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Thursday, 20 April 1961

Mr KEARNEY (CUNNINGHAM, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether it is a fact that the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia was fined £500 for contempt of court by the Commonwealth Industrial Court because of a stoppage of work in Melbourne on 15th March last. I also ask whether this brings the total of fines imposed on this union, together with legal costs ordered to be paid by it, to about £5,000 since a provision for the banning of strikes was inserted in the waterside workers' award in March, 1960. If these are facts, I ask the Minister: Does he understand that the trade union movement throughout Australia affirms, as a basic principle, that unions and workers have a right to strike in pursuit of industrial justice, and, further, does he agree with this principle? Finally, will the Minister take action in this Parliament to repeal repugnant portions of the relevant legislation, because sections of the people have been forced to come into conflict with its provocative provisions, have been penalized by severe fines and have been threatened with other punitive action?

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