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Thursday, 11 May 1972
Page: 2490

Mr BENNETT (Swan) - The Minister said that it is the Government's intention to change the composition of the bench of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in a moderate manner, but he assumes that he will remain as Minister and that the composition of the Government will remain the same. This argument is ludicrous. This legislation will remain on the statute book until rejected or amended at some future stage. The Government may well be creating a rod for its own back. It is arrogant for it to say that it is not its intention to do something under this legislation. The arrogance of power was illustrated by the attitude of the Minister. Not one of us knows what the future holds and at all times we should legislate in such a way that we spell out in clear terms what is to happen. A solicitor may never have had an industrial brief. He may never have had any experience in industry. It is most unlikely that he would have had any understanding of the emotions of a situation on which he has to sit in judgment.

If the Labor Party had suggested such a proposition it would have been accused of creating a position for someone like Bob Hawke. This clause of the Bill is open to political privilege and employers as well as unions should take action to see that it is not abused. I do not agree with the view that this clause should be worded loosely to allow for flexibility. Such flexibility has not been provided in other clauses which deal with the imposition of penalties, amalgamation of unions and so forth; so why should there be flexibility in respect of appointments of privilege, which I take it that this clause intends, and not the same flexibility in other clauses? The contradiction and arrogance of this clause is absolutely appalling.

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