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Tuesday, 14 December 1993
Page: 4546


Senator PARER (6.22 p.m.) —I would like to correct a comment made by Senator Bell earlier. Not even the Australian Labor Party would disagree that the purpose of getting rid of sections 45D and 45E from the Trade Practices Act is a longstanding policy inspired by the ACTU. It has been on the books ever since the act was enacted in 1974.

  Senator Bell has said that today is different from the 1970s. According to Senator Bell, most of these secondary boycotts were to do with demarcation disputes, which no-one on the other side would agree with. It is absolute nonsense. It has obviously been made up by Senator Bell who thinks he can say anything in this place and get away with it. It is quite a dishonest statement that the main cause of these secondary boycotts was demarcation disputes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  He said the climate has changed today. It is only six weeks ago—I have said this before and I will say it again—that the coal mining industry in Australia went on strike—


Senator Bell —I know that.


Senator PARER —Senator Bell said things were different today. This is a classic example. The coal mining industry went on strike because it did not like the price that BHP got for its coal in Turkey. Companies which were not involved—CRA was one and I have forgotten the other one—took out an injunction against the union. Instead of it being a five-day strike it came back to a three-day strike because of the deterrent contained in sections 45D and 45E of the Trade Practices Act.

  The point I am making is that what Senator Bell said was quite wrong. This example is an up-to-date version of the sorts of things that have happened. As Senator Bell would know, the whole purpose of section 45D was to prevent boycotts occurring by people who are not involved with the company concerned. It was simply to make life difficult for the company, to cost it money and markets, and to cost us reliability. This is yet another example of the Democrats selling out the small business community. Senator Bell knows it. He is trying to make lame excuses and, in fact, quite nonsensical arguments as to why sections 45D and 45E should be removed from the Trade Practices Act.

  This is not surprising because only the other day, in response to Senator Kemp, Senator Bell disowned the founder of his own party, former Senator Chipp. He almost referred to him as some old fogy of years gone by, when it was former Senator Chipp who came in here allegedly to represent small business and keep everybody honest. It is a matter of being honest on this side. As I mentioned earlier, the Labor Party has not pretended otherwise—it knows what it is doing and Senator Bell is aiding and abetting it.

  Amendment (Senator Crane's) proposed:

  Clauses 36 to 54, pages 65 to 82, omit the clauses, substitute the following clause:

Secondary boycotts law serves the public interest

  "36. It is hereby declared, for the avoidance of doubt, that the statute laws of the Commonwealth relating to secondary boycotts, as in force on 7 December 1993, serve the public interest.".

  Question put.