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Tuesday, 15 December 1992
Page: 5110

Senator POWELL (1.52 a.m.) —As a last ditch effort to a Minister who has quite clearly taken a very strong point that Senator Kemp has made, and before we vote—

The CHAIRMAN —If we ever get there.

Senator POWELL —Some things are important, Mr Chairman. I have stayed around here much later at night on matters much more frivolous and on debates without such substance. It is now quite clear that everybody is going into this election with their position on the secondary boycotts legislation very clear; Senator Kemp has made that clear. But there is some lack of clarity in one area that I would like particularly Senator Kemp and his cohorts to understand and acknowledge. When we talk in the shorthand of saying we should repeal sections 45D and 45E and take out the secondary boycotts provisions from the Trades Practices Act, we are not throwing the secondary boycotts provisions to the wind. They are to be inserted in a very reasonable, rational, responsible, efficient and effective way under the appropriate umbrella of the Industrial Relations Act. I think that is a thing that needs to be said, to be fair. That is the first point I want to make.

  The second point may even encourage Senator Cook to save the time of members of Cabinet, because I doubt that they are going to disagree with the position they have taken for more than eight years—and, as Senator Button said, the position they took before they were even in government. The sort of noise and protest and campaigning—mostly, probably, a campaign of misinformation—against any such move as this, which the Labor Party has always been fearful of and which the Democrats have always been fearful of, is going to be just a drop in the bucket in the present industrial relations climate. Peter Boyle has got his work cut out telling us all that beggars cannot be choosers.

  Because of the turbulent situation in industrial relations in this country at the moment it seems to me that there has never been a better time to take this small extra step. To my mind the Government is doing the right thing as evidenced by its own amendments. There has never been a better time to take this small extra step, particularly as we go to the next election, and speaking as a Victorian, I say that with some vehemence. I just wish to encourage the Minister, even in the little time he has left, as the Chairman very slowly puts the question, to take a decision which I am quite sure his Cabinet will endorse retrospectively.

The CHAIRMAN —I am not quite sure that the Chairman was trying to do it slowly.

  Question put:

  That the amendments (Senator Powell's) be agreed to.