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Tuesday, 21 May 1957

Mr LUCHETTI (Macquarie) .- I support the very constructive remarks of the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey). The Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) has gone to considerable trouble to indicate that the Government will not accept the amendment. He said, in effect, " I am hostile to the trade union movement. I am opposed to organized marketing. I do not believe that there is abroad any new spirit of co-partnership to bring employees and employers together in the conduct of industries. The old class warfare prevails, even in research ". One would expect that, where research designed to strengthen Australia's greatest industry was concerned, the Minister would gladly agree to give the proposed wool research committee the benefit of the knowledge and experience of workers in the industry, many of whom are the sons of farmers, and some of whom, perhaps, have had small landholdings of their own. As trade unionists, they should be permitted to give to the committee the benefit of their views. Any trade union representative on the committee would not dictate to it, but would give to it the benefit of the lifetime experience of shearers, rouseabouts jackaroos, and other workers in this key industry. I am amazed at the Government's attitude. Even in the broader field of the organization of industry generally, to promote the better productivity that is generally acknowledged to be desirable today, one would expect unionists to be brought into partnership with management in the conduct of important activities such as research.

We are considering the important matter of research into the wool industry, and I am at a loss to understand why the Minister and the Government are not prepared to accept the amendment. As I indicated at the outset, it must be because of their hostility to the trade union movement, although that movement has a great wealth of knowledge concerning the wool industry. I believe that if the trade unionists were invited to make their contribution and to elect representatives to serve on this body, the result would be most beneficial for the industry. The suggestion that has been made by the Opposition, and which could do much to promote good will and better understanding, may be rejected by the Government, but it will be accepted as reasonable by a wider audience outside the Parliament.

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