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Tuesday, 14 June 1904

Mr CONROY (Werriwa) - I very much regretted to hear the declaration of the honorable member for Darling that, in his opinion, this proposal should be incorporated in the Bill because, under its operation, so many new organizatibns will arise that disputes will be perpetually occurring. If the working of this measure will multiply the number of industrial disputes, the less we have to do with it the better.

Mr Watson - -If abuses are remedied is not good accomplished ?

Mr CONROY - If the effect of its operation will be to call into existence numerous fresh organizations, and to multiply industrial disputes, I hold that it constitutes one of the most damning indictments that can be urged against it. We all recognise that the honorable member for Darling is fully in sympathy with the chief object of the Bill, which is the promotion of industrial peace. But if, instead of securing industrial peace, it will promote industrial war, the less we- extend the jurisdiction of the proposed Court the better. Personally, I take exception to almost the whole of the clause. To begin with, it provides -

Any State industrial authority may, in manner prescribed, request the Court to deal with any industrial dispute.

No State industrial authority has power to remit any cases; all disputes must be determined by the authority created by the State Parliament. So strict have the State Parliaments been in this respect that no right of appeal is allowed. It appears to me that this clause will be entirely inoperative, and therefore should find no' place in the Bill. I do not.think it would be wise to omit the words " industrial dispute," because in clause 4 we have the definition - " Industrial dispute " means a dispute in relation to industrial matters . . . extending beyond the limits of any one State.

There is some qualification, but a very clear meaning is given to " industrial dispute," as used in clause 27. In clause 26, too, it is simply provided -

The Court shall have jurisdiction to prevent and settle .... all industrial disputes.

Mr Watson - That is not quite the question. Clause 27 does not deal with jurisdiction, but with the Court in its relation to the States Courts.

Mr CONROY - If the Prime Minister views the clause in the same light that I do he must see that it will be a dead-letter.

Mr Watson - I admit that that is so until it is reinforced by States authority.

Mr CONROY - The clause will be a dead-letter until the States Parliaments take it upon themselves to enable their industrial authorities to refer matters to the Federal Court.

Mr Watson - There is a good deal to be said for the view that the object of the amendment is sufficiently met by clause 28, and on that ground I am inclined to allow clause 27 to be negatived.

Mr Glynn - That would be the best course.

Mr CONROY - Speaking purely as a draftsman, and without any reference to my views on this Bill, I also suggest to the Prime Minister the advisability ' of striking out the clause.

Mr WATSON - I have been considering for some few minutes, past the possibility of doing without clause 27. It does not seem to me that the clause, even in the altered shape proposed, carries us much further than does clause 28, which provides that the Court shall have cognizance of industrial disputes as set forth in the subclauses a, b, and c

Mr Glynn - Under sub-clause c the Court can, if necessary, deal with matters referred from a State.

Mr WATSON - That is so, and I think on the whole it would be well to agree to the elimination of clause 27. I cannot say that I agree with the arguments which have been advanced against the amendment. After all, it does not seem to me that thehonorable and learned members who have argued on the other side have met the position which the Government take up, namely, that " prevention " is evidently intended to be supplementary to " settlement." If that be so then, of course, the interpretation proposed by the Government is the correct one. However, our leaving out the clause will not affect the right of the High Court to give any interpretation it likes to any provision of the Bill. On reflection, I think that clause 28 will sufficiently attain our object in regard to the relations with State authorities who may desire to refer any matters to the Federal Arbitration Court. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause negatived.

Clause 28 -

The Court shall have cognizance of the following industrial disputes : -

(a)   All industrial disputes which are certified to the Court by the Registrar as proper to be dealt with by it in the pubfic interest ;

(b)   All industrial disputes which are submitted to the Court by an organization, by plaint, in the prescribed, manner ; and

(c)   All industrial disputes with which any State Industrial Authority, or the Governor in Council of a State in which there is no State Industrial Authority, requests the Court to deal.

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