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Friday, 17 June 1904

Mr LONSDALE - I am speaking 'of what has occurred. A boot factory at Tenterfield, Inverell, or Glen Innes does not compete with similar establishments in Sydney. Yet in New South Wales the common rule has been applied in such a way as to injure the small industries in the country districts.

Mr Hughes - Did the employers apply to be exempted from its operation?

Mr LONSDALE - They were not allowed to form an industrial union.

Mr Hughes - Why not?

Mr LONSDALE - Because the Registrar would not permit them to do so.

Mr Hughes - An individual could protest.

Mr LONSDALE - I quite admit that. But is it to be expected that persons will travel hundreds of miles to place their views before the Court? I object to the application of the common rule to country districts. At the present time the employes of Messrs. Abel Bros., confectioners, cf Sydney, are applying to the State Arbitration Court for the application of the common rule to the county of Cumberland. The city employers, on their part, are asking that the principle shall be applied to the whole State. They desire to place the country employers under a disability. They wish to destroy the businesses of the country so that they may send their own goods there. It is most unfortunate that, in opposing this Bill, men like myself should be charged with a want of humanity. I recognise that all honorable members opposite are humanitarians.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! I would ask the honorable member if that observation has any relevance to the question which is under consideration?

Mr LONSDALE - I shall connect it with the question before the Chair. The amendment is in the interests of humanity, and I discuss it from that stand-point.

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