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Opposition call for action on NSW train stoppage



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PRESS RELEASE THE SENATE

Senator Tony Messner Shadow Minister for Community Services

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OPPOSITION CALL FOR ACTION ON NSW TRAIN STOPPAGE

An Opposition frontbencher has called upon the Federal

Government to consider withholding unemployment benefits to

the wives of striking transport workers in New South Wales.

Senator Tony Messner - Shadow Minister for Community Services

- was speaking today following indications that the NSW

train drivers strike could erupt into a national stoppage.

"The principle involved is quite clear: if unionists strike,

they should bear responsibility for their actions.

"Unemployment benefits should not be used to subsidise strike

pay.

The system should not be circumvented by the striker using

his spouse's unemployment benefits.

"If the Government is seriously committed to protecting the

general community from irresponsible strikes and a national

escalation of the NSW train drivers' strike it should be

taking a closer look at the current practice of spouse©1

unemployment benefits being used to protect the unionists

against the effects of their own decisions.

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- 2 -

"Ιη 1981, the f o r m e r L i b e r a l / N a t i o n a l P arties Gove r n m e n t

s o u g h t to remedy this s i t u a t i o n t h r o u g h a bill to amend the

s o c i a l s e r v i c e s l e g i s l a t i o n in such a way as to pr o h i b i t

the p a y m e n t of u n e m p l o y m e n t b e n e f i t s to s t r i k e r s ’ spouses.

"That move f a i l e d b e c a u s e the D e m o c r a t s and the Labor Party

r e j e c t e d the Bill in the Senate.

"We c an only h ope the A L P can look at the p r o b l e m in a more

r e s p o n s i b l e m a n n e r than it did w h i l e in o p p o s i t i o n and give

t his m a t t e r the m e a s u r e of p r i o r i t y it d e s e r v e s , " s e n a t o r M e s s n e r

c o n c l u d e d

A D E L A I D E 23 J A N U A R Y 1985

C ONTACT: S E N A T O R M E S S N E R (08) 213 2240