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Tuesday, 27 September 1949

Mr CHIFLEY - Although I have not yet seen the minutes of the meeting of the biennial congress of the Australian Council of Trades Unions held in Sydney last week, I understand that there was a fairly equal division of opinion about this subject, and that the proposal favouring the system of incentive payments was narrowly defeated. Over the years the Minister for Labour and National Service, other Ministers, and I also have said that incentive payments would be of value in increasing production, provided that such payments were properly policed. That would be absolutely necessary because this system has been gravelyabused in the past not only in Australia but also in other parts of the world. A very thorough supervision by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court would also have to be maintained. The incentive payments system is now operating in quite a number of industries in this country, which would not be prepared to forgo it. Generally speaking, it is being firmly policed both by the Arbitration Court and by the conciliation commis sioners. The members of other unions also have been asking for it to be introduced in their industries. However, we must be patient and hope that when it can be shown that its extension to other industries would be of value to the community in general and the employees in particular it will be so extended. Although I shall be discussing this subject with officers of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, I remind the honorable member that those officers are bound by decisions that have been made at their biennial congress.

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