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Thursday, 12 August 1920

Mr BLAKELEY (Darling) .- I move -

That the words "Governor-General,?' line I. be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "President of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration."

I have already stated my reasons for proposing this amendment. While a Commonwealth Council and the District Councils will have only advisory powers, the Special Tribunals for which this clause provides will have power, under clause 17, to set aside or vary the terms of an award made by the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. I desire that the Tribunals in their essence shall be subordinate to the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. I have already pointed out that under the clause, as it stands, the President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court will inevitably resign immediately the Act begins to operate. No self-respecting Judge will remain in such a position knowing that his awards might be varied by a Tribunal of laymen. No self-respecting barrister would accept an appointment to the Court if it were to be governed in this way by a Special Tribunal.

Mr Maxwell - That is, provided that clause 17, which gives the Special Tribunal power to vary awards of the Court, is allowed to stand.

Mr BLAKELEY - Yes. We have had no information that the Government intend to withdraw that clause. I wish now to ascertain the opinion of the Committee as to whether the Conciliation and Arbitration Court or a Special Tribunal should be. the higher body. I am emphatically in favour of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court being the superior body. If it is not, it will go by the board, since we shall not be able, in the circumstances, to induce any one to carry on its functions.

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