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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1374

Mr RIORDAN (Phillip) - Of course this is urgent legislation and those who deny it are very foolish people. Let me remind this House that it is because of the action of the Opposition in another place that we are debating some of these measures for the second time. They. were too lazy in another place to detail their opposition. Some of the matters in this Bill before the Parliament, if we can accept what the honourable member for Wannon {Mr Malcolm Fraser) has said in his second reading speech, will apparently pass without opposition on this occasion. Yet when this legislation went before the Senate the Opposition voted against the Bill in total and threw it out. The Senate debated this legislation earlier this year in April and in May. It is now back in this House and honourable members opposite want to debate it at great length. In order to allow some effective time for the Committee stage of the Bill some of my colleagues and I stayed in our seats and remained silent while we listened to some illinformed nonsense being preached by honourable members on the other side. We did not reply to it. Now honourable members opposite are wasting time at this stage.

The provisions in this Bill are urgent because the whole process of conciliation and arbitration in this country has been slowed down since the previous Government made a mess of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I will give some examples to my cousins from the bush who are seeking to interject. First of all, every time a new award is made or an agreement is reached it has to go through 2 procedures instead of one. That is the fault of the previous Government because its clumsy drafting and ignorance in government in not knowing how to draft legislation. Every time an award is made, even though the standard hours are not changed and the annual leave rate is not changed, we have to go before a full bench of 3 members of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission instead of having it dealt with by a single member as was the case previously. This came about because of some bright move by the previous Government. It was some sort of reform. It has slowed the processes of conciliation and arbitration. The whole concept of allowing a conciliator to act as an arbitrator - which the present legislation does not allow - with the consent of both parties is designed to speed up considerably the processes of conciliation and arbitration. Does the Opposition want to delay that amendment? We are anxious to get it through so that the conciliation and arbitration proceedings will be smoother.

We have heard all this argument before. It has been debated. I have with me a record of the previous Government's practices which shows the Acts, number of pages, the clauses and the time allowed for debate. I seek the leave of the House to have it incorporated in Hansard.


Is leave granted?

Mr Nixon - No. Read it.

Mr RIORDAN - Leave is not granted. I can understand my friends opposite wishing to deny the people of Australia, particularly the trade unionists, their representatives and the employer organisations who keep this group opposite in opposition a knowledge of the facts. But the facts will be known, because they will all come out eventually. The record of the Opposition is pretty dismal. I am happy to let it be known and let it be seen by the people of Australia that honourable members opposite do not want the record incorporated in Hansard. I do not have time to read it. I wish I did because it shows the dismal, miserable way in which honourable members opposite ran the government of this country particularly on matters affecting conciliation and arbitration - a subject on a field in which they exhibited without any doubt complete and utter ignorance but on which they have spoken with such authority.

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