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Wednesday, 20 February 1980
Page: 107

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Mr Speaker,I wish to make a personal explanation on the ground that I have been misrepresented.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable gentleman may proceed.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I refer to a book entitled 'Hawke', which is a biography of Bob Hawke by John Hurst. On page133 of that book, Hurst states:

After the election -

That is, the election of 1972-

Sweeney -

That is, Mr Justice J. B. Sweeney as he now is-

was appointed a deputy president of the Commission and Cameron again promised him that he would get the presidency when the position became vacant.

In fact, although Mr J. B. Sweeney, Q.C. had been told that his appointment had been approved, it had not been actually gazetted at the time of Mr Justice Moore's appointment as President. I repeat what I said in this Parliament, namely, that Sweeney Q.C. had been promised the presidency by both Mr Whitlam and me before the election and that neither Mr Whitlam nor I had at any stage contemplated a repudiation of that promise. That much can be confirmed quite easily by either Mr Whitlam or Mr Justice Sweeney. But Hurst then goes on to report what he alleges is Bob Hawke 's version of the incident. He says that Hawke had a conversation with me on the subject which concluded with the threat that he would take up the matter with the Prime Minister. Hurst states that Whitlam agreed that Moore should get the job. That assertion is quite untrue. I am forced to the conclusion that Mr Hawke was correct in describing another of Mr Hurst's sources as a liar.

Referring to my opposition to a claim for salary increases by Qantas pilots, Hurst writes:

Jones -

That is, Mr Charles Jones from Newcastle-

Cameron and other MPs had seen nothing wrong with the comparative wage justice principle when it was applied to their own incomes.

Let me put it on record once again that in the early part of 1 973 1, together with, so far as I can recall, the honourable member for Newcastlebut I am sure with most members of Cabinet, if not all of them-agreed to reject the recommendation by Mr Justice Kerr for an increase in ministerial salaries. For the sake of the record I can also state- my former Cabinet colleagues who are present and who remember will agree- that both in the Cabinet and in Caucus I opposed the proposed increase in parliamentary salaries to which Hurst refers. That was one of the few occasions, if not the only occasion, when I went into Caucus to vote against a majority decision of Cabinet. On the question of the wage indexation decision of April 1975, Hurst writes:

To the disgust of the ACTU and the white-collar organisations, the Government had argued for indexation only to be granted up to the level of average weekly earnings; above that level increases should be at a flat figure. Clyde Cameron, the Minister for Labour, announced that the Government was totally opposed to the indexation of all wages and that it would intervene to ask that full indexation should not be granted for the June quarter.

That is a lie. Whoever told him that is a liar. If one cares to look at the transcript of the proceedings of the case to which he refers, the one which led to a decision being handed down in April 1 975, one will see submissions by Mr Jolly which substantiate the position that I am now about to outline. We met Mr Hawke and other members of the ACTU on several occasions concerning the Government's position in relation to a plateau of AWE- average weekly earnings. We met at Kirribilli, in the office of the Prime Minister. I have in my possession, in Mr Menadue 's handwriting, the text of the resolution that was agreed to between the Government and the ACTU representatives on this matter. In the memoirs that I will be publishing one day other things that were said by Mr Hawke, by Mr Whitlam and by Mr Cameron will be recorded for all to see. The plain fact of the matter is that in none of the applications that Mr Hawke made for indexation while he was advocate for the ACTU did he ever ask for total indexation, or indexation of the total wage. All the time that he was advocate for the ACTU he asked either for indexation of a plateau at the basic wage as it then was, or for indexation of a plateau equivalent to the minimum wage as it later became. Not once did he ask for an indexation of the total wage.

Mr SPEAKER -I interrupt the honourable gentleman -

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I must end by saying this -

Mr SPEAKER -I think we might take it in stages.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I do not have much more to say.

Mr SPEAKER -I will give the honourable member some indulgence, but not much more.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -When the ACTU actually filed its case for wage indexation, which led to the court's decision in favour of it in 1974, the ACTU's submission even then did not ask for indexation of the total wage. Instead it asked for indexation of a plateau equal to average award rates, which is less than average weekly earnings. I conclude by saying that that in itself was a repudiation of an agreement entered into between myself and Mr Souter, namely, that the Government 's submissions and the ACTU support for those submissions would be based upon the applications which Mr Hawke himself had made over the previous years when he was the advocate for the ACTU.

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