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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2914


Senator MacGIBBON —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Industrial Relations and is provoked by the inadequate, incompetent and irrelevant answer that Senator Baume received earlier on the medical dispute . Does the Federal Government support the blacklisting of doctors provided for in the New South Wales Public Hospitals (Visiting Practitioners) Amendment Bill which was before an emergency session of the State Parliament yesterday? Is this part of Labor's doctrine on industrial relations? Can we look forward to a similar policy in future disputes when powerful unions are bullying the general public?


Senator BUTTON —As indicated in answers to Senator Peter Baume by Senator Ryan, the Government has no public view on the New South Wales dispute apart from the fact, as disclosed by Senator Ryan, that Dr Blewett, the Minister for Health, is taking a close interest and is monitoring developments with a view to lending what good offices the Commonwealth can in respect of that matter. Apart from that I can take the question no further by way of answer. As Senator MacGibbon would well know, having contemplated the industrial relations record of this Government in the last 15 months compared with the industrial relations record of the previous Government, there can be no extrapolation of any situation of particular difficulty in New South Wales to which Senator Ryan has referred in her answers to the general industrial relations climate in Australia.


Senator MacGIBBON —I ask a supplementary question. The Minister invited me to contemplate the industrial record of this Government. When I look at that and having asked the question I did, I am confused as to why the Government condoned the secondary boycott against a Canberra taxi company applied by Transport Workers Union of Australia drivers when they were on strike last week. How does the Minister reconcile that with the statement he just made?


Senator BUTTON —It is not my task or any Minister's task to reconcile every confusion which Senator MacGibbon has and I do not intend to embark on that exercise. In answering his first question, I invited him to contemplate the industrial relations of this Government. Senator MacGibbon, after one second, immediately rose and postulated a whole series of hypothetical questions which revealed his chronic incapacity to contemplate anything. 'Contemplate' means consider and think, and they are things that I invite Senator MacGibbon to do, however tortuous a process it might be for him. Insofar as the question of the transport workers is concerned, I have no comment on that whatsoever.