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Tuesday, 8 November 1910

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) . - I was somewhat astonished to hear the arguments advanced by Senator Rae, whom I have always regarded as being fairly logical. Personally, I think that this clause is a wise one, because it will vest in the Minister the powers of a Justice of the High Court so far as his control over the payment of the bounty is concerned. Senator Rae has suggested that at some time a Government may be in office whose members will be unsympathetic with the provisions of the measure. But when that time comes they will have the power to do what they please with our Bounties Acts. I would further point out to the honorable senator that this Bill will con tinue operative for only three years. At the end of that period the Commonwealth Parliament may be called upon to recast its legislation upon this question. The probability is that at the termination of three years we shall perceive the necessity for increasing the bounty. Consequently, the Government are wise in stipulating that the Minister shall have power to withhold the whole or any part of the bounty from any company which refuses to strictly observe the provisions of the Bill. Surely that is as much as we can conscientiously expect.

Senator Rae - We should not bother about the odd man, I suppose?

Senator HENDERSON - I amnot talking about the odd man, and I feel sure that the honorable senator would not throw that taunt at one personally. He knows positively that the whole of my lifetime has been devoted to fighting for the interests of the worker.

Senator Rae - I was alluding to ihe effect of the clause.

Senator HENDERSON - If one individual in the whole industry is being unjustly treated, the Minister may withhold a certain portion of the bounty that would otherwise be paid to the manufacturing company. Surely that is fair and reasonable, and affords proper statutory protection to the workmen. Therefore, I hope that the Committee will agree to the provision as it stands. In saying so I wish it to be understood that I am quite as sympathetic to the watchmen to whom Senator Rae has referred as any man can be. I believe that every individual working in an industry should have a just and fair deal. I believe that reasonable wages and conditions should apply throughout an industry. But I believe that the Bill as drafted makes sufficient provision for carrying out the object that I have in view.

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