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Thursday, 7 May 1987
Page: 2495


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE — I direct a question to the Minister for Finance. I refer to reports earlier this week of a refusal by Australian Postal and Telecommunications Union members employed by Australia Post to handle mail for the Australian Taxation Office in protest against proposed changes to workers compensation laws. It was reported that talks on the changes had been arranged to be held today, involving the Finance Minister, the Minister for Social Security, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the APTU. Can the Minister advise whether or not this discussion has been held today? If so, has the refusal to handle Tax Office mail been removed. If there has not been a successful outcome from the talks, what is the effect on the collection of government revenue and what action does the Government propose to take to protect the revenue and personal tax collections from pay as you earn taxpayers?


Senator WALSH —The meeting which had been scheduled and to which Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle has referred was not held, the reason being that we had intended to complete the Expenditure Review Committee work yesterday and that has slipped a day. It will not be completed until today. Since Mr Howe, Mr Willis and I are all on the ERC and might have had a meeting with the unions, I suggested cancelling the meeting yesterday and that was done. In regard to the rest of the question, I have made very clear to the Public Service unions before my view that this Government will not tolerate the sabotage of public administration through the continued application of work bans, and I repeat that.