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Thursday, 7 November 1985
Page: 1758

Senator MORRIS(4.48) —I certainly was not going to enter into this debate. However, having heard what was said by the Leader of the National Party of Australia, Senator Collard, I feel that I must make a few remarks. To my disgust and amazement I could not believe that an ex-train driver could make such a speech in this place. Senator Collard asked workers to pull in their belts. I wonder what workers he was suggesting should pull in their belts in regard to the accord? The average blue collar worker is taking home about $230 a week after tax.

Senator Georges —If he is lucky.

Senator MORRIS —Yes, if he is lucky.

Senator Parer —Not where Senator Collard comes from.

Senator MORRIS —Maybe not where Senator Collard comes from. Certainly Senator Collard has asked those sorts of people to pull in their belts. I wonder whether Senator Collard would be prepared to pull in his belt and donate some of his salary of $800 a week.

I congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and the Treasurer (Mr Keating) on their very fine achievement in regard to the accord. It is amazing to recollect that the National Party leaders as well as representatives of the National Party and the Liberal Party did not even attend the Summit in Canberra to put their points of view. Yet, they have the audacity to attack the very good liaison that has been built up between the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Labor Government.

The Opposition does not know what it is talking about when it says that some secret deal is going on between the ACTU and the Labor Government. It does not understand that we have a tripartite situation. I know what employers would say to the Opposition if they were asked whether they would rather have an accord and wage indexation or go back to the good old days of the concrete jungle when one had to fight for the best one could get. They would say that they want the accord. That is why they are working so well together with the ACTU and the Government. I make those few remarks to let the people of Australia know about the cons on the other side of this House, who are trying to destroy something that has been built up and which those opposite know in their own minds they could not build up by negotiation or by dialogue with the ACTU. As other senators have mentioned today, the only thing they achieved over that period was the dismantling of the wage indexation system back in the early 1980s. We know what happened during that period. As honourable senators on this side have said, there was a situation where the strongest got the best and the weakest got nothing. Those opposite want to go back to that situation, but it will not be accepted by the trade union movement and it will not be accepted by the community. I suggest to Senator Collard and his colleagues who are pushing this bandwagon that they should go back and talk to the people who count-the people of New South Wales and the people of Australia.