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Thursday, 1 September 1960

MR HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - I think that, in order that my answer may be properly understood, I should say that all labour questions in the Territory at the present time are in a transitional stage. At one time, the pattern of labour regulation in the Territory was quite clear because it was mainly based on plantation labour. Labour legislation was devised to suit the conditions of a young man - usually a single man - who, having been recruited in his own village, went away for a brief period to work on a plantation and then returned to his village. In the course of the years, that pattern has changed somewhat and all sorts of situations arise. In one situation, a married man with his family is engaged at a place near his own village. Tn another situation, people are not working under agreement but are working by free, engagement as casual wage earners. They are living in much the same way as any employee does - looking after themselves. Because of this transitional stage, the, answer to the honorable member's question cannot be given in absolute terms. The problem is one to which we are giving very close attention. The intention behind our examination of the. problem is that the wage should be adequate for the circumstances of the married man if he is supporting his family.

Mr Ward - Why don't you answer the question and sit down?

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