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Friday, 6 March 1942


Mr JAMES (Hunter) .- I support the motion. The House should congratulate the Government upon having agreed to meet more regularly in view of the existing circumstances, which make it impossible to judge what may happen from day to day.

The Government should take cognizance of press statements yesterday and to-day in regard to the attitude that is being adopted by Hi3 Honour Judge Drake-Brockman. As batman No. 1 to the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward), I convened a conference when trouble was pending in the coal-mining industry. His Honour, il would appear, does not intend to continue to "play ball" any longer; he ha? refused to give a decision in a certain hours question.


Mr SPEAKER -Order ! The honorable member must associate his remarks with the motion before the House.


Mr JAMES - Previous speakers have dealt, with all manner of subjects. The matter that I wish to raise concerns trouble that will eventuate next Monday if the Government does not act quickly; eight of the largest collieries in Australia will then be idle. Yet you, sir, refuse to allow me to proceed ! I am trying to inform the Parliament of the facts, in order that it may decide whether or not His Honour has acted rightly. If

I am permitted to proceed-


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member is not.


Mr JAMES - Then I shall see that no honorable member who follows me is permitted to discuss any matter that is outside the motion. If necessary, I am prepared to go to the length of incurring suspension from the sitting of the House in order to achieve that object. I have sat in my place patiently listening to other honorable members. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) at no stage of his speech discussed the motion before the House. The opportunity is here presented to ventilate a matter that affects the welfare of the nation. We are approaching a crisis, and no petty standing order should prevent me from placing the matter before Parliament. There will not be another opportunity to do so until the 25th March next.


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member will have an opportunity on the motion for the adjournment of the House later to-day.


Mr JAMES - How many members will then be in attendance? They will be running to catch the train to Sydney. This treatment of me is grossly unfair. I have submitted three reports in regard to coal production, and I have not had an opportunity to discuss one of them in this House, simply because the House does not meet regularly enough. I have not been in my home for six hours during the last five weeks because of the attempts that I have been making to settle trouble on the coal-fields. The matter that I wish to discuss is of vital importance. I warn the Government and the country that unless action be taken immediately there will be a big upheaval. There is no power on earth that can prevent it. Do you, sir, rule that I may not discuss the matter?


Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member is entitled to make a reference to any subject that has a bearing upon the question of when and how often Parliament should meet, but he must not discuss in detail the merits of any subject which is outside the ambit of the motion.


Mr JAMES - Then I shall resume my seat.







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