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Tuesday, 8 November 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I understood the Minister to say that, under the Excise Procedure Act, when a manufacturer claims exemption from Excise, he registers himself, and submits to the Department a schedule of the wages he pays.

Senator Pearce - No; that is the procedure adopted by the Department. Where the Minister refers a matter to the Court, the Excise Procedure Act applies..

Senator MILLEN - Am I to understand that when a person makes an application for this bounty, he is expected to lodge with his claim a schedule of the wages he pays ?

Senator Pearce - Yes.

Senator MILLEN - If that be so, I suggest to Senator Rae that his amendment becomes not only unnecessary, but, it might be, really injurious. An employer with every desire in the world to conform to the standard rate of wages might have amongst his employe's a limited number who, without his knowledge of the facts, are receiving less than the standard rate. This would appear from his schedule, and if, when the Department had directed his attention to the fact, he at once remedied the wrong, does Senator Rae consider that it would be right that he should lose the whole of the bounty?

Senator Rae - I think it is right that he should lose the bounty if it is proved that he has not paid fair wages to his employes.

Senator MILLEN - I am taking a case in which it appears to me that the exercise of Ministerial discretion would be necessary. If the Department direct the attention of an employer to the fact that his schedule shows that he has been paying less than the standard wages to one or two employes, and he says, " Very well, I have remedied that," would Senator Rae say that he should lose all claim to the bounty even during the few weeks in which the conditions were not completely complied with? Surely the honorable senator would agree that in such a case it would be sufficient for the Minister to retain a proportionate amount of the bounty, and not the whole of it?

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