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Wednesday, 20 May 1942

Jean Maud Spender.9 Fairfax-road,

Bellevue Hill, New South Wales- 400 shares.

That is as far as my examination has gone up to date; but if honorable gentlemen are interested, I shall continue it later.

The right honorable member for Kooyong said - and this appears to be the only point of any consequence he made - that there would be greater uniformity between the decisions of the Arbitration Court as compared with the decisions of the board. He seemed to think that was such a virtue that we should stick solely to the Arbitration Court, and refrain from appointing this tribunal. Actually, the Arbitration

Court has given many conflicting decisions. No one can argue that it has displayed a very great degree of uniformity in its decisions. Some of the difficulties which have arisen in industry have been caused by anomalies created by decisions of the Arbitration Court; and it is very likely that this tribunal which will deal with this special problem will be able to achieve a greater degreeof uniformity in its decisions. I emphasize that point, because, as I have indicated the members of this tribunal possesspecial knowledge of the particular industries with which they will deal.

Why are these regulations challenged before the tribunal has really begun to function? It has just been established. No one is yet able to judge its worth. However, we know that if the Opposition renders the tribunal ineffective, it will immediately create difficulties for the Government and the country, because the large trade unions interested in the work of the major industries would immediately withdraw, to some degree, their approval of the introduction of larger numbers of women in industry. This would create delay, and hinder the Government's programme of munitions production. If honorable members opposite really mean what they say, and sincerely desire that we make a maximum war effort, they should not use as an argument for the abolition of the board some objection which they have to persons appointed to the board before the board has actually been tested. At the same time, they will compel the Government to commence its negotiations all over again. Is it not more important to the country in its present crisis to speed up munitions production, and achieve maximum production in industry generally? This can be done only by introducing women in industry. This system, if it be given a chance, will prove most effective. It will give to the Government the production which it is most anxious to obtain. Consequently, honorable members would be well advised to reject the argument submitted by the right honorable member for Kooyong, and vote against his motion for the disallowance of these regulations.

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