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Wednesday, 30 August 1972
Page: 871

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Does the Minister for Labour and National Service know that, as a consequence of the amendment to the Conciliation and Abritration Act which he introduced to the Parliament in the last session, it is no longer possible for parties to a dispute to settle their differences by an award, or consent award or industrial agreement if the award or agreement contains any reference to standard hours, annual leave or long service leave, even though the reference does not constitute any change in hours, annual leave or long service leave, unless it is approved first by a hearing of the Full Bench of the Commission? Is it true also that this requirement operates even when the award or agreement makes no change in those conditions? Will this amendment mean that the national wage flow-on to every single one of the many hundreds of awards and agreements under Federal jurisdiction, as well as roping-in application, also will be subject to a hearing and approval by the Full Bench? Was it the Minister's deliberate intent that this procedure should apply when there is no alteration in hours or in leave, or was it a draftsman's error, or was it due to the Minister's failure to study or to understand properly the effect of his amendment to the Act?

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I ask the honourable gentleman to finish his question. It is far too long.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Can the present complement of presidential members cope with the Full Bench obligations? If not, does the Minister intend to bring up a Bill this session to rectify the error?

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - I know that the honourable gentleman has been anxiously waiting for some days to pose a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I am only sorry that he has not directed his attention to some of the substantial questions which ought properly to be before the Parliament at this time. I think here of the matter of unemployment, and also of the degree of Communist influence in relation to the trade union movement. The honourable gentleman might have directed his attention to matters which are properly the subject of basic concern in the Australian electorate.

The honourable gentleman raises this morning what really is a technical question. He has drawn attention to a matter which has been before me for some days, namely, the technical implications arising from the matters to which he has referred. I say to him in broad terms, in the first place, that these matters have been before me already for some days; in the second place, officers of my Department in conjunction with officers of the Attorney-General's Department are assessing the implications of the present position, and, in the third place, the honourable gentleman overstates the importance of the matter at this time. I am confident, having regard to earlier discussions which I have had with officers of my Department, that the matter can be resolved, and it will be resolved in the course of the present session.

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