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Wednesday, 25 November 1959


Mr McMAHON (Lowe) (Minister for Labour and National Service) (1:52 AM) . - Mr. Temporary Chairman, as the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has asked for explanations by the Minister in answer to the arguments put forward by the Opposition, I should like to state that there are two reasons for rejecting the amendment. First, the amendment has been put to us only to-night, and we cannot at this moment state what its implications may be, how it may affect other acts, or what total liability it may impose on the Commonwealth. In short, Sir, we do not know what its effect may be. The second reason is that we think that the whole of the present act, as amended by this bill, will have a consistency that would be upset if the amendment were agreed to. I think that is a fair statement.

I do not accept the statement by the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) that injustices will be done unless the provisions of the act are amended. The High Court of Australia, after all, has made a decision on this matter. In our view, it has made quite a sensible decision. What the honorable gentleman from Werriwa is asking us to do is not so much to place a different interpretation on the act as to amend it in order to reverse a decision that has been made by the High Court.

I repeat what I have already said, Sir: The amendment will be rejected.

Question put -

That the clause proposed to be omitted (Mr. Clyde Cameron's amendment) stand part of the bill.







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