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Thursday, 31 July 1930

Senator RAE (Few South Wales) . - If honorable senators opposite would accept me as their adviser - and I can foresee that even that may happen in the future - they would do well to accept the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce). Personally, I shall be rather pleased if they do accept it, for the simple reason that, as the Opposition is determined to kill this bill by inches, the sooner the torture is over the better for us on this side when we again face the electors, and have to meet the reactionaries from the other side of the chamber on an equal footing. Arbitration will not bring about the millennium. No system of arbitration is a panacea for, all the ills which the workers suffer. We must, however, make the best of the system. Certainly, the less we have to do with arbitration court; and judges, the better for the workers and the community in general. T said just now, by way of interjection, hat the Federal Arbitration Court had created more disputes than it had settled. I stand by that statement. The Arbitration Court has' been the most disruptive element in the life of this community with which Australia has ever been cursed. There has been nothing but the deepest resentment at its findings, and the most bitter hostility to the system under which it works owing to the flagrant injustices which it has perpetrated on the workers.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.

Senator RAE - Before the dinner adjournment I was speaking upon the amendments with which honorable senators opposite are trying to load the bill. On the one hand we have the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate stating that if a certain amendment is granted he will be quite satisfied. On the other Senator Colebatch states that he would not be satisfied if that amendment were carried, but would require further amendments which would have the effect of taking the arbitral powers out of the hands of the proposed conciliation commissioners, and would reduce them almost to nonentities. So that I think that I am justified in saying that between one and another honorable senators opposite desire to destroy the bill. It would have been much more satisfactory had they knocked the measure out at the second reading. It appears to me that the bill will be of little use to the majority of the workers in the way in which it has been mutilated. If it is intended to use the majority possessed by the Opposition to mutilate the measure further I for one should be pleased to see it consigned to the scrap-heap rather than have any more deformities imposed upon its already inequitable structure.

Accusations have been levelled against the employees claiming that they are always too ready to disobey awards, but when we find machinery such as this, specially designed to give all parties a fair deal, deliberately emasculated, is it any wonder that trouble occurs in industry, and that delays and postponements occur that destroy the value of the arbitration system? Every effort of the Government to. remedy the position is being nullified by the chaotic condition into which its machinery is manoeuvred. If any further mutilations occur to. .this measure I shall wipe my hands of it and wish the Opposition joy of their effort.

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