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Thursday, 2 September 1920


Mr LAVELLE (Calare) . - I move -

That the following new clause be added: - " The following section is inserted in the principal Act: - " (a) The accredited representative of any organization registered under this Act shall have the power at any time to visit any place where work is being carried on under an award of the Court in order to ascertain whether the award is being observed, and to transact any work deemed necessary on behalf of the organization or its members. "(b) The accredited representatives of any organization registered under this Act shall have the power at any time to visit any place where work is being carried on, and where it is proposed to obtain an award in order to attend to the work necessary to prepare the case for the Court and collect evidence to support the claim, and to transact any work deemed necessary on behalf of the organization or its members."

Recognising, as we all do, that Arbitration Courts could not possibly exist without registered organizations, I feel sure that the wisdom of this clause will appeal to every member of the Committee, and that they will support me in having it embodied in the Bill. An award is obtained only by the collective efforts of the workers in the form of registered trade unions, and it is only fair and. reasonable that, when the working-class organizations have obtained an award, their accredited representatives should have the right to see whether it is being observed. I have no desire, andI think that no registered organization has any desire, to in terfere with the work of the employees while it is in progress ; but we do ask, and rightly so, that we should be given the power to see that an award, once obtained, is being observed. To-daywe have no power whatever under the Federal awards to visit any place where work is being carried on under an award in order to see whether it is being observed or not. As regards the second portion of the clause, when we are preparing a case for the Court it is necessary to visit places of employment ; but owing to the fact that we have not the constitutional power to make a common rule apply, if we desire to have every employer bound by the award of the Court when made, we must visit every place of employment where work is being carried on. We must get at least one member of the organization working there, and must serve the claim upon an employer. Unless we are given facilities for visiting places of employment, it is practically impossible for us to prepare a case for the Court.


Mr Richard Foster - This is an old chestnut.


Mr LAVELLE - It may be, so far as the honorable member is concerned, but it is of the utmost importance to the men whom he has deliberately misrepresented. Practically every honorable member who has taken part in this debate has expressed a desire that the Conciliation and Arbitration Court shall be a success. Only one honorable member has said that he is opposed to compulsory arbitration. That being so, the Committee should practically be unanimously in favour of the addition of this new clause.


Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - But you go where you like to-day without authority.


Mr LAVELLE - If my honorable friend had had the experience which I, as a representative of an organization, have, unfortunately, had in endeavouring to prepare a case for the Court, he would not so glibly interject that we go where we like without authority. Only two years ago, when preparing a case for the Court, I was ordered to leave every place that I visited during three consecutive days. On one occasion when preparing a case for the Commonwealth

Conciliation and Arbitration Court in connexion with station hands, I arrived at Lake Cowal Station, at 7 p.m., after doing a four hours' drive, with the temperature at 17 degrees. I had no sooner stated my business than the manager ordered me off, although there was no accommodation house within 12 miles. Had I told him a tale, I should probably have been allowed to remain and transact my business; but as soon as I had informed him, quite honestly, that I was an organizer for the Australian Workers Union, he ordered me off the station.I went, but returned and obtained all the information I required. Why should that sort of thing be allowed? If arbitration is to be a success, we must have the loyal assistance and co-operation of both employers and employees. We ask for nothing more, and nothing less. If honorable members desire that arbitration shall be a success, they will vote for this clause.







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