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Wednesday, 25 November 1959

Mr McMAHON (Lowe) (Minister for Labour and National Service) (3:12 AM) . - To show how difficult it is to accept amendments of the Opposition without giving them most careful consideration, I draw attention to the changes suggested to the definition of " disease ". In substance, the present definition is changed so as to read, " the word ' disease ' shall include diseases ". That is the real substance of the amendment. It has no meaning and can have little or no significance. So, I suggest immediately that the proposal should be rejected.

Each of the other proposals, I suggest, will be rejected for these reasons: First, each of them proposes a fundamental change in the policy of the Government. If the amendments were accepted, it would mean that the Labour Opposition was taking out of the hands of the Government its right to determine what the laws should be. Secondly, each of the amendments, with one exception, has already been considered and has been rejected by the committee. Finally, the third recommendation - for the insertion of new clause 2c - is unacceptable to the Government because again it involves a change of policy. The change is that a person would become entitled to compensation or to payment of a weekly amount if he sustained an injury that was not due to his work. He could be standing in a room and burst a blood vessel in a way not associated with his work, and he would be entitled to obtain compensation.

For those reasons, the Government is unable to accept the Opposition's proposals. I put one other point, and that is that most of the amendments, particularly proposed new clause 3a, relate to amendments that have already been rejected. They could have no effect, even if they were passed, because of the previous rejection. For that reason, I hope the Opposition will not push this to a division.

Proposed new clauses negatived.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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