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Friday, 26 May 1972
Page: 2192

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) - I support what Senator James McCelland has said and point out that we have been informed that at least one of the parties to the first conferences conducted under the auspices of the National Labour Advisory Council - it was the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations - suggested on a fairly formal basis that the Commission might be constituted with a recognition of both sides of industry, namely, that it include representatives of employees and employers. This refers, of course, to deputy presidents. The point taken by Senator McClelland, which I support, is that this may exclude from appointment to the Commission a person with the necessary qualifications. He might be a trade union official. In fact he may be a very accomplished legal person, such as those we have in the Australian Labor Party, who has had long experience in trade union matters and industrial relations. The preliminary statement of first intention by the Chairman in December contained the following equally vague words in paragraph 71:

The Government has decided to broaden the basis for appointment of presidential members of the Commission to allow for the appointment of persons who have an accepted standing by virtue of experience at senior levels in industry or government service or, where appropriate, tertiary qualifications in economics, industrial relations or commerce.

It will be noted that the Chairman mentioned tertiary qualifications. The trade union movement is interested in the implications of this statement because after all it represents substantial sections of the work force, and it is a body with which the Government has to deal if there is a national crisis. Even now the Government is required to consult with the top organisations in the movement. It certainly would be helpful if the Minister could throw some light on what he considers to be the intention of the Government in respect of members of the Commission and also on what the clause really means.

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