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Tuesday, 13 November 1973
Page: 3186

Mr SNEDDEN (BRUCE, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour. Did the Minister say: 'Industrial unrest cannot be solved by union leaders, employers and politicians sitting around a table of champagne and cigars, making grand and meaningless declarations and gestures on labour relations'?

Mr Sherry - That was when you were in government.

Mr SNEDDEN - No, it was not when we were in government. Was that statement made earlier this week - on 9 November? Will the Minister for Labour cease grandstanding about . a long term parallel system for the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and get back to the gut issue which is that industrial strikes are tearing this economy to pieces and robbing the people in Australia of the services they are entitled to have?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - First of all, the right honourable gentleman is quite wrong in giving what purports to be a quote of what I said, I think, on 9 November or which was allegedly reported on 9 November. I did not say anything about politicians, employers and unions sitting around bottles of champagne in smoke filled rooms in the dead of night trying to work out industrial relations. What I said-

Mr Snedden - Be careful. There is a Press statement.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am always careful. I am much more careful than the right honourable member is. What I have said was that we cannot expect employees to honour an industrial agreement about which they have never been consulted but which has been worked out behind closed doors with employers and union secretaries sitting around tables with champagne and cigars, or something like that. I said nothing about politicians or members of Parliament being involved. I do not think that politicians, especially ones like the honourable member's good self, add anything to industrial relations or to a better understanding of them because they are always grandstanding, trying to think of what to say that will read well in the newspapers, and trying to score off the opposing parties. That is why I have been averse to the idea of bringing a whole lot of politicians and Premiers from the States into this industrial peace conference. I have the highest respect for Mr Pat Hills but I do not think he would add anything considerable to the conference that it is now proposed to hold on 10 December or 11 December. I do not think that Mr Hamer would add anything and, for that matter, I think that Mr Dunstan would be too busy to attend the conference. What we want to do is to have an industrial peace conference where the parties principally concerned with industrial peace" can go with a spirit of goodwill and understanding and not be plagued by damn politicians sitting there saying things that they hope to leak to the Press when the conference is over as representing what they told the other side. The less politicians are involved in this the better.

Mr Snedden - That is right.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I agree with that. It is fortunate that the conference will be held under the chairmanship of a statesman whose determination is to see that better industrial relations are achieved.

Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to table the paper from which I quoted. It is a media statement made by the Minister for Labour which was embargoed until 7 p.m. eastern standard time, 9 November 1973. From this document I quoted the statement which the Minister for Labour has denied that he made.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I think that the correct procedure is to seek leave to table statements after question time. If what the right honourable member seeks to do were allowed every day question time would be cut into quite sharply.

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