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Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1815


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am sorry that the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) chose to speak disparagingly of my colleague, the honourable member for Phillip (Mr Riordan), because he should realise that the honourable gentleman, until he came into this Parliament, was easily one of the most eminent trade union officials in Australia. He had been a prominent trade union official for all his working life. He came into the trade union movement as the State Secretary of the Federal Clerks Union of Australia when he was only 22 years of age, and he is regarded by all sections of the trade union movement - whether they are communists, supporters of the Democratic Labor Party, Labor Party people, right, left or centre - as the most competent and one of the most capable men in the business. So to suggest that the honourable gentleman does not know what he is talking about is something which the honourable member for Moreton will live long enough to learn to his regret is not true. 1 do not want to take very long and I will invite the honourable member for Phillip to cite examples of where the present system has not been operating. All that 1 intend to say is that the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Viner) and his learned friend who preceded him, the honourable member for Moreton, do not seem to understand what the amendments are all about. This particular amendment simply says in ordinary lay language that no longer will we have people called arbitration commissioners and others called conciliation commissioners. In future we will have commissioners and presidential members. But the commissioners, the ones we are now talking about, will be people who will be free and who will be authorised to carry out arbitration proceedings and conciliation proceedings. If the honourable gentlemen will look at clause 12 of the Bill they will see that it alters section 22 of the Act.


Mr Killen - Exactly. You have identified the problem.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My dear friend, if you understand that this is dealing with section 22, you make the mystery even deeper that you should then go on to say that there is anything wrong with the proposal we are now discussing. We are proposing that in future a commissioner will have the right to carry out both functions unless one of the parties objects. All that has to happen where a party to the proceedings believes that something that was said during conciliation proceedings could prejudice that person's position should the event have to be arbitrated upon, is for him to say: 'I object'. If he objects we are then back to the position that now appertains. We are back to exactly where we were. Once an objection is taken it is fatal. The person who dealt with the proceedings up to that point has to retire from the case, and another person who had nothing to do with conciliation proceedings enters the picture and proceeds to carry out the arbitration proceedings.

I said in my second reading speech that I was not prepared at this stage to knock out completely the separation of conciliation and arbitration powers. I said that the Government proposed to continue the experiment for a little longer. I acknowledge that there may be some merit in separating the 2 functions but I do not want to see the farcical position that now operates continue for much longer where, in order Vo get around the present provisions of the Act, presidential members have had to invoke sections of the Act that would allow them to use both conciliatory and arbitral functions. By a mere device which, if tested, would probably be found to be illegal they have brought about the very situation which we now say should be formalised. All that needs to be done by anybody who wants one man to step out once conciliation has broken down and arbitration has to be entered upon, is for him to object. The new Act will provide for the objection to be upheld. The honourable member for Phillip can cite plenty of examples of how the present system has not worked. I will not enlarge upon them because there are many of them.


Mr McMahon - Give us one or two examples if you can.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am sorry, sir. There are plenty of them. The honourable member for Phillip, who is a practitioner in the field, and who has only just left this jurisdiction as a court advocate and an advocate before the Commission, can cite plenty of examples. I will now resume my seat so that he may do so, because what I would have to say would only relate second hand the first hand information that the honourable member for Phillip can give to the Committee.


Mr McMahon - So you admit you do not have them?


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I have plenty of them. I have a whole bag full of them here.


Mr McMahon - Will you table those? Mr Lynch - Mr Chairman, 1 would be very happy to give the Minister leave.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No. The honourable gentleman can cite them to you.







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