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Wednesday, 21 May 1980
Page: 2963

Dr EDWARDS (BEROWRA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Has the attention of the Minister for Industrial Relations been drawn to developments in the national wage case this morning when the Confederation of Australian Industry sought an adjournment because of industrial action by metal trade employees in support of reduced working hours?

Mr STREET (CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Industrial Relations) - Yes, I am aware of the request by the employers for an adjournment of proceedings of the national wage case. They requested the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to stand firm and call on the unions to desist from all industrial action associated with the Commission. The Commonwealth supported the employers' request, as did the governments of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

I am advised that the President of the Commission, Sir John Moore, expressed the Commission's deep concern about the metal trade unions' campaign and said that the Commission felt that the whole indexation package had been put in peril as a result. Honourable members might recall that last year the Commission indicated that it was on the brink of abandoning wage indexation. Sir John said this morning that the Commission felt it was in much the same position now as a direct result of the metal trade unions 'campaign.

The responsibility for the position which the Commission has been placed in rests squarely on the shoulders of the union movement and its president, Mr Hawke. The union movement has to realise that it cannot have it both ways. It cannot argue for wage increases based on a full flow on from the consumer price index and, at the same time, give its blessing to campaigns of widespread industrial disruption.

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