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Absence from place of work was punishable by imprisonment of up to three months with or without hard labour.There were also penalties of up to ₤10 for anyone who harboured, concealed or re-employed a 'servant' who had deserted or absconded or absented himself from his duty implied in the 'contract'.
In the Melbourne jurisdiction, between 18, when labour shortages were acute, over 20% of prison inmates were convicted under the New South Wales Master and Servant Act for offences including leaving place of work without permission and being found in hotels.
The colony of New South Wales came into existence in 1788 as a penal colony.
Australia never had formal slavery, but the convicts transported to the colony were required to work, without pay, either for the administration or could be required to work for private landholders.
Trade union membership has steadily declined over recent years, with 2013 being the lowest proportion in the history of the ABS series. The Australian Labor Party at both a federal and state/colony level pre-dates, among others, both the British Labour Party and the New Zealand Labour Party in party formation, government, and policy implementation.
In particular, the 1910 federal election represented a number of firsts: it was Australia's first elected federal majority government; Australia's first elected Senate majority; the world's first Labour Party majority government at a national level; after the 1904 Chris Watson minority government the world's second Labour Party government at a national level; and the first time it controlled both houses of a bicameral legislature.