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Tuesday, 31 August 1920

Mr RICHARD FOSTER (WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No; because the strike was due, in the first place, to a dispute between unionists, and not between the men and the mineowners. The deplorable condition of Broken Hill to-day is a shocking example of the work of the young irresponsibles who caused the strike now going on.

Mr Makin - Has the honorable member been there lately?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER (WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I have not; but scores and scores of the best men that ever worked in Broken Hill have told me that as soon as a strike was declared they had either to leave there, or shut their mouths, and submit to any proposal that might be made until the strike was over. The mine-owners of Broken Hill deplore the fact that these men do not come back. If action were taken to clear out of Broken Hill about fifty men, a working man's paradise would be established there. Unionists there have the best employers in the world.

Mr Makin - Does the honorable member say that the mine-owners have all the virtues so far as the present strike is concerned ?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER (WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I do; and I am delighted to know that the statement is true. As to the workshops in which my honorable friend (Mr. Makin) says he has been employed, the experience of the last twenty years is that the industrial disturbances created in it have not infrequently been due to young irresponsibles. I am not including my honorable friend in that category. He is certainly youthful in appearance, but he is the father of a family, and an excellent fellow. My only complaint against him is that he is wrongly informed. I could traverse all the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), and several other members of his party, but I do not wish to detain the Committee.

The honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford) has given utterance tonight to some splendid sentiments, the truth of which cannot be gainsaid, but in order to avoid any waste of time let me say that the words of wisdom that have fallen from his lips have come at the wrong moment, since the purport of the Minister's proposals, if I understand them rightly, is that strikes shall be declared illegal. In these circumstances, I ask you, Mr. Chairman, whether the debate is in order ?

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