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Wednesday, 27 May 1942


Mr CURTIN - My discussions with representatives of the coal-mining industry have not yet concluded. Last week I devoted several hours to meeting separately two groups of owners, and the executive of the Australian Coal and Shale Employees Federation. As the result of those discussions, I then decided, by agreement, to convene a joint conference next Friday in Canberra. Meanwhile, I did say that I hoped that all parties concerned would display a readiness to acknowledge the problem of the country, and to put the war before all other considerations. I also said that

I had assurances that each side would pull its weight in the interval between the time when the conference was called and its meeting in Canberra next Friday. I regret to say that half a dozen mines are idle to-day, some of them for causes which, I think, do not justify stoppages. In one or two cases it could be reasonably claimed that difficulty would be experienced in carrying on operations. On Friday, I propose to discuss the matter with the representatives of the employers and the employees, and I am very hopeful that we shall arrive at common ground. The production of coal is vitally important to the nation, and, having regard to the facilities that now exist for the settlement of disputes, I cannot conceive of any reason. why a man should knock off rather than continue the production of coal and have his grievances adjusted by some tribunal.







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