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Friday, 7 September 1984
Page: 675

Senator JACK EVANS —by leave-I claim to have been misrepresented in the headlines of newspaper articles which have appeared recently in major newspapers. In the Australian Financial Review on 14 August 1984 an article on secondary boycotts legislation was headed: 'Democrats won't oppose repeal of 45D'. The article contained the following statement:

The Democrats are taking the stand of agreeing to the principle of shifting secondary boycott provisions to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, but are reserving their position on the details of what the Government proposes.

In this morning's Sydney Morning Herald a headline on the same subject is headed : 'Democrats likely to back repeal of boycott ban'. The article states:

The Australian Democrats appear certain to support the Federal Government's move to repeal the sections of the Trade Practices Act which prevent secondary boycotts by trade unions, thus ensuring the legislation will be passed by the Senate.

This is false. It later states:

Senator Evans said the support of the Democrats depends on the effectiveness of sanctions the Government says it will insert in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to replace the Trade Practices Act provisions.

In both articles the content of the report gives the lie to the headlines. I have said consistently that the Australian Democrats decision will be arrived at in the normal Democrats manner; that is, firstly, we want to see the proposed legislation and, secondly, we want to hear and consider the views of those affected by the legislation as to the likely repercussions of the Bill. For those reasons I have consistently informed journalists that the Democrats are willing to consider the transfer of secondary boycotts provisions from the Trade Practices Act to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, but only on the condition that the powers and safeguards provided to small businesses under sections 45D and 45E are maintained under the proposed legislation. Judging from discussions I have had so far with the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) these safeguards will not be included in the new legislation and the Democrats, therefore, will not agree to the repeal of those sections.

The PRESIDENT —Order! The honourable senator is exceeding a personal explanation .