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Friday, 26 May 1939

Mr HUGHES (North Sydney AttorneyGeneral and Acting Leader of the House) . - in reply - The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) may rest assured that the Government is watching with keen interest and concern the trend of affairs in Darwin. As I stated yesterday, the Chief Judge in Arbitration was approached with a view to a judge of the Arbitration Court being sent to Darwin to adjudicate upon the matter. Judge Drake-Brockman was, and is, ready to go, but he has quite rightly said that the men must first return to work. Otherwise, an invidious distinction would be drawn between the treatment meted out to the men of Darwin and the practice adopted in respect of workers throughout the Commonwealth. I have been very closely associated with the industrial unions of this country, and can say that in every case the principle has applied that the Arbitration Court will not adjudicate in any dispute unless the men first return to work. There cannot be arbitration and strikes in simultaneous operation. I point out to the honorable member for Swan that a considerable number of men in Darwin are working under conditions to which those men who have struck have taken exception. All that these latter are asked to do is to resume work upon the conditions under which their fellow workers are employed at the present time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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