No chance of maintaining good labour conditions: If dictatorships won war [6 May 1941]

[Editor: Ned Hanlon, a Labor Party Minister, urges Australians to support the war effort (Hanlon later became Premier of Queensland, from 1946 to 1952). Published in The Morning Bulletin, 6 May 1941.]

No chance of maintaining good labour conditions

If dictatorships won war

Brisbane, May 5.

Speaking at the Labour Day sports today in a special recruiting appeal, the Minister for Health and Home Affairs (Mr Hanlon) stated that no Labour Day procession would be possible if the dictatorship Powers won the war. This year marked the 50th anniversary of Labour’s entry into politics, in 1891. The Labour movement then engaged in a hard straggle for better conditions for the workers and since then had made great progress, but the work of 50 years would be undone in 50 days if the dictatorships were successful in this war.

One of the factors that had enabled the Labour movement to build up living standards was that it did not have to face the competition of cheap, coloured labour. Victory for the Axis Powers would dispel any chance of maintaining these conditions. The Labour movement realised that they must put every effort forward to defeat those forces which aimed at democratic government. This appeal was to everybody and not merely to those prepared to go and fight. They did not excuse anybody from his share of responsibility in the struggle. Each and everyone would suffer if they lost. As the Labour movement they had the responsibility to restore economic and industrial order in the Commonwealth. If they won that task would be theirs. If they lost they would have no part in it. He appealed to them all to put their best efforts forward in this task with which they were faced. Every man was not in a position to go forward and fight. Some had greater family responsibilities than others, but those in a position to enter the fighting forces should do so.

Mr Hanlon declared that the Commonwealth authorities were now in a position to arm and equip every man who volunteered. In the past recruiting had suffered because this was not so, but every man who enlisted today should be adequately trained and equipped and backed by all the resources of the nation.

Mr Hanlon, representing the Premier (Mr Smith), led the procession, with the president (Mr H. J. Harvey) and secretary (Mr J. W. Koche) of the Trades and Labour Council, as it moved off from the Trades Hall shortly after 10 o’clock. The spectators lining the streets were mostly undemonstrative, though a group of girls near the G.P.O. cheered and waved a Union Jack as each section passed. This was a sequel to the decision of the Trades and Labour Council to ban red, white and blue in combination from the procession on the ground that they were the Tory colours. Few union floats carried the national flags, though they were given prominence in the Government departmental exhibits. In the main, the unions obeyed the Labour Council’s instruction that the Labour colour, red, should predominate. Though the Tramways Union had decided not to be represented because of the red, white, and blue ban, 15 tramwaymen marched. They carried no banners.

A feature of the procession was that while Mr Hanlon, as sponsor of the Safety Act, led the procession, at least half a dozen unions carried banners demanding the repeal of this “Fascist legislation.”

The first prize for the most colourful and original float went to the Carpenters’ Union. It portrayed the Eureka Stockade.

After, the procession sports were held at the Exhibition Ground.

The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld.), Tuesday 6 May 1941, page 5

[Editor: Corrected “responsbility” to “responsibility”.]

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