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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

The House met at 11 a.m. THE STKIKE. Mr Perceval gave notice to move on tfoing into Committee of Supply : —"That fn the opinion of this House, with a view to settling the dispute between wagepwers and wage-earners m the colony, the Government should at an early date invite employers of labor and labor association delegates to attend a conference m Wellington for the purpose of discussing their dffficulties." Mr Perceval said the employers as a whole were, he believed, anxious to deal fairly with their men, except such firms as Nelson Bros., who were evidently determined to crush out Unionism. He was sure the majority of Unionists were not desirous of pushing matters too far, and would like to see some settlement of the difficulties. Mr Allan, m seconding the amendment* hoped the conference would be held at the earliest possible date. Mr Mitchelson said he recognised the unfortunate state of affairs now existing m the colony owing to the labor strikes. The Government considered they would be acting rightly m accepting Mr Perceval's amendment, and would do all m their power to arrange a settlement satisfactory to both sides.. Mr Ballance expressed satisfaction at Mr Mitchelson's reply. He thought no time should be lost m arranging for a conference, but pending its decision the strike sh«uld m his opinion be brought to an end, and the men advised to go back to work till some settlement was arrived Mr Beetham regretted Mr Perceval's depreciatory remarks with reference to Nelson Bros., and said he knew from personal knowledge that no employers | -were more generally appreciated by their men than that firm. i Sir John Hall did not agree with Mr j Ballance's suggestion about making it a condition that the men should go back to work at once, as he considered the matter ' should be fully discussed by both sides at the conference. Mr Bryce regretted that the Government had decided to take this matter up, as he believed harm would come of it. His opinion was that the unionists had no grievance against their employers, and he knew sensible men among them were sorry they had been drawn into the Mr Scobie McKenzie took a similar view to the last speaker. Several other members expressed opinions on the question, and the debate •wah interrupted by the luncheon adjournment. The House resumed at 2.30 p.m. The debate on Mr Perceval's amendment was continued. A large number of members spoke. Mr O'Connor intimated his intention of proposing, when an opportunity offered, that the Railway Commissioners should grant an amnesty to their employees for anything that may have happened since fche strike commenced, and restore any anen who have been dismissed to their former position. On a division being taken Mr Perceval's amendment was carried by 51 to 11. COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY. The House went into Committee of Supply for further consideration of the supplementary estimates. Judge Edwards' salary—£l62l. An amendment was moved by MiReeves (Inangahua) to strike out the vote. Mr Seddon asked the Government to withdraw the vote as it now stood and reintroduce it as a salary for Commissioner Edwards and not as Judge Edwards. Captain Russell said that the whole of the circumstances connected with this appointment from first to last showed that the House had no true appreciation of the position. He reviewed the circumstances connected with the appointment, and said that Mr Justice Edwards was regarded as being fully qualified to fill the oflicc. The°Government believed that the appointment was strictly and constitutionally made. If it could even be proved that the appointment was not technically correct, which he denied, the Government had acted as they had done solely for the welfare of the colony. ■Mr Ballance considered that Mr! Edwards was no Judge at nil, that he was, on the contrary, a usurper, and s;it on the | bench illegally and unconstitutionally. He (Mr Ballance) was favorable to the, salary being voted for Commissioner! Edwards, iind that it be reduced to £1000. A. lengthy discussion ensued. Captain Russell agreed to amend the vote so that it should provide for salary for Commissioner Edwards and not Judge Edwards. The alteration m the estimates was brought down by Message from the Governor. Mr Taylor wished to know whether the alteration made would prevent Commissioner Edwards acting as Judge, and on being answered m the negative, ho protested against the whole thing. The debate was interrupted by the 5.30 puia. adjournment. The House resumed at 7.30 p.m. After another lengthy discussion the word "Judge" was struck out of the tern.

Mr Reeves (Inangahua) withdrew his motion to strike out the vote and substituted a reduction of £1051. The amendment was lost by 36 to 26. Mr Taylor moved to reduce the vote by £871. The amendment was lost on the voices. Mr JBallance moved to reduce it by £500. The amendment was lost by 34 to 27. Mr Duncan said that the time had now arrived for decisive action, and he was prepated net to allow another item on the estimatss to pass unless this vote were reduced, even if he had to stay there till next month. Mr Ballance said that the retention of the full salary for Mr Edwards was a distinct breach of the agreement made between Mr Bryce and himself. Captain Russell said that Mr Ballance had distinctly stated to the House that if the word "Judge" were struck out he should abide by the decision of the House. There would, therefore, be a distinct breach of faith on Mr Balance's part if he did not support the Government m the matter. He was quite prepared to accept a reduction of £509 on the vote. Mr Seddon asked if the reduction was to be taken as an indication that MiEdwards should not act as Judge. Captain Russell replied that it was an indication of anything Mr Seddon chose to call it. On the House resuming after the supper adjournment Mr Duncan spoke at length against the vote and said that he was prepared to stay there till the 4th of next month to protest against it. At 11.40 p.m. Mr O'Connor drew attention to the fact of strangers being m the House, upon which all the galleries were cleared, while Mr Fish was addressing the House.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900916.2.20.2

Bibliographic details

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2519, 16 September 1890

Word Count
1,055

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2519, 16 September 1890

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