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Wednesday, 27 May 1987
Page: 3397

Mr HOWARD —My question is addressed to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. Is it a fact that trade union secondary boycotts on the waterfront are currently delaying the shipment of wheat, rice and maize to Fiji? Will the Minister initiate action under section 45d of the Trade Practices Act to ensure that these valuable rural exports, which are crucial to the immediate food requirements of the Fijian people, are not jeopardised by irresponsible trade union action? If not, why not? I ask the Minister: Who is running the country-the Government or the trade union movement?

Mr WILLIS —I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that this Government is running the country and it will be running it for a long time into the future. I understand that there is a ship in Geelong which has a cargo for Fiji and which is subject to bans by maritime unions. That ban, I understand, is in response to calls from the Fijian trade union movement to unions in Australia and New Zealand to impose such bans on shipping.

I have spoken to the Australian Council of Trade Unions about this on a number of occasions. The position is that the ACTU is currently reconsidering those bans in view of the fact that the Fijian trade union movement is now reconsidering its position in light of discussions it has had with the Fijian Governor-General and the assurances that it has had, apparently, that there will be a restoration of trade union rights in Fiji which were temporarily suspended when the emergency situation developed. My view is that, as the bans are likely to be lifted in the very near future, that cargo will be free to go to Fiji.