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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr HOLT (FAWKNER, VICTORIA) - Since the peace code for the coal-mining industry was announced, nineteen coal-mines have been idle. Can the Prime Minister say how many of the eight reported stoppages of work at coalmines to-day are due to strikes, and when he expects the peace code to operate?

Mr CURTIN - For the reasons that I have already given, I cannot state accurately the number of mines that have been idle. I have had a glance at to-day's report, but have not been able to study in any detail either that report or the reports foe- the previous days-. I have to inform the honorable member that the conference on Saturday afternoon terminated with the complete and unanimous acceptance of the code by the representatives of the unions concerned and the owners. The code was formulated as the result of discussions in which the Government representatives, consisting of three Ministers, and the representatives of the owners and the miners, participated. It represents the general view of those who took part in the conference, that the code furnishes the best means whereby peace may be secured in the industry. I understood, and I still believe that the view was correct, that a few days would be needed to clear up the overlag of conditions that have been operating. I wish the code to be given a reasonable chance by both the unionists and the owners. I am satisfied that the owners and the responsible body of the union, including all its officers, will do their utmost to make it work. I accepted their assurances on Saturday afternoon, and repeat them now, as expressing a determined intention on the part of these men who, although representing different interests, none the less recognize the overriding problems of the nation, and are willing to do their best to ensure tha.t the maximum coal production shall be achieved in order that this country may have the benefit of it. I shall not be deterred by what has happened in the last two or three days from giving to those men and to the code the chance to prove themselves.

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