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Tuesday, 9 October 1973
Page: 1727

Mr CONNOR - I thank the House. I continue Mr Macbean's statement:

The New South Wales Liberal Government has made it clear that it will not use professional engineers to take over jobs of men engaged in industrial action, nor has it suspended employees for operating at reduced loads. The decision not to use employees of the Snowy Authority to take over operations is precisely in line with the way the Askin Government has been managing the dispute in New South Wales. To attack Mr Connor the way Messrs Fraser and Anthony have is ridiculous, Mr Connor has no more assisted the unions in the management of their campaign than has the New South Wales Premier, SirRobert Askin . . .

The only metropolitan journal in New South Wales and Victoria which published the full text of Mr Macbean's statement was 'The Australian.' The other journals conveniently omitted the major references which I have just quoted.

I also express my contempt - I repeat, my contempt - for the attack made by the honourable member for Wannon on Mr Reiher following the publication of an interview, in the Melbourne 'Age' of 29

September, in which a representative of that paper telephoned him for comment and in which he was reported as saying:

Mr Connormade a responsible decision. If \>Snowy had been the subject of a full scale industrial dispute, the whole system could have been jeopardised . .

On the following day, the honourable member for Wannon again burst forth in the Press, suggesting that I had asked Mr Reiher to make a public statement. I certainly did not do so, nor did I have any knowledge of the newspaper article until it was drawn to my attention by my staff. The honourable member for Wannon, of course, would not spoil a good story for the matter of a few facts. If he has any decency he will apologise unreservedly to a competent and responsible senior public servant who cannot and will not involve himself in public political controversy. The present situation is exactly as I anticipated. New South Wales, with only 20 per cent of its water generating power quota left, has to conserve it for peak hour production. My actions have been in the best interests of the proper and efficient operation of Australia's greatest engineering feat - a Labor dream which became a reality.

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