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Tuesday, 16 May 1972
Page: 2547

Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect) - 1 address my remarks to proposed new section 27, sub-section (5.) of which reads:

A person directed under sub-section (1.) of this section shall attend the conference and continue his attendance as directed by the person presiding over the conference.

Penalty: One thousand dollars.

Sub-section (1.) reads:

For the purposes of the performance of his functions in respect of an industrial dispute, a Conciliation Commissioner may, of his own motion or upon application made by a party to the industrial dispute, direct a person to attend, at a time and place specified in the direction, at a con ference presided over by himself or another Conciliation Commissioner or by such other person as the Conciliation Commissioner determines.

Speaking for myself I would say that it is probably reasonable enough that people representing both parties should attend such a meeting. At the same time if one side, for example the trade union side, felt that no good could be achieved by this, what is the point of attending the conference? What this proposed new section is really saying is that if a person just attends and does not open his mouth then it is all right. He may refuse to participate in the conference. But if he refuses to attend because the members of his union have said that there is no point in trying to achieve a compromise on a particular issue that person - the trade union secretary or a representative of the union - would immediately be penalised $1,000. To my mind this is a pointless exercise because a person can carry out his obligation by just attending the conference, sitting there and not doing anything. The provisions in this proposed new section amount to a threat against the unions as this Government likes to do on the question of arbitration, without any point whatsoever.

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