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Friday, 26 May 1972
Page: 2201

Senator CARRICK (New South Wales) - I support clause 12 and I do so on the grounds of principle, of consistency and of good trade union practice. I support it first of all on the trade union principle of the going rate for the job. It was stated by the Attorney-General (Senator

Greenwood) and admitted by Senator Cavanagh, that all things considered the commissioners deserve an increase despite the appeal for restraint made by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon). So the going rate for the job demands, on principle, an increase.

Senator Cavanagh - Why do you not pay it to the labourer?

Senator CARRICK - The Labor Party's opposition is, if the Senate will pardon the expression, generated by humbug and pique. Let us test this attitude - firstly on the principle that the rate for the job at the moment is the rate in the Bill and secondly on the principle that need to attract people of the highest possible quality to the job.

Senator Georges - They will come from the Liberal Party.

Senator CARRICK - They will come from all sections of the community. When the trade union movement wants high quality officials, when it wants a Mr Hawke, a Mr Short and a Mr Mayne it pays them the going rate for the job. They deserve every cent of it if they are doing their job properly. So do conciliation commissioners.

If there is one other very good trade union principle it is that we should not discriminate the one against the other; that we should not punish one section of people against others. What are we doing here? In my judgment, because of pique, we have refused to increase the salaries of statutory officers. The fact that others in the Commonwealth Public Service got salary increases, the fact that employees in the State Public Service got salary increases and the fact that people in private industry got salary increases did not concern us. We were prepared to discriminate against a small number of people. What kind of justice is it when we discriminate against a small number of people? The community should decide that it will put a restraint upon the lot or none. Where is their justice when a handful of people are picked out and punished? Why are they punished? In every echo of every word that has been said in this debate by way of argument there has been the theme that because the politicians did not get their rise nobody else should get a rise. Let no honourable senator take out his spleen on the rest of the world because by bungling and conspiring in Caucus we failed to achieve what we might have set out to achieve.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was because of your Party's refusal to accept the arbitrator's decision.

Senator CARRICK - Let me take Senattor James McClelland up on that point. I challenge members of the Labor Party to say that, as a party, it will accept Mr Justice Kerr's recommendations in full. Do not raise with me whether my Party accepted the arbitrator's decision. I simply throw it back in the Opposition's teeth. Let us examine in principle the Prime Minister's appeal for restraint. In my judgment the argument used by the Labor Party against that appeal is like Satan rebuking sin. Senator Cavanagh wants restraint. Will he intercede on the ground of example and restraint whenever he sees an extravagant appeal for higher salaries and wages? In this place or in the community will he appeal against it - whether it is for professional officers, judicial officers or the trade union movement? I deplore inequities in the trade union movement. If restraint is to be applied let us not have the restraint that the Labor Party wants, which is freedom for the union bosses and chairs for the union employees.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - And justice for the workers.

Senator CARRICK - Justice for the workers, my foot. I believe that conciliation commissioners are working people. Honourable senators opposite appeal for restraint by professional officers. What is the difference between a professional officer performing a judicial duty in the Public Service and a professional officer practising at the Bar or a solicitor? Would any honourable senator suggest that we ought to put ceilings on the fees of solicitors and barristers?

Senator Cavanagh - I would.

Senator CARRICK - Then tell your leader that you advocate not just common fees for doctors but price fixing for barristers and solicitors. Honourable senators opposite have admitted that the rate for the job - the rate in the Bill - is a fair one. They have admitted it repeatedly. They have admitted that we need to attract good people. They have demonstrated that by paying their good people high rates equal to this kind of salary. They are opposed, rightly - so am I - to discrimination one against the other. We should freeze the lot or freeze none. If they want restraint; if they intend to support the Prime Minister, do they suport him in his appeal for restraint or only in relation to the restraints that they want? I appeal to members of this Committee, when they get over their pique about not receiving their extra salary, to test this matter on its merit, and decide whether a conciliation commissioner is worth the going rate for the job. The Bill puts in the going rate for the job and 1 support it.

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