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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1301

Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - Mr Chairman, in our stately progress through this measure we now have some more people witnessing what is going on. For how long that state of affairs will continue is hard to say, but from time to time we will redress the situation as we see fit. Let us understand that. I have listened very carefully to Senator Bishop and Senator Cavanagh who have spent a large part of their lives arguing industrial arbitration matters and the problems that arise from them. Their observations have made fairly clear why we are proceeding at such a rate through this measure. They see tremendous harm and danger, causes for great concern etcetera, in all this legislation. Most other people find it hard to see those dangers, but if you are in a situation in your life in which you just trust nobody and question all the motives of other people involved in this sort of issue, progress is bound to be remarkably slow.

Senator Cavanagh - That is why we have laws, because of that trust.

Senator COTTON - I am entitled to make my quiet observations as to what I believe we are engaged in, just as Senator Cavanagh is entitled to make observations which impute motives to people, if I may say so, which they do not have and which are not quite proper. That is not right. We are dealing with a very competent government department which is advising the Government on legislation which has gone through the House of Representatives mid is now being subjected to an examination in the Senate. That is very proper, but from my superficial observations in a rather limited time it has been indicated to me quite clearly that the examination is not quite what it is said to be.

The Public Service Arbitration Act exclusively deals with the Public .Service to which it. applies. Except where that Act or some other Act specifically so provides, the Conciliation and Arbitration Act does not apply. One case, where the Conciliation and Arbitration Act does apply is that mentioned by Senator Cavanagh. It is covered by section 1 1 a of the Public Service Arbitration Act which provides: (1.) Subject to the next succeeding sub-section, an organisation of employees in the Public Service is not entitled to submit to (he Commission a claim relating to conditions of employment of members of the organisation. (2.) An organisation of employee?; in the Public Service may submit such a claim to the Commission -

(a)   with the consent of the Arbitrator; or

(b)   where, in pursuance of section fourteen a of this Act, the Arbitrator or a Deputy Arbitrator has (otherwise than on the ground of triviality) refrained from hearing, or from further hearing, or from determining the claim. (3.) The Arbitrator shall not give his consent under paragraph (a) of the last preceding subsection unless, in his opinion, the claim is one that he would, in pursuance of section fourteen a of this Act, be likely to refrain from hearing, or from further hearing, or from determining (otherwise than on the ground of triviality).

Other cases are dealt with by other Acts - for example, the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Act and the Commonwealth Teaching Service Act. I have some comments which may be of assistance to Senator Bishop and to other honourable senators. There is no material difference between Section 29 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act and the proposed Section 12e of the Public Service Arbitration Act. Each section allows the Commissioner or the Arbitrator to direct any person to be present. Beyond that I cannot help honourable senators at the moment.

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