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Tuesday, 15 August 1972
Page: 11

Senator YOUNG (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that the South Australian Government recently announced that it would pay the costs owing by a Mr J. E. Dunford to a Kangaroo Island farmer who had successfully taken civil action against him to lift a black ban imposed on the shipment of the farmer's wool? Is the Attorney-General aware that the South Australian Government justified this action on the ground that the Commonwealth Government had paid legal costs in similar cases? Is there any precedent in Commonwealth Government actions?

Senator GREENWOOD - I am aware that there was a prolonged court action in South Australia between a Kangaroo Island farmer and an official of a trade union, under which action the farmer sued the trade union official because of a black ban which had been imposed and which had caused him loss and inconvenience because it delayed the transhipment of his wool. I am also aware that the farmer succeeded in his action and received a judgment from the court, and that the South Aus tralian Government indicated in the court that it had paid or was prepared to pay the costs of the unsuccessful union official. I am also aware that considerable publicity was given to an assertion, I think by the Premier of South Australia, that this was no more than what had been done by the Commonwealth in paying the costs of certain unionists who had been engaged in proceedings before the Commonwealth Industrial Court. That assertion was categorically denied but the denial was not given very much publicity. I am happy to say that there is absolutely no corelationship between the 2 situations. The Commonwealth Government, through the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, has provided a means whereby union members can control their union officials, can ensure that the rules of their organisations are observed and can have properly conducted elections. (Honourable Senators interjecting).

The PRESIDENT - Order! The AttorneyGeneral is entitled to answer the question.

Senator GREENWOOD - I gather from the constant barrage of interjections from the Opposition that these democratic rights which the Government confers on union members do not altogether appeal to the more militant members of the Australian Labor Party who have been making a noise in this chamber. The point is that the Conciliation and Arbitration Act has made this provision for union members to control their union affairs and has facilitated a system of payment of costs whereby union members can pay costs without hardship to themselves. I would have thought that members of the ALP would have supported that instead of jeering at it. There is a great difference between that situation and the situation in which a person has gone to the ordinary courts of the land to have a black ban lifted which was unjustly, and arbitrarily imposed by a union which is engaging in victimisation and in which a goverment of this country pays the costs of a person who has been held by the court to have been guilty of such victimisation.

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