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Wednesday, 10 June 1970


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that International Labour Organisation Convention No. 3 provides that employees who become mothers shall be allowed to nurse their babies during working hours for half-hour periods twice a day.

(2)   Does the Commonwealth observe this requirement in respect of its own employees.

(3)   Which of the member States have ratified Convention No. 3.


Mr Snedden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Convention No. 3 - Maternity Protection, 19.19 applies only to women employed in public or private industrial or commercial undertakings. It provides that women shall not be permitted to work during the 6 weeks following confinement and that they shall have the right to leave from work during a period of 6 weeks prior to confinement. They are to be entitled to free attendance by a doctor or a certified midwife and to the payment of benefits sufficient for the adequate maintenance in hygienic conditions of mothers and children during the period of absence. The payments are to be provided either out of public funds or by means of a system of insurance. It also provides that mothers are to be allowed to nurse their children during working hours for halfhour periods twice a duy.

(2)   In the light of its scope as defined above, the Convention would be applicable to a relatively small proportion of Commonwealth employees.

Moreover, the Commonwealth Public Service Act enables female officers to be granted up to 20 weeks' leave after confinement. In these circumstances, and since the prevailing practices regarding nursing mothers engaging in employment in Aus.rtalia are different from the circumstances envisaged by the Convention, the need for providing for daily absences for the purpose mentioned has not arisen.

(3)   Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, France, Gabon, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Republic of Guinea, Hungary, Italy, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Nicarague, Panama, Rumania, Spain, Upper Volta, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.

There have been few ratifications of this Convention in recent years.

Trade Unions: Actions in Tort (Question No. 845)


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   Is he able to say whether the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1906 decided that the immunity from actions in tort which trade unions had, prior to the Taff Vale decision, enjoyed in practice should be restored and made into a legal right.

(2)   Is he also able to say whether the United Kingdom Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations (1965-1968) found that for the proper discharge of their functions, the complete immunity from actions for torts alleged to have been committed by or on behalf of trade unions in furtherance or contemplation of an industrial dispute was still necessary.

(3)   Is it a fact that trade unions registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act have no such immunity from the 1901 Taff Vale decision.

(4)   If so, what action does the Government propose to update the laws of the Commonwealth in respect of this matter.


Mr Snedden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   1 am advised that the answer to this part of the honourable member's question is 'yes'.

(2)   1 am advised that the United Kingdom Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employer's Associations 1965-1968 found that trade unions should have immunity from action for tort in respect of torts alleged to have been committed by or on behalf of a trade union iti contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.

(3)   I am advised that the provision of the United Kingdom Trade Disputes Act 1906 conferring on trade unions immunity in respect of tortious acts has been reproduced in the Queensland Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act and that there is nothing to suggest that a trade union registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act could not rely on the provision in the Queensland Act if sued in that State. The Commonwealth Conciliation and

Arbitration Act does not include a similar provision. Nor does the legislation of the Slates other than Queensland.

(4)   The honourable member may rest assured that the Government is ever mindful of the importance of trade unions in the Commonwealth industrial relations system and will do all that is necessary for their protection as part of that system.







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