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Monday, 13 May 1985
Page: 1797

Senator CHANEY —My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It follows his rather evasive answer to the question asked by my colleague Senator Lewis. I understood the Leader of the Government to say that he relied, in his comments on Mr Dolan, on what was reported in the West Australian of last Friday. I have given the Minister a copy of the front page of that paper. The only references to Mr Dolan's comments appeared to be as follows:

Mr Dolan and other ACTU officials yesterday also strongly reiterated their organisation's policy of opposition to the Government's proposed broad-based consumption tax.

A little later it is reported:

Mr Dolan said the ACTU policy of opposition was quite definite.

A little later it said, in direct quotes:

I don't know who the 10 supporting indirect taxes would be, quite frankly.

I ask the Minister: What was it in those comments, which are apparently what he saw in Perth, that led him to say that Mr Dolan's comments, as he understood them, did not necessarily represent the view of the trade union movement and, in that sense, they were perhaps unfortunate?

Senator BUTTON —Last week all sorts of statements were being made, by various people purporting to represent the trade union movement, on the proposed broadly based consumer tax and other aspects of the tax package. To single out Mr Dolan's views as 'necessarily representing the view's of the trade union movement' I think, in that circumstance, would be inaccurate. As I said, according to the transcript given to me by Senator Lewis, Mr Dolan's views did not necessarily represent the views of the trade union movement. It may be that as a result of subsequent events, namely, Mr Crean's view and the views of others, they did, but at the time I said that they did not necessarily represent the views of the trade union movement and I adhere to that.