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Thursday, 12 August 1920

Mr BRENNAN (Batman) .- The District Councils, like the Commonwealth Council, are not to be invested with any power except the power to meet and talk, read books, have afternoon tea parties, and indulge in any other pleasing function which may commend itself to them. I was unfortunately absent when the Committee dealt with the previous clause relating to the powers and duties of the Commonwealth Council ; but as the District Councils will be only twin brethren of that body, I must express the view that they will prove to be perfectly useless. Under this clause, and the one with which we have just dealt, we shall create a number of public positions, and perhaps harass certain sections of the public by summoning them, under penalties, to give evidence. The Councils will have power, .generally, to make a very wide and interesting range of inquiries - that is to say, interesting to those instituting the inquiries) - but they do not appear to be likely to bring us any nearer a solution of industrial disputes. That being so, then let us not be particular as to the number of persons whom they may invite to give evidence before them. For my part, they might invite Venus and the Man in the Moon to give evidence if they did not see any impropriety in calling upon them to appear before them at the same time.

Mr Cunningham - They might wish to consult with Lenin and Trotsky.

Mr BRENNAN - The Prime Minister has foreshadowed that possibility. I have it from the representative of Russia on my right (Mr. Considine) that Lenin and Trotsky will be. visiting us at an early date, and that being so it would be just as well to give these useless Councils - if wo are to have them - scope to prove a little more entertaining than they are likely to be .under the clause as it stands. These Councils are quite different from the Special Tribunals with power to act on behalf of employers and organizations of employees; and, therefore, although it may seem somewhat reckless and unprecedented on my part, I do not propose to oppose the Prime Minister's view of this particular matter.

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 12 agreed to.

Clause 13 -

The Governor-General may appoint a Special Tribunal or Tribunals for the settlement of any industrial dispute or disputes, or for the prevention or settlement of disputes which have arisen or which may arise in any industry.

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