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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1145

Senator CARRICK - I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether his attention has been drawn to an article in the 'National Times' of Sunday, 25th September, which itemises a series of incidents of murder, attempted murder and serious violence on the Melbourne waterfront allegedly involving members of the Painters and Dockers Union. Is the Minister able to say whether the article is a reasonably factual representation of the situation? Are any of these matters within Commonwealth jurisdiction arising out of the Commonwealth's arbitration or other powers?

Senator GREENWOOD - I have seen the article to which the honourable senator refers. As far as I am aware it is a reasonably factual account. I think most of the matters which have been related are common knowledge. As to whether this matter is within Commonwealth jurisdiction because the organisation is registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, I think it is fair to say that certain powers may be exercised with regard to registered organisations. But without further investigation I cannot say whether any function could be exercised with regard to this organisation in the light of the material contained in that article. This is another example of violence which, for the greater part, goes undetected, notwithstanding the fact that every effort is being made by the police to get information, which, unfortunately, is not available, that would enable prosecutions to be launched. That, of course, is not the only area in which the police are faced with this problem.

Unquestionably what would be useful would be, for example, an indication by those who have power and influence within the Australian trade union movement that membership of the Australian Council of Trade Unions is dependent upon the executives of unions ensuring that conduct of this sort that can be shown to have a real union basis, as the article suggests, will not be tolerated and that if it does continue the organisation concerned will not continue to be a member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I think that would be a salutary step in the right direction.

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