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Friday, 27 August 1920

Mr BELL (Darwin) . - T. am sorry that the Minister hae consented to delete the word " abnormal " which I consider of more importance than " fundamental." It has been said that legal gentlemen will argue over the definition of " law " for hours and weeks, and, doubtless, there is scope for argument to a greater degree over such words as " justice." It is clear to me what "abnormal " means in eases of the kind that come before the Court; it means that circumstances have arisen that could not have been taken into consideration because they could not be foreseen when the original award was made. The Judge may not be able to define " abnormal," but he knows very well what " abnormal " circumstances mean as applied to an award he had already made. I dare say that even the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan), or the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), would have a great deal of difficulty in defining " justice " or " truth," though they may know very well what truth or justice isIn my opinion the word " fundamental " is not necessary, but it is only right to provide for " abnormal " conditions which may have arisen to justify the variation of an award. There are two sides to this as to every question. A contractor, for example, tenders for work, taking into consideration the wages which will have to be paid, and if circumstances arise' which the employees think justify them in claiming increased wages, he has to bear the brunt. I think the Minister has gone a long way in providing that an award may be varied at all.I am satisfied that the original wording of the clause was the best calculated to give justice to both sides; but since the Minister has consented to delete "'abnormal," I do not think much harm can be done by deleting " fundamental."

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