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Thursday, 3 September 1942

Mr BEASLEY - I took steps to bring under one head all clothing trade manufacturers doing work for the Government. I believed that if one section of the clothing manufacturers had to observe a given set of conditions, all others should be brought into line with them. Upon that premise, I proceeded to deal with the work that was to be carried out for th, Government. I should like the honorable member to know, and I am sure that he will be pleased to hear, that there has been a ready and most satisfactory response to the request.

Mr Spender - What alternative had the contractors?

Mr BEASLEY - The alternative is that they need not undertake the work. The court, when dealing with this matter, made a decision regarding the right? of unionists in this industry. It also made provision for out-work sections, under which permits were granted to some persons. The fact is that 95.6 peĀ» cent, of the manufacturers in New South Wales have agreed to work under the conditions laid down.

Sir FREDERICKSTEWART.They had no option.

Mr Spender - It was a case of no agreement, no contract.

Mr BEASLEY - The manufacturers may exercise their own choice in the matter of taking contracts. They are not compelled to do so. If they do not like to work under those conditions they need not. I cannot see what honorable members are worrying about; the manufacturers as a whole are not dissatisfied. Apparently, only some honorable members here are not satisfied. Those engaged in the trade are best able to determine what practices ought to be followed, and they have willingly agreed to this arrangement. To-day I pay a tribute to the great majority of clothing manufacturers, who have rendered to the Government a service of which they have reason to be proud. Therefore, it is not unreasonable that they should believe that all manufacturers should be placed upon the one level. There has been little or no complaint - in fact, there is almost complete harmony in the trade.

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