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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 2576


Mr RIORDAN (PHILLIP, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Immigration the following question: In view of the fact that many thousands of nonEnglish speaking migrants make up a significant part of the Australian work force, will the Minister take steps to make available appropriate explanatory material in the relevant languages showing the rights as well as the obligations of employees? Will the Minister confer with the Minister for Labour with a view to ensuring that awards and decisions of State and Australian arbitration tribunals as well as State and Australian statutes are translated and published in the appropriate languages so that all workers, irrespective of their national origin, will understand and have the capacity to enforce their rights legally? Is this matter yet another important area neglected by the previous Government?


Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - I felt that possibly the greatest breakthrough in this particular sphere of allowing, permitting and encouraging migrants to know about their rights and privileges as Australian workers came when Mr Justice Moore, in handing down a decision, said that that decision would be made available in the languages of the people who had been concerned in the dispute and who had been encouraged to come and work in this country. I have considerable sympathy for the problem that has been raised by the honourable member because in a survey of several thousand factories not so long ago it was found that the highest incidence of industrial accidents was being sustained by recently arrived workers. When we looked into this it was discovered that the main reason was that adequate advice on safety measures, expressed in the languages of the people concerned, was not displayed in factories. It was also pretty obvious that having been injured, many of these people were not aware of their compensation rights. I think the suggestion advanced by the honourable member has considerable merit. I will certainly confer with the Minister for Labour to see whether we can do 2 things. The first is to ensure that the example set by Mr Justice Moore is followed by all his colleagues in the Australian and State spheres, wherever relevant and possible. The second is that we should try to make a renewed effort to see that newly arrived workers know their rights and responsibilities in terms of their awards and all the protections which they can call upon when they need them.







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