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Tuesday, 9 October 1973
Page: 1741

Mr SPEAKER - Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr LYNCH - Yes, I do. At his Press conference on 25 September the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) was asked the reason for the alarming increase in industrial unrest under his Government. In response he stated:

Because of the Lynch laws. Most of the industrial disputes, as I observe them, flow from demarcation issues.

That statement demonstrates an appalling ignorance by the Prime Minister and is a pathetic attempt to abrogate his Government's own culpability for the present industrial turmoil.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has said that he has been misrepresented personally. He should not open a debate about a television interview.

Mr LYNCH - With respect, Mr Speaker, it will be clear as I proceed. In terms of the direct quotation from the Prime Minister to which I adverted it is very clear that he is seeking to apportion blame in a circumstance in which the facts equally clearly belie his contention. It is, therefore, on that basis that I claim to have been personally, directly and flagrantly mis represented by the honourable gentleman. The most recent statistics provided by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics are for the June quarter. They show that 11 per cent of strikes during that quarter were concerned with the employment of nonunionists, inter-union and intra-union disputes, sympathy stoppages in support of employees in another industry, recognition of union activities and other similar questions. It is quite clear and it is a matter of record that allows of no qualification, that actual demarcation disputes accounted for significantly less than 10 per cent of all disputes during that quarter - and not most disputes, as the Prime Minister stated.

To compound the error the Prime Minister blamed the massive increase in strikes on what he referred to as the Lynch laws. I repeat that that is a direct, personal and flagrant misrepresentation. The honourable gentleman should know that following the legislation which I introduced on behalf of the former Government there was a significant fall in industrial disputes in 1972. The legislation is the same this year as it was last year. The difference lies in the administration of that legislation. I seek to incorporate in Hansard the statistics which clearly show the causes of industrial disputes. The Prime Minister will see from the table that wage demands are the most significant element - 224 of the 519 disputes during the June quarter were as a result of wage demands. I ask leave of the House to incorporate it in Hansard.

Mr SPEAKER - Is leave granted?

Mr Whitlam - No.

Mr SPEAKER - Leave is not granted.

Mr LYNCH - It is really an extraordinary situation.

Mr Whitlam - There was no communication with me about this.

Mr LYNCH - Is the honourable gentleman taking a point of order?

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will continue.

Mr LYNCH - Thank you, Mr Speaker. I really appreciate your protection in this situation when the Prime Minister sits at the table, of course, mute with embarrassment because he recognises that on the record-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is now debating the question. I think he has made his point in regard to the misrepresentation as he sees it. It is not open to him to debate what happened on a television session.

Mir LYNCH - I certainly accept that. In fact it was not on television; it was at one of the Prime Minister's regular Press conferences outside this House, and I underline the words outside this House'. So that the honourable gentleman may be better informed, I am happy to table the document. If he seeks to deny this House the opportunity to see the facts, to give these facts full public scrutiny - the Government says it believes in open government, but what a sham that is - and if he seeks to hide the facts I am happy to table the document and to send him a copy of it. I think the point has been well made.

Mir JARMAN (Deakin) - Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

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