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Thursday, 21 May 1914

Senator MILLEN - I am at last able to satisfy the long-sustained curiosity of the honorable senator. I have to state that the Government regrets that it is unable to adopt either of the alternatives suggested by him.

Senator RUSSELL - I am not quite clear as to how the Minister has answered my question. I do not understand the answer, and I hope that he does. About a fortnight ago a copy of an award by the President of the Arbitration Court in the linesmen's case was laid on the table of the Senate, and it provides that the award is to apply to the members of the claimant association. I desire to know if it is the intention of the Government to make the award payable to nonmembers of the association; and. if so, will it take the responsibility of seeing that nonmembers pay their fair proportion of the costs of such action ?

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator when he put his question to me the other day - whether here or outside, I am not now convinced - did submit three courses. He has referred to two of them now. The answer to his question is that the Government does not propose to discriminate in paying the wages under the award.

Senator Guthrie - They will pay them to all ?

Senator MILLEN - Yes.

Senator Barker - They will not observe the award.

Senator Mullan - They will break the law.

Senator MILLEN - I never knew before that there was any objection to a Government or an employer paying more than the award stipulated, and that is what the Government propose to do.

Senator Rae - You should not pay trade union wages to "scabs."

Senator RUSSELL - May I be permitted to again ask the second portion of my question, as it has not been answered ? Will the Government undertake to pay a just proportion of the law costs of the non-members, or will they see that it is collected from the non-members - not union fees?

Senator MILLEN - I must apologize for not answering the second question of the honorable senator, but one of his colleagues interrupted at that time, and I overlooked the fact that I had not answered it. The answer to the second question is " No."

Senator Russell - You intend to give preference to non-unionists?

SenatorRAE. - In view of the refusal of the Government to pay a proportionate share of the cost of the claimants in the linesmen's case, I desire to ask whether the Government have decided to deliberately adopt the policy of preference to non-unionists as indicated by the Minister's answer?

Senator MILLEN - The Government's general and firm attitude against preference is too well known to need further answer to the question.

Senator Rae - Deeds prove the opposite.

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