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Tuesday, 12 December 1911

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) . - While I sympathize with Senator McDougall's desire, the amendment proposed may impose an undue restriction upon organizations. I can mention a case in point. The cleaners in the Postal Department some time ago considered rhat they had a grievance. I believe that they had a genuine grievance. They ' formed a union, but, as they are all females, they might have considerable difficulty in getting any member of their own organization to appear for them in the Arbitration Court. T personally should like to see women representing women, but this might not always be possible.

Senator Rae - Several ladies have represented unions in New South Wales.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - That may be so, but I do not think there is any member of the organization to which I have referred who would be capable of appearing before the Arbitration Court. When they desired to form their organization it was found impossible, within their own ranks-, to get any woman capable of forming thi* union and acting as its secretary, and ! think that the women who did the work should not be debarred from appearing on their behalf before the Arbitration Court. The telegraph messengers might form a union, and we know 'that a lad of sixteen or seventeen years could not appear on their behalf before the Court, although they might have a genuine grievance. Honor: able senators may be aware that in connexion with the City Council of Melbourne there have been half-a-dozen strikes of lads employed in sweeping the streets, and we may have trouble with the boys in the Public Service as well. Though I am in full sympathy with the object sought to be obtained, I fear that the amendment would impose limitations upon the organizations.

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