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Tuesday, 8 November 1910

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I do not think that Senator Long was in the chamber when we discussed clause 6 a little while ago, but I will go over the ground again to show him and other honorable senators what has been the experience of the Commonwealth Government under a similar provision in the existing Bounties Act. Sub-clause 2 provides that if the Minister finds that the rates of wages and conditions of employment - are below the standard prescribed by any Commonwealth or State industrial authority.

The honorable senator is satisfied with that ? Senator Long. - Perfectly.

Senator PEARCE - Before I deal with paragraph b I may explain that in Western Australia we have an Arbitration Court which prescribes wages ; but that Court gives its awards only for the particular district in the State where a citation has been made. For instance, if the miners' union in Kalgoorlie cites the employers before the Court, the Court, when it gives its award, only gives it for the Kalgoorlie district. If no other union in the State has cited a case before the Court, the award does not apply in any other district.

Senator Long - That is to say, the common rule will not apply to the whole State?

Senator PEARCE - That is so. In Victoria the awards of the local industrial authorities, the Wages Boards, also have a limited application to certain localities.

The same is the case in New South Wales. The honorable senator will see, therefore, that shale-mining might be carried on in that portion of a State where no award applied, although there were in that State Wages Boards or an Arbitration Court which had made awards applicable in other districts. Then paragraph b comes in and says -

In the absence of any such standard applicable to the case, are below the standard applicable in the same State for similar wo.rk; that is to say, applicable to mines where are produced materials for the manufacture of the oils. In that event, the standards applicable to coal-mining or similar work in the State would apply. Consequently, paragraph b could not apply to Tasmania under existing conditions, because in that State there are no standards applicable to shale-mining or to men employed in oil works. Neither is there in that State a standard set up by an industrial authority, State or Federal, applicable to such a case. The honorable senator will therefore see that paragraph b cannot affect his State. It can only affect States in which there is a State or Federal award, but where the shale works or the oil works are situated in a district not affected by the award, it provides that the award which has been applied to another State under similar conditions shall also apply to that district. The honorable senator would find that, if paragraph b were struck out, paragraph c would have to apply.

Senator Long - That is what I want.

Senator PEARCE - What is the object in doing that when you have an award which is already applicable, and all you have to do is to extend an award which was only given in respect to a radius of 20 miles. Surely there is no objection to that? If, in a State, there is no award of a similar kind, you will have to fall back on paragraph c. In the existing set of circumstances in Tasmania, the wages will be fixed under that paragraph in every case. The Mount Bischoff arrangement will not affect the question one iota.

Senator Long - Then paragraph b is entirely governed by paragraph al

Senator PEARCE - Yes. The only thing is that paragraph a is not complete, because it merely recognises the State awards, and they do not cover the whole State.

Senator Long - That is to say, the Commonwealth or State industrial authority goes right through the whole?

Senator PEARCE - The object of paragraph b is to extend the area of the State awards where no Federal award exists.

Bill reported with an amendment; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.

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