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Wednesday, 30 July 1930

Senator MILLEN (Tasmania) .- It is unfortunate that Senator Payne should have brought this matter up. I know of no reason why it should be inferred that the farmers in Tasmania fail to pay a living wage.

Senator Payne - Who is assuming that they are not paying a fair wage?

Senator MILLEN - That appears to be the inference to be drawn from the honorable senator's remarks. I entirely disagree with him. I deny emphatically that the conditions in Tasmania are any worse than in the other States. On the contrary, they are better than in some of the States. I am convinced that the inclusion of this provision will not affect the development of the industry in any way, because the wages at present paid in Tasmania are equal to those paid in the agricultural industry in the other States. There is no reason why employers in the agricultural industry should be afraid of any determination that may be made by a tribunal established under this bill. I am perfectly certain that there is no need to fight against the clause.

SenatorDUNN (New South Wales) 1 9.7]. - This provision is similar to one that was inserted in the Cotton Industries Bounty Bill. Honorable senators will recall the stone-walling criticisim adopted by Senator Payne when that bill was being discussed at the committee stages. Senator J. B. Hayes pointed out this afternoon that this provision will not apply to those engaged in the flaxgrowing industry provided all the work is done by members of a farmer's family. If, however, outside labour is engaged, it is reasonable to assume that the rural workers will receive award rates. If an industry is receiving assistance in the form of a bounty it should observe reasonable labour conditions. Apparently Senator Payne would advocate that flaxgrowing should bc conducted under black labour conditions. The honorable senator should take the broad- view. He should not adopt the role of an overthrifty Scotchman, and suggest the payment of starvation wages. Since other rural industries in receipt of Government assistance are required to pay award rates of wages to outside labour employed, the flax-growers should do likewise.

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