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Tuesday, 24 February 1959

Mr McMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - It is true that the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association did lodge a claim with the Public Service Arbitrator in July last year. At that time, however, I think that something like eighteen claims were already listed for hearing. Due to certain procedural matters, and the fact that it was not possible to get the parties to consolidate the hearings, it was necessary for the court to decide that one applicant should receive priority. It decided to hear the case on behalf of the Australian Professional Engineers. I should say, also, that the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation Commission has himself suggested that there should be a consolidation of hearings, and has also suggested a method by which the evidence should be taken. The suggestion was rejected by the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association. Recently that body has agreed that the Public Service Arbitrator should hear evidence on the matter of comparative wage justice and refer the evidence back to the full commission. I do not think there has been any avoidable delay, particularly as the procedure taken was selected by the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association itself. I shall get further details for the honorable gentleman as to the probable date on which the case will come up for hearing. I should mec tion to him that the basic wage case, the margins case and the engineers' case will take priority over that of the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association.

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