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Thursday, 10 May 1984
Page: 1929


The PRESIDENT —Order! It being 2 p.m., in accordance with sessional orders, I now call on Questions without Notice.


Senator GRIMES (Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate) —This afternoon Senator Walsh is meeting the Chinese Trade Minister at the airport. I have been informed that the Chinese Minister's plane has been delayed and that Senator Walsh is still at the airport. I ask that, initially, any questions which would normally be directed to Senator Walsh be directed to me.

BUILDING INDUSTRY: WAGE CLAIMS


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE — I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Industrial Relations. I ask: Do the articles in today's newspapers headed 'Canberra set to back building workers' rise' and ' Willis will back building unions' super scheme push' accurately reflect the Government's reported intervention in a full Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission hearing tomorrow? Does the Government support the payment of the 4.1 per cent national wage rise in addition to the superannuation scheme? Does the superannuation claim of the building unions breach the wage fixing guidelines of 'no extra claims commitment' given by the building unions to the Government earlier? Could the Senate be advised on these matters?


Senator GRIMES —I will not be able to answer the honourable senator in the detailed manner that I should.


Senator Withers —Have a go.


Senator GRIMES —In view of what happens to people when they have a go in this place, as Senator Withers suggests, I am not going to go too far. All I do know- and I have been partly involved-is that the Government has been involved in long negotiations with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the building industry unions. Part of the negotiations certainly has been concerned with the introduction of a superannuation scheme in that industry, an industry in which, as Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle knows, people move around a lot and have broken periods of employment and frequent changes of employer. As to the details of what the Government's attitude will be before the Arbitration Commission and whether the Press reports are accurate, I will endeavour to get an answer as quickly as possible. In fact, I hope to get it before the end of Question Time and let the honourable senator know.