Rail Agencies and Federal Workplace Relations Act
|About this Item||Subjects||Railways; Industrial Disputes; Trade; Fines and Penalties
||Speakers||Cohen The Hon Ian; Costa The Hon Michael
||Business||Questions Without Notice
||Commentary|| Supplementary Question
Mr IAN COHEN: My question is directed to the Minister for Transport Services. Will the Minister inform the House whether he knew that RailCorp was planning to invoke section 127 of the Workplace Relations Act against workers in the current industrial dispute affecting the New South Wales rail system? Will he further advise the House why only the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union [AMWU] was the subject of these orders even though at least three other unions were involved in the strike? Finally, if members of the AMWU breach the section 127 orders, does the Minister plan to take the next legal and logical step of imposing fines, injunctions and gaol sentences on individual AMWU members and officials, and deregistration of the union itself?
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: I refer to my answer to this question yesterday when the Leader of the Opposition asked me precisely the same question. I made the points yesterday. In relation to the current dispute over random alcohol and drug testing, the Government's position is very clear: We will be proceeding with random drug and alcohol testing.
Mr IAN COHEN: I ask a supplementary question. Other than the fact that the Minister did not answer the question, is the Government planning to make regular use of the Federal Workplace Relations Act in its management of public sector industrial relations in New South Wales?
The Hon. MICHAEL COSTA: If Mr Ian Cohen had heard my response yesterday he would realise that Ralph Willis introduced section 127 into the industrial relations environment, I think in 1987, from memory. It is also interesting that the AMWU has used that very section in a number of industrial disputes it has had with employers in Victoria.