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Friday, 27 August 1920

Mr MAXWELL (Fawkner) .- I hope the Committee will allow the clause to stand as printed, and that it will be made a substantive section in the Act instead of merely a proviso. I cannot understand the contention of the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) that the definition of abnormal circumstances involves a question of law and not of fact. I agree that an award ought to be made as stable as possible in order to secure continuity of industrial conditions. I take it that before a Judge makes an award he takes into consideration all the circumstances of the case, not only present conditions, but also probable future conditions. The clause merely provides that if during the currency of an award circumstances arise which were not contemplated by the Judge when he made the award, he shall have power to say that abnormal circumstances have arisen which he could not have anticipated, and he will therefore vary his decision.

Mr Fenton - Is there not room for considerable argument and waste of time in regard to the meaning of the language employed in this clause?

Mr MAXWELL - I do not think so. Surely the Judge who considered the circumstances in existence when he made the award is best qualified to say whether the circumstances at a subsequent period are abnormal. That is simply a question of fact, and if, in his opinion, abnormal circumstances have arisen he will vary his

Award accordingly.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.

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