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Thursday, 30 April 1942

Mr FALSTEIN (WATSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the Minister for Labour and National Service inform me how many industrial disputes, in fact, have occurred, and whether the number is equal to that reported in the daily press ? If the actual number , be less than are thus reported, what action will the Minister take against the newspapers concerned ?

Mr WARD - My attention has been directed to certain erroneous newspaper reports relating to the number of industrial disputes. Yesterday, one newspaper reported that three stoppages had occurred at coal pits. The facts were that a stoppage occurred at one pit, because of a dispute. Another stoppage was due to a breakdown of a locomotive, whilst the third pit had not actually ceased work. The Coal Commissioner had reported to the Government that a dispute was likely to occur on the following day, resulting in a cessation of production. Therefore, the press report was exaggerated, but it is not uncommon among newspapers to-day to exaggerate industrial disputes. I am pleased to be able to advise the honorable member that since this Government took office, fewer man-hours have been lost through disputes than at any other time during the last thirty-five years.

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