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Friday, 26 May 1972
Page: 2217

Senator MILLINER (Queensland) - Like my colleagues, I deplore the action of the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), who is apparently supported by his colleagues, in introducing an amendment of this nature in the dying stages of today's debate. I hope and trust that, in the good name of Australia, the Attorney-General will withdraw this amendment. 1 propose to ask the Australian Council of Trade Unions, through the Queensland Trades and Labour Council, to report all these amendments, particularly the affiliation clauses, to the International Labour Organisation. I believe that the Queensland Trades and Labour Council will do as I ask. I will not say anything about whether I think the ACTU will do as I ask. If it does and if the ILO accepts its own decision, the ILO will condemn the Bill out of hand. This despicable amendment will bring the wrath of the International Labour Organisation on Australia. So we are not voting as Liberal senators, as Democratic Labor Party senators or as Australian Labor Party senators. We are voting as Australians.

I know not the purpose of the amendment. Nobody knows. Is it fair that we should be asked to deal with an amendment, the intention of which is not made clear?

Senator Webster - We do not know why the honourable senator is filibustering.

Senator MILLINER - If I am filibustering, the Temporary Chairman will advise me accordingly. I take no notice of inane interjections by stupid people who would not have the faintest idea of the work of the trade union movement. I refer to Senator Webster. I know that 2 amalgamation proceedings are going on in Queensland at present. I will tell the Committee of those. The first is the proposed amalgamation of the Bacon Employees Union, a State registered union, not federated, with the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union. I do not know any more about it than that. Nobody else does. Two other organisations are considering amalgamating. I think the legislation is aimed at them. I could be wrong. If it is aimed at them, let me tell the Attorney-

General that the negotiations have been continuing for 2 years. That is how the interests of the membership of both unions have been protected. Does the Minister challenge me to say how I know that that is so? I know because the union of which I am a member recently amalgamated with another union. It took 3i years to achieve that amalgamation. We did not want any legislation that the Attorney-General might force on the trade unions to guarantee the protection of the unionists in the 2 unions. We knew it was our responsibility to see that they were protected. We do not want him to tell us. He could not tell us.

At the International Labour Organisation meeting this year 1 30 countries will be represented. If the Attorney-General wants to save face for Australia he will most certainly withdraw the amendment. The legislation is bad enough but this proposal relating to retrospectivity will affect negotiations that unions have been engaged in for some time - negotiations for one purpose only, namely, to ensure that all members of the respective unions will be protected. I say to the Attorney-General that he has not the slightest regard for the trade union movement or, indeed, for Australia. I ask him sincerely to withdraw the legislation. If he does not do so he will be condemned, and rightly so, in the eyes of the International Labour Organisation.

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