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Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1812

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - I join this debate only because I am afraid I have become very confused by honourable members opposite and particularly by the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth).

Mr Giles - That is not unusual.

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - It is quite correct to say that it is not unusual to be confused by what the honourable member says. In fact, on occasions I think the honourable member himself is very confused, ft seems to me that the honourable member is arguing at crosspurposes with himself. I am wondering whether he is asking the Government to write into the Conciliation and Arbitration Act the requirement that people should become members of an organisation. As the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) correctly explained, Ihe International Labour Organisation convention says that in effect there shall be no prohibition on people belonging to organisations. Surely it is our aim - it is the aim of this Government anyhow - to place no impediment in the way of people who wish to become members of an organisation. In my view it was certainly the aim of the previous Government to prevent people from organising and to prevent groups from organising.

As the Minister quite rightly pointed out - and I do not know whether it was by accident or design that the honourable member completely ignored the Minister's words and overlooked the wisdom and logic of what he was saying - section 142 of the Act speaks not so much of membership of an organisation as the registration of the organisation itself. The honourable member will know, if he has any knowledge of the industrial world, that on occasions more than one union covers much the same field. If he knew a little more about industrial matters he would know that the existence of perhaps 2 organisations causes a good deal of confusion. If the honourable member cares to examine this matter he will see that the very thing about which he and his colleagues screamed for so long when they were in government in regard 10 loss of production, loss of man hours, industrial disputes and other kinds of terrible practices, on occasions was caused by more than one union operating in the same field.

It seems to me that the honourable member, by pursuing his proposition, intends mat there should be a continuation of these sorts of disputes. I believe that the Act we are considering, if strictly adhered to, will prevent a lot of demarcation disputes and a lot of membership disputes between unions. There can be no doubt whatsoever - or there should be no doubt because obviously there is - after the Minister's explanation of the position that there is no relationship whatsoever between the ILO convention which the honourable member drew to the attention of the Committee and section 142 of the Act as it stands. One speaks of the right of people to belong to organisations and the other speaks of the right of organisations to be registered and Ihe obligation of the Court to register th:m

Mr WENTWORTH(Mackellar)- Mr Chairman, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes - Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr WENTWORTH - Yes, most certainly. I did not speak only of the phrase in the convention to join; I spoke of the phrase in the convention to establish, without any distinction whatsoever, organisations. Secondly, I did not advocate that there should be any industrial disruption. All I said - and I stick by this - was that the Government has done something and it has to abide by the legal consequences, whatever they are, of what it has done.

The CHAIRMAN - The question is:

That new sub-section (6) be added at the end of clause5.

Question resolved in the negative.

Clause agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN - Is it the wish of the Committee to take clauses 6 to 19 together?

Mr Lynch - No.

Clause 6 (Certain offences in relation to members of organisations, etc).

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