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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 24

(Question No. 1459)

Senator Maguire asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice, on 22 October 1986:

(1) What were the number of days lost per employee due to industrial disputes in those countries which are Australia's major trading partners, in 1985.

(2) What were the number of days lost per employee due to industrial disputes in each of the Australian States and Territories in 1985.

(3) Do some Australian States and Territories now have industrial relations climates comparable to those in our major trading partners, as measured by numbers of days lost per employee.

Senator Walsh —The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) In responding to Parliamentary Question No. 1008 which appears in Senate Hansard of 10 June 1986 on page 3701 I indicated the source for information concerning the level of industrial disputation in overseas countries was the 1985 edition of the International Labour Organisation's Year Book of Labour Statistics. This edition of the Year Book is still the latest available and it is not expected the 1986 edition will be available until early 1987.

(2) For 1985 the numbers are:

Australian States and Territories


lost per




New South Wales...






South Australia...


Western Australia...




Australian Capital Territory...


Northern Territory...


These numbers are derived from the figures for working days lost per thousand employees which are included in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publication, Industrial Disputes-Australia 1985 (Cat. No. 6322.0).

(3) There are difficulties in making comparisons between the levels of industrial disputation of different countries and I refer the honourable senator to my reply to Question No. 1008 which outlines some of the problems involved.

Accordingly it could be misleading to make detailed comparisons of the levels of industrial disputation of Australia and other countries.

It is evident from the figures, however, that Queensland had a far worse industrial record than other states and experienced almost double the Australian average in days lost per employee during 1985. This record was due, in large part, to the confrontationist approach to industrial relations adopted by the Queensland government.

Nonetheless despite the Queensland experience the fact remains that in Australia as a whole the level of industrial disputation has decreased significantly under the Hawke Government.