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: 1292

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Health) (12.33) - The Committee is dealing with clause 3. Senator Bishop drew an analagous argument with respect to clause 4, but I wish to deal with the matter on the basis of the provisions of clause 3. As we know, clause 3 amends section 3 of the principal Act which relates to definitions. Clause 3 provides for a new concept of industrial situation'. This was the point, to which reference has been made. Clause 3 means that the definition of 'determination' is amended to include an order made by the Arbitrator under the new provisions for dealing with industrial situations.

Industrial situation' is defined also. An industrial situation is analagous to an industrial dispute as defined in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The definition is couched in very wide terms to cover stoppages of work in general, bans or limitations on particular work or work in a particular area, working to regulations, refusal to work overtime, refusal to carry out particular duties, go slows and refusal to obey directions. It also adds a new sub-section (2.) to section 3. This new sub-section provides that conduct of officers or employees can constitute an industrial situation even though the conduct relates to part only of the duties that officers or employees are required to perform, lt deals, for example, with a refusal by employees who perform all other duties to process telegrams.

The point was made, as I grasped it, that the legislation casts a wide net - I think that that was the inference to be drawn from what was said - and that that ner catches the Public Service unions. In fact, the situation is that no net is put out by the Bill. It merely provides the means cif getting strikes and other forms of direct action before the Public Service Arbitrator. The Arbitrator has to hear the parties to those industrial situations. He does not have an unlimited discretion. He is given the responsibility of calling the parties before him and of trying to reach a settlement. Notwithstanding the firm references made to me by both honourable senators, 1 point out that in attempting to have the second reading debate disposed of before 1 1 o'clock last night I quoted some figures in relation to settlements that have been made and, if necessary, \ will quote those figures again in the Committee stage.

The Arbitrator is given power to (eli unions not to engage in industrial action. He is given power to deal with the issues in dispute. He is given power to deal with other applications that may be made to him. As I pointed out in the second reading speech, management might ask the Arbitrator to order the standing down of employees who cannot be gainfully employed because of a strike or the standing down of employees who refuse to do all their duties. The point I want to make is that equally the unions can ask that their claims be dealt with and resolved, lt is not a one way ride, as has been implied. What remedy is used by the Arbitrator or what course he takes is up to him to decide. I return to the point that has been made, namely, that the Opposition opposes these things; it does not accept them. Quite frankly, when we get to the moment of truth, when the Government says that it believes that they are right and the Opposition says that it does not accept them, I believe that we should decide the issue by ascertaining the will of the Senate.

Suggest corrections