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Wednesday, 10 September 1958
Page: 1029

Mr WHEELER (Mitchell) .- I wish to associate my remarks with the Department of Labour and National Service and a booklet issued by that department entitled "Industrial Disputes in Australia ". This is an enlightening production and the Minister is to be commended for his initiative in arranging for its publication. However, a most disturbing comment appears on page 7 of the production, which reads -

Workers in the coal-mining and stevedoring industries lost in 1957 through industrial disputes roughly 80 and 50 times respectively more time than their fellows in other industries.

I wonder where we as a parliament are heading in relation to the stevedoring industry, when one sees, with growing concern, the cleavage in the ranks of the Labour movement on this question. Whilst I find myself implacably opposed to the basic tenets of Labour's political philosophy, still I number friends amongst members on the other side, in whose sincerity I believe. There is, and can be, some basis of fellowship where differing ideals and beliefs are at least focused on one great common purpose, that is, the good of Australia.

However, I find myself in disagreement with some members of the Opposition in their attitude to the waterfront problems, for it is in this regard that one of the greatest displays of political windowdressing is being staged in Sydney at the present time by the Australian Labour party. It has all arisen over the Australian Labour party's unity ticket alliance with the Communist party, and it is pathetic to see the attempts being made by the Australian Labour party to divorce itself from its clinging partner. On Friday night last, the New South Wales State Executive of the Australian Labour party expelled two leading members of the Waterside Workers Federation from membership of the party.

Mr Bryant - I take a point of order. In the last few days you, Mr. Chairman, have been rigorous in your observance of standing orders in reference to the Estimates. What has this matter to do with the Department of Labour and National Service?

Mr WHEELER - It is an industrial dispute.

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