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Tuesday, 3 December 1985
Page: 2772

Senator CHANEY —My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer to his answer yesterday to Senator Collard's question, when he said that the quantum of superannuation claims would be dependent on the decision of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission next year. He said:

. . . it is not appropriate to claim or estimate quantum at this stage.

How does the Minister suggest that transport companies, facing a demand for agreement to a $12 a week claim within the next two weeks, respond to that claim? Does the Minister suggest that these companies advise the union threatening industrial action that now is not the appropriate time to discuss the quantum of the claim?

Senator BUTTON —The question directed to me yesterday was in the context of the Transport Workers Union of Australia claim. I answered it in the light of that context. I am not in a position to advise the transport companies. The Government has indicated a view about this claim and how its processing should be facilitated by negotiation, not by the sorts of methods which have been threatened. I guess that will be dealt with in the context of the discussions which will take place next week.

Senator CHANEY —As a supplementary question, I ask whether the Minister stands by his words of yesterday that it is not appropriate to be claiming or estimating a quantum amount at this stage. If he does stand by them, does that apply to the claim which has been made upon these transport companies?

Senator BUTTON —I answered the question yesterday in the context of an estimated amount to which Senator Collard referred in his question. The only context in which quantum has been discussed by anybody is the estimated 3 per cent productivity increase, which I suppose is a basis for discussion, but no more than that.