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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 3756

Mr BEDDALL —I ask the Acting Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations: Has the present Australian industrial relations system recently received endorsement by international experts?

Mr YOUNG —Madam Deputy Speaker--

Madam SPEAKER —Don't demote me!

Mr YOUNG —I apologise, Madam Speaker. I just took about 20,000 bucks off your pay, too, which is almost as important in this House. Of course the Opposition has promoted industrial relations as it sees it as one of the great issues in the lead-up to the next election. The Government is quite happy about that. As I said yesterday in the House, the Government has as its present Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations one of the most outstanding practitioners in the industrial relations field, the honour- able member for Gellibrand, who has done an excellent job in this country over the past 3 1/2 years. He has been one of the prime movers in getting the sort of economic growth we have had in this country and particularly the outcomes we have had on wages which have allowed the creation of so much work. So the debate on industrial relations over the next 12 to 18 months is something to be welcomed by the Government. I notice that the Opposition has decided to meet in February to talk about tax, but we do not know when it will meet again at Thredbo to talk about industrial relations.

Today I am pleased to be able to inform the House that no less a person than Pope John Paul had something to say this morning about Australia's industrial relations. I would like to tell the House what His Holiness had to say about the institution which the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia are now so keen to destroy. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation news reported at lunchtime that on a visit to the Transfield Pty Ltd factory in Sydney His Holiness said that Australia had a great tradition of settling industrial disputes through its unique system of industrial relations. Further to that, he urged all Australian workers to take full part in the work of their unions, as they also had a unique right in this country to become members of their unions.

Mr Goodluck —I rise on a point of order. As a practising Catholic I find this offensive.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! I point out to the House that the Special Minister of State is merely quoting the words of His Holiness.

Mr Goodluck —I still find it offensive, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER —The honourable member will resume his seat.

Mr YOUNG —One of the major themes of this Pope, since he has reached that position, has been the settling of conflict. Industrial relations is all about settling conflicts. This is not a question of misquoting a person. The Pope has had the opportunity of observing the practices in this country and the practices in his own country, and he has had a lot to say about what happens in Poland and the destruction of trade unions in that country. The Opposition in this House is all in favour of unions in Poland, but it is not in favour of unions in Australia. Honourable members opposite all want full rights for the unions and the workers in Poland but no rights for the workers in Australia. Honourable members opposite ought to observe the words of His Holiness in Australia today, because I am not too sure where they will be able to find a better reference than that.