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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2816

Senator Primmer asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labor and Immigration, upon notice:

(   1 ) Was Mr J. Grenville, the Federal Secretary of the Clerk's Union, a member of a recent delegation to a meeting of the International Labour Organisation.

(2)   Was Mr Grenville a member of one of the International Labour Organisation's commissions and the only person from all ofthe participating nations to vote against a resolution condemning the Government of Chile.

(3)   Could the status of Mr Grenville at the meeting be construed in a way which would suggest that he was representing the Australian Government at this gathering.

(4)   How did Mr Grenville come to bc appointed to the delegation.

Senator Bishop - The Minister for Labor and Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) Yes. The meeting concerned was the 7th Session ofthe ILO Advisory Committee in Salaried Employees and Professional Workers attended by tripartite delegations from 24 countries including Australia which met in Geneva in September 1974. Mr Grenville was one of the 2 worker representatives in the Australian delegation. The other members of the Australian delegation were 2 government and 2 employer representatives.

(2)   To my knowledge Mr Grenville was not a member of any ILO commission. However, I understand that as a worker representative he took part in meetings of the workers' group, an unofficial grouping consisting of worker representatives attending the Advisory Committee. 1 am told that the workers group adopted a resolution concerning Chile. I am also informed that the chairman of the workers group sought leave from the chairman ofthe Advisory Committee to read that resolution to the Advisory Committee. This was granted but there was no discussion or vote on the resolution in the Committee since il was not related to its agenda. For this reason, the text of the resolution does not appear in any of the records of the Advisory Committee's proceedings. However, I understand that the chairman of the workers' group subsequently passed the groups' resolution to the ILO Director-General. I should make it clear that the proceedings of the workers' group arc not open to government or employer representatives nor are they part of the formal proceedings of the Committee. Consequently the group's deliberations and the manner in which votes are taken are not a matter of public record from which I can indicate how Mr Grenville might have voted on the resolution.

(3)   No.

(4)   The worker delegates for all ILO industrial and analogous Committee meetings to which the Australian Government is invited to send a tripartite delegation arc selected in accordance with the provisions of the ILO Constitution under which Member States 'undertake to nominate nonGovernment delegates and advisers chosen in agreement with the industrial organisations, if such organisations exist, which are most representative of employers or workpeople, as the case may be, in their respective countries' (Article 3:5). In pursuance of this obligation I seek nominations for worker representatives from the Australian Council of Trade Unions, drawing attention to the need for the nominees to be drawn from workers organisations having a substantial membership in the industry or occupational grouping concerned. Mr Grenville was nominated by the ACTU as a worker representative at the meeting in accordance with this established arrangement. 1 might add that the expenses of non-government representatives attending this Advisory Committee were borne by the 1LO.

Seas and Submerged Lands Litigation

Senator Murphy - On 12 and 13 November last 1 answered two questions relating to the seas and submerged lands litigation. These questions were directed to me by Senator Durack. As I indicated in my answer to the first question, 1 was relying on my recollection and, as I indicated when answering the second question, I was not to be seen in any way whatever as expressing criticism ofthe High Court.

It has since been drawn to my attention that the answers read together may suggest that the High Court was asked to fix a date for the hearing of the litigation this year. Such a suggestion would not accord with what I am informed are the facts.

Counsel for the Australian Government and the States by agreement asked the Court to fix a date for hearing early next year, and suggested the month of February. I have thought it desirable to remove any misapprehension which may have arisen as a result of my previous answers.

Aboriginal Conference at Weipa: Transport of Delegates

Senator Cavanagh - On 21 November 1974, Senator Rae asked the following question, without notice:

My question is directed to the Minister Tor Aboriginal Affairs. Since the debate last Thursday, with the further time available since then, has the Minister any additional information he could give to the Senate as to whether the Department of Aboriginal Affairs paid Ibr the air transport of persons who attended the recent Weipa conference? The matter was referred to during the debate last Thursday in the Senate. At that time the Minister said that the Department had not paid for anything other than through a VIP flight. I ask whether the Minister has any further information in relation to that mailer Ibr the Senate. 1 ask further: Have any steps been iii ken to stop further Aboriginal conferences arranged through the Department of Aboriginal Affairs?

On 21 November 1974, I replied that, to my knowledge, no 'planes were hired to bring delegates to the meeting I held with the Aboriginals at Weipa. At that time I stated I would make further inquiries into the matter and am now able to give honourable senators some information, and correct any confusion my previous answer may have caused.

I find that the Secretary of my Department, acting within the powers I have delegated to him, approved of the availability of funds for a total of five charter flights to take a total of 36 people from various areas around Weipa to participate in the meeting. The total cost of these charters was of the order of $4,600. The actual flights were as follows:


As honourable senators will know, travel is very difficult in the Peninsula area and often the use of charter aircraft is the only means available. On this occasion it was considered important that the real representatives of the Old Mapoon people should be present. The circumstances were that those who had moved back to Old Mapoon were seeking urgent financial assistance from the Australian Government for the improvement of their camp circumstances. I discussed the matter with the Secretary of the Department on two or three occasions and finally concluded that rather than make such assistance available without investigation, I should first meet the people to make sure that there was a genuine desire by some of them to return to Old Mapoon and that the traditional owners of the land were prepared for those who had returned to occupy it. From this point of view the meeting was a real success. The actual arrangements for the travel of people to the meeting were of course made by the Department.

Redcliff Petrochemical Project

Senator Murphy - On 12 November 1974 (Hansard, page 22 12) Senator Steele Hall asked me, as Minister representing the Prime Minister, a question, without notice, concerning the proposed Redcliff Petrochemical Complex, and in particular its emission standards. The Prime Minister has now supplied the following information for answer to the honourable senator's question.

The Australian Government has not yet determined the position it will take regarding financial assistance to this project. The honourable senator can bc assured, however, that in making its decisions the Government is taking into account all the environmental implications of the project, including the recommendations of the Redcliff Environmental Inquiry.

Taxation Concessions: Gifts to Independent School Building Funds

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - On 29 October 1974, Senator Guilfoyle asked me the following question, without notice:

I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister Ibr Education. I refer to a report in the 'Australian' of 25 October which suggests that the removal of taxation concessions Ibr gifts to independent school building funds is under consideration, ls the Minister able to offer an assurance thai there is no foundation for the report? Does the Government understand the very damaging effect on the building programs of the non-government schools which would result from such a proposal?

I said at the time that I had not seen the report but that I would take up the matter with my colleague, the Minister for Education, and obtain a reply for the honourable senator.

I have consulted the Minister and he has drawn my attention to a reply (House of Representatives, 30 October 1974, page 2798) given by the Treasurer in the House of Representatives to a similar question asked by the right honourable, the Leader of the Opposition, on this matter. In his reply the Treasurer pointed out that no general assurances can be given about tax provisions and that in the present Budget no change was made in the situation. He also stated that what happens in the future with any tax provision is a matter open to review from time to time. The Minister for Education has asked me to refer the honourable senator to the Treasurer's remarks.

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