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Wednesday, 1 June 1960

Mr Bryant t asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

1.   In how many cases in each of the last five years has the Registrar of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court directed that financial assistance be given to a union member who had applied for an order voiding the rules of his union?

2.   Who engaged the solicitors, and what assistance was given to each member?

3.   What is the total amount of this assistance which has been paid by the Commonwealth?

Mr Harold Holt - The following answers have been provided to the honorable member's questions: -

1.   The following are the numbers of cases in each of the years 1955-1959 in which the Registrar has directed that financial assistance be given to a member of an organization proposing to take proceedings for the disallowance of, or an order as to the validity of, a rule or rules of the organization under section 80 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1955 or section 140 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1960:- 1955, five; 1956, four; 1957, three; 1958, one; 1959, two.

2.   Engagement of solicitors in these cases is a matter for the applicant. The amount of assistance granted to the applicant in each case was as follows:- 1955- £131 10s. 6d., £1,151 17s. 2d., nil*, nil*, £689 10s. 3d. 1956- nil*, £414 1s. 8d., £7031s. 3d. £575 16s. 3d. 1957- £620 1s.1d., £222 17s. 3d., £159 16s. 1958- Nil*. 1959- Nil*, nil.*

3.   The total amount of assistance granted in these cases is £4,66811s. 5d.

* In these cases, where theamount is shown as " Nil ", although assistance was approved by the Registrar, no claim for money payment hasyet been made by the applicant.

The assistance in these cases was in respect of proceedings under section 141 of the act for a direction for the performance of rules as well as under section 140.

Mr Cairns s asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

1.   Does the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, in exercising constitutional powers relating to the settlement and prevention of industrial disputes, find it necessary to make awards which fix or determine wages?

2.   Is it possible for employers to pass on into prices part of any increased wages and thereby cause an increase in the cost of living?

3.   Do increases in the cost of living lead trade unions to submit claims for higher wages which may cause, or contribute to the causing of, industrial disputes?

4.   If so, may it be necessary for the Commission to determine profits or prices in the course of settlement or prevention of industrial disputes?

5.   Has he received any advice as to whether the exercise of this power by the Commission would be constitutional; if not, will he do so?

Mr Harold Holt - I have been provided with the following answers to the honorable member's questions: -

1.   The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission does prescribe award rates of wages in settling industrial disputes within its jurisdiction.

2.   It is possible.

3.   Applications for variations of awards are made from time to time on the ground that wages prescribed ought to be reviewed so as to preserve their purchasing power.

4.   The Commission may by its awards make provision only for matters within the ambit of an industrial dispute within its jurisdiction.

5.   No.

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