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Return of the industrial relations bill



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR FRED CHANEY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

ΟΟίνίΐνϊΟΪ ■ j Vv'u aL i Ff PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY C. I. S.

RETURN OF THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS BILL 24/88

The reported return of the tattered remnants of Mr Willis's Bill will do little to improve the industrial relations system in this country.

It merely confirms the inability of the Hawke Government to withstand pressure from the ACTU on the question of more effective measures to ensure compliance with decisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

Last year the government, fearing an election backlash, decided to back down on its outrageous plans to abolish access to common law injunctions against industrial lawlessness and to restrict use of the secondary boycott provisions of the Trade Practices Act.

But it said then it would improve the system of compliance to replace the provisions which Mr Willis himself has described as virtually moribund.

The ACTU said that was not on and the government buckled.

By refusing to do anything about what he admits is a totally unsatisfactory situation, Mr Willis is opting for a continuation of the status quo whereby union observance of Commission orders and decisions is virtually optional.

Unless the government is prepared to tackle this fundamental weakness in the existing system it cannot expect to be taken seriously when it says it wants reform.

The Bill I introduced into the Senate in November last year addresses this problem by making defiance of Commission directions grounds for injunctions from the Federal Court, opening the way to contempt proceedings.

The government should have the courage to support that legislation in the Senate and its passage through the House of Representatives.

I will reserve judgement on other aspects of the latest version of the Willis proposals until I see exactly what has survived the latest re-think in this long running farce.

NEWMAN 30 March 1988 Contact: Keith Kessell (09) 325 8179