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Thursday, 5 July 1906

Mr ROBINSON (Wannon) . - I should like some information in regard to certain aspects of this clause, which proposes to take a very great step in legislation, namely, to put the onus of proof, in certain circumstances, on the defendant. If the defendant is a commercial trust, or the agent of a commercial' trust, and the competition probably will, or does, in fact, result in a lower remuneration of labour, the onus is placed on him of proving his innocence. That is an exceedingly difficult position in which to place a defendant, and I cannot see how this clause could be given any reasonable meaning in a court of law. If a competitor used up-to-date machinery and methods, his competition might be held to lead to lower remuneration! of labour. There is nothing in the clause providing that the person making the charge shall also use uptodate machinery and methods. The clause is so framed that an employer who used obsolete machinery and methods would have grounds for prosecuting another employer who was more up-to-date.

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