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Tuesday, 26 November 1985
Page: 2302

Senator Button —On 12 September 1985 (Hansard, page 496) Senator Chaney asked me whether the Government accepts that trade unions must abide by the law and accept the rulings of the courts. Senator Chaney asked: If this is so, will the Government make its view clear to the Australian Council of Trade Unions? In my reply, I undertook to convey Senator Chaney's question to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations.

The Minister has provided the following reply to the honourable senator's question:

Throughout the course of the Mudginberri dispute, the Government has made it clear that it could not condone the action of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees' Union in taking industrial action against a decision of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The AMIEU does, however, have the right to apply for a variation of the award and the Government has welcomed the union's initiative in seeking to bring the dispute before the Commission where the wider implications of the Commission's decision may be dealt with through the accepted industrial processes.

Furthermore, the Government has, on a number of occasions, stated that it could not support the involvement of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in attempting to co-ordinate a campaign of industrial action in support of the AMIEU. The Government has defended and will continue to defend the law but this responsibility in no way detracts from the Government's view that the use of Section 45D is counter-productive to harmonious industrial relations and serves only to exacerbate industrial disputation.

The Government's views on the Mudginberri dispute have been made known to the ACTU.


Senator Walsh —On 8 October 1985 (Hansard, page 772) Senator Colston asked me as the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, the following question without notice regarding the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio racing service in Queensland:

I understand that the Minister said that the service had been discounted, at least partially, because there was a duplication of services by the ABC and other Brisbane radio stations. Are we to assume from that that where there is any duplication by the ABC and commercial stations in Brisbane, for example, in breakfast shows and news reports, they will also be discontinued?

The answer to the honourable senator's question, based on the advice of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is:

Yes, the ABC Metropolitan Brisbane Radio racing service has been discontinued. However, the ABC has provided an alternative racing service to Regional Radio 3 listeners.

The Charter of the Corporation requires the ABC to take account of the broadcasting and television services provided by the commercial and public sectors of the Australian broadcasting and television system.

Therefore, if the ABC is to be an effective alternative to other broadcasters it is reasonable to expect that where there is a duplication of almost identical programs, the Corporation should devote its limited resources to serving the needs and interests of other listeners.


Senator Button —On 16 October 1985 (Hansard, page 1317) Senator Archer asked me, as Minister representing the Minister for Science, without notice:

Is the Minister representing the Minister for Science aware, and has he seen reports, that the United Kingdom is now contemplating withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation? Will he advise the Senate of Australia's position at this time, the values that we achieve and the intentions of the Government on our remaining a member of that organisation?

The Minister with portfolio responsibility, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Following the withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO at the end of 1984, I confirmed that Australia will continue to work within UNESCO to reform the organisation.

Australia wants UNESCO to become a more efficient organisation, implementing more concentrated and carefully evaluated programs and monitored more closely by its governing bodies. Our efforts are concentrated on working vigorously to ensure more efficient evaluation, identification of priorities and program concentration in areas of greatest member support and need. We emphasise co-operation with other members, especially from developing countries, which support this objective. We also work to reduce politically contentious issues to acceptable levels.

The Government draws some encouragement from the progress towards change made so far. It is important that pressure should be maintained to implement reforms and that our concerns on program concentration and zero budget growth should be reflected in the 1986-87 program and budget. It will be important for all member states to ensure that the momentum for reform is maintained.

The Government looks to the UNESCO General Conference from 8 October to 12 November to confirm substantial reform in a range of management and policy areas. I hope that progress will be sufficient to persuade the United Kingdom to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the organisation at the end of 1985.