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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 2338


Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - I see a danger in the amendment to my amendment. It is unacceptable to the Opposition. If Senator Little will address himself to it I think he might concede what I am putting. Although the Opposition has had little time to consider his amendment it would seem that it is proposed to leave out paragraph (b) of proposed sub-section (7.) of my amendment, which is the 5 per cent provision, and to insert a provision that the total number of members that have been, and could be, admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation and any other amalgamations during the preceding 2 years shall not exceed 5 per cent. The words 'the total number of members that have been, and could be, admitted' means that there is a completely indeterminant situation. You deal with an organisation that might have SOO members, so that it covers category A, and amalgamates with another organisation that has, say, 100,000 members. In that industry there might be another 5,000 or 10,000 workers who are not in the union. But once the constitution of A is added to the constitution of B it is clear that there could be admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation the required number of members. The amalgamation involves a change of constitution and those other persons could be admitted.


Senator Wright - That is not the true meaning of it.


Senator MURPHY - It is its true meaning. It does not refer to members of the organisation. It does not say that there shall be so many members; it says: 'the total number of members that have been, and could be, admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation. . . .' The amalgamation involves a change of the constitutional rules of the bodies concerned. I suggest with very great respect that because of that the amendment is defective. An amalgamation could never really be established and there would be uncertainty as to whether it was operative. We have put forward an amendment which provides for a figure of 5 per cent. We have said that in special circumstances in which the Registrar thinks there ought to be a ballot he can order to that effect. Surely that is enough to meet the situation. I believe that our amendment should be accepted rather than an amendment which is put forward speedily at this stage and which I think has a serious defect in it. I ask the Senate to support our amendment which is a reasonable one.







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