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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 1463

Senator MILLINER (Queensland) - I urge the Opposition not to proceed with the amendment. If it is carried it could prejudice good working arrangements. In an industry, different unions operate in the same establishment. Take, for instance, an establishment in which clerks, boilermakers, blacksmiths and other tradesmen work. That establishment would have what is known as a shop committee. It would comprise representatives of each union. Quite frequently a union organiser going into the establishment would be required to speak to somebody who is not a member of his union. For instance, an organiser from the Amalgamated

Engineering Union may be required to speak to a representative of the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society of Australia or to a representative of the Federated Clerks Union. An organiser from the Clerks Union may go into the establishment and may have to speak to employees who are not members of the Clerics Union. Under those circumstances, the Opposition amendment could present a lot of unnecessary difficulty.

I do not know whether the Oppositon knows this, but I would say that on 99.9 per cent of the occasions on which a union organiser goes into an establishment he goes first to the employer or the employer's representative. That is a common courtesy. I would say that the employer would do exactly the same if he visited a union establishment. I am not trying to make out that the unions are ultra courteous. They are not; they just show the common courtesies that would be extended by a stranger coming in to a person's home. The unions regard the establishment as belonging to the employer as it does. When they are entering an establishment they pay the common courtesy of going to the employer or to the employer's representative. Senator Greenwood sits there with that knowing look on his face.

Senator Greenwood - I am only thinking that your argument is really an argument against even putting in the clause that the Government is proposing.

Senator MILLINER - No, I do not think so. The honourable senator should be fair. That is not so at all. This clause is regarded in trade union circles as one of the most important provisions in the legislation, namely, the right of entry. By its amendment the Opposition is attempting to restrict that right of entry which could cause complications. I am trying to point out to the honourable senator -

Senator Greenwood - It was not in the Bill until the Government proposed it, and we are only amending what the Government has put in the Bill.

Senator MILLINER - If Senator Greenwood wants a running battle with me on these issues, he may have it.

Senator Greenwood - God forbid.

Senator MILLINER - The honourable senator says 'God forbid', and that suits me too. The point is that if the Opposition proceeds with this amendment it will cause difficulties in industry, and surely the object of everybody should be to avoid difficulties in industry. I have indicated to the honourable senator how this amendment will operate if he proceeds with it. I have tried to show, too, that unions, as more than a general proposition, exercise some degree of courtesy when they enter an establishment. If the Opposition has its way it will break down many of the practices that have been built up over the years which employers themselves recognise. Employers recognise shop committees in establishments where there is a multiplicity of unions operating. The employers themselves encourage the establishment of shop committees. In these circumstances if the Opposition proceeds with its amendment then I say, with respect, that it will not assist industry; it will be going out of its way to create difficulties for industry.

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