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Wednesday, 11 July 1906

Mr GLYNN (Angas) . -Last night I mentioned that I would move an addition to the clause, with the object of insuring that the provisions of this part should not be operative except in connexion with industries in which labour is protected either by the existence in the State, or in the Commonwealth, of an arbitration law under which an award may be made fixing the rate of wages, or an industrial agreement to the same effect, or in which, in the opinion of the Comptroller-General, and subsequently on reference to him, of the Justice, the rate of wages paid is fair. I think that honorable members will agree with me that unless labour is protected by this part of the Bill it is a farce for us to pass it. I contend that we ought to protect the men who have to bear the brunt of the work, who very often have to live on wages which border on the lines of mere subsistence, and who nevertheless are, as compared with seme of the employers, those who give life and character to the community. Last night I elaborated the arguments I have to submit in favour of my proposal. Therefore, I shall content myself with moving : -

That the following new definition be inserted : - "'Industries' means industries to the majority of the workers in which throughout the Commonwealth a Commonwealth law, or a State law or State laws, for fixing the remuneration of labour by award of a Court of Arbitration, an Industrial Agreement, or . 1 Board, applies or apply, or, in which the remuneration of labour of the majority of the workers throughout the Commonwealth, in the opinion of the ComptrollerGeneral, and on reference to a Justice under section 15, of a Justice, is, or, but for the alleged unfair competition would be, fair."

Mr Wilks - Is the object of the amendment to insure that the workers shall share in the advantages of the Bill ?

Mr GLYNN - The object is to provide that no employer shall be protected against dumping unless he pays a fair wage.

Mr Mauger - How can we ascertain that all over Australia? Employers in Tasmania are not paying fair wages.

Mr GLYNN - How can we ascertain any of the conditions as to when the Bill is to become operative? The honorable member seems to have forgotten the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which" refers to the majority of the workers right through the States. It is of no use for the honorable member to ask how we can ascertain this or that rate throughout the Commonwealth when he has tabled a motion in favour of the amendment of the Constitution, with a view to the enactment of uniform industrial legislation.

Mr Mauger - And that is the proper plan to adopt.

Mr GLYNN - The honorable member is always waiting for the future. The test of his faith in the efficacy of this Bill, and his belief in its alleged object, which is to protect labour - and it literally bristles with provisions referring to the remuneration of labour - is whether he will accept the principle of the amendment. I cannot see any way of improving its wording, though I maybe wrong. If the Attorney- General will agree to the principle, I shall accept any wording. 'But certainly the test of the sincerity of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is whether he is prepared to support an express declaration that, if we are going to prevent dumping, labour shall have an equal right with capital to the protection alleged to be given by the Bill. I hope that honorable members on all sides of the Chamber will support the principle of the amendment.

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