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Tuesday, 6 August 1946

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) . - During the debate last week I was unable to deal with a couple of points. .

I shall not discuss the legal aspect of the much-vexed matter of compensation. But it would, be interesting were the Minister to provide for the information of the next Parliament, should he be a member of it, a statement of the paid-up capital of the mining shares held in New South Wales, their present-day market value, and* the amount lost, by the coalminers during the last ten years in consequence of strikes. I strongly suspect that the amount lost in strikes exceeds the present ' market value of the shares that are held, by the different companies. The point that I want to bring out is that, had the miners been prepared to work and make a levy on themselves, they could have owned and operated the mines with the money they would have had.

A very difficult position confronts my State in consequence of the refusal ofthe miners to produce coal. The loss in the Adelaide area alone is reputed to have been over £60,000 during last weekend. This may he quite all right from the standpoint of some people on the coalfields of New South Wales, but it is not so good for those who, in other States, have to depend upon supplies of coal to keep industries going. Men who are not prepared to mine coal ought to relinquish that occupation and make way for others who are willing to do so. I do not believe that a man needs to' be descended in a direct line from about seven generation's of Goal-miners before he can go down a coal-mine. At the rate at which matters are progressing, I shall soon be in competition with the honorable member for Hunter, because the Government of South Australia is considering the- development of coal resources in the Barker electorate. I give fair warning to the honorable member, who I am sure will still be a member of this Parliament after the forthcoming general elections, that in due course there may be a contest between him and myself on the subject of coal. No doubt we shall have the assistance of Mr. Gregory Forster, and one or- two other men who have been mentioned in the debate. We should have a rather interesting tussle. I do not wish to delay the committee, because I am perfectly sure that every member of it is anxious to get out on to beautiful green fields,' in order to estimate what the harvest is likely to be on the 28th September. Therefore, I merely record my protest against the manner in which the bill has been brought down, everything it contains, and what it proposes to do. 1 do not believe that it will produce one additional ounce of coal.

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