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Tuesday, 25 November 1986
Page: 2709

Senator MASON(8.36) —I speak briefly in support of the amendments because I feel they are of considerable importance. I refute Senator Chaney's view. In fact, he was saying that if ever there is to be any industrial democracy in this country-and I doubt whether he or the Government wants it-there can be no incentive, because if there is an incentive those who do not want to take advantage of that incentive are being blackmailed or coerced in some way. That seems to me to be the logical conclusion to be drawn from what he has said. In this case the bounty is a benefit given by the Government to a particular group of industries. As Senator Siddons said, this is not a new idea which we have suggested off the top of our heads. It is done in the United States, which we regard as a brother or sister democracy, whichever way one likes to put it. It is necessary for there to be a carrot and a stick, if ever this country is to get out of the mud of its present industrial relations setup and do something.

The inescapable conclusion, if both the Liberal-National Party coalition and the Australian Labor Party do not want to support this, is that, as I said, they do not want industrial democracy in this country. They pay lip-service to it, but when there is an attempt to try to introduce it in a small way-a valuable experimental way-they will have nothing to do with it. The conclusion I draw from that-a conclusion which, I am sure, the people of Australia draw from it-is that the old political parties have a vested interest in the old confrontative system of politics between the workers and the bosses. They want that to continue because, to a large extent, their livelihoods depend on it.