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Thursday, 17 October 1985
Page: 1452

Senator Walsh —On 10 September 1985 (Hansard, 10 September 1985, page 320), Senator Brownhill asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether the decision by the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU) to picket the Mudginberri abattoir took the dispute out of the arbitration system.

The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

It is not correct to say that it was the AMIEU decision to picket that took the dispute out of the arbitration system. The decision to take the matter to the Federal Court was made by the employers, with considerable support from the National Farmers' Federation. This decision was the reason the dispute was taken out of the arbitration system. The use of section 45D of the Trade Practices Act in the Government's view does not resolve disputes.

The Government's position is that it does not, in any way, condone the tactic of a secondary boycott. However, the Government does not believe that such action is so different in nature from other forms of union action in support of their industrial claims that it should be singled out to be dealt with under the Trade Practices Act, rather than through the established industrial channels. The Government maintains that provisions such as s. 45D only serve to exacerbate a dispute and resort to them may result in a worsened industrial relations climate not only between the parties but in the relevant industry as a whole.

The Government considers that the proper forum for resolution of disputes is in the conciliation and arbitration system.


Senator Button —On 10 September 1985 (Hansard, page 327) Senator Watson asked, without notice, the following question:

(1) What measures have been taken by the Government to encourage General Motors-Holden's Ltd or a consortium to produce six-cylinder engines in Australia.

(2) Have any limited imports of the Nissan six- cylinder engine for GMH commenced.

(3) Is there any possibility that a six-cylinder engine plant will be established in Australia in the future, following the substantial fall in the Australian dollar, which makes importation of the engine less attractive than previously.

In my answer to the honourable senator's question on 10 September 1985, I stated that I would be seeking a more comprehensive answer from the Automotive Industry Authority and would be advising, subject to commercial confidentiality, the honourable senator in due course.

The Authority has since advised me that it is unable to divulge any information regarding the discussions that have been held with various companies over the manufacture of six-cylinder engines in Australia as the discussions are not only highly confidential but also raise issues of a commercially sensitive nature.

With regard to the limited imports of Nissan six-cylinder engines, I have been informed that General Motors-Holden's Ltd have imported some engines which are currently being tested locally.

It is a matter of public knowledge that GM-H will be using imported Nissan six-cylinder engines from January 1986, to allow them to conform with the requirements associated with the introduction of lead free petrol. However, even with the importation of this engine, GM-H are still required to achieve 85 per cent local content under the Government's automotive policy.


Senator Gareth Evans —On 11 October (Hansard, page 1088) Senator Robertson asked me a question about Ambassador Morrison's visit to East Timor. I undertook to provide further information on the details of Ambassador Morrison's visit. That information is as follows:

Ambassador Morrison arrived in Dili, East Timor, around midday on 7 October. He had meetings with Governor Carrascalao, the Chairman of East Timor's Provincial Assembly, Mr Valente, the Commander of the Territorial Forces, Colonel Rahardje, the Apostolic Administratior, Msgr Belo, the Chairman of East Timor's Provincial Court, Judge Siregar and health and education officials.

The Ambassador visited Comarco Prison on 8 October. He was provided with a briefing by the Prison Commandant and was taken on an escorted tour of the prison. The Ambassador did not seek to speak with Cancio da Sousa Gama nor any other specific prisoner. The Ambassador noted, however, that representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross have good access to the prison and are able to conduct confidential interviews with prisoners, without any prison or government officials being present.

On 9 October, the Ambassador travelled by road to Manatuto, some 65 kilometres east of Dili. He departed Dili early in the afternoon of 9 October.

Other Embassy officials held meetings with Government health, public works and agricultural officials as well as officials of the Catholic Church. Two Embassy officials also visited Viqueque, Los Palos, Baucau and Atauro Island and travelled by road from Dili to Kupang in the neighbouring province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (West Timor).

Ambassador Morrison had no contact with the Fretelin Armed Forces Commander during his visit.