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Stoppages on Australian waterfront



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DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR A N D NATIONAL SERVICE

N E W S RE L E A S E PRESS STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE WILLIAM MCMAHON. M.P. , MINISTER FOR LABOUR AND NATIONAL SERVICE

. The l a t e s t r a s h o f s t o p p a g e s on t h e A u s t r a l i a n w a t e r f r o n t

i s n o t an odd c o i n c i d e n c e . I t h a s a l l t h e e l e m e n t s of a p l a n n e d

campaign d i r e c t e d "by th e Communist l e a d e r s o f th e W a t e r s i d e W o rk e rs '

F e d e r a t i o n i n c o n c e r t w i t h t h e i r Communist c o l l e a g u e s i n s e v e r a l

o t h e r u n i o n s , and a l s o d i r e c t e d "by t h e C e n t r a l Committee of th e

Communist P a r t y .

The p u b l i s h e d r e a s o n s f o r t h e t r o u b l e s on t h e w a t e r f r o n t ,

s a i d th e M i n i s t e r f o r L a b o u r and N a t i o n a l S e r v i c e , Mr. McMahon,

m a i n l y b e a r on t h e d i s c i p l i n a r y s y s te m a d m i n i s t e r e d b y t h e A u s t r a ­

l i a n S t e v e d o r i n g I n d u s t r y A u t h o r i t y . The f a c t i s t h a t th e

A u t h o r i t y and i t s p r e d e c e s s o r s h ave a d m i n i s t e r e d a s y s t e m of

d i s c i p l i n e on t h e w a t e r f r o n t f o r 18 y e a r s , and t h e r e i s no r e a s o n

f o r b e l i e v i n g t h a t t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f t h e A u t h o r i t y who c o n d u c t

i n q u i r i e s and im pose p e n a l t i e s a c t any d i f f e r e n t l y to d a y f r o m w h a t

th e y have i n t h e p a s t . I n any e v e n t , t h e l e g i s l a t i o n p r o v i d e s

t h a t anyone a g g r i e v e d b y a d e c i s i o n can a p p e a l t o th e Commonwealth

C o n c i l i a t i o n and A r b i t r a t i o n Commission.

. . A s y s te m o f d i s c i p l i n e i s an i n d i s p e n s a b l e p a r t o f t h e

o r g a n i s a t i o n o f w a t e r f r o n t l a b o u r and t h i s i s r e c o g n i s e d i n o t h e r

c o u n t r i e s t h a t have s i m i l a r l y o r g a n i s e d w a t e r f r o n t l a b o u r schem es.

The r e a s o n s why t h e l e a d e r s o f th e W a t e r s i d e W o rk e rs'

F e d e r a t i o n and t h e i r Communist a s s o c i a t e s s h o u l d choose t h i s

moment f o r a s t e p p i n g up o f t h e i r d i s r u p t i v e a c t i o n on t h e w a t e r ­

f r o n t a r c n o t d i f f i c u l t t o f i n d s a i d Mr. McMahon.

I n th e f i r s t p l a c e , t h e Communist P a r t y s e e s t h e ch an ce

t o l i n k i t s d i s l i k e f o r t h e e s t a b l i s h e d s y s te m o f d i s c i p l i n e on

th e w a t e r f r o n t w i t h i t s a t t a c k on th e p r o v i s i o n s i n Commonwealth

and S t a t e i n d u s t r i a l l e g i s l a t i o n d i r e c t e d t o t h e e n f o r c e m e n t o f

i n d u s t r i a l aw ard s. T h is i s , i n s h o r t , p a r t o f t h e c o n t i n u i n g

Communist cam paign d i r e c t e d t o t h e d e s t r u c t i o n of lav/ a n d ' o r d e r i n

i n d u s t r i a l r e l a t i o n s and t h e a r b i t r a t i o n s y s te m i n p a r t i c u l a r . I n

th e s e c o n d p l a c e , t h e Communist P a r t y i s n o t o r i o u s l y a n x i o u s to

t u r n a t t e n t i o n fro m th e g ro w in g r a n k and f i l e d i s c o n t e n t o v e r i t s

h a n d l i n g o f the. d i s p u t e s a f f e c t i n g · t h e S e a m e n 's Award a n d t h e

V i c t o r i a n R a i l w a y s , and t h e ' B r i s b a n e Commonwealth E n g i n e e r i n g Company s t r i k e .

I n a d d i t i o n , i t i s c o n c e r n e d t o t r y t o d e s t r o y t h e n e w ly

fo rm ed F o r e m e n 's A s s o c i a t i o n i n W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a ,

I n N e w c a s tl e y e s t e r d a y t h e Communist P a r t y ' s h a n d was

o p e n ly r e v e a l e d . There, o r g a n i s e d b y t h e N e w c a s tl e W a t e r f r o n t

Group of u n io n s , t h e whole of t h e w a t e r f r o n t u n i o n s s to p p e d work.

A m a jo r m a t t e r d i s c u s s e d a t t h e i r m e e t in g was t h e p r o p o s e d am ending

Commonwealth Crim es A ct w h ic h t h e Communist P a r t y c l e a r l y f e a r s

w i l l h i n d e r i t s a c t i v i t i e s .

A l r e a d y t h i s y e a r n e a r l y tv/icc a s much tim e h a s b e en l o s t

t h r o u g h i n d u s t r i a l d i s p u t e s a f f e c t i n g w a t e r s i d e w o rk e rs a s was

l o s t i n t h e whole o f l a s t y e a r . Now t h a t work i s more p l e n t i f u l ,

s a i d Mr. McMahon, th e Communist l e a d e r s o f t h e W.W.F. seem to b e l i e v e

t h a t t h e y can i n v o l v e t h e r a n k and f i l e i n s t o p p a g e s . They v/erc

n o t game t o t r y t h i s l a s t y e a r when work was l e s s p l e n t i f u l . They

knew t h a t t h e i r members w ould n o t s t a n d f o r i t . Y et t h e i r i n d u s t r i a l

c o n d i t i o n s have n o t ch an g ed m ean w h ile. The t e c h n i q u e s em ployed

a r e s i c k e n i n g l y f a m i l i a r . E m o tio n s a r e w h ip p ed up on f l i m s y i s s u e s

t o c l o a k p o l i t i c a l m o t i v e s .

2

G i v e n a d i f f e r e n t s o r t o f l e a d e r s h i p , a d d e d Mr. McMahon,

t h e r e i s n o d o u b t ' t h a t the_ w a t e r f r o n t i n d u s t r y a n d t h e m a r i t i m e

i n d u s t r i e s w o u l d h e o s t r o u b l e f r e e a s m o s t o t h e r s o f o u r n a t i o n a l

i n d u s t r i e s a n d t h e r a n k a n d f i l e me mbers w o u l d e n j o y s t e a d y e m p l o y ­

m e n t a n d i m p r o v e d e a r n i n g s i n i n d u s t r i e s w h i c h w o u l d p r o v i d e e x p a n d i n g

o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r e m p l o y m e n t . G i v e n a c o n t i n u a n c e o f t h e s o r t o f ‘

l e a d e r s h i p t h e y a r e now g e t t i n g a n d w i t h s t i k e a c t i o n t a k e n f o r

p o l i t i c a l e n d s t h e o u t c o m e w i l l a s s u r e d l y b e c o n t i n u e d c o n t r a c t i o n

o f t h e m a r i t i m e a n d w a t e r f r o n t i n d u s t r i e s , f e w e r j o b s f o r t h e men

t h e m s e l v e s a n d m e a n w h i l e more l o s t t i m e a n d l o w e r , e a r n i n g s .

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