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Tuesday, 16 May 1972
Page: 2598

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) (Minister for Social Services) - I want to intervene briefly in this matter because it seems to be highlighted in the debate on this clause that the Opposition has quite misunderstood the main impact of this Bill and the main intentions behind it. I noticed this earlier in the debate in regard to the sanctions clause, but the same kind of thing is coming out now. Surely what we are trying to do is to protect the men against the tyranny of the union machine. One would have thought that the Opposition, if it had readily been on the side of the men, would have been very glad for this kind of provision to operate. The members of the unions are terrified by the use of the concerted union machinery to create anarchy in the community as a whole. They want the Government to provide them with some protection against trade union tyranny.

Dr Klugman - Why have you not used it until now?

Mr WENTWORTH - One would have thought that the Opposition would have been welcoming this clause, if the interjection of my honourable friend is to be taken at its face value. If the provision in the Act is good already one would have thought that the Opposition would have welcomed this clause which would make it better. But the Opposition does not do that. I am afraid that it is not really concerned with the interests of the men. It is concerned with the interests of the. union officials. It is concerned with maintaining the coherence of the trade union machine which can become - it is not always so - a tyranny over its members. The members of the unions are naturally looking to the Government to protect them against the tyranny of trade union officials, and that is what this Bill is all about.

Question put:

That clause 19 be agreed to.

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