlv thing lie would lose would be the additional Is 6d per bushel, which meant that the producer would not take Is 6d per bushel, which was in' part of his legitimate earnings, and which iepresented money wrung "tit of the misfortunes of his fellow-citizens, but- he would obtain 5s per bushel, a sum considerably in advance of the market pi ice ;is it stood toJav. Mr Hohn.iu adiled that ariaugeiuents aould be m.nde to supply Med wheat to the. farmers by Urn '-I'Trise of p-ow.-rs which rotdd 1 inVrrcd by the measure." Confideiing that just before the war brok" out wheat wax selling iu New South U'ales at os 10jd per busied, the pi-oducor will not have mm hj l" ■■omplaiu aUut. ******* LAPCtt AND Tfli: LLEC'IIONs. It has been again proveti that the Labor jmrty in Uunediu .He- belter organised, politically, tiuiti that in any of the other centre* in the Dominion. Tho Otago Labor Itepresentainn Council put up two straight-out Labor candidates, and both were elected. The council also .sujiported Mr T. K. ,Sidey i't-r Dv.nedin .South, and gave him a large proportion of his hand some total of 0,37-1 votes; and Mr J. T. Johr.EO.n for Dunedin West, who, considering ids late appearance in the field, put up a "good fight and polled 3,693 votes, only 335 votes below Mr W. D. (Stewart—an extremely popular candidate. Altogether Dunedin Laliorites have reason for satisfaction ou account of the success achieved. Under a system of Proportional Representation Labor would, no doubt, return at least three members for Dunedin. In '""anterbury Mr M'Combs has retain**. ->i.s seat by a £oo<l majority, but L&hor has captured no other seat in that province. In Wellington Mr lliiidrcartth retained his seat, but no other Labor member has been retcrnod. unless fhu suggested appeal in Wellington East is successful. In Wanganui Mr Veitch retained his seat, but with a smaller majority than he had in the Second Ballot iu 1911' Mr Rol»extson (Labor) did not poll as many votes fur the Otaki Beat as he polled at the Second Ballot in 1911, but on tho latter occasion ho had the. support of the Reform party : this time thoy were against him. Auckland only returned one Labor candidate (Mr J. Payne), with a much smaller majority than he had in the Second Bfcllct at the last General Election. Mr P. C Webb retained tho Grey seiat with about oW more v<rte3 than he received in the Second Ballot at the by-elec-tion in 19.13. On the whoK so far as Labor is concerned, the position is aliirhtly improves'. On tho other hand, it ia to be Teijretted that the workers did not give more support to the Hon. Geo. Fowlds. who was stan'ifng as a Labor candidate for Grey t.ynn. »nd would have strengthened the" party i position fn the Honße. Mr M'Laran, very nearly aucceodad \n r«?»imng Wellington East, wouli also have been a gTcat acqat»4tton to tha party. If care f» taken in th« swl*ction of rvaaonable and moderate m»n »a cAndidtAw Labor should h*ro a larg«r mrniber of m»mbers la th« Koneo after tho next election, "which may probftbty take place in le« than three years.

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THE LABOR MOVEMENT, Evening Star, Issue 15685, 26 December 1914

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THE LABOR MOVEMENT Evening Star, Issue 15685, 26 December 1914