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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Senator CROFT (Western Australia) . - I shall support the clause as if stands. I think it is admitted by Senator O'Keefe that there is too much work already for the Justices of the High Court to do. In view of that fact, and also of the possibility that the Commerce Act and the Australian Industries Preservation Bill when passed will probably encourage litigation, we may take it for granted that the work of the High Court will be increased to such an extent as to justify the presence of five Justices. What concerns me most is the fact that although we have an Act not only for the settlement of disputes, but to encourage unions of both employers and workers to approach the Arbitration Court, in order that equitable working conditions and wages rates throughout the States shall as far as possible be established, it cannot be taken advantage of to any extent until the services of a Justice of the High Court are available. Until the Bench is strengthened, unions will- hesitate before they approach the Arbitration Court for the settlement of any disputes, or for the purpose of trying to regulate the wages in a trade in order to enable the better class of employers to compete with their rivals on fairer lines. For these reasons, I feel justified in voting for the "appointment of two extra Justices.

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