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Tuesday, 16 May 1972
Page: 2608

Mr LYNCH (Flinders) (Minister for Labour and National Service) (12:10 PM) - I would like to respond to the points which the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) has put before the House. As far as the proposed new section 158l sub-section (2.) is concerned, separate ballots are to be taken by each of the amalgamating organisations and therefore the term is correctly used in the singular. In fact the term in the plural would not be appropriate because of the separate nature of the ballots.

Mr Killen - I am speaking about statements.

Mr LYNCH - Yes, but the honourable member was saying that the word 'organisation' should be in the plural in section

158L (2.).

Mr KILLEN (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) - Section 158l (2.) (a) should read: 'the organisations concerned may deliver . . .

Mr LYNCH - Yes. Of course, that must mean the organisation because only one organisation is submitting a 'yes' case to the ballot. The other organisations which may be involved in the amalgamation would reach that stage either before or after taking the ballot. So the point I am making here is that there is a separate ballot for each organisation and, therefore, the term must be used in the singular. I apologise to the honourable gentleman; my attention was diverted when he was talking about the question of ballots, so I am not entirely certain which particular point he was querying.

Mr Killen -I will recapitulate quickly the point I made. How do you deal with the situation where the people involved show massive disinterest? If in a union of 8,000 members only 3,000 vote, what is to be done?

Mr LYNCH - If I understand the position which the honourable gentleman places before me, he is querying the situation where for a variety of reasons there may not be a SO per cent vote. The Government has looked at this matter in a most thorough way. It also has had the opportunity of looking at the results of court controlled ballots which show that approximately 50 per cent, as I recall the figure, returned a vote. So on that basis it would be clear that a 50 per cent vote cannot be regarded as an achievement of unusual dimension. I believe it ought to be borne in mind also that this is a vital vote, going as it does to the whole concept of the entity concerned. The Government believes it quite reason able to require a 50 per cent vote before that organisation in fact can be wound up. It ought to be borne in mind also that that 50 per cent is not 50 per cent of those voting in favour; it is simply a 50 per cent vote of the membership at that time, as defined in the provisions of the Bill. The honourable gentleman queried another matter.

Mr Killen - Section 158h deals with regulations. Why can we not have some measure of definition in the Act as to what they will be?

Mr LYNCH - I undertake to look at that matter. I understand from the Parliamentary Counsel that the reason why the phrase has been repeated is that this is the general form in which it appears at the present time in the Act. However, I shall look at the drafting aspect of this matter and discuss it with the honourable gentleman.

Motion (by Mr Giles) proposed:

That the question be now put.

Mr Webb - I rise to a point of order. How can the Minister reconcile the remarks he has made on this Bill with the remarks he made on 2nd March? Why has he not replied to those matters about which we asked him so long ago? I want to know that and the Minister ought to reply.

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