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Friday, 29 November 1985
Page: 2598

Senator BROWNHILL —My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. If, as the Prime Minister claims, the Government is opposed to industrial action in support of superannuation claims, why did it sanction the agreement with the paint manufacturers which rewarded the storemen and packers for their industrial blackmail?

Senator BUTTON —First of all, the Government did not sanction any agreement between the paint manufacturers and the storemen and packers. The Government tried to seek an agreement, which was obtained. The first plank of that agreement, if you like, was that industrial action should be withdrawn. We did not at any stage approve of that industrial action in respect of the paint industry and we still do not. However, the reality of the situation is that the most desirable thing that could have happened in that dispute was to get it ended, and that is what the Government took steps to do. Subsequently, there was an agreement about the future course of the development of the superannuation discussions in that industry. We welcome that agreement as being part of a process of settling the industrial dispute, which in our view was totally unnecessary. That happened.