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Wednesday, 8 September 1920

Mr MARR (Parkes) .- As the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Fowler) has rightly said, it is somewhat amusing to persons who have been connected with the Commonwealth Public Service to hear how many friends they have in tho Chamber. I understood that the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) said that the Public .Service asked for the Arbitration (Public Service) Act of 1911, but I have a lively recollection of a petition being presented to this Parliament by public servants asking that they should not he placed under the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. However, the Government of the day forced arbitration on the Service.

Mr Brennan - In what way did the Public Service petition this Parliament?

Mr MARR - There was a widely signed petition presented from the Pub-lie Service to this Parliament.

Mr Brennan - What I said was that the Act was passed in pursuance of the policy of the Labour party.

Mr MARR - No doubt the Government of the day thought that the passing of the measure would be of advantage to the Public Service, and I must admit, that while the effect of placing the Service under the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court led to a large amount of inefficiency, the Act certainly gave to public servants rights' enjoyed by persons in the employment of private individuals. Many public servants appreciated the opportunity of going to the Arbitration Court, but I believe that better results will be achieved by this Bill, because a more effective system of conciliation will be created, and everything this House can do to assist in bringing about an improved feeling between employers and employees we should be prepared to do. But if we are to appoint an Arbitrator for the Public Service I cannot see the utility of giving the public servants the right to go to the Arbitration Court as well. I am not anxious to take away from the public servants any of the facilities to which they believe they are entitled.

Mr Bamford - This Bill is merely another experiment among many we have made.

Mr MARR - If the present machinery is not- working successfully it is the duty of Parliament to authorize some other method. This is an age of experiment. I am quite satisfied that the Democracy of Australia will see that the Commonwealth Public Service gets justice. If we could apply the present system to the various bodies outside the Public Service it would be fraught with much success.

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