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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 2327

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In this matter the Opposition wishes to move an amendment as follows:

In proposed new section 145(4.) after 'informed' insert 'in writing'.

I note that this morning the Government circulated among ils further amendments an amendment in the same terms. I take this to mean that the Government concedes the force of the Opposition's point on this matter. Briefly, the amendment to section 145 of the principal Act which was inserted in the Bill had as its intention the laying down of a general rule that resignations from a union should be in writing. But sub-clause (4.) made an exception to this general rule by providing that resignation of membership of an organisation is valid notwithstanding that it is not effected in accordance with this section - that is, in general, not in writing - if the member is informed by or on behalf of the organisation that the resignation has been accepted. In other words, it was not to be open to a union to claim that: a man had not resigned, even though he had not resigned in writing, if the union had accepted the resignation.

But the flaw in the formulation of the Bill is that it would leave it open to a member to claim that he had been informed over the telephone or otherwise verbally that his resignation had been accepted, and there would be no safeguard for the union on the question of whether it had been accepted. This is cleared up by inserting the words 'in writing'. In other words, a resignation which is not in writing will still be valid provided that the union has acknowledged in writing that the resignation has been made. This is the purport of the addition of these words.

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