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Thursday, 4 July 1946

London, Monday. Britain, on the whole, was entitled to be pleased and encouraged by the results of her first post-war efforts, declared the Lord President of the Council (Mr. Morrison) who said that perhaps the most impressive sign of recovery was the fact that industry was using double the amount of electricity compared with ten years ago.

He revealed that by the end of the year, 5,375,000 nien and women were expected to be working for manufacturers for- the home market, compared with 3,685,000 at the end of 1945.

Mr. Morrisonadded that Britain's exports are reviving wonderfully and if that increase continued, industry was going to beat its targets' by hundreds of millions of pounds worth of goods, but lie remarked that there are not enough Britons for us to do all we want to do. More mcn in mines and more women, in textiles would be a blessing just now.

It is amazing, especially in the face of that state of affairs in Great Britain, that the Commonwealth Ministry should be so lacking in a sense of its duty as- to wipe its hands of the Queensland crisis and deny the Premier the. powerful aid that it should be able to extend to him to bring the present dreadful situation to an end. Last week 5,600 meat-workers, 3,000 coal-miners and 7,800 waterside' workers were defying constitutional authority by refusing to work, thereby forcing into unemployment about 70,000 other men and women. In my home town of Ipswich the railway workshops are idle and 3,000 hands are "out" because of lack of power and coal. Food urgently required for Great Britain is not available. The graziers and dairymen have lo'st more, than £1,000,000. Conferences have been abortive and after months in which it has been unable to restore law and order,' the Queensland Government has declared a state of emergency under which services needed by the people have been drastically curtailed. The sufferings imposed upon the people as the result can be laid at the door of this Government.

That the Prime Minister must help the State Government is shown by the fact that the president of the meat workers U 111on, Mr. Field, speaking at Booval, said that the strike was not the last major struggle and that it would probably prove . to be merely the first round. The unemployment' roll is growing daily. Business is stagnating. The necessaries of life are not being produced. Home building is held . up. Transport is nearly at a standstill. Internal and export trade is almost nonexistent. Thirty-five thousand tons of beef promised to Great Britain will not be despatched. How lamentable that is when the food rations of the people of Great Britain are reduced to such a degree that even bread is rationed ! Production is going downhill fast in Australia, particularly in Queensland, because of industrial lawlessness, but this Government will not lift a finger to end it. The women and children of Queensland' are suffering a shortage of commodities worse than that suffered by them .in the darkest days of the war. Even now I plea,d with the Prime Minister to shake -himself out of his lethargy and take active steps to. break the power that the strike leaders have taken to themselves because of his Government's inept handling of industrial matters. The right honorable gentleman cut a pitiable figure to-day when he said that he could do nothing and appealed to us to suggest what he ought to do. He has surrendered his right- to lead the Government of this country by his failure to stand behind Mr. Hanlon with the power that he possesses under the Constitution. I remind the. right honorable gentleman that the unemployment relief funds appropriated by this Parliament will be mulct in many thousands of pounds as the result of the present state of affairs, mid that many more thousands of pounds will have to be appropriated to meet the needs, of the men and women who have been forced out of work through the illegal activities of the Communist-led strikers, unless action is speedily taken to force the strikers back to work and thus end the need for the rigid restrictions on production, that have been made necessary by their defiance of authority. No political party that allows itself to be cowed by industrial anarchists into allowing them to deprive men and women of themeans of living, can claim the right togovern the country.

Sitting suspended from 4.45 to S p.m.:

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