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Thursday, 5 March 1942

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - If they are objectionable I withdraw them. It has been said from the other side of this chamber during this debate, that the production of coal in Australia is most satisfactory. In fact the Leader of the Senate said that it was a record.

Senator Ashley - I have been in this chamber the whole afternoon and I did not hear those words used by a speaker on this side of the chamber.

Senator JAMESMcLACHLAN.Several Government spokesmen said that the coal position in this country was satisfactory. One honorable senator opposite went so far as to say that stocks in South Australia were satisfactory.

Senator McBride - He said they were the highest ever reached.

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Yes; that is absolutely untrue.

Senator Fraser - I rise to a point of order. I said that the stocks of coal in South Australia to-day were the highest since the outbreak of war, but were still not satisfactory.

The PRESIDENT - A point of order can be raised only if there is a breach of the Standing Orders. Any explanation which the honorable senator desires to make in rebuttal of Senator James McLachlan's statement may be given at the appropriate time.

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I know something about the coal supplies in South Australia, and they are very low. Every honorable member of this chamber knows quite well that they are low. Recently a responsible Minister gave the stocks held in every State, and there was nothing to boast about.

The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) said that the miners were amongst the most loyal men in Australia. Nobody has ever doubted that, nor has anything to the contrary been said in the course of this debate. The Minister went so far as to say that their loyalty would be demonstrated when " the acid " was put on them. If " the acid " is not being put on them now, when will it be?

Senator Keane - It is on every body.

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