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Wednesday, 15 June 1904

Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo) - I must confess that when I first heard of the principle of the common rule, I was somewhat startled at the invasion which it involved of the ordinary, common principle of justice - well recognised, at any rate, in !he administration of justice, as between private individuals - that no person shall be bound by any decision at law except he be a party to it. It is the common rule to hear the other side before binding it by the decision of the Court. At the same time I admit that cases might arise in which legislation of this description would be ineffective, unless some uniformity of system could be established. A mere decision between A and B, as to what wages A should, pay B. whilst binding those parties, might be valueless, unless it acted as a precedent to guide and regulate others. Even in cases in which it is intended to bind others who are not originally parties to a dispute, it is only fair that those other persons or organizations should have notice, and an opportunity, to come in and take part in the discussion. I, therefore, think that, on the whole, the passing of the amendment outlined by the Prime Minister would remove many doubts which I and others have felt in regard to this subject, and that it should be considered when the proper stage is reached. I do' not think that the amendment submitted by the honorable and learned member for Angas ought to be entertained. It would restrict to too great an extent the powers and the jurisdiction of the Court. It would, in fact, exclude the possibility of establishing something like uniformity of practice in certain organizations and trades. It would altogether exclude that possibility, and perhaps destroy a useful power. The proper stage at which to consider the Prime Minister's proposal will be reached when we are called upon to consider paragraph / of clause 46 - when we are dealing with the common rule itself. When the Prime Minister submits his amendment, we shall be able to deal with the matter as a whole. I am very glad that the Minister in charge of the Bill has seen his way clear to put forward an amendment which will give those who are not parties to a dispute - persons in some other part of the country, or connected with some remote part of the trade in question - the opportunity to come in and take part in the discussion. If that opportunity be afforded, no one will be able to complain that he has been bound by a decision given behind his back. If the Government proposal be carried out the decisions of the Arbitration Court, like those of every other Court, will be binding only to the extent to which parties have had an opportunity to be heard.

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