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Tuesday, 6 August 1946


Mr WHITE (Balaclava) .- The speech of the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Bryson), if one could term it a speech, was largely made up of " the honorable member for Balaclava". I am the member for Balaclava. I find that whenever I speak the honorable member rises and abuses me. Apparently I get under his skin. Generally I speak in this chamber on policies, and I do not bother about persons. Nevertheless, I would do anything to oppose the socialistic ideas of the honorable member and other Labour party members. The honorable member is a typical Yarra bank speaker. I could not hope to compete with him. The fact that he was a union agitator for many years accounts for his loud voice. The honorable member has never heard of a second shift. The very thought of a second shift is sacrilege. A second shift can be worked. It is being worked in many, industries in Victoria. In Brunswick, which the honorable member misrepresents, a- second shift is being worked in factories.


Mr Bryson - Of course it is.


Mr WHITE - Yet. the honorable member tries to ridicule the idea of a second shift. He says that it cannot even be discussed and that it is not worth con:sidering. Any honorable gentleman who is honest will agree that I did emphasize the need' for co-operation between employers and employees. I said ,that mistakes were made on both sides. The Minister in charge of the bill (Mr. Dedman) made no reference in his second-reading speech to the misdemeanours of the miners. I refer him and the honorable member, for Bourke to the statement by .the late Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, who was honest and sincere in his advocacy of peace in the coal-mining industry, that a great deal of the trouble was caused by spielers and dog-trainers, who sheltered in the industry instead of going to the war, and that they should be purged from the union. The honorable member for Bourke was perhaps not a member then. - .


Mr Bryson - Yes, I was.


Mr WHITE - If there are rapacious or unfair employees they should be brought to book. Any difficulties connected with dust can be removed by an advance in mechanization. If houses are inadequate they can be im proved. But the .Government .must not shut its eyes to the needs of the in-i dustry. It ought to appeal to the better instincts of both the employers and the employees. One would think from the remarks of the honorable member for Bourke that miners were sweated ; but, by working only two or three days a week, they can earn £8. They have a 40-hour week. They can earn much more than £8 a week if they want to. The man who takes an interest in his own industry does good for himself and his family as well as for the country, but the gamblers who waste their money are a bad influence. The great need is for capital and labour to work in unison. I have often said that before. They should get- together and say, " What are the problems that have to be solved? Let us define them and let us deal with them and get on with the job ". Only then will this country prosper. We should produce sufficient coal to ensure that industries shall thrive in the various States, and by their prosperity to attract large numbers of people to make Australia a great nation. To-day on the waterfront we have communist control. The Governor-General' of the Netherlands East Indies announced that that country would not trade with Australia ' until the Dutch ships sailed with their cargoes for the Netherlands East Indies. Communism is threatening the democracies of the world. Honorable gentlemen 'opposite shut their eyes to that. This is the crucial time in our history. If we do not get production, we shall, according to Mr. Justice Davidson's report, have another- depression. Mr. H. Wells, president of the miners' federation, once said-

Malicious and stupid suggestions that the federation proposes to abandon the strike weapon and embrace arbitration have no foundation.

Hisbusiness is strikes. Government supporters never have the courage to denounce him because they are afraid of losing the support of the Communists. Mr. Sharkey, president of the Communist party of Australia, said -

Further .good work will finally convert the miners' organization in to a really revolutionary union and a firm support for tin: struggle for socialism.

That is what members of the Government stand for. They do not criticize Sharkey. If they support this alien evil of communism that has come to Australia, let them say so. If they do not denounce communism they are a menance to Australia. It would be as well if loudmouthed men like the honorable member for Bourke declared themselves so that we shall know the real feelings of honorable gentlemen opposite.







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