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Tuesday, 31 August 1920

Mr FENTON (Maribyrnong) .- When speaking on the Industrial Peace Bill, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) was in favour of keeping away from the Court. He said, "Let matters be settled in some quiet private place, not in a Court." Therefore, I expected him to be a whole-souled supporter of the amendment, because its aim is to do away with the employment of lawyers, and to take from this tribunal the air of a Court. I should like to have everything done by laymen, though I do not know that that will be possible until all Acts of Parliament are drafted in language which the ordinary layman can understand. The honorable member for Calare (Mr. Lavelle) has shown that, although the Act says that lawyers are not to be employed unless there be an agreement between the parties for their employment, a legal gentleman almost invariably sits behind the representative of the employer, framing arguments and questions for him, and that, therefore, the lawyer is not really excluded. I believe that the unionists of Australia would like to exclude lawyers from the Arbitration Court altogether. At the present time, a very intricate case is being heard before Mr. Justice Higgins, which raises the question of hours of labour; but on the employees' side the assistant secretary to the Trades Hall Council is appearing, not for one union only, but practically for all the unions. At a conference of the Australian Labour party held in 1915, the late Laurie Cohen said that -

Parliament should make the laws so definite that there would not he room for the High Court to step in and upset legislation, which should be so set out in words that people could understand it.

The honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond), who was a mem ber of the conference, said on that occasion -

There had been placed on the shoulders of the workers heavy burdens of taxation in order to ascertain what the law of the land really was.

Mr. Fisher.The engine drivers, for instance.

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