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Friday, 30 April 1915


Mr JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) . - There is no opposition to the Bill, which is largely a validating measure. It validates among other acts some done by myself. It adds another technical arm to the Defence Force, and makes further detailed provisions which, T think, on the whole are wise. In war time authorities cannot stop to consider whether a necessary action is legal; it must be done at once. That was what we felt when war broke out. During the six weeks that we were in office, we did many things that were not strictly ia accordance with the law, nor consonant with the expression of fine sentiment of which we have heard so much lately When war breaks out there is no timeto theorize. The duty of the authorities is to make the country safe, so far as they are able to do so, leaving all political and social obligations to be dealt with afterwards. It-is an old maxim that the safety of the State is the highest law. The Bill validates any informalities and illegalities that may have occurred during the trying period to which I refer. As to the compensation of employes who are unjustly dismissed from their employment for attending drill, I am inclined to think that the matter is best left to a Court. It is better that a magistrate should determine what compensation shall be paid than that a Minister, Labour or Liberal, whose decisions in many cases would be looked upon by the public as influenced by political or personal considerations,should have the matter left in his hands. Employers who prevent their assistants from undergoing training should be severely punished, but the Court must act at its discretion, according to the circumstances. There are cases in which the employer is not wholly to blame.







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