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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 1483

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - The Opposition will oppose clause 51. The clause seeks to amend section 1 1 7a of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. This section refers to the way in which parties may be represented and, for example, who may appear on behalf of an organisation. The clause which the Opposition is opposing allows an organisation to have an absolute right to be represented in proceedings before the Commonwealth Industrial Court by an officer, a member or an employee. The attitude of the Opposition in opposing this clause will, I trust, not be misunderstood. We recognise that the organisation has a right generally to be represented in proceedings by an officer, member or employee. But this is always subject to the discretion of the Court. The Court has a discretion under the Act and it is proper that the Court should have some control over who may appear before it. I feel that there are circumstances- here we are not talking about the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission but about the Industrial Court- where if an intricate matter involving interpretation comes before it an organisation may be required to have legal counsel appearing on its behalf. That would not, as I understand the position, cause the financial problems which might have been caused in an earlier day. The essential point which the Opposition desires to make is that we should not take away from the Court the power which it has under the existing Act. The amendment will deny the Court the exercise of discretion as to who may appear before it.

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