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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1300

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) - I wish to follow up what the Minister has said in answering our questions about a stand down. He said that the Arbitrator, after hearing the parties concerned, could then decide whether a dispute inside or outside the Commonwealth Public Service might require a stand down. One advantage has come from our canvassing of these points until now, at a quarter to three, because we have found out from the Minister and his advisers that they agree with us that in some circumstances disputes outside the Commonwealth Public Service can occasion a stand down in the Commonwealth Public Service. That being so, the other point 1 want to take up with the Minister concerns the words 'after hearing the parties concerned'. I put to the Minister that we are not prolonging this debate simply to cause frustration. This is a very serious piece of legislation. It has been prepared in a hurry in order to catch the members of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union. However, in doing so it casts a wide net which involves every other Commonwealth officer, and possibly, in some actions, it could involve officers of this Parliament.

The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) has said that the proposed new section 12e(3.) substitutes for section 29 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Tt provides:

A direction under sub-section (1) of this section may be given to any person whose presence at (he conference the Arbitrator or Deputy - Arbitrator thinks is likely to conduce to putting an end to, or preventing th; occurrence of, the industrial situation.

Obviously it differs from section 29 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act which refers to directions to the parties with the greatest authority in settling a dispute. I think that departure ought to be noted. There is not complete correspondence between the 2 provisions. I am not criticising the Minister in a personal sense. I merely suggest that what we are talking about now is something which flows from an examination of the legislation which is necessary on behalf of the union members. 1 think it is important to find out whether the unions who represent the workers are in fact right.

I will restate what we have found out up to now: Although before lunch the Government argued that disputes arising outside the Commonwealth Public Service could not be affected by this measure, it is clear now that there is agreement that any dispute outside the Commonwealth Public

Service could occasion a stand down inside the Public Service. In our view that is unjust and legislation should not so provide. My second point is the one I have just raised and I will be interested to find out what the Minister has to say about the related provisions in the 2 pieces of legislation. (Quorum formed)

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