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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1402


Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) -The motion before the chamber has been moved for the purpose of debating a matter of urgency, namely, the Seamen's Union of Australia being used to boycott and destroy Tasmania's seaborne trade. As Senator Wriedt has pointed out, the language of the motion is exaggerated. It is quite obvious that both Senator Wright and Senator Rae get on board a ship every time it suits them. We noticed that they were very active a few months ago on the eve of their preselection for the Senate. Now we find that they have ceased to be barnacles and have got on board again when they have another issue which they can bring up on the air and by which they can delay the Senate in introducing overdue legislation which can bring equity to employees as well as employers throughout the country. For so long the employers of this country have had the protection of the Government. Now the other side of the bargain will be considered. We have legislation prepared which will resolve many of these problems.

The matter of urgency uses the words 'destroy Tasmania's seaborne trade', lt is not Tasmania's seaborne trade. Japan's seaborne trade is the matter which Senator Wright has raised. When it happens to suit the Japanese a ship calls at South Australia to take Chrysler cars from South Australia via Hobart to New Zealand. Over the years there has been a long-standing agreementespecially since we have been in power- that Australian interstate shipping should be, as far as possible, carried out by Australians. There is this talk about destroying Tasmania's seaborne trade. There have been delays. Some of the reasons have been trivial but some have been in relation to negotiations for a common industry award. Instead of this problem being solved years ago there was a lack of communication between employer and employee. Many of these disputes are on the same basis. But the award is now in operation. The situation is that the dispute has been resolved.

This matter could have been raised earlier but that would not have suited Senator Wright or Senator Rae because we have not been on the air since last Wednesday. It was settled in Sydney after a meeting of the unions had received an assurance that the question of Tasmanian trade would be discussed as soon as possible. The union delegate on the 'Poolta' said that a meeting of unions at Macquarie Wharf had decided to accept the Sydney recommendations. This is much ado about nothing.


Senator Rae - Does the honourable senator disagree with Mr Barnard about the importance of strikes in disrupting Tasmania's shipping services?


Senator O'BYRNE - I know there has been an agreement that special consideration will be given to Tasmania. The unions have more or less made an agreement that that will be the situation. But this motion relates to the Seamen's Union. There have been disputes in other sections of the stevedoring industry. As was referred to today, the Federated Storemen and Packers Union had a dispute which was settled. The slaughtermen, members of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union, were not so much in difficulties as protecting their own interests because overseas buyers were taking Tasmanian export beef to Victoria to be slaughtered. But these were domestic issues. They do not come into this exaggerated motion which is before the Senate relating to the monoply power of the Seamen 's Union being used to boycott and destroy Tasmania's seaborne trade. I think that the motion should be treated with the contempt which is its due. We should get on with the important business of the nation rather than allowing honourable senators opposite to use this Senate as a rostrum for pushing their own barrows.







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