Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1291


Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) - I also wish to ask some questions on clause 4 in relation to the interpretation of 'industrial situations'. My questions follow on the points mentioned by Senator Bishop. I ask: Why has the definition of industrial dispute' as appears in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act been departed from? I think that point supports what Senator Bishop has said. If the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) had heard my second reading speech he would know that, to my mind, the important difference between this definition and the definition of 'industrial dispute' in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is that in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act an industrial dispute must be a dispute relating to an industrial matter.

This is a most important clause because industrial dispute' under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is defined as an industrial matter strictly limited to a dispute between employer and employee. The definition of 'industrial situation' in the Public Service Arbitration Bill goes further than the definition of 'industrial dispute' in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. But the definition of 'industrial situation' is not related to industrial matters as defined under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Therefore, one is led to the belief that the definition in this Bill can be extended to include a dispute which may affect a public servant but in which that public servant is not involved. It could be any dispute.

Before we adopt the definition of 'industrial situation' I think that we need to know why it differs from the definition contained in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Does this Bill give power to the Arbitrator to operate in a situation where an Industrial situation is defined or stipulated at the same time as the Minister controlling the Department in which a dispute occurs or is likely to occur has the right under the existing legislation to hand the dispute over to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission? Public servants are employees within the terms of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Therefore is it the position that 2 authorities can decide on different action and on different orders with respect to the one dispute?

In 1920 the right to fix wages and conditions of employment was handed over to the Public Service Arbitrator. By section 11a of the Public Service Arbitration Act Parliament took from organisations of employees in the Public Service the right to approach the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in respect of certain matters. That power which existed under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act has been taken away. The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission has power under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to handle disputes in the Public Service. Why, by this legislation, should we give that power to another body, namely the Public Service Arbitrator, without removing the right to make the approach to the Commission under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act? It must be clear from the words used in both Acts - I have gone to some length to point this out - that there are now 2 bodies which can punish a public servant if he is involved in a dispute. It may well be that the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act compel action to be taken in respect to such a dispute and that 2 orders may be issued - that a double punishment may be meted out to a public servant as a result of the provisions of this Bill.







Suggest corrections