Page 4875 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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the same time, was pleased enough to attack a small family business which was not doing anything wrong but trying to support the accord that had been agreed between the ACTU and the Australian government.

This was an extraordinary example of what happens if you try to do the right thing and stand up against militant unions. I saw tyranny on a scale I have not seen before. Most of the people working in that plant were of either Mauritian or Greek extraction. They were terrified at what they were being subjected to when they were simply trying to carve out a living for their families. Most of them lived close by the factory, in the area of Malvern in Victoria. It was only through persistent determination on the part of the owner, Fred Stauder, that he was able to withstand the tyranny he observed. Sadly, employer organisations—members of the IR club—showed little more support than did many of the militant unionists who went around disregarding section 45D of the Trade Practices Act.

That story is yet to be fully told but it is a sad day in Australia when people are subjected to this level of intimidation. It was a just result that the courts in Victoria came down firmly on the side of the victims, being the company. I would not want to go through anything like that again, but I am proud that I spent six months of my life helping to defend this company and its employees. It certainly was an example of what happens if you take on union thugs. It was difficult for one and all. It is important that we reflect, when we hear so much about IR, on what happened 20 years ago today.

MR SPEAKER: The member’s time has expired.

Death of John Ducker

Sydney riots

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.05): I wish to raise two matters this evening. The first is the passing on 25 November 2005 of John Ducker, former secretary of the New South Wales Labour Council and member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. John Ducker’s contribution to the labour movement and to the Australian Labor Party is well known. That is well and truly on the record and I need not reiterate it. Although I had the privilege of meeting John only once, I would like to record in this place the passing of a great man and pass on my condolences to his family.

Secondly, I refer to the terrible incidents that have taken place in Sydney over the past few days. In my inaugural speech on 11 December 2001, I said:

My perception of Australian society over the last six years is that we have become insular and less caring about our fellow citizens. As an observer of history, and of my own family history, I find this very disturbing…

My maternal grandparents were German Jews … they were lucky enough to be offered places in this country…

I went on to say:

… it is my belief that my grandparents made a huge contribution to many aspects of this country, not least through their contributions to culture and work.

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