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Tuesday, 31 August 1920

Mr LAVELLE (Calare) .- If there were required additional reasons to convince me to support the proposed new clause, they have been furnished by those honorable members who have spoken in opposition to it. I refer particularly to the ' remarks of the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), and of the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best). It must be within the knowledge of practically all honorable members that unionists generally desire the legal fraternity to be excluded from Arbitration proceedings. The honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best), with all his eloquence, failed to convince me that it was due to the consideration of any expert training or knowledge that unionists engaged lawyers to attend the Arbitration Court. In matters coming before that Court, the expert knowledge and training are exclusively the attributes of the particular parties thereto ;. the lawyers engaged generally know nothing whatever of the matters under consideration.

Sir Robert Best - Then why do the parties consult lawyers?

Mr LAVELLE - As legal quibbles and legal interpretations are raised, the unionist is compelled to have his lawyer in Court to argue the legal side of any question. The industrialists do not want to have the legal so much as the practical side of their cases presented; they want to put before the Court the prevailing conditions of employment, and the amendment of those condition? for which they are asking. The Minister said that the employment of lawyers expedited the hearing of cases, but my experience is that lawyers have brought dilatoriness to a fine art. We hear of the workers going slow, but the delays in the Arbitration Court due to the lawyers were a revelation to me.

Mr Jackson - Would the honorable member put a layman in place of the Judge of that Court?

Mr LAVELLE - I think 'that that would be an excellent thing to do. To determine working conditions, you require, not a Judge, but a practical man. I fail to see why either Judges or lawyers should be employed in the industrial Court. Arbitration does not appeal to unionists, and a large number of them have no faith in it, because of the delays which occur before cases can get to the Court, the delays that arise after they get there, due to the appearance of lawyers, and the fact that the greater part of their funds go in paying lawyers' fees. The amendment should appeal to all who desire the success of arbitration and object to direct action. If you want direct action, the way to bring it about is to reject the amendment.

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