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Thursday, 19 November 1959

Mr POLLARD (Lalor) .- It is the same old story. Government supporters go to the electors and talk about industrial relations between employers and employees. They talk about organizations having the support of the Government for all sorts of purposes. But they are never prepared to put into practice their preachings. On every commodity board which the Labour Government reconstituted in the post-war era provision was made for representation of the trade union movement. So successful has the trade union movement's association with those authorities been that even this Government, reactionary as it is, has not been prepared to remove that right of representation. It is true that all those organizations on which there is employee representation are termed boards and, as the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) has pointed out, they are commodity boards.

It is true that the measures now before the committee provides for the appointment of a sales promotion committee and not a board. But after all, the people who will find the money for the sales promotion work are the growers, not the canners. But notwithstanding the fact that the growers find the funds for sales promotion work, this Government has seen fit to provide for representation of two other sections of people associated with the industry. Six members are to represent the growers; two members are to represent the Australian Canned Fruits Board. The board is very important to the industry because if it does not carry out its functions satisfactorily it will be a sorry day for the canned fruit producers.

The board's functions under the act are concerned with the export side of the canning industry. Also on the committee will be two members representing the Australian Canners Association. That is an association of proprietors owning canning works. They do not contribute one penny piece to the cost of sales promotion.

Mr Turnbull - Yes, they do.

Mr POLLARD - No, they don't.

Mr Thompson - Only if they grow their own fruit.

Mr POLLARD - Exactly. The fund will be collected through the taxation machinery of the Commonwealth, using as agents the canning works. The canners, in the sense that they are concerned with this committee, do not contribute a solitary penny piece. Why are they to have representation? It is true that they are important in the industry, but no more so than the employees. They are all part and parcel of a most important industry, and if it is correct to place representatives of the canners on the committee, if it is correct to have representatives of the Canned Fruits Board, which controls exports, on the committee, and if it is correct to have on the committee representatives of the Commonwealth Government, which likewise does not contribute under this measure one penny piece, surely it is right to recognize the importance of employees in the industry and to allow them representation on the committee. As for the Commonwealth's interest in the committee, the only contribution that it makes is the cost of policing and administering the act.

The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) made the excuse that this is not a commodity board. I am justified in assuming that if it were a commodity board he would ardently support representation of the employees. But when he had the opportunity on several occasions in this chamber since I have been here he was just as vociferous in his opposition to representation of employees on these commodity boards as he is with regard to the organization proposed to be set up under this bill. The same argument applies to the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull). Those honorable members make excuses on all occasions why representation should not be granted to the people who are entitled to it. Why are these honorable members not honest? Why do they not say that they oppose any form of representation of employees?

Those are my views on this matter, and the honorable member for Hume and the honorable member for Mallee will have an opportunity to prove their sincerity when the vote is taken on the amendment that will be moved to another measure after this bill has been disposed of. My friend, the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) will move to allow representation of the unions in the industry on the Australian Canned Fruits Board. Then the honorable member for Hume will be tested. He will not be able to say that the board is not a commodity organization. It controls exports, does it not?

Mr Adermann - It does not trade.

Mr POLLARD - There will be no satisfactory trade without its operations. It trades as much as it is required to do under the charter that is given to it by the Commonwealth and under which it operates. It is high time the Minister and his Government and honorable members who support the Government brought their ideas up to date and showed the true spirit that they claim is necessary between employee and employer in order to stop the advance of communism in this country. Honorable members opposite continually prattle about the menace of communism; but the moment it is suggested that employee organizations be given representation and an opportunity to show their desire to co-operate for the advancement of the industry, honorable members opposite jib at the hurdle. In those circumstances the honorable member for Hume and the honorable member for Mallee, might, even at this late hour, reconsider the situation and support the amendment that will be moved by the honorable member for Bendigo.

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