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Wednesday, 15 June 1904

Mr ROBINSON (Wannon) - I desire to say a word or two on behalf of a class of persons who have not received very much' consideration under this Bill, and to whose interests less and less regard is being paid as we proceed.

Mr Watson - Does the honorable and learned member refer to the agricultural labourers ?

Mr ROBINSON - No. We beat the Government very handsomely, so far as they were concerned.

Mr Watson - They are receiving no consideration under the Bill.

Mr ROBINSON - I would direct attention to the fact that under the provisions of the Bill this position might arise - In Victoria we have a large number of boot manufacturers who are working under a determination of a Wages Board, constituted under the Victorian Factories Act. On the strength of this determination, as to rates of wages and other conditions, the manufacturers have entered into large contracts, possibly extending over a long period. If an industrial dispute arose, and were brought within the purview of the Federal Arbitration Court, that tribunal, by increasing the working expenses of the employers, could entirely sweep away any margin' of profit now allowed to the manufacturers. I do not wish to press this matter, but I would point out that in this proposal, as in others, the interests of the employers are being absolutely disregarded.

Mr Watson - I hope that the Court would take the interests of the employers into consideration.

Mr. LONSDALE(New England).With regard to the point raised bv' the honorable and learned member for Indi, I presume that if the Federal Arbitration Court were brought into existence, and had the power to make an award that conflicted with one given by a State Court, the State award would be set aside.

Mr Higgins - Yes, if the two awards were inconsistent.

Mr LONSDALE - - I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that an award by a State Court which might be in conflict with one given by the Commonwealth Court, whether it were good, bad, or indifferent, would be superseded.

Mr Higgins - Only so far as the awards might be inconsistent.

Mr LONSDALE - So far as the case mentioned bv the honorable and learned member for Wannon is concerned, I might, say that, if I were disposed to deal with this measure in a provincial spirit, I should be strongly inclined to support provisions which would have the effect of placing the whole of the manufacturers of the Commonwealth on an equal footing. I am not, however, going to allow any' such consideration to influence me. Moreover, I am entirely opposed to this class of legislation.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 39 -

Subject to the Constitution, no award of the Court shall be challenged, appealed against, reviewed, quashed, or called in question in any

Other Court on any account whatever.

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