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Thursday, 5 August 1920

Mr BRENNAN - (Should the Bill to deal with the Court not be before- us? ;

Mr BRUCE - I think it should. I do not. see- -how we can judge of the present measure until we .have seen the other . Bill ; but I will not wreck . this measure because I 'have not seen the other-

Mr Blakeley - The other . has been promised for four years.

Mr BRUCE - Then it is nearly time that it eventuated. According to clause 18, any award made by a special tribunal will be binding on the parties, / and may be enforced as an award of the Court. The question has been raised from time to time, " What is the use of having awards unless there are some penalties attached, so that if any person breaks an award there may be some punishment?" The Bill before us is for the settlement of industrial troubles, and it cannot possibly be a success unless there is the earnest co-operation of the two classes involved, and the determination by them to make it a success. If there is not that co-operation, the Bill will be a failure, though we put all conceivable penalties into it. On this point I should like to read the view of the Whitley Committee, which seems to have shown extraordinary sanity and wisdom in its conclusions -

While it is in the interests of both employers and work-people of the community generally that industrial agreements should be duly fulfilled, in the long run this object is more likely to be secured by an increased regard for moral obligation, respect for an instructed public opinion, and reliance on the principle of mutual consent, rather than by the establishment of a system of. monetary penalty.

I, personally, take that view. I regard the Bill as not worth the paper on which it is printed unless it is carried with the co-operation and goodwill of both sides of industry in the country. I appeal very strongly to every member here, whatever his views , may be - whether politically he be of the Nationalist, Labour, or Country party - to endeavour, when we get into Committee, to make this Bill, which is of paramount importance to Australia, a sane measure, productive of good -in' this great country by smoothing out its industrial troubles. If we do this, we will be able, truly, to develop this country which is ours, and has greater possibilities than any other in the world.

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