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Tuesday, 31 May 1904

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The right honorable member implied that the word "industrial" was not used in the Constitution.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable member misunderstood me.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I was under the impression that I heard the right honorable member challenge an honorable member opposite to show where it was used.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable member misheard me.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am prepared to accept the disclaimer. The word "industrial," I would point out, is used in subsection xxxv. .of section 51 of die Constitution. If that term be inserted in this clause, it will have the effect of bringing every industry within the scope of the Bill, and it will be for the High Court to interpret the meaning of "industrial." I take it that is the intention of the Government. The sub-section in question declares that the Commonwealth Parliament shall have power to make laws relating to "conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State." Should the High Court declare that the carrying on of the Public Service, either of the Commonwealth or of a State, is an industry, the Bill will be applicable to all public servants. In my judgment, the proposal of the Government is a wise one. It is all very well for the right honorable member for Swan to say that members of this Parliament should tell the High Court what they want. What the High Court has to decide is what the law is, and not what the members of this Parliament want. We can put anything we like into the Statute, but we cannot direct the High Court as to how it shall interpret any of its provisions.

Sir John Forrest - We should make our Acts as unintelligible as possible?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If the present Ministry carry the "proposal to insert the word " industrial " and the question is subsequently raised, it will be for the High Court and not this Parliament to decide what the meaning of the section is. I was a little amused at the anxiety with which the right honorable member desired to impress on the Committee his view that the Ministry and certain members of the Labour Party have "jumped Jim Crow," so far as their opinions on this matter are concerned. The suggestion is absolutely incorrect. They take exactly the same position as before. I have no doubt that the vote which they gave earlier in the evening was in tended to prevent the same thing being i&serted in the Bill twice.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable gentleman is an apologist for them.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I wish also to point out that the right honorable member for Swan knows quite well that the present Ministerial Party in the action they took previously were concerned, not so much for the members of the public servants generally of the States, as for the railway servants of the States.

Sir John Forrest - I deny that absolutely.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I hope the right honorable member will not lose his temper. I know that he was perfectly well aware that it was upon the inclusion in the Bill of the railway servants of the States that members of the Labour Party were particularly strong.

Sir John Forrest - That shows how strong we were the other way, or we should have given in to it.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Even supposing that the members of the present Ministry are caving in, as 'the right honorable member suggests, he ought to meet them with open arms, because they are now doing what he wished them to do before. If they have turned round to accept the right honorable member's view, he should not take them to task, but should rather commend them. I fail to see that on' this particular question the members of the present Ministry, or honorable members supporting them, have turned round at all. If the word " industrial " is inserted in the Bill, it will have to be construed by the High Court. If the High Court regards the railway services of the States as " industrial " services, the railway servants will be brought under the Bill. If it holds other branches of the Public Servce to be "industrial," those engaged in those branches will also- be brought under the Bill. All things considered, the right honorable member for Swan should rejoice at the attitude which he believes the Ministry to have taken up, instead of catechizing them on having done something which they should not have done.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable gentleman is a good apologist for the Labour Party.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - At all events, I do not " jump, Jim Crow " like some other persons.

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