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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 2240

Senator GREENWOOD (VictoriaAttorneyGeneral) - The Opposition has had a fairly solid belt at this provision. I feel that if only there had been a desire for some explanation, a lot of what has been said need not have been said. In the first place, an examination of the amendment and its effect upon the Bill before the Committee is such that no element of retrospectivity whatsoever is involved in the amendment. There is no interference with existing rights. For example, the date, 26th May, was not a date intended to affect, nor indeed was it capable of affecting, the proposed amalgamation of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society and the Sheet Metal Workers Union into the

Amalgamated Metal Workers Union. Yet over the weekend I heard that there was great concern that that amalgamation would be affected and that the purpose of what I have done was to achieve that end. No-one has ever suggested that on behalf of the Government. The Government's attitude had been made quite clear at about the end of February or the beginning of March. I think it is quite clear to anyone who examines the amendment and its effect upon the clause that it could not and does not have any such application.

I think it has always been clear to anyone who read the Bill and considered the amendment. To take it further to establish the point, yesterday, 29th May, the Industrial Registrar approved the cancellation of the registration of the .2 organisations which had applied for deregistration. He indicated that that cancellation would be effective under the regulations 3 months from today. The 3-month period is necessary because the existing regulations so provide, and accordingly that amalgamation will be effective at law as from 30th August. As I have said, there has been no intention to prevent amalgamation in that area, and the amendment does not affect the operation. I have said that there is no retrospectivity or interference with existing rights. I cannot understand why people will proceed along that line if they have read the Bill.

Let me explain that further: The scheme of the legislation in this area of amalgamation of organisations is to introduce a completely new procedure; That completely new procedure must operate from some date. It must operate from a certain date. What is that date to' be? It could have been the date upon which the Minister announced the new provisions, which was 26th April, lt could have been the date when the Bill came into force or it could be any date which is fixed: in the legislation. This is precisely the same with any legislation which passes through the Parliament. If it has new provisions, it must operate from the day on which those new provisions are declared to have effect and from the day on which they will operate.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - Why was it not in the original Bill?

Senator GREENWOOD - Because we had not anticipated that we would have - I will say it - the filibuster which we have had in this chamber over a period of days.

Senator Murphy - I rise to order. Last Friday in the Senate on at least 2 occasions the Minister was required by the Chair not to use that expression and to withdraw it, not only because it was unparliamentary but also because it was untrue. In accordance with the previous rulings, this being the same Committee continuing its deliberations, I ask that you require the Minister to observe the direction of the Chair.

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