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Thursday, 7 August 1930

Senator DALY (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) (10:00 AM) . - I bring up the report from the conference of the managers appointed by the Senate and the managers for the House of Representatives on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, as follows -

The Senate managers have met the managers for the House of Representatives on the subjectmatter of the amendments made and insisted on by the Senate in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, and with which the House had disagreed. The managers of the respective Houses have, after conferring, mutually agreed to deal with such amendments as follows: -

That Amendments Nos. 1-11, 13, 14, 16, 20, 23, 24, 27, 28 made by the Senate be agreed to;

That Amendments Nos. 12, 15, 18, 25 made by the Senate be not agreed to;

That Amendments Nos. 17, 19, 21, 22, 26, 29, 30 made by the Senate be agreed to with modifications; and

That the necessary consequential amendments be made in the bill.

Ordered -

That the report be adopted, and taken into consideration in conjunction with message 83 from the House of Representatives in committee forthwith.

In committee:Consideration of report of managers and House of Representatives' message.

Motion (by Senator Daly) proposed -

That amendments 1 to 11 inclusive, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 20, 27, 23, 2!) and 30 be still insisted upon.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE (Western Australia) [10.6 a.m.]. - It would be as well if the committee were given some idea of what has been done. It is difficult to follow these amendments. Those numbered 1 to 9 deal with clause 9 relating to the removal of the conciliation commissioners from office. Honorable senators will remember that Senator Colebatch raised the question whether both Houses of Parliament should confirm their removal. In the bill either House could do so. The procedure has been reversed, and it is now practically the same as that laid down in the Judiciary Act for the removal of a judge. Both Houses have to agree to their removal. Amendment No. 10 relates to clause 12, dealing with applications to the High Court for the declaration of the existence of a dispute, the effect of the Senate's amendment being to maintain the right to apply to the High Court.

Amendment No. 11 aims at maintaining in section 24, relating to agreements, the words " or that it is not in the public interest that it should be certified."

Amendment No. 13 deals with the question of appeal. As there was no appeal in the bill against the decisions of conciliation commissioners the Leader of the Government in the Senate proposed that an appeal board would be constituted. Amendment 13 is a consequential amendment which inserts in sub-section 1 of section 31 the words " except as in this act provided" before the words "no. award or order of the court shall be challenged . . . in any other court." The amendment allows an appeal.

Amendment 16 applies to clause 24, and deals with a question raised by Senator Colebatch regarding the powers of the High Court. The bill substituted "court" for "High Court." By the Senate's amendment the words "High Court" have been restored.

Amendment 20 refers to clause 35, which deals with preference to unionists. The clause as it came to the Senate left out the words " other things being equal." The Senate restored those words, and its amendment has been accepted.

Amendment 23 is not very important It refers to clause 44 dealing with the penalties upon organizations for interfering with awards. The Senate deleted the words ''and the officials of such organization " because it had inserted another new clause dealing with penalties on officials. The amendment was consequential on a new clause 44a covered by amendment 24. This provides for penalties against officers of organizations who incite members of their organizations to refrain from entering into a written agreement or accepting employment or offering for work or working in accordance with an award. The new clause has been accepted.

Amendment 27 deals with the supplying of lists of members of an organization. Clause 5 of the bill omitted the obligation to supply lists of members. That amendment has been accepted with a further amendment by which the Registrar can give authority to inspect the lists kept by organizations.

Amendment 28 ' is consequential and provides that the list of members shall be open to inspection.

Dealing now with amendments agreed to with modifications, I point out that amendment 17 is the appeal clause which was put forward by the Government and amended in the Senate. It deals with the times within which awards shall operate. The Senate inserted the words -

Any such appeal shall be made in the manner and within the time prescribed by the rules made in accordance with section 43 of this act. An award or order of a conciliation commissioner or a conciliation committee shall not have effect until the expiration of the time within which such appeal may be made.

A modification to this has been agreed to, the effect of which is that, if both parties agree, the award comes into operation forthwith. The clause stands with that modification, which is in accordance with the desire of the Senate. The wording of amendment 17 is rn be-

An award or order of a- conciliation commissioner or a conciliation committee shall not, except by consent of all' the parties, have effect until after the expiration of 21 day* from the making thereof.

The modification of amendment 19 reinserts clause 33 which reads -

Section 38» of the principal act is repealed.

This section provided for the cancellation of an award if an organization had done anything in the nature of a lockout Or strike. That is a penalty provision against officers or associations doing something against- an award. It has been agreed to subject to the omission of the words "has done anything in the nature of a lockout or strike ". In a prior clause we left out penalties against striking or engaging in a lockout, and it was thought logical to leave them out of the other clauses.

Amendment 21 relates to the time in which wages can be recovered. The bill originally provided for a period of twelve months, while the amendment of the Senate provided for one of six months. As a compromise a period of nine months has been agreed upon. Amendment 22 retained the provisions relating to secret ballots. It has been agreed that these shall be omitted, except thatwhich gives the judge power to order a secret ballot. The provision by which ten men could claim that a ballot be taken has been deleted, while that providing penalties for offences in connexion with secret ballots has been retained. Amendment 29 deals with a number of penal provisions which originally provided for a penalty of £500. As a modification that has been altered to £100. Amendment 30 restored to the court the power.given in section 89b to cover penalties to protect itself against those who committed certain offences against the court. The penalties were to be recovered in a civil court. That has been modified to harmonize with other clauses that have been left out.

I wish tosay that an excellent spirit prevailed at the conference. Both parties attended the conference obviously animated by the desire to arrive at an agreement if that could be done without sacrificing principles, and, I think, that the Senate may rest assured that in all matters of importance its views have been met in a very reasonable way.

Motion agreed to.

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