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Wednesday, 16 September 1942


Dr EVATT (BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Attorney-General) - The honorable member's question gives me an opportunity to fi ate the procedure which i3 followed in these cases. When a stoppage occurs in any mine, including the stoppages to which the honorable member has referred, an immediate investigation of the affair is made by officers of the Investigation Branch, whose report is sent to Sydney for consideration. In every case the investigating officers insist upon getting the versions of both the employees and the employers. When that is done, counsel advises whether a prosecution shall take place or not. In some instances, where employees have been responsible for a stoppage, they have been fined by the lodge, and in, I think, two cases the lodge itself has been fined by the District Board.


Mr James - The procedure is very expeditious when it is a matter of punishing the workers.


Dr EVATT - The difficulty always is in finding the facts, and if the facts are as stated by the honorable member, the investigators will report to that effect, and a proper decision will be reached.


Mr JAMES - I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that the Government has deeded nor, to allow any fur- ther rr anglers of former miners who are now working in other industries back to : i: e coal-mining industry. Many such nien were cavilled out during the depression years, and they are now anxious to return in order to fill vacancies that have benn caused as the result of the provision in the New South Wales Miners Pensions Act for the compulsory retirement of miners at the age of 60 years. These retirements have caused an acute shortage of labour in the coal-mining industry. In view of this fact, will the Prime Minister give consideration to repealing the Government's decision so that the men may return to the coal-mining industry? The vacancies cannot be filled by ordinary labourers because experienced miners are needed.







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