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Tuesday, 18 May 1965

Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) , - I would like some clarity on this matter. The amendment seems to give so little benefit that I question whether it meets the intention of the Minister. Senator Murphy said that sub-section (b) of section 109(1.) would have no application to most unions. That is the section under which most unions are fined. The amendment has no application to sub-section (b) where there is a contravention of the Act. Again it only has application to a part of sub-section (b). I can see that the Minister cannot follow me. If we look at the proposed new section 109a we find it states - (1.) The Court shall not commence the hearing of an application for an order under paragraph (b) of sub-section (1.) of the last preceding section to enjoin an organisation or person from committing a breach or non-observance of an award unless the Court is satisfied . . .

Unless the court is satisfied that certain conditions have been complied with it will not enjoin an organisation for committing a breach or non-observance of an award. The present paragraph (b) of section 109 (1.) covers contravention of the Act or a breach or non-observance of an award. The proposed sub-section has application only to the breach of an award. Therefore, it must have very limited application. I ask the Minister: Has it any application to a union which already has a bans clause in its award?

Paragraph (b) seeks -

.   . to enjoin an organisation or person from committing or continuing . . . a breach or non-observance of an award.

That is, enjoining another organisation. But if there is an organisation which has a limitations clause in its award, can it contemplate a strike if the relevant clause in the award prohibits it from proposing to strike? If it strikes it must be guilty under sub-section (1.) of section 109.

I also ask the Minister in his reply to give an opinion on the other point I raised, namely, whether the court can take cognisance of a dispute or a pending dispute for the purpose of enjoining an organisation if the notification is not given without delay or if the registrar is not satisfied that the explanation is reasonable. Will the net result of this be to give the court power to decide that it is compulsory to report any dispute or pending dispute, although at the present time disputes are not reported until they reach such proportions that they could become somewhat dangerous to the employer? Will not the proposed amendment necessitate the reporting of more disputes or pending disputes to the court? Once they are reported to the court, is the court under an obligation to hear submissions and determine whether or not an organisation should be enjoined?

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