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Tuesday, 8 November 1910

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator is not in order in making a secondreading speech at this stage.

Senator ST LEDGER - I shall sit down if that isthe case, but surely I am entitled to give reasons for thinking that the bounty proposed to be given in this case is regarded with considerable misgivings by some of us. When we are granting so large a sum of money, surely I am entitled to point out some of the dangers that may accrue. I shall now give a reason why I shall vote for the schedule with diffidence and reluctance. My criticism was intended to elicit a reason which might justify me in voting for it without such reluctance. I take it that tfhe big company in New South Wales, which will be principally benefited by the bounty, desires during the next three years to have a continuity of labour. Under the conditions imposed by this Bill the company will probably be called upon - and properly so - to guarantee a certain rate ofwage. The bounty, therefore, will enable the company during the next three years to have security and continuity in respect of labour whilst exploiting its proposition; and the amount of the bounty will enable it to pay the superfluity of wage that is demanded by the Bill. In other words, the bounty will enable the company to work economically its valuable shale deposits, whilst at the same time paying a higher rate of wage than it would otherwise be disposed to pay.

Senator Rae - The honorable senator has no objection to higher wages if the country pays them?

Senator ST LEDGER - I have no objection to high wages, because I know that good wages bring good workmen. When I ask whether there is any other reason for the bounty than that which I have assigned, I receive no assurance from the Minister, but instead am met with a gibe. On that account, I shall assent to the passage of the schedule, thoughI cannot say that I do so with pleasure.

Schedule agreed to.

Preamble and Title agreed to.

Motion (by Senator Long) agreed to -

That clause 6 be reconsidered.

Clause 6 - (2.) If the Minister finds that the rates of wages and conditions of employment, or any of them -

(a)   are below the standard prescribed by any Commonwealthor State industrial authority ; or,

(b)   in . the absence of any such standard applicable to the case, are below the standard applicable in the same State for similar work; or,

(c)   in the absence of any such standards, are, on application by the Minister to the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, declared not to be fair or reasonable by him, or by a Judge of the Supreme Court of a State, or any person or persons who compose a State Industrial Authority, to whom he may refer the matter, the Minister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty payable.

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