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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 2322

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Prowse - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Senator MURPHY - Mr Chairman,proposed new clause 42a appears to be a technical amendment because it is an amendment to a clause of the Bill, and the purport of it has been well set out by what Senator Bishop has said. Turning to section 119(1.) of the principal Act our amendment to clause 42 proposes to leave out the words: 'a breach or non-observance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in sub-section (1.) of section 32a of this Act.' In other words, we propose to leave out of that section reference to a term of . an' order or an award - a strike ban or a work limitation. The amendment which we seek by means of new clause 42a will make that proposition doubly certain by providing that a breach of section 119 (1.) shall not extend in an industrial dispute situation to that kind of a breach, namely, a strike ban or limitation of work. Does the Attorney-General follow that?

Senator Greenwood - I think you might look at the terms of your first amendment. It is confusing as it reads at the moment. I think I get the gist of what you are attempting to do but I do not think the terms of the amendment give effect to it.

Senator MURPHY - Proposed new clause 42a reads: . . a breach or non-observance of an order or award shall not include a strike ban or limitation of work in furtherance of any claim by an organisation or person in or in connection wilh an industrial dispute.

Senator Greenwood - It is the preceding amendment to which I was referring.

Senator MURPHY - The difficulty in relation to the preceding amendment is that it is dealing with the terms of the Bill. The Bill reads:

42.   Section 119 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting from sub-section (1.) the words 'section thirty-two A' and inserting in their stead the words 'section thirty-three'.

Operating on the wording of that clause of the Bill we are proposing to leave out the reference to section 32a.

Senator Greenwood - In your amendment you say 'insert'; I think you might mean 'leave out'. I am not sure.

Senator MURPHY - We are proposing to leave out the words 'section 32a', which is provided for in the Bill, and insert instead these words: 'or, except in the case of a breach or non-observance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in sub-section (1.) of section 32a of this Act'. If our amendment were carried its operative effect would be to delete from section 1 19 of the principle act the words: or, except in the case of a breach or nonobservance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in sub-section (1.) of section 32a of this Act'.

Senator Greenwood - Because our amendment would make that irrelevant.

Senator MURPHY - That is right, it would be made irrelevant. We wish to delete those words because we do not want the reference to the industrial dispute situation in section 119(1.) at all, and in order to make this doubly certain, because there are general words being left in section 119, we propose to add new clause 42a which states specifically that a breach or non-observance under section 119(1.) shall not include that type of breach, namely, a strike ban, a limitation on work or anything arising out of the furtherance of an industrial dispute. Does the Attorney-General now appreciate what we propose?

Senator Greenwood - 1 certainly see what you are intending. I am wondering whether what you intend will be given effect to because of the way in which the amendment is drafted.

Senator MURPHY - I think it will. This is an extremely important matter of principle. There is often great confusion in relation to it. It is said: 'Are there to be any penalties at all?' Of course, the penalties which would be left in the Act would be penalties directed at employers or employees or, conceivably in some situations, an organisation, but they would be dealing with the application of the order or award. In other words, if an employer underpaid wages there would be a breach of the award. If an employee accepted moneys which constituted an underpayment he would be in breach of the award. If health conditions were broken by the employer or the employee, that would be in breach of the award. If in some way an organisation was guilty of these kinds of things concerned with the operations of the award, section 119(1.) would apply. But what the Australian Labor Party is saying, and this is where there should be a clear understanding, is that penalties should not be directed against the kind of activity concerned with changing the award or the conditions which apply. So that if claims are being made for a different code to cover industry, a different award with higher wages or new conditions, we say that they should not be the subject of penalties under the Act. It is as simple as that. If anyone wants to talk about penalties and say that any penalties would remain, of course they would, and people would be expected to observe the matters that are set out. Those requirements are not to be ignored. But we say there should be no penalties in relation to the actions taken by one side or the other in relation to the furtherance of claims in an industrial dispute, in substance for improvement in wages or conditions. That is the purpose of the amendment, and it is as clear as that.

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