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Monday, 13 December 1993
Page: 4465


Senator FAULKNER (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel) (11.08 p.m.) —The government does not support this amendment. Section 135 of the Industrial Relations Act enables the commission to order a secret ballot to ascertain the views of organisation members where this would assist in the prevention or settlement of an industrial dispute or help to stop or prevent industrial action.  This provision provides the commission with the flexibility to determine that in the circumstances of an impending or actual industrial dispute or industrial action it is or is not appropriate to order a secret ballot. The fact is that the holding of a secret ballot of members of an organisation is not always the necessary element in dealing with a particular industrial situation. The government considers that the opposition amendment is too rigid in its approach and that the commission should be left with its current discretion.