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Thursday, 12 August 1920


Mr RILEY (Sydney) . - I am opposed to the amendment, because I wish to be able to criticise in this Chamber any appointment of a Special Tribunal. If the anointments were made by the President of the Arbitration Court, the Speaker would not permit us to criticise them, because he would say that the conduct of a Judge cannot be referred to here.


Mr Blakeley - Do you desire this machinery to be subordinate to or above the Arbitration Court?


Mr RILEY - I wish the Arbitration Court to be supreme, and I have seen a copy of the Arbitration Bill in which it is made supreme. In any case, we can make it supreme; and when the Arbitration Bill is before us, I shall try to seu that, that is done. I am prepared to allow the Government to bring into existence any tribunal with a view to settling disputes. If it does not do so, it may be criticised, and even put out of office. The marine engineers got, no sympathy from the Arbitration Court when, on a recent occasion, they approached it. The President told them that he could not hear their case. Had the machinery provided for in the Bill been then in existence, the Government would have had to appoint a special Board. I am against giving too ' much power even to the President of the Arbitration Court. Parliament should be supreme in regard to all matters affecting industry. I have the utmost confidence in the Arbitration Court, but con- .gestion of business will take place there; and should the amendment be carried, and the Court be applied to for a special Board, it would want to know the reason for the application. It would be told that there was a dispute to he settled, and probably would then require evidence to show the existence of a dispute. All this would mean delay, and probably bring about a strike. The most direct action to take in a crisis is for the Government .to appoint special tribunals. A Government is responsible to Parliament; but the President of the Arbitration Court cannot be criticised here. If a Government does not do what the majority wishes to be done, it can be removed. In 3ny opinion, the amendment would not facilitate the hearing and settlement of disputes, and I object to it also because I think that the control of these matters should be, as far as possible, in the hands of Parliament.







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