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Monday, 11 June 1928

Mr SCULLIN (Yarra) .- The Attorney-General cannot throw the responsibility for the refusal to vote for the deletion of section 61 of the principal act on to any organization or party on the ground that they are voting against a clause to free unions of irksome conditions which at present exist. I suggest that the honorable gentleman should draft a new section on the lines suggested by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey). If the difficulty pointed out by the honorable gentleman exists, I shall be glad to have an illustration. It is unbelievable that the law would make a man pay union dues to his union after he had eft it and gone into another industry. There is a very big reason why the section should remain. It prevents intimidation on the part of those who wish to drive men out of an organization when a dispute is pending or is before the court. The Attorney-General has very truly said that the recent decision of the High Court in the Cinema case has made some difference, but with all due respect to the legal opinion enunciated, I consider that the matter has not yet been made clear. I do not wish to pit my legal opinion against that of the Attorney-General as to the interpretation of the decision of the court, but undoubtedly a decision was given which to a great extent was a surprise in legal circles.

Mr Latham - I agree with the honorable member.

Mr SCULLIN - It was to some extent regarded as a revolutionary decision in arbitration matters. Our experience has been that what one court does is undone by the decision of another court. I should like to see the decision in the Cinema case clearly interpreted before accepting the statement that it meets our objection to the withdrawal of section 61. Because of that, because section 61 of the principal act has been in operation since 1904, and no cases of hardship have arisen from it, and because also it is a protection to unionists from injury by employers who wish to evade the decisions of the court, I hope that this committee will vote against the proposal, and retain the section.

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