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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1822

Senator COLSTON —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on industrial disputes which were released yesterday? If the Minister has seen these statistics, can he indicate what light these figures shed on the effectiveness of the Hawke Government's policies in the industrial relations area?

Senator WALSH —I have seen the most recent ABS figures on industrial disputes. They show that the total number of working days lost in the 1986 calendar year was 1,390,000. By contrast, the figure in 1982-the last year of the Fraser-Howard Government-was 2,158,000. In other words, a 75 per cent larger number of working days were lost because of industrial disputes. Mr Willis pointed out yesterday that over the past three years the average annual working days lost per thousand employees was 240, compared with an annual average of 590 during the Fraser-Howard Government years. The figure for the period of this Government is less than half it was during the period of the Fraser-Howard Government. That is one of the factors which demonstrate the success of the incomes policy-the accord-which the Government has implemented over the last four years. It is in contrast to both the record of the previous Government and the intention of the present Opposition-should it ever be elected to government. It is the clearly stated intention-stated with some relish, I might say-of the present Leader of the Opposition to have five years of industrial warfare.