27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 10 a.m., and read prayers.
– -I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs: In view of the diplomatic ties existing between Australia and Yugoslavia, has the Government sent birthday greeting to Marshal Tito on his 80th birthday today?
– I am pleased to be able to inform the honourable senator that the Governor-General has this day sent to Marshal Tito a congratulatory message.
– My question is directed to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate as the representative of the Minister for Defence. What is the current position relating to Government and Royal Australian Air Force investigations into replacement aircraft for the Air Force? Have all firms who wish to tender according to the specifications of the Air Force now submitted their tenders? When is it likely that this matter will be determined? Has the Government firmly based its programme on co-production or offset ordering?
– Following the issue RAAF staff requirement for a Mirage replacement, the Department of Air has received a number of proposals. It is believed that one or two proposals might still be coming forward. Although the Department of Air continually carries out an evaluation of each military aircraft, the evaluation which will conduct the firm evaluation on the replacement of the Mirage has not as yet commenced operations. It will be doing so in the near future. The policy of the Government is that offset ordering or co-production is a firm requirement for any replacements for the Air Force. That will be one of the main considerations in selecting the successful company.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the serious implication to the beef industry arising from the ban imposed on export of beef carcasses bearing signs in any part of tuberculosis infection having been suffered by the animal, can the Minister say whether consideration is being given to early implementation of a national compensation plan to give a degree of security to beef producers pending complete eradication of bovine tuberculosis?
– As the honourable senator knows, some time ago there was an amendment to the United States meat inspection regulations, requiring that local meat and meat imported into the United States of America be free of bovine tuberculosis at post mortem inspection. This was of great concern to Australians associated with meat production, killing operations and meat export. Discussions took place between all interested parties and the Department of Primary Industry, and it was thought that the amendment would affect, in the main, cattle coming from the northern part of Australia. The producer organisations were very concerned and said that a national compensation plan should be introduced.
– Why do they not do something about the cattle?
– That is so. The Minister for Primary Industry had discussions with the State authorities. Discussions are now proceeding between Commonwealth and State authorities on what they think that compensation payment should be and how it should be financed. Until we know the results of the examinations being carried out, I cannot give the honourable senator any further information.
– I preface my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services by saying that no doubt the Minister is aware of a chart showing income from government pensions, benefits and child endowment, which was printed by the University of Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research and which compares income from pensions with the income required to reach the poverty line. The chart shows, amongst other things, that a single male pensioner requires an additional $5 a week to reach the poverty line, and that an invalid pensioner with a wife and 2 children needs and additional $15 a week to reach the poverty line. Will the Minister say whether any early action is likely to be taken by the Government to help ease the burden of these people?
– I am aware of the general figures to which the honourable senator has referred. I am aware also that the basis upon which those figures were assessed was an investigation carried out in, I think, 1966. The result of those inquiries in 1966 has been given extensive publicity. The figures to which the honourable senator has referred are the up-dated figures as the authors regard them, but of course they are based on average weekly earnings over the period since the original survey was made. It may be a question of some concern whether the use of average weekly earnings is a fair way to get a precise figure which is consistent with the results of the initial inquiry. Having said that, one cannot ignore the implications of what the honourable senator said, and I do not ignore them. I am not in a position to express on behalf of the Minister for Social Services what the Government’s future policy will be, but I will convey the honourable senator’s question to him for answer.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry a question supplementary to that asked by Senator Laucke. Am I to understand that the export meat industry in Australia is now faced with the total rejection of any cattle which show tuberculosis lesions? Am I right in expressing concern that this type of TB infected cattle will now be directed wholly to the local market? Can I be assured that this will not occur? If total rejection is to be applied to cattle for overseas export, will total rejection also apply to cattle for the local market? Could I advise the Minister-
– You cannot advise the Minister. You can ask him a question.
– Well, may I ask the Minister whether he will take the steps necessary to see that graziers are responsible for reducing the level of TB in their cattle and that the cost of this will not become a further imposition on taxpayers?
– As a result of the talks with all people concerned in the industry, it has been decided to withold from export to any destination any form of meat or offal that has been affected in any way by tuberculosis. This is what the honourable senator was saying. This decision comes at a rather unfortunate time. It arises before the Australian tuberculosis and brucellosis eradication campaign has effectively eliminated the disease in Australia. At the present time Commonwealth and State bodies are deciding what additional steps are needed to strengthen and to accelerate the TB and brucellosis eradication campaign. The responsible committee is going in detail into this matter. It will give its decision to the Minister for Primary Industry for his consideration. No doubt he will take it up with his colleagues in the Australian Agricultural Council.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs been drawn to encouraging reports of a successful counter-attack by South Vietnamese marines in Quang Tri province? Does this indicate that Vietnamisation, with American air support, may not be nearly so brittle as many commentators, cartoonists and correspondents have suggested?
– Various reports have come through in the last weeks but today’s news, as yet unconfirmed so far as I am concerned through official sources, does record success in the counterattack to which the honourable senator refers. If the honourable senator would be good enough to bear with me, I would just ask him perhaps to inform himself of what the Australian Broadcasting Commission saw lit to occupy its programme ‘AM’ with this morning. I say nothing further than that, but it was retailing the news as per a Vietcong newspaper.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Following the findings of the Pearce Commission on Rhodesia, will the Australian Government state firmly that it will support the United Nations policy of economic isolation of Rhodesia or will Australia still be seen to run against world sentiment by supporting the illegal Smith regime?
– The implication in the honourable senator’s question that Australia runs against world sentiment with regard to this matter is quite unwarranted. He knows full well that Australia has supported United Nations sanctions. The proposals for an alteration of the situation were ingeniously initiated by Lord Home with the assistance of the Commission of Lord Pearce. That inquiry has been conducted in a manner traditionally characteristic of British judicial inquiries. Now that the situation has not been advanced along the lines of the Home proposals, time is necessary for some thought. That will mean that the British authorities and the Rhodesian authorities, who are the parties principal in the matter, will have the problem still before them. But Australia’s attitude is that at the present time it will continue with the sanctions that it adopted following the United Nations resolutions.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs inform the Senate of what information the Government has given to Sir William Gunn to enable him to make an intelligent contribution to the conference of the International Wool Textile Organisation on the marketing of Australian wool? If Sir William does not know the Government’s decision on the wool acquisition scheme, how can he put Australia’s case to such an important conference?
– I doubt whether this matter comes within my responsibility as Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. However, I would not take the step of advancing in public the briefing that the Government has given to Sir William Gunn for the purpose of the conference referred to. The second part of the question asked by the honourable senator is hypothetical.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: Why does Qantas Airways Ltd not train and employ as large a percentage of Fijians in its operations in Fiji, which have extended over 18 years, as American Airlines Incorporated already finds it possible to do in its operations in Fiji, which have extended over less than 2 years?
– Very briefly, Qantas Airways Ltd has had a much more decisive operation in Fiji than has American Airlines Incorporated, which has appeared only recently as a phenomenon on that island or series of islands. It will be found that total Qantas employment of Fijians is much greater than that of American Airlines, which employs quite a small percentage of Fijians. Qantas is quite decisive in looking after the whole aid transport operation and the airport. There are plans in hand to transfer the administration of the airport to the Fijian authorities when they are ready to accept it. With that end in view, Qantas has been training people to take over those responsibilities. In no sense can it be assumed that Qantas has not been fully conscious of its responsibilities or is not carrying them out.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. Is it possible for him to inform the Parliament of the cost or estimated cost of the following: Firstly, the completed extension to the eastern or House of Representatives side of Parliament House; secondly, the completed western or Senate extension; thirdly, the further western extension now being built; and, fourthly, the further contemplated extension to the eastern side?
– I have here some figures from the Department of the Interior which may help the honourable senator. To the extent that extra information is required the honourable senator knows that I will obtain it for him. The main eastern extension to Parliament House was completed in 1965 at a cost of approximately $608,000. That part of the honourable senator’s question relating to the western extension can be answered in the following terms: A contract was let in December 1970 for the works described at a cost of $2,077,338. The allocation of that amount is as follows: The main western extension, $950,000; the front western extension, $270,000; the front eastern extension, $709,900; and the roof extension, $147,400. However I will look at the honourable senator’s question and make quite sure that the full body of information which he requested is contained in the answer. If anything is lacking, it will be given to him subsequently.
– I must say that that was a very accurate anticipation of a question that might be asked.
– My question is addressed to you, Mr President. You will recall that on 12th April I directed your attention to the delay in the publication of the Senate Hansard and asked you to use your good offices to have the Government Printer’s obsolete machinery replaced with modern equipment, as recommended by the Joint Committee on Publications last year. Have you anything to report to the Senate?
– I recollect the circumstances outlined by Senator Milliner very well. It is my understanding that the Treasurer has given an unusually beneficent nod to the Government Printer.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts and the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. Is he aware that a Mr A. Henschel who has established a commercial repitle zoo north of Cardwell has been refused assistance by both the Queensland Minister for Tourism and the Queensland Premier, Mr Bjelke-Petersen in obtaining Tourist Bureau publicity? As this project is rapidly becoming a viable project, will the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Acitivites investigate the possibilities of giving moral, and if possible financial support, at a Commonwealth level to Mr Henschel?
– I undertake to put the case to the responsible Commonwealth Minister-in-Charge of Tourism.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Has the Government received reports from the conference of the United Nations Council for Trade and Development recently held in San Diego? If so, when will it be made available to the Senate? If the report has not been received, can any indication be given on when it will be forthcoming?
– I have no information upon that subject. I will seek it for the honourable senator.
– Long ones?
Senator Laucke having addressed a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science-
– I, of course, have previous information on the matter.
– I rise to a point of order. Is it admissible for a question that was placed on the notice paper during question time to be answered by the Minister directly, as is being done at the present time?
– I take it, Mr President, that your ruling is that if I ask a question and it is placed on the notice paper I can then expect an answer, or could receive an answer, at the end of question time.
Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - Pursuant to section 14 of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act 1948-1971, I present the twenty-third annual report of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board on the operation of the Act for the year ended 30th June 1971, together with financial accounts.
Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - For the information of honourable senators I table the report of the committee to review the situation of Aborigines on pastoral properties in the Northern Territory, commonly known as the Gibb Report.
Reports on Items
Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - For the information of honourable senators I present Tariff Board reports on:
Dimethylamine, dated16th May 1971.
Caustic Soda, dated 24th February 1972.
Toilet Units, dated 6th April 1972.
Reference to Public Works Committee
– I move:
The proposed extensions will be of similar 2-storey construction to the existing studios and will include additional studios, a presentation theatre, film laboratories and associated administrative offices. The estimated cost of the proposed work of $1.7m. I table the plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
This motion is not unusual. It is one that is required at the end of each sessional period. It has been used over the years that I have been here. Earlier in the sessional period it was expected that the Parliament would rise for the winter recess on or about 25 May. Today is the 25 May and when one looks at the notice paper one finds that we have 13 Bills on it, and this morning various Ministers will be introducing a further 7 Bills. A little later on this morning we will have 20 Bills before us. Upon looking at the notice paper for the House of Representatives I see that another 17 Bills are listed. Not all of those Bills will come to the Senate this sessional period but one or two will. Therefore we find ourselves with this amount of business ahead of us when it was expected that the Senate would rise on or about 25 May.
Recently it has been the practice on Thursdays for the Senate, shortly after we have reached this stage of the proceedings, to consider committee reports. Generally that lasts for a period of up to 2 hours. Then at 8 p.m. on Thursdays the Senate usually deals with general business. Upon looking at the notice paper I see that we are dealing with the Conciliation and Arbi tration Bill. I note that there have been 6 speakers from the Opposition side and that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) is in continuation at present. There have been 5 speakers from the Government side and one speaker from the DLP. lt is my understanding that the Opposition has a further 7 members interested in speaking in the debate on this Bill. I believe that this is an important piece of legislation and that honourable senators should be given the opportunity to discuss it. Therefore I am taking this opportunity of allowing them to have full discussion during these 2 periods of the day which normally are allotted for consideration of committee reports and general business.
Upon looking at the notice paper I see that we have other important Bills which I am quite sure honourable senators from various States will want to discuss. This leads me to the suggestion that today we should deal with Government business and try to get rid of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill as soon as possible. Whether that would be possible today remains to be seen. If it is not possible I think we should sit tomorrow, commencing at 10 a.m. and sitting through until 4.30 p.m. At that time I hope to be in a position to say what we will do next week. At this time it appears quite probable that we will have to come back next week and sit until we clean up the Bills on the notice paper. By moving this motion I am taking the opportunity of alloting all the time available today to discussion of Government business on the notice paper. I seek the support of all honourable senators for my motion.
– I have some sympathy with the viewpoint put by the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman), in the sense that we want to get through whatever business we have. There is a great deal of Government business. But we have to consider what we are displacing. If we can be co-operative about the matter I would like to be co operative so that we do not become unnecessarily frayed over problems which can be solved with a little reason. If we agree to the motion moved by the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate we would displace the discussion of the reports of committees. This is not without some importance because the discussion of some of the reports has been unduly delayed. I think the report from the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse is some 12 months old. It should have been discussed before. Other matters should have been discussed before. But I suppose that if this report has been delayed for 12 months another few weeks is not going to make any difference.
– How many speakers have there been on the matter?
– The honourable senator is closing the debate?
– I am going to oppose the motion on the grounds that we have a report which has come here-
– A lot of these matters cannot be considered until the end of the year anyway.
– I am opposing the amendment. I reminded the Senate that whenI moved my motion in the first place I said: ‘Unless otherwise ordered.’ If the Senate, in its wisdom, believes that Senator Murphy’s amendment should be added to my motion then, at 8 o’clock, we will call on Order of the Day No. 2. I have said that I want to get through the business and I am prepared to give an assurance to the Senate. I should like to go on with Government business all day. If we do not finish the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill to-day it could go on tomorrow. I would certainly give Senator Murphy the opportunity of referring to his matter before we get up. However, I understand that that arrangement is not acceptable. I understand that that suggestion is not acceptable, so I will let the Senate decide whether it wants to support the amendment or the motion.
That the words proposed to be added (Senator Murphy’s amendment) be amended.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) proposed:
That, unless otherwise ordered, the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Friday, 26th May, at 10 a.m.
– The motion to sit tomorrow, if carried, would mean a departure from the normal sitting days of the Senate. The Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) has not given any reason why the Senate should sit tomorrow. It has sat for the 3 weeks that it normally sits, and now it should rise until Tuesday week because that course is considered to be the proper way for it to conduct its business. If the Senate does not rise until Tuesday week but comes back next Tuesday, why should not we sit on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and attend to the business in the normal course? I suggest that that is the course that the Senate should adopt. Irrespective of the fate of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill - I, for one, think that it should not be dealt with at this stage - there is a great deal of other business, and the Senate should attend to it. Why does this kind of pressure tactic have to be applied to this chamber in order to fit in, I suppose, with the wishes and sometimes the caprice of the other place? The Senate has the opportunity to conduct its business in an orderly fashion. I think it should keep to the procedures which it has laid down and come back on Tuesday.
– The Democratic Labor Party will support the motion. The Senate either has all night sittings or, when occasions such as this arise, agrees to sit an extra day. My Party is in no doubt whatsoever about what it wants to do. It thinks that it is better for the Senate to meet tomorrow than to have all night sittings.
– I wish to make a point in answer to what Senator McManus has said. The matter we are debating is not one of all night sittings; it is whether the Senate shall sit an extra day in the normal week to deal with the business that is before it. The Opposition has no objection to the re-arrangement of business so that Government Business can proceed. The Opposition has offered no objection to that course. It has given precedence to Government Business. It has made one small objection, which has been over-ruled. The Opposition has given Government Business precedence. That is fair enough. The Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) has indicated that there is so much work on the notice paper that the Senate will have to sit next week anyhow. Since the Senate has to meet, next week, let us sit on Tuesday and, if necessary, on Wednesday and Thursday and, if necessary, the following week. I do not see any need for the Senate to sit tomorrow. The motion should be opposed strongly because what will happen tomorrow -
– The honourable senator has no right to say that members of the DLP will not be available next week. That is news to me. The honourable senator must be better informed than I am.
– The honourable senator objects to the Senate sitting tomorrow but he does not want to restrict the debate, which means that he is barking both ways.
– Parliament is their first responsibility.
– I want to say a few words in opposition to the motion. A the end of each session we invariably have a discussion about proposed sitting times. On previous occasions, much to my horror and consternation, controversial Bills have been brought on for debate on the last day of a session and we have been told: ‘You can discuss it if you like but by discussing it you will be keeping your colleagues here and preventing them from going home*. The result has been that important legislation has been passed through this chamber without the discussion it warrants. But on this occasion I am high in praise of the Government in its conduct of the business before the Senate.
Last week it was rumoured that the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill would come on for debate on the last day of the session, but we were assured by Senator Murphy that he had insisted in discussions that there be a full debate on it. The Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) said today that it is an important Bill and that he would not want to curtail the speeches of the 7 Opposition senators who wished to debate it. That is an indication that he expects there to be a full debate on this Bill. In view of the number of clauses in the Bill it is obvious that the debate will not be concluded today but that it will have to continue on another day. There has been no suggestion that the Senate should sit for longer hours during the evening. It is agreed that it will be necessary for the Senate to sit beyond today. The Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate said that the Senate should sit tomorrow and then come back next Tuesday, which is recognition of the fact that it will be necessary for us to sit next week. By sitting tomorrow we will not avoid the necessity to sit next week. Therefore why should we depart from the usual pattern and sit tomorrow?
– I feel obliged to speak on this matter because I approached the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate and requested that he endeavour to have the Senate sit tomorrow and on Saturday if he thought that we could get through the business. My objective was to save the people about $12,000 or $14,000 in fares. If the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill is so important, we should not rush it. We should go through and complete all the other Bills. I was influenced in my request by the fact that we are all here. If honourable senators opposite think that they can influence the Queensland election by going there tomorrow, one day before the election is held, they amaze me. Personally, I find that most honourable senators do not do very much on Fridays and Mondays because we are travelling home or coming back here. My request was. an endeavour to avoid the possibility of our using a lot of the people’s finances by travelling back to Perth unnecessarily. I feel that we could get through the business if we sat on Friday or Saturday and I therefore support the motion.
– in reply - I did not speak to the motion when I moved it because I had already covered the subject matter when speaking to the previous motion. It seems that honourable senators need to be reminded. They may recall that last week when I moved a motion to alter the sitting hours I alluded to the position that we would have before us. In the wisdom of the Senate at that time it was thought that I should seek the adjournment of the debate, and I did so. The Senate was saying to me in effect: ‘We do not think that we should sit an extra 3£ hours this week because we do not see that it is necessary.’ I saw it as necessary at that time because I anticipated the situation in which we now find ourselves. The Senate did not agree with me on that occasion so I am asking the Senate to agree with me on this occasion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard. This Bill provides for the validation until 30th June 1972 of duties collected in pursuance of Customs Tariff Proposals Nos 4 to 7 inclusive which were introduced into the Parliament during this session. The tariff chances validated by this Bill relate to the Tariff Board reports on industrial chemicals and synthetic resins, and so on; and industrial gamma ray equipment, and the Special Advisory Authority reports on continuous fiiament anient raw yarns of polyamide or polyester, isooctyl alcohol, and resins of the propylene type. Having regard to the Government’s decision to move to metrication and the recent major nomenclature changes made by the Customs Co-operation Council, Brussels, a new consolidated Schedule will be introduced by Gazette Notice and subsequently by Tariff Proposals to operate from 1st July 1972. This Validation Bill validates the collection of duties up to the commencement of these impending changes. I commend the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard. The Gold-Mining Industry Assistance Act was last amended in 1970, when its operation was extended for 3 years until June 1973 at unchanged rates of subsidy. The Government then expected that this would enable gold mining activity in Kalgoorlie to continue to phase out gradually without serious disruption to the population and the economy of the area. The recent weakening of the demand for nickel in world markets has, however, made it difficult for prospective producers to obtain sales contracts. As a result, the commencement dates for a number of nickel projects have been deferred. Following representations by the industry to the Government, including those of Western Australian senators and members, the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) announced on 14th December 1971 that it has been, decided to increase the maximum rate of subsidy paid to large producers under the Act from $8 an ounce to $12 an ounce, with effect from 1st January 1972. Further representations were subsequently made that that measure of increased assistance would not enable Kalgoorlie producers to maintain production beyond the end of 1972.
In order to sustain employment and activity in Kalgoorlie for a longer period, the Government now proposes that subsidised producers also benefit to the extent of one-half, instead of one-quarter as in the present legislation, of the premium by which prices obtained for gold exceed the official price of $31.25 an ounce. This increased benefit would also come into effect as from 1st January 1972. The Bill now before the Senate will amend the Gold-Mining Industry Assistance Act accordingly and will also extend its period of operation until June 1975. Approximately $32m has been paid to gold producers by way of subsidy since the inception of the Act. This assistance has been supplemented by a complete exemption from income tax of profits from gold mining. Under existing legislative provisions, expenditure on subsidy this financial year was estimated at $1.9m. Increasing the maximum subsidy rate for large producers to $12 an ounce is expected to increase expenditure in 1971-72 by about $400,000 and in a full year by about $lm. At an average premium above the official price of about $8 an ounce, increasing the share of premiums retained by subsidised producers to one-half would increase subsidy expenditure in 1971-72 by about $300,000 and in a full year by about $800,000.
The Bill also includes a provision to give the Treasurer discretion to extend the period of time within which a large producer must apply for approval in order to become eligible for subsidy. The Act already provides that the Treasurer may allow an extension of the period within which large producers may elect to claim subsidy under the small producer provisions of the Act and the proposed amendment would confer a similar discretion in respect of the initial approval of large producers for subsidy purposes. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard.
The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to a proposal announced by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) in a statement to Parliament on 11th April last that the operation of section 26 (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act would be varied so as to provide greater certainty in the taxation law for people having stock exchange transactions in shares. Under the present law, section 26 (a) applies where a person acquires shares or other property with the sole or dominant purpose of reselling at a profit. It provides that, in these circumstances, any profit that eventuates on sale is subject to tax. A complementary provision - section 52 - applies where the sale of property acquired with the purpose I have mentioned results in a loss. It authorises the allowance of an income tax deduction for the loss.
These provisions have no application where property is acquired for purposes other than that of profit making. For example, where an investment is made in shares principally for the purpose of deriving dividends from them or where a person buys a house for his residence, a capital profit made on the eventual disposal of the property is not taxable, nor is a tax deduction allowable if a capital loss is suffered. It is the view of the Government that the basic principles of the law are sound and, as a broad general rule, should not be disturbed. The Government has accepted, however, that there is evidence that the application of the principles to the acquisition and sale of shares traded on stock exchanges has caused some uncertainty as to the practical operation of the law. In this particular area, the Government con siders it desirable to take action to reduce the uncertainty without fundamentally changing the principles. It accordingly proposes amendments to the income tax law which will provide a more certain basis for determining the taxability or otherwise of profits on the sale of shares.
For this purpose the Bill, in broad terms, provides that profits or losses made by a person on the sale of shares listed on a stock exchange are not to be taken into account for income tax purposes if the person had owned them for a period of at least 18 months before sale, and had not acquired them as an incident of carrying on a business. It is proposed that the new provisions will apply to shares acquired on or after 12th April 1972, the day immediately following the Treasurer’s announcement of the Government’s intentions. The principal effect of the Bill will be that persons who are not engaged in a business of share dealing, or whose share transactions are not incidental to their business activities, may be sure that any profit arising on the sale of listed shares that they have held for at least 18 months will not be subject to income tax. As a corollary, losses on the sale of shares they have held for at least this time will not be tax deductible.
The proposed amendments will not apply where, on or before lodging his first return after acquiring particular shares, a person has notified the Commissioner of Taxation that the shares were acquired for the purpose of profit making by sale. Where such a notification has been given - in accordance with the existing section 52 of the Assessment Act - the present law will have effect regardless of when the shares are eventually sold by the person concerned. The present law will also continue to apply as regards shares sold within 18 months of acquisition. The proposed amendment will have effect where persons acquire shares jointly or alone, and will apply whether or not shares are registered in the name of the owner or in the name of a nominee or trustee, provided the beneficial ownership of the shares docs not change within 18 months. It will also apply to an interest in shares acquired by a person as an owner in common if he remains the owner of that interest for at least the statutory period. Changes in ownership of shares due to the death or bankruptcy of the owner will, however, be disregarded in determining how long shares have been owned for the purpose of the 18 months test.
To meet the case where a person is allotted shares in a new issue by a company and the shares have not been listed prior to allotment, the Bill requires that, for the 18 months exemption to apply, the shares must become listed on a stock exchange within 3 months after he became the owner of them. The amendments proposed by the Bill will apply only where shares are owned by individual persons. The tax situation of companies will therefore remain unchanged. The Government has decided on the course of action I have outlined as a means of providing greater certainty in the application of the income tax law to people who, for any of a number of reasons, buy shares which they may later sell, but who are not engaged in a business of share dealing. The operation of the proposed amendment will be carefully watched and, should experience show that it is tending to lead to the devising of arrangements to avoid or minimise taxation, the Government will have no hesitation in introducing such further amendments as may be thought necessary to prevent systematic income tax avoidance. Explanations of the technical features of the Bill are contained in an explanatory memorandum being made available to honourable senators. 1 commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bil) be now read a second time.
With the concurrence of honourable senators f incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard.
The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to amendments to the income tax law made necessary by decisions of the High Court. These decisions have shown weaknesses in the present law of which taxpayers have been taking advantage to avoid - quite legally - large amounts of tax which, in accordance with the policy of the legislation as approved by the Parliament it was intended they should pay. The Bill is an important one, dealing in part with the most difficult question of providing effective legislative tests which separate the genuine public company from the ostensible public company for taxation purposes.
Before amending legislation in 1964, based on the recommendations of the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation 1959-1961, there had been considerable legal tax avoidance through essentially private companies masquerading as public companies. The 1964 amendments were intended to put an end to this. Unfortunately, as the High Court has pointed out, those amendments left a real gap which has been used to obtain the same kind of unintended tax advantages for private companies as were available before the amendments were made. In broad terms, the general aim of the arrangements is to ensure that the trading profits of private companies remain taxed at the lower rate applicable to those companies but that the profits are distributed as dividends to companies that are public in a narrowly technical sense so that there is no incidence of undistributed profits tax or personal tax on shareholders in respect of the dividends. The arrangements strike at the very basis of our company tax system as it was intended by the legislature to apply. Moreover, they are highly artificial and serve no purpose other than tax avoidance.
One type of scheme was dealt with by the High Court in the case of Casuarina Pty Ltd and ruled legally effective. Another type is known as the ‘Chainoften’ scheme and is equally effective. Each type requires co-operation between genuine public companies and private companies so that, with the help of the public companies, the private companies can pay dividends to a company which is technically a subsidiary of a public company - and therefore itself a public company - for tax purposes. Of course the arrangements also ensure that the dividends effectively remain the exclusive property of the private company interests except, perhaps, to a very small extent which is a recompense or fee to the public company for its assistance.
In the Casuarina arrangement, the whole essence of the matter is that at the end of the year of income the company receiving private company dividends meets all the technical tests of a subsidiary of a public company. That is to say, at that time more than 50 per cent of the capital, voting power and the rights to dividends and other distributions are in the hands of a public company shareholder. There coexists, however, countervaling devices which ensure that any attempt by the public company shareholder to exercise its ostensible rights can easily be defeated by the private company interests so that the public company rights are, in fact, worthless. These devices include such things as the use of shaves redeemable at the instance of the private company interests only, but there are many ways in which the desired effects can be achieved.
The ‘chain-of-ten’ scheme takes advantage of the fact that, under the present law, a sub-subsidiary of a public company, no matter how remote from the head or parent company, must be treated as a public company. If a company is owned as to more than 50 per cent by a public company, and its voting power is controlled by the same company, it is treated as a subsidiary of that public company. If it, in turn, has the same measure of ownership and control in another company, that other company is also treated as a subsidiary and so on. In a typical chain a public company listed on the stock exchange provides a specially established company with subsidiary status and this subsidiary sets up a chain of ten other sub-subsidiaries below it. The tenth and last sub-subsidiary is the company to which the private company profits are distributed as dividends. The public company interests could force redistribution of these dividends along the chain - against the wishes of the private company interests. This is unlikely, however, because there is a 49 per cent private company ownership of each link in the chain which would result, for example, in only $119 out of $100,000 of private company profits finding its way to the listed public company at the top of the chain. The balance would all go to the private company interests.
The Government has decided thai, in the face of these arrangements, in all their complexity and their shades of organisational and factual differences one from the other, the best plan was to define primarily as a subsidiary of a public company one that is, at all times during the year of income, beneficially owned, in the fullest sense of those words, as to 100 per cent by a genuine public company, including a subsidiary which, on these tests, is itself a public company. This the bill proposes to do. The Bill also proposes that a company which does not meet the 100 per cent test will not be treated as a subsidiary of a public company unless, at all times during the year of income, it is owned as to more than 50 per cent and its voting power is controlled, again in the fullest sense, by a public company listed on the stock exchange. Both direct and indirect interests will be taken into account for these purposes.
These are necessarily stringent tests. As a safety valve against their applying inappropriately, a dispensing discretion vested in the Commissioner by the present law to treat a company as public when, for one reason or another, it fails to meet all the technical tests but should reasonably be treated as public, will remain. This is not a new administrative discretion, but one that has operated satisfactorily for some years now. The tests - stringent as they are on the face of it - could still be met and provide no more than a facade behind which the company is managed or conducted so as to render the public shareholding worthless or virtually so. Directors representing private interests, for example, could have the power to do this. This is a substantial difficulty which it has not been found possible to overcome both positively and comprehensively. The legislation therefore permits the Commissioner to deny public status to a company when, having regard to specified matters relevant to the determination and set out in much detail, he is satisfied that the company’s affairs are being conducted to this end.
It is proposed by the Bill that the amendments I have so far described should basically apply so that, if the corporate arrangements had been finalised by the necessary issue of shares, and so on, before 29th April 1971, the articficial subsidiary will remain a public company for the 1970-71 income year by satisfying the existing tests or a public company subsidiary. For subsequent years, however, that company, in common with all other companies seeking public company subsidiary status, will need to comply with the tests that are proposed in this bill. Where the corporate arrangements had not been finalised until after 28 th April 1971, it is proposed that the company be treated as a private company for 1970-71 unless, of course, it meets the new tests in relation to that year. These commencement provisions are consistent with the treasurer’s announcement on the matters on 28th April 1971.
The income year 1971-72 is, therefore, the year for which, in the generality of cases the new tests, required to be met at ali times during the year, will apply. Most of that year has already elapsed. In recognition of this, a special transitional provision is proposed whereby a company will, with an exception I shall shortly mention, be taken to have met the tests at all times during 1971-72 if it meets them at all times during the part of that year commencing no later than one month after the date of royal assent. The exception is the case of the company which has performed the public company part in a tax avoidance arrangement of the kind against which the legislation is directed and which received private company dividends after 28 th April 1971 and in the period of 1971-72 prior to its compliance with the new tests.
A transitional provision that applied only for the 1971-72 year would not meet the position of a company which, because of an irregular accounting period, may have already commenced its 1972-73 year of income. Accordingly, the transitional provision, and the exception to it that I have mentioned, are designed so as to apply to both the 1971-72 and 1972-73 income years should this prove necessary. Where a company remains a public company for the income year 1970-71, distributions made to it by a private company up to the end of the year will be treated as dividends paid to a public company. However, it is proposed by the Bill that any such distributions made after 28th April 1971, and before the end of the recipient company’s 1970-71 income year, will not be capable of giving rise to an excess distribution to be carried forward by the private company into future years. In other words, a company will not be permitted to generate an excess distribution through excessive dividends declared under the tax avoiding arrangement in the closing stages of 1970-71, and after the treasurer’s announcement of the proposed amendments.
The Bill also proposes an amendment to deal with another and different arrangement which involves avoidance of undistributed profits tax without actual distribution of profits. Under this scheme a private company issues shares to another company in return for a premium equal to the dividends the private company is able to declare. It is proposed that a dividend paid in these circumstances is not to be taken into account in determining whether the paying company has made a sufficient distribution of its profits. This amendment will apply in relation to dividends paid after 9th December 1971, the date on which the Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives. As foreshadowed by the Treasurer’s announcement of 31st August 1971, the Bill also proposes amendments to deal with dividend stripping arrangements which take advantage of the way in which the law at present requires the tax rebate on inter-company dividends to be calculated. It is proposed that the amendments will operate in relation to dividends arising out of an arrangement which the Commissioner of Taxation is satisfied is by way of dividend stripping. The Commissioner is directed to consider, in forming his opinion, matters which are characteristic of dividend stripping as the term is commonly understood in professional and financial circles here and in the United Kingdom. Principaly, these are the effective recoupment of the purchase price of shares through the receipt of a dividend and a diminution in the value of the shares by reason of the declaration of the dividend.
This amendment will apply to dividends paid after 31st August 1971 and in broad terms, will permit the amount of dividends subject to rebate to be ascertained by reference to all losses and outgoings incurred in relation to the dividend stripping arrangement as a whole. In his announcement of 31st August 1971 the Treasurer pointed out that, because of the dividend rebate provisions, a company can effectively receive other kinds of income tax-free.In addition to the dividend stripping arrangement a recognised way of doing this is for a share trading company to take advantage of the trading stock and dividend rebate provisions of the income tax law. operating in combination, so as to reduce tax on share trading profits. I point out that this is a device which is not available to all companies. It depends very much on the particular circumstances of a company whether an unintended tax benefit can be had from resorting to it.
The Bill proposes that where the purpose of a valuation of trading stock is to obtain this tax advantage the rebate allowable to the company is to be calculated as though, instead of the valuation of stock adopted by it, the lowest valuation that it could lawfully have chosen had been adopted. This amendment will apply in relation to assessments for the income year 1971-72 and subsequent years. A number of the provisions - unavoidably and, I think, quite appropriately - turn primarily upon the Commissioner of Taxation being satisfied as to certain matters. Specific guide-lines are. where practicable, provided for the Commissioner to consider in the formulation of an opinion. If a taxpayer is not satisfied with the opinion formed by the Commissioner on the facts of a particular case, the usual rights of objection and appeal against the Commissioner’s decision will, or course, be available to contest the correctness of the Commissioner’s decision. A memorandum explaining technical features of the Bill is being made available for the use of honourable senators. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard.
This Bill is complementary to the Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 3)1972 and will effect minor technical amendments to section 15 of the Income Tax (International Agreements) Act. For the purpose of implementing provisions of double taxation agreements which require us to allow tax credits, it is necessary to ascertain the amount of Australian tax payable on the relevant part of a taxpayer’s income. Section15 spells out the method by which this is to be done and refers, among other things, to rebate entitlements under section 46 of the Income Tax Assessment Act.
As a consequence of the proposal to have an extra provision - section 46a - in that Act to govern rebates on dividends arising from dividend stripping operations, references to the new provision will need to be incorporated in section15 of the Income Tax (International Agreements) Act in contexts where references to section 46 currently appear. The amendments proposed by this Bill will effect the necessary variations in this regard. They are described in more detail in an explanatory memorandum being made available for the use of honourable senators which also explains the technical features of the Income Tax Assessment Bill. I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard. This Bill is introduced to seek authority for the Treasurer to guarantee, on behalf of the Commonwealth, loans raised by Ansett Transport Industries Ltd to finance the purchase of 4 Boeing 727 ‘200 series’ aircraft. The Boeing 727-200 is a ‘stretched’ version of the Boeing 727’s currently used by Ansett Airlines of Australia and Trans-Australia Airlines. Compared with the smaller model, it will carry 130 to 150 passengers instead of about 100, while providing the same high degree of comfort and speed of travel. More importantly, perhaps, the Boeing 727-200 is a better aircraft from the noise pollution point of view. Each of the 2 major airlines now has a front-line jet fleet consisting of 6 Boeing 727s and 12 DC9s, and further large aircraft will be needed to cater for the expected continuing traffic growth on the main trunk routes. The airlines have concluded that the larger Boeing 727 will best meet this need, because it offers good economy of operation, is compatible with the existing fleet units, and will enable them to cope with peak traffic demand. They presently see a requirement for each to introduce 4 of the Boeing 727- 200s by the end of 1974.
The Government has approved this proposal of the airlines. Subject to the passing of the necessary legislation, the Commonwealth will borrow on behalf of TransAustralia Airlines the loan funds required in financing its 4 aircraft. Ansett Transport Industries Ltd, for its part, has requested that the Commonwealth guarantee the loans which it raises for the same purpose, so that it can borrow on terms comparable with those available to the Government airline. The Government believes it is necessary, in the interests of the continued success of its 2-airline policy, for these guarantees to be given, and it therefore submits the present Bill. Ansett Transport Industries Ltd will borrow 80 per cent of the total costs of the 4 Boeing 727-200s plus associated spares and flight equipment, financing the other 20 per cent itself. Stated in terms of United States currency, these borrowings will amount to approximately $31m, equivalent to about $25.7m in Australian currency. The company does not expect that any difficulty will be experienced in raising the required loan funds from the Export-Import Bank of the United States and other sources in due course.
The Bill now submitted contains the same general general conditions which were approved by the Parliament in passing the Airline Equipment (Loan guarantee) Act 1969. Before giving a guarantee for any loan, the Treasurer has to be satisfied that the moneys are borrowed on reasonable terms and conditions, that proper security is given to the Commonwealth over the aircraft and associated spares and equipment, and that undertakings are given by ATI on such matters as insurance, mortgages and export of the aircraft. The company is required to make available its financial records to an officer authorised by the Minister while any part of the loan remains unpaid. I commend the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator 0’Byrne adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard. This bill seeks the approval of Parliament to borrowings by the Commonwealth not exceeding the equivalent of $US34m - $A28.5m - to assist in financing the purchase by the Australian National Airlines Commission - Trans-Australia Airlines - of 4 Boeing 727- 200 jet aircraft and related equipment. These aircraft, the total cost of which will be approximately $US42m - $A35.6m - are expected to be delivered between November 1972 and November 1974. Generally, when we have introduced legislation for borrowings to assist in the purchase of new aircraft by Qantas Airways Ltd and TAA, the loan agreements have already been signed, but have usually been conditional on appropriate legislative authority being given later. On this occasion, borrowing arrangements for the purchase of the aircraft, approval for which was given in January, have not been finalised at this stage. The amount to be raised for TAA will probably be borrowed in 2 currencies. An amount of $US16.1m, or slightly less than one-half of the proposed borrowings, will be provided by the Export-Import Bank: of the United States. Interest on this amount will be payable at the rate of 6 per cent per annum and repayments will be made over the last 5 years of a 10 year period commencing on the delivery dates of each aircraft. The documentation for this loan has yet to be settled. The major portion of the remainder of the proposed borrowings will probably come from European sources, at an interest rate comparable to that carried by the Export-Import Bank loan. The balance of the funds to be borrowed is expected to be provided by commercial banks in the United States.
Other arrangements for the loans will be similar to those approved by Parliament for previous loans for TAA and Qantas in recent years. In particular, the Commonwealth will be the borrower in the first place, and the proceeds will be made available to TAA on terms and conditions to be determined by the Treasurer pursuant to clause 6 of the Bill. These terms and conditions will be identical with those under which the Commonwealth itself borrows the money. The airline will be required to meet all charges under the loan agreements. Consequently, the Commonwealth will, as usual, assume the function of an intermediary in these arrangements. The detailed terms and conditions of each of the loans to be arranged will be subject to approval by the Loan Council. This is the eleventh occasion on which Parliamentary approval has been sought to borrowings by the Commonwealth on behalf of TAA. Borrowings under previous similar legislation now total the equivalent of $A79.6m. Of this amount, $A37.5m has been repaid by TAA while $A42.1m is still outstanding. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 24 May (vide page 2025), on motion by Senator Greenwood:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I ask for leave to continue my remarks.
– Is the leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I move:
That the resumption of the debate be an order of the day for the first sitting day in August.
– The question is, That the motion be agreed to’.
– We have a situation here in which the Minister in charge of the Bill is not in the Senate. As 1 understand the processes of the previous motion which was carried, and an amendment which was lost, we were to proceed with the consideration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. Senator Murphy might inform me what he is indicating he wants to do.
– This is the position. I do not want the vote taken without the Minister being here. It is unfortunate that this has happened, but I have had to take the course that I have taken. The proposition has been put that the resumption of the debate be an order of the day for the first sitting day in August. That will be put to a vote, and if carried, the debate will go over until August. It is unfortunate that the Minister is not here, but other people have commitments also. It is important that the matter be decided, but we do not want it to be decided without the opportunity for a division on it. I have indicated that. Certainly all honourable senators should be aware and warned that there would be a division on the matter. We think that because of the importance of the matter it ought not to be disposed of in the way . suggested by the Government, but instead ought to go over until August. That is the purpose of the motion. The Senate can express its view upon the matter and vote upon it in one way or the other. That is the matter that has been put by the President to the Senate, and we certainly want a division. Especially as the Minister is not here, we would not want the matter to be decided simply on the voices. We think the Senate ought to express its opinion formally on the matter by way of division. The President has called for it.
– I put the question. I have not called for any division.
– Mr President, you might aid me in the processes that we are going through. Am I entitled to make any comment?
– You are the Minister here representing the Government’s interest.
– I presume from that that I am entitled to do so.
– By leave.
– I seek leave to do so.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Senator COTTON (New South Wales - Minister for Civil Aviation) - Mr President, I shall make just a brief observation. Senator Murphy might perhaps have availed himself of the opportunity of indicating that he intended to do this and might perhaps have gone on discussing the matter for a little while. It might have been proper to do this so that the appropriate Minister could have come back. I understand the tactical device being used. Senator Murphy, by his motion, is seeking to postpone consideration of the Bill. The Government naturally opposes that. We will vote against the motion. I think his request for a division should proceed.
That the motion (Senator Murphy’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
– There is no resumption motion?
-I do not think it is necessary.
– A little point of regularity arises. The resumption of the debate has not been moved. However, I think that it is probably reasonable to assume that the sense of the Senate is that we should continue.
– I regard the Leader of the Opposition as being in continuation. This Bill is now the business before the Senate.
– I think that it is reasonable to accept that as being the sense of the Senate although no actual motion for the resumption has been carried.
– The debate was not adjourned.
– Yes, it was, automatically, but I take what you say -
– That was my ruling.
– We are dealing with this Bill which the Oppostion thinks ought not to be proceeded with because it is of tremendous importance to the trade unions which are registered federally. I deal shortly with the effects upon the wage determination bodies of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the various devices which are being introduced to ensure that the restrictive practices which operate in the field of industrial law are severly controlled by the community. Others have dealt or will deal with these effects. There is a rigid approach to the endeavours by wage earners to increase their wages and to improve their conditions in a community where there are uncontrolled prices and where others who are operating restrictive practices have an open slather. That is the reality of the control of restrictive trade practices in this community.
There is no doubt that the organisations registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act are engaged in restrictive practices. The trade unions are engaged in restrictive practices as are the employers’ organisations. Extremely tight control is exercised and every endeavour is made to regulate and to control the operations of the restrictive practices and agreements. The way in which this operates is unfair because the rest of the community is free of such regulation and control. This means that those who are subject to the control are placed in an impossible position because they are controlled and yet are trying to meet the demands that are placed on them by inflation in a community where other restrictive practices go unabated, unregulated and uncontrolled.
The other aspect of the Bill - an extremely important part of it - is that dealing with the corporate structure of the trade unions to which I adverted last night. Is dealing with this Bill, the Senate is faced with the chief law officer of the Commonwealth putting to it the proposition that organisations registered under this Act and the Bill amending it do not have any corporate entity in the way that corporate bodies do. Let there be no doubt about that. That is what the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) stated in the Senate last night. I repeated it to him. He confirmed that that is the approach that he has to the matter. We must assume that this is the approach of the Government. That is why it has introduced some of the provisions that it has in relation to registered organisations.
I have read some of the passages of the great judgments of the High Court which affect this matter. I notice that some suggestion was made, as though it might cut down the value of what I have said, that the incorporation of these registered organisations was limited in some way; it was not a full incorporation because the words for the purposes of the Act’ were used.
May I dispel that notion if any honourable senator may be misled by what was stated by the Attorney-General in his interjections. May I take the trouble, because the matter on which we are differing here regarding the very fundamental of the nature of the trade unions which are registered organisations under the Act is so important, to read from the judgment of the High Court in the famous case of Williams and Hursey, one of the great cases in industrial law, well known, because of the facts of the case, at least to the members of this Senate, lt is reported in 33 Australian Law Journal Reports and also in the Commonwealth Law Reports. The judgment of the majority of that court contains this passage:
The Conciliation and Arbitration Act ot the Commonwealth, under which it is registered -
That is a reference to the particular organisation: as an ‘organisation’ gives to it what I would not hesitate to call a corporate character - an independent existence as a legal person. It is given a personality, which is distinct from that of all or any of its members, and which continues to subsist unchanged notwithstanding the changes which are bound to occur from time to time in its membership.
The judgment then refers to the old Jumbunna case which 1 quoted to the Senate last night. The judgment continues:
What is now section 136 of the Act provides that every registered organisation shall for the purposes of the Act have perpetual succession and a common seal, and may own possess and deal wilh any real or personal property. This provision alone is, in my opinion, quite enough to give to a registered organisation the full character of a corporation. The word’s ‘for the purposes of the Aci’ cannot be given any effect by way of qualification of the personification.
Those were the words of the late Mr Justice Fullagar. They were concurred in by the then Chief Justice of Australia, Sir Owen Dixon, and Mr Justice Kitto. They handed down the majority judgment and the other members of the Court did not disagree with those words. It is amazing to me that the Government is proceeding on the basis that the law is anything other than what is contained in that judgment.
I remind the Senate again that it is not as though this matter were raised in the last few days in an endeavour to get the Government to understand what it is doing. Apparently honourable senators opposite have been told that the suggestion that registered organisations are corporations is not correct. The judgment of the High Court to which I have just referred is written in the practice book. It has been mentioned on dozens of occasions in that book and in the judgments of the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the other bodies which deal with these matters. It is apparent to anyone who has any knowledge of industrial law that this is the position. But I will read to honourable senators what was said in this chamber by the Attorney-General, who is in charge of this Bill. When I was speaking last night he interrupted and said:
They do not have any corporate entity in the way that corporate bodies have.
Did I hear the Attorney-General say that they do not have any corporate entity in the way that corporations have?
Senator Greenwood replied:
That is right.
Where are we going when the Government is introducing a measure which deals with these corporate bodies on the basis on which they have been dealt with over a number of years, namely, of interference with the corporate structure of these bodies, of providing means for great administrative interference in their affairs to an unparalleled degree, and of dealing with the question of amalgamations, which are mergers of corporate bodies? But members of the Government parties do not even know what they are dealing with.
I put it to the Senate that this legislation is creating a precedent which will have general application, because if these corporations - and they are corporations - can be dealt with in this way it is clear that these methods can be adapted to deal with other corporations which are set up, whether under Federal or State law. This will be possible if the extraordinary procedures set out in this Bill to prevent amalgamations can be applied to corporations which are trade unions. For example, even after all the tortuous procedures designed to prevent amalgamations have been gone through, the procedure cannot be completed if a single proceeding is pending under any Commonwealth law against any of these corporate bodies which seek to merge.
The implications of the measures ought to be understood. It ought to be understood that in dealing with these corporate bodies the legislation in its amended form, if this Bill is carried, will provide for interference on a scale which ought not to be tolerated. It is interfernce which goes against the principles which have been laid down in respect of trade unions. It is contrary to international conventions adopted over the years concerning the freedom of association and the protection of the right to organise. Many statements have been made on the rights and freedoms of trade unions. We hear in this chamber many discussions about how trade unions elsewhere are not free and about how Australia is providing freedom for its citizens. What are the provisions which traditionally have appeared in the conventions concerning the freedom of association and the protection of the right to organise? In July 1948 the International Labour Organisation adopted a convention containing principles which have been continued over the years. Article 2 of that convention reads:
Workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organisation concerned, to join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation.
Article 3 reads:
What does the legislation which is caught up in this Conciliation and Arbitration Bill mean? It means that workers’ and employers’ organisations do not have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules. If one runs through the provisions of the legislation one finds that there are rigid controls as to the type of constitution organisations can have. Not only are these controls contained in the law but also there are administrative measures to control this matter. The Bill contains all sorts of controls over and interference with the rules of organisations. There are means by which the election of their own representatives is taken out of their hands.
– The Registrar can read the rules.
– Yes. Over the years more and more interference has occurred in the procedures. What is the justification for it? This practice is going against the world opinion on what the rights of trade unions should be. Article 3, to which I referred earlier, continues:
This Bill is directly hi contravention of that statement of the rights of trade unions. Representatives of the International Labour Organisation have expressed concern about the amount of interference occurring in Australia. One of the great trade unions in Australia - the Amalgamated Engineering Union - had links with its counterpart in Britain, and one of the reasons for the separation of those 2 bodies was the enormous interference in the affairs of the trade unions in Australia. Article 4 reads:
Workers’ and employers’ organisations shall not bc liable to be dissolved or suspended by administrative authority.
However, that is exactly what can be done under this legislation. Other provisions show that what is attempted in this Bill is a worsening of the position of Federally registered trade unions. The legislation flies in the teeth of the international standards which are expected of countries. Each member of the International Labour Organisation for which this convention is in force undertakes to give effect to the provisions to which I have referred. The Government has before the chamber legislation which, in my view, presents an unwarranted interference in the affairs of the trade unions. The legislation provides for a dealing with these corporate bodies which is not consistent with the rule of law. I do not think it is proper, for example, that there should be unappealable judicial decisions which gravely affect the rights of the members of trade unions, the officers of those bodies and the property of those bodies.
There is no doubt that under section 141, as well as under section 140, enactment orders of the most serious kind can be made by judges of the Commonwealth Court. Sometimes they can be made by one judge. The jurisdiction is vested in him. When dealing with the rights of corporations, their officers and members, no matter how erroneous that decision might be, there is no appeal from it. Judges are not always right. There is a feeling in the community that no man ought to be given the power to make very great decisions concerning the rights of persons without some form of appeal being available. Is it the philosophy of the Liberal Party that these corporations can be dealt with in this way so that orders of the greatest consequence can be made affecting the livelihood, careers and reputations of persons, and the property, constitutions and rules of corporate bodies without any appeal whatever being available? Is that the standard that the Liberal Party and the Country Party is saying ought to apply to those corporate bodies which happen to be trade unions?
If that standard is to be applied, why should there be fish of one and fowl of the other? Why should this not be extended to other corporations? ls there any doubt that if the Liberal-Country Party Government teaches the lessons that this is the way to treat bodies such as this that this is how things should be done, whatever the field may be, with orders of the greatest consequence being made without any chance of the members to have any redress, and if this is how the Government regards the operation of the rule of law, I have little doubt that the Government will teach its lessons well to others. We have had the experience in the Senate of the LiberalCountry Party Government producing increasing bureaucratic interference in the affairs of the ordinary citizen and breaking down the rule of law. How has it come about that in the last decade, even during the 9 years that I have been in the Senate, this Liberal-Country Party Government has attempted to have instruments in writing, to breakdown the parliamentary supervision and control of delegated legislation, accepted? It has tried in a dozen different ways to break down the rights of citizens.
I do not believe that the ordinary members of the Liberal-Country Party Government have been aware of what has been happening. Legislation is introduced and the members of that Government feel committed to walk across the floor of the House like sheep and follow the Government without knowing what they are doing. It is only when it is drummed home to them that they will wake up that something ought to be done. This was the case when the powers of arrest were introduced into various rural bills. They suddenly woke up to the fact that it was wrong. Why does the Opposition have to tell them that these things are wrong? Why do its members have to fight for the rule of law and for some reasonable kinds of provisions so that there will be a free exercise of their rights by citizens, whether they be members of trade unions or otherwise? The Liberal-Country Party Government is consistently eroding the freedom of the citizens, lt is doing this right now in regard to the trade unions, lt is setting precedents of the most dangerous kind.
This legislation in its dealing with the trade unions, and in its extension of the kinds of provisions contained in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, is extremely dangerous. This situation has not started with this Bill. These things do not happen overnight. Many of the provisions are already there. If we looked back over 60 years we would probably find that some of this trouble originated at times when the Australian Labor Party was not aware of the significance of some of these steps, but what was done has been worsened. Let us not say that in these matters all of the blame is on one side, but it is time the situation was looked at and that somebody started to realise that we are dealing with the rights of people. If nothing else, the fact that these bodies are corporations will make members of the Government start to realise what is at stake. They may start to realise the position when they consider that they are dealing with corporations. What can be done in regard to one corporation can be done by means of suitable legislation in regard to others.
There will be an opportunity in the Committee stage to deal in detail with these provisions, so I shall not detain the Senate further. But 1 would say that this legislation, which was supposed to be a general revision of the whole Conciliation and Arbitration Act, is completely inadequate. I think that some further endeavour ought to be made to stand over this legislation. If it is not stood over I think that at some appropriate time we ought to send it to one of the committees of the Senate for examination before these precedents become established. As we noted yesterday in the case of the restrictive trade practices legislation, the Government has seen fit in dealing with important legislation to present a statement setting out the effects of the legislation. The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) virtually said: ‘Do not let us rush into this. It is very important. It affects the rights of persons, corporations and all those engaged in restrictive practices. So let us proceed extremely cautiously before we do anything which might affect their rights’. 1 suggest to the Senate that at least the same ought to be done in this case. To push this legislation through in the teeth of our opposition, our assertions and our feelings that it is eroding the rights of those persons whom the Australian Labor Party represents, is not the way in which affairs ought to be dealt with by a House of review. 1 indicate to the Senate that I will make an attempt to see that there is a proper consideration of these measures, and of their details, before they pass through the Senate. That proper consideration will mean that there should be a thorough discussion and consideration in an atmosphere which is not one of pushing through the legislation in the next day or two.
– Since Senator Murphy has dealt at some length with what he refers to as the rights of unionists, maybe it is appropriate that in stating my part of the case of the Australian Democratic Labor Party I should outline the principles upon which we would judge this legislation. We recall that after the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) had announced, in a ministerial statement, his proposals in regard to amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act the DLP fairly widely circulated a document containing those principles. It seems appropriate that 1 begin by recalling those principles. They are as follows: Firstly, the system of conciliation and arbitration cannot practically be replaced as the characteristic Australian method of industrial organisation. The system involves the existence of sanctions as a weapon of the last resort. Secondly, union organisation, as such, should not be weakened by legislation not merely because it is an expression of the basic rights of wage earners but because it is the necessary foundation of the conciliation and arbitration system. Thirdly, the legitimacy of authority within the trade union necessarily requires voting procedures which safeguard the democratic rights and proprietary interests of individual members in their unions. Fourthly, monopoly power within the unions should be resisted, as it should be in every other aspect of national life, especially when it is sought and used for subversive purposes.
As we see the position, the Bill can be divided into 4 fields: Firstly, matters related to the constitutional position of unions concerning questions which could, in the case of a number of unions, go to their very existence; secondly, the rights of rank and file unionists within the unions; thirdly, amendments to the structure and procedure of the conciliation and arbitration system; fourthly, the question of sanctions and the responsibility of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
In applying the criteria of the Democratic Labor Party to the Bill it will be seen that the DLP is not enamoured of a number of the Bill’s proposals. However, to the extent that the Bill does promote measures to assist in preserving unions from the constitutional challenges of the Moore v. Doyle case, and to the extent that the Bill gives effect to a number of our views in preserving and promoting the rights of union members within their institutions, we consider that it should not be rejected. The DLP will vote for the Bill. As we see it, the measures referred to go a certain way along the road towards preserving and promoting the Australian arbitration system which for almost 7 decades has assisted the Australian wage earner and the Australian trade union movement. Indeed, the Australian arbitration system has been the envy of the Western world. The DLP shares the following view expressed by the President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in his 1 97 1 report to the Parliament: 1 feel it is my duty to report my strong opinion, based on my experience as a Judge of the old Court and as President of this Commission for its first IS years, that in the long term a reduction in strikes can only be brought about by an improvement in industrial relationships, and that m is is far more likely to arise from changed altitudes of the organised employers on the one hand and the organised trade union movement on the other hand than from mere changes in Acts of Parliament.
– I wish you would take his advice.
– We do. The President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission continued:
I can suggest no significant area where amendment is required without bringing myself within the area of party political conflict.
That statement comes from the 1 5th annual report of the President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission which is dated 15th December 1971.
– Why do you not read what he said about stoppages?
– If the honourable senator will wait a minute he will be able to hear what I have to say. He will not have to wait very long. Thus the premise upon which the DLP bases its approach to the system of conciliation and arbitration is that the structure and procedures of any institution, including this institution, can and must be improved from time Vo time. But the essential ingredient for a successful conciliation and arbitration system is that the people who are involved in it are intent upon making it work. Thus, if within the system there are sizeable groups with vested interests who are out to destroy it, no amount of change will be effective unless these disruptive designs are recognised, exposed and frustrated.
In the last 2 or 3 years there has been much debate about the relevance of the conciliation and arbitration system now and in the future. This debate was not raginc some 7 years ago when a major union affiliated with the Australian Council of Trade Unions placed on the Congress agenda paper an item which said, amongst other things:
Congress expresses the belief that the stage has been reached when all sections of the community, and particularly the Government, employers and trade unions must decide whether the long established system of conciliation and arbitration is to be allowed to be destroyed.
The item went on to state: lt points out that for decades the Communist Party has, for its own political reasons, waged a constant and increasingly intensive campaign against the arbitration system. In more recent years this campaign has been aided: By certain employers, by their increasing tendency in many industries to refuse to genuinely negotiate, thus making arbitration a first instead of a last resort; . . By some government agencies and arbitration tribunals, by allowing a situation to develop which creates an increasing belief that decisions of certain tribunals can be influenced by factors other than the public case presented … By certain unions, in failing to objectively acknowledge the many benefits which have accrued to the vast majority of wage earners as a result of this system; And by unduly highlighting the outcome of strikes and strike action, and neglecting :he positive gains achieved by conciliation and arbitration.
The proposal went on to state:
Congress points out that the vast majority of wage earners are dependent upon the conciliation and arbitration system and the work of unions operating within the system, for the establishment, maintenance and improvement of minimum wages and conditions.
The Australian arbitration system Ls traditional to Australia. While it is full of imperfections, nobody has succeeded in suggesting any real alternative. It might bc worthwhile to look for a moment at the remarks of Lord Balogh who was, as honourable senators know, the economic adviser to the Wilson Government. This is what he said in a book entitled ‘Labor and Inflation’:
Free bargaining increased inequality; it resulted in a relative worsening of the position of the poorest paid and least aggressively organised classes of society . . . Trade Union action was successful in certain instances in increasing the shute of certain privileged or closely organised groups such as tally clerks, dock workers and so on. The tower paid, the defenceless and the handicapped, despite the declamation of the unions, have not been protected.
The same point was made by J. H. Portus in his book ‘Australian Compulsory Arbitration 1900-1970’. Portus suggested in guarded terms that one major consequence of the Australian system has been to ensure that, compared to the United States of America, members of weak unions and workers who are not members of unions have received a fairer share of the cake than they would have otherwise. The truth is that the vast majority of wage earners and salary earners in Australia are dependent upon the decisions, or have been dependent upon the decisions, of the actuarial tribunals to establish the levels of their income and working conditions. In recent years the myth has grown up that the minority of wage earners represented in the metal trades, the building trades and the transport industry are in fact typical and representative of the position of the work force in Australia. The fact is, however, that in common with the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States the work force has undergone a considerable change. In the last 2 decades and particularly the last 10 years the Australian work force has been subject to considerable change. As my colleague Senator Little pointed out yesterday, the white collar section of the work force already exceeds workers in the blue collar field. Moreover, within 3 or 4 years. 40 per cent of the entire work force will be females and the majority of them will be married women.
Direct bargaining cannot replace the system of conciliation and arbitration. It certainly has its place as part of the system but it is not a substitute for the system. Those who set out to destroy the arbitration system are at best motivated by avarice and self-interest, be they employers who enjoy the protection of high tariff barriers or the more privileged sections of the work force who would throw overboard the principles upon which the trade union movement was founded and also the concept of the Higgins award, the basic wage and other measures designed to improve the lot of the lower paid wage earner. On the trade union side and within the labour movement generally over the last 30 years there has been a persistent campai’gn to take every opportunity to smash the system of conciliation and arbitration which we enjoy in Australia. In 1942 and again in 1959 the booklet The Trade Unions’ was published by the then national secretary of the Communist Party of Australia, Mr L. L. Sharkey. He said: lt will at once be seen that Arbitration is detrimental to the development of a class struggle, and class consciousness and of that genuine and fundamental solidarity and perfected organisation necessary to the revolutionary struggle for Socialism.
He went on to say:
We fight against this Arbitration.
On 29th January 1969 when the current Communist Party Secretary, Mr L. Aarons, announced the confrontation policy he expressed the view that it was within his Party’s power to challenge the whole system of conciliation and arbitration in Australia. He announced a strategy which culminated in the O’Shea incident over penal powers. He said that by pursuing this policy a new stage of industrial struggle may emerge in which the arbitration system itself is challenged. Representatives of his
Party within the trade union movement who are characterised by Mr L. Carmichael of the Amalgamated Engineering Union likewise publicly indicated that they were out to destroy the system. They want to smash the arbitration system and replace it, not with something which would be better and improve workers’ wages and conditions, but with something which is more conductive to the politicalisation of the trade union movement. There can be no doubt that the objective of the Communist Parties in Australia is the destruction of the arbitration system. At this point I am reminded to make some reference to the amalgamation of unions, particularly those in the metal trades industry. Subsequently I propose to deal in a little more detail with this matter. But at the present time I want to touch on it. I think it is worth remembering, first of all, that the purpose of the amalgamation of these unions in the metal trades is not to further the interests of the workers in this field but, primarily, to extend the political power of those unions.
We have said before and I repeat now that once this power is allowed to be concentrated in the hands of those people they will seek to use it for the purpose of destroying the arbitration system. It is worth recalling that their membership will be in the vicinity of 200,000. They will have an income of about $8m a year and, I think, about 84 full time officials. The next group of unions in the amalgamation process is that in the building trades group. All the building trades unions would be joined together in one gigantic monolith. The third group is the maritime unions. In these 3 groups there would be a membership of about 367,000 and an income in excess of $8m a year. It might be worth looking at the type of leadership which we could expect from these unions.
– The honourable senator may have used some incorrect figures. The original income which he gave in relation to the amalgamation which has taken place was $8m.
– I am sorry. In referring to the metal trades federation I should have said $3m. In the case of the 3 groups which I repeat - the metal trades, the building trades and the maritime unions - they would have a membership of about 367,000 and an annual income of over $8m.
– Did not the Minister say that the amalgamation of the metal trades workers was a good thing?
– I do not know whether the Minister said that. If he did, that is his business. If Senator Bishop feels - as no doubt he does feel - that it is in the interests of the trade union movement that these unnecessary and, in many cases, undemocratic amalgamations take place he is entitled to support that viewpoint. But it is worth looking at the type of leadership which we are likely to get from these unions. I shall make a brief reference to the building trades group to which I have referred. No doubt one of the leading lights in that group would be a gentleman named Mundey who is Secretary of the Building Workers Industrial Union. It will be recalled that in 1970 this union was involved in strike action in New South Wales. This involved the destruction of private property. Mundey not only justified the use of this means but also he boasted of its success. What he had to say is to be found in the ‘Left Review’. In referring to the destruction of private property Mundey said: lt was this destruction of private property which struck fear to the very hearts of the employing class.
He went on to say:
If a relatively small union could successfully mount such an attack, what could be achieved by the more powerful unions. . . .’.
What I am trying to say is that if Senator Bishop wants to see the concentration of this power in the hands of people who, from their own speeches and statements, show that they are aiming to destroy the arbitration system then he should be honest enough to say that he wants to see the destruction of the arbitration system.
– The honourable senator is distorting the facts. He knows that the Labour Council condemned Mundey’s statement, but he does not say that.
– I can understand Senator Bishop’s attitude. The Democratic Labor Party says that the Government stands condemned anyway for its failure to act as a government. Let us have no illusions about the position. Perhaps Senator
Bishop will declare his support for some of the matters that I am about to raise, ft is well known that for many years now the forces of disruption have been testing the moral courage of Austraiian governments. Australians are supposed to be a patriotic people. So what do the forces of disruption do? They burn the flag. They get away with it. Australians are supposed to have great respect for their war dead. So these forces desecrate Australian war memorials. Again no action is taken against those people. Australia is supposed to be a Christian country, at least nominally. So these forces mock the Crucifixion. They get away with that, too. Then maps of Vietnam are published showing the Australian Task Force area as enemy occupied territory. They got away with that, too. Then they attack the National Service Act. Then the attack on the arbitration system began. I notice that Senator Bishop is silent at this stage.
– No, I am not. The honourable senator should tell the Senate what Mr Maynes moved at an ACSPA meeting about the arbitration system. The honourable senator should tell the Senate how he is supporting a government-
– .1 have a copy of that motion in my office, f will tell Senator Bishop what Mr Maynes moved. Now if the Labor Party had an alternative proposal to offer on the matter of industrial relations we could look at it.
– The Labor Party has an alternative proposal.
– r have not seen it.
– The Labor Party wanted the debate on the Bill adjourned. The honourable senator voted with the Government.
– There is a very good reason why the Labor Party wanted the debate adjourned. At this stage 1 would prefer not to say what the reason is. Senator Bishop knows and I think everybody will know very shortly. The Democratic Labor PaTty by no means agrees entirely with the proposals in the Bill. I referred earlier to the matter of union amalgamations. The Democratic Labor Party is not opposed in principle to amalgamation; but holds that no amalgamation should take place unless the majority of union members concerned want it. The Democratic Labor Party is not satisfied with the ballot system proposed in the Bill. The Bill provides that a ballot of more than half the members is necessary and that a majority of those voting in the ballot agree to the amalgamation before it can be effected. That means that 25 per cent of the membership plus one are required to vote for the amalgamation for it to be effective. The Democratic Labor Party believes that at least half the members plus one should have to vote positively for the amalgamation before it can be effected. But we are not the Government and the alternative is to have no laws at all governing situations. As I see it therefore the proposals in the Bill are the lesser evil. I do not for one moment believe that the best interests of the Australian trade union movement have been served by the recent amalgamation in the metal trades industry.
– What is your reason for saying that?
– I will give Senator McLaren detailed reasons shortly.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with the attitude of the Australian Democratic Labor Party towards the proposals contained in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill with respect to union amalgamations. 1 had said that my colleagues and I in the DLP do not fully support the Government’s proposals in the Bill concerning union amalgamations. Our view is that there should be a properly supervised ballot, that all of the members of the unions concerned ought to be entitled to vote in that properly supervised ballot and that a majority of the members should be required to vote affirmatively for amalgamation procedures in order for such an amalgamation to be effected. I had said also that we felt it was undemocratic, unfair and unjust that only the case for the amalgamation should be put to the union voters and not the case against it. The Democrati’c Labor Party believes that in fairness to the members of the union concerned no one side - either those favouring amalgamation or those opposing it - should have sole access to the union records and that if union money, effort or time is spent on a proposed amalgamation it ought to be spent equally between those proposing and those opposing the amalgamation.
The Bill does provide for the supervision of ballots for amalgamations and it meets some of the requirements that the Democratic Labor Party feels should be met. However, my colleagues and I do not feel that the requirement that 50 per cent plus 1 of the total membership should vote before the ballot is valid and that in excess of half of that number should vote in favour of amalgamation procedures before the amalgamation can take place is sufficient. That means that only 25 per cent of the members would be required to vote affirmatively for an amalgamation before it could be proceeded with. But as I said earlier, the alternative is to have no laws governing amalgamation.
A great deal has been said about the matter of sanctions. I wish to stale the Democratic Labor Party’s attitude in this respect. In the field of sanctions there has been a great deal of debate not only between the Labor movement and the Government but also inside the Labor movement itself. Various proposals have received the support of the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr Hawke, and the Australian Labor Party’s shadow Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr Clyde Cameron and they have met with various fates. Despite what might be said by the Australian Labor Party on this matter, I do not believe that any responsible person could argue with any degree of logic that agreements which have been reached should not carry with them a penalty for their breaching. Likewise, where voluntary arbitration is involved and there has been failure to reach the point of agreement, unless the arbitrator’s view can be enforced by sanctions the whole thing would be completely unworkable. Sanctions must be the last resort in our system of compulsory arbitration, but they certainly must be used in the public interest. As the Democratic Labor Party sees it the community has the right to insist that some penalty should be accruing for breaches of an arbitrator’s decision.
In the course of the debate on Tuesday, Senator Cavanagh used as part of his argument against the proposals with respect to union amalgamations figures that had been quoted during the debate in the other place. Senator Cavanagh ‘s argument, as I understood it, was that it was unreasonable to expect some unions to be able to muster the 50 per cent plus one required in order to make the amalgamation ballot a valid one. I was rather surprised to hear Senator Cavanagh argue that he felt that that was unfair and unjust towards the right wing unions. In some way or other his reading of the results gave him the impression that the right wing unions would have some difficulty in attaining the required voting number. I remind him that 53.7 per cent of the members voted in the last election conducted by the Federated Clerks Union of Australia in 1970; that in 1964, 59.4 per cent of the members voted; and that in 1961, 68.6 per cent of the members voted. It is true that there would be nowhere near the interest in a ballot in which there happens to be, say, 21 candidates for 20 positions as there would be in a ballot in which there are twice as many candidates as the number of positions to be filled.
Another union which is so often referred to as a right wing union and which no doubt Senator Cavanagh will have some concern about is the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia. Let me remind honourable senators of the voting pattern in elections conducted by that union in recent years. For instance, in the 1967 ballot for the election of officials the Port Kembla branch showed a return of 55.23 per cent and the Victorian branch showed a return of 56.04 per cent. Federally the total was 51.07 per cent. The return showed by the other branches was: Newcastle, 53.17 per cent; Adelaide, 57.04 per cent; Queensland, 54.76 per cent and Port Kembla-Whyalla, 55.65 per cent.
– And they all voted on ballot papers, too.
– That is true. It is also true to say that it was a properly supervised ballot. The ballot was supervised by the Commonwealth Electoral Office. I have no doubt that most honourable senators on the Opposition side of the chamber would have, at one time anyhow, supported the decision of a Labor government to introduce what have subsequently become known as court ballots. They are properly supervised ballots. They are ballots which one can be assured will be properly counted and in relation to which a fair and just result will be achieved. 1 do not propose to say any more than this: Firstly, despite all its faults and failings the conciliation and arbitration system is irreplaceable in this country; secondly, whilst collective bargaining can be a part of that system it can in no way replace it; and, thirdly, for the system to be effective it must involve the use of sanctions in the last resort. For those reasons and the others I have stated the Democratic Labor Party will be supporting the Bill.
– I oppose the Bill for a number of reasons which ] will outline. The Bill is supposed to facilitate industrial relations and to create the essential harmony between labour and management that supporters of the Government and the Democratic Labor Party have made the theme of their addresses in this chamber and in the Other place. It is supposed to promote goodwill in industry and to minimise the legal involvement and technicalities that have been characteristic of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I am pleased to follow in this debate my former colleague Senator Kane. He attempted to draw out the same sorts of bogeys that have been characteristic of the DLP since its formation, ignoring all the history of the trade union movement and the concrete application of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in Australia. 1 do not think any honourable senator would disagree when I say that the trade union movement has had a marked and influential effect upon the economic and social development of Australia. If this is accepted as a starting point we probably need then to examine the formative years of the trade union movement. To that end Government supporters would be well advised to read the complete history of English trade unionism written by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the standard work on the trade union movement. Those 2 writers traced the development of the trade union movement. They were able to show the connnection between the early craft guilds of the 17th and 18th centuries through the Middle ages. Even in those days standards were set which were not unlike the standards on which the modern trade unions operate. They were for the maintenance of a standard of life and they agreed that they would combine their efforts to this purpose.
It is true that the early craft guilds comprised only the artisans who, in that period of history, included the workers and the masters. It is interesting that in those days the membership of the craft guilds was compulsory. As time progressed and capitalism began to develop - I am referring particularly to English conditions - the guilds of the yeomen and journeymen began to develop and the interests of the master and the worker began to take different forms. As industrial development began to emerge from the medieval system of production and as it has developed over the years until today when modern capitalism is the principal feature of production, the content of the trade union movement has changed.
Today we live in modern capitalist society based on large scale production. We have to contend with the new phenomenon of the multi-national corporation. Members of the working class are dependent upon the employer for their livelihood. The world is now a single market even though there are attempts to alter that. All this has evolved more or less in the 20th cen.turey. It is a modern development. On the Australian scene the Conciliation and Arbitration Act has been, as some speakers have said, not only a barometer but in many respects has stood out as a beacon in relationships between employers and employees.
Having skipped through history 1 think we are entitled to see why it is that the Government is continually concerning itself with the affairs of the trade union movement. Once again the Government has put before the Parliament legislation on matters appertaining to the trade union movement and its members. In point of fact, in the period of 22i years that this Government has unfortunately been running the affairs of this country it has passed 185 Acts or amendments relating to the trade unions. Since federation and the establishment of the early legislation, it has been amended 52 times. Of that number, 23 amendments were associated with the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
I was a little amused by the contribution of Senator Carrick last evening when he attempted to show some differences between the attitudes of the Australian Council of Trade Unions under the current president, Mr Robert Hawke, and those displayed when it was led by Mr Albert Monk, because most of those 23 amendments occurred when Mr Albert Monk was president of the ACTU. I do not suggest that all these legislative acts by the Government were necessarily in total against the interests of the trade union movement, but in a great number of cases - I could almost say the majority of cases - these amendments were carried out in opposition to the united view of the trade union movement.
The Government is consistently amending the Act. It has consistently changed the means by which it can intervene and interfere in the internal affairs of the trade unions. As Senator Murphy rightly pointed out, the Government is of course following a discriminatory policy. It does not utilise the powers that lie within its functions as far as other corporations are concerned. Rather does it concentrate its power upon the trade union movement. It seeks therefore to put limitations on the freedom of action of unionists and it is not hard to understand why the trade union movement reacts towards the Government as it does - why it opposes the Government on most if not all of its policies and supports the policies and activities of the Australian Labor Party.
For as long as trade unionism has been on the agenda of history it has had to fight for its survival. One does not have to go back very far into English history to remember the Combination Acts, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and in our own history, the Eureka Stockade and the strikes and struggles of so many people in the 1880s and 1890s. In fact, the whole history of the trade union movement is a history of struggle against government and employer interference. It is understandable that Senator Carrick would be concerned about the issues of the class war, as he put it in his contribution last evening - Senator
Kane referred to it today - because there is a conflict of interest. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) and the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) have each referred to the differences of opinion and conflicts that exist between employer and employee.
One does not find in this Bill or in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act itself any provisions that represent an attempt by the Government to impose restrictions on the rights of the employer. Rather, the restrictions that are imposed always seek to hamstring and retard the activities of the trade union movement. Over the many years that I have been associated with the trade union movement, I have noticed the struggles of ils members against the penal provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The Government is now attempting to write into the legislation such provisions as would make all unions resort to taking a postal ballot in respect to any question facing their members. I think it can be established that the objectives and policy of the Government aided and abetted by the Democratic Labor Party, are to restrict the rights and activities of the trade union movement.
In his second reading speech the AttorneyGeneral used industrial unrest and what he described as serious wage induced inflation as pretexts to justify the many amendments proposed in the Bill. Can it be taken seriously that the Government really believes that the work force can be blamed for the serious industrial unrest that the Government claims is in existence in this country? I am surprised that any responsible person would adopt that point of view. If we look at the role of the industrial court and the role of the trade union movement in recent years, we will find that every gain, every increase in salary and every improvement in conditions have been a result of the activity of the trade union movement. Most of the gains have been achieved in spite of, or if not in spite of, then with the consent of the arbitration procedures. If we examine the composition of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, I think it must be conceded that any trade union organisation and particularly the Australian Council of Trade Unions, that has been able to achieve any gains for its membership from that august body must have produced strong arguments to convince it of the justice of union claims. I would be the last person to attack the composition of the Commission, except to say that every one of its members has had an association with the employers in one way or another, many of them having been advocates before the Commission representing various employer organisations. If we accept that the tribunal is somewhat influenced by conservative persons who, in the main, have spent most of their working life representing the views of employer organisations, it must be conceded that the substantial gains made by the trade union movement are a tribute to the quality of its advocacy. It is remarkable that the trade union movement has been able to overcome some of that conservatism and has induced members of the Commission to grant some justice in respect to wage claims.
In order to rebut the points made by Senator Carrick last evening I will refer to some statements made by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) in a speech in Melbourne at an employer’s function on 2nd March. He referred to a number of the matters that are before the Senate in this Bill. One has only to read his speech to appreciate that the views he expressed on 2nd March were radically altered when he made his second reading speech to Parliament in the other place on 26th April. He chose his own theme. Of course, at that time the DLP was being very eloquent on the question of amalgamations. Members of the DLP had suddenly found an issue that they could use to whip the Government. They had found another whipping boy.I will refer only to the portions of the speech that are germane to what 1 want to say. The Minister said:
Four main arguments have been put forward to support the view that the Government should intervene to halt the present amalgamation processes.
Honourable senators will know that he was referring to the proposed amalgamation of the metal trades unions into the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union. He continued:
There should have been ballots of the members of the three unions conducted by a public official such as the Commonwealth Electoral Officer; the amalgamation should have been approved by a majority of all the members of the unions - not by a simple majority of the members voting in the ballots: the amalgamation would bring about a large communist dominated union possessing excessive power;
That is reminiscent of Senator Kane’s speech today - that such an amalgamation would be destructive of the arbitration system.
My intention is merely to deal in brief with the criticism that has been levelled at the Government for not intervening in the amalgamation.
I put it that the criticism was coming from the DLP. The minister went on:
The results of the ballots showed that almost 86 per cent of those voting in the AEU ballot favoured amalgamation, 73 per cent in the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society, and almost 70 per cent in the Sheet Metal Workers Union. there is no provision in the legislation for officially conducted ballots to be held in respect of union de-registration-
That was one of the procedures to be followed in an amalgamation -
Basically the philosphy of the current and previous governmentsin relation to organisations registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is that they are voluntary organisations and the Government should not interfere in their affairs unless it can be demonstrated that there are or are likely to be dishonest practices which would prejudice the rights of members or groups of members.
Thus, it makes provision for what are commonly called ‘court controlled ballots’ for office bearers when requested by the Committee for Management of a union or by a specific number of its members. However, these are not mandatory and the great majority of union elections are conducted by the unions themselves.
This is relevant to the suggestion which has been made that there is a history of ‘ballot riggings’ in these unions. The record does not bear this out and it is supported, I believe, by the fact that there has not been a request from the membership of any of the 3 unions for a ‘court controlled ballot’ for a considerable number of years.
The second proposition is that before an amalgamation should be permitted 50+ per cent of the total membership should vote in favour.I am not impressed by this argument. It should be noted that because a ballot would have to be a postal ballot and voting is not and could not, for a number of practical reasons, be made compulsory, it would be virtually impossible to get anywhere near a100 per cent vote.
The Minister continued:
The 50-plus per cent proposition implies that a substantial majority of those who do not register a vote can be said to be opposed to the proposal for amalgamation. This is a doubtful thesis. It is more likely that most of those who strongly oppose the proposal will vote and that the majority of those who fail to vote are not sufficiently moved against the proposition - they merely acquiesce.
He went on to say: lt is also pertinent to note that in federal parliamentary elections it is not required that a candidate must obtain the support of 50-plus per cent of all voters on the voting role to be elected.
In New South Wales - I cannot speak for the other States - since the Liberal PartyCountry Party took office, compulsory voting in respect of local government elections has been abolished. I suppose that there is some consistency between the attitude of the New South Wales Minister for Local Government, Mr Morton, and the view that was expressed by Mr Lynch in his talk. The situation in New South Wales now is that in many local government areas people are elected to govern the affairs of local communities on the vote of 11 per cent to a maximum of 35 per cent of those eligible to vote in those areas.
The lessons from this action are crystal clear. This approach is unnecessary. The Government is now seeking to amend the legislation and to hamstring the attempts of unions that wish to amalgamate. I think that it is worth while recounting a little more about what Mr Lynch had to say on 2nd March. He spoke of the fact that there are 300 unions in Australia, most of them very smalt. He stated: lt could Facilitate the functioning of the arbitration system and relations generally between employers and unions if this number of unions decreases. I know of situations in which employers have sal across the table with no fewer than IS unions in relation to one issue. Government departments have had this experience.
As this legislation sets out to create a position in which amalgamation of unions is almost impossible we are entitled to ask why the Minister for Labour and National Service has changed his point of view. He has said thai the effective result of introducing a 50 per cent plus voting pattern would bc to put a stop to amalgamations including amalgamations of employer bodies. Of course, this is the only time when he has referred to the amalgamation of employers. 1 wonder what caused this change in his point of view? We need look for further evidence only at his ministerial statement, presented in Parliament on 7th December last year. Again it was on the matter of industrial relations. Referring to compulsory unionism, he said:
Earlier in my statement, I indicated the Government’s grave concern at the recent and continuing efforts by some trade unions to bring about compulsory unionism in this country. Th» Government, and 1 believe, the community are opposed to compulsory unionism. We will amend the provisions of the Act relating to registered organisations to prevent unions from enforcing compulsory unionism.
Here we have 2 statements from the Minister for Labour and National Service, both of which, in the context of the legislation before the Senate, show that he is a man who speaks with more than one tongue. I wonder why? I think the Parliament is entitled to draw some conclusions.
When this parliamentary session began, in late February, the Australian Democratic Labor Party was being outspokenly critical of the Government. It was making friendly overtures to members of the Australian Labor Party in the Parliament. Generally it was making statements in debate here and in other places to the effect that the Government was doomed in the forthcoming election. We know that these matters were discussed in the trade union forum. As Senator Bishop has pointed out in his contribution and by way of interjection, the trade union movement was united in its voice on this legislation. There was no opposition within the trade union movement to amalgamation. It was the DLP that was pressing for compulsory unionism.
The DLP was flexing its muscles. Statements appeared in national newspapers of conferences between the DLP and members of the Government. I wonder what significance there is in a statement that appeared in the Brisbane ‘Courier Mail’ of 25th April of this year in which Senator Gair said:
Democratic Labor Party, preferences will be recommended io Liberal and Country Party candidates, as a general rule, at this year’s Federal election.
That was quite contrary to what was being said in this place. I think that one is entitled to draw the conclusion that the DLP twisted the arm of the Government to get the Government to change its attitude in respect of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. It persuaded the Minister for Labour and National Service who, after all, is the Minister responsible for industrial relations, to change his attitude to and to drop his position on compulsory unionism. He changed his attitude in respect of union amalgamations and many other matters to which I have referred.
Subsequently this legislation initiated by the Minister has been brought before this House with the enthusiastic approval of the members of the Democratic Labor Party. The legislation seeks to continue Government interference in the trade union movement. It seems that the DLP has been able to blackmail the Government, stand over the Government to bring about a situation in which the trade unions are pawns in the power struggles taking place for the control of the political destinies of this country.
When we examine the Government’s case we see that it expresses a great deal of concern for democracy. It has taken the Government 23 years to reach the point where it is concerned for the democratic control of the trade unions. I find the parrotting of these statements by the Government a nauseating experience. Not only is the Government insincere in respect of the democratic control of the trade union movement; it can also be shown and will it be shown by Opposition speakers that the main aim of the Government is to weaken the capacity of the trade union movement to defend its rights and its members. It is equally crystal clear that the Government and its members have absolutely no understanding of the worker and his organisations, the various trade unions. Here the Government states, as the Minister has said, that this Bill pays particular attention to the provisions of the Act which aim at ensuring democratic processes and affect membership control in organisations registered under the Act.
Let us consider the existing provisions of the Act which this Bill seeks to amend. The Conciliation and Arbitration Act was amended by the Menzies administration in the 1950s to provide that a member of a union could exercise his rights in accordance with the Act to receive financial assistance to challenge actions taken by trade unions. We know that the Democratic Labor Party hunted throughout Australia to find somebody to act as a decoy by being game enough to go before the Commonwealth Industrial Court and seek to prevent the amalgamation of the 3 metal trades unions. It found such a person, a Mr Drinkwater Jnr. He is the son of a former Democratic Labor Party candidate in a parliamentary election. He was a member of the Sheet Metal Union con cerned and had been appointed by the union as a delegate to the Newcastle Labor Council. But he failed to carry out his responsibilities as a member and elected official of that union in that he did not attend the Council meetings. So he bad to be replaced.
Subsequently he left the industry and became a member of the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia in that area, but he worked in a different classification. He was the man who, when put in the witness box, knew nothing of the procedures that had been followed for the past 2 years by the 3 unions which, I think it must be said, have carried out their responsibilities in accordance with the Act, the law and their rules and regulations. Of course, we all know what happened. His challenge against the legality of the amalgamation proposals was dismissed unanimously. The taxpayers of this country are now called upon to pay that man’s legal costs. The members of the DLP did not put their money where their mouth was. They expected the taxpayers of this country to pay. Indeed, the legislation worsens the position by permitting others who have a disruptive role to play in the trade union movement to take advantage of certain legal situations in order to weaken the fibre of the trade union movement. This Bill seeks to widen the breach and to permit even further disruption by politically oriented members who really have no interest in the welfare of the industrial organisation to which they belong but are prepared to be lackeys of a minority political party.
As I started out to say, I find it a nauseating experience to hear the Government talking about the need for democratic procedures. If the Government is interested in democracy, I suggest that it should apply democratic principles right across the board. Let us look at one of the organisations to which this Government gives responsibility in respect of the disbursement of the funds of the Government and contributors to medical and hospital benefits schemes. I shall deal with only one such organisation because time will not permit me to deal with more than one. Let us look at the New South Wales branch of the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia Ltd. The Government claims to be inter- ested in democratic procedures and the right of members of organisations to determine their own affairs. The New South Wales branch of the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia is probably the largest organisation in Australia. According to Government statistics made available only this week by the Commonwealth Department of Health, the membership of the organisation in New South Wales as at 30th June 1971 - this is as recent a statistic as we can get - was 712,717. This organisation handles scores of millions of dollars worth of contributors’ funds and Government funds in respect of medical expenses incurred by those contributors.
It is interesting to read the Articles of Association of this organisation just to see how democratic it is. Each year the Commonwealth gives hundreds of millions of dollars to this organisation for disbursement to its contributors. As at 29th October 1964 - of course, at that time we had Liberal-Country Party governments in both Canberra and New South Wales - the by-laws of that organisation stated:
This organisation has a membership of 712,717. I think we can assume that this figure includes contributors as well as medical members. The Articles of Association continue:
It is interesting to note that the contributing members of this organisation - that is, those people who put their money into it: the rank and file people about whom we hear so much - are not entitled to attend or vote at meetings. Clause 18 of the Articles of Association reads:
Contributory members of the Association shall not be entitled to attend or vote at any general meeting of the Association or to receive notice thereof.
Here we have an organisation which embraces the whole of the community, which disburses contributors’ funds as well as Commonwealth funds and in which the contributory members - that is, the membership - have no say in the administration. Clause 19 of the Articles of Association reads:
The Council shall be entitled to decline to accept any application for contributory membership of the Association without assigning any reason therefor.
In the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill the Government is saying that trade unions, as corporate bodies, should be subject to certain government interference and certain government supervision, so that the members of the organisations shall have their rights protected. When we consider the application of that principle cross the board and see the manner in which it is applied to one of the largest organisations in Australia - I am led to believe that this position is somewhat similar to that of organisations in other States and the Hospitals Contribution Fund of New South Wales - we see that the rights of the members of the organisation are deliberately restricted by its rules. There is no restriction on the rights of members of trade unions. Members of trade unions have full and equal rights to participate in the management and affairs of the organisations. They have the right to stand for office, to determine policy, to attend conferences, and to vote and elect their officials. But in this wonderful organisation - the Medical Benefits Fund in New South Wales - the membership have no rights whatsoever. There is not a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives who, at some time or other, has not had to take up with the respective State branches of the Medical Benefits Fund problems associated with the interpretation of the rules of that organisation.
It is interesting to look at the way in which this oligarchy - that is the only word that describes the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia - operates. Its general council consists entirely of doctors, and it is interesting to note that the signatures of these doctors are witnessed by only 3 such persons. It is a self-perpetuating oligarchy because no-one can become a member of the Council where he has some controlof the management of the organisation unless he is elected to the position by the existing members of the Council and is a medical practitioner. So I find it somewhat hypocritical of the Government to say that it is concerned with democracy and with the rights of members of trade unions, when the members of these important organisations, which are concerned with the medical and hospital rights of contributors, have no say in the running of the organisations. I know that there are many medical benefit funds which are democratically run and controlled by their members. But in respect of the principal fund organisations in New South Wales, their leadership determines the amount of fees paid by the members and the amount of benefits paid to members - in consultation with the Government - and they arbitrate cn disputes with doctors and generally concern themselves with looking after the interests of the medical profession. Any suggestion by the Government that there is any concern for democracy in respect of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is not borne out in practice.
I leave that aspect and return to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I think that we have to understand that the clauses which we are asked to approve seek to restrict the right to conciliation - this is where the emphasis has been placed in the past - and to place more emphasis on arbitration. The legislation seeks to reduce the level of arbitrated decisions. It seeks to take away from the existing procedures the right of commissioners and single judges to make determinations based on their understanding of the industry and the conditions. It seeks to restrict the right of unions and to reduce the incidence of negotiated agreements. If we look at so many of the improvements in working conditions in New South Wales in the immediate post-war years and in more recent times I refer to annual leave, long service leave, improvements in workers compensation, acceptance of accident pay in some sections of industry - these have been won outside the jurisdiction of the Commission by negotiated agreements with the organisations of the employers or by collective bargaining. It is clear that the Government proposes in these amendments to restrict this level of activity by the trade union movement. In fact, it seeks to place the total responsibility on the trade union movement to win improved conditions and increases in salaries and wages before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The legislation seeks to extend Government control and influence in the internal affairs of the trade union movement.
For as long as I can recall the trade union movement of this country has fought for its independence against the arbitrary actions of the Governments. It has sought to be treated as any other corporate organisation is treated, making its own decisions, determining its own policy, involving its own membership, and acting in its own right. If this is good enough for companies, it is good enough for trade unions. I do not know how many questions I have heard asked about companies and their operations in the economic life of this country since I have been in the Senate, or how many questions have been asked of the Government to try to establish some control of companies and their shareholding funds. The Government has been loath, and in fact, has refused to take any legislative action. But it is in a hurry in respect to the trade union movement - the work force - because it wants to prevent even the meagre gains, that have been made in the last decade of two, being maintained or improved. The Government seeks to use legal, constitutional and intimidatory means to prevent the trade union movement carrying out its proper responsibility.
The shadow Minister for Labour in another place has pointed out how tradesmen’s salaries, since the advent of the Liberal government in 1949, have fallen behind average weekly earnings. The tradesmen are $24.50 worse off now than what they were in relation to average weekly earnings in 1949. Yet the Government is not satisfied with this. It wants to weaken further the capacity of the trade union movement to improve the living standards of the work force of this country. I can assure the Government and its supporters in this place that the trade union movement since its inception has shown courage and determination to win for its members and supporters some of the profits and prosperity that the work force produces in this country. No matter how much the Government may continue to legislate or to try to place the blame on the trade union movement for its own inept economic policies, the trade union movement will continue to represent the real interests of its membership. The trade union movement is the whipping boy for the Government in regard to the inflationary impact in our economy. It is a theme that is constantly harped upon by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and all of his supporters.
– Both of them.
– Both of them, yes. They have endeavoured to convince the Australian people, as they seem to have convinced the Government’s own supporters, that wage increases are the principal factor in inflation. Of course, there is abundant evidence to show that that is not the situation. I could quote from a great number of articles written by experts in this field to break up that statement. However, I will content myself with just one reference. It is contained in the JanuaryMarch 1972 issue of the ‘IP A Review’. That is the publication of the Institute of Public Affairs whichI think even Government senators will concede is a body that has more conservative influence than has many others. The ‘IPA Review’ had this to say in its editorial only a few weeks ago:
If we are ever to get a grip of inflation, we have to be clear about the causes. An effective cure depends upon an accurate diagnosis.
Of course, if we go back to the statements that were made prior and subsequent to the Budget last year by various Treasurers - they come and go so quickly that it is almost impossible to remember their names - we will find that they all indicated different causes for inflation at different periods of time. This is precisely what the I PA Review’ says. The editorial continues:
Here there is confusion. Cabinet Ministers, Press commentators, and even some economists repeat ad nauseam that rising prices result from wages and salaries increasing faster than productivity. It needs no unusual powers of perception, or knowledge of economics (a grasp of simple arithmetic will suffice) to see that this is the main immediate cause.
These are not my views; these are the views of the Government’s own economic advisers. The editorial further states:
But what we must be concerned to uncover are not the immediate causes of inflation but the deep-seated, root causes.
First, however, it should be said that wage and salary increases are not the only immediate cause of higher prices. Higher costs for imports are clearly another. Lower export returns for primary products associated with home price support schemes may result in higher domestic prices. Higher prices for other exports, for example beef and zinc, mean higher prices on the domestic market for these commodities. Increases in sales lax and excise duties on such things as cars, beer and cigarettes, result immediately in higher prices to the consumer.
Yet all we hear from Government supporters when referring to the economic background of this proposition is that we are faced with wage induced inflation and something must be done about it. The something’ is to hamstring the trade union movement, to restrict its activities, to force it back into the past and not allow it to carry out its rightful role. As I indicated to the Senate, it will take more than legislative action by this Government to achieve this. After all. this Government is in its decline. Members of the Liberal and Country Parties will not be sitting on the Government side for very much longer. It will take more than the feeble efforts of this Government to hamstring the trade union movement. The movement has expressed unanimous opinion about this measure. It is worth referring to what Senator Bishop said about how Mr Maynes has been forced to toe the line. I suppose there will be a few other weakies in the trade union movement who will be prevailed upon to adopt the narrow, sectional, parochial and extremist position of the Democratic Labor Party. Notwithstanding all that, the trade union movement will fight for its independence and will survive. This Government will not.
– We have arrived at an extraordinary situation in this chamber during this debate on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. We are only half way through the second reading debate, yet despite assurances we heard earlier from honourable senators on the Government side and those representing the Democratic Labor Party that in their opinion this Bill is one of the most important to have come before the Senate, the Government apparently is bereft of speakers. It has beenleft to the Australian Labor Party again to adopt the role of the watchdog of the interests of the workers of this country. If the Government declines to bring speakers forward while still claiming that it has speakers left, this is further proof of the continuing lack of concern of the Liberal Party for the Parliament and the people. If the Government has run out of speakers because it has nobody with adequate capacity to continue the debate, the sooner it moves out and makes way for the Australian Labor Party to carry on the business of this nation the better it will be for all concerned.
I read the second reading speech made by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) and I think I can fairly claim that it contained six salient features. Honourable senators on this side of the chamber already have canvassed most of those features. They dealt with them effectively and adequately, so I am prompted to speak only about that feature dealing with the amalgamation of unions or organisations. After listening to Senator Kane and honourable senators on the Government side one would think that the amalgamation of unions was the brainchild of Mr Laurie Carmichael.
– It was.
– Oh, no. Listen and I will tell you the facts of life. The Communist Party, at union level, has continually been putting obstacles in the way of the trade union movement and even at this stage is endeavouring to censure certain trade union officials for paying the fines which had to be paid before deregistration could be brought about and the way to amalgamation opened up. Mr Carmichael and the far Left opposed the payment of fines. I issue this warning to the Government: If it continues with this legislation and interferes with the amalgamation of unions it will allow peoplelike Mr Carmichael to say that paying the fines was of no avail. I suggest that honourable senators on the Government side think about that statement.
The amalgamation of trade unions has not just mushroomed in this community, nor is it something of the 1970s only. It has been the continuing goal of the Labor movement. It has been accepted always that only through a strong industrial and political movement can the unions ever expect to get the benefits that they continually pursue for their members. I refer to benefits such as just and fair wages to enable an adequate way of life, compensation, long service leave, guaranteed employment and so forth. All these things have been a continuing goal for the Labor movement and the trade union movement.
Early in the history of the Australian trade union movement it was appreciated that a lot of small unions, irrespective of how strong they might be, were working independently of one another, resulted only in the weakening of the Labor movement. Consequently, when attempts were made to amalgamate and form bigger unions and they failed, the Labor movement had to be satisfied with lesser confederations such as the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Officers and the Trades and Labour Councils in the respective States.
History reveals that there is a pattern in the Australian trade movement whereby workers seek to belong to unions which have a membership of, say, 10,000 or more. Kenneth F. Walker, in his article Australian Industrial Relations Systems’, said that in 1930 there were 28 unions which had a membership of 10,000 or more. We find that that number increased to 38 by 1950. In 1970 the number of unions with a membership of 10,000 or more had risen to 54. Another comparison is that in 1930 the proportion of workers in unions which had less than a membership of 2,000 was 14.7 per cent of the total workforce but in 1970 the percentage had dropped to 4.7. I claim that those figures represent conclusive proof and show a distinct pattern and a desire on the part of workers since 1930, and possibly before if I could have obtained the statistics, to belong to big unions and for unions to amalgamate.
I want to refer now to the chronological order of the amalgamation of unions. In 1913 there were two great industrial leaders in Queensland, two trade unionists, who later were to play a major role in the political life of this country. I refer to Ted Theodore and Bill McCormack. Through their initiative and drive they brought about in 1913 the biggest amalgamation of any unions engaged in a common field or common industry. This field took in semi- skilled and unskilled workers. The amalgamated union became known as the Australian Workers Union. In all instances of ballots being taken to see whether union members required amalgamation or not, the ballots were carried overwhelmingly.
In 1921 and 1922 the metal trades group carried a ballot for amalgamation but the matter was not proceeded with because the Amalgamated Engineering Union at that time was tied to the United Kingdom. A reading of trade union history shows that in the 1950s the boilermakers’ union, the blacksmiths’ union, and the sheet metal workers’ union progressed a long way towards amalgamation. Their efforts on that occasion proved to be forerunners of later amalgamations. The sheet metal workers’ union did not proceed with the amalgamation in the 1950s because it regarded the union fees being charged by the boilermakers’ and blacksmiths’ unions as too high. However, in 1967 we saw the amalgamation of the boilermakers’ union and the blacksmiths’ union. It was only then, when Jack Devereux, a man steeped in Queensland trade union history, became chairman of the Australian section of the Amalgamated Engineering Union that that union began to take a deep interest in amalgamation.
– He had a very effective political career.
– Jack Devereux in Queensland was very active. He played a major role in both the political and industrial life of Queensland. Ballots, in accordance with the existing arbitration Act were carried out by the Metal Trade Unions. The results were accepted as being valid by both the Federal and State Registrars. I think it is an important point that ballots in accordance with the current arbitration Act were substantially carried by all unions and that the Federal and State Registrars accepted the validity of the ballots carried out. Let us have a look at figures so that they can be put in Hansard and will be there for future research. In the Amalgamated Engineering Union 6,976 voted for and 1,039 against. In the Sheet Metal Workers Union there were 8,832 for and 3,346 against. In the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society 9,620 voted for and 3,275 against. This made a total of 25,428 for and 7,660 against, representing a 3 to 1 majority.
– Does the honourable senator know the total membership?
– I knew that the Attorney-General would come in. I purposely recapitulated what I said and quoted those figures in case I might have missed him. I knew that he would come in and say that that represents only a small minority. I know something of the ramifications of the Liberal Party and Australian Country Party organisations. They mushroom branches overnight to try to secure the endorsement of their candidates who aspire to become members of Parliament. I think the less the Minister says about that the better.
– What is their constitution?
– I heard the honourable senator read from it the other night. It was the greatest argument against this Bill that could ever be developed in this Parliament. As I said, I welcome the Attorney-General coming in. I am pleased that he grabbed at the burley which I spread around for him. In the Bill which is before the Senate the proposal is that ballots can only be conducted among unionists who are on the electoral roll. Other members who are not entitled to vote are those who have been unfinancial continuously for the 12 months immediately preceding the opening of the ballot. I know that the Attorney-General has some electoral experience and intelligence. He knows that that qualification, for a start, reduces the voting membership to 90 per cent. Out of that 90 per cent more than 50 per cent of the unionists have to vote. Then a majority has to be obtained out of that number. I could go on and fire many shots which would explode the correctness of the proposition which the Government has before us. But 1 am going to let my case rest by quoting one of the AttorneyGeneral’s colleagues - the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) who was the architect of this Bill. In a speech at the Central Industrial Secretariat dinner of the Australian Council of Employers Federations and the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia on 2nd March 1972 in Melbourne he said:
The normal percentages in officially conducted ballots for office bearers range from 12 per cent to 75 per cent-
Here is the punch line - and in the majority of such elections less than 50 per cent of eligible members have voted.
This practical comment on actual happenings proves the impracticability of the proposed legislation, particularly when it is remembered that the Minister bases his assessment on figures for a period when there were less safeguards in the old legislation than is proposed in the new. The Government is not fooling anybody. It knows as well as we do the saying which we have heard in this chamber before: There is none so blind as he who will not see.’ The plain commonsense of this legislation is that the Government has been forced to introduce it against its wishes for political expediency. The purpose is to jump on to the backs of the Democratic Labor Party for its preferences. Without them the Government would have no hope of winning at the polls. Everybody knows that that is the reason why this Bill is being introduced.
I must congratulate Senator Carrick on his eloquent address last night. But he did not come to grips with the matter before us. He quoted certain clauses and said that he would dissect them and have a look at them. I was beginning to think that we should nickname him ‘mirror’ because he wanted us to look into things all the time. He presented his argument along these lines but he did not come to grips with the main reason for this proposal. Let us clear the trees away so that we can see the wood and the main reason for the introduction of the Bill. I repeat that there is no doubt in my mind, as I know there is no doubt in the minds of anyone on this side of the chamber or in the minds of honourable senators on the other side that this Bill is a political stunt to try to save the Government’s hide at the next election.
– Who made that statement about voting?
– The Minister for Labour and National Service.
– Who was that? Was that Mr Lynch?
– It was the Attorney-General’s own colleague. The Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party talks of communist influence. 1 have known the Leader of the DLP for some years. I must say that it is to his credit that one of his fortes and one of his chief bogies has been his opposition to the Communist Party. He has been consistent in this, even though in other instances he might be consistent in his inconsistency, particularly in the way in which he and his party vote on social service legislation in this chamber. But the Communist Party has fragmented. The Attorney-General and Government senators know that it has fragmented into so many divisions that it is hard to ascertain who holds executive positions. I can speak of Queensland. There is only one communist holding an executive position in any of the 3 metal trade unions and he will retire at any time. There again, there will be only one communist in the newly amalgamated body. I do not know whether my friend Senator Gair who apparently wants to interject is trying to give me a leg up or trying to shoot me down but I say this: If anyone wants to thumb the pages of history - I want the honourable senator to let me finish before he interjects - they will find, if they make a close political study of the history of Queensland, that during the time that the honourable senator was Premier of Queensland there were more communists in the trade union movement than there are at the present time. But if anyone were to say that that was brought about by the honourable senator’s activity, they would be grossly unfair. Everyone in this chamber knows that when Senator Gair was Premier of Queensland, he was not responsible for all the communists in the Trades Hall. But it is a fact of history that during his premiership there were more communists associated with the trade union movement than there are now.
– With their help you destroyed the Labor Party.
– I am not blaming the honourable senator for it. As 1 said before, no-one has been a greater fighter against communism than the honourable senator. Returning to the question of communism, if all the rantings about commumism by the Liberal Party are right,let me say that I can recall when it was shown to the world just where the Communist Party stood in relation to the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. The Communist Party has never been a supporter of the Labor
Party, as was shown conclusively in the Federal election in 1961 when the fate of the then Prime Minister, Robert Gordon Menzies, was hanging in the balance. Mr Killen was the sitting Liberal member for the Queensland electorate of Moreton. In that electorate all the preference votes had to be counted. Even the Communist Party’s preferences had to be counted. When they were counted, they elected Mr Killen as the Liberal member for Moreton and kept the Menzies Government in office. I say to members of the Democratic Labor Party: If they were sincere they should have appealed to the Liberal Party to resign because it retained office aided and abetted by the Communist Party’s preference votes. Senator Gair knows as well as I do that it was the Communist Party’s votes in 1961 that elected Jim Killen as the member for Moreton and returned the Menzies Government.
– I take a point of order. The Government is concerned to have the Bill passed, as the Senate is nearing the end of the sessional period. Mr Deputy President, I draw your attention to standing order 419 which states that a senator shall not digress from the subject matter under discussion. I think that we have been very tolerant for the last 10 minutes. The Bill has not been mentioned once. The trade union movement has not been mentioned once. The discussion has been simply on communism. While the subject matter of the Bill covers a wide range, I submit that the honourable senator has digressed from it and that all honourable senators would be much helped if the honourable senator would return to the subject. That is why I ask you, Mr Deputy President, to so rule.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - I have considered the point of order. I suggest that it would make for a more orderly proceeding if honourable senators kept a little closer to the Bill.
– Mr Deputy President-
– Get back to the bookmakers. You know more about that.
– If Senator Gair invites and tempts me, I might have to say something about him. If he behaves himself, he will get off scot free. He should not push his luck too far. I have been insulted by experts; I do not have to take insults from Senator Gair.
I thought I was developing a case on the Government’s challenges and references to militancy in the trade union movement. I thought I was exploding its case and exposing it for the valueless propaganda that it is. However, I shall continue. The status quo has been preserved initially in relation to amalgamations as far as the Executive is concerned. I am suggesting that in future, with the larger amalgamated trade unions, it will be more difficult for the communists to be elected to office in those larger organisations which are and which will continue to be controlled by the Australian Labor Party. Mr Denis Murphy of the Department of History at the University of Queensland - a young scholar who has made a very close and valuable political study of the amalgamation of unions - delivered a very fine paper to a conference held by the Waterside Workers Federation in Brisbane on 27th February. He offered arguments in favour of the amalgamation of unions into larger unions. He pointed out that there are some very obvious advantages to be gained. So that his observations can be included in Hansard for honourable senators opposite and Democratic Labor Party senators to study, research and digest, I will state them. The advantages that this young scholar, and student of political science and authority on the amalgamation of unions saw are these:
Another interesting situation arises from the Government’s proposed interference - I say that it is interference - in the amalgamation of trade unions. Twenty years ago the International Labour Organisation constituted a Committee of Freedom of Association. The Committee was constituted to examine complaints received concerning alleged infringements of trade union rights. In the 20 years that it has been in existence it has had reason to consider 700 applications, lt has deliberated on 700 applications in those 20 years. In those deliberations it has been guided by the terms of Convention No. 98. which covers the human rights of individuals, and Convention No. 87, which was done in 1948. lt is Convention No. 87 in which we are mainly interested at this point of time. Contrary to what senators on the other side of the Senate have said, 1 have mentioned the trade union movement and I have related my arguments to the Bill. I suggest that they listen a little more intently and that now they have started listening they should get Hansard tomorrow and read my whole speech to see whether my argument has been developed in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Senate.
The main theme of Convention No. 87 is the right to organise. This is the convention in which the Opposition is interested in relation to the Bill. Seventy-seven countries have ratified Convention 87. Among those countries is Australia. It is fair to submit that Australia must find itself in a very invidious position. On the one hand, it is a party to Convention No. 87 which protects the rights of the trade union movement to organise and to have freedom of expression and freedom of organisation. It is a signatory to Convention No. 87. On the other hand, today members of the Government that is a signatory to the Convention are trying, in a hypocritical manner, to steamroll through this chamber a Bill that does nothing but interfere with the rights of trade unions and their members. I wonder whether this is a breach of the conditions adopted by the International Labour Organisation and its Committee of Freedom of Association. Is the Government putting itself in conflict with the Organisation? ls it exposing itself to criticism or examination by the Organisation? The terms of the Convention are self-explanatory. They may be summarised as follows:
In brief, Convention No. 87 guarantees to all workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever and without previous authorisation, the right to establish and join organisations of their own choosing; these organisations are to have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, to organise their administration and activities and to formulate their programmes, without interference by the public authorities; they may not be dissolved or suspended by administrative authority; they shall have the right to form federations and confederations, and to affiliate with international organisations of workers and employers; those rights also apply to federations and confederations; the acquisition of legal personality by organisations may not be made subject to conditions restricting the exercise of these rights; in exercising them workers and employers and their respective organisations must respect the law of the land, but in turn the law of the land may not be such as to impair, nor may it be so applied as to impair, the guarantees provided for in the Convention; the extent to which the guarantees provided for in the Convention shall apply to the armed forces and the police is to be determined by national laws or regulations.
I will be very interested to hear how the Attorney-General, who is in charge of the passage of this Bill through the Senate, relates the present intentions of the Government in this Bill to the pledges it has given to the International Labour Organisation and how it relates its attitude to trade unions in this country to world wide opinion.
Senator Kane usually leans over and has something to say to me about where the Australian Council of Trade Unions stands on a particular issue and he has done so on this occasion. I think I should advise not only Senator Kane but also other honourable senators of where the ACTU stands on the amalgamation of unions. The inference of Senator Kane’s remark was that the ACTU could be opposed, on some technical ground, to the amalgamation of unions. For the sake of the record, 1 think I should state just where the ACTU stands. I shall do so by quoting an ACTU executive decision relating to the Government’s intention to legislate to prevent amalgamations. The decision was taken on 24th February 1972. It reads:
The ACTU notes the attempt by the reactionary DLP and its counterparts in the Country Party and the Liberal Party to interfere in the internal affairs of the trade union movement, particularly in regard to the amalgamation of unions -
We point out (hat amalgamation of unions has been in the objectives of the ACTU since the very inception of that body and that many unions in the intervening years have availed themselves of these provisions for the purpose of strengthening the trade union movement and providing a better service to members.
Far from hindering amalgamation, we believe the Government has an obligation to assist the ACTU in building a strong responsible trade union movement in Australia.
We also remind the Government of ils obligation to the 1LO and its numerous conventions, a number of which emphasise the right of unions to organise, the right of freedom of association. The recent Teheran Conference very clearly affirmed these principles.
The ACTU has expressed its firm position regarding amalgamation in the following terms, namely -
That provided appropriate safeguards in accordance with current Legislation are available to registered organisations, the amalgamated body should have automatic registration.
The executive warns the Government that any legislation or administrative action intended to prevent amalgamation properly effected in accordance with the existing provisions of the legislation will be strongly resisted by the entire Australian trade union movement.
The ACTU also determines that in addition to action on the Australian front, it will report the interference to the 1LO with a request that the 1LO special committee inquire into the interference by the Austraiian Government in the affairs of our workers’ organisations - the employees trade unions.
That should clear up for Senator Kane just where the Australian Council of Trade Unions stands in the matter. If he would like a copy of that document, I would be only too happy to provide him with one afterwards.
Whenever the subject of conciliation and arbitration is raised attacks are levelled at the trade union movement by almost all sections of the community. I nearly cried last evening when I heard Senator Carrick say that there is no greater champion than he is of the rights of the genuine trade union leader. I did look hard at him and think about interjecting, but I decided to leave it to his own conscience. He might believe what he said but he certainly does not display that attitude in this chamber. He might in his heart feel that way but in his head he must think otherwise because his addresses in this chamber have not stamped him as being in any way a champion of the trade union movement.
Despite the attacks which have been made on the trade union movement it has a history and a tradition that are unequalled by any other organisation. We hear much about strikes and industrial disputes but they represent only a small part of trade union activity. Unfortunately it is that part which receives the widest publicity. Every day trade union officials are engaged in widespread activities, including finding employment and fighting employment injustices, unjust wage payments, unjust sackings and victimisation. They are continually concerned in community affairs. Even the Government will admit that without the full co-operation and assistance of the trade union movement many of the committees it establishes would be unable to function without the support of the trade unions.
The trade union movement cannot and will not accept restrictions on its right to involve itself in the political life of the community. I want to deal briefly with that point. In doing so I will be relating my remarks to this debate because the claim was made last night by Senator Hannan that the trade union movement has no right to interfere in the political life of this country. He quoted the President of the Queensland Trades and Labour Council, Mr John Egerton, as having said on the Australian Broadcasting Commission that he would resist any attempt to prevent the trade union movement from exercising its right as the representative of the organised workers to interfere in political issues. Mr Egerton is perfectly right; the trade union movement initiates the demands and the Australian Labor Party carries them out. Ever since the birth of the great Australian Labor Party, that has been the premise on which the industrial and political wings have functioned. The trade union movement initiates the demands and the Australian Labor Party, in government, carries them out. Improved working conditions, social services, health, education, housing and a host of other things are the concern of the trade unions as the organised strength of the lower and middle income groups. Surely they are political matters and surely no-one in this chamber, whether he be on my left or immediately in front of me, as are members of the Democratic Labor Party, would deny the right of the trade unions to intercede in these matters.
At every opportunity attacks are levelled in this chamber and outside it at the trade union movement. The most recent attack was on the stand of the trade union movement on apartheid when the Springboks were here on a rugby union tour. Tt was attacked inside and outside this chamber on that occasion. I say to honourable senators opposite that history will prove that the trade union movement’s stand on that matter was right, just as history has proved that the trade union movement’s stand in opposing the shipment of pig iron to Japan was right; just as history has proved that the trade union movement’s stand on independence for Indonesia was right; just as history has proved that the trade union movement’s stand on the phoney war in Vietnam has been right. On all the great issues of our day history will continue to prove the trade union movement right.
Challenges were thrown left and right by Government supporters last night at those honourable senators on this side of the chamber who are members of a trade union. I have been a member of a trade union all of my working life and I still am. While 1 am in the Senate I will continue to fight for and advance causes that will bring about greater harmony between the political and industrial wings of the great Labor movement. I feel it is in the interests of the nation and the people for roe to do so. I hope that this Bill will get the treatment it deserves and be thrown out by the Senate.
– I join with other Opposition senators in congratulating Senator Bishop upon the excellent, manner in which he put the case of the Opposition against this legislation. I want to refer to 3 factors that are rather disturbing and unusual in relation to this Bill and its presentation. The first factor is that at present the Liberal Party supporters have succumbed to the arguments of the Labor Party and have withdrawn from the battle. Not only have they withdrawn from the battle, but they have also taken their bat home and I understand that they do not intend to take any further part in the discussion. This is a credit to the case we have been able to put against this legislation. The second factor is that we again have a major Bill presented before the Senate in the dying hours of a session. I recall that the Government used exactly the same tactic on the last occasion that the Senate debated amendments to the
Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The Senate sat right through until about 7.30 ou the morning of the last day of the session in order to enable Labor Party speakers adequately and properly to debate the measure.
– Whose fault was that?
– It was the fault of the Government because it is afraid to bring in major legislation of this nature in the early part of a session when it can be fully debated and scrutinised. The Government has used these tactics ever since it took office. Important issues are left to the end of the session in the belief that senators and members of the House of Representatives will want to get home to their electorates and will cut back the debating time to suit the convenience of the Government. I assure the Gobernment that we on this side of the chamber are prepared to sit this week, next week and the following week adequately and properly lo debate not only the second reading of this Bill but also the clauses at the Committee stage. Many more sound arguments will be placed by the Opposition before the Senate at the Committee stage.
The third factor is the most intriguing of all. Instead of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) who represents the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), handling this Bill in the Senate, it is being handled by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), a procedure I have not seen before. I have not previously seen a Bill taken out of the hands of the appropriate Minister in the Senate.
– Have you been here long?
– Quite long enough to know that it is a precedent in my time. It seems to me that either Senator Wright did not have the interest and the will to guide this legislation through or Senator Greenwood is to be used as the hatchet man to force it through at all costs. Despite the fact that this legislation has come very late to the Senate with some degree of urgency, it has not been brought in as an urgent matter, judging from the reasons given for its submission to the Parliament. This has been a deliberate act by the Government in seeking an election issue or to build up its lost prestige.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order! Perhaps the honourable senator could now lead into the substance of the Bill.
– I am giving the reasons why the Government has introduced it, Mr Deputy President. If that is unsatisfactory I am afraid that I must continue to refer to this in another way. The Bill has been presented in order to confront the trade union movement with the pernicious clauses it contains for the purpose of fighting an election on the issue of law and order. The Government thought at one stage that the big election issue would be apartheid. At one stage it thought it would be the Vietnam war. Because Labor’s ideas on those issues found public support, the Government has gone back to the stage of believing that a head-on collision between the trade union movement and the Government could lead to a oig victory for it. But it has made one major mistake on this occasion because its actions have caused a binding together of the forces of the working class movement in this country. The Australian Council of Trade Unions, the major white collar organisations and the Public Service bodies have combined to the extent that the 3 groups have expressed their total opposition to this legislation, as Labor members have said both here and in another place.
This has never before happened in the history of the trade union movement. If one good thing has come out of this terrible legislation it is the welding together of the working class more closely than it has ever been welded together before. The Government has made a fighting machine out of the workers of this country against the legislation that the Government is intending to impose upon them. Honourable senators opposite are interjecting because they are hurt. The Government has believed in the past that the working class movement has been completely divided on this issue. Members of the working class are as one and the Government will hear more about the unity of the working class in this country.
The Government claims to have submitted this legislation because of an outbreak of strikes. This claim has been completely refuted by Opposition speakers on many occasions in this debate. We have to refer only to the statements of Mr Justice Kirby to establish quite clearly that the trade union movement in this country has acted responsibly and has not put on strikes willy nilly. The trade unions have moved to industrial action only when most sorely pressed to do so. It is a matter of historical knowledge that the trade union movement has been able to control disputes in this country far better than they have in any other Western country. The result is that the strike periods in Australia on average have been far shorter than in any other country because of the method of negotiation that the trade union movement has been able to develop between employer and employee. The method has been developed through discussions and decisions instigated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
One of the reasons given for the introduction of this legislation was the strike by State Electricity Commission workers in Victoria. This has been mentioned by many honourable senators opposite as one of the reasons why this legislation must be introduced. The SEC strike in Victoria was deliberately and positively prolonged by the direct action of the Premier of Victoria who wanted a law and order issue there. He refused to allow proper negotiations to take place between the trade union movement and the Arbitration Commission at that time. It is a matter of record that the direct interference of the Premier of Viatoria not only prolonged the strike but also caused its escalation. Yet that strike is given as the reason why this measure has been introduced, a measure that is detrimental to the working class movement in this country. The Government has no other reason for its introduction than the reasons I outlined in the opening stages of my speech.
It is an election issue. At one election Petrov was used as the big issue. The Government has kicked the communist can as often as possible in recent election periods until the people have become sick and tired of it and it can no longer be used as an issue. In one election the Government used the Vietnam war as an issue and on that occasion it was successful. However, it cannot be successful any more because Australians have been educated into the truth of that conflict. On the pretext of bringing together the trade union movement and employers in conciliation, the Government has deliberately introduced an amendment that will make it so much more difficult for the unions and employers to meet and to solve their problems.
It is interesting to read the long title of the principal Act. It is: ‘An Act relating to the prevention and settlement of certain industrial disputes, and for other purposes.’ From that one could be excused for believing that the prime objective of this legislation is conciliation, yet over the years ever>’ amendment introduced by this Government has represented a move towards less conciliation and more arbitration. To that extent the trade union movement is now rightly moving into the field of direct negotiation, which is the only avenue left to it. Not only is the Government legislating at this level; it is also intervening in all major cases before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to ensure that workers get nothing by way of improved labour conditions and bigger pay packets.
The entire role of the Government has been to create a situation in which only one section of the community pays for the Government’s sins over 23 years that have produced inflation. Working class people on low wages are the ones who have to pay. The Government has deliberately looked after the tall poppies. The trade union movement will not tolerate this kind of action, irrespective of the pernicious legislation that the Government is now attempting to have passed in this Parliament. The Government is becoming more stupid. Its stupidity was evidenced by the penalties in relation to stoppages. The Government has carried the water to the well too often. Now the trade union movement has said: Thus far and no further’. Over the past 2 years or so the Government has not been able to collect the fines imposed on unions, and employers are not game now to go into the courts on that issue due to the courageous action of Clarrie O’Shea, who made the decision to go to gaol rather than pay fines imposed on members of his union. This was the turning point in the fight against penal provisions that are already in the Act.
If the Government were sincere in its desire to improve industrial relations in this country, it would foster discussions with the trade union movement and employer organisations in an attempt to evolve formulas whereby employer-employee relations, and the Government’s approach to industrial relations, would be improved immensely. Instead of doing that, the Government has done exactly the opposite. When meaningful discussions were being held between Mr Bob Hawke on behalf of the trade union movement, and Mr Polites on behalf of the employers, the discussions were sabotaged by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) because they were getting too close to a formula which would bring peace in industry.
This is the situation we are facing today. Now legislation has been brought forward in this form to ensure that the gap in industrial relationships is widened rather than narrowed. Mr Polites and Mr Hawke, after long discussions, were brushed aside. The Minister said that irrespective of what decisions had been made by them, and how meaningful the discussions had been, he intended to adopt a certain course. There was no question of the Government’s considering the matters that had been agreed upon by the representatives of those 2 great organisations. It was merely a matter of the Government bulldozing the people and imposing its own views on them. Now the Government has entered the field of amalgamations - following pressure by the Democratic Labor Party in the Senate. It endeavoured to stop the amalgamation of the 3 metal trades unions, which must be to the betterment of every member associated with them. The Government has now reached the stage of introducing legislation to make subsequent amalgamations extremely difficult. The Government failed in its first attempt to stop the amalgamation of the metal trades unions, but it is sure that it will not fail in its second attempt.
The provisions relating to amalgamations are ridiculous in the extreme. If a small union with 2,000 or 3,000 members wants to amalgamate with a union which has 50,000 or 60,000 members, the Government will compel both unions to hold a ballot and to get a 50 per cent return of ballot papers. It is remarkable that the Liberal Party and the conservatives are so concerned about getting a 50 per cent return in a trade union ballot. Their policy, at least in Victoria for many years, has been one of freedom to vote, particularly in municipal elections. It is true that some municipalities in Victoria by their own decision have made voting compulsory, but the vast majority of local government elections in Victoria are held on the basis that a person eligible to vote may do so or may decline to do so. I venture to say that only 25 per cent to 30 per cent of eligible ratepayers have voted in the majority of local government elections in Victoria, at least in cities, towns and shires outside the metropolitan area of Melbourne. If the Government is so concerned about this great democratic method of election it should move quickly to that end, with the co-operation of State parliaments, to ensure that this system of so-called democracy is available to all. If it did so, and this method became the criterion, more than half the city, town and shire councillors in Victoria would be ineligible to take their places on the councils.
There is an example of the Government’s double standards in relation to the trade union movement and the citadels of capital, as has been indicated by Senator Mulvihill. The Government’s actions in other fields have proved this conclusively. We will not support the legislation in any shape or form. We support the efforts, actions and decisions of the trade union movement and the white collar movement in relation to these matters. We believe that this Bill is a deliberate attempt to widen the gap in relationships between the Government and unionists, and between employers and unionists. It is not an attempt to improve industrial relations. It has been done deliberately so that at the end of the year Government supporters can make political capital out of it on the hustings. I will have more to say at the Committee stage, when some clauses of this pernicious legislation will be discussed in more detail. I hope the Senate will throw the Bill out before it reaches the Committee stage.
– My colleagues have capably outlined their opposition to the Bill in a general way at this second reading stage. They have indicated that in the Committee stage the Opposition will analyse the Bill step by step and will oppose its most objectionable clauses; and there are many of them. I invite the attention of the Senate to the position in which the Government has placed us. Not only is the Government unwilling to supply speakers or to arrange for speakers to enter this debate; it is not even willing to maintain the necessary numbers in the Senate. If the Government wants to facilitate the debate by encouraging its supporters not to enter into it, surely in deference to its own legislation the Government should at least insist that they be present in the chamber.
– Could you try to liven your speech up a bit?
– If you tempt me, I will direct the attention of the chair to the state of the Chamber.
– Not on yourself, surely.
– I could call a quorum on myself at this stage because that is what Government supporters deserve.
– Call it. Why should they be outside?
– They deserve-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT Order! This Bill relates to conciliation and arbitration. Will you please, Senator Georges, deal with it?
– Yes. I am prepared to do as Government speakers, including the Attorney-General, do from time to time. He wanders completely from the subject matter and he is guilty of Complete irrelevancy on many occasions, but he is not disciplined. I believe that I should be allowed the same degree of latitude. The apathy of Government senators is perhaps not theft- own fault. I think a direction has come forward from another place that this Bill must be proceeded with, voted on and decided before the House of Representatives rises or before members of the other place depart to discharge their various responsibilities throughout the Commonwealth.
I make the point here and now that, as we are forced to continue debating measures after the House of Representatives rises, the sooner we amend some Bill and force the House of Representatives to return the better it will be. This practice of holding up legislation for weeks and weeks and then unloading it on us in the last 2 days of a session must stop. It will stop only when the House of Representatives appreciates that it is possible for us to amend legislation which would require the recall of that House or at least put it in a position where it cannot treat the Senate with disdain.
For week after week we have listened to members of the House of Representatives warning, arguing, backbiting and acting in a manner that is not constructive. We have seen the Government withhold legislation until now, this very day, we find ourselves with a Notice Paper containing 27 Bills. We are forced to consider this important legislation in a hurried way. We are forced into a one-sided debate, with the Opposition contributing speakers and the Government not contributing speakers.
– You could have worked on a few Bills last week and you refused. You were given the chance to work longer hours last week and you declined. So, do not give us that kind of talk.
- Senator Young will recall that, in the early days of this session, we had no legislation before us. The position was such that for one week the Senate did not sit. We now find ourselves at the end of the session with a Notice Paper that is highly congested. It was useless to agree to sit extra hours last week because no legislation was before us.
– Do you think that it is bad arrangement?
– Not Only is the arrangement bad; it can be described only as disgraceful. What the Government deserves is for us to talk at great length on this Bil) and to talk as long as possible on the issues-
– That is what you are doing.
– No, we are not. The list of speakers that the honourable senator has indicated shows those who yesterday wished to contribute to this debate. It may even have been compiled the day before. That list of speakers is the same list that appeared on our Whip’s notice board the day before yesterday. As a matter of fact, a couple of speakers have withdrawn and a couple of other speakers who indicated that they wished to speak are not going to do so.
– Well, when do we get to the Committee stage?
– We will get to the Committee stage when we finish speaking on the second reading-
– The Committee stage is the meat of the Bill. Why not got to the meat of the Bill?
– The left wingers of your Party are the only ones left to speak.
– No. Senator Georges is not a left winger.
– Order! There is no value if the honourable senator who is speaking is compelled to reply to adventitious observations made by other honourable senators. Now. Senator Georges, 1 am listening to you with great interest and intent. You must disregard interjections.
– 1 am honoured that you should return to the chamber to listen to me. I have the feeling that you agree with me when 1 say that the Senate is being misused by the other place and that you agree with my comment that I made earlier that the sooner we take some disciplinary action by amending some Bill, thus forcing the House of Representatives to return next week to consider it, the better it will be. If we do, we will not be faced with this situation time and time again.
I cannot for the life of me understand why the Government should bring forward such repressive legislation directed against the trade union movement. The government has stated clearly - Senator Carrick indicated this yesterday - that its purpose is to improve conciliation and to improve industrial relations. If any one action could worsen the industrial situation, we have it here in this Bill. Surely any reasonable person who keeps up with modern trends in commerce and in industry will appreciate that amalgamation, the coining together of a variety of concerns with a common interest, is the custom. The need for small groups to come together to form a larger group is forced upon them by the need to use modern methods.
I want the Senate to appreciate the position in which small unions find themselves, have found themselves and will continue to find themselves. They suffer an inability to carry out their functions efficiently in the interests of their members. The small union is unable to do so because it cannot provide those modern facilities which are required for it to represent properly its members and their cause, in any dispute, which may arise, in any difficulties which may arise or even in any demarcation dispute which may eventuate. It is impossible for a small union to provide the necessary skills and even the personnel to carry out its functions effectively. It is necessary for small unions to seek the assistance of major unions. They have from time to time sought that assistance in an unofficial way. This has been by means of co-operation. But it has been necessary in the past few yean for smaller unions to join with greater unions by way of amalgamation or affiliation for many of the reasons that Senator McAuliffe brought out, including the need to improve their methods and efficiency and the need to use sophisticated machinery and proper and modern accounting procedures including computer systems. This has been forced upon the unions. It has been most necessary for them to amalgamate and, rather than being hindered, such amalgamations ought to be supported.
Unions which are small and fragmented are not in a position to pay the salaries necessary to attract skilled people and men with initiative to take up the union work and to give the leadership that unions require. Many smaller unions find themselves in the position where their organisers and officials are being paid for their work less than the men on the job whom they represent. This is the case even with the larger unions. I take Gladstone as an example of a place where a pretty efficient group of unions operate. They have come together. They have a shop committee. By necessity they have been forced to cooperate to make a contribution. They have arranged to supply themselves with a paid official. He would receive half as much again if he were working at his trade than he receives as a union official. It is impossible for the smaller unions to provide the salaries or to employ people, such as accountants or experts in specific fields, including lawyers to present their cases, with the skills needed. A great need exists for them to amalgamate for continued efficiency in the trade union movement. If the Government wishes to see inefficiency in the trade union movement, by all means fragment the unions, keep them small and keep them poor.
– Divide and rule.
– It is not so much a matter of divide and rule because the employer knows that it is far better for him on the job, no matter how small or how big the job may be, to deal with one union only. Let us forget about distinctions between big and small employers. It is in the interests even of the small employer who has two or three occupations or trades on his job to negotiate with the one delegte and to be able to reach a single decision quickly and effectively. He does not wish to be arguing with half a dozen union representatives. Nor do half a dozen union representatives wish to be arguing among themselves as to the right way to approach a matter. Unions on a job do not wish to be at the mercy of the smallest union on that job; that union may be under the influence of an erratic shop committee. It is in the interests of the employer, industry, trade unions and their members that these amalgamations should take place so that the unions become larger, more efficient, more capable, more skilled and more effective.
– It is not just for the sake of bigness; it is for the sake of other things that flow from it.
– It is for the sake of efficiency and for the sake of proper methods of co-operation, conciliation, and even arbitration.
– Make them all like the Australian Workers Union. That is a good union.
– The Australian Workers Union is one of the largest unions in the country. In the past it has contributed to the welfare of the workers in this country. It has been a big union and it has been effective. I am using the past tense. I do not know whether I intend that or whether I just use it instinctively.
– Order! There are too many interjections. I have never known Senator Georges to require any prompting.
– But he is always better when he gets some.
– On the contrary, I need no assistance from the Democratic Labor Party on this occasion. 1 do not receive it on other occasions and I do not want it now. The DLP is responsible for the legislation now before the chamber. It is the Party that wants consideration of the legislation completed within the next 2 days. It does not want it properly deliberated on. Incidentally, the DLP at the present time is in trouble with some of the unions which support it because some of those unions are in favour of amalgamation. The DLP has been caught in its own trap because if this legislation goes through one or two unions which are seeking-
– Which are the ones?
– The honourable senator knows the ones without my telling him. Two or three small unions are seeking the assistance of the major unions. They are seeking amalgamation. If this legislation goes through tomorrow, their initiatives will be destroyed and all their procedures over the past months will be negated. The major unions have been described in this chamber as monsters trying to absorb the smaller unions. The situation is the reverse: The smaller unions are seeking the assistance, the skills, the abilities and the expertise of the larger unions. Industry has been forced to merge. If industry is to be permitted to merge in the name of efficiency, surely the trade union movement should be permitted to do so. But Government senators have come up with all sorts of excuses as to why it should not. I heard Senator Webster talk about wage-induced inflation.
– But you urged that Thomas Nationwide Transport and Ansett Transport Industries should not merge.
– There was an entirely different principle involved there, and Senator Little knows it. That case involved overseas control and we were interested in the amount of overseas control. I have been sidetracked somewhat. I was referring to Senator Webster talking about wage-induced inflation. As a member of the Australian Country Party, he constantly uses this cry, this ploy, to gain support in country areas. In country areas the proposition constantly pushed is that the worker is responsible for the increased costs imposed on the man on the land; that the worker is getting good working conditions and wage increases and these things do not flow on to the man on the land; that wages are pushing up prices; that if wages go up prices will go up. But that is not true, and Senator Webster knows it. It is only one fraction of the truth. The costs that are the cause of union members seeking economic justice are pushed up by other means. The escalation within the price structure is, as I have pointed out before, one of the great causes of this cost-push inflation. The cost of the increase in a worker’s wage in the production of an article - say, a loaf of bread - may be lc, but by the time the article goes through the various stages of distribution, the imposition of sales tax and the rest of it that lc-
– But shopkeepers are workers too. You have been a shopkeeper in your day. Do not tell me that you were not a worker when you were a shopkeeper.
– I am not arguing that point. I am arguing that the fraction of cost imposed on production by a wage increase escalates through the price structure and if the initial increase is lc the ultimate increase can be as much as 5c, 6c or even 7c. Until that situation is corrected, this escalation of costs and prices will continue and will lead to further just demands by workers, whether they be farmers, shopkeepers or anything else, for economic justice. The Government has done nothing whatever to correct the situation. Instead of endeavouring to correct the situation, it imposes added burdens on this cost inflation structure. For example, by increasing sales tax it imposes an added factor to this escalation of prices.
However, there is another reason for increased costs and increased prices which has nothing whatever to do with the workers. I refer to the speculative type of investment which takes place in the community, particularly in the commercial area. At the present time no matter where one goes, whether it happens to be Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, or anywhere else, one finds high rise, buildings being erected. Even when there is a glut of high rise buildings one finds more going up.
– Would you expect the high rise buildings to be going down? They have to go up.
– I have a smart person on my left.
– I am helping you.
– I know that, but I can do without the honourable senator’s help at the present time because the situation is serious. The concern of the DLP, and particularly of Senator Little, is to place impositions on the worker and to complain continually about his demands for wage justice. Then, immediately someone endeavours to point out some other reason why costs go up and why they are uncontrolled, we get snide remarks and snide comments. Senator Little can continue with his snide remarks and snide comments.
There has been, without check, a great development in the commercial building field that has not been taken into consideration in regard to costs which lead to increased prices, which in turn lead to wage claims. Overseas investment in Australia is at an unhealthy level. Many millions of dollars have flowed into this country from overseas investors. This money has flowed into the speculative field of commercial building, whether it be drive-ins or office buildings. These buildings are erected, and it is well known that the rentals charged per square foot are pitched at a level designed to recover the complete cost of the buildings in 8 years. In other words, the gross return expected from that investment is 15 per cent, the net return is 12i per cent, and the cost of the building is completely recovered in 8 years, even though the building may have been erected to last for 50 years. The rentals charged for those premises are exorbitant. The rentals charged, whether they be for office space or ground floor shops, ave a charge against prices, and prices have gone up considerably under this pressure. The pressure is not caused by wage costs. The cost of renting a small grocery store or a small food store in some of these modern complexes is exorbitant and is charged against the price of the goods. The prices of the goods increase. There is no wage push here. Yet no-one considers that these costs ought to be looked at.
I refer also to the over-distribution of goods. By this, I mean that too many people are distributing the same type of goods and trying to make a margin of profit out of distribution and not enough out of production. This means that someone must pay. It lis the person who purchases the goods who pays the price. The person who pays that price is more than likely to be a worker. The worker’s take home pay is not SUFFICIENT to meet that price, so the pressure is on. His needs are greater. His needs on the job are for increased returns in his pay envelope. The pressure on the union is for a higher return. Are the unions expected to take unilateral action and say that they will not seek extra wages because the extra wages are not of very much use? They cannot be expected to do this; yet the Government does expect it. The whole pressure of stabilising the economy is not placed on the distribution area; it is placed upon the producer, the worker, whether he be a rural worker or an industrial worker. Insufficient care has been given to this problem of increased costs of distribution and faulty distribution. The sooner the Government looks to this area in order to reduce these pressures within the Community, the better. The charge of wage-induced inflation is an over exaggeration. It just is not there.
Senator Carrick had a deal to say concerning the conciliation an artibration system. He told us what a wonderful system it is, and in theory it is or was a wonderful system. But for some time, at least, it has not worked to the benefit of the ordinary worker. It has worked to his detriment because - I make this comment - the judges of the courts and the conciliators have been politically appointed. I am not prepared to say whether there have been direct political appointments, but one of the things which has flowed from this Government’s being in power for about the last 22 years is that the appointment of people to important positions in the community is influenced in some way by the political philosophy of the Party which has been in power too long. To my mind, many of the appointments to this area of conciliation and arbitration have been politically influenced. This is borne out by some of the decisions that have been made. What has been said is so beautiful in theory but it is not so good in practice.
– How would you appoint them?
– I would make certain that the Government was changed a little more regularly and that more of the appointments were made from other areas as well as those areas from which appointments are made at the present time. Some of the decisions that are made are politically influenced, and some of the considerations which are taken into account are not straight industrial considerations. Other considerations which ought not to be brought into the matter are brought into it by pressures applied by this Government. There is evidence that the workers and the unions resent some of the decisions, attitudes and comments of the judges of the arbitration court. J will not go into that aspect on this occasion, but I have with me a brief I will take up at some future time which indicates that certain judges of the arbitration court apply themselves to their duties in a politically biased way. Any trade union official, any trade union advocate, any trade union delegate who took part in the recent case involving the Federated Storemen and Packers Union will tell you exactly this. It is an affront for a case not to be considered properly. It is an affront to know that the decision that will be made is not based upon the evidence but upon a particular political attitude.
I would have expected the Government to have given considerable thought to the consequences before implementing this Bill. I would have thought that the Government would have allowed sufficient time for the Bill to have been considered in depth and the implications of the various clauses properly considered. Senator Murphy indicated that there were other ramifications and other consequences which could flow which had not been properly considered by the Government. Perhaps one can take some comfort from the fact that if these impositions are to be placed on trade unions and trade union corporations, similar restrictions and disciplines will be placed upon many of the other corporations in this country. Those are corporations which are closely associated with the stock exchanges. Let us assume that disciplines were required. I am hoping that some of the disciplines that are being imposed on the trade union movement - I think that some of them are imposed wrongly at the present time - will be enacted to control the various companies and the directors who control those companies. I am hoping too that legislation will be enacted to protect the rights of shareholders and give them some feeling, some element of democracy.
If it is claimed by Government supporters - I deny this - that no democracy exists within the trade union movement, and if it is claimed that the ordinary . democratic rights of trade unionists have to be protected, surely the same remarks ought to apply to the shareholders, to the systems that are operated by the various companies and to mergers, takeovers and other forms of affiliation or amalgamation - call them what you will - within the commercial world. For instance, I feel that in this area there exists no democracy because the small shareholder in a company in this country has very few rights, nor does he have what we consider to be a democratic right. He is overwhelmed by the money power of his associates and fellow shareholders in that company. He is often ignored and decisions are taken without any consideration of his rights.
– Did not you say that you believed in the freedom of mergers and the economy of size?
– Yes, but I believe that when that is being done it ought to be done in a way in which each person is considered without compulsion. I am saying that provided every shareholder has the right to decide-
– And that he gets his ballot paper.
– He ought to receive his ballot paper and all the information to which he is entitled so that he can make a decision. He ought to have some control over the destiny of the company of which he is a shareholder. He ought to be taken out of the area of indifference, not by compulsion but by information and perhaps by education. In the same way, I say that a trade unionist ought to receive his ballot paper - I say that he does receive his ballot paper - but he ought not to have his ballot paper if he ls not financial. He ought to accept the responsibility of notifying his home address. He ought not to be indifferent. He ought to be aware of the issues, and they should be placed before him. Then it is up to him to decide whether he votes. At the present time we are endeavouring to apply a compulsion upon these people to vote. We are doing even more than that; we are requiring that a result ought to be over a certain percentage.
– Perhaps we should abandon compulsory Federal elections.
– We might go along with that also but we are not debating that at the present time. In effect, compulsion places an organisation or a trade union into the hands of the indifferent - those who really do not care and are not interested. There are many of them in all organisations, whether they be shareholders, members of trade unions or others. A responsible organisation is being placed at the mercy of the indifferent. The Government is lengthening procedures which will enable them to carry out certain operations in the interests of the union as a whole. This is what the Government is doing with this legislation.
I had hoped that we would be able to consider this Bill at great length, that we would be able to investigate each clause, that we would be able to see what consequences will flow in other areas of legislation. We should have been able to suggest amendments at will, but that is not the situation now. We will try to amend it tomorrow but we will not have sufficient time to consider it in depth. We will not be able to debate it next Tuesday and next Wednesday. Honourable senators on the Government side may look at me and ask: Why is that?’ It is obvious now that the Government wants this Bill passed tomorrow. The Government wants to make certain that if it is amended in this place the amendment can be considered by the other place and sent back to us. Members of the other place are ready to go home. The Government wants this Bill passed and to hell with the rest of the legislation. As far as it is concerned we can sit here for the next 6 months. However it wants this Bill passed and believes that we might amend it. We are not likely to amend the others. We are at the mercy of the intentions of the other place. I think I may be getting on to delicate ground, judging by the look I am getting. It might be thought that I am speaking derogatorily of the other place.
– Whom do you see looking?
– I am sensitive to looks from certain directions, particularly when the person concerned is impartial at all times and always acts intelligently. I am susceptible to that sort of look. From those remarks it is obvious that the look is not coming from any honourable senator on the Government side of the chamber. I will not delay the Senate any longer. I would like to hear some sort of contribution from Government supporters. I do not think their comments, criticisms or contributions have dried up completely but they are under instruction from their Whip not to take part in the debate. As for members of the DLP, they could not care less because they already have control of the situation. We would like to hear tonight from Government supporters. We would like to hear from them during the Committee stage of the debate but 1 doubt that we will. I think the Whip is too well organised and that Government supporters sitting opposite are too subservient to him. I think they ought to object to this attitude. What I say is true. They ought to enter into the debate. The Opposition intends to fight out the Committee stage and to indicate clearly its opposition step by step. The Committee stage is not too far distant. I yield now to the following speaker.
– I join my colleagues on this side of the chamber in opposing the motion for the second reading of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. It is strange to note that each year prior to an election the Government introduces a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. This was done in 1970 in the autumn session of the Parliament and the Bill was rushed through this chamber in the early hours of the morning. As a matter of fact we sat all night to deal with that Bill. That was an election year. We find again this year that prior to a general election we are debating another Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
In his opening remarks in his second reading speech the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) stated that this Bill contains the most significant amendments of the Act since 1947’. I have perused the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act over the years and I want to point out that in 1956 there were no fewer than 160 amendments to it. So one does not have to read very much of the Minister’s second reading speech before finding something that is false. The Minister went on to state:
This Bill is being brought down when our system of conciliation and arbitration has been undergoing severe strain . . .
That definitely is an understatement. Over the last few years the emphasis has been placed more on arbitration than was the case previously. This was never the intention of the founders of this Act. This legislation has been used very effectively by the Government and employer organisations to keep wages at a minimum. When use of the arbitration system does result in the granting of a little more than what is regarded as the minimum, this Government sees fit to tighten the legislation further so that more sanctions will be placed on unions if they do not abide by decisions handed down by the court.
The Minister referred in his second reading speech to a number of salient features of the Bill but I propose to refer to only 2 or 3 of them. There are only 5 or 6 altogether in this Bill which is so important that it has to be rushed through on the eve of an election. In fact there are only 3 or 4 issues that are regarded as very important. The second one is a strengthening of the sanctions provisions of the Act, including a review of all penalties provided in it. At page 47 of the Bill there is a schedule which contains a list of the penalties that are to apply, mainly, to employees and members of unions which the courts decide are in breach of sections of the Act. Some of these penalties have been increased by up to 500 per cent. The monetary penalty for one offence has not only increased by 500 per cent; it will carry a term of imprisonment for 6 months. This is one of the salient points in the features of the Bill referred to by the Minister. The Government intends to increase the penalties that can be imposed for offences against various sections of the Act.
I want to reiterate what probably has been said by other senators about the attitude of the Australian Council of Trade Unions towards penalties. I know that honourable senators on the Government side are well aware of this but if we keep repeating it they may learn something. We do not care how much the Government increases the penalties in the sanctions provisions of the Act because the trade unions have no intention of paying the fines. The Government may increase them to $10,000 and 10 years imprisonment; the unions have no intention of paying fines for breaches of certain sections. I want to read one of the decisions made at the congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions held from 30th August to 3rd September 1971. Dealing with penal provisions, this document states:
The Penal Clauses of the Arbitration system in this country have been strenuously opposed by, the Australian Trade Union Movement from inception as a direct attack on the fundamental right of workers’ organisations to use industrial strength in support of legitimate claims.
This 1971 ACTU Congress declares its belief in the right of organised trade unions to strike.
The authority of the organised Trade Union Movement should not be impeded in the performance of responsible traditional functions which must include the right to withhold labor or impose limitation of performance of work - otherwise the minimum wage and conditions of work awarded by tribunals become the maximum and inhibit the possibilities of improvements.
Congress reaffirms its opposition to continuation of penal provisions and demands the repeal of all legislation which protect employers from normal bargaining procedures yet discriminates against the unions.
Congress declares that the amending legislation of 1970 . . .
That was the legislation which this Government put through the Parliament in the dying stages of the 1970 autumn session and prior to the 1970 Senate election. The legislation was not properly considered because the Government gagged debate on every clause in the Committee stage. Divisions were taken on every clause. The decision continued: . . whilst eliminating the Contempt proceedings, nevertheless continued Penal Provisions which can be invoked against the unions, and therefore is unacceptable to the Trade Union Movement whilst these Penal Provisions are retained. Essentially we say that these penalties are Immoral in that they constitute a double standard which operates against wage and salary earners and their unions. Workers and their organisations are concerned with selling labor. The buyers of this labor are employers who must recognise the human dignity, of the worker. As sellers we desire to obtain that price which represents a proper return for skills, talents and energies which we have to sell.
That position is not only allowed to all other sellers in the Australian market economy: it is the fundamental article of faith of the buyers of our labor in their capacity as sellers of goods and services. The Government shares this article of faith with employers in their capacity as sellers - but does not extend the same right to us. It denies that right by imposing discriminatory penalties upon us. This double standard can have no moral justification and is certainly unacceptable to us.
That was the ACTU speaking on behalf of over 1 million trade unionists whose unions are affiliated with that body. Another point referred to in the second reading speech by the Attorney-General was the amalgamation of organisations. A lot has been said during this debate, particularly by honourable senators on this side of the chamber, in opposition to this provision. The blatant interference by the Government in the internal affairs of trade unions has been referred to. Here again we have a double standard. Would there be any interference by the Government if the South Australian Employers Federation were to amalgamate with the Chamber of Manufactures? Certainly there would not be. If the South Australian Farmer and Grazier wanted to affiliate with the Stockowners Association of South Australia it could do that. No restrictions would be placed on employer organisations if they desired to amalgamate. Looking at the amalgamation procedures which are intended in the Bill, I believe that these were put there only to placate the Australian Democratic Labor Party. That Party made every effort through the National Civic Council to prevent the amalgamation of the 3 major metal trades unions of Australia.
This legislation has been brought down to make certain that the road to amalgamations by the trade unions is going to be pretty hard in future. We know - the employers have admitted this - that demarcation disputes, whether they be between tradesmen, semi-skilled workers or labourers, represent a significant proportion of the time lost through stoppages. I think it is recognised that such stoppages represent about 11 per cent. Surely members of the Government must realise that when there is an amalgamation of unions - previously where there were 2, 3 or 4 organisations they are now speaking with one voice - a lot of these demarcation disputes will be eliminated. In Australia today over 300 unions are registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Of these unions 298 have less than 10,000 members and 198 have less than 2,000 members. So here in Australia, with a population of only 13 million and probably 4.5 million in the workforce, we have over 300 unions representing those workers. There are far too many unions in Australia. The time has come when the smaller unions have seen the wisdom of amalgamation because it will save the unions expenditure in office rentals, union officials, staff and the many other expenses which are incurred by the smaller unions. Also they will be able to give their union members far better service because of amalgamation. Of course this is what the Government does not want. I think it has adopted the attitude that the trade union movements’ gains over the last 2 years have to be prevented. It is prepared to take any drastic measures which will prevent further increases in gains which the unions have won over the last 2 to 3 years.
I shall briefly refer to how the Australian Workers Union will fare under the legislation which is proposed in the Bill which we are now discussing. It should not be forgotten that the Australian Workers Union, as it is today, comprises a number of unions which have been incorporated over the years. It was established as the Australian Shearers Union in 1886. It was joined by the GLU and the AWA A Queensland, the Rural Workers Union, the ULU of South Australia, the Railways Workers and General Labourers Association of New South Wales, the FMEA of Australia, the Surveyors Employees Union, the ULU of Victoria, the Factory Employees Union and the ULU in New South Wales. These unions amalgamated and the Australian Workers Union was formed. This would be completely impossible with the restrictions which are contained in the Bill because of the complexities of the industries from which the Australian
Workers Union is formed. The membership is scattered far and wide to the outback areas and it would be completely impossible to conduct a ballot to bring about amalgamation.
I fortify my argument on this matter by quoting from the Hansard of the House of Representatives of Wednesday, 10th May 1972. Mr Clyde Cameron, when speaking to the Bill, had incorporated in Hansard a table relating to ballots conducted by the Commonwealth Electoral Officer and by the Commonwealth Industrial Registrar. I will not quote all the figures in the table. I will refer only to ballots which concerned the Australian Workers Union. These ballots were conducted officially by the Electoral Officer under section 170 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. In 1964 there was a ballot of all members of the union to elect a general secretary. Of the ballot papers posted to members of the Union, only 30.87 per cent were returned. Of the ballot papers that were returned, probably about 10 per cent were informal. The figure may have been even higher. In later years ballots were conducted by the Commonwealth Electoral Officer in which members elected delegates to attend the annual convention of the Australian Workers Union. In 1966 there was a ballot in South Australia. Only 41.74 per cent of the ballot papers were returned.
In 1967 there was a ballot for the election of delegates to the Australian Workers Union annual convention. I shall give the percentage of ballot papers returned for the various States. In New South Wales it was 27,38, in Queensland it was 24.23, in South Australia it was 29.77, in Western Australia it was 35.22 and in Tasmania it was 25.68; that is, an average of only approximately 25 per cent of members returned their ballot papers. A similar pattern was disclosed at the 1968 elections, at which there was a ballot for similar-, positions. In 1969, 1970 and 1971, although the figures for 1971 are not recorded in the table, similar results were achieved. Under this legislation the Australian Workers Union and a smaller union could never amalgamate because it would be completely impossible to get a 50 per cent return of ballot papers. It is obvious that whoever drafted the legislation knows very little about the ramifications of the trade union movement. The only ones who can be responsible are the Government and the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch). No-one would knowingly insert in the Act such a prohibitive provision that would prevent unions from amalgamating. It is obvious that this position will apply not only to the Australian Workers Union but also, equally, to many other unions whose membership is scattered throughout the States. The table to which I have referred shows that there are many other unions in respect of which the percentage of ballot papers returned was less than 20 per cent.
The Bill places a restriction on the trade unions. Surely they have the right to decide their own form of election. If, in accordance with their rules, they decide on amalgamation, that right should not be denied them or taken away from them by legislation introduced in this Parliament. It is strange that just prior to the introduction of the legislation references were made in newspapers to amalgamations. The Australian’ of Friday, 25th February, reported:
The Prime Minister, Mr McMahon, has assured his senior Ministers that the Federal Government will not try to stop the formation of the country’s biggest industrial union combine.
All I can glean from that statement is that the Prime Minister does not regard the Minister for Labor and National Service as one of his senior Ministers. An article in the ‘Australian Financial Review’ of the same date reported the employers’ attitude. It stated:
Mr F. R. D. Morgan, national president of the Metal Trades Industry Association, said in a statement:
Far from objecting to the amalgamation the Metal Trades Industry Association secs many practical advantages for industrial relations in the metal trades industry . . .’.
There is a complete somersault in the statements made by the employers and the statements made by the Prime Minister. Another salient feature of the legislation is the reference to control over the unions in relation to strikes and secret ballots being conducted where they are considered necessary. I think other senators on this side have adequately exposed that proposal as hypocritical, and at this stage I do not intend to pursue that matter any further.
I now draw the attention of the Senate to the Commonwealth Government submissions that were placed before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission during the 1971-72 national wage case. Those submissions are very lengthy. They number 49 pages, plus tables. Submissions regarding rural industry were made by counsel for the Government. Although I am the second last or third last speaker in the debate, I raise the matter because the speaker who led for the Government, Senator Lillico, made reference to the plight of rural industry, as he usually does during his contributions to debates. He pointed out why special privileges should be given to this sector. At page 21, under the heading ‘Rural Industry’, the submissions state:
As in. previous major wage cases, the Commonwealth wishes io bring to the attention of the Commission the situation of rural industry in Australia and the importance for it of continuing substantial increases in costs. The rural industries, of course, comprise an important sector of the Australian economy, particularly as regards their contribution to our export performance. Accordingly, the Commonwealth submits that the Commission should as it has done in the past pay due regard to the current economic position of this sector.
Three points were put forward by the Commonwealth at the conclusion of its submissions to the Commission in the national wage case. They were in fact requests by the Commonwealth. They were: Firstly, that the Commission should not award an increase in the total wage; secondly, that the Commonwealth did not oppose some increase in the minimum wage consistent with the submissions it had just made; and, thirdly, that the Commission should reject the claim for cost of living adjustments to the minimum wage in accordance with movements in the consumer price index.
I believe that the Commonwealth usurped the functions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission by dictating to it the basis upon which its judgment should be given. I say that because the Commission’s judgment was precisely in the terms suggested by the Commonwealth in its submissions. Firstly, the Commonwealth submitted that the Commission should not award an increase in the total wage. It would have been too obvious if the Commission had not granted any increase. It could not have granted any less than the amount it did grant in its judgment of $2 a week. The second proposition put forward by the Commonwealth was that it did not oppose some increase in the minimum wage. The Commission awarded some increase in the minimum wage. In other words, it did precisely what the Commonwealth asked it to do. The third proposition put forward by the Commonwealth was that the Commission should reject the claim for cost of living adjustments to the minimum wage in accordance with movements in the consumer price index. That is precisely what the Commission did when it handed down its judgment in the 1971-72 national wage case.
It also should be noted that deliberate delaying tactics were adopted by the employers and the Government so that the judgment would not be handed down until the latest date possible. The application was lodged by the Australian Council of Trade Unions for a review of the national wage in August or September of last year, but a decision was not handed down on that application until April of this year. After the hearing had been completed it took the Commission about 6 weeks to give its judgment. The Commission knew - it was acting under the instructions of the Government - that for every week it delayed increasing the national wage only the $2 a week which is eventually granted - it would save the Government and the employers at least $14m. Is it any wonder that the Government and the employers requested the Commission to delay handing down its decision? Is it any wonder that reference was made by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) in his second reading speech to the fact that the arbitration system is undergoing some severe strains and that in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill which was before the Senate in 1970 there was a reference to the fact that the arbitration system in Australia was at the crossroads? Those are the views of Government spokesmen on the arbitration system and not the Opposition.
It seems to me that the Government and the employers are becoming more and more concerned about the wage increases that the unions have been gaining over the last two or three years. Trenchant attacks have been made in this chamber on many occasions on the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and on officials of the trade unions, particularly those officials who are communists. It is very noticeable from an examination of the figures in a document entitled Table A - Trends in wages, prices and productivity since 1955-56’ that was tendered in evidence by the Commonwealth during the national wage case that the average weekly earnings per employed male unit increased by only small amounts between 1955-56 and 1969-70. In 1956-57 they increased by 4.6 per cent and in 1957-58 they increased by 2.8 per cent. The following year they increased by 3 per cent. The average weekly earnings increased by only small amounts right through to the year 1969-70, which is just about the time that there was a change in the leadership of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I am not going to give Bob Hawke all the credit for being personally responsible, following his election as president of the ACTU, for the trade union movement at last getting some semblance of recognition for the work that its members performed. But I would point out that in 1968-69 the increase was 7.5 per cent; that in 1969-70 it was 8.4 per cent; and that In 1970-71 it was 11.3 per cent. That is the last full year for which figures appear in the schedule. But it is noticeable that the September quarter for 1971-72 showed an increase of 11.5 per cent and the December quarter for the same year showed an increase of 11 per cent.
During the last two or three years the unions have, through their efforts and submissions to the industrial tribunals and some prior activity on the job, gained increases but they have been only in keeping with cost of living increases. I say that because between the decision being handed down in the 1970 national wage case, which was given effect to in January Of last year, and the decision being handed down in the 1971-72 national wage case, the cost of living has increased by 10 per cent. To offset the cost of living increases during that period the Commission granted an increase of exactly 2 per cent in the salary of a wage earner on $100 a week. The Government now thinks that it is necessary to introduce some legislation that will prevent this type of increase being continually granted, The Government never bothers to introduce any measures to prevent cost of living rises. It never said anything on either occasion on which the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd increased the price of steel in the last 2 years. It is the unions and their members who have ‘.o bear the burden when the cost of living increases are out of all proportion and inflation runs rife. During this period the unemployment figures have increased.
Although it has tempted the public by small handouts to pensioners and small handouts in the form of unemployment benefit the popularity of the Government, according to public opinion polls, is lower now than it has been since public opinion polls have been taken. As a matter of fact there was only 22 per cent support for the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in the latest public opinion poll. It is obvious that the Government is getting desperate. It has introduced other measures in an endeavour to get some support from the public on the eve of an election. It has increased pensions and so on. Apparently the Government now thinks - as it did in 1970 - that the best weapon it has to fool the people on the eve of an election is legislation to alter the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I do not know why it decided that. Apparently it did not pay much attention to the figures of the 1970 election when the Government’s numbers in this chamber were reduced.
It is obvious that the same thing will happen at the next election. Because the Government has no effective control of prices and has failed to do anything to stop inflation it has come to the conclusion that the only remedy available is to reduce wages. Honourable senators opposite have repeated that wage increases are the major component in inflation. Inflation is a problem not only of Australia. It is a problem of all capitalist countries. We have not got it on our own and there is nothing that the Government can do about it. Why does it not admit that there is absolutely nothing it can do to prevent inflation? The big primary and secondary industries, mineral resources, banking and insurance houses and wealth of the country are in the hands of private enterprise which dictates the terms on prices. They are uncontrolled by the Government and there is nothing at all that the Government can do to prevent price increases or inflation.
I listened to Senator Lillico in this debate. Whether knowingly or not, he gave us something to rely on as to the Government’s intentions about prices. He referred to New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He said how the Government over there has introduced legislation pegging wage increases at a maximum of 7 per cent. He thinks that that is a terrific idea but he did not mention what should be done about the other component in productivity. Honourable senators can rest assured that while prices keep rising and the unions have to fight their claims in the arena of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission there will always be conflict and agitation by the workers trying to gain an increased percentage for their labour. The employers will always be in the opposite corner trying to maintain higher dividends for their shareholders and the companies they represent.
The Commonwealth intervened in the last national wage case and got the decision that it wanted. It also gained another decision in respect of the rural industry. In 1970 workers covered by section 2 of the Federal Pastoral Industry Award, which covers station hands, were the only ones excluded from the flow-on of the 6 per cent increase granted by the Arbitration Commission. In the last national wage case the Commission went even further at the request of the Government and excluded not only station hands working under section 2 of the Federal Pastoral Industry Award but also all employees covered by the award. They were all excluded from the flow-on of the increase granted in the 1971-72 national wage case.
It is obvious that the Arbitration Commission is meeting the wishes of the Government and employer representatives by keeping rates of pay at a minimum. Of course, the minimum is well below what is recognised as the poverty line. Of all federal awards registered with the Arbitration Commission only the Federal Pastoral Industry Award was singled out to be excluded. Each of the 41 other awards covering members of the Australian Workers’ Union received the benefit of the 1970 increase and the increase, small as it is, from the last national wage case. This prompted an article in the ‘Australian Worker’, the official journal of the Aus tralian Workers’ Union. It appeared in the edition of Wednesday 1st March 1972 under the heading ‘Station Hand Is Better Off On The Dole’. I will read the article because I think some honourable senators will be surprised that in a society regarded by the more fortunate as affluent some workers are living on an income which places them below what is accepted as the poverty line. The article states:
An unemployed, married stationhand with five children will be better off financially living off unemployment benefits while sitting at home doing nothing, than working long hours under archaic, court-prescribed Award conditions, AWU General Secretary, Tom Dougherty, said last week.
Mr Dougherty said he had reached that conclusion after examining the new unemployment benefits announced by Prime Minister McMahon recently.
Mr Dougherty said large families were not uncommon in rural areas.
Even a Stationhand with three or four children certainly would not be much, if any, worse off taking into consideration the Award rates and the various deductions.
He said, ‘Certainly I am not saying that the new unemployment rates are- adequate for a family to live on. They are obviously an improvement on the old rates, but at least another $10 a week is needed to support a family in reasonable comfort.
The point I am making is that the new unemployment benefit rates show how badly Stationhands have been treated by the Court in the making of the present Award,’ he said.
The Commonwealth Industrial Court last year rejected a Head Office application for the inclusion of Stationhands in the six per cent National Wage Case decision which began operating from January 1, 1971.
The Court also rejected a Head Office application for a 40-hour, five-day week for Stationhands to be worked Monday to Friday inclusive and all other time to be paid for at overtime rates.
Those two decisions caused enormous unrest within the Stationhand component of the AWU membership and deep concern within the whole Trade Union Movement.
The Prime Minister on February 15 announced new rates of unemployment benefit payments.
Under the new rates an unemployed Stationhand will receive $17 a week unemployment benefit from the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth in addition pays $8 a week for his wife and $4.50 a week for each child.
Therefore, the total weekly entitlement for a married man with five dependent children in future will be $47.50 a week.
Mr Dougherty said the Award provided a minimum rate of $46.40 a week for Stationhands
From that amount was to be deducted $10.14 a week if the employer provided ‘Keep’ for the Stationhand
In addition a married man with six dependants (wife and five children) pays $2.75 a week tax.
Thus, the Stationhand had gross deductions of $12.89, leaving him a total of $33.51 a week to send home lo his wife on which she and her children had to scrape by.
Without reading the rest of the statement, let me say that the community should be able to rely on the Commission for satisfactory judgments when matters are properly litigated, whether in the national wage case or in an application for shorter working hours. In 1970, as I said before, the court did not apply the 6 per cent increase to station hands, nor did it apply the increase in the minimum wage granted at that time. Station hands working on pastoral properties were not treated fairly. Many of those properties are owned by wealthy graziers who, in the past 12 months or so, since I have been in this Parliament have been fortunate enough to get handouts of millions of dollars by way of subsidy. Workers covered by the station hands section of the award did not get the minimum wage which was granted to every other worker in Australia on 1st January 1970. They had to wait until July 1970 to get the miserly increase in the minimum wage which all other workers had received 7 months before.
In the recent judgment a similar principle applied. Station hands were again excluded, as were all the shearing personnel in the industry. We all know that the pastoral industry is very important to Australia. Wool has been one of our major exports, and it still brings in a considerable amount of Australia’s export earnings. Again, shearers and station hands who are expected to work out in the desert under archaic working conditions and in all kinds of climates, have been excluded.
– Why did they not strike?
Senator CAMERON - Because it is very hard to organise workers at Tibooburra and in outlying parts of Tasmania. Pastoral workers are scattered throughout the Commonwealth and it is impossible to organise them to take strike action. That is a pity. The Australian Workers Union would no doubt like to be able to get the station hands to do what the shearers did in 1956 when they went on strike and Commissioner Donovan increased their rate of pay. Honourable senators on the Government side do not want to be fooled into thinking that members of the Australian Workers Union will not go on strike when the occasion arises. I believe that last Thursday the Commissioner gave some relief to these workers in the industry. However, they have not yet received anything near the amount that similar workers in industry get for the number of hours that they work
Although the Federal pastoral industry award was the only award excluded from the flow-on following the national wage case in 1970 and in 1971-72, another award could be affected in the same way next year. It could be the fruit preservers industry award or the vehicle builders industry award. The Government gives instructions to the Commission that cetain workers under its jurisdiction should not receive the flow-on contemplated by the Commission. I believe this is a dangerous situation. By its submissions to the Commission, the Government is spelling out how the judgments should be written. The Attorney-General could not have done a better job of writing a judgment to comply with the Government’s submissions to the Commission than did the Commission. Everything in that submission has been complied with. This is another reason why we oppose any increase in the penalties and sanctions that are already in the Act. We oppose any interference in the amalgamation of unions when the unions themselves consider the amalgamation necessary. The unions have ample provision in their constitutions and rules to cover any amalgamation registered in the Commission. This is proved by the recent biggest amalgamation in the history of arbitration in Australia, namely, the amalgamation of the metal trades unions.
The Bill contains proposals for prvention of amalgamation of unions and for increased penalties on unions that do not comply with decisions of commissioners, though they may be bad decisions. When unions, by negotiation with employers reach agreement on rates of pay, working conditions and other conditions of work, they may be thwarted by the provision that enables the Commission to prvent implementation of such agreements. 1 have outlined the reasons why we are opposing the second reading of this Bill.
– This is the second time since I have been a member of the Senate - in fact, it is the second time within the past few years - that the Government, when presenting to the Senate a Bill of allegedly transcendent importance to the life and industrial peace of this country, has adopted a flippant approach to the passage of the legislation. This is a curious situation. Senator Cameron has reminded us, only a few years ago when a similar amending Bill was before the Senate, which we were told would open up new horizons in industrial relations, the Government gagged and guillotined it through this chamber, with the result that honourable senators were still sitting at 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning, so anxious was the Government to get the Bill passed. The same procedure has been followed today. No speakers from the Government side have taken part in the debate. This indicates either that they have no views on the subject and have nothing to say about it, or alternatively, they are in such a hurry to get this important legislation through that they do not want to take part in a proper debate on it.
– When you do not speak on a Bill, surely it is not because you have no views on it. You hardly ever speak in this chamber but you have some views.
– I would only hope that Senator Webster would not speak much in this chamber. I am sure that honourable senators on both sides would be considerably happier if he did not.
– You are happy most of the time.
- Senator Webster is not one of the wittiest interjectors in the Senate. He is a trying fellow and I would hope that he would restrain himself. I would not have thought for one moment that he had anything worth while to contribute to this debate and I was not suggesting that he should have spoken on the
Bill. I suggest, however, that the Government parties have told their members not to speak on the Bill because the Government wants to rush it through the Parliament. This indicates the Government’s flippant approach to this important piece of legislation. It has shown the same flippant and cynical approach to the very important question of mergers, one of the most important issues involved in the Bill. The Government, after having made very clear statements through the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) as to its intention to allow mergers to take place, and in fact its desire to encourage mergers, decided as a result of political pressure by the Australian Democratic Labor Party to turn about completely on the issue and to change in one most substantial part the whole nature of this Bill.
This Bill is a piece of class legislation. The fact that it is a piece of class legislation is shown by 2 things at least. The first is the flippant rush with which the Government has approached this matter and the second is the interference which the Government is prescribing for trade unions and which it would not dream of suggesting with regard to other organisations within this country. Consider the rush with which the Government has approached this Bill and the rush with which it approached a previous Bill of a similar nature which came before this Parliament. Then compare this attitude with the Government’s attitude towards the restrictive trade practices legislation and the rather ineffective monopolies legislation which is proposed about which we are told constantly that we must exercise caution, consider the interests of all parties involved and not rush into action. When one then considers the way in which the Government is thrashing this legislation through the Parliament, one can see the class nature of this Government. The Government has all the consideration in the world for those organisations which are engaged in business as employers or as entrepreneurs but no consideration whatsoever for those organisations which represent the working people of this country.
Although this is class legislation, it is not intelligent class legislation. We should all be aware - all of us on this side at any rate of the House are aware - that within a capitalist society there are bound to be problems In industry. There are bound to be disputes between capital and labour. The very nature of the economic system under which we live is such that these disputes must occur. Within our society only a relatively small number of people control the destinies of the economy and reap the bulk of the rewards and profits from the economy. The great mass of the people are under the direction of those few people, reaping relatively small returns from their labours. This is essential to the whole nature of the capitalist system. Certainly in such a situation disputes will take place. The intelligent representatives of the employing class recognise this fact.
One of the misfortunes of this country, unlike a number of other countries such as Great Britain, is that it is very seldom that the intelligent representatives of the employing class bother to stand for Parliament. They leave it to people like Senator Webster to enter Parliament to represent them. This ls one of the reasons why the standard of debate on these issues generally is at so much lower a level than the type of debate that one finds in the Parliament of Westminster where there are people who do have some experience in industry and some professional skill of a nature greatly different from that of the people who are sent along to this Parliament by the employers in this country.
In particular, if one turns to the whole basis of industrial law one finds that this is unintelligent because whatever one’s views, whether one is a socialist or supports a private enterprise economy, one must realise that the purpose of industrial legislation is to secure the maximum possible peace within industry. Whatever one’s point of view, one must concede that the purpose of industrial legislation is that there will not be unnecessary disputes and that there will not be disputes of the type which take place at the present time. Eleven per cent of the industrial disputes which take place in this country are demarcation disputes between different unions. These are not disputes fundamental to the differences between capital and labour but, as it were, accidental disputes unrelated to the fundamental differences but arising from inadequate organisation within industry. Organisations such as the Australian Metal Industries Association have recognised this. That organisation, for example, is in favour of the mergers of unions so that it can deal with one negotiating party rather than a multiplicity of negotiating parties, and so that it will know that if an agreement is reached it will be binding on all or nearly all of the workers in that industry and not only on a fraction of them. It will know that its industry will not be subjected to disputes which may arise between groups of workers within that industry, disputes which are unrelated to any dispute between the workers as a whole and the employers.
These are the problems which, I think, concern all of us. Nobody, however dedicated to the class struggle - neither people like members of the Government who look at it from the point of view of employers, nor people from the ALP section on this side of the Senate who consider it from the point of view of employees - looks forward to a state of affairs in which there are unnecessary and unavoidable industrial disputes. But the Government has preferred to accept the advice or pressure of the Democratic Labor Party and not the advice of the Australian Metal Industries Association. The body best able to judge what is necessary in the interests of its own industry. The Government has accepted the advice of the DLP not because its members are intelligent politicians working for the maintenance of the system which they represent but because they are more interested in retaining their seats in Parliament in the short run than they are in retaining the viability of their economic system in the long run. They have done a bad turn today not only to the workers of this country, indeed to the majority of Australians, but also to those Australian employers who realise that they must have industrial harmony if they are to increase productivity and conduct their enterprises on a proper basis.
It was stated by one speaker for the Government - I forget who it was - that Australia’s industrial arbitration laws are the envy of western countries. I would be surprised to learn that there was any western country, eastern country, northern country or southern country which envied Australia’s industrial laws. Possibly some small groups of rather backward employers might envy Australia’s industrial laws but certainly no groups of trade unions would envy Australian industrial laws. Indeed, it is rather surprising, if anybody at all envies Australia’s industrial laws, that there have not been efforts in other western countries to imitate those laws. If members of the Government - if they are not still stricken with silence - do intend to speak on this Bill, I shall be interested to hear some of them point out which countries they are which envy Australia’s industrial laws and, if they do envy them, when they intend to introduce legislation of their own which will give them the same sorts of industrial laws as there are in Australia. So far, my attention has not been drawn to any country in the world which is trying to introduce such industrial laws.
On this question, as on so many questions, it is rather surprising to me on occasions - or it would be if I had not become inured to such happenings - to find that a government which for years has been telling us that we must adopt the American way of life, that everything that happens in the American system is something which we should emulate, that if only every country of the world was like the United States all of our problems would be solved and that it is unpatriotic to say that we should not go ‘All the way with L.B.J.’, is so far removed from American industrial policy. I must confess that from my own conversations with American trade unionists and from reading the journals and the policies of American trade unions - organisations like the American Federation of Labor and the Confederation of Industrial Organisations and also the individual unions - I believe I would not find one American trade union that would support systems of compulsory arbitration such as those applied in this country. Even the draconic measures - which have been taken by various American presidents, in particular by President Nixon just recently in relation to the agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, are mild indeed compared with the draconic powers possessed by the Australian Government under the industrial arbitration laws of this country. I have not heard of one American trade union which has ever advocated anything remotely resembling the legislation which we have in this country.
The International Association of Machinists is an offshoot of the original British Amalgamated Engineering Union and is not only one of the largest unions of skilled engineering workers in the United States but also one of the most conservative craft unions in that country. It is a union which is wholeheartedly- in support of the American Government’s Vietnam war policy. I remember on one occasion attending a meeting of shop stewards of the International Association of Machinists at which a resolution was carried by the many hundreds of delegates present repudiating some suggestions which had been made in the United States Senate that a system - a mild system in comparison with that which exists in this country - of compulsory arbitration should be introduced into the United States. The reason I instance the United States is that if there is any country which is the heart land of capitalism, if there is any country - within the framework of reference of the Government, within the ideology of the Government, within the aspirations of the Government - has been successful, it is the United States of America. That is the country which is held up to us as the triumph of the private enterprise system, the leader of the free world. The reason I refer to the United States is that the sort of legislation which has been on the statute books in Australia for many years and which periodically is worsened by legislation such as that which is before us at the moment would not be tolerated for one second either by the American trade union movement or by the United States Congress, and it would be an act of selfdestruction for any American presidential candidate even to hint that he contemplated any piece of legislation remotely resembling the outrageous Bill which is now before this Senate.
I should like to say something on the matter of mergers because I believe not only that the matter of mergers important in its own right but also that it indicates the class bias of this Government - the hostility that the Government possesses to the working class. Admittedly, the Government initially did not want to introduce these provisions relating to mergers, but it succumbed fairly easily as a result of a little pressure from the Democratic Labor Party. What is the Government doing in the provisions relating to mergers? When one cuts out all the paraphernalia, all the extraneous matter, one finds that the purpose of this Bill is to make trade union mergers virtually impossible. Indeed, if that were not the case there would have been no reason for the DLP to have applied this pressure to the Government. It was because the DLP wanted to stop trade union mergers that it applied this pressure to the Government.
As Senator Murphy and other honourable senators from the Labor Party have pointed out already, the Government has taken a class position on this measure, namely, that mergers of trade unions shall be subject to all this scrutiny and will have to vault all these hurdles, while at the same time mergers of companies remain untouched. If General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd and Chrysler Australia Ltd want to merge not one word will be said by the Government in order to prevent such a merger taking place. But if the workers employed on the factory lines at the plants of those 2 corporations want to merge their organisations - their organisations are small and puny compared with the vast resources of the gigantic motor corporations which employ them- they are subject to all these penal provisions, all the scrutiny of the law, the Government and the courts, and all the other obstacles that are placed in their way. What other organisations in Australia are subject to the same disabilities as the trade unions? What other organisations are singled out for this particular attention? The Australian trade unions are singled out for this particular attention because the Government is opposed to the trade union movement, and it is opposed to the trade union movement because it knows that the trade union movement is working for the benefit of its members’ economic conditions.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– This Bill and the manner in which it has been presented to the Senate indicate the flippant approach of the Government towards the trade unions and the working people, the great mass of the Australian people. It has been introduced and debated in such a manner that it is being rushed through the
Senate without adequate consideration being given to it. It has been altered in a fundamental respect despite the advice of responsible employers at the behest of a minority pressure group, the Australian Democratic Labor Party, so that the Government may retain, it hopes, some seats in the Parliament which it otherwise would lose despite the damage this will do to industrial relations in this country.
It is class legislation insofar as it imposes burdens upon the trade unions that it does not impose upon any other association or corporation. It applies vindictive restrictions upon the trade unions insofar as their mergers are concerned that it does not apply to the mergers of companies or any other organisations. It is not a Bill which will produce industrial harmony in this country. I concede that there can never be perfect industrial harmony so long as the majority of the people are exploited by a minority of the people. This is part of the essential nature of the economic system under which we live. It adds to the conflicts which, of their very nature, exist within this society the additional conflicts which result from a multiplicity of unions and which follow from the imposition of unjust laws upon the trade unions and the working people of this country.
I turn once again to the question of mergers. As I mentioned earlier, this Government is often apt to cite to us the experiences and example of the United States of America, this bastion of the free world, in support of which we were obliged to send some hundreds of Australians to be killed in Vietnam and to kill no-one knows how many Vietnamese people. Yet when one looks at the United States one finds that the industrial laws of that country bear no resemblance to the repressive measures which this Government has been introducing consistently since it has been in office, and which have culminated in the Bill which is before the Senate at the present time. I wish to give another example of the difference between industrial law in this country and industrial practice and industrial law in the United States. As I have said, I use the United States as an example not because I believe that it has anything remotely resembling a perfect system but because this Government quotes the United States as the exemplar for this country and for what it humorously describes as the free world.
If one deals with the question of mergers, one finds that only recently in the United States - only over the past few years - there have been mergers of very big trade unions. The International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers and the United Steel Workers of America have only recently amalgamated. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the American Communications Association covering different occupations in very different industries have amalgamated to form one union. The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen has amalgamated with the United Packing House Workers. These are big unions covering workers in different aspects of the meat industry. Never was it suggested by the most reactionary representative of big business in the United States or the American Administration that there should be any governmental interference whatsoever in the mergers which took place in the United States. At the present time discussions are taking place between the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union which covers the west coast of the United States, and the International Longshoremen’s Association which covers the east coast and the gulf ports regarding a merger. These discussions have not come to fruition. There have al so been discussions between the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Not one suggestion has ever been made by President Nixon, any member of his Administration, or any member of the United States Senate or the United States House of Representatives, that that Government should interfere in these mergers. Whatever there is wrong with the United States, at least it pays a little more than the lip service which is paid in this country to democracy.
The principle that country has followed is that if the majority of workers within those unions, the elected officials, delegates and the governing bodies of those unions decide that they wish to have a merger, that is entirely up to them and it is nobody else’s business. On this question of mergers, what causes many of the industrial disputes which take place in this country? I am not one who says that all industrial disputes are bad by any means. Senator Greenwood looks puzzled, but I can assure him that 1 do not think industrial disputes-
– Dp you say that some of them are bad?
– I believe that industrial disputes which result from demarcation disputes are unnecessary and ought to be avoided. I believe that demarcation disputes are bad and ought to be avoided. Many of the disputes that take place in Australia are demarcation disputes. We have a situation in Australia at the present time in relation to the metal trades in which the Amalgamated Engineering Union and the Australian Society of Engineers cover the same groups of workers. In some States the Building Workers Industrial Union and the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners cover exactly the same group of workers. Again, this is a position which has been recognised in the United States. Under the Taft-Hartley Act provision is made for a ballot to be held in any enterprise, factory or work place, and upon the result of that ballot one union is given coverage of all the works within that work place. In fact, the law in that country encourages mergers of unions insofar as it discourages having parallel unionism within the same work place.
Why is that done? It is not done because American industry has any great regard for the trade union movement. It is done because American industry knows that unnecessary friction and conflict are avoided by having one union within one place of work, and not a multiplicity of unions which can be involved in disputes with each other which are irrelevant to any dispute which may be taking place between the employees and employer. Anybody who is familiar with some of the problems that have arisen on the waterfront in Great Britain should be aware that it was recognised by Lord Devlin in his report on the stevedoring industry in Great Britain that one of the primary causes for industrial trouble in Great Britain was the fact that there are 2 unions covering dock workers - the dock section of the Transport and General Workers Union and the National Amalgamated Stevedores and
Dockers. One of the recommendations of Lord Devlin was that there should be a merger of those unions. One can imagine the reaction of this Government if it was faced with a similar situation in which 2 parallel unions operated on the Australian waterfront and a little piessure was applied by Senator Kane. The Government would be doing the reverse of what has been done by intelligent capitalism in Britain. It would be trying to prevent the merger, if it were proposed, rather than encouraging it as has been the policy of Lord Devlin and of the British Tory Government.
What does this Bill do? Apart from the restrictions which are imposed on mergers, it does nothing to carry out what should be the essential aim of any system of industrial arbitration. The essential aim of sensible industrial arbitration legislation - taking into account the necessary conflicts which I believe have to take place between capital and labour and which ultimately have to be resolved on a political level and not on an industrial level - is to see that there is as much goodwill in industry as possible in the circumstances. There should be as few technicalities as possible, as little legal formalism as possible, in the relations between the contending parties within industry. Organisations should be created to cover both the employers and the employees, representing, so far as is possible, as broad a section of employers and employees as is necessary to reach sensible agreement without fragmentation amongst different employers and different employees.
This Government does none of those things. Instead of encouraging conciliation, instead of encouraging direct negotiation between the parties to any dispute, it places the emphasis upon arbitration by a third party rather than conciliation between contending parties. It makes provision for outside bodies, for disgruntled minority elements and others, including the Government itself, which are not legitimate parties to the dispute, to intervene in disputes between employer and employee. It encourages the introduction of third parties into what may already be quite a lively dispute between the 2 naturally contending parties. The only effect of that introduction is the exacerbation of the existing conflict and to make it more difficult for the parties to become reconciled. The Government extends the use of legal processes and the delays which result from their use as well as from the Government’s own intervention. It encourages a whole wide range of appeals which introduce further legalisms into relations between people who are working together in industry as employers and employees.
The Government restricts the organisational freedom of unions, in a way in which it does not restrict the freedom of other organisations, by imposing upon those unions all sorts of arbitrary rules which have not been agreed upon by the members of the unions. It imposes those things upon unions in a way which it would not act in respect of other organisations. The grinning Attorney-General certainly would be most reluctant to do this to the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd, Chrysler Australia Ltd or General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd. The Government requires a scrutiny of the agreements reached between employers and employees. If a group of employees wish to sell their labour at a certain price to an employer, and the employer agrees to pay the price agreed upon, the Government will intervene. For example, it will intervene when there is an argument between the employees and General Motors-Holden’s about the wages that should be paid to the people working on the factory line, but it will impose no intervention whatsoever upon that company if it decides to fix the price of the motor cars manufactured for it by the employees and which are bought by the people. There is no intervention whatsoever in that case.
The Government has decried the Australian Labor Party’s policy of price justification while at the same time it further extends interference in agreements between employers and employees. No other group of people, no other organisation of producers, is subject to the interference, the penalties and the regulation that the Australian trade unions have to suffer. This again clearly indicates and demonstrates for all to see the blatant, anti-working-class bias of this Government. The Australian Labor Party is opposed to this Bill. We intend to move specific amendments when we deal with the Bill in the Committee stage. What is more important - and this is the assurance that we give to the Australian people - upon our election at the end of this year we shall repeal this legislation.
– I join my colleagues of the Australian Labor Party in opposing the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I have the comforting knowledge that whereas the Government may have the numbers in this place we of the Opposition have the numbers outside in the Australian community. My colleagues already have referred to the organisations which have pronounced their unanimous opposition to the proposals contained in this amending Bill. They include the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations which represents some 34 organisations with 350,000 members. Many of those members also have wives who are eligible to vote. In addition, we have the traditional trade union movement led by its national organisation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The ACTU represents over one million people employed in industry. There are numerous people besides those, people outside those organisations, who may be describd as liberals - with a small T - and are progressively minded, and they also oppose the terms of this Bill. Then, of course, there is the official opposition, the Australian Labor Party. I think you will have to agree, Mr President, that the aggregate number constitutes a formidable opposition.
I genuinely believe that this Bill is of such moment that it could very well be responsible for sounding the death knell of this Government - and not before time. I am conscious of the fact that the people I represent and with whom I have been associated for over 38 years must be very harshly affected as a consequence of this amending Bill, at least until the Australian community has the opportunity of exercising its democratic vote. I imagine that in view of the record of this Government, particularly in recent times, we can anticipate a change of Government at the end of this year. As my colleague Senator Wheeldon said in his closing remarks to the Senate, we of the Australian Labor Party are pledged to repeal not only the objectionable features that are so pronounced in this Bill but also those already in the Act which will be continued when this Bill is passed and the legislation is consolidated.
– Are you able to tell us what you regard as the objectionable features which you will repeal?
– I think we have said sufficient on that subject. I do not think I need repeat it. However, I will do so for the edification of the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). We will repeal the sanctions and the penal provisions. We have publicly pledged that we will repeal also all the other objectionable features after discussions with the trade union movement. We have been proud to make that commitment and we stand by it.
I have limited time in this debate and this is a major Bill. I do not think any responsible senator on either side of the chamber could approach this matter without great concern. I propose to refer in part to some references in the second reading speech made by the Attorney-General. I trust I shall not traverse unduly references made by my colleagues in the course of their contributions to this debate.
– You have not talked about the Bill.
– I propose to say this for the record: I think the Opposition is entitled to examine the second reading speech in detail and to criticise it because the motion before the Senate is ‘That the Bill be now read a second time’. That being so, in my view the second reading speech is before the Senate for discussion. It is an important speech because, among other things, the Government seeks to justify the proposed amendment to the existing Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Apart from the justification there is also the announcement of the philosophy of the Government, then the salient features of the Bill and the various intimate details of the effects of the amending legislation. I take umbrage at the suggestion that at this time the Opposition is not entitled to debate the subject matter of the second reading speech. That is precisely what I intend to do. The Attorney-General stated:
The Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1972 contains the most significant amendments of the Act since 1947.
Of course my colleague Senator Donald Cameron has pointed out that this is questionable having regard to the numerous and quite substantial amendments to the Bill which have occurred between 1947 and 1972. Nevertheless this is one of the most major reviews of the Bill in the last 25 years. I concede that. The AttorneyGeneral goes on to point out:
This Bill is being brought down when our system of conciliation and arbitration has been undergoing severe strain against a background of increasing industrial unrest and serious wage-induced inflation.
If honourable senators think that the Opposition does not have the right to challenge at least one of those suggestions which are put as justification for this Bill, then in effect they mean that there should not be an Opposition here. First of all I concede - it is understandable that I do concede this - that there has been increasing industrial unrest. But there is justification for it. We on this side of the chamber have said - I believe that we have been able to show this with facts and figures - that contrary to the opinion held by Government senators wages are responsible for the inflationary trends in the community, and it is our view, which we believe is based on sound reasoning, that wages are always chasing prices. I shall make two or three references to bring to the notice of the Government again the reasoning behind that statement. I have said before in this chamber, and I think it needs to be repeated, that up until 1953 in many ways we have a unique system of wage fixation.
We had established what is referred to as a ‘basic wage’ as 1 of 2 components of the total wage. It operated reasonably successfully for from 30 to 40 years. I shall place on record the way in which it operated. The Commonwealth Statistician was obliged to review the movement in goods and services listed under the C Series index at the end of each 3-monthly quarter of the year. He had to ascertain whether there had been any movement, up or down in the C Series index and in the price of goods and services provided in that index. If the review by the Statistician showed that there had been an increase in prices this was reported and there was an automatic adjustment to the basic wage - the major component of the wage proper. In effect it meant that 3 months had to pass before an assessment could be made. The wage earner was always 3 months behind any movement which had taken place in prices. But in 1953 some serious suggestions were put by the then Treasurer who argued that he felt that one of the major factors contributing to increased prices in that day and age was the continuous adjustment to the basic wage. The court accepted that view in due course and it abolished the quarterly adjustment to the basic wage.
Then we had to rely on an annual review. This meant that the average worker instead of being 3 months behind the price increase was 12 months behind. In recent times, inflation being what it is, there has been a much more rapid increase in wages than there has been in the past. This has only been as a consequence of the dedication shown by the trade union movement which endeavoured to bridge the gap between what one may describe as the nominal wage’ and the ‘real wage’ - that is the purchasing value of the wage consistent with the cost of goods and services by which one lives. I shall briefly refer to an article which appeared in the Sydney ‘Sun Herald’ of 6th February 1972. It appears at page 57. The caption is:
Never before has the man in the street lost so much of his take-home pay in inflation. Here’s why your money buys less.
The article is by Mr Merv Lincoln, lecturer in business administration at the University of Melbourne. The article reads:
In 1971 the average Australian received his biggest increase in take-home pay. At the beginning of the year he was earning $81.90; at the end, about $91.90, an increase of 12.2 per cent.
His previous biggest increase in any one year was around 8 per cent, in 1969 and 1970. However, never before has the man in the street lost so much of his take-home pay to inflation. In 1971 the cost of living increased 7 per cent, far in excess of the previous high for 15 years, of 4.7 per cent in 1970. This, in effect, left him with a real gain of 5.2 per cent (12.2 per cent less 7 per cent), but still a fairly impressive gain by previous years.
The following paragraph reads as follows:
Therefore, the 6nal washup for the man in the street looks something like this:
In 1971, average earnings increased from $81.90 to $91.90- an increase of $10, or 12.2 per cent.
This is real disposable income in terms of real purchasing power. The article continued:
In other words of the $10 extra he received, he has $2.20 extra in purchasing power - he lost ST. SO in inflation and taxation. Or, to put it another way, he, on an annual basis, received an extra $520 but retained for real gain only $124.
Honourable senators may recall that the week prior to this report appearing in the Sun-Herald’- that was 6th February 1972 - unemployment in Australia exceeded 120,000 people. As I have indicated before, this is purely a guide as to the level of unemployment because these are only people who have gone to the trouble of registering as unemployed. It has been argued that for every one who goes to the Commonwealth Employment Bureau seeking work there could be one or two who do not go. So the greatest regard one could have to these figures is that they are nothing more than a guide. They are purely the minimum. To show the hardship of the unemployed at that time I point out that the poverty line was established at $50 for a man with a wife and 2 children but the same man out of a job received only $27 in unemployment benefits. So on the one hand we had rising wages and on the Other a greater rise in the inflationary trend of prices. The total return in terms of real value diminished to a minimum and at the same time there was rising unemployment.
What concerns me is the false assumptions on which the Government acted in introducing the Bill. The Minister said:
The Conciliation and Arbitration Act is one of the most important statutes of this Parliament.
I certainly agree with him on that statement. The Act and this Bill affect the standard of living of both wage and salary earners and their families. Approximately 86 per cent of the community is categorised as physical workers and professional and white collar workers and their families. What disturbs me is that the Government does not seem to understand or is not prepared to acknowledge the relationship between capital and labour. It has assumed that the 2 components - that is, capital on the one hand and labour on the other - are of equal status. That assumption is far from the truth. Firstly, one has to recognise that capital is the owner and controller of plant and machinery. It owns and controls the production of the labour power that it buys from the worker. It owns and controls the distribution of goods and services that are produced by the worker. How can the Government say that the 2 contestants - they are contestants under this system - are on an equal footing and are of equal status in the eyes of the law?
To make matters worse, the Government makes it more difficult for labour by the trappings of an elaborate arbitration system which diminishes the equality between the contestants in the ordinary market place, in the processes of buying and selling. Whether the Government likes it or not, the basic tenet on which the Government supports the free enterprise system is the so-called competitive system which relies on the free play of the market based
On supply and demand. The Government has to understand that in order to understand why there is this continuing conflict between capital and labour. There is no other area in the market place of supply and demand, of buying and selling, that is subject to the scrutiny and the harsh - I say this without reservation - tyrannical and oppressive laws that are imposed on labour.
With great respect to the arbitration system, I say that it is not humanly possible for that system to provide a worker with an income commensurate with the commodity that he produces in the course of
Using his labour power. It is economically impossible, for the simple reason that what the employer buys is not what the employee produces. The employer buys the employee’s labour power and his time. In the course of using that power and time, the employee produces a product of a value over and above what the employer has already paid him for the use of his labour power and time. To aggravate that situation, the employer loads the cost of his production, as he sees it, on to the product, notwithstanding that he has already achieved a gain in the form of a useful commodity that the worker has produced in the course of using up labour power and time. This is all that the employer paid for. The cost of that commodity is loaded with the cost of overhead in the form of plant and machinery. If the employer is relying on some form of loan to capitalise his enterprise, he also loads on te the cost of the commodity the charges that are made for the use of that credit. On top of that the employer puts a margin for his profit. But the process does not finish there.
Senator BROWN - An extensive investigation was conducted to ascertain whether it was appropriate to apply some form of legal restrictions to the unions which would have included sanctions and penal provisions. The table was prepared before the investigation was conducted. In the United Kingdom the number of stoppages per 100,000 employees was 16.8 per cent and the number of working days lost per 1,000 employees was 190. In Australia, the number of stoppages for every 1,000 employees was 63.8 per cent and the number of working days lost for every 1,000 employees was 400. In the United States of America, the number of stoppages for every 1,000 employees was 13.2 per cent, and the number of working days lost for every 1,000 employees was 870. In Sweden, which has been referred to on a number of occasions by honourable senators, the number of stoppages for every 1,000 employees was 0.5 per cent and the number of working days lost for every 1,000 employees was 40. What does this all mean? The United States of America had fewer stoppages but they were of longer duration. At page 16 of the report, under the heading ‘The Comparative Strike Propensity’, Professor Turner said:
Thus, taking the loss of working time per employee as the only comparative index to which much significance can be attached for international purposes, it seems immediately obvious from Table 1 that there is not much intelligible connection between the extent of legislative regulation of industrial relations in different countries and their respective strike-incidences. Nearly every country in Table 1 has a higher degree of legal intervention in industrial relations than does the United Kingdom, yet the strike-incidences of the various countries involved range very widely on either side of the United Kingdom figure. So that the presence of a ‘comprehensive legal framework for industrial relations’ would certainly not seem to lead automatically to a low national incidence of stoppages from industrial disputes. And the supposed absence of any such a framework for the United Kingdom docs not endow it with a strike-liability in any way unusual.
In the following paragraph - this is important for the record - he said:
A particularly interesting case is perhaps that of Ireland, which had before Independence (and for some while after) an industrial relations structure and a system of labour law very similar to those of the United Kingdom. Since that country became the Free State, however, it has added a number of additional controls on industrial disputes or labour relations which go some way on the lines of certain of those at the present time being canvassed as desirable for Britain. Under present Irish law, for instance, it is by no means clear (the point does not appear to have been tested) that there is the same protection for unofficial strikers against claims arising from breach of employment contracts as in Britain. Trade unions must acquire a ‘negotiating license’, which amounts to compulsory registration. There is a provision for legal enforcement of collective agreements with mutual consent, and a restriction on the power of unions to use normal pressures to secure a ‘closed’ or ‘union shop’. But Ireland has apparently experienced an increased strike-liability, and now shows the highest reported strike-incidence of all.
Finally, he said:
There is no indication from the average experience of other countries, that a higher degree of legal regulation leads to a reduction in industrial conflict.’
And ‘the presence of a comprehensive legal framework for industrial relations’ would certainly not seem to lead automatically to a low national incidence of stoppages from industrial disputes.
I urge the Government to consider seriously those authorities which prove conclusively and support what has been said by every member on this side, namely, that experience in Australia proves conclusively that sanctions and penal provisions do not materially affect the incidence of strikes or the level, high or low, of industrial disputes. This is clear when one compares the situation in Australia with that in other nations where there are no such legal trappings. In my view, there is no substance in the Government’s claim that its industrial legislation over the years, and particularly this Bill, provide the wherewithal for industrial harmony and improvement of industrial relations to the point of providing a suitable climate for the settlement of disputes. This legislation, if put into effect, will provide for exactly the opposite set of circumstances and conditions.
In the course of speeches by Labor senators, most of whom for obvious reasons have been outspoken in their opposition to the Bill, interjectors have asked what the Labor Party would do in this field. I shall refer only briefly to the proposals for amalgamation of organisations. I agree with my colleagues that it is an affront to the unions for the Government to intrude into the affairs of such democratic organisations. I have had first hand experience of trade unions over a long period. I am amazed at the constant attacks levelled by members of the Government against unions and the so-called union bosses. I take strong exception to that criticism, which shows a deplorable lack of knowledge of what goes on in the trade union movement. In my view, this constant criticism of the movement, particularly the socalled bosses who are supposed to lead the workers by the nose in every strike, is not only an uncalled-for reflection on the movement, but also an insult to the intelligence of Australian workers. Do honourable senators think that the Australian worker is damned fool enough to go out on strike simply because somebody in the Trades Hall in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney or Hobart presses a button or rings on the telephone and says that ne must stop work, and that he automatically does so? This shows how far removed the Government parties are from the realities of the trade union movement.
Having said that, I object strongly to the Government’s intention to interfere with the democratic rights of unions to determine the necessity to amalgamate with other kindred organisations. The majority of federal trade unions, if not all of them, are obliged to have their rules registered in the Commonwealth court. Those rules provide for such a measure, that is, amalgamation of their organisation with kindred organisations. The Government is not satisfied with this. It wants to superimpose measures of a kind that will make amalgamations, if not impossible, well nigh impossible.
Honourable senators on the Government side have repeatedly asked what Labor will do in this area. I go on record on behalf of the Australian Labor Party to say precisely what we will do. Labor has given a public undertaking on this. Labor’s shadow Minister for Labour, the honourable member for Hindmarsh in another place (Mr Clyde Cameron), who I anticipate with great confidence will be Minister for Labour in the new government - not Labor’s Minister for Labour and National Service, as there will be no national service after the end of this year,1972 - has issued a statement of Labor policy on this matter on behalf of our Party, with which we unanimously agree. That statement, issued on 23rd May 1972 reads:
The Australian Labor Party Industrial Committee met today and decided to recommend outright opposition to the amalgamation proposals now before the Senate and to vote against other negative restrictive and repressive clauses of the Bill.
The Australian Labor Party wholeheartedly supports the principle of union amalgamation. A Labor Government undertakes to enact legislation to facilitate amalgamations and to repeal the Government’s proposal now before the Parliament.
A strong and vigorous trade union movement is an essential element towards sane industrial relations. World experience is that a strong trade union movement is vital to a strong democracy.
Australia has too many unions. Many are too small to be effective or efficient. The amalgamation of unions into larger and more representative associations is an urgent necessity. Progressive and intelligent people including large sections of the employers have welcomed moves towards amalgamation because they recognise that compact and representative unions are absolutely essential for prompt and reliable negotiations and communication between employers and workers.
Industrially efficient nations with which we compare ourselves have welcomed the trend towards amalgamation. For example, West Germany with a population of 61 million has only 16 unions.
The Industrial Committee endorses the statement of the Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, Mr E. G. Whitlam, of15th May 1972:
Truly patriotic Australians should get behind the efforts of key unions to amalgamate. These unions represent employees who, increasingly, are employed by foreign, international corporations. While they remain weak and divided, they have not got a chance of dealing effectively with their supra-national employers.’
The present federal government has introduced legislation deliberately designed to impede or prevent amalgamation. In doing so it has succumbed to DLP pressure in utter disregard of the interests of Australia, of industrial efficiency, of sane industrial relations and of the interests of the Australian workers. It is a deliberate attempt to keep unions weak, to undermine workers’ living standards and to involve unions in drawn out costly legal processes.
A Labor Government will repeal these obnoxious proposals of the McMahon Government.
The Industrial Committee of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party is now preparing a draft bill which a Labor Government will introduce to replace the repealed sections with provisions which will facilitate amalgamations.
The bill will embody the following proposals:
Once a proposal for amalgamation has been adopted by the management committees of unions wishing to amalgamate and the required constitutional and rule alterations have been approved by the Industrial Registrar, the proposal will be put to a secret ballot of members. The ballot will be conducted in accordance with union rules.
If the proposal is approved by a simple majority of these voting, the Registrar will confer with officers of the unions concerned about a suitable date for finalising the amalgamation. On the determined date the union or unions which plan to go out of existence shall be automatically deregistered.
Under Labor amalgamation proposals it will be possible to complete an amalgamation in less than a year, whereas under the McMahon proposal amalgamations will take up to 5 years to complete.
That is the stated intention of the Australian Labor Party in respect of the amalgamation of unions.
Finally, I wish to say this, and it is not a frivolous thought that has just passed through my mind: The more I have read this Bill the more I have come to the conclusion that it ought to be edged in black and the title should be changed. The title should be ‘An Obituary to Industrial Relations, Conciliatiation and Reasonable Expectation of Industrial Harmony in the Commonwealth of Australia’.
– in reply - I rise for the purpose of concluding this second reading debate on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. We have listened for a period of, I think, some 13 hours to a lot of repetitious dogma which still lives, after several decades, in the type of industrial relations which believes that there is a class warfare which has to be engaged in. I can only regret that the members of the Opposition still look into the industrial relations of this country in terms of the way in which industrial relations were engaged in some 30, 40 or more years ago. There is still the quite unwarranted basis of assumption that in some way the Government wants to get this Bill through quickly, is determined to prevent debate and is not prepared to sustain its case by argument.
We have had, I think, some 13 speakers from the Opposition. There were some 5 speakers from the Government side and 2 speakers from the Australian Democratic Labor Party. It seemed to me that members of the Australian Labor Party sought to outdo each other in determining how long they would speak. I think that there were some 6 speakers who took between 50 minutes to an hour for their speeches. I say that their speeches were replete with repetition. There was little that was new in what they had to say. We know that one of the reasons why this filibusting was engaged in was that there was a concern-
– I rise to a point of order. Mr Acting Deputy President, surely the debate should be confined to the issue before the chamber and the AttorneyGeneral should not be allowed to state untruths which are also irrelevant.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Poke) - I think that the Minister’s remarks are becoming a little irrelevant. I suggest that he come back to the Bill.
– What about the cost of the amalgamation ballot?
– Why do you not employ the same machinery?
– What happened in the national wage case? Price increases followed immediately.
– When you are wrong why do you not admit it and not go on?
Suspension of Standing Orders
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Attorney-General from completing his speech without limitation of time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 (Short title and citation).
– I wish to speak on clause 1 because it seems the convenient way to deal with a most important matter which has been raised and that is the nature of the bodies with which we are dealing under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act as it is proposed to be amended. Clause 1 refers to the principal Act. Sub-clause (2.) states:
The Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1970 is in this Act referred to as the principal Act.
The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), when closing the second reading debate, made a qualified admission of an error that he made by way of interjection last night. The matter is an important one because there is no doubt that honourable senators opposite had been advised that the suggestion that the registered organisations were corporations was a lot of nonsense and was not true, that the organisations did not have a corporate entity and that they were not to be regarded as corporate bodies in the same way as other bodies have a corporate entity. Material has been put to the Attorney-General to show that for 68 years, I think - certainly for 64 years, since the decision of the High Court in the famous Jumbunna case - everyone acquainted with organisations registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act has been aware that they are corporations. In the face of that material he has now reluctantly conceded that the understanding of 64 years by industrial lawyers and those practising in the industrial sphere is correct and that he was incorrect. But he has attempted to qualify his admissionin some way by saying that the organisations are corporations only for the purposes of the Act and by suggesting to the Senate that in some way the incorporation is limited and that, while the registered organisations may be corporations-
– I wish to add a few words to those of my Leader Senator Murphy. The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) has even less excuse for his mistake about the legal nature of organisations under the Act than he would have if he were relying merely on his obviously sketchy knowledge of the Jumbunna case which, after all, is a rather old case and on his obvious ignorance of the Williams v. Hursey case. In his second reading speech he referred to the case of Moore v. Doyle. One would assume that a Minister giving such attention to the Moore v. Doyle case, in which, incidentally. I acted for one of the parties, would have taken the trouble to read the judgment in that case. The court which was considering the case traversed all the authorities on this vexed question of the legal nature of organisations registered under the Act and gave considerable attention to the question whether an organisation under the Act is in fact a corporation. In that case, which was a recent one, the Court came down unequivocally on the side of the contention that has been put to the Committee tonight by Senator Murphy. There is absolutely no excuse for the first law officer of the Crown to come before this chamber and suggest that there is some doubt - any doubt at all - about the legal nature of an organisation registered under this Act. I suggest to him he go back to the authorities and that he have a look at not only the Jumbunna case and the case of Williams v. Hursey but also that he read Moore v. Doyle again, in which all the thinking of the judges of this country is brought up to date. The learned Court - the Commonwealth Industrial Court - came down with the statement that an organisation registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act is unequivocally a corporate body.
– I do not want to elaborate or enlarge upon an argument the relevance of which I cannot see. When Senator Murphy and Senator James McClelland look at the Hansard report of what I said tonight 1 think they may feel that what they have just said was quite unnecessary. All I can say is that it is a strange thing that persons who took the point not long ago that one should not cast personal reflections, choose to do it themselves when the occasion presents itself.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 (Commencement).
– I move:
Clause 2 indicates the dates upon which the various sections of the Act came into operation. There is some doubt, in the light of the way in which the debate has been conducted, and the prospect ahead of us, as to when the measure will come into operation. I suggest that the Committee could more . properly deal with this clause - the Government would wish it to be dealt with in this way - when we know when it is this Bill is likely to be passed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 (Parts).
– There is a slight problem here. Part VIIIa, which relates to the amalgamation of organisations, is a matter to which the Opposition will be taking objection. The Opposition does not necessarily want to have a debate on the title. I assume that, depending on the fate of Part VIIIa, we will be able to come back and deal with the title. Perhaps it would be convenient to have it deferred also.
– I think Senator Murphy can assume that in regard to this provision and any other provision where, as a result of a Committee decision, consequential alterations have to be made there will be a willingness to go back and look at all of the necessary other areas.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 (Interpretation).
– I take this opportunity to point out that clause 5 is the first step in the new procedures that are to be established. It provides for the new interpretations and definitions of ‘Commissioner’ and ‘Conciliation Commissioner’. Of course, this is not the appropriate point at which to contest the new machinery. I. have risen because 1 want lo make the point that Senator Greenwood’s earlier statement that this was purely a piece of legislation to improve the Conciliation and Arbitration Act was disproved by his own references. He talked about sections in the Act at present which impose all sorts of restrictions on the unions. This Bill is designed to impose added restrictions on the unions. These definitions, of course, indicate that a conciliation commissioner is different from an arbitration commissioner. This clause is the first step in the setting up of the new machinery to which the Opposition objects. Of course, it is agreed that the main argument about this matter will take place in the consideration of clause 13.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 (Certain offences in relation to members of organisations, &c).
– Clause 6 is not without some importance. Perhaps it: illustrates how the trade unions are to be dealt with, lt is directed towards correcting an error in the original Act. The drafting of the provision in the original Act which provided that certain conduct in the nature of dismissing or threatening employees because of their being members of unions or of their intending to be members of unions was seriously defective. The error was revealed in 1959 in the case Gietzelt v. Craig- Williams Pty Ltd No. 1. lt is reported in the Federal Law Reports. That error is now being dealt with. I would like to know how it has come about that an error which was evident in a case heard in 1959 by the Full Bench of the Commonweal th Industrial Court, constituted by Chief Justice Spicer and Justices Dunphy and Morgan, has taken until 1972 to be corrected. How has it come about that it has taken more than 13 years for corrective action to be taken in relation to something which obviously was intended to pro- tect trade union members or intending trade union members? There is a strong feeling on the part of the trade unions that the Government is anxious at all times to do whatever it can to the disadvantage of the trade unions. Why is it that a simple correction of the legislation has taken so long? I think that several years ago - I am subject to correction - there were requests by a member of the House of Representatives, namely, the honourable member for Hindmarsh, Mr Clyde Cameron, for some action to be taken to deal with the defect.
– 1 am not in a position in my state of knowledge nor indeed in the state of knowledge of those who advise me to say why this provision was not amended before. I accept, because I do not know otherwise and it seems reasonable enough, that what Senator Murphy has said as to the origin of the reform is accurate. I think the important thing is that the amendment is now being made. It certainly widens the existing protection and I think that is the important thing. It is not for me to moralise on the virtues of inquiring or not inquiring into why certain things have taken a long time or a short time and the reasons for inaction at certain periods. The fact is that the amendment is now before the Committee and I trust that it commends itself to the Committee.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 7. Constitution of Commission
– I wish to raise in respect of this clause a complaint similar to that raised by Senator Murphy about clause 6. It relates to the neglect of the Government in appointments to the Commission. The purpose of clause 7 is to omit paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of subsection 1 section 6 and to insert a new paragraph (b) and (c). The section will then read:
There shall be a Commonwealth Conciliation Arbitration Commission which shall consist of the following members -
a President; (bl such number of Deputy Presidents as are necessary from time to time; and
such number of Commissioners as are necessary from time to time;
I want to know the meaning of the expression ‘such number as are necessary’. If the Government neglects to adhere to the Act by appointing the necessary numbers, it is not complying with the Act. I say that because Mr Justice Kirby, President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, in his 1970 report to the Parliament commented on the need for 2 additional commissioners to be appointed. On 23rd February I asked the following question:
I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service a question which perhaps could be directed also to the AttorneyGeneral. In the 1970 report of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission did Sir Richard Kirby refer to the need for 2 additional commissioners to be appointed? Was one appointment only made in the ensuing 12 months? In his 1971 report did Sir Richard Kirby express the urgent necessity for a new appointment of a commissioner and a further judge to replace Mr Justice Gallagher? Has any appointment been made, as requested? If not, when will the 2 appointments bc made?
Senator Wright replied:
In the course of my reply I said that 1 would ascertain from the Minister what proposals for filling the vacancies in the membership of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission he was prepared to disclose. The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided me with the following information:
In his report for the year ended 13th August 1970 the President of the Commission said that there was a need for the appointment of 2 new commissioners, one early in the new year to replace Mr Commissioner Winter.
Mr Commissioner Stanton was appointed on 5th April 1971.
One appointment was essential in the new year and on 5th April the appointment was made to replace Mr Commissioner Winter. Senator Wright went on:
In his report for the year ended 13th August 1971 the President said that the need for another Commissioner still urgently existed as well as a judge to replace Mr Justice Gallagher. On 23rd May 1972 Mr Justice Franki, a Deputy President of the Commission, became a judge of the commonwealth Industrial Court and as from the same date Mr J. T. Ludeke, Q.C. was appointed a Deputy President of the Commission.
There is a need for further appointments to the Commission, but the nature and number itf these appointments will be affected by the outcome of the consideration by Parliament of ihe Bill to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
In August 1970 Mr Justice Kirby had reported that there was a need for 2 commissioners if the Commission was to operate properly. The requirements of the Commission must be met for the purpose of hearing and deciding arbitration claims. The man with the responsibility of administering the Act said that it was essential for 2 commissioners to be appointed in the following year. One was appointed in the following year but the second has not yet been appointed. When the Senate was debating the Public Service Arbitration Bill Senator Bishop listed the long delays in the hearing of claims. The Government is responsible for the smooth working of the arbitration legislation to meet the requirements of industry yet it has ignored the recommendation of the President of the Commission and has not yet made the appointments requested by the President.
If the new Act is to be administered in the same way, the new proposals for dealing with disputes, including the threat of punishment, may be subject to the same neglect. Anybody familiar with the working of the Commission knows that it is impossible to have disputes heard in the time in which they should be heard and to the satisfaction of the parties, lt is pure neglect by the Department which is unconcerned with the question of conciliation and of supplying machinery to carry it out.
– To recite a set of facts does not lead - without more, anyway - to the conclusion that there has been neglect or lack of concern on the part of a Minister or his Department. Yet that is what Senator Cavanagh is suggesting. I have not the detailed knowledge to enable me to give him a clear answer to each of the points he raised. I know in a general sense that one very real factor in appointing commissioners at present is the lack of an attractive salary for the right people for the job. It must be appreciated that the Commissioners have not had an increase in salary for 4 years. In those circumstances it is very hard to get people to take these jobs. Therefore until the salary position is rectified we must recognise that there may be further delays.
– I do not accept the Minister’s reply. It seems that he is anticipating a later clause in the Bill. Even if what he said is appropriate today, I am talking about a recommendation made in 1970. Was that the reason in 1970 why we could not fill the position that Mr Justice Kirby said should be filled so that the Act could be properly administered? If so, did the Government bring before the House in 1970 legislation to make the position more attractive to suitable people? It is not a question of what is happening today. This was 2 years ago.
– On the point of whether we should accept that the Minister is not guilty of neglect, I have found the passage that I was looking for earlier and I ask for a little indulgence to quote it. I was referring to the case of Gietzelt v Craig-Williams. In that case the Chief Judge said:
It seems curious that the offence created by subsection 1 does not extend to the case in which the dismissal is by reason of the circumstance that the employee proposed to become a member of an organisation. Then in the case of threatening to dismiss the offence is committed where the employee is a member of the organisation or proposes to become a member.
Even when the chief judge said that there was something wrong with the section, it took them 13 years to get around to cleaning it up. That does not seem to bear out entirely the suggestion that the Minister has always dealt promptly with these defects when they are to the disadvantage of the trade union movement.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Department is in the process of introducing standard charges for certain more commonlyprescribed limbs. These standard charges are based on the average cost of manufacturing the particular type of limb. Individual costing will continue for less commonly-prescribed limbs.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Similarly, it is understood that these devices are used in other countries, but that this use is by no means universal. It will be appreciated that in prosthetics, as in so many other professional areas, approaches differ. The best expert advice available to the Repatriation Department is that, while a device to assist in knee extension would be helpful in certain individual cases, it is not a general requirement, irrespective of the age of the patient. In any individual case where this assistance is indicated on clinical grounds, it is provided. Generally speaking, however, the swing-phase controltype of knee unit (of which the North-Western University design is an example) is considered to best meet the needs of most Repatriation patients.
All knee joints supplied by the Repatriation Department are mechanical. During thelast 2 years 897 mechanical knee joints have been used and of these 855 were of North-Western University design.
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Repatriation:
Does the Repatriation Department require payment in full or in part before commencing the production of any limb or appliance to be made for a civilian.
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
For patients who require artificial limbs or appliances, and are sponsored by State Government Departments and philanthropic organisations (and these constitute the bulk of civilian patients), it is the practice of the Repatriation Department in each case to obtain an official order guaranteeing payment from the organisation concerned before work commences on the artificiallimb or appliance. Payment for the limb or appliance is then made on satisfactory completion.
For a private patient, it has long been the practice to obtain payment of the estimated full cost of the completed limb or appliance before manufacture commences. This is later adjusted in the light of the actual cost of the completed limb.
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Repatriation:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Board, may seek an independent assessment from the Public Service Arbitrator.
Surgical Appliance Technician, New South Wales- $3,370-$3,568 per annum.
Splint Maker, South Australia - $3,955-$4,173 per annum.
Limb Filter and Splint Maker, South Australia - $4,173-$4,392 per annum.
Orthopaedic Appliance Technician, Western Australia - $4,565-$5,347 per annum.
Over the past few years only one Limb Maker and Fitter has been recruited to the Repatriation Department from a State Hospital Department. During the same period, several Repatriation employees have taken up appointments with State Hospitals or private limb-manufacturers.
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Repatriation:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(a) The Repatriation Department has been conducting formal training courses for limb-making personnel since1965. Previously, training was on an informal, in-service basis.
The Department issues a Certificate of Competence in Prosthetics and Orthotics to each ofthe departmental personnel who successfully fulfil the requirements in both theory and practice.
(Question No. 2074)
(Question No. 2075)
(Question No. 2076)
(Question No. 2078)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Inter ior, upon notice:
Have a group of Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory applied for mining leases in Murgenella, Tor Rock, and Wellington Ranges: if so, will the leases be granted?
Senator COTTON - The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
No lease applications have been received from a group of Aboriginal people in these locations, all of which are in the one general area of a wildlife sanctuary in north-western Arnhem Land. In an Aboriginal reserve it is necessary to hold an exploration licence before applying for a lease and several exploration licence applications have been made, including one by theGoulburn Island Progress Association representing the Aborigines of Goulburn Island. Some of the applications overlap and consideration of them cannot be completed pending delineation of those parts of the Murgenella Wildlife Sanctuary which will not be available for mineral exploration.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
NEW SOUTH WALES
Air Marshall Sir John McCauley, K.B.E., C.B.
MrsJ. Metcalfe. M.B.E.
Rev. C. W. Stolz
Mr M. Lajovic
Mrs W. Cullen, O.B.E.
Hon. Treasurer ;
Mr F. Johnson
Mr H. Frank
The Hon. Mrs E. Furley, O.B.E., M.L.C.
Dr C. H. Hoffman
Miss E. Needham
Mr T. Rutherford
Mr R. Treister
Mrs R. Tyson
Rev. R. O. Walder
Mrs D. Buckland
Mr J. Russell
Mr M. Maitland
Rev. D. Eland
Ex-officio Members -
Mr E. W. Waterman (Commonwealth Director of Migration)
Mr J. Cunningham (State Migration Officer)
Mr J. Lawson (State Manager, Commonwealth Hostels Ltd)
Mr G. Austen (Department of Labour and Industry)
Mr M. Harrison, C.B.E., J.P.
Immediate-past President -
Mr H. R. McKenzie, M.B.E.
Mrs K. H. BrightParker
Rev. D. R. Cox
The Rev. Father J. Murphy
Mrs R. J. Reader, O.B.E., J.P.
Mr E. Thomlinson
Miss B. Battle
Mrs B. Burton
Mrs I. Capek
Mr F. de Graaf
Rev. J. D. Griffiths
Mrs J. Hamilton
Mr L. Levinson
Mr R. Lloyd
Mrs L. H. Pink
Brigadier W. Shaw
Mrs E. Utassy
Ex-officio Members -
Mr K. J. Smith (Commonwealth Director of Migration, Victoria)
Mr W. J. Dunne (Director, State Immigration Office)
Mr W. K. Allen (Department of Labour and National Service)
Mr . J. Ratos (Victorian Manager, Commonwealth Hostels Ltd)
Mr E. R. McClean (Supervisor, Migrant Education ; Adult)
Mr R. H. Wainwright, O.B.E.
MrJ. van Vegchel
Dr G. Bonnin
Mr J. C. Lamb
Mrs S. H. Michael
Mr I. Debelak
Mr J. J. Rowell
Chairman of Contact Committee -
Mrs O. Hill
Ex-officio Members -
Mr V. White (Commonwealth Director of Migration)
Mr W. Sheehan (State Migration Officer)
Mr V. G. Atkinson (Department of Social Services)
Mr M. Mackrell (Slate Education Department)
Mr H. Bale (Commonwealth Hostels Ltd)
Sir Keith Wilson
Immediate Past President -
Mr J. Horton Evins
Mrs E. Mayo, O.B.E.
Mr I. B. C. Wilson
Mr J. A. Kiosoglous
Mr J. P. MacFarlane
Mr D. Neill
Mrs H. Bosch
Miss M. L. Davey, M.B.E.
Dr D. Gaal
Mr J. Guscott, M.B.E.
Mr C. W. Reeves
Rev. G. H. Young
Mr P. Riess
Ex-Officio Members -
Mr G. A. Cole (Commonwealth Director of Migration)
Mr K. J. Fitzgerald (Regional Director, Department of Labour and National Service)
Mr C. L. Fitzgerald (Department of Education and Science)
Mr T. R. Keig (State Immigration Officer)
Mr A. H. Sansom (Migrant Education Officer, S.A. Education Department)
Mr R. D. Gray (S.A. Manager, Commonwealth Hostels Ltd)
Mr D. W. Moffat (Public Relations Officer)
Mr R. N. Telfer (Editor of Newsletter)
Mr J. R. Huelin
Immediate-Past President -
Mr W. W. Rawlinson, M.C.
The Rev. J. M. H. Rowdon
Mr M. L. T. Wright
Mr G. T. F. Cook
Councillor P. H. Ashford, J.P.
Mr F. H. Goldsmith
Mr L. T. Mole
Mr E. G. Fielding
Mrs J. Oldham
Mrs E. Mcintosh
Mr G. C. Weggelaar
Mrs W. Kastner, J.P.
Mr E. Hardy
Mr J. Peterson
Mr G. Gaunt, J.P.
Mr R. E. Gollop, J.P.
Mrs M. Keogh
Mr H. A. White
Mrs C. Willock
Ex-Officio Members -
Mr J. H. Goodwin (Commonwealth Director of Migration)
Mr J. L. Fletcher (State Migration Officer)
Mr M. D. Robertson (Regional Director, Department of Labour and National Service)
Mr J. Wolny (Stale Manager, Commonwealth Hostel Ltd)
Dr A. Richardson (Immigration Advisory Council)
Mr L. E. Hewitt
Mr M. F. Chesterman
Mr L. C. Powell
Miss M. J. Stewart
Public Relations Officer -
Mrs B. L. Davis
Mr W. Deckert
Mrs G L. Dye
Mrs V. McMahon
Mr W. Ivory
Mr A. C. Schluter
Ex-Officio Members -
Mr I. C. McKenzie (Commonwealth Director of Migration)
Mr S. G. Honey (State Migration Officer)
Mr I. A. Krippner, M.B.E.
Senior Vice-President -
Miss M. Doyle
Mr R. Kerr
Hon. Treasurer -
Mr J. D’esposito
Mrs C. Bingeman
Snr Inspector G. Grove
Mr F. Hadzel
Miss A. Maxwell
Mrs E. Bellhouse
Mrs T. E. Bashford
Mr C. Jarrett
Mr R. van Arkel
Mr W. H. Marsh
Mr F. Spitz
Mr J. W. Sullivan
Mr A. E. Collins
Mr W. Hunter
Hon. Treasurer -
Mrs L. Powlerza
Mr J. McCormack
Rev. Fr Healy
Mr P. Fuchs
Mr M. Ammerlaan
Mrs La Pira
Mrs M. B. Walter
Mr M. C. Taylor
Ex-Officio Members -
Mr L. Liveris (Commonwealth Department of Immigration)
Mr R. G. Twigg (Department of Labour and National Service)
1 x State Secretary 1 x Social Worker 6 x Field Officers 1 x 1st Assistant 6 x 2nd Assistants 2 x 4th Assistants 1 x Junior
1 x State Secretary 1 x Social Worker 4 x Field Officers 1 x 1st Assistant 3 x 2nd Assistants 1 x 3rd Assistant 1 x 4th Assistant
1 x State Secretary 2 x Field Officers 1 x1st Assistant 1 x 2nd Assistant 2 x 4th Assistants 1 x Junior
State Secretary 1 x Social Worker 3 x Field Officers 1 X 1st Assistant 6 x 2nd Assistants 1 x 3rd Assistant 1 x 4th Assistant
1 x State Secretary 1 x Social Worker 2 x Field Officers 2 x 1st Assistants 3 x 2nd Assistants 2 x 4th Assistants
1 x State Secretary 1 x 2nd Assistant 1 x 3rd Assistant
1 x Secretary/Field Officer 1 x 2nd Assistant
1 x Secretary/ Field Officer 1 x 2nd Assistant
The social worker’s salary is at the rate applicable to Commonwealth Public Service Social Workers in the State of employment.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: (1), (2) and (3) Well-meaning people who involve themselves in peaceful demonstrations have no control over elements unknown to them who may intrude, create disturbances or incite others to commit offences changing the character of the event. In preparing plans for dealing with possible eventualities, it is important for police to be able to identify these intruders so that the most effective measures can be taken in the hope that breaches of the peace will be prevented. Photographs taken at demonstrations provide a valuable aid to police in carrying out this function.
There is a careful distinction between such photographs taken on public occasions and police identification photographs of persons in custody and that distinction is preserved in the police records.
People attending peaceful demonstrations are not treated as criminals or potential criminals.
asked the Minister for
Civil Aviation, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
A close eye has been kept on the situation since the change in signs and there has been a quite significant reduction in the number of incidents since the change to ‘give-way’ signs. This is believed to be due to the fact that having stopped in accordance with the earlier ‘stop’ sign, motorists were then entitled to turn into the highway with precedence over traffic on the left; the present ‘give-way’ sign, however, requires them to give way to highway traffic from either direction.
The situation is being kept under review by the A.C.T. traffic police and DCA. At the moment the use of “give-way’ signs is in line with similar intersections of comparable traffic density. When due to traffic build up the A.C.T. traffic authorities consider lights should be installed, this will be done.
(Question No. 2138)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD - The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Each telephone exchange is sited so as to serve most effectively all subscribers located within a defined surrounding area which is called the exchange area and, in order to simplify charging arrangements, exchange areas are grouped to form charging zones. The Willunga and McLaren Vale exchanges are located in different charging zones.
It is true that some Willunga subscribers living near the boundary of that exchange area are located not far from certain McLaren Vale subscribers living near their exchange area boundary. The radial distance between the 2 exchanges is, however, about 4 miles.
Exchange areas and charging zones are developed on soundly-based service, economic and technical critieria but, as with any system where boundaries have to be drawn, there will always be cases where subscribers not far apart from each other are connected to different exchanges and thus may be required to pay different charges on certain calls. The situation outlined by the honourable senator is not unique to the McLaren Vale-Willunga area.
Throughout Australia, in the interests of efficient operations, trunk calls requiring connection by an operator are being concentrated on selected assistance centres. In this case, McLaren Vale is the exchange best suited to assist subscribers connected to the Aldinga, Sellicks and Willunga exchanges.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
How many victims were transported to hospital.
Senator COTTON - The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: (1)110 accidents were reported on the Stuart Highway between Berrimah and Katherine during the calendar year 1971. (2)13 accidents were located in the Berrimah area. The remaining 97 accidents were located at different points on the Highway. As the detailed information requested cannot be supplied before Parliament rises, the Minister for the Interior will provide the information in a letter to the honourable senator when it is available.
Excessive speed - 20.
Driving under influence of alcohol - 7.
Negligent or careless driving - 41.
Negligence of pedestrian - 6.
Mechanical ortyre failure - 15.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senators’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD - The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minis ter representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
– On 18th April, Senator Douglas McClelland asked the following question:
When the unemployment figures for November 1971 were issued they showed a substantial rise in the number of unemployed at that time but the Minister for Labour and National Service said that one had to look at the figures on a seasonally adjusted basis and that on that basis the figures were not too bad. Will the Minister agree that the present unemployment figures when considered on a seasonally adjusted basis show, in fact, an increase on the February figures? Will the Government agree that on an electoral basis 100,000 Australians unemployed roughly represents the total population of 2 electorates out of work and that much more has to be done by the Government to put confidence back into the economy and to restore full employment to the Australian community?
In reply I stated that I did not feel competent to give the honourable senator a satisfactory answer to the question and that I would instead refer it to my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service. The Minister has now provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
It is true that the seasonally adjusted figures of unemployed persons awaiting placement rose during March. During April, however, there was a slight fall.
The end-April level of unemployment represents 1.78 per cent of the labour force after seasonal adjustment. This is only about 0.4 per cent above the average for the last 10 years and compares more than favourably with the level of unemployment in most industrialised countries overseas.
Even so, the Government has indicated its concern about the level of unemployment and has in recent months taken action in several areas to stimulate economic activity.
In December we introduced a series of reflationary measures particularly designed to assist the rural sector, which for some time had been experiencing difficult economic conditions. We followed this up with further stimulatory measures to apply more generally to the economy and these were announced at the Premiers’ Conference in February. Additional measures were announced early in April.
In the coming months we can expect the more favourable trend evident in April to continue.
In a question without notice on 26th April 1972, Senator Townley asked the Minister representing the Treasurer whether a working mother may claim an income tax deduction for costs incurred in having her children looked after during her working hours and, if not, whether the Government will examine this matter. The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
There is no specific provision in the income tax law under which a working mother may be allowed a deduction for all kinds of expenditure incurred by her in having her children minded while she is at work. Depending upon the facts of the particular case, however, she may be entitled to a concessional deduction under the heading of education expenses or under the provision relating to a housekeeper.
If a child is old enough to attend a school at which full-time education is provided, expenses incurred by the mother in connexion with the full-time education of the child at the school are allowed as deductions up to a maximum amount of $400 per annum for each such child. No deduction is allowable where the child attends an establishment which merely provides a child minding service and is not a school providing full-time education.
Under the housekeeper provision, a taxpayer who is a deserted wife or widow may be allowed a deduction of up to $312 per annum if a housekeeper is wholly engaged throughout the year in keeping house for the taxpayer and in caring for a child of the taxpayer less than 16 years of age. If these tests are satisfied during part only of the year, the deduction of $312 is reduced proportionately. A deduction is not available under the housekeeper provision where a person not wholly engaged as a housekeeper is employed merely to mind a child for part of the day or where the taxpayer is a married woman living with her husband.
The question of allowing deductions to working mothers for child minding expenses generally is a matter which will be considered during the preparation of the next Budget.
Senator GREENWOOD- On 22nd February 1972 Senator Hannan asked me in a question without notice about the visit to Australia by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Williamson-Edgley Theatres Ltd received a grant of $40,000 from the international tours fund of the Australian Council for the Arts for the Australian tour by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. This grant was in the form of a guarantee against loss. In the event of the deficit on the tour proving to be less than the $40,000, part or all of the grant would be returned. Any profits on the tour were to be shared by the Australian Council.
I have been informed that the General Manager of Williamson-Edgley Theatres Ltd is Mr Michael Edgley, whohas brought to Australia a number of attractions from the Soviet Union and from other countries.
The international tours fund of the Australian Council for the Arts is operated separately from the funds set aside for the Council’s domestic programmes. Had a grant not been provided for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the funds would have been allocated to another international project and not to a regional company. Separate provision is made by the Council for regional companies, and this is one of the most rapidly growing sections ofthe Council’s budget.
Council assistance is given to entrepreneurs to allow them to bring to Australia groups of high artistic standing and work of a different kind from that presented by local companies, where the risk factor is greater than the entrepreneur would be willingto carry alone. This policy makes possible visits to Australia by international companies and artists, which Australians would not otherwise have the opportunity to see.
Each request for assistance is considered on its merits and in the light of the funds available at that lime. However, no support is at present contemplated for any Soviet artists visiting Australia.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs the following question without notice:
What is the total donation to date by the Australian Government for the relief of residents in Bangladesh? How much of this was forwarded by way of goods and how much was in cash? What is the value of goods and cash already approved but still remaining in Australia?
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Foreign Affairs has supplied the following answer:
Australia has given to date the following aid for relief of residents of Bangladesh:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs the following question without notice:
Is it a fact that the staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs, China section, has dropped from five to two over the last 2 months? In view of the importance of improving our relations with China, if we are to regain the loss of exports, particularly of wheat, does the Minister regard the situation as being critical? What action does the Minister intend taking to ensure that the staff of the Department’s China Section is restored to at least its previous strength?
Senator WRIGHT - The Minister for Foreign Affairs has supplied the following answer:
It is expected that further goods (wheat, trucks and corrugated iron) to the value of $2m including freight costs will leave Australia before the end of May.
Some of these items will be paid for from funds set aside for 1971-72 and in view of the need for rapid delivery, some from those set aside for the next financial year, thus establishing a rolling programme.
In additionto the aid given to Bangladesh, Australia provided last year $3.42m in aid to the East Pakistani refugees in India. This comprised $550,000 in cash, the remainder being used for the supply of food, medicines, miscellaneous items such as tents, blankets and ambulances, and freight costs.
The total, including the $2m mentioned, is $6,313,800.
On18th April 1972, Senator KANE asked the Acting Postmaster-General the following question:
Was the director of ‘The Great Debate on Education’ a Mr Tom Manefield from the British Broadcasting Corporation? Is the Australian Broadcasting Commission paying the BBC $10,000 for the loan of Mr Manefield?
The Postmaster-General has now furnished me with the following information in reply:
The Director of ‘The Great Debate on Education’ was Mr Alan Bateman. Mr Tom Manefield was the Producer. Mr Manefield is a staff member of the ABC, not the British Broadcasting Corporation.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Housing, upon notice:
What are the reasons for the Department of Housing refusing to recognise photocopies of marriage and birth certificates tendered by applicants when applying for Homes Saving Grants.
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Housing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
This has not been the Department’s universal practice. Where it has occurred it has reflected concern to minimise the possibility of fraud in evidence of age and marriage. However, the honourable senator will be interested to learn that, in general, photocopies of marriage and birth certificates will henceforth be accepted by the Department.
asked the Minister
Civil Aviation, upon notice:
In respect of the proficiency standards of Jetair pilots:
Senator COTTON: The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The Director-General may, if he considers that the particular circumstances of the case to warrant, exempt a person who holds a charter licence and who proposes to operate a service which would constitute a regular public transport service from the necessity of obtaining an airline licence, and may approve of the operation of the service for such a period and, subject to such conditions as the Director-General considers necessary.
The operational standards for Jetair operations did not differ from those specified for other operators in this category apart from certain additional ariworthiness and aircraft performance requirements related to the DC3 aircraft, which was the type operated by Jetair. The standards prescribed for regular public transport services, operating in accordance with an exemption granted under Air Navigation Regulation 203, using light twin engined aircraft below 12,500 lb maximum take-off weight are slightly lower than those which are required for the DC3 aircraft. On the other hand, regular public transport services operated under the authority of an airline licence and employing aircraft over 12,500 lb maximum take-off weight are required to meet higher standards.
(a) The Director-General, acting in accordance with the provisions of Air Navigation Regulation 203, has prescribed pilot standards for this category of operation, the Company training and checking organisation, required by Air Navigation Regulation 214 and approved by the DirectorGeneral, was responsible for the maintenance of those standards.
The needto make provision for the issue of the licence to pilots other than those employed by an airline did not arise as no applications were received up to that time.
Since late1966, a number of applications for the reciprocal recognition of airline transport pilot licences issued by other countries and for the initial issue of airline transport pilot licences to Australian pilots who were seeking positions overseas but were not employed by Australian airlines, have been received. Departmental policy was reviewed duringthe period1967-1968 and finally varied to permit the’ issue of the licence to these pilots. Action is being taken to have the requirement to be employed by an airline, deleted from the Air Navigation Orders. At the same time, airline transport pilot licence standards are being varied to more closely align them with the basic standard required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The need to maintain high standards of proficiency in actual airline operations will be ensured by a separate requirement that airline training and checking organisations provide the necessary training additional to that applicable to the basic licence.
Examiners of Airmen have conducted flight proficiency tests for applicants who are not employed by airlines but this is only one segment of their duties. They are also required to supervise airline training and checking organisations and to check the conduct of day to day airline operations. Their principal function in relation to flight proficiency checking is to examine and approve the Company check pilots to conduct flight proficiency tests on behalf of the Department for the issue and renewal of airline transport pilot licences.
(Question No. 1926)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
Senator COTTON - The Minister for Customs and Excise has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Act provides that bounty is not payable in respect of a book if the printing or publishing of the book by a person, or the sending by a person of the book through the post, constitutes or would constitute an offence by the person against a law of the Commonwealth.
Yes. It has also refused bounty on a number of books, including ‘Lesbian Capers’, ‘Jay Birds in Love’, ‘Weekend Love’ and ‘Girls in Love’.
The intention of the book bounty is to keep the printing of Australian-produced books within the Australian industry. If bounty were refused on books on which there was no bar to importation the result would be that the book would either be imported or printed for an Australian publisher in Hong Kong or some other low cost country. In either case the effect would beloss of work for the Australian printing industry.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
What has been the intake of migrants from Mauritius for each of the past 5 years.
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Prior to 1st January 1968 the Commonwealth Statistician did not maintain statistics of settler arrivals from Mauritius. Settler arrivals from Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda and other Commonwealth countries in Africa, other than South Africa, Malawi, Rhodesia and Zambia were combined by the Commonwealth Statistician in a category entitled ‘Other Commonwealth Countries in Africa’. The estimate of arrivals from Mauritius during 1967 is 1000.
Arrivals of settlers from Mauritius during the period1st January 1968 to 31st December 1971 were:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
What number and proportion of Malaysians issued with student visas in 1971 were of:
The information requested is not available, as statistics are not maintained on this basis.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Against this background, the cost of continuing to supply every telephone subscriber with a directory containing entries for areas with which there was little or no community of interest could not be justified, particularly when the majority of calls made by telephone users generally are to subscribers within their own particular district.
Importantly, too, the changes made are a step towards orienting directory presentation to subscribers’ needs under Subscriber Trunk Dialling (S.T.D.) conditions. In this regard, the extension of the automatic trunk network is based on each Slate being divided into a number of areas called closed number areas’, with each area being identified by its own S.T.D. code. Subscribers making S.T.D. calls into such an area prefix the subscriber’s number with the appropriate code, whereas calls between subscribers within the area involve dialling the subscriber’s number only.
In Tasmania, there are three such ‘closed number areas’ and each of the three current telephone directories covers its own ‘closed number’ area.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Has any instruction been given to the current affairs staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission that programmes concerning the ‘Concorde’ aircraft should be submitted to the Department of Civil Aviation before being broadcast.
Senator GREENWOOD- The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
Is the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation conducting studies into the feasibility of marketing a grade of nearly equal quantities of unsaturated oil margarine and butter; if so, is there a demand for this type of product in Japan which Australia may be able to supply if the studies cun result in a satisfactory product.
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Education and Science has supplied the following answer:
CSIRO is not conducting studies into the feasibility of marketing a grade of nearly equal quantities of unsaturated oil margarine and butter. However, the Division of Animal Physiology and the Dairy Research Laboratory of the Division of Food Research have initialed collaborative studies on the production of dairy products containing substantially increased levels of polyunsaturated milkfat, including fresh milk, cream, butter, cheese and yoghurt’.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Educational organisations must have the dissemination of knowledge as their principal object. According to the strict criteria adopted by the Post Office, educational organisations are considered to be those bodies, such as universities, schools and colleges, which are generally recognised as such and which have a significant element of systematic or formalised education in their activities. Charitable organisations are considered to be those which devote a substantial and continuing effort to the relief of the poor and afflicted and have this as one of their principal objects.
As is the case with Stale School Parents’ Associations, if a body does not qualify for recognition by the Post Office as an educational or charitable organisation, then its journal, regardless of its actual nature, is ineligible for Category ‘A’ registration as an educational or charitable periodical.
I should like to draw attention, however, to the extent of the postal subsidy already enjoyed by such organisations with publications registered in Category ‘B’. The subsidy for Category ‘B’ articles at the 2 oz level (the level most directly affecting State School Parents’ Associations) is 41/2 cents to 5 cents per article. The estimated annual postage revenue from all category ‘B’ articles is $3.7m. The revenue at normal printed matter rates would be $10.5m. The postal subsidy for a full year is, therefore, $6.8m with an average subsidy of 8.5 cents per article. The concession already enjoyed by State School Parents’ Associations and other organisations with Category ‘B’ publications is therefore very considerable.
– Earlier today Senator
Laucke asked me the following question, without notice, which you. Mr President, directed be placed on the notice paper.
My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science concerns the activities of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in the air pollution field. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to that section of the report of the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution which records that the United States of America has set the allowable exposure to carbon monoxide at a level of 50 parts per million and that readings of up to 80 parts per million of carbon monoxide have been recorded in some Sydney streets during the peak traffic hours? Has the CSIRO tested an exhaust emission control unit for motor cars which is being produced by Duncan McWade Industries Pty Ltd of Condell Park, New South Waies? Have these tests confirmed ihe manufacturer’s claim that the unit reduces carbon monoxide emission by an average of 33 per cent? Were the figures arrived nl in those tests below the Australian standard as now set? In view of the singularly dangerous characteristics of carbon monoxide, being odourless, colourless and highly toxic, with a cumulative effect on the blood stream, I ask: Will consideration be given to setting carbon monoxide levels for motor vehicle exhausts at the levels now possible by the use of control units such as that now being provided by the McWade organisation?
The Minister for Education and Science has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Regarding the setting of emission standards this is a particular matter concerning each of these Councils al the present time. I am assured that the respective Committees of these Councils which deal with motor vehicle emissions arc taking into account all available technology and the likely cost of introducing further controls. Hangondevices such as the McWade unit are closely examined with a view to their suitability for use on existing motor vehicles. However, I must point out that so far as new vehicles are concerned, the question of how Design Rule specifications may best be met is a matter for the motor vehicle manufacturer to decide.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 May 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720525_senate_27_s52/>.