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Wednesday, 7 December 1938


Mr SPEAKER -Order! This bill does not deal with national insurance.


Mr JAMES - That is the ultimatum, and it is making a few honorable members opposite tremble. We on this side are not afraid of another election; measures of this kind have given us all the ammunition we shall require in such a contingency. If it is fair to give this assistance to one section of primary producers, why should not similar assistance be given to all sections of primary industry? Honorable members opposite speak of the suffering of primary producers; they do not know the meaning of suffering. What section of industry has suffered more than the coal-miners? As the result of unemployment, many of these thrifty men have lost their all. I know of cases in which miners have lost to the banks homes upon which they owed no more than £80 when unemployment overtook them. Yet, when I have appealed to this Government to rehabilitate the coal-mining industry, and have supported my arguments by directing attention to the necessity for making this country independent of overseas supplies of oil, my representations have not been heeded. The governments of other countries have realized the importance of developing their own oil resources, but this Government refuses to take similar action simply because there are not sufficient honorable members in this House representing coal-mining constituencies to bring the necessary pressure to bear on it. I have done my utmost in urging the Government to do something for the coal-mining industry, but all of my efforts have been in vain. In these circumstances, it is my duty to protest against the unfairness of providing this subsidy ' in which wealthy farmers will be able to participate. I cannot support such a proposal when the needs of the industry with which 1 have been associated all my life are disregarded by the Government.







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