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Tuesday, 10 December 1912

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I was at first in doubt as to the relation of paragraph b to paragraph e. I think that an employe' is perfectly protected as far as paragraph b is concerned. What appeals to my mind is that the latter portion of the paragraph, which says " shall not affect any civil liability of the Commonwealth under any other law." Senator St. Ledger has quoted the Imperial Act extensively. I remember the first Workman's Compensation Act being introduced into the House of Commons, where it was passed on the ist July, 1896. One of the provisions of that measure was that a workman engaged in the erection of a building had to fall 30 feet before; he could recover compensation. If ai workman was going to fall from a scaffold'! he had to make up his mind to fall 30' feet, or not fall at all. Otherwise he would get nothing.

Senator Guthrie - I think the provision was that a building had to be 30 feet high before a workman could recover.

Senator NEEDHAM - If he fell 29 ft. 6 in., and was killed, his widow and dependents received no compensation. It it absurd to bring in the Imperial Act in relation to the framing of this Bill.

Senator Guthrie - The Imperial Parliament has amended the Act since the time referred to by the honorable senator.

Senator NEEDHAM - I admit that the original Act has been modified, but even yet the Imperial Parliament has not passed an Act allowing employes of the Government to recover compensation. So that- we are showing the Imperial Government instead of their setting us an example.

Senator Shannon - I think the honorable senator is wrong in saying that at workman in the employment of the Imperial Government cannot claim compen«sation.

Senator NEEDHAM - This measurelays down no qualification in regard' to» Federal employes claiming against the Government. I should hesitate to agree to' the passing of this clause if I thought that' paragraph e would debar an employe' of the Commonwealth from claiming compensation under any other civil law. But! having listened to the legal arguments onboth sides, I am satisfied that paragraph.- b makes ample provision for the protectionof the workmen.

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