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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1401

Senator TOWNLEY (Tasmania) - I rise briefly to give support to this motion moved by Senator Wright. I do not agree that it is a waste of time to debate these matters. I feel that we Tasmanian senators must stick up for Tasmania and this is supposed to be a States House where we do just that. It is obvious to anyone who lives in Tasmania that Tasmania is at a tremendous disadvantage and needs special treatment in this matter of shipping and transport. Because ours is an island State we can be held to ransom. A union- whether it is the Seamen's Union, or the Waterside Workers Federation, one of the airline unions or a refuelling union- can do a lot of damage to us. We heard previous speakers give details of just how much trouble some of the unions have forced on Tasmania. These disputes have been going on for many years and there is definite evidence that firms are leaving and have left the State as a result of unreliable shipping services. Some people who holiday in Tasmania or those who wish to go from Tasmania to the mainland and take their cars with them to save hiring one quite often find that they are locked in Tasmania. If they are locked in Tasmania perhaps it is a good thing; if they are left on the mainland for too long it might be a bad thing. But they cannot bank on their shipping booking being available because these ships are usually tied up at times of most inconvenience to the public. Unions in some cases seem to have very little regard for the shipping service as it affects the people, producers and companies in Tasmania. We have got to a stage with the economy of Tasmania where we need help. I do not intend to go to great lengths to bash the unions. I know many unionists who get as annoyed as I do about these hold-ups. There are a lot of reasonable people in some of the trade unions. But what I feel and what I want to suggest is that the Commonwealth Government should bring in legislation which insists that all services be continued across Bass Strait to Tasmania at all times. The legislation should make it illegal for any union to interfere with scheduled services to this island State. We are a State of the Commonwealth. All the other States can use their road or rail transport to get about. But because we are an island we need legislation which will keep us linked to the mainland at all times. I hope the Government considers that as a positive suggestion. Let us have positive legislation which will look after Tasmania and insist that we are always linked to the mainland in one way or another.

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