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Wednesday, 30 August 1989
Page: 595


Senator McGAURAN —My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as Minister representing the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industrial Relations. Will the Minister give an undertaking to support the use of legal sanctions against any Australian Council of Trade Unions affiliate which might engage in conduct similar to that of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, such as the recent shutdown of the Melbourne waterfront?


Senator BUTTON —The answer to that question is no, and there are a variety of reasons for that. The first reason is that--


Senator Puplick —You haven't got permission from Kelty; that is why.


Senator BUTTON —That is what Senator Puplick may think, but that is not necessarily relevant. The answer to the question is simply that the parties involved in the waterfront dispute are subject to the jurisdiction of the Industrial Relations Commission. They are organisations of employers and employees and are subject to that jurisdiction. You cannot draw an analogy with the pilots dispute-what Senator Lewis calls the pilots strike-because the pilots are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Industrial Relations Commission. They have taken themselves outside that jurisdiction. Therefore, the only remedies available are not ones of formal conciliation; they are not ones of formal processes of reconciliation; they are ones which are available at common law or available in terms of the provisions of the trade practices legislation. Those are the remedies which are being used by the airlines in connection with the pilots dispute. That is a different matter from the issue which the honourable senator raised.