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Friday, 30 September 1910
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Senator SAYERS (Queensland) . - Whilst I was listening to Senators Guthrie and Turley, I thought a good deal of their arguments, but my experience in engaging men leads me to believe that there is much force in what Senator Lynch has said. Sometimes when a man puts in an application for the position of engine-driver, you get a sheaf of references. A man may have been all right when one reference was given, but afterwards he enters other employment, and his character may alter. Everything depends upon the last reference. As a rule, one-half of the references are not looked over, but the last discharge is always read. A man may have a discharge showing very good conduct for twelve months' service, but on his last discharge, for six months' service, "bad conduct" may be written, or perhaps no comment at all. One-half of thedischarges are mere matters of form.


Senator Guthrie - No ; no man can get a ship without producing his last discharge.


Senator SAYERS - That may be the rule at sea, but it is not in mining. When a man comes along with a reference from his last employer, very little notice is taken of it. If, after a day or two, a man is found to be competent, he is retained, no matter what his reference may be. If a man has the best reference under the sun, but is not able to do his work, he is not retained. I am well aware that many references are merely given to get rid of men. Such employers do not care what may become of the men, or who may suffer. My experience is that a good man can get work whether he has a reference or not.


Senator Guthrie - No.


Senator SAYERS - A man gets to be well known to the captains of vessels on the coast, and if his record is good he can always get work.


Senator Guthrie - No; a shipping master will not sign on a man unless he produces his last discharge.


Senator SAYERS - That may be the rule at the Shipping Office, but it is a very harsh one, I think. If a man goes before the shipping master with an ordinary discharge - that is, a discharge without comment - I suppose he will get work?


Senator Guthrie - He has a job to get it.


Senator SAYERS - If a man has to produce his last discharge, and it is a poor one, of what use are his " good " discharges? In my opinion, the discharge which is of value is the last one. I always End that when a law imposes additional work upon any one, an extra charge is made to the men concerned. I do not think it. is very vital whether the clause is retained or omitted.







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