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Friday, 8 May 1942

Mr CURTIN - The reference by the honorable gentleman . to the " longthreatened " application of the National Security Regulations contains an implication that the Government has not yet exercised the powers taken under those regulations in respect of the mining industry, but that is contrary to fact. In one instance, the powers have been exercised against an employer, and in several instances, they have been used against trade unionists and other workers. I have had no report as to what has occurred on the coal-fields this morning. I regret to say that the Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Beasley) is ill to-day, and I have been unable at this early hour to ascertain authoritatively what the present position is on the coalfields. However, I can assure the honorable mem'ber that the Government will do everything that can be done to get coal in the greatest possible quantity, and I shall not hesitate to take every action requisite to accomplish that purpose. Whilst the coal-miners are governed by the laws of the country, so also is every other section of the people, and I put it plainly to the honorable gentleman that I have done better in getting coal for Australia than did the Government of which he was a member.

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