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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3341

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON. E.G. WHITLAM, Q.C., M.P., TO THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE BUILDING WORKERS INDUSTRIAL UNION SYDNEY MONDAY 5 AUGUST 1974

Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 05/08/1974

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 3341

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER,
THE HON. E, G. WHITLAM, M, P.,
TO THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE
BUILDING WORKERS' INDUSTRIAL UNION,
SYDNEY, MONDAY 5 AUGUST 1974
IT IS FITTING THAT THE FIRST PRIME MINISTER
TO OPEN AN ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF YOUR UNION SHOULD
BE A LABOR PRIME MINISTER. YOUR UNION AND YOUR
INDUSTRY ARE ESSENTIAL PARTNERS OF THE LABOR
GOVERNMENT IN BUILDING LITERALLY BUILDING
THE KIND OF SOCIETY WE SEEK FOR OURSELVES,
FOR THE WORKING MEN AND WOMEN OF THIS COUNTRY,
FOR OUR FAMILIES AND OUR CHILDREN.
I DOUBT IF THERE HAS EVER BEEN A TIME WHEN
THE TRADITIONAL SOLIDARITY BETWEEN A LABOR GOVERNMENT
AND THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO
BOTH OF US, MORE IN NEED OF EMPHASIS AND CONFIRMATION.
TODAY THE HOPES AND PLANS OF THE WHOLE LABOR MOVEMENT
ARE UNDER ATTACK FROM AN EMBITTERED AND UNSCRUPULOUS
OPPOSITION. WE MUST UNITE TO RESIST THAT ATTACK AND
DEFEAT IT, IF WE FAIL, ALL THE GOVERNMENT'S HOPES
AND AMBITIONS FOR THIS COUNTRY WILL FAIL, ALL OUR PLANS
FOR THE WELFARE AND SECURITY OF THE WORKER WILL FAIL.

-2-
IT IS TIME FOR CO-OPERATION AND UNDERSTANDING,
WE ARE MINDFUL OF WHAT THE UNIONS HAVE DONE TO HELP
ELECT AND SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT, TODAY I ASK YOU
TO REFLECT ON WHAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS DONE AND CAN
DO FOR THE UNIONS, JUST AS WE ARE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR
PROBLEMS, I ASK YOU TO BE CONSCIOUS OF OURS.
IN THE LONG RUN OUR NEEDS AND INTERESTS
ARE THE SAME THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STABLE AND HEALTHY
SOCIETY, THE PRESERVATION OF A STRONG AND EXPANDING
ECONOMY, NO PEACETIME GOVERNMENT, I VENTURE TO
SUGGEST, HAS EVER FACED MORE COMPLEX AND TESTING
PROBLEMS IN ACHIEVING THIS, THE CHALLENGE IS A GLOBAL
ONE, A UNIVERSAL ONE, AT SUCH A TIME WE MUST LOOK TO
OUR TRADITIONAL ALLIES IN THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT
FOR LOYALTY AND SUPPORT. OUR ULTIMATE TASK IS TO
PRESERVE THE UNDERLYING STRENGTH OF THE ECONOMY,
OUR IMMEDIATE TASK IS TO RESTRAIN ITS-PRESENT
INFLATIONARY TENDENCIES,
I DO NOT NEED TO REMIND YOU HOW DANGEROUS
AND DESTRUCTIVE INFLATION CAN BE FOR THE WORKER AND
HIS FAMILY, IT CAN DESTROY ALL YOUR EFFORTS AND OURS
TO IMPROVE LIVING STANDARDS AND PROMOTE SECURITY AND
SOCIAL JUSTICE, IT CAN ALSO, AS I SAY, DESTROY THE
GOVERNMENT,

-3-
THAT IS WHY, FROM THE MOMENT THE GOVERNMENT
WAS ELECTED, IT HAS WORKED UNREMITTINGLY, CEASELESSLY,
TO ATTACK INFLATION AT ITS ROOTS NOT JUST THE
SYMPTOMS, BUT THE CAUSES, AND THAT IS A MUCH MORE
DIFFICULT BUSINESS TO ISOLATE AND ATTACK THE
CAUSES, THE DEEP-SEATED FORCES THAT CREATE WASTE
AND INEFFICIENCY AND HIGH COSTS IN THE ECONOMY,
I CANNOT PRETEND, LIKE MR. SNEDDEN, THAT WE HAVE FOUND
THE MAGIC SOLUTION; BUT WE HAVE TRIED, WE WILL GO ON
TRYING TILL WE WIN THE BATTLE, ALREADY WE HAVE MADE
FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURAL REFORMS IN OUR TARIFFS,
IN OUR METHODS OF ASSISTANCE TO INDUSTRY, IN OUR
APPROACH TO SUBSIDIES AND THE USE OF MANPOWER.
ALL THESE REFORMS ARE ESSENTIAL TO A LONG-TERM
ANTI-INFLATIONARY POLICY, THE IMMEDIATE BATTLEI
HOWEVER, IS STILL FAR FROM WON, AND IN THAT BATTLE
EVERY SECTION OF THE COMMUNITY MUST PLAY A PART AND,
IF NECESSARY, ACCEPT SOME MEASURE OF SACRIFICE,

THE TRADITIONAL CYCLE OF BOOM AND STAGNATION
IN THE ECONOMY, SO MUCH A FEATURE OF LIBERAL ECONOMIC
MANAGEMENT, HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY MARKED IN YOUR OWN
INDUSTRY, IN THE PAST 13 YEARS THERE HAVE BEEN THREE
DISTINCT BOOMS AND THREE SEVERE DOWNTURNS IN THE
BUILDING TRADE. IN JUNE 1972, AT THE TIME OF THE LAST
RECESSION IN THE INDUSTRY, THERE WERE 230 UNEMPLOYED
FOR EVERY 100 REGISTERED VACANCIES IN THE SKILLED
BUILDING TRADES, THIS IS AN INTOLERABLE RECORD OF
WASTE, INSTABILITY AND HARDSHIP, OUR TASK AS A
GOVERNMENT IS TO TRY TO REDUCE THESE FLUCTUATIONS, TO
KEEP THE INDUSTRY AT FULL EMPLOYMENT LEVELS AND
MAINTAIN A RATE OF GROWTH THAT WILL ENABLE IT TO
SUPPLY US WITH THE HOUSES, OFFICES, SCHOOLS AND
HOSPITALS REQUIRED BY OUR GROWING POPULATION. I AM
CONFIDENT THAT WE CAN ACHIEVE THIS, BUT WE WILL
ACHIEVE IT ONLY WITH YOUR SUPPORT AND CO-OPERATION-

LET ME FIRST SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE PROBLEM
OF INFLATION AS IT BEARS ON YOUR OWN INDUSTRY, NO
GOVERNMENT CAN HOPE TO CONTROL INFLATION WHEN, IN A
FULLY-STRETCHED ECONOMY, BANKS AND OTHER FINANCIAL
INSTITUTIONS ARE SO FLUSH WITH FUNDS THAT THEY ARE
ABLE TO SUPPORT AN EXCESSIVE DEMAND FOR GOODS AND
SERVICES, THE OLD STORY TOO MUCH MONEY CHASING
TOO FEW GOODS APPLIES WITH UNIQUE FORCE TO THE
BUILDING INDUSTRY, THE PRESENT TIGHT'LIQUIDITY
AND HIGH INTEREST RATES ARE A RESULT OF THE
GOVERNMENT'S DETERMINATION TO CONTROL AND REDUCE
INFLATION, WE SHALL NOT CAPITULATE, WE SHALL NOT
WAVER FROM THIS POLICY TO ACHIEVE SOME SHORT-LIVED
POPULARITY, NOBODY LIKES A TIGHT MONETARY POLICY,
LEAST OF ALL A LABOR GOVERNMENT, BUT IT IS
NECESSARY FOR THE PRESENT TO KEEP MONEY TIGHT TO
RESTRAIN PRIVATE SECTOR SPENDING, AS I TOLD THE
PREMIERS ON 7 JUNE:
" VIE ARE FOLLOWING SUCH A MONETARY POLICY,
NOT BECAUSE WE LIKE ITS CONSEQUENCES IN
TERMS OF FINANCIAL STRINGENCY AND HIGHER
INTEREST RATES, BUT BECAUSE WE HAVE TO
IF THERE IS TO BE A CURB ON EXCESSIVE
PRIVATE SPENDING. I

-6-
WITHIN THAT OVER-RIDING POLICY OBJECTIVE,
HOWEVER, THE GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES THAT THE ESSENTIAL
NEEDS OF THE ECONOMY FOR FINANCE MUST BE MET. WE
WILL CERTAINLY NOT PERMIT ANY GENERAL DOWNTURN IN THE
BUILDING INDUSTRY, WE WANT TO SEE THAT MONEY AND
CREDIT ARE AVAILABLE TO FINANCE ORDERLY ECONOMIC
EXPANSION, WITH THAT IN MIND, WE HAVE, IN THE PAST
TWO MONTHS, RELEASED ADDITIONAL FUNDS TOTALLING
ALMOST $ 349 MILLION, IN ADDITION, FURTHER FUNDS
HAVE BEEN FREED TO HELP THE MAJOR TRADING BANKS
MAKE LOANS TO INDUSTRY, COMMERCE AND RURAL PRODUCERS,
FOR ALL THAT, I MUST SAY FRANKLY THAT A
GENERALLY RESTRICTIVE MONETARY POLICY WILL NEED TO
BE MAINTAINED FOR SOME TIME IF EXCESSIVE DEMAND
PRESSURES ARE TO BE CURBED AND INFLATION BROUGHT UNDER
CONTROL, IF MONETARY POLICY SOUGHT TO PREVENT A
RISE IN INTEREST RATES WHEN DEMANDS FOR CREDIT WERE
BOOMING, MONEY AND CREDIT WOULD EXPAND EXPLOSIVELY,
WITH DEVASTATING EFFECTS ON PRICES, IN THE END,
ANY SUCH POLICY WOULD PROVE FUTILE, OBVIOUSLY THERE
ARE SOME COSTS TO THE COMMUNITY INVOLVED IN OUR
PRESENT RESTRAINTS. BUT WOULD-BE HOME BUYERS, THOSE
ON FIXED INCOMES, EXPORTERS AND THE COMMUNITY
GENERALLY WOULD SUFFER MUCH MORE IF INFLATION WERE
ALLOWED TO RUN UNCHECKED,

-7-
IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S MONETARY
POLICIES ARE BEGINNING TO STABILISE THE PRICE OF
HOUSES. AFTER INCREASING BY 20 PER CENT OR MORE DURING
THE PAST YEAR, THERE ARE NOW ALMOST DAILY REPORTS
THAT HOUSE PRICES ARE LEVELLING OUT AND, IN SOME CASES,
FALLING, OBVIOUSLY IT WOULD SERVE NO WORTHWHILE
PURPOSE TO INCREASE THE SUPPLY OF HOUSING FINANCE WHEN
THE HOUSING INDUSTRY IS OVER-STRETCHED, AS IT HAS
BEEN DURING THE PAST EIGHTEEN MONTHS, ADDITIONAL
FINANCE DOES NOT BUILD MORE HOUSES: IT SIMPLY ADDS
TO INFLATIONARY PRESSURES, TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF ALL
POTENTIAL HOME-BUYERS, NOR DOES IT CREATE MORE JOBS
OR PROMOTE THE SECURITY OF THE BUILDING WORKER. YET
THE FACT IS THAT IN THE YEAR TO THE MARCH QUARTER
1971 THE LATEST PERIOD FOR WHICH STATISTICS ARE
AVAILABLE MORE DWELLINGS WERE APPROVED, COMMENCED
AND COMPLETED THAN EVER BEFORE. AT THE END OF
MARCH THERE WERE OVER 100,000 DWELLINGS ! INDER
CONSTRUCTION. THIS REPRESENTED AN INCREASE OF
PER CENT COMPARED W! TH A YEAR EARLIER AND
54 PER CENT COMPARED WITH 1972,

-8-
THIS BACKLOG OF WORK REFLECTS MAINLY THE
ENORMOUS INCREASE OF 44 PER CENT IN THE NUMBER OF
HOUSING LOANS APPROVED IN 1972/ 73. IT HAS SERVED TO
MAINTAIN ACTIVITY IN THE INDUSTRY AT A VERY HIGH
LEVEL IN THE JUNE QUARTER. STATISTICAL DATA AND
INDUSTRY REPORTS SUGGEST, HOWEVER, THAT WHILE
LABOUR FOR FINISHING TRADES AND CERTAIN MATERIALS AND
APPLIANCES ARE STILL IN SHORT SUPPLY, PRESSURES
ON THE INDUSTRY HAVE BEGUN TO EASE,
THIS IS TO BE WELCOMED. THE BIG PROBLEM
IN THE PAST YEAR HAS BEEN ONE OF EXCESSIVE DEMAND
FOR RESOURCES. THE RESULTING STRAINS HAVE BEEN
A. LL TOO EVIDENT IN DELAYS, ESCALATING PRICES AND
A REDUCTION IN PUBLIC SECTOR WELFARE HOUSING,
OUR MEASURES HAVE BEEN DESIGNED TO MODERATE THESE
EXCESSIVE DEMAND PRESSURES IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR
AND TO PROVIDE SCOPE FOR AN EXPANSION OF PUBLIC
SECTOR HOUSING, THESE OBJECTIVES ARE NOW BEING
ACHIEVED, CONTRACTORS ARE AGAIN SHOWING AN INTEREST
IN TENDERING FOR PUBLIC HOUSING, AT THE SAME TIME WE
HAVE INCREASED OUR ALLOCATIONS TO THE STATES TO PREVENT
ANY UNDUE REDUCTION IN THE DWELLING CONSTRUCTION
INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE, ADVANCES TO THE STATES FOR
WELFARE HOUSING IN 1974-75 WILL TOTAL $ 235 MILLION
A RECORD FOR ANY GOVERNMENT, AND WE HAVE UNDERTAKEN
TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR WELFARE HOUSING IF
THE STATES CAN USE THEM PRODUCTIVELY

-9-
I WANT TO DEAL TODAY WITH TWO SPECIFIC PROPOSALS
OF DIRECT IMPORTANCE TO YOUR MEMBERS, THE FIRST OF
THEM, WE BELIEVE, WILL SERVE A TRIPLE PURPOSE IN
RESTRAINING INFLATION, REDUCING INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES AND
PROMOTING THE WELL-BEING AND SECURITY OF WAGE AND SALARY
EARNERS, AS MY COLLEAGUE CLYDE CAMERON HAS ANNOUNCED,
THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE SUPPORTING A POLICY OF WAGE
INDEXATION AT NEXT WEEK'S CONFERENCE CALLED BY THE
PRESIDENT OF THE CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION COMMISSION,
MR JUSTICE MOORE. OUR INTENTION IS TO RESTORE QUARTERLY
AUTOMATIC COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS TO WAGES,
I DO NOT SUGGEST FOR A MOMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S
SOLE OBLIGATION TO THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IS TO
COMPENSATE WAGE EARNERS FOR INCREASES IN THE COST OF
LIVING, OR THAT SUCH ADJUSTMENTS SHOULD BE THE LIMIT
OF THE WAGE-EARNER'S EXPECTATIONS. WE SEE INDEXATION
AS ONE OF A SERIES OF WAGE PROPOSALS, WE WOULD HOPE
THAT, IN RETURN FOR INDEXATION, UNIONS WOULD FORGO ANY
WAGE CLAIMS BASED SOLELY ON PRICE MOVEMENTS AND THAT
FURTHER WAGE AND SALARY INCREASES THOSE OF GENUINE
SUBSTANCE AND LONG-TERM VALUE WOULD BE BASED LARGELY
ON PRODUCTIVITY, OR CHANGES IN WORK VALUE OR CONDITIONS
THESE CHANGES WOULD BE MADE PRINCIPALLY THROUGHI
DETERMINATIONS OF THE COMMISSION. WE WANT TO RESTORE
THE AUTHORITY OF THE COMMISSION WE WANT IT ONCE
AGAIN TO BE THE MAJOR INFLUENCE ON WAGE MOVEMENTS
IN THIS COUNTRY,

I HAVE TO TELL YOU FRANKLY THAT REPEATED WAGE
RISES OF THE ORDER OF 15 OR 20 PER CENT OR MORE ARE
INSUPPORTABLE IN PRESENT ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES, WE ALL
KNOW, OF COURSE, WHY SUCH CLAIMS HAVE BEEN MADE AND,
IN MOST CASES, WHY THEY HAVE BEEN GRANTED. THEY HAVE
BEEN MADE, NOT MERELY TO COMPENSATE WORKERS FOR PRICE
RISES THAT HAVE ALREADY OCCURRED, BUT TO PROTECT THEM
AGAINST RISES WHICH THEY ANTICIPATE IN THE FUTURE. IT
IS OUR HOPE THAT INDEXATION WILL REMOVE THE NEED
AND THE INCENTIVE FOR SUCH CLAIMS. WHEN WORKERS KNOW
THAT THEY WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY COMPENSATED AS
THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE FOR INCREASES IN THE COST
OF LIVING, THEY WILL BE ABLE TO DIRECT THEIR WAGE
NEGOTIATIONS TO QUESTIONS OF REAL AND LASTING
IMPORTANCE TO THEIR WELFARE AND THEIR INDUSTRY.
SOME MODERATION IN THE SCALE OF WAGE CLAIMS WILL
HAVF SIGNIFICANT LONG-TERM ANTI-INFLATIONARY EFFECTS.

-11-
WHAT A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR ATTITUDE AND
THAT OF OUR OPPONENTS, THE LAST TIME WORKERS NEEDED
THIS PROTECTION AGAINST PRICE INCREASES IN THE EARLY
1950S THE LIBERALS DEPRIVED THEM OF IT, THEY REMOVED
QUARTERLY ADJUSTMENTS WITHOUT SUBSTITUTING ANY
GUARANTEE AGAINST THE ERODING EFFECTS OF THE COST OF
LIVING, 11O WONDER THERE WAS A WAVE OF INDUSTRIAL
UNREST, WE HAVE STRONG HOPES THAT OUR PROPOSALS WILL
REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF WORKING DAYS LOST THROUGH
STRIKES, IT IS NO ACCIDENT THAT THE FIGURES FOR
WORKING DAYS LOST THIS YEAR ARE THE HIGHEST FOR MANY
YEARS, YET 71.3 PER CENT OF THE STRIKES IN MAY
AND JUNE THIS YEAR WERE DUE TO DISPUTES OVER WAGES,
AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF THOSE WERE DUE TO WAGE DEMANDS
REVOLVING AROUND PRICE MOVEMENTS, SO,* IN OUR VIEW,
QUARTERLY ADJUSTMENTS ARE QUITE CRITICAL TO BOTH GOOD
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND THE FIGHT AGAINST INFLATION,
WE HAVE CERTAINLY BEEN ENCOURAGED BY THE CO-OPERATION
AND GOODWILL SHOWN BY THE MAJOR UNIONS,

-12-
ICOME NOW TO A SECOND PROPOSAL OF HISTORIC
IMPORTANCE TO THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT AND THE FUTURE
STRENGTH OF THE ECONOMY ON 17 JULY MR. CAMERON
TABLED IN PARLIAMENT THE REPORT OF THE COCHRANE COMMITTEE
OF INQUIRY INTO LABOUR MARKET TRAINI* NG.' MR. CAMERON'
SUBMISSION TO CABINET ON RETRAINING -BASED ON THE
COCHRANE REPORT RECOMMENDED THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A
NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING SYSTEM ( NEAT),
THIS PROPOSAL WAS APPROVED BY CABINET ON 8 JULY, I
PAY TRIBUTE TO YOUR UNION FOR ITS READINESS TO JOIN THE
SCHEME AND CO-OPERATE WITH THE GOVERNMENT IN MAKING IT
A SUCCESS. THE OPPORTUNITIES MADE AVAILABLE UNDER NEAT
WILL BE AVAILABLE EQUALLY TO WOMEN AND MEN. WE SEE
THE SCHEME AS PART OF A GENERAL MANPOWER POLICY TO
IMPROVE THE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES
OF ALL WORKERS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO FIND THAT THEIR
OPPORTUNITIES AND ASPIRATIONS ARE THWARTED BY AN
INADEQUATE EDUCATION.
IEMPHASISE THAT THE SCHEME IS NO MERE SHOR-r-TERM
PALLIATIVE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT. ITr WILL COVER A WIDE
RANGE OF SKILLS, AND WHILE IT WILL BE PpOMPT AND FLEXIBLE
IN RELIEVING SHORT-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT, ITS CHIEF AIM WILL
BE TO RESTRUCTURE THE WORK FORCE TO ENABLE CO-ORDINATION
BETWEEN THE SUPPLY OF ALL TYPES OF LABOUR.

-13-
THE SCHEME WILL FULFIL THIS GOAL BY ASSISTING PEOPLE WHOSE
CAREERS HAVE BEEN EITHER CIRCUMSCRIBED OR CURTAILED BY
CHANGES IN THE NATURE OF THE LABOUR REQUIREMENTS OF
INDUSTRY, BY STRUCTURAL CHANGES WITHIN INDIVIDUAL
INDUSTRIES OR THROUGHOUT THE ECONOMY, BY CHANGES IN
DEMAND BY TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE, BY GOVERNMENT POLICIES
OR CHANGES IN THE ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF CERTAIN
GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS, IT WILL HELP PEOPLE DEVELOP NEW
SKILLS RELEVANT TO THE NEEDS OF MODERN INDUSTRY,
IT WILL AIM AT IMPROVING THE LEVEL OF SKILLS WITHIN
THE WORKFORCE AND THE QUALITY OF LABOUR AVAILABLE
TO INDUSTRY, FURTHERMORE, IT WILL ENCOURAGE THE CONCEPT
OF CONTINUING TRAINING THROUGHOUT AN INDIVIDUAL'S
WORKING LIFE SO THAT HIS SKILLS WILL REMAIN RELEVANT
TO THE NEEDS OF SOCIETY,
NEAT AIMS PRIMARILY AT PROVIDING FOR THE
TRAINING NEEDS OF ADULTS, IT WILL GRANT TRAINING
OPPORTUNITIES IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PRIORITIES:

-14-
i1 ANY PERSONS RENDERED REDUNDANT
BY GOVERNMENT POLICIES,
2, PERSONS RENDERED REDUNDANT BY
TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES,
3, PERSONS WHOSE EMPLOYMENT POTENTIAL
HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY HEALTHI
IMPRISONMENT OR INAPPROPRIATE
WORK SKILLS,
4, PERSONS WHOSE TRAINING WILL OFFSET
SHORTAGES OF SPECIFIC SKILLS,
PERSONS WISHING TO UPGRADE THEIR
TRAINING ON THEIR OWN INITIATIVE.
THE SCHEME WILL ENDEAVOUR TO PROVIDE A TRAINING
PROGRAM FOR EVERY APPLICANT IN LINE WITH HIS ASPIRATIONS
AND HIS ABILITY TO COMPLETE A COURSE OF TRAINING IN
NEEDED SKILLS, THE TRAINING ARRANGEMENTS WILL BE
SUFFICIENTLY FLEXIBLE TO GIVE WHATEVER PRELIMINARY
OR PREPARATORY TUITION IS NECESSARY TO ALLOW ENTRY
INTO STANDARD TRAINING PROGRAMS, THERE WILL BE
FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME TRAINING IN EDUCATIONAL
INSTITUTIONS, INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE, AND CORRESPONDENCE
TUITION WHERE APPROPRIATE,

THE FULL-TIME TRAINING ALLOWANCES WILL BE EQUAL
TO THE AVERAGE ADULT MALE AWARD WAGE FOR ALL ADULT TRAINEES
AND FOR THOSE UNDER 21 WITH DEPENDENTS, WITH A SLIDING
SCALE OF ALLOWANCES FOR TRAINEES BELOW 21 DOWN TO
PER CENT OF THE RATE FOR THOSE UNDER 18, ALLOWANCES
WILL BE PROVIDED WHERE NECESSARY FOR FARES, TUITION AND
EXAMINATION FEES, BOOKS AND LIVING AWAY-FROM-HOME EXPENSES,
THOSE ARE SOME OF THE MEASURES WE HAVE BROUGHT
FORWARD TO BRING WAGE JUSTICE AND WIDER OPPORTUNITIES
TO TRADE UNION MEMBERS, THERE ARE OTHERS STILL IN
THEIR EARLY STAGES,
EVERY ONE OF OUR MEASURES WILL BENEFIT THE
WORKING MAN AND WOMAN, THE WAGE EARNER, THE UNIONIST,
WE ARE EXAMINING SCHEMES FOR NATIONAL COMPENSATION AND
REHABILITATION ON THE BASIS OF THE REPORT BY MR, JUSTICE
EA. WOODHOUSE, WE ARE COMMITTED TO A NATIONAL SUPERANNUATION
SCHEME FOR ALL EMPLOYEES, WE ARE PLEDGED TO ESTABLISH AN
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT INSURANCE OFFICE, OUR RESTRUCTURING
OF THE TAX SCALES WILL TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE NEEDS OF
LOWER-PAID WORKERS, OUR PLANS FOR CHILD CARE YES$
CHILD CARE WILL GIVE A NEW DEAL TO THE WORKING MOTHER,
IT IS TRUE THAT THESE PLANS HAVE BEEN BRIEFLY DEFERRED
OUT OF ECONOMIC NECESSITY, THE FACT REMAINS THAT WE WILL
BE SPENDING MORE ON ESSENTIAL CHILD CARE SERVICES THAN
EVER BEFORE, IT WILL BE AN IMPROVED AND ENLARGED CHILD
CARE SCHEME,

-1.6-
I REJECT UTTERLY THE CYNICAL OPPORTUNISM OF AN
OPPOSITION THAT ACCUSES US OF NEGLECTING MOTHERS AND
CHILDREN WHEN FOR YEARS THEIR OWN NIGGARDLY CHILD CARE
PLANS CONDEMNED THOUSANDS OF WORKING MOTHERS TO HARDSHIP.
THE DIFFERENCE IS SIMPLY THIS: THEY DID NEXT TO NOTHING
AND PROMISED NEXT TO NOTHING, WE ARE PLEDGED TO A MASSIVE
AND FUNDAMENTAL CHILD CARE PROGRAM.
I CANNOT CONCEAL FROM YOU I CANNOT EMPHASISE TOO
MUCH THAT THE SUCCESS OF ALL THESE PLANS DEPENDS ON
THE MAINTENANCE OF A STRONG, HEALTHY ECONOMY. THAT IS
WHY WE MUST CO-OPERATE IN THE BATTLE AGAINST INFLATION.
THAT IS WHY WE MUST STAND TOGETHER, WORK TOGETHER,
TO RESIST THE SABOTAGE AND OBSTRUCTION OF THE OPPOSITION.
LET ME GIVE YOU ONE EXAMPLE OF THIS PETTY AND VICIOUS
OBSTRUCTIONISM THAT CONCERNS THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT.
WE HAVE INTRODUCED A CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION BILL.
IT WILL, AMONG OTHER THINGS, FACILITATE THE MAKING OF
INDUSTRIAL AGREEMENTS. IT WAS PART OF OUR POLICY; IT
WAS APPROVED BY THE I'OPFLE; IT IS SUPPORTED BY THE UNIONS
AND THE EMPLOYERS. YET THE OPPOSITION WILL OPPOSE IT.
WHAT SORT OF DEMOCRACY IS THAT? YOU WANT IT; THE
EMPLOYERS WANT IT; THE PEOPLE WANT IT. BUT THE
OPPOSITION SAYS NO,

-17-
You SHOULD HAVE NO ILLUSIONS ABOUT THE CHOICE
BEFORE YOU, IT IS SOMETIMES TEMPTING FOR PROFESSIONAL
UNIONLEADERS TO TAKE THE CYNICAL VIEW THAT ONE
GOVERNMENT IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER, THE FACT IS THAT
THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT HAS DONE MORE FOR THE WELFARE
OF WORKING MEN AND WOMEN THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN OUR
HISTORY, EVERY DECISION WE HAVE TAKEN, EVERY PRIORITY
WE HAVE ADOPTED, HAS BEEN DIRECTED TO THE BENEFIT OF
THOSE MOST IN NEED, TO THE CARE OF THE WEAK AND VULNERABLE
SECTIONS OF THE COMMUNITY, AND TO THE CREATION OF WIDER
AND MORE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL OUR CITIZENS,
THE AUSTRALIAN WORKER TODAY IS BETTER OFF THAN
HE HAS EVER BEEN NOT JUST IN MATERIAL TERMS, IMPORTANT
AS THAT IS, BUT IN THE RANGE AND QUALITY OF SOCIAL
OPPORTUNITIES WE HAVE OPENED UP FOR HIM. REMEMBER
ALL WE HAVE DONE FOR EDUCATION EDUCATION AT EVERY
LEVEL; FOR SOCIAL SECURITY; FOR AUSTRALIA'S
REPUTATION IN THE WORLD, REMEMBER ALL WE HAVE DONE
FOR MIGRANTS, WHO ARE SUCH A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION OF
YOUR MEMBERSHIP,

-1 8c
WHERE WOULD WE BE TODAY IF THE LIBERALS HAD
STILL BEEN IN POWER SINCE 1972? WE WOULD BE REELING UNDER
THE WORST AND CRUDEST KINDS OF ANTI-INFLATIONARY ACTION:
MASSIVE UNEMPLOYMENT AN NUTILSANTO. OUR
YOUNG WORKERS WOULD STILL BE SUBJECT TO CONSCRIPTION.
OUR SCHOOLS WOULD STILL BE IMPOVERISHED AND DEVOID OF
HOPE. PRICES, UNCHECKED BY OUR TRIBUNAL, WOULD BE FAR
HIGHER THAN THEY ARE NOW, OUR DOLLAR WOULD STILL BE
UNDERVALUED. OUR INDUSTRIES AND RESOURC. ES WOULD STILL
BE VULNERABLE TO FOREIGN TAKEOVER AND CONTROL. THE WHOLE
SINISTER APPARATUS OF PENAL CLAUSES AND ANTI-UNION
PROPAGANDA WOULD BE IN FULL STRIDE, INTIMIDATING THE
WORKER AND THREATENING THE UNION4S WITH PENALTIES AND
RESTRAINTS. OUR OPPONENTS KNOW THIS, THEY BITTERLY RESENT WHAT
WE ARE DOING TO MODERNISE AND DEMOCRATISE AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY,
How INCREDIBLE IT IS, HOW MONSTROUS, THAT LESS THAN THREE
MONTHS AFTER A GENERAL ELECTION THE TWO-TIME LOSERS SHOULD
STILL BE RESISTING THE UMPIRE'IS DECISION, STILL CLINGING
TO A PATHETIC BELIEF IN THEIR GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO RULE,
IAPPEAL TO YOU TO STAND BESIDE THE GOVERNMENT YOU ELECTED.
IAPPEAL TO YOU TO CO-OPERATE WITH US IN ALL WE ARE DOING1
TO MOBILIZE THE POWER AND RESOURCES OF~ THE TRADE UNION
MOVEMENT IN RESISTING THE SABOTAGE OF THE OPPOSITION AND
EXPOSING THEIR HYPOCRISY AND DECEIT. LET ' THIS CONFERENCE,
WHICH I NOW HAVE PLEASURE IN DECLARING OPEN, BE THE FIRST
MOVE IN THI'S DRIVE TO CONFIRM G'JIR SOLIDARITY, TO RESTORE
OUR DETERMI'NATION AND RENEW OUR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE.

Transcript 3341