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Friday, 26 May 1972
Page: 2166

Senator BISHOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question, which follows the question asked by Senator McManus, is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. I refer to the answer given by the Minister in which he said that the matter would be considered. I ask the Minister whether, at the same time as he puts to the Minister for Labour and National Service the consideration of the statement by the national president of the metal trades employers' organisation, he will take note of Mr Morgan's statement that a failure to meet the unions will aggravate industrial relations and be used to justify strikes. Will he also notice that Mr Morgan has referred to the inequalities and disparities between the rates of pay for many employees in private industry and the rates prevailing in many Government fields, including the Commonwealth, which have been allowed to pass by the Commonwealth Government?

Senator WRIGHT - I find both points made by the honourable senator most appropriate. It would certainly be inappropriate for any employer not to engage usefully in purposeful discussions as to any wage adjustments which are claimed by unions. Notwithstanding that, the considerations to which I referred in my previous answer always must be borne in mind in the interests of both sides of the argument. I am very conscious of the second feature to which the honourable senator referred. It has recently been receiving close examination by me, as Minister for Works, in relation to the building industry. A factor which we have to bear in mi'nd very carefully is the justice of the remuneration which is given in the public sector in comparison with that received in the private sector.

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