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Friday, 29 April 1921

Senator EARLE (Tasmania) .- I direct attention to the penalties set out in connexion with infringements. It seems incredible that any employer would refuse to take an apprentice into his service again after he had been compelled to absent himself owing to military duties. However, should such a case occur, a fine of £50 would be inadequate. The offence is, in my opinion, a criminal one of the worst type. If an employer is so antagonistic to the defence of his country as to penalize an employee by dismissal merely because he has compulsorily attended his. military duty, he should be punished by a term of imprisonment. There were cases during the war where certain employers - either anti-militarist or indifferent to the defence of Australia - refused to take back their mcn upon returning home. Such conduct may well be repeated in the future, either in time of peace or war. I therefore move:-

That the words "Fifty pounds", (wherever occurring) be left out with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the words, "six months' Imprisonment ".

Senator Duncan - Would not an action at law lie against the employer if he refused to re-employ his apprentice!

Senator EARLE - Even so, who is going to finance the latter in undertaking a civil action? We should insure that no such circumstance shall arise by providing such a deterrent as a term of imprisonment.

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