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Tuesday, 30 June 1903

Mr MAUGER (Melbourne Ports) - I hope that the Minister for Home Affairs, without in any way interfering with State matters, will insist that Commonwealth work shall be done under the conditions laid down by this Parliament. It is certain that if the tenders referred to by the honorable member for Yarra are accepted without containing the minimum wage clause, it will mean that wages are to be cut into. There can be no other explanation. I know that the Minister for Home Affairs has sympathy with the minimum wage provision, and. I hope that he will see that the tenders sent in as to the work in question shall not be opened at all unless the tenderers contract to comply with the minimum rate of wage provision. Surely the Commonwealth is not in such a position that it cannot pay a fair and reasonable wage ; and to say that the minimum rates ruling generally at present are unfair is, to my mind, to make an encroachment upon wages without any excuse. I sincerely hope that the Minister will be most emphatic in this regard.

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