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Tuesday, 22 June 1926

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - It is difficult to say exactly, at this juncture, in what way the Government will ask Parliament to determine the powers of the authorities which it creates. What the Government has in mind is not to interfere with existing State industrial authorities, but so to utilize them as to bring about coordination of Federal and State industrial tribunals. Certain basic principles will be laid down by the Federal court.

Senator Sir Henry Barwell - It will be open to the Parliament to do just what it likes from time to time.

Senator PEARCE - Yes, but no one anticipates that Parliament will become a " Meddlesome Matty " in the industrial sphere. The probability is that existing State authorities will continue to function, because Federal and State powers will be concurrent, but where there is a clash or variation the Federal power must take precedence over that of the State in order to prevent overlapping and confusion. It is not the intention of this Government to set up a single industrial authority for Australia, or, as has been said, toereate a Federal industrial oligarchy.

Senator Sir Henry Barwell - But it will be possible for another government to do that.

Senator PEARCE - Yes, but I suggest that if a government adopted that course it would be looking for trouble, both for itself and the country, and that it would have an extremely short life. It is not intended to interfere with State industrial tribunals that are doing good work. For instance, no government would be foolishenough to set up another authority to do the work of wages boards in Victoria. The desire of the Government is to vest all such State tribunals with Federal jurisdiction if necessary.

Senator Sampson - In other words, the Government is aiming at the decentralization of the Federal Arbitration Court

Senator PEARCE - Certainly. Our object is to bring about co-ordination of the Federal and State tribunals, and prevent overlapping and confusion.

Clause agreed to.

Preamble and title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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