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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1389

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that at the request of conservation bodies, citizen and resident action groups, the New South Wales Builders Labourers Federation has imposed green bans' on development in the Sydney region to an estimated value of $3,000m? Do not these community organisations see the union bans as their only safeguard against the follies of officialdom? Can the Minister assess the effects of these bans on the already overheated building industry, and state whether the Federal Government sees the green bans as an important tool in the country's fight against inflation? Will the Minister agree that if all these bans were lifted, the demands on resources in the building industry would seriously worsen the inflationary pressures in the economy and harm the Government's endeavours to solve the housing crisis?

Senator MURPHY -It may be that if the bans were not operating there would be heavier pressure on the building industry. However may I say that I think it is quite inappropriate that the determination of these matters should be by any trade union. It is not the function of a trade union properly to determine matters of the environment. It is not the function of a trade union to determine the question of the general management of the economy. Indeed, I understand that is what the trade union mentioned by the honourable senator says itself. I seem to recall statements by Mr Mundey that it should not be his function and that it should not be the function of the trade union to do these things. However, he pointed out that because of what was happening and because no one else was taking action he considered- and I am speaking in regard to the environment- that there ought to be bodies with appropriate functions which could give proper advice and which would have authority to stop the erection of buildings which would destroy the environment and stop the destruction of those buildings which were part of our history. What has been done by Mr Mundey and by the trade union has occurred because of the default of the New South Wales Government to attend properly to matters of the environment.

The management of the economy is something which the Federal Government can attend to if it is given appropriate powers by this Parliament or by the people. Insofar as the Constitution permits and this Parliament allows the laws to be made, the Federal Government will manage the economy properly. But if this Parliament or one section of it sets out to prevent the Federal Government having ample powers to manage the economy, the people of Australia will suffer.

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