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Wednesday, 11 July 1906


Mr HUGHES (West Sydney) .- The object which the honorable and learned member for Angas has in view is a very good one, but it does appear to me that the amendment which he has submitted will prove inoperative. As the Minister of Trade -and Customs has said, it would throw a very grave responsibility upon the Comptroller-General, and would greatly delay the settlement of these matters. Further, it does not set forth in clear terms what is or ought to be considered a fair thing. I might take a concrete case.


Mr Conroy - It is the same in the Arbitration Act.


Mr HUGHES - I am aware of that, but I should like to point out to the honorable and learned member that the Commonwealth Arbitration Act does not, and cannot, make provision for any union whose operations do not extend beyond the boundaries of any one State. It is, however, quite probable that we should have an industry located in one State. The circumstances of that State might be such as would not invite any competition or similar activity in any other State. The industry might be one of considerable dimensions, and fairly prosperous, and yet it might be absolutely ruined.

Mr.McCay.- How ?


Mr HUGHES - It might very readily be ruined by dumping into the State a sufficient quantity of foreign importations of the articles which it produced. If there be any virtue in the prevention of dumping, it is very clear that it must be prevented, whether the operations of the industry concerned extendbeyond the boundary of any one State or do not. For instance, in a State like Tasmania the circumstances of an industry might be circumscribed because of its geographical situation, and for other reasons.


Mr McCay - This amendment will not stop that.


Mr HUGHES - I did not say that it would, but in several of the States there are no State Arbitration Acts, and it is only where disputes extend beyond the boundaries of any one State that the Commonwealth Arbitration Act becomes effective.


Mr Glynn - That is not essential to this amendment.


Mr HUGHES - Oh, yes, it is. Otherwise the matter must be referred to the Comptroller- General .


Mr Glynn - The Comptroller-General could decide at once.


Mr HUGHES - It is with the very greatest reluctance that I give any shadow of support at all to these proposals, and I wish to say most emphatically-


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why did not the honorable and learned member vote? '


Mr HUGHES - Ihope the honorable member will not interrupt. I have been waiting for so long, while an honorable member was standing where the honorable member for Parramatta is now, that I almost confused him with the honorable member.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We are glad to see the honorable and learned member in the Chamber at all.


Mr HUGHES - Oh, go home. Remove the honorable member, Mr. Chairman.


Mr Lonsdale - We voted.


Mr HUGHES - I wish to be allowed to continue.


The CHAIRMAN - Will the honorable and learned member resume his seat. I remind honorable members that interjections are disorderly at any time, and if they are to be continued I must refer to the honorable members who make them.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Oh, go on.


Mr HUGHES - After the honorable member has interrupted me deliberately and without provocation he tells me to go on.

Mr.Joseph Cook. - Let the honorable member go on, or go out again.


The CHAIRMAN - I call upon the honorable member for Parramatta to cease his continual interjections.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then let the honorable member for West Sydney conduct himself properly.


The CHAIRMAN - I must also remind the honorable member that when the Chairman calls him to order he intends that the honorable member shall cease his disorderly conduct.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is that intended for me. Mr. McDonald?


The CHAIRMAN - Yes.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Most certainly.


Mr HUGHES - What I was saying was that the object of the amendment appears to be to restrict theoperation of this part of the Bill to those industries in which the workers are paid a fair rate of wages. I take it that that is an object which we all have in view, but the question is whether the amendment will be effective. I say most emphatically that I decline to believe that it is necessary or proper that this part of the Bill should be carried into effect unless it does provide that the people who are actually engaged in the industry benefited by the prevention of dumping get a fair rate of wages.


Mr Glynn - Let us try it.


Mr HUGHES - With all' due deference to the honorable and learned member, I believe that his amendment will not attain that purpose. If it will, it will be in a very cumbersome, roundabout way, and I am not at all sure that it will effect it in some cases even in that way. It refers, not only to industries to which an Arbitration Court has applied a rate, but also to those in which it may apply one. If we take New South Wales, for instance, while the local Arbitration Court may apply a rate to all the industries in that State, as a matter of fact it has done so only in the case of an infinitesimal proportion of them.


Mr McCay - I think that the amendment covers the case of industries to which an Arbitration Court may apply a rate, although it has not actually been applied.


Mr Glynn - Of course. It is not necessary to bother about arbitration awards at all, if the Comptroller-General considers that the wages paid in the industry concerned are fair.


Mr HUGHES - Suppose there is an industry in the State of New South Wales which does not apply to the Court, but to which, nevertheless, the Arbitration Court of New South Wales may apply a rate. Suppose that the wages in that industry are wretchedly low. This part of the Bill will come into force as against thatindustry, although' the conditions under which the poor, unfortunate people engaged in it are working aresuch that it does not deserve preservation.


Mr Glynn - There is the State law to protect them then.


Mr HUGHES - We are talking about the honorable member's amendment. I want to make it clear that this part of the Bill shall not apply under any circumstances to industries in which men are not getting fair rates of wages. This amendment would not effect that object.


Mr Glynn - It goes as near as we can get to it,







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