7 October 1920

8th Parliament · 1st Session

The President (Senator the Eon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 5391


Bill returned from the House of Representatives without amendment.

page 5391


Bill returned from the House of Representatives without amendment.

page 5391


Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Russell) read a first time.

page 5392


In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ message) :

Clause 2-

Section 4 of the principal Act is amended -

by inserting in the definition of “ employer “, after the word “ industry”, the words “ and includes a club.’’

Senate’s Amendment. - Leave out paragraph a.

House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment disagreed to.

Clause 22 (Proceedings by and against clubs).

Senate’s Amendment. - Leave out the clause.

House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment disagreed to.

Senator RUSSELL:
VicePresident of the Executive Council · Victoria · NAT

– I move -

That the amendments be not insisted on.

I do not believe that we would be justified in insisting upon these amendments. When the matter was previously under consideration in the Senate, I mentioned that the inclusion of clubs in the definition of “ employer “ would not affect wellconducted clubs whose employees are almost invariably well treated. I understand from inquiries that clubs of recognised standing look for a good class of employees to whom they are prepared to pay liberal wages. The amendment made by the Senate in leaving clubs outside the definition of “ employer “ had the effect of extending a special privilege to a particular section of the community, and I do not think that honorable senators generally are in favour of the adoption of such a course. It may be within. the recollection of some honorable senators that considerable trouble arose from the passing of a liquor law in South Australia giving a special privilege to a particular club. That aroused the indignation of the people, and I am sure we do not desire a repetition of that kind of thing. The provision as introduced in this Bill was not intended to injure clubs in any way, but to secure that the relations between employers and employees should be put upon a common basis. The House of Representatives has met the Senate very fairly in agreeing to four out of the six amendments we made in this Bill, and I hope that honorable senators, in the same spirit of compromise, will not insist upon these amendments to which the House of Representatives has disagreed.

Senator PRATTEN:

. - As one who voted for the elimination of clubs from the definition of “ employer,” I appreciate the position taken by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell). Are not the employees of practically all clubs associated in some way with the employees of hotels and breweries and those engaged in the sale of intoxicating liquors?

Senator Duncan:

– Most of them belong to the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union.

Senator PRATTEN:

– If that is so it occurs to me that it is possible that if we do not insist upon our amendment some injustice may be done to the employees of small clubs that do not sell intoxicating liquors, but which will be included in the provisions to which the Senate previously disagreed. I merely raise the question as to how far this will go. To my knowledge, two or three clubs, in which they will not sell intoxicating liquor, have been recently established in New South Wales; but their employees will now come within the operation of this measure. I do not know whether it is so or not, but I have an impression that the adoption of the motion will force all employees of clubs, whether those clubs sell intoxicating liquors or not, within the anion of liquor trade employees.

Senator RUSSELL:
VicePresident of the Executive Council · Victoria · NAT

– This is a general arbitration Bill, applying practically to every trade or industry that cares to organize. If, for instance, domestic servants form an organization and desire to appeal to the Court, there is nothing to prevent them, but the right of appeal to the Court is one thing and going to the Court is quite another. If in the future we have a domestic servants’ award, people, doing domestic work in clubs could apply to have the benefits of the award extended to them. Likewise, if there should be a barmen’s award, it would apply to barmen in clubs selling intoxicating liquors, no more, no less. I have always found that if employees are treated well, the operation of the. law is practically inoperative.

Senator DUNCAN:
New South Wales

– The reasons advanced by my honorable friend, Senator Pratten, for the inclusion of clubs, would, in my mind, furnish a very good argument for not insisting upon the Senate’s amendment. The organization primarily concerned is, of course, the Hotel, Club, Restaurant, and Caterers’ Union, and if by the action taken by the Senate one small section of this organization was lifted out of the Bill and thus would not enjoy the benefits of the Arbitration Act, a great deal of trouble would be caused in other sections of the union, as well as other businesses in which its members may be employed. Honorable senators must see that an awkward position would probably arise if employees of clubs, being denied the right to go to the Arbitration Court for the redress of their grievances, decided to take strong action.

Senator Senior:

– But if they are included inthe larger organization their case could be considered.

Senator DUNCAN:

– No, because, although they may be included in the larger organization, the amendment which the Senate inserted in the Bill provided that the Court would not have power to make an award covering employees of clubs. It is easy to understand that the organization concerned might resent very keenly anything like this, and it is just possible that we would be creating something in the nature of a big industrial dispute if we refused to these men the opportunity to secure industrial justice. I hope the Senate will not insist upon its amendment.

Motion agreed to.

Resolution reported; reportadopted.

page 5393


Senator RUSSELL (Victoria- Vice-

President of the Executive Council) [3.16].- I move -

That the Senate,at its rising, adjourn until 3 p.m. on Wednesday next.

We have received the Navigation Bill from another place, but, as it is rather technical, I am not prepared to go on with it. I would prefer to have an opportunity to further study the measure.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 3.17 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 October 1920, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.