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Tuesday, 21 May 1957

Mr CLAREY (Bendigo) .- I move -

That, in clause 12 at the end of sub-clause (1.), the following paragraph be added: - " (h) two members to represent the trade unions associated with the production, sale and processing of wool.".

Clause 12 of the bill provides for the creation of the Wool Research Committee. It is my desire to add to clause 12 a new paragraph (h), which will read -

Two members to represent the trade unions associated with the production, sale and processing of wool.

In moving this amendment I desire to point out to the committee that I am endeavouring to put into this clause the principles which were contained in section 14 of the Wool Use Promotion Act passed in 1945. That act created a Wool Consultative Council, and on that council representation, amounting in all to nine persons, was given to various interests which it was believed would be helpful in promoting the use of wool. Among the organizations listed for representation on the council were two unions, the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Textile Workers Union. The other organizations and phases of the industry to be represented were the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the wool manufacturers, the textile distributors, and authorities concerned with technical education. In addition the council has to include two persons actively engaged in the production of wool. The Wool Research Committee to be appointed under this measure will be called upon to consider problems associated with the wool industry, and representation is being given to various wool interests and research organizations. In nearly all the legislation which the present Government has passed since 1950, dealing with bodies of this description, there has been a tendency to discard trade union representation altogether. This bill continues that policy, and I believe that policy to be wrong. There are two parties in industry - those who provide the capital from which comes the land, plant, buildings, or stock, and those whose capital is labour and who have invested that labour in the industry. Only through the co-operation of those who own the capital and those who give their labour can industry progress and produce the goods that are required.

When one considers the future of an industry - how it can be protected, how it can be expanded, how it can deal with problems such as those pointed out by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) this afternoon - one finds that both employers and employees in the industry are vitally concerned. Because there is a general recognition by the modern employer of the part played by employees in industry, many big concerns that are managed in an exceptionally capable manner to-day invite and encourage their employees who have knowledge and experience of the industry, to make suggestions that will enable the undertakings to be run more efficiently. That is particularly the case in the United States of America, where the "suggestion box " idea operates. In this way, the information possessed by the employee - his know-how and experience - is utilized for the better running of an industry or plant. I suggest, in moving this amendment, that the know-how and experience possessed by the employee in the wool industry should be made available on the Wool Research Committee so that the employee's viewpoint on the difficulties and problems he experiences in his job may be readily available to those who are carrying on the very important work of research.

The classes of work done by the employee include every phase of the production and use of wool. They include the care of sheep, shearing, wool classing - a very important job which must be done efficiently if the pastoralist is to receive the best possible price for his wool - the sorting of wool into spinning counts for manufacture, the sale and distribution of wool from warehouses, scouring, and the processing and manufacturing of wool. In addition, of course, many people are engaged in the chemistry and the technological processes of the textile industry. To suggest that all those people, with their vast knowledge and experience extending over many years in the industry, would not be competent to give valuable advice on the production, the uses, the weaknesses and the strengths of wool, is, I think, flying in the face of the facts.

T suggest to the House that in research work, knowledge and experience is not a monopoly of one section of the wool industry. Knowledge and experience are gained by many different classes in industry. That is already recognized in this clause, because it provides for representatives of the

Department of Primary Industry, the Australian Wool Growers Council, the Wool and Meat Producers Federation, the Associated Woollen and Worsted Textile Manufacturers of Australia, and also the Australian universities engaged in research related to the wool industry, to sit on the Wool Research Committee. I think the very constitution of the committee as provided for in this bill, indicates that a very wide range of experience and knowledge has to be pooled so as to ensure the best possible research and the best possible results. To say that those who give their life to the wool industry as employees have neither knowledge nor experience, and are unable to make useful suggestions is to fly in the face of facts. Certainly it cannot be regarded as a sound argument against employee representation.

The principle of employee representation was used during the war with very great benefit to war production. I believe that it can be applied to Australia's greatest industry. The Parliament should see that all those qualified to give advice, including the employees, are brought into this scheme.

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