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Friday, 13 August 1920

Mr BRENNAN (Batman) .- As the result of a hearing before a Local Board, an agreement may ba reached which may be filed, without reference to. a Special Tribunal, when it becomes an award of the Court.

Mr Hughes - No, it is binding on the parties as if it were an award of the Court.

Mr Groom - And enforceable in that way.

Mr Hughes - Under the Act, as it now stands, the Court can vary its own awards under certain circumstances; but it is proposed to amend the law.

Mr BRENNAN - Does the Prime Minister say that when an agreement is filed as an award it may be varied by a Special Tribunal?

Mr Hughes - The determination of a Local Board must precede the agreement. The agreement in itself 13 the result of a determination. It is easy to make mistakes, and if it is found that the word " determination " does not cover " agreement " in the ordinary sense, clause 27 can be amended accordingly when the Bill is before the Senate.

Mr BRENNAN - If an agreement is arrived at under clause 26, is filed with the Industrial Registrar, and becomes enforceable as if it were an award of the Court, will it then be subject to the review of the Special Tribunal ?

Mr Hughes - There .is a distinct difference between a forced determination and an agreement which is accepted. In the event of a forced decision, a Special Tribunal has power to review it, but I am inclined to think that an agreement arrived at before a Local Board would be regarded as final, and could not be reviewed. I know of no reason why an agreement between the parties should not be reviewed by a Local Board under abnormal circumstances. There must be finality somewhere, and if the parties agree, the arrangement should stand.

Mr Charlton - Always provided that in the event of something exceptional occurring the agreement should be subject to further consideration.

Mr Maxwell - That would be a new dispute.

Mr Hughes - That could easily be overcome by the agreement containing a provision for a review under certain circumstances. If we go any further. I am afraid an agreement would be regarded as a mere scrap of paper.

Mr Charlton - I do not want that.

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