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Tuesday, 13 September 1904


Mr RONALD (Southern Melbourne) - I sincerely hope that the Government will see its way to accept the amendment. I think that the honorable member for South Sydney has made out a good case for the creation pf a special Court. This is called a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and it seems to me that it makes a great deal of provision for arbitration and very little for conciliation. The constitution of these Courts provides for a preliminary inquiry into the question as to whether there is a case or not. In mv own country there is an official called the Procurator Fiscal, who holds an investigation, and says whether there is a case or not, and that function which is of very great value in Scotland has its parallel in France in the court which has been quoted by my honorable friend, and which serves a very great and useful purpose. It saves endless litigation, and, above all, brings in that principle of master and men meeting face to face and comparing their grievances, and thereby attempting to come to a just settlement. Moreover, the principle exists under the Factories Act of Victoria, in the shape of Wages Boards. I believe it will be found that if the men and masters come together and state their case to one another, they will see that very little litigation is required, and that the arbitration stage - an expensive one to both sides - need not be reached.


Mr Frazer - That is not the experience of such Courts.


Mr RONALD - I have been quoting instances to show that it has been.


Mr Frazer - It is not our experience in Western Australia, anyhow.


Mr RONALD - In Victoria the great value of the Factories Act lies in the fact that it has brought the men and masters face to; face before the Wages Boards. The principle of conciliation is at work. The minimum of demand on each side is made, and when the men see that the masters are reasonable, and the masters see that the men are rational, the dispute is half settled. But if an appeal can be made to the Court, and the lawyers are allowed to state the case from their point of view, they will prolong the dispute, and the result will be disastrous. I am always in favour of exhausting the lay element, which is common-sense, before we reach the technical and intricate element. I hope that reasonable men will look upon this proposal as a very useful supplement to a Bill which may be licked into shape and "made of some use in settling those disputes which we all profess to be so anxious "to settle.

Proposed new clause negatived.

Bill reported with further amendments.

Mr. REID(East Sydney - Minister of External Affairs). - There are two comparatively unimportant amendments which I forgot to move in clause 4, and I ask the House to allow me to go back into Committee in order to make them. I move -

That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause 4.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

In Committee(Second recommittal).

Clause 4 -

In this Act, except where otherwise clearly intended - " State Industrial Authority " means any Board or Court of Conciliation or Arbitration, or tribunal body or persons, having authority under any State Act to exercise any power of Conciliation or Arbitration with reference to industrial disputes within the limits of the State.

Amendments (by Mr. Reid) agreed to -

That the following definition be inserted : - " Special Magistrate " means a magistrate appointed by that name under the law of a State.

That after the word " State," line 9, the following words be inserted : - "or any Special Board constituted under any State Act relating to factories, or such other State Board or Court as is prescribed."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with further amendments; report adopted.







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