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Wednesday, 6 August 1930

Senator RAE (New South Wales) (1:32 AM) . - We appear to be agreed that there are sufficient means of determining whether an employee has contracted a disease. The difficulty is to determine whether he contracted it while employed by the Government, or when working for another employer. The extreme case cited by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce) - that of an employee who might have started work the day before he made his claim - could not apply to most diseases. For instance, a man could not contract lead poisoning in one day. Even though it was proved that he was suffering from lead poisoning, it would be known that he had contracted it before he entered the employment of the Government.

Senator H E ELLIOTT (VICTORIA) - There might be difficulty in proving it.

SenatorRAE. - If the day on which he took ill followed closely on the day of his commencing work for the Government, it would be obvious that he contracted the disease before he became an employee of the Government. The provision is not so dangerous as some honorable senators would have us believe. Even if an easy-going family doctor who desired to please a patient gave a certificate, the Commissioner could submit the case to the medical referee. There would be no difficulty about determining whether or not he was suffering froma particular disease; the difficulty would be to decide when he contracted it. That is a matter which it is almost impossible to determine definitely, unless the man has been so recently engaged that he could not possibly have contracted tlx1 disease at his present placeof employment.

Senator H E ELLIOTT (VICTORIA) - Why handicap the Commissioner?

Senator RAE - Would the honorable senator have him disqualify a man without proof? If it is obvious that an employee is suffering from a disease, and there is difficulty in determining when he contracted it, surely he should be given the benefit of the doubt, rather than be compelledto prove what may heimpossible of proof.

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