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Wednesday, 6 May 1914


Senator BLAKEY (Victoria) . - I shall vote for the motion practically for the same reason as has been stated by Senator Lynch. But I wish to direct the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to a matter which affects the livelihood of a very large body of men in this city. During the past fifteen days, four gangs of workmen who have been employed in undergrounding the telephone wires in Melbourne have been dismissed. We are now approaching the winter, when, as honorable senators know, it is difficult for workmen to obtain casual employment.


Senator Findley - Surely the honorable senator did not expect anything better from this Government. They are increasing the cost of living and dismissing thousands of men from their employment.


Senator BLAKEY - The Government have dismissed a large number of men in order to make the finances of the Commonwealth look a little bit better at the end of the year. Workmen have been discharged at Westernport, and four gangs have been dismissed in this city since the 22nd April.


Senator Rae - Has the work been completed?


Senator BLAKEY - I do not think so, nor do I think that all the money appropriated by Parliament has yet been expended. The men who are still engaged on this particular work are very anxious to know what will be their position in the immediate future. I would urge upon the Vice-President of the Executive Council the necessity for an early announcement in this direction, so that if it is intended to discharge more men who are at present engaged in undergrounding telephone wires in Melbourne, they will be afforded an opportunity before the winter sets in of looking round with a view- to obtaining some other employment.







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