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Thursday, 14 December 1905

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) - I move -

That the following new cTause be inserted : - "8a.' - (1) Any employer who in the contract makes any untrue representation, by which the contract immigrant is, or is likely to be misled to his detriment, as to the wages, hours, or conditions of labour at the place where the contract is to be performed, shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

Penalty : Twenty pounds.

(2)   The Court may in its discretion order that the penalty or any part thereof be paid to the contract immigrant, and in that case the same shall be so paid."

I move the insertion of this clause, in order to provide that, if by any chance, an employer is able to get his contract past the officer administering the Act when the immigrant has arrived at his destination, and iscalled upon to perform the work for whichhe has been introduced, if he finds he has been the victim of any misrepresentation which may have been overlooked' by the Minister, he shall not be left without a remedy. With respect to the latter part of the clause it is very possible that where there has been misrepresentation of the kind the immigrant may be put to considerable expense, and I think that it should be at the discretion of the Court to award a certain sum out of the penalty where any is: imposed to the contract immigrant, to enable him to recoup the expense to which; he has been put.

SenatorCROFT (Western Australia). - I favour the proposed new clause, but I have some doubt about the latter portion of it. The contract immigrant may have an excellent case at law against his employer, and if under this clause the Court ordersthat he shall receive jQio out of thepenalty imposed, will that prejudice him iii any action he may have at law for therecovery of damages?

Senator Keating - It would not takeaway his absolute right unless that were expressly stated in the Bill.

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