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Tuesday, 5 October 1971
Page: 1843

Mr FitzPATRICK - My question which is directed to the Minister for Social Services concerns the policy of his Department of withholding social service payments from non-striking trade unionists who have been stood down, and in some cases retrenched, in industries where members of other unions are on strike. Is he aware that unionists when on strike are entitled to strike pay from their union and that those stood down or retrenched are not entitled to strike pay? Will he agree that because of this non-striking trade unionists who have been retrenched and who cannot get social service payments would be better off financially to go on strike? 1 draw the Minister's attention to the recent dispute at Broken Hill where non-striking trade unionists had to wait several months before they were informed that they were not entitled to social service benefits and also to the present dispute at Cobar where many unionists have been stood down for 7 weeks and have not received social service payments. 1 ask the Minister to inform the House of his Department's policy in this matter and why it is loaded against non-striking trade unionists.

Mr WENTWORTH (MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Social Services) - There has been no change in this policy since the longdeparted days of the last Labor Government. The policy which we carry out is one explicitly laid down by Ministers of a Labor Government when that Party was in power. The question of whether a man is participating or concerned in a strike is always a difficult question of fact. I recall that I did examine the situation at Broken Hill for the honourable member. The situation at Cobar is now under examination.

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