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3-294 (Text)

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addressee author,male,The Ballarat Courier,un
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Clark, 1975
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The first conference of delegates from the various miners' associations in the colony was commenced at Sandhurst on Wednesday. Mr. R. Clark, of Sandhurst, was voted to the chair. Representatives from the associations were present as follow: - . Sandhurst Association - Messrs. R. Clark, C. Hobbs, L. Patterson, and R. Nagle; Golden Square Branch - Isaac Vickers. Clunes Association - Messrs. J. Blanchard and H. Taylor. Blackwood Association - J. Gard and G. Corrigan. St. Arnaud Association. - J. Rowe and Henry Thorne. Maldon Association - L. Tregloun and W. Scott. Haddon Association - W. Davis and R. Eddy. Stawell Association - J. Hunter and F. Robertson. Buninyong Association - J. Black. Malmsbury Association - C. Williams and J. Banks.
The first business on the programme was the question of amalgamating all the miners' associations in the colony. The advisability of this step was discussed at length, and Mr. Eddy moved, and Mr. Card seconded - "That the various associations represented at this conference be amalgamated forthwith." The motion was put, and carried unanimously. The name of the amalgamated association was next considered, and it was decided - "That the name of the amalgamated body be the Amalgamated Miners' Association of Victoria."
The constitution and government of the association, and the adoption of a code of bye-laws framed by the Sandhurst Society, were next considered. It was decided to appoint a sub-committee to consider them in the evening.
It was moved by Mr. Corrigan - -"That this conference is in favour of a board of arbitration being appointed." Carried.
The establishment of an accident society in connection with the amalgamated association was next brought up. It was agreed - "That this conference recognise the necessity of establishing a miners' accident society in connection with this association, and instruct the sub-committee to frame rules for its management."
The Chairman said the next question to be considered was the Mining Accident Bill. After a long discussion, the conference decided to postpone the further consideration of the act until next day, when the secretary was instructed to obtain more copies. 
The next business was the consideration of an Eight Hours Bill. Mr. Blanchard moved, and Mr. Williams seconded - "That this conference request the various miners' associations in the colony to petition the Government to bring in an Eight Hours Bill, as a Government measure, as early as possible." Carried.
The preparation of a Trades Union Bill was then discussed. Mr. Hobbs moved - "That the Minister of Mines be requested to bring in a Trades Union Bill as soon as possible." Mr. Banks seconded the motion. The motion was put, and carried unanimously.
The question of Chinese labor was next brought up, and Mr. Taylor, of Clunes, moved - "That a clause be inserted in the bye-laws, prohibiting members of the association working in the same mine as Chinamen." Mr. Hobbs seconded the motion, which was carried. An amendment, proposed by Mr. Hunter, and seconded by Mr. Black, urging the Government to impose a poll-tax on the Chinese, was lost.
The immigration question having been discussed by the conference a resolution was passed in opposition to free immigration, as it was considered that the supply of labor in the colony was far in excess of the demand; and further, that if public money were expended on this object, such a course would be an injustice to the working classes.
The advisability of amalgamating with the engine-drivers and other trades connected with mining was left in the hands of a subcommittee.
On the labor covenants in mining leases being considered, it was moved by Mr. Hunter, and seconded by Mr. Black - "That the secretary write to the Minister of Mines, calling his attention to the habitual evasion of the labor clauses in the mining leases." This was carried. Mr. Corrigan moved, and Mr. Rowe seconded - "That mining inspectors maintain, in addition to other duties, strict supervision over leases re the labor clauses; that the number of officers be increased as required, and that they report upon the claims monthly." Carried.
The conference then adjourned.