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Tuesday, 29 October 1974
Page: 2018

Senator WITHERS (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is prompted by statements of disenchantment with the Labor Government which were made by union leaders at the weekend, specifically by the Federal Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, Mr Fitzgibbon, who said that industrial relations in Australia were in a mess, and by the National Secretary of the Clothing and Allied Trades Union of Australia, Mr Peterson, who urged the Government to get off its backside and do something to alleviate the hardship that its policies are causing Australian workers.

Senator Mulvihill - That is not a very nice expression.

Senator WITHERS -Those are Mr Peterson's remarks. When will this Government which promised the Australian people industrial stability and good government-union relations, act to stop this polarisation of government and the Australian worker? When will it announce what action is to be taken to alleviate both unemployment and raging inflation?

Senator MURPHY -A great deal is being done by the Government and announcements are being made from time to time of the measures which the Government is taking to deal with unemployment. The Leader of the Opposition speaks of industrial instability and unemployment. He well knows that Australia has a high degree of employment. Judged by international standards there is very little unemployment in Australia. The Government stands for full employment and is taking every measure it can to cope with the problems which are being created in Australia mostly as part of the world wide phenomenon of inflation. I think the Government will be successful in containing unemployment and in reducing it. All we ask for is some co-operation from those opposite. If they want peace in industry and good industrial relations, one of the things that the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate ought to do is endeavour to persuade his colleagues not to frustrate legislation

Senator Withers - What legislation?

Senator MURPHY -Legislation such as the Government's legislation to reduce the number of trade unions in order to avoid demarcation disputes and unnecessary industrial disputation. If the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and his colleagues played a more constructive role in this Parliament this would serve as an example to industry and the community to assist the Government in carrying us through a period which is difficult world wide. In view of the way in which Australia is being governed and the prosperity in Australia judged by world standards, most people in the world would agree that Australia is doing very well indeed.

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