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Wednesday, 8 September 1920

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .- I move -

That after the word "Arbitrator," line 2, the following words be inserted: - "and two Assessors, one representing the Commonwealth and the other the employees."

I gave notice, on the second reading, of my intention to move this amendment. Thehonorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) is, I know, of opinion that these assessors should be given a vote, but I think it is better that they should act merely as advisers to the Arbitrator. I am not sure whether the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. Riley), in the position he occupied in the Arbitration Court in New South Wales, had the power to exercise a vote or not. I know it is the practice to give the representatives of both sides a vote in connexion with Wages Boards in Victoria but I am not sure of the procedure under the Arbitration Act of Western Australia. There is in Victoria at the present time a claim being considered by a Railway Board on which there are representatives of the Commissioners for Railways and of the employees. I believe that Mr. Carolan is the representative of the Railways Commissioners and Mr. Smith is the representative of the employees. They are merely assessors assisting Judge Winneke in the consideration of the case. I do not suggest that assessors appointed under this Bill should be permanently appointed. If a case affecting railway servants is under consideration there should be railway men acting as assessors to assist the Arbitrator in coming to a decision. If the case affects letter-carriers, one of the assessors should be a lettercarrier, as he would know the details of the work of those employed in that business. The assessors should be men in a position because of their knowledge to give technical information to the Arbitrator.

Mr Maxwell - The honorable member does not propose the appointment of two assessors whose term of office shall be conterminous with that of the Arbitrator ?

Mr TUDOR - No; I do not suggest that they should be appointed for seven years. My idea is that in each case considered they should be advisers competent to assist the Arbitrator. I believe that the Government would be well advised if they accepted my amendment. In the Industrial Peace Bill we adopted an exactly similar principle, but in that case we made provision for the appointment of up to six representatives of each side.

I am not sure how organized employees in the Public Service will regard this Bill. In reply to the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Bruce) the Minister has just said that they need not take advantage of it, and that they may, if they please, go to the Arbitration Court.

Mr Groom - Only certain of them can do that.

Mr TUDOR - ThosĀ© employed in the Commonwealth factories can go to the Arbitration Court.

Mr Groom - That is where they, apparently, are going at the present time.

Mr TUDOR - Engineers employed at Lithgow and members df the Clothing Union can go to the Arbitration Court, and I do not think that many of those who are in a position to go to the Arbitration Court will take advantage of this Bill. Whether they do or not, the principle of my amendment is sound, and I hope that it will be accepted.

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