Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1824

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) - I find myself in agreement with the honourable member for Burke.

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - I am wrong, then.

Mr KILLEN - I will put you at risk in that count. I find myself in agreement to this extent, that there would be some virtue in looking at what the clause is all about. Therefore, I am disposed to read the principal provision in the clause, lt is to this effect: Thai a person being an officer, delegate or member of an organisation, has done, or proposes to do, an act or thing, in an industrial establishment or elsewhere, for the purposes of furthering o:protecting the industrial interests of the organisation or of its members, being an act or thing done within the limits of authority expressly or impliedly conferred on him by the organisation. What goes before that is this: An employer shall not dismiss an employee

.   .' That is the provision. 1 just want to say to the Minister for Labour: Who on earth determines whether those provisions are being met? Who on earth. Mr Minister, determines what is for the purpose of furthering or protecting the industrial interests of the organisation or of its members? Take the case of a factory. Some people ma> gather together to hold a stop-work meeting for the purpose of listening to the Minister. One would really need to put the pressure on to convince me that to Listen to the honourable gentleman would be for the purpose o furthering or protecting their industrial interests. Take the case of a shearing shed involving the Australian Workers Union, although I do not think that Mr Edgar Williams would bend over backwards to arrange a meeting for the

Minister to speak at. But imagine that gathering. The members are told by some individual: Everybody out. Clyde is arriving.' One can imagine the hushed scene and the honourable gentleman arriving at, shall we say, a shearing shed back of Bourke or somewhere. Does the Minister seriously say that that gathering would be for the purpose of furthering or protecting the industrial interests of the organisation? In a few words what this provision amounts to is this: lt is for the purpose of making political strikes legal. That is the position that the Minister is in.

The second aspect about this clause is that the onus of proof is put on the person who is charged. J say to the Minister for Labour that I have some degree of affection for him, but because of the way he is behaving at the moment it is waning pretty quickly. I hope that if I ever hear the honourable gentleman mention 'onus of proof again the words will choke in his throat. This is what the honourable gentleman proposes to do under clause 6 (b), which is to be a part of section 5 of the Act. This provision will make it an offence if an employer simply tries to persuade an employee not to take part in a political strike which it is argued is in furtherance of an industrial interest. If an employer says to a man: 'Look, old chap, if you want to go about your business with this hair brained scheme and stop the factory for half an hour for the purpose of listening to the Minister for Labour - that is. the honourable member for Hindmarsh - I must inform you that you had better go right along and collect your pay and get out', ff the employer does that he commits an offence against the Act. What happens then? He is charged.

Mr Viner - He is liable to $400.

Mr KILLEN - He is liable to a penally of $400. Where does the onus rest in this case?

Mr Viner - He is liable to a fine for listening to the Minister.

Mr KILLEN - Yes. A person would need more than S400 to listen to the Minister; he would need a knighthood given by a Labor government. Under clause 6 the onus is put upon the employer to prove his defence. The employer has to satisfy the court. Here he is, this great defender of Magna Carta, the one who stood up in this place year after year talking ad nauseam about the onus of proof. But in this legislation the onus is put on the employer. Why should the onus of proof not rest upon a person to satisfy the court that the stoppage was for the purpose of a legitimate industrial dispute or, indeed, for furthering or protecting legitimate industrial interests? In this legislation the Minister makes a provision for the purpose of legitimising all political strikes in the future. Then he turns around and caricatures the substantial basis of our system of jurisprudence that puts the onus of proof on the person who makes the charge. No clause in this Bill is more revealing of the Minister's philosophy towards the whole industrial movement in this country or indeed of his philosophy towards the whole economic base in this country than this clause. This is a contemptible provision. It deserves to be thrown out.

The Minister is sitting at the table reading a newspaper. It is all very fine. I do not know what he is reading about. The honourable gentleman does not even pay the Committee the courtesy of listening to a debate on a clause. He chuckles away: i am on my way to Geneva'. That is all that is on the honourable gentleman's mind. It is said about the Minister that he is mean. I'll say he is mean! The honourable gentleman is so mean that he would stand outside the office of the RegistrarGeneral for births and deaths on a wet winter's night merely to check up on the age of a woman. I say to the honourable gentleman: This is a totally irresponsible provision to put in a statute of the Commonwealth Parliament. I know he is keen to get to Geneva, but if this is the sort of provision he wants to put down, the sooner he goes the better.

Suggest corrections