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Wednesday, 19 September 1973
Page: 1296


Mr MCVEIGH (Darling Downs) - Tonight it is a most unpleasant duty for me to bring formally to the knowledge of this House a most distressing blot on the social landscape of Australia. I refer to the strike by employees of the Hospital Employees Union in Queensland at the Challenor Centre and Wolston Park hospital situated in the electorate of Oxley, represented in this House by the Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden), and at Baillie Henderson Hospital in Toowoomba. These 3 hospitals are doing a magnificent job in caring for the unfortunates in our society who have social, mental and psychological problems. The daily average number of people involved as patients at Challenor for the year ending 30 June 1973 was 47.6, for Baillie Henderson 809 and for Wolston Park 1,434.

The number of medical staff at Challenor approximates 350, Baillie Henderson 350 and Wolston Park 750. I give these figures to the House to indicate the magnitude of operations at these centres. The institutions have over the years - years of control and administration by governments of various political colours - endeavoured as a positive instrument of policy to treat their inmates as dignified human beings, to brighten their day and to help them along the road to recovery to lead an ordinary life and existence. We commend them on this. Over the years society must surely owe a great deal of gratitude to those many excellent people who have laboured in this vineyard - a labour of love. Often unnoticed, sometimes unthanked. their work has obviously enriched the lives of the people who have worked there, often for a lifetime.

Tonight I pay tribute to those many people who have contributed to the smooth and efficient operations of the Baillie Henderson Hospital at Toowoomba. Their devotion to duty and application to the task at hand have been matched by the generosity of volunteers who have cared for the patients at Baillie Henderson during the period of the strike - a strike which had its beginning in petty union jealousy. These volunteers, old and young, experienced and inexperienced, answered the call of charity and looked after those unfortunate people when they were left to their own initiative by members of the Hospital Employees Union. The volunteers came from all walks of life, from near and far, and one of the most rewarding episodes was the tremendous response from youth. They turned up in their hundreds. This indicates the quality of the young people in the Darling Downs area. They responded to the challenge and we are mighty proud of them.

I pay special tribute to the local members of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation for their magnificent achievement. Imbued with decency and concern, reliving in their hearts and minds the noble ideals of their founders, and the watchwords: 'You never walk out on your patient', they worked continuously day after day. They were the task force that inspired others to give so generously of their time, energy and talent. Why was this unenviable situation thrust on all these people? There was a demarcation issue between the Hospital Employees Union and the Royal Australian Nursing Federation, all members of which are employed under the Mental Hospital Employees State Award. The demarcation issue had as its focus the Arthur Pavilion of the Challenor Centre in Ipswich. We note how quiet the Minister for Social Security is on this most important issue. When confronted with rabid socialist unions he becomes a toy rabbit in front of a greyhound.


Mr Cooke - Where is he tonight?


Mr McVEIGH - Yes, where is he? He runs for cover - no interest and no comment. For the information of the House I advise that there are 9 wards in the Arthur Pavilion with a charge nurse in charge of each ward. At present these charge nurses are 5 male and 4 females. The responsibility of appointing the charge nurses has been and must continue to be the responsibility of the medical superintendent and senior administrative officer. But the Hospital Employees Union was aggrieved when a female employee of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation was appointed as a charge nurse. All hell literally then broke loose. Of course, the example was set by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) in a speech to the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress - a congress incidentally which he treated with contempt by arriving 6 hours late. His speech was reported in the Financial Review' of 15 August 1973. He said that the necessity to have demarcation disputes was imposed because the law demanded that each union be a separate legal entity. If he does not believe in demarcation issues why does not this self-styled imperious demagogue do something about it? His example encouraged demarcation issues. He could have a double dissolution but he is not game.

Does the Australian Labor Party not regognise the right of women to be in charge of a ward? Why has it been silent? . Does it not wish to defend the rights of women? Where has been the voice of the Minister for Social Security? I am glad that the Minister for Health (Dr Everingham) has come into the chamber. We heard from him a rather feeble bleat. He said that he would offer his services as an arbitrator. Needless to say those services, that little bleat of concern, were turned down and utterly rejected. Why has the Labor Party been silent? I can offer only the following logical solution: Notwithstanding the fact that the above mentioned position was discussed for some months, it was not until Mr Ringlestein, the secretary of the Hospital Employees Union, went on holidays that the simmering kettle boiled. The kettle had been kept simmering by Mr John Francis Daley, an official of the Hospital Employees Union. True to his communistic training and ideologies he stirred up trouble when the boss was away, just as Whitlam and his two or three stooges stir up trouble when Caucus is not present.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Standing Orders provide that when an honourable member refers to another honourable member he should refer to him by his title or his electorate.


Mr McVEIGH - I refer to the Prime Minister. Let us have a look at the background of Daley. In 1958 he unsuccessfully contested the ward of Mount Gravatt at the Brisbane City Council elections of that year as a member of the Communist Party. He is the man responsible for the great inconvenience caused to many people, a man completely devoid of charity and justice, a man who obviously bows and kowtows to Mao. He must have the support of the present Labor administration because we have not heard one word of criticism of him. The Government has needled the population by its silence on this important issue. We cannot even get a glimmer of responsibility. But its sails will be trimmed by the Parramatta by-election on Saturday. The Australian people will not accept irresponsible strikes initiated by a communist in a sneaky way, a strike caused by an internecine union jealousy, a jealousy which would not allow a woman to be given a position of responsibility.

This is a very distressing situation and I am indebted to my colleague the honourable member for Petrie (Mr Cooke) for reinforcing my statements to this House and pointing out that because of this strike, inspired by a member of the Communist Party who contested an election under the banner of that Party and who, when his boss left, stirred up trouble, many innocent children and many people who unfortunately have been afflicted with mental problems were denied their rightful place and hospital care and attention. I am perturbed at the Government of Australia having an involvement with this type of trade union official. Mr Burns, the shadow Minister for Health in Queensland, has not said one thing. The golden rapid voice has been silenced. This man who parades as a champion of the workers had his house broken into and had 7 suits stolen.


Mr Doyle - He had 12 stolen.


Mr McVEIGH - Well, twelve. He bought all of them . in Hong Kong. He is a champion of the workers but he buys his suits in Hong Kong. He does not want to create employment. He has not said one word of protest. He is condoning the action of irresponsible trade unionism - trade unionism that stirs up trouble. When Mr Ringlestein, a solid trade union official, was away, behind his back-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.







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