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Tuesday, 19 May 1942

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aircraft Production) - What day does the Prime' Minister propose *o set aside for the- debate on the coal-mining industry in accordance with his promise last Wednesday?

Mr CURTIN - We are most anxious to proceed with the legislative programme.

Mr Archie Cameron - We aTe' most anxious- to produce coal, too.

Mr CURTIN - We are producing coal. If the honorable member has. the idea- that coal production now is not so high as' it has ever been in Australian history, he is under an illusion. It is higher than ever before. It is more necessary than has- ever been the. case.

Mr Archie Cameron - Is it satisfactory?'

Mr CURTIN - It iis not satisfactory. The honorable gentleman was a member of a government which was faced with the stoppage of the. coal-mining industry for ten consecutive weeks, and he. did not know how to- deal with that.

Mr Archie Cameron - I did,, but my. colleagues d'id not.

Mr CURTIN - I am deeply sensible of the necessity to get all the coal it is possible for this country to get, and I am doing my very best to get it. I wish to thank the miners' officials for the manner in which they have helped the Government. 1 am appalled at the causes which have been advanced for such stoppages as have occurred, and I hope to overcome them; but I have done more to overcome the deficiency of coal production than the honorable member, who says- that he knew, haw to. da it, but could not, get his colleagues to do it.' To the- extent that we can get coal this Government is determined to get it.

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