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Cook's constitutional "gobbledegook"



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JOHN HOWARD, M.P.

M EM BER FOR BENNELONG

NEWS RELEASE SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

IRET 32/92

COOK'S CONSTITUTIONAL "GOBBLEDEGOOK"

Reports that Senator Cook has offered to shelve his contractors' legislation pending a High Court ruling on its constitutionality raises serious questions about the Minister's basic judgment and competence.

When did the High Court of Australia acquire the power to give advisory opinions?

That option was rejected years ago in a referendum. Has Senator Cook discovered a constitutional magic pudding?

This bill can only come before the High Court if it is first enacted by the parliament and then becomes the subject of a specific challenge, either from a party affected by its provisions or from the Attorney-General of one of the Australian states.

Employers should ensure that this is not another ruse by the Minister to forestall the strong publicity blitz about to be unleashed against the bill.

There is a very simple principle at stake. Is the Keating government to be allowed to impose the industrial relations system of the building and construction industry on such sectors of the economy as the home building industry?

That is the effect of Senator Cook's contractors' bill. It is a blatant sell-out to his old mates in the Building Workers' Industrial Union.

The only way the industrial anarchy exposed by Roger Gyles in his Royal Commission in New South Wales can be stopped from spreading is for the Cook bill to be completely withdrawn or, if not, defeated in the parliament.

Talk of advisory opinions is so much constitutional gobbledegook. It is an ill-informed diversion; no-one should be deceived by it.

CANBERRA 28 May 1992

COMMONWEALTH p a r l ia m e n t a r y LIBRARY MICAH