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Monday, 11 June 1928

Mr SEABROOK (Franklin) (2:26 AM) . - I rise to support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Swan. On two occasions the Railway Department of Tasmania has been brought before the Arbitration Court in Melbourne. On both those occasions increases in wages were granted to the men. At that particular time the railways were losing at the rate of £200,000 a year, yet the court gave increases to the men. At the present time the railways are losing nearly £300,000 a year. That means that the department has either to raise freights and fares, or to increase taxation on the people. I agree with the honorable member for Swan that it is not a fair thing for any State to have to come to the Federal Arbitration Court, and have the wages of its employees increased. Take the position of the Victorian railways. They have been losing nearly £1,000,000 a year because of the awards made in the Arbitration Courts. The Labour Government there will not allow the Commissioners of Railways to discharge any of the men, nor will i it allow them to raise the freights or fares, so that the people have to be further taxed because the men have had their wages raised by the Arbitration Court. The Railway Departments all over Australia are facing very fierce competition from motor traffic, and it is not fair that they should have their expenses still further increased by awards of the Federal Arbitration Court. I hope that the Government will accept this amendment, as we should allow the States to manage their own affairs as far as possible. I should have liked the honorable member for Swan to include municipal councils in his resolution. In their case, as in the case of the State Governments, every increase in wages must be met out of increased taxation.

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