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Tuesday, 22 September 1942

Mr HOLT (Fawkner) .- The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) asked a most important question, and the Minister for Home Security (Mr. Lazzarini) has not answered it satisfactorily. Last week the Prime Minister (Mr, Curtin) said that the Allied Works Council had compulsorily drafted men to Queensland from the States in which they are domiciled. The Queensland award provides that men who are doing the class of work undertaken by the Civil Constructional Corps must belong to a union. The right honorable gentleman indicated that the policy of the Government was to adhere to the awards operating in the States in which the men worked, and he added that, subject to the discretion of the DirectorGeneral of Allied Works to determine whether or not a man had sincere and conscientious objections to joining a union, all men drafted to the Civil Con.structional Corps in Queensland must join a union. Of course, the Commonwealth Government has plenary -powers to determine whether those men shall be compelled to abide by a ruling that is abhorrent or obnoxious to them. Consequently, the Government will not evade the issue by contending that the matter in dispute comes within' the purview of the Queensland award, because it has the power to overrule the award. I can only assume that while the Government permits the situation to continue, it endorses the view that these men shall be compelled, against their wishes, to join a union and subscribe to the political activities of the Labour party.

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