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Thursday, 11 July 1946

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Minister for Immigration and Minister for Information) . - The honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan) is a perfectly reasonable man. I gave him an assurance that the matter which he raised was covered, but that if he considered that any particular point required explanation, I would discuss it with him later. I make this additional observation that the insertion of sub-clause 8a is intended 'to preserve to the employees of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited and Cable and Wireless Limited, which will, be affected by - the change to national ownership of the telecommunications services, the conditions and rights of salary now applicable to them under arbitration court awards and determinations and agreements registered with the court on' their transfer to the service of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia). - The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) became excited over a matter which arises in sub-clause 11 of clause IS. As the committee has yet to consider that sub-clause, I advise the honorable gentleman not to rush his hurdles. I shall deal with the matter which he raised in due course, and very effectively I hope.

I assure the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) that the principle of preference in employment for exservicemen is covered by the Reestablishment and Employment Act, which governs all employment in the Public Service, and in any Commonwealth instrumentality including Overseas Telecommunications Service (Australia).

Mr White - That principle has been affected by the case that arose in a munitions factory.

Mr CALWELL - I do not desire to be drawn into a discussion of that case. That involves a legal judgment which has no relation either to this bill or to the principle of preference in employment to ex-servicemen . generally. The argument in the court of petty sessions in Victoria - the decision is now the subject of an appeal to the High Court - was on the question of whether the Re-establishment and Employment Act had been used to achieve the desired purpose. As . the issue is sub judice, we would be well advised not to canvass it now. I assure the honorable gentleman that the rights of ex-servicemen regarding preference in employment will be protected in the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia) as in any other government department or instrumentality.

Mr. ARCHIECAMERON (Barker) [4.49 | . - I take strong exception to the remark of the Minister (Mr. Calwell) that during the dinner hour he would " fix up something " with the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan).

Mr Calwell - I said that if it were necessary, I would discuss with the honorable member an amendment which could be inserted either in this chamber or in the Senate.

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