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Wednesday, 9 November 1921

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) . - I have listened with pleasure to the statements made by Senators Pratten and Drake-Brockman. I feel somewhat keenly on this matter, because I have had something to do with some of these Boards. I feel, with Senator Pratten, that there is a danger that the chief officer of the Department will appoint some one as his representative on the Appeal Board who will advocate the cause from his stand -point. On the other hand, the elected representative of the division to which the appellant belongs will no doubt be approached to act as his advocate. In the circumstances, under the proposal made, we shall have but one officer acting as a judge in the case, and he will be the chairman of the Board. I think that the difficulty is one which can be overcome, and I direct the attention of the Minister (Senator Russell) to an' Act passed by the United States of America Government for the purpose of dealing with industrial disputes. If my memory serves me aright, under that Act the Secretary for Labour makes up a panel of a certain number of names. . The Board of Trade also selects a panel of a certain number of names. There is a . final selection from both these panels of persons whom the parties to the dispute have no opportunity of approaching.

Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow - Are the parties given the right to challenge the panel?

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) - The right of challenge is allowed. By adopting this method we should be able to secure an Appeal Board of three members, who would be unbiased, and could not be affected by either the chief officer or the appellant. It seems to me that if we have two advocates on a Bench we cannot expect it to give satisfaction. That has been the experience of the New South Wales Arbitration Court, where that system has not worked at all.

Senator Drake-Brockman - It is exactly what they have in Western Australia at the present moment.

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) - Is it working well there? .

Senator de Largie - It works very well.

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) - The system did not work very well in New South Wales. If panels are made up in the way I have suggested, and the members of the Board are selected from them, they will not be biased, and we can look for a verdict that will be fair alike to the Department, the appellant, and the public.

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