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Government must act now to break public service strike

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Deputy Leader of the Opposition NEWS RELEASE BY JOHN HOWARD MP D18/85


The Hawke Government must act immediately to break the treacherous public service strike which is causing devastating harm to the Australian economy.

This dispute, which has been going on for six weeks, is one of the major domestic reasons for the fall in the Australian dollar.

The public service unions are effectively denying supply to the elected government by refusing to forward tax and customs payments. This has led to an artificial lowering of short term interest rates , placed

additional pressure on the Australian dollar.and cast doubts on the Hawke Government's ability to take tough decisions where necessary.

. Mr Hawke and Mr Willis have handled this dispute with appalling weakness.

There must be no further delay in smashing this strike.

The Hawke Government must:

• transfer Commonwealth public servants who are prepared to work into the Tax Department and Customs Office in order to immediately clear money owing to the Government, issue

debit notes and process goods which are being held up. If necessary, officers should be temporarily moved from Canberra to the various regional offices to do this work;

. prosecute any public servants who have broken the law by their industrial guerilla tactics. So far no action has been taken

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 . . / 2

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against Commonwealth employees who have sabotaged safes and deliberately disrupted computer operations. Any officers found guilty of criminal offences should be dismissed from the public service and their personnel files marked "not to be re-employed";

. cease to collect dues for the ACOA, APSA and the Taxation Branch of the Federated Clerks' Union;

. reintroduce the no work as directed no pay provisions of the Public Service Act and the Commonwealth Employees (Employment Provisions) Act. This legislation should be passed immediately the Parliament resumes

this week;

. support the CAI1s submission to the Arbitration Commission that the National Wage Case hearings should be delayed until the ACTU brings the public service unions into line. It is

incomprehensible that the Hawke Government should support a National Wage Case hearing when three key unions continue to defy the rulings of the Arbitration Commission.

There must be no further delays or equivocations. This strike has been allowed to go on for too long. The time has come for the Hawke Government to bite the bullet and indicate that it will stand up to the public service unions.

Canberra ,

20 February 1985