Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 14 April 1904

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The number of points of view from which honorable members have dealt with this question on its second discussion in this Chamber is astonishing. In the many speeches to which I have listened, both yesterday and to-day, I have not heard the subject dealt with by any two speakers from the same stand-point, and I find myself in the position of being able to express my opinions from a point of view which, I think, has not yet been referred to. I am not opposed to this legislation. On the contrary, I am firmly convinced that something in the direction of compulsory arbitration must ultimately take place. My experience as a manufacturer and a considerable employer of labour has taught me that no other means for securing industrial peace exists. But in dealing with this measure we are brought face to . face with a great political crisis. We cannot blind our eyes to the fact that we have to consider, not only the concrete proposals put before us by the Government, but also the question which party shall ultimately hold the reins of power in this Commonwealth. As I have already fully expressed my views upon' the subject of arbitration, and the need for doing something to secure to labour its fair share of the rewards of industry, I should not have spoken on the subject again but. for the very extraordinary and peculiar circumstance to which I allude. The position -of affairs is a very confused one, and no two of 'us are quite* in accord as to what should be done. I am decidedly in favour of making an attempt to deal with such industrial disputes as we are empowered to deal with by the Constitution. The experience which has been gained elsewhere and in the States in the adjustment of industrial differences, although not entirely favorable, is sufficient to warrant us in continuing what I regard as experimental legislation, and to that extent I must support it. But, as I have already stated, I do not think it is the wisest measure that we could adopt for dealing with the very grave and far-reaching difficulties which must present themselves. The adoption of compulsory arbitration in varying degree has occurred in several of the States, and the result in some of them has been practically successful. Although the success of the New Zealand legislation is to be discounted to some extent by the prosperity which has so happily befallen that country, the operation of the New Zealand Acts has been in the main satisfactory. The Victorian wages boards, which had a somewhat similar end in view, have also been successful in remedying to some extent the grave consequences which have been due to free competition in the employment of labour in this State. The New 'South Wales Act, though not the wisest that could have been devised, has also, I am forced to admit, not been unsuccessful. The friction which its administration has caused has been due largely to the fact that it descends to deal with a great variety of detail. Instead of laying down- broad principles and main lines of settlement it has descended to such trumpery and trivial details that a vast amount of irritation has been caused. Yet, on the whole, while we must view all this legislation as tentative, I consider that this Parliament is justified in carrying the experiment still further, by providing for a method of settling disputes which extend beyond the control of the Legislatures of the States. Such disputes must be of vast magnitude, and very far reaching in their consequences, not only to those immediately concerned, but to the whole public of the Commonwealth. It is not here or there, but from one end of the world to the other, that disputes between capital and labour, between employer and employe, arise, and any effort to bring about industrial peace must be regarded as laudable. I think it is forced upon those who oppose compulsory arbitration to tell us what is the alternative. No man who goes about the world with his eyes and ears open can ignore the present economic difficulties, the friction, want of agreement, and industrial discord which exist from China to Peru. We hear daily of strikes and disputes between the two great factors in the economic production of the world. Therefore those who oppose legislation for the settlement of these disputes should set before us some alternative. To my mind, we must either meet these difficulties, or be prepared to submit to a condition of anarchy.. My reading and my personal experience make me believe that no better solution has yet been offered than the adoption of arbitration, and arbitration is useless unless it is made compulsory. All systems of arbitration which have hitherto been adopted have done a certain amount of good, but in most instances, unless those in disagreement are compelled to come to terms, no great amount of good is to be looked for from arbitration. The better class of employers, who desire to treat their men well, are frequently prevented from improving the condition of their employes by the .competition of others, who, by treating their men less generously, are able to produce more cheaply. Compulsory arbitration for such employers would be an advantage, because it would compel all to conform to a certain standard. In my opinion, we must either follow in the lines of the economic evolution of civilized society, or we must be prepared for a devolution, under which the nation, by reason of its falling off in physique and intellectual vigour, must be crushed out of existence by other nations ; or there must he an absolute revolution. We shall do well to move on the lines of well-known natural forces, resistance to which would bring about a greater national disaster than any slight loss accruing to employers under legislation which would give employes greater profits than they now enjoy. A great deal has been said about the teachings of history with regard to this matter. I think I have read history to as great an extent as most ordinary men, and, like most ordinary men, I find that my reading has been to a large extent undigested. Certain very general broad impressions have, however, been left on mv mind, and one of these is that the world has for centuries past been moving in the one direction. It is as if one saw the curve of a circle, and were asked to state in what direction the line was proceeding. One would have no difficulty in predicting the course which the line would describe, because one could see that it had been following a certain direction. If we learn anything at all from our historical reading, we gather that, from the dawn of history up to yesterday, the general tendency of economics has been in the direction of a more equitable distribution of the products of labour. All that we have been able to read of history, of that of. the last too years in particular, shows that the State has interfered more and more in the direction of bringing I about an equitable distribution of the results of labour. All the talk indulged in regarding the suggestions which were made in the middle ages, and which were adopted, and afterwards discarded, go for nothing, in view of the general trend of history, which has been in the one direction and with a strengthening purpose. The teaching of history alone shows us that we 'must adopt some such legislation as this in order to keep pace with the evolution that has been in progress. The main objection to this class of legislation has been summed up in one word, which has been repeated so persistently and with so much force that it has almost silenced many supporters of this measure. I refer to the word "socialism." There would be some trouble in denning that word in such a way that the definition would be accepted by every one engaged in this discussion. We have been recently invited by one of the newspapers of Melbourne to give our definitions of that word. I should be very pleased indeed if we 'could induce every honorable member to give an absolutely unbiased opinion, apart from any reference to the encyclopaedia, regarding the meaning of that word. If this could be done and an average were struck, the result would probably be to give us the general acceptation of the term, although, of course, many of the opinions would be diametrically opposed. The word " socialism " has been used as a weapon by the strongest opponents of legislation of this kind. I was very much struck by an incident related by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, whose experience coincides with my own. The honorable and learned member told us that he had had a conversation with a gentleman of his acquaintance in a train. This gentleman was apparently well-to-do. If he had not been he would scarcely have given his opinion that the country was going to the dogs, and that socialism was ruining the community. This same gentleman, before he left the honorable and learned member, said that Parliament ought to do something by way of legislation in a certain direction in which he was interested, and his suggestion was as purely socialistic as anything that has ever been proposed in this Chamber. Those who are so strongly opposed to socialism when it does not bring anything into their own pockets are among its staunchest advocates when it bears upon some large scheme of irrigation, a proposal for the payment of iron bonuses, or for something else in which they are interested.

Then they are absolutely socialistic; because they wish to bring about a combination of all the forces of the State in order to secure a certain result. That is one of the definitions of socialism. When, however, something is proposed which will confer benefit upon others, but will not be attended by any particular advantage to them, these self same gentlemen declare that they will have nothing to do with it, and that socialism is ruining the country. According to one encyclopaedia, to which I referred, socialism is " a new form of social organization, based upon a fundamental change in the economic order of society in which the collective or co-operative principle shall become normal or usual, and under which all shall share in the fruits of associated labour, in accordance with some good or equitable principle/' That is socialism, and adhering strictly to that definition, we have amongst us very many socialistic institutions, which have succeeded past all the expectations of those who proposed them. Take the post-office, for instance. Those who oppose such a measure as this on the ground that it is socialistic, say that everything should be left to private enterprise, that we have no right to 'interfere with the liberty of the individual. If we applied that class of reasoning to the post-office, it would be claimed that every person should have liberty to despatch his letters in his own way, at his own time, and according to his own methods. But, after the experience ofthe post-office for two centuries, we have come to the conclusion that this measure of socialism has resulted in the greatest benefit to the whole body politic, poor and rich, old and young. If ' it be good that a man should be able to exchange his ideas upon business or social matters through some medium of Government creation, why should he not be able to send his linen to a national laundry, get it washed, and returned to him? This is done in some countries. Socialism resolves itself into a question of how rapidly it is wise for us to proceed. Some countries have gone beyond our present standard, and others have lagged behind, . and the question as to how rapidly it is wise to proceed in the direction of the whole body of the people doing something through its Government, in the interests of the community generally, is purely one of expediency. France regulates it's funerals and its public laundries, and has many other institutions which we should consider! socialistic ; but the State has not yet taken over the control of the railways in that country. Socialism, I take it, is civilization carried to its ultimate ideal, and we are all socialists. The only difference between one socialist and another is with regard to the rapidity of the rate at which we should proceed in achieving our ultimate ideal. If any one asked an enlightened man for a definition of Christianity, he would be told that he had better ask for its history ; and so it is with socialism. Anyone who seeks a definition of the term had better ask for a history of the development of the idea. In regard to the regulation of the relations between labour and capital, we have passed through several evolutions. Paternalism has gone, individualism has gone; they have absolutely passed away. Profit-sharing and co-operation have not yet come into being. They have been tried in isolated cases, with more or less satisfac-tory results, but to adopt them as a general means of removing present-day difficulties seems to be quite out of the question at present. I believe that profit-sharing will ultimately remove the difficulties attendant upon the struggle between capital and labour; but up to the present nothing practical has been done to justify us in adopting it as a national expedient. I am firmly, convinced, however, that the time will come when it will be possible for a number of men in a certain trade to band themselves together as workmen, and - as in the case of the members of a limited company at present - to go to capitalists and obtain credit on the strength of their union. They will be able to ask the capitalists to give them the money necessary to make their labour productive, and the possession of the power to labour will then be quite as good a credential as is the possession of so much credit to-day. We have not yet reached that stage, and therefore we have to consider what other expedients are open to us for the settlement of the grave difficulties which show no signs of diminishing in this or other countries. A French writer, M. Yves Guyot, has recommended that workmen should enter into such combinations as I have indicated, and that, instead of holding capital in common, they should hold labour in common. The capitalists should go to them and say, - " We desire to produce so many thousand yards of cloth, or so many thousand pounds of goods. We have here a full supply of the raw material, and we wish to know at what price you will sup ply' the labour necessary to transform the raw material into a marketable article." This writer declares that a solution of the difficulty is to be found in that direction. But when practical men come to examine it, it seems utterly impossible to deal with the problem upon those lines, for the reason that the class of labour, and the means of employing it, are so diversified. Consequently, I scarcely think that even this advanced writer has discovered the solution of this unquestionably difficult problem. There is only one factor of which we are bound to take cognizance. Unions of capitalists and workmen exist in every civilized country throughout the world. They confront one another in menacing attitudes, and that is the difficulty which we have to face. But that very difficulty to my mind- suggests its own solution. We can make use of these unions - as is proposed under this Bill - to bring about an improved state of affairs. These very, organizations, whilst making industrial conflicts graver and more disastrous to the general community, offer a solution of the evil by means of collective bargaining, under the supervision of a competent Court. In that way a prospect is presented to us of securing a settlement of that industrial strife which menaces to-day almost every civilized country. The system proposed gives more promise of success than any which has hitherto been adopted. Nevertheless, I think it will suffer largely in its ultimate effect from the action both of its friends and its foes. Its foes may defeat it, and thus render it necessary to substitute something very much more stringent in order to insure that industrial peace which we all desire. Its friends may defeat it by asking too much - by proceeding to extremes - and in this connexion I think that there are several members of the Labour Party who are really inclined to go too far. I feel convinced that the legislation of New South Wales in this respect has proceeded too far, and that its effect must be " to kill the goose that lays the golden egg." If any legitimate attempt be made to effect a solution of this very grave problem, it must: be approached by both sides in a spirit of compromise. I think we have to consider the legislation proposed in conjunction with' political contingencies, and I am of opinion that it is possible for us to go very much too far, especially if such legislation is to be administered by representatives of a mere section of the community. I think that compromise is essential if any successful effort is to be made to reconcile the differences which exist between capital and labour. Let me take the case of the honorable and learned member for Parkes, who is absent from the House to-day. He is one of the ablest opponents of this Bill. I cite his case because he is one of the best of a class which is opposed to it. He goes to an extreme and conjures up the bogy of capital being affrighted by such legislation and in some mysterious manner leaving Australia. He paints a picture of capitalists packing up their belongings and seeking refuge upon another planet. I hold that that is a mere bogy. The honorable and learned member ought to give some consideration to the absolute condition of things existing to-day in some parts of the world - the condition of a hungry proletariat, incensed because they are not getting their fair share of this world's goods, who as a result are endeavouring to secure remedial legislation of a just character, but who, to attain their ends, will, in the last resort, not hesitate to adopt revolutionary measures or something akin to them. Surely it is better to consider how far we can meet existing difficulties in a spirit of compromise than to defy the terrible situation which may arise if every proposed remedy is resisted.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We have enacted the principle of one man one vote.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is because we have enacted that principle that we shall ultimately succeed in securing this legislation.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Therefore, there is no need to resort to revolution.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hold that it is bad policy to resist the inevitable. The leader of the Opposition once remarked that when he came to a stone wall he got over it if" he could, but that if he could not he got under it. If he could not do either, he would lie down beside it. I ask the opponents of this Bill to accommodate themselves to the inevitable, and instead of opposing it tooth and nail, to join with others in effecting a reasonable measure of reform. Many of its opponents constitute the ablest men amongst us. I refer more particularly to the honorable member for North Sydney, and the honorable and learned member for Parkes. I am convinced that if they will endeavour to make this measure a workable one, they will ultimately accomplish more good than they will achieve by blindly opposing it. It has been stated that if the Government are defeated upon the Bill, we shall have a dissolution of this House and another general election. That sort of threat is frequently used when we are face to face with a difficulty of this character.

Mr Deakin - Who made that threat?


Mr Poynton - The press.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Prime Minister himself has no excuse for urging a dissolution, because he boldly announced his views to his constituents, not only upon the measure but upon its details. The same remark is applicable to myself. I am not a supporter of all its details, but I certainly favour extending its operation to the railway servants of the States. So far as I am concerned, I see no need whatever for a dissolution, although I do not fear one. I am perfectly willing to return to my constituents, and to stand or fall on the views which I have expressed upon this Bill, but 1 should be equally prepared to forego my opinions if, by doing so, I could bring about what I consider to be a very much healthier condition of affairs in this Parliament. Prior to the opening of the present session, the statement was made that we required a re-adjustment of parties in this House. From the first moment that I saw the relative strength of those parties I realized that the fiscal issue would have to be buried - at least for a time, and consequently it -became more easy to effect a political combination for the good of Australia. I was prepared to hear of some proposals in that direction. To the credit of this Parliament be it said, the Prime Minister has honorably kept the promise which he made to his constituents at Ballarat, that if any coalition were attempted, he would be no party to any secret understanding. He declared that whatever arrangements were made would have to be of an open and public character. The same attitude was taken up by the leader of the Opposition. Upon no occasion has the right honorable member sought to influence the personal views of his supporters upon this particular question. It has been left entirely to the individual judgment of honorable members on both sides of the House. I regret, however, that some solution of the difficulty does not appear to be likely before we reach a stage at which it will be almost impossible to retrace our steps. It seems to me that we are bound now to speak out. There are three members of the present Administration behind whom I would willingly sit, and, in the interests of good Government, I should like to see those honorable gentlemen associated with three other honorable members - who would have the confidence of the vast majority on both sides of the House - in completing the remaining machinery measures necessary for the complete establishment of the Federation. I should like to see a strong capable Government of that kind dealing with those and the still greater questions of finance, immigration, the control of our rivers, and other matters which demand the best talent that we can secure. It is my desire that this measure should be passed in some shape or other, and I think that it should be possible to give effect to it, at ali events in some modified form. It is highly desirable that we should adopt a spirit of compromise if only in order to determine whether a measure of this kind, if applied to the Commonwealth, would be as efficacious as many honorable members believe it would be, or whether it would be the failure that others predict. A question of this kind cannot be decided by reference to what has been .done elsewhere. The only way in which to test -the effect of a measure of this description is to declare that it shall remain in operation for a period of a few years, and to amend it from time to time, as experience dictates. I believe that this could be more happily and effectually achieved by a strong capable Government, created by some coalition of parties, than by any Government consisting of honorable members of the Labour Party, or of any one party in the House. I have no personal or political antipathy to the Labour Party. As a matter of fact, I coincide with their views to as great an extent as does any honorable member outside the party ; but I do not think it would be to the best interests of Australia to leave the control of its affairs in the hands of the representatives of a mere section of the people. Perhaps the only way to secure an adequate solution of the problem with which we are confronted would be to allow our honorable friends of the Labour Party an opportunity to form an Administration. If that were done it might lead to that coalition of parties, which we all appear to desire, but are apparently unable to accomplish. It may be asked, what have I done towards bringing about such a coalition. It is not given, however, to the mere satellites of political life to bring about a readjustment of party relations. The readjustment must come from the fixed stars and the suns of the system. Since they have failed us in this instance we have to submit to the existing conditions, and to endeavour, while awaiting the result, whatever it may be, of the present position, to carry out our own individual principles. I' am in favour of this measure, and I also favour such an amendment of it as will bring the railway employes under its operation. A Bill of this kind that did not extend to the employe's of the great railway services throughout the States would not be a measure of Federal arbitration, and would fail to meet the greatest demand likely to be made upon such legislation. I am convinced, as an ordinary layman, that we should not exceed our constitutional power if we extended the operation of the Bill to those employes. Lawyers differ on this point. The Prime Minister himself does not seem to be %'ery emphatic in the view that the railway servants of the States cannot be brought under the operation of this measure.

Mr Deakin - I am positive on the point.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - All I can say is that the honorable and learned gentleman, in the two speeches which he has made on this question, has failed to convince me that he entertains a positive opinion on the point. He appeared to take up the ground that such an extension of the scope of the Bill would be unconstitutional, and that, if it were not, .even as a matter of expediency, it would be unwise to avail ourselves of the full extent of our powers in this direction. One approaches with bated breath a question of legal interpretation, such as that with which I propose to deal later on ; but I feel satisfied that we have this power. If we do not possess it, why should we seek in this Bill to expressly exclude the railway servants of the States from its operation ? It is a matter for regret that it has been impossible to approach the consideration of this question with a stronger and more capable Government in power - a Government better able to carry out legislation in the direction which they think desirable - than is the present Administration. After the general elections we had an opportunity to secure such a Government - one that might have passed this measure in some form, as well as many other Bills which would promote the ultimate good of the Commonwealth. Instead of availing ourselves of that opportunity, however, we find that we have a Government which, instead of taking the initiative, and endeavouring to remove the entanglement due to the conflicting interests of parties, is simply waiting the ultimate outcome of the resulting difficulty. If an arrangement such as I have suggested had been brought about, I should have been prepared, if necessary, to give up my own convictions as to bringing the railway employes of the States within the provisions of this Bill. As a matter of fact, I informed some of my own friends of my willingness to do so. Some honorable members have much to say of consistency, but in many cases an absurd view is taken of that virtue. Consistency after all is only consistency to principle. One may have two principles which are dear to him, and in certain circumstances it may be necessary for him to decide which of those is dearest to his heart, and, perhaps, nearest to his honour. Although convinced that the railway employes of the States should be brought within the scope of this measure, I do not say that it should apply to all public servants. Such an amendment would include a class of professional men that we do not intend to bring under the Bill if they are outside the service. A difficulty among the railway men of the States, however, would . be the most disastrous of any that we could face, and they ought not, therefore, to be omitted from this measure. A Federal Arbitration Bill which took no cognizance of the railway employes of the Stateswould be like the play of Hamlet with the Prince of Denmark and all his family, so to speak, left out. Why should we ignore the railway employes? They play a most important part in the operations of the States, and if they went to extremes might play a disastrous part. Nevertheless, if a coalition such as I have mentioned could have been brought about I should have been prepared if necessary to give up my desire to see them brought within this Bill. In that event I should have felt myself impelled to resign my seat, and to appeal to my constituents to indorse my action, inasmuch as at the last elections I told them that I should vote for the inclusion of the State railway servants in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. If it had been considered necessary to secure a strong Government to carry on the affairs of this nation, which is as yet in its childhood, I . should have been prepared to sacrifice my own views in this respect. But we ha%-e had no proposal in that direction.

We are face to face with the fact that we must proceed with the consideration of the Bill under existing circumstances, and that we are called upon to give expression to our individual opinions, and I, for one, intend to adhere to my original view that the railway employes of the States should be brought under the operation of the measure. This measure departs but slightly from the Bill introduced last session, and the difficulty which I have experienced in dealing with both of them is that no concise declaration has been given either by the Prime Minister or by any other member of the Government, of what will be the precise effect of such a measure. We know that under the Constitution we cannot deal with any dispute that does not extend beyond the limits of any one State. Yet this Bill contains all the machinery provisions that would be necessary if the Constitution declared in plain unmistakable terms that we had the sole right to legislate for the settlement of all industrial disputes. The Prime Minister has not addressed himself, either in this House or outside of it, to the question of how far these machinery provisions are to be employed, and to what extent it is proposed to put them in operation. The honorable and learned gentleman is somewhat chary of interfering with States rights, so far as the railway employes or other public servants are concerned. But he has not had much to say of the infringement of State rights, so far as private enterprise is ' concerned. Although, by interjection and otherwise, we have asked for an explanation of the object of all these machinery provisions, the honorable and learned gentleman has made no response. It is plain that the Bill has been framed, as was stated by a member of the Government, or some prominent member of the House, in the hope that at some future period we shall be given power by the States to exercise all possible jurisdiction for the settlement of disputes between employer and employed. We- do not know how far the present Administration intend to set these machinery provisions in motion, but the fact remains that they will . be available for interference in every possible way with States rights. Before I consent to the Bill coming out of committee, I shall endeavour to obtain a rigid expression of the intention of the Prime Minister as to the extent to which this machinery will operate, and as to at what stages of a dispute it is to be used. 1 It seems to me an attempt to grasp the whole power of settling disputes, and a more violent invasion of State rights than the inclusion of State servants. Not one petition or remonstrance of the many which have been addressed to us, from all parts of Australia, objects to the inclusion of railway men; but members of Chambers of Commerce, of Chambers of Manufactures, and employers generally, object to the attempt which is being made to enable the Commonwealth to interfere for the settlement of every industrial dispute throughout the length and breadth of the land. It is only in regard to this matter that the people are alive to the threatened invasion of State rights. Here and there a prominent politician, in a State Parliament, may have expressed indignation at the proposal to include State servants in the Bill, but the great mass of the people have taken no notice of that proposal, and have confined their remonstrances to the effort of the Government to bring the most trumpery disputes within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Court. It may be an open question whether to apply the provisions of the Bill to State servants would be an invasion of State rights ; but this other violation of the constitutional rights of the States is disgraceful, and cannot be disguised. I have heard the Prime Minister make many magnificent speeches, but two of the very best were those which he made on the second reading of the previous Bill, and in moving the second reading of this Bill. His first speech was better than one could have expected even from him, and what I chiefly admired in both was his whole-souled sympathy with the labouring classes, and his desire that they should obtain their fair share of the results of their labours. His illustration of the private duello, and the need for restricting similar action on the part of organized bands of industry, was, I think, one of the best efforts of the kind we have had in this Chamber. Like him, I am a most loyal adherent of the .Constitution. I feel that we must imbue our children with loyalty to it, and I am pleased to see statesmen like the honorable and learned gentleman ready to resist any attempt to violate it. It seems to me, however, that in connexion with this measure the Prime Minister has strained at a gnat while swallowing a camel. He is ready to resist the violation of State rights implied by the inclusion of State servant's in the Bill - though I do not think that that would be a violation - but he had nothing to say against the still more serious violation to which I refer.

Mr Robinson - The Bill is a bad one all through.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not think so. The title of it, at all events, is good.. So are some of the definitions, and many of its provisions ; and I hope that in committee we shall make it a good measure. If it be unconstitutional to apply the provisions of the Bill to -State servants, why has the Prime Minister specifically excluded them from its operation? If the Constitution excludes them, why make any reference to them at all? Why not leave it to the High Court to say whether they are or are not included ? If we were content to pass a law providing for the settlement of disputes between employers and employes, and a dispute arose between the Government of a. State and some of its employes, the High Court would have to decide whether the suit could be entertained.

Mr Kelly - Is it federally expedient to apply the provisions of the Bill to State servants ?

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not now dealing with the question of expediency. I am dealing with absolute facts.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We have to decide whether it is expedient.

Suggest corrections