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Thursday, 18 October 1956

Mr BRYANT (WILLS, VICTORIA) - Is the Minister for Defence aware that dismissals at short notice from defence production establishments are causing a good deal of hardship? Does he recall that, in the years from 1945 to 1948, hundreds of thousands of servicemen were demobilized and replaced in industry without unemployment and hardship being created, and that, similarly, many thousands of workers were transferred from war-time to peace-time production without causing any industrial upset? Will the Minister undertake an examination of the methods used at that time, so that the reduction of defence production activities will not throw the burden of readjustment on to the workers employed in. defence production establishments? Will he issue instructions that no man will be dismissed until the Minister for Labour and National Service has fulfilled his pledge, so often given, to maintain full employment by arranging for these men to have other jobs to go to? Will he also arrange for a longer period of notice of dismissal than one week, with its implication that workers are expendable stores? Will he suspend all dismissals until after Christmas? Finally, will he examine the position of ex-servicemen in this matter, in view of the Government's oft-repeated claim to be the special protector of the interests of ex-servicemen, and in view of the fact that ex-servicemen are being dismissed from some establishments while employees who did not serve in the forces are being retained?

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