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Wednesday, 5 May 1920

On the next day the following paragraph appeared in the Argus : -

Consideration was given by the Federal Cabinet yesterday to arbitration matters. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) said that the Cabinet had discussed the position that arose through the Deputy President of the Arbitration Court (Mr. Justice Powers) going on leave. It was also hoped to introduce at an early date legislation to amend the Arbitration Act.

When the proposal by' the president of the Employers Federation (Senator Fairbairn) for a round-table conference on industrial matters was mentioned, Mr. Hughes said: - "Two years ago we proposed to bring in a measure for a Grand Council of Labour, on which both sides would be represented. That idea we hope to embody in our coming legislation. But such a proposal will be useless without the hearty co-operation of both sides. Wo propose to call a conference. We will not put a cutanddried proposition in regard to the constitution of a Council of Labour, or to industrial legislation before them, but will seek to have a free discussion of matters and find out the ideas of both sides. Then we will try to formulate proposals to secure industrial peace and harmony."

It is rather peculiar that the Government were only spurred into action after Senator Fairbairn made his statement. There are many other matters I could deal with. Employers take direct action. All the newspapers in Victoria and other States have recently increased their prices by 50 per cent.

Mr Riley - The increase is 100 per cent, in New South Wales.

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