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Wednesday, 23 June 1926

Senator NEEDHAM (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - The individual will be included in the organization. The carrying of my amendment will not, in any way, interfere with the rights of the individual. The ultimate decision will rest with the court. If the court determines that what the applicant has to say is vital to a case, the court, being a reasonable body, will not refuse to hear him, so there is not the slightest danger of the rights of individuals being overlooked.

Senator Payne - An employer may not be affiliated with any organization of employers.

Senator NEEDHAM - That would not be the fault of the organization. My amendment will cut both ways. It will apply to an employee who may not be a member of a trade union, and to an employer who may not be a member of an employers' organization. Under the clause a person applying to be heard may also be a solicitor representing an organization, so he would appear before the court in the dual capacity of advocate and an interested person. No injustice will be done to any interests by the carrying of my amendment, because the court will determine who shall be heard.

Senator PEARCE(Western Australia - Vice-President of the Executive

Council) [9.15]. - This clause gives the Attorney-General power to intervene only in cases in which the standard hours of work in any industry or the basic wage is in dispute. When such cases -come before the full court - the Attorney-come before the full court - the AttorneyGeneral may intervene in the public interest, and the notification of his intention to do so will appear in the Gazette. Upon the publication of that notice any person or organization or association of employees or employers may apply to the court to be heard, and the court may, if it is of the opinion that the applicant is interested in the determination, permit the applicant to be heard, and to examine and crossexamine witnesses. Under the principal act "Association" means any trade or other union, or branch of any union, cr any association or body composed of or representative of employers or ememployees, or for furthering or protecting the interests of employers or employees. " Organization " means any organization registered pursuant to this act, and so far as applicable it also includes any proclaimed organization to which the Governor-General declares this act to apply. " Person " covers not only the generally accepted meaning of the term, but may also include a company. There are many companies which are large employers of labour which are neither associations nor organizations, and which are not registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. For instance, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company has only recently become a registered organization under the act. Would any one suggest that the only persons interested in the question of fixing a basic wage or the standard hours of labour for Australia are members of organizations or associations registered under the Arbitration Act?

Senator Lynch - That has been the weakness up to date.

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