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Thursday, 2 December 1965

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (Hindmarsh) . - Mr. Chairman, I want only a couple of minutes of the Committee's time. I would not have said anything at this stage had it not been for the the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) who twitted me about an organisation of which I was once a member having imposed certain restrictions on the right of people of non-European origin to join that organisation. The honorable member was not correct. Section 144 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act clearly prevents a union from excluding people because of their race. The honorable member unfortunately is no longer here. He is like the boy who pulled the chain and ran away so that it would not be known that he had used the toilet. I hope that the honorable member will read what I have to say. Section 144(1.) of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act reads -

A person employed in connection with an industry or engaged in an industrial pursuit, is, unless he is of general bad character, entitled, subject to payment of any amount properly payable in respect of membership, to be admitted m a member of an organisation . . . and to remain a member so long as he complies wilh the rules of the organisation.

That is the law. No union has the right to preclude a person of non-European origin from membership on that ground alone. I do not believe that the Australian Workers Union does preclude membership of nonEuropeans as the honorable member for Chisholm claimed. It is a long time since I looked at the Union's rules, but I do not believe that they preclude non-Europeans from becoming members. If they do they are invalid.

Mr Whitlam - And the Commonwealth Industrial Court can declare them invalid.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON - The Industrial Court could declare them invalid or alternatively a person who was a member of the Union could ask for its deregistration if it sought to impose on its members a rule or practice that' was invalid.

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