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Wednesday, 17 April 1985
Page: 1137

Senator JESSOP —Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Transport been drawn to an article in the Australian newspaper this week headed: 'Ship repair jobs just extortion by unions'? Is he aware of the allegation made by a spokesman of the Australian Chamber of Shipping that Australian unions were extorting money from ship owners by insisting that certain minor and unnecessary repairs be made to ships before they are allowed to leave port, in order to create jobs for their own members? Is it a fact that such repair bills could amount to between $20,000 and $50,000 per vessel and that this-

Senator Tate —What has this to do with the Minister?

Senator JESSOP —I am coming to that. Has this cost shipping companies between $1m and $2m so far this year? Does the Minister agree that this scandalous state of affairs is harmful to Australia's already seriously flagging credibility as an international trading partner? What action has the Government taken or does it propose to take to ensure that these Ned Kelly unions do not overstep legal bounds by requiring unnecessary repairs to ships which have been judged by Australian Government authorities to be complying with regulations set down by the Government?

Senator GIETZELT —That is a very involved question and as it does not fall within the province of the Minister for Transport I suggest that the Leader of the Government might be better able to answer it to the satisfaction of Senator Jessop.