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Thursday, 24 May 1928

Mr BLAKELEY - That is about as sound as the Treasurer's argument.

Dr EARLE PAGE - My argument is endorsed by every student of economics, and would be endorsed by honorable members opposite, also, if they had not placed themselves in a false position. They have decided not to help the Government in passing an effective arbitration law. We ask for co-operation and help, and are getting only opposition and discord. The arbitration system has been in operation for many years. It was first introduced by Mr. B. R. Wise, in New South Wales, and Sir Alexander Peacock, in Victoria, and was in operation in New Zealand before the advent of a Labour party in the Dominion Parliament. The Parliamentary Labour party was not the author of industrial arbitration in Australia; the system was brought into being through the forces of unionism and collective organization. This bill is an effort to help the organization of workers and to provide means whereby their collective agreement with the employers may be recorded and made effective. Only by such means shall we achieve .assured prosperity. Mr. Robert Williams, ex-chairman io£ the British Labour, party, said not 'long ago -

The .day when a fight was the surest path to better wages or shorter hours has definitely passed .away. We have tried war and it has failed, and 'brought in its train suffering and misery, pressing hardest on those least able to bear it.

The bill will improve the machinery for the peaceful settlement of industrial disputes, and I urge the Opposition to cooperate with the Government at the committee stage in making the arbitration system more effective, so that we may have greater peace in industry, and consequently greater and more continuous prosperity.

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