PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5106


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/07/1979

Release Type: Correspondence

Transcript ID: 5106

The Prime minister sent the following telex to Premiers
this morning:
" My dear Premier/ Chief Minister,
I am writing to you because of my concern about the
gravity of the situation that might exist throughout Australia
if a continuation of the bans by the Australian Telecommunications
Employees Association leads to a breakdown of the Telecom
system. So far, problems have been principally confined to
interstate communications. Further continuation of the bans,
however, could lead to a degradation of local services.
If other unions become involved, the entire system could be
affected. If the bans continue many in the community could be put
at risk. Some essential services such as the electricity and
gas networks depend, to an extent, on Telecom services. Many
individuals in the community depend on communications for their
health, and in the extreme, their lives. I am thinking
particularly of the old and the infirm, the very young and
the handicapped. Without communications, the house-bound
will be unable to call for medical assistance, fire services,
and help of other kinds.
The Commonwealth is giving careful thought to the ways
in which assistance might be provided to those in the community
who would be put at risk by the continuation of the bans.
I assume that you are giving consideration to these matters.
I should make it clear that we are not only thinking
about plans to cope with emergencies that might arise,
if the bans continue. The Commonwealth Government is working
actively to ensure that good sense prevails and that'the
relevant unions are persuaded to see that penalising
the community in this way will not achieve their industrial
objectives. No country can contemplate a situation in
which essential services cannot be performed or are
continually at risk. The community pays heavily for essential
services and is entitled to see that they are provided.
We shall do what we can both to ensure that essential
services are provided and to ensure that any emergency is

" I shall be in touch with you shortly about
possible arrangements for co-ordination of Commonwealth,
State, Local Government and community-based assistance,
should the continuation of the bans make that necessary.
Yours sincerely,

Transcript 5106