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Friday, 6 March 1942

Dr EVATT (BartonAttorneyGeneral) . - The right honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies) has referred to a regulation which applies to munitions establishments and concerns the employment of women labour. That regulation was promulgated by the Department of Labour, because it was believed to be a fact - or it was - that an industrial agreement with the munitions workers prohibited the employment of women in those establishments. The main purpose of the regulation was to permit such employment. It was thought advisable to provide that the remuneration should be fixed by the appropriate Ministers. The right honorable gentleman said that, as a general rule, there should not be interference with the fixation of wages by industrial tribunals. This is an illustration of the need for a regulation to be made in order to permit an industry to be carried on in an emergency.

Mr Holt - Is it not a fact that the court dealt with the industrial agreement in the metal trades award?

Dr EVATT - I am not sure whether that is correct or not; but it was necessary to make the regulation in order to permit the employment of women.

The right honorable member for Kooyong also referred to the matter of an award of the Central Coal Reference Board. This matter is at present before the Government, consequently I do not wish to canvass the merits of it.

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