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Thursday, 20 April 1961

Mr McMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - I think the answer to the first two questions asked by the honorable member is in the affirmative, but I will check the statements, and if the honorable member's information is not correct I will let him know. As to the third question, the waterside workers have ample opportunity to take remedial action if they believe themselves to be aggrieved. They can go to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and apply for a change in their award. They can also approach the employers and try to achieve something by negotiation. What they are doing is this: They are trying to get the benefit of awards without living up to their obligations. No law-abiding community can tolerate such action for very long, and the waterside workers should realize that every time they unlawfully go on strike they cost the community large amounts of money, and that this increases the general level of our costs and has an adverse effect on our international trade.

As to the honorable member's final question, I can state quite emphatically that the time has come when the waterside workers should appreciate the fact that they are their own worst enemies. I can also state that I have no intention of recommending any change in the relevant legislation.

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