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Thursday, 11 June 1970

Mr SNEDDEN (BRUCE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - Last Friday I did see a Press report of a resolution passed by the Metal Trades Industry Association. La:er I was asked to comment, but I declined to do so because the report seemed to be so much at odds with what I believed to be the view of the Metal Trades Industry Association as expressed to me personally by its President and its Acting President at a dinner a few days earlier. I refused to comment on the report until I had seen the text of the resolution. In the meantime a union officer who, I think, is termed the secretary of the Metal Trades Unions Association in Sydney had responded to the Press report.

Mr Connor - Quite temperately, too.

Mr SNEDDEN - Well, he did respond to the report and he based the response upon what was said to be the contemporaneous statement made by the Metal Trades Industry Association. This matter came to notice within a day or two of the President of the Association going overseas and on Monday last the Acting President, Mr Scotsford, communicated with me and told me that he would later that day issue a Press statement in which it would be made clear that the resolutions first given publicity on the Friday had actually been passed in April - I think it was on 27th April. They were passed at a time prior to dispute settling procedures being finalised between working parties from the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the National Employers Policy Committee and the Government on 6th May.

So on Monday last a Press statement was issued by the Metal Trades Industry Association stating that the resolution had been before the dispute settling procedures committee and that now the Association was very anxious to give the dispute settling procedures a full opportunity to be incorporated at all levels of industry and that the Association believed that the dispute settling procedures properly applied and observed by all parties would do what 1 have suggested they would do, that is, provide a medium of communication for conciliation and where necessary arbitration. Also, I believe they will bring about the possibility of a great deal more industrial peace than has been the case until now. Finally, I remind the honourable gentleman that last May the Government called for restraint by all parties while the discussions were proceeding. In fact, the Metal Trades Industry Association has exercised restraint for more than a year and is still exercising restraint. 1 must say that 1 am most appreciative of the Association's efforts, for without that restraint the dispute settling procedures could not, I am sure, have been brought to a conclusion.

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