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Tuesday, 16 May 1972
Page: 2542

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) - I note the point made by the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Webb) but I recapitulate the statement I made on Thursday evening. I think that if there were 2 parties to a dispute before a man who was both conciliator and arbitrator, there would be the risk of the parties holding back and refraining fom giving all their information to the man who wore the 2 hats. On the other hand, if he sat there as a conciliator simpliciter - nothing else - exercising no arbitral functions, I think there would be a complete revelation of all their difficulties.

As I pointed out to the House on Thursday evening, this was part of the amendment that the late Dr Evatt moved to the Bill in 1956 which amended the Act in those days.

Mr Webb - Would the honourable member express his view in regard to proposed new section 30?

Mr KILLEN - This is where the matter ultimately is referred to the arbitrator.

Mr Webb - The last 3 lines mess it up.

Mr KILLEN - We will examine the particular words in question when we come to that proposed new section. There have been many matters which have been adjudicated where the presiding officer, be he a judge or magistrate, has said: 'Gentlemen, could you adjourn to my chambers?' There they sit round and have a chat about the particular problem. If they failed to reach agreement in his chambers, they would return to court. There would be no suggestion of using in open court or commission anything which had been heard in quite privileged circumstances.

I hope i have convinced my honourable friend that 1 believe strongly in conciliation. I think that the emphasis in ail industrial activity should be placed upon conciliation and that the resort to arbitral functions should be attempted or resorted to only when things are grim. I regret that my honourable friends opposite do not agree, but I am persuaded that where 2 parties sit before a conciliator who enjoys the complete confidence of both parties and where they know that the conciliator is going out of his way to do his level best to ensure that there will be a meeting of the ways, one will see conciliation operate in a completely untrammelled sense. I believe that where he has imposed upon him the functions of an arbitrator, people will say: 'I wonder whether we should tell all'. That is the fear I have about this matter and it is the only further observation I have on the particular proposed new section.

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