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Friday, 1 December 1911

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - The Minister of Defence says that the effect of my amendment would be to reduce wages, and he pointed out that, in Kalgoorlie, tradesmen are getting 3s. per day more than I provide for. But the amendment speaks of a "minimum." It is not a maximum.

Senator Needham - The honorable senator is cutting down the minimum by 2s. per day.

Senator STEWART - If the minimum in Western Australia is 14s. per day, the honorable senator can move a further amendment.

Senator Gardiner - Why should Senator Stewart, above all others, want to cut down wages?

Senator STEWART - I do not.

Senator Gardiner - That is what the honorable senator is doing here.

Senator STEWART - How is that?

Senator Gardiner - Because the rate mentioned is below the general rate of wages in Western Australia.

Senator Millen - Senator Stewart can get over that difficulty by amending his amendment.

Senator STEWART - The honorable senator is trying to fix upon me a charge of cutting down wages, whereas what is really in his mind is that the Government should not have its hands tied.

Senator Needham - The effect of the amendment will be to reduce wages in Western Australia.

Senator STEWART - How can that be? My amendment provides that nothing less than 12s. per day shall be paid.

Senator Needham - But more is being paid.

Senator STEWART - How much more ?

Senator Needham - At least 2s. a day.

Senator STEWART - Fourteen shillings a day for navvies?

Senator Needham - Other workmen than navvies will be wanted on this line.

Senator STEWART - I am proposing a minimum for unskilled labour. If I have made a mistake as to the amount, I ask leave to amend my amendment by making the minimum 14s. per day.

Amendment amended accordingly.

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