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Tuesday, 6 November 1973
Page: 1518

Senator LILLICO (TASMANIA) - I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for

Labour. Has the Minister noted the suggestion by Mr Uren, the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, that the Government should sue construction companies which locked out workers employed on Government buildings? Should this not be a 2-way exercise, having special regard to the 120 tool sharpeners employed by General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd who are responsible for the laying off of 6,200 other employees? Should this not also come within the ambit of the law?

Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I do not know what the Minister for Urban and Regional Development has said, nor do I know what the Minister for Labour should do as a result of any statement Mr Uren may have made. Both employers and employees are subject to the law. If there was a breach of the law in any lockout that involved building workers in New South Wales the law could be availed of by anyone who desired to avail himself of it. I do not know whether it is a breach of any Commonwealth industrial law for 120 tool sharpeners at GMH to stop work. It is a breach of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act to stop work only if to do so is in breach of the award applicable to a particular industry. I do not know whether there is any prohibition upon tool sharpeners stopping work. There may not have been any redress and perhaps no-one could have taken action. The law is available to anyone who likes to utilise it in connection with any misdemeanour which may occur.

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