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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1308

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) - I wish to raise a matter in relation to this clause. Proposed new section 12c, which deals with the action that may be taken in respect of an industrial situation reads in part: (1.) Where-

(a)   it appears to a Minister or to the Board that an industrial situation exists or is likely to occur;

I ask the Minister: Does the 'Minister' referred to in that proposed new section have to be the Minister in charge of the department in which the industrial situa tion occurs or is developing? It is claimed by the Opposition and by the unions that the legislation brings in a completely new aspect in this regard; that is, that it is now possible for a Minister who is not connected with the department in which there is an industrial situation or, as we commonly call it, an industrial dispute, to advise the Public Service Board that in fact there is an industrial situation. It seems that the Minister may be the AttorneyGeneral or the Minister for Air when the Departmentof Shipping and Transport is engaged in a dispute. It is claimed that in so advising the Board the Minister is reflecting Government policy. The former situation was - and the situation ought to be - that the Minister represents the management. He is the officer representing the Department of Shipping and Transport if there is a dispute within the Department of Shipping and Transport and he has some basic identity with the dispute which occurs in that department. I am canvassing this matter only because it arises later in respect of other clauses of the Bill. It is an important part of the Bill which ought to be canvassed now. Does this proposed new section mean that any Minister can advise the Board even though his department is not involved? If this is the case, why is that necessary? Is not the commonsense object of the Bill to allow the Minister concerned with the dispute to applyto the Board in order to have the Board take some action?

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