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Tuesday, 4 May 1920


Mr HUGHES - The Government have been giving a great deal of attention to this matter. Parliament has amended the Act many times, and every time the House has been led to expect that there would be a great improvement, that cases would be more expeditiously heard, and that justice would be more effectively and speedily clone; but it can hardly be said that the facts of a very lengthy experience of the working of the Act have warranted those expectations. The Government are very anxious to exercise the limited powers at their disposal to the very best advantage, and for that reason have convened a conference of all persons interested, in order that we may seek counsel and advice from them. Those who are charged with the conduct of industrial affairs in unions will agree with me that there is great room for improvement. I have no bias in one direction or another. If we can secure industrial peace by means of the Arbitration Court well and good, but it is obvious that we must use every effort to secure it. I am hopeful that those who from their long experience are very familiar with the causes that lead to industrial disputes as well as the means that now exist for their settlement will at this conference be able from their joint wisdom to suggest to the Government a means whereby, at any rate, we may improve the existing machinery. More than that I cannot say, but it would be an unwise policy "to amend the law by patching it up on the lines we have already followed in the past. I see no reason for believing that from such a means any lasting good could come.







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