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Friday, 17 July 1931

Mr CHIFLEY (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Defence) . - This amendment may cloud the issue and cause honorable members to believe that ambiguity exists. Actually it does not. "When the clause left this chamber to go to another place, it applied comprehensively to all awards. Upon examining the matter it was 'found that although it was the intention that there should be no fall below £182 per annum, many awards, particularly in the metal trades, had already dropped below that figure. The clause contains the word " equivalent ",which means that the wage may be equivalent to £182 per annum on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis. In its amended form the clause gives the Minister power to bring up the rate to £182 per annum, where the circumstances warrant it.

Mr Lazzarini - Can the Minister state specifically where an award for adult workers is below £182 per annum ?

Mr CHIFLEY (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In some sections of the metal trades the rate is below £182. I do not think that honorable members are justified in criticizing the decisions of federal Ministers in this matter. Only recently the Government of New South Wales arbitrarily reduced by81/3d. per cent., not only the wages of public servants, but those of members of trade organizations employed in the Service. This Parliament is absolutely the last to show an inclination to interfere with arbi tration awards by legislative action. That cannot be said of any of the States.

Motion agreed to.

Senate's remaining amendments agreed to.

Resolutions reported; report adopted.

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