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Tuesday, 14 December 1993
Page: 4557


Senator McMULLAN (Minister for the Arts and Administrative Services) (9.06 p.m.) —Section 66 of the Public Service Act is being repealed simply because it is outdated, cumbersome and entirely inappropriate. I do not want to offend Senator Crane's concern that he raised last time I spoke in similar vein. I have to say I cannot absolutely swear that this section has never been used. But I can say that nobody I know and no department involved, neither the Department of Industrial Relations nor the Public Service Commission, has any record of it ever having been used. The simple fact is that this is a hangover from a bygone era.

  The Industrial Relations Act gives the Industrial Relations Commission very wide powers in relation to industrial action in the public sector and the disciplinary provisions of the Public Service Act provide a range of remedies for behaviour which goes outside the bounds of legitimate industrial action. If staff are taking orthodox trade union industrial action then they get dealt with in the orthodox way through the Industrial Relations Act. If they are going beyond that which is reasonable in that circumstance they get dealt with by the Public Service Act in its normal disciplinary provisions. We do not need this particular section which is a relic of a bygone era, the master and servant era, and, to the best of my knowledge, it has never been used.