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Friday, 1 May 1942

Senator FOLL (QUEENSLAND) - Has the Minister representing the Prime Minister read the statement appearing in this morning's press, and also, I believe, in yesterday's press, to the effect that the Minister for Labour and National Service has for some unknown reason instructed the Sydney Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board to suspend work on the new pipe-line from the Warragamba Weir to Prospect Reservoir, which is urgently needed, and has been put in hand on the instructions of the Government of New South Wales, and on which 200 stranded Chinese seamen had been employed ? Has the Minister also seen the statement by leading members of various trade unions in that State who say that they are at a loss to understand why the Minister for Labour and National Service has taken this action? Has he also read the statement of Mr. Upton, the Chairman of the Board, that despite the fact that the Chinese have been employed on the pipe-line, a further 200 men are required for this important work? Will the Minister state the reason for this impulsive action on the part of the Minister for Labour and National Service, because unless something is done in the matter, it is quite possible that there will be a misunderstanding between Australia and a gallant ally which is fighting with the British forces in this war. According to the representatives of the trade unions concerned, there is no reason why the Chinese workers referred to should not be employed on this important work.

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