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Wednesday, 3 July 1901
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Senator EWING (Western Australia) - The suggestion is made that, as the debatable matter has been cut out of the clause, the regulations provided for should be allowed to have the force of law immediately on gazetting, but I think the Senate should not forget that we have passed a most important provision at the suggestion of Senator Pearce. It seems to me that that involves a very important question in the fixing of the rate of wages.

Senator Harney - What does it mean now that the word "minimum" has gone?

Senator EWING - I understand very well, if other senators do not, what the intention of the honorable senator was. The Postmaster-General may now make regulations under which contracts are to be carried out, and surely that is a very important matter, and it is very desirable that Parliament should itself see any such regulation before it has the force of law. I suggest to the committee the desirability of hesitating, because, Western Australian senators will be able to agree with me that, a provision of this kind, which looked quite innocent in the Western Australian Mining Act, brought about a very serious condition of" affairs. If we give the Government power to frame a regulation as to the method of carrying out contracts, it is surely desirable that Parliament should approve of such a regulation before the Minister exercises it with the force of law. If Senator Pearce' s amendment had not been put into this clause, 1 would fall in with the view expressed by other senators, that the debatable matter had been cut out of the clause. However, that amendment having been made it opens up a very important matter, and it should lie in the hands of Parliament to approve of the regulations dealing with it.

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