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Tuesday, 29 August 1972
Page: 469

Senator MAUNSELL (QUEENSLAND) - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Now that the Australian people are able to receive direct coverage of the Olympic Games, will the Minister inform the Senate whether in fact it was Mr Hawke's good offices which were responsible, as he has endeavoured to portray through the news media, or was it that the union, realising that it had abused its power by holding the nation to ransom, was concerned about the widespread public condemnation it would have received for its action? Has the union agreed to submit its case to arbitration?

Senator GREENWOOD - I think we were all very pleased that the persons who last week had been threatening that they would prevent Australians seeing direct telecasts of the Olympic Games changed their minds at the last minute and permitted the Australian people to see them. My information is that it was the decision of the union to go back to work which enabled the telecasts to be shown last Saturday night. I understand that the Overseas Telecommunications Commission had taken the view initially that, as the union had not lodged any claim for arbitration but had sought to exercise its power in a direct way in order to achieve by this threat of a ban the results which it wanted, it would not concede anything to that union. I believe that the OTC has not conceded anything to the union. All it did was say to the union that if its members went back to work it would not oppose the union's application to have lifted the order which was made by the Public Service Arbitrator. I think this is a salutary demonstration that if an employing organisation will stand firm against intimidatory tactics of the kind which this union engaged in the community will undoubtedly be better off in the long run. That is what occurred in this case.

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