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Wednesday, 20 November 1974
Page: 2618

Senator TOWNLEY (Tasmania) - I remember well the day on which I made that speech. It was not made in the evening, it was made in the afternoon. The point that I was making at that time was that the amalgamation of unions does not necessarily stop demarcation disputes.

Senator Mcintosh - It only cuts them down.

Senator TOWNLEY - If you want to have a talk in a moment you are welcome to get your kilt or whatever you like and come back here -

Senator Poyser - I rise to order. I think Senator Townley should speak through the chair and not have a conversation with a senator in this chamber. If he cannot stand interjections and gets upset about them he should retire from this place because he represents nobody anyway.

The PRESIDENT - I ask that Senator Townley be allowed to make the remainder of his speech in silence.

Senator TOWNLEY -The dispute that I was talking about occurred in Tasmania at Renison Bell, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, tin producers in Australia. It resulted in a considerable loss of production. The dispute was over whether boilermakers or fitters, who are both members of the same union, the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union, should perform the work of cutting bolts. All the AMWU members went on strike when the company requested a fitter to cut off some bolts which were incidental to his fitting work. The strike led to a stand-down of production workers and, after many weeks, dismissal notices to the maintenance workers themselves. Wages and other matters were brought into the dispute but in essence it was a demarcation dispute. To emphasise this point the AMWU members in a telegram to the Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission on 4 May 1973 said bluntly: 'This is a demarcation dispute'. That telegram and the circumstances surrounding this demarcation dispute may be found on the files of the principal registry in Melbourne. It was not until mid-May 1973 that the return to work was effected and at one stage it did look as though Tasmania would lose that industry. The point that I was making was that demarcation disputes can still occur within one union.

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