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Tuesday, 13 November 1973
Page: 3187

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (Leader of the Opposition) - I ask leave to incorporate in Hansard a document entitled 'Media Statement by Minister for Labour Embargoed until 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 9 November 1973'.

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -


Extracts from a speech delivered by the Australian Minister for Labour, Mr Clyde Cameron, at a meeting held in Sydney on 9 November 1973, in support of the candidature of Mr Bill Waters, The Australian Labor Party candidate for the electorate of Fuller in the forthcoming New South Wales elections. "The Askin Government's union bashing "legislation" represents the last desperate measures of a government "on the skids" to save itself. It is a tactic similar to those which the McMahon Government frequently tried to employ prior to the Federal elections last year. This is the tactic of attempting to propagate, exacerbate and exploit issues which have a potential for dividing the Australian electorate sharply and bitterly. The people of Australia, and in particular, the people of New South Wales, emphatically rejected these attempts on 2 December last year. They will reject them again on 17 November.

Premier Hamer's published proposals for secret ballots of strikers is an example of irrational policies formulated for political expediency. It would be too kind to Sir Robert Askin to suggest that his proposals could be seen in the same light. The people of New South Wales will see Premier Askin's proposals for what they really are - a cynical piece of cheap political gimmickry.

Both of. these so-called solutions are but smoke screens designed to hide the barren nature of Liberal policies in the field of industrial relations. Premier Hamer's proposals for a strike ballot follows last year's pattern of Liberal gimmickry when the McMahon Government suggested amendment of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to provide for this kind of thing. The amendment wasn't followed up because it had already been shown to be unworkable.

Premier Hamer has not stated whether he would consider a strike to be legitimate if a majority of members voted for it in a secret ballot. One must presume that he would.

The Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Act already makes provision for the Arbitration Commission to order a ballot of members in any strike and this provision has been in operation for about 60 years. It has only been invoked on one occasion and on that occasion the strikers voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. Where would this leave Mr Hamer?

Premier Hamer's proposals for an "industrial peace conference" is more in the style of Premier Askin's political gimmickry. One remembers the challenge that he threw out to the Prime Minister for the State Premiers to meet and discuss with the Prime Minister the question of controlling inflation. The Prime Minister accepted the challenge and when the conference took place Premier Hamer was among those who rejected the initiatives proposed by the Prime Minister.

Industrial unrest cannot be solved by union leaders, employers and politicians sitting around a table of champagne and cigars making grand and meaningless declarations and gestures on labour relations.

Better industrial relations comes from an overall strategy of making our conciliation and arbitration processes more effective in settling industrial disputes quickly and amicably. It involves continual changes to our systems of conciliation and arbitration so that they continually adapt to changing circumstances. The bona fides of the Askin-Hamer Governments in pretending to want industrial peace can be gauged by the actions of their colleagues.'

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