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Tuesday, 22 September 1942

Mr HARRISON (Wentworth) . - We have had a variety of answers from Ministers to our simple question: Are men conscripted by the Allied Works Council for work in Queensland compelled to join the Australian Workers Union? The Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) was the first Minister to try to explain the matter. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) explained it in a different way. The Minister for Home Security (Mr. Lazzarini) had yet another explanation. The last explanation that we have been vouchsafed was that of the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Holloway). His explanation made confusion worse confounded. The honorable gentleman tried to draw an analogy between workers who have to show their union membership ticket before they may take employment in a munitions factory, and men called up by the Allied Works Council. He knows that there is no parallel between munitions workers and the white-collar men who, having been forced out of business by the policies applied by the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman), are grabbed for pick (Mr. Hughes) asked the Minister for Social Security the simple question whether members of the Clothing Trades Union - or any other union for that matter - called into service by the Allied Works Council and sent to Queensland, would find that their membership of that union exempted them from having to join the Australian Workers Union. The Minister dodged answering the question by saying that no members of that union would be conscripted by the Allied Works Council, because all are engaged on the manufacture of uniforms for the armed forces, but several members of that union are not at present engaged in the clothing trade. The evasion of Ministers confirms our belief that the Government is trying to bring about compulsory unionism and to force people who, all their lives, have been opposed to the Labour party to contribute to that party's funds through the device of grabbing them for pick and shovel work in Queensland. I advise the Prime Minister to call a meeting of caucus so that

Ministers may be able to come into this chamber with an answer to our question.

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