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Tuesday, 2 April 1957
Page: 380

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - The matter raised by the honorable member quite obviously involves a question of policy, but ] take the opportunity of explaining that there seems to be some misunderstanding about the decision of the Privy Council in the Victorian long service leave case. The decision, as I understand it, merely confirms the earlier authorities on the question of conflict between Commonwealth awards and State laws. What the Privy Council has said, in effect, is that in the case of the Commonwealth Metal Trades Award the State act does not conflict with the award; if the circumstances surrounding other Commonwealth awards are similar to those of the case before the Privy Council, the decision will equally apply. But if a Commonwealth tribunal had before it a claim for long service leave, then the State legislation may very well not operate because of the rule about conflict. I would add that the Privy Council decision does not mean that all workers under Commonwealth awards are automatically entitled to long service leave under State acts, where those acts exist. Each award must be examined separately. Supplementing what I said earlier on the policy aspect, we have, as t think the honorable gentleman knows, clothed the Commonwealth tribunal with authority to deal with these matters. It has never been the practice of this Government to legislate on large industrial questions of the kind mentioned by the honorable member.

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