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Wednesday, 19 September 1973
Page: 1227

Mr BIRRELL (PORT ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I ask the Minister for Labour: Is he aware of the contents of a recent speech made in the South Australian Parliament by the Liberal member for Alexandra, wherein he stated that the ideal way to increase industrial production is to stand workers down and let them go hungry for a while? If so, does the Minister agree that this type of Liberal-Country Party argument would only worsen industrial relations and thus decrease industrial efficiency? Does the Minister believe that it would be in the interests of Australia to turn the clock back to the age-old English custom of working infant labour in the mines and that we should do away with the policy of full employment, working under arbitrated award conditions, and replace it with contract or sub-contract labour not covered by workers compensation, sick leave or annual leave? Will the Minister agree that this type of argument is completely contrary to all International Labour Organisation conventions and, if adopted, would not only create undreamed of industrial unrest and consequent decreased production but also would be looked upon with disgust by the United Nations and its affiliated member countries?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I first heard about this speech by telephone and I have since received telegrams from Adelaide complaining about it. I could not believe that the report of the speech as recorded in the telegram and as relayed to me by telephone was a correct account of what was said, so I took the precaution of obtaining a copy of the South Australian Hansard. For the benefit of the House I think I ought to read some short extracts from it. The speech was made by the Liberal member for Alexandra in the South Australian Parliament, who got there with the support of the honourable member for Barker in this Parliament. Therefore, one can assume that the honourable member for Barker shares the South Australian member's views, or that they share each other's views. The South Australian Hansard for Tuesday, 11 September 1973, states:

Too much emphasis and fear is placed on the unemployment issue. If the employees are not effective, stand them down. Let them go hungry for a while ... I mean this. The only way to get the message through to some people is through their stomach. There are far too many wasting their time in many of our Public Service utilities, and it is about time the respective Minister brought down the axe on some of these people. I agree that all the loafers are not in the Public Service . . . Mollycoddling loafers in the community is disastrous . . . Wage fixing be damned! We hear about wage fixing and price fixing but, as far as I am concerned, wage reduction is the answer here, because it is the only language that some people understand. The Commonwealth and State Governments alike must have the guts and initiative to introduce this.

Mr Jacobi - Who said that?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The State Liberal member for Alexandra who was put into Parliament with the support of the honourable member for Barker who is a great admirer of him. One of the Labor men asked the next Liberal speaker who rose to his feet, Mr Becker, whether he agreed with or was prepared to dissociate himself from the statements of the previous Liberal speaker. He said that he did not know that he could associate himself with all of the statements. He said: 'He has a different philosophy from mine. Mine is based on the banking industry and his is in a different field'. I would like to hear from the honourable member for Barker, who is too ashamed even to come into the House, whether he associates himself with or dissociates himself from his State colleagues.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Barker is at present overseas and is not available to be heard.

Mr Malcolm Fraser - I rise to order. The kind of language that the Minister for Labour used and which he read from Hansard must remind everyone in this House of the language he used against the alleged fat cats in the Public Service. He has put himself into the same court.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I call the Leader of the Australian Country Party.

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