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Wednesday, 9 September 1942

Mr Francis s asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

1   . In the contemplated extension of employment of women, will the National Register be used in the compilation of the classes of ages and occupations of women to be used in wartime activities?

2.   What safeguards, if any, will be provided by the Government to ensure that men returning to their ordinary avocations after the cessation of hostilities will be re-employed on the basis existing when they were diverted to war work or entered the fighting services?

3.   What is the number of women at present registered for employment?

4.   Is it proposed compulsorily to divert women to war-time activities?

Mr Ward - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Yes.

2.   This matter is receiving the attention of the Government. It is kept constantly under review by the Reconstruction Division of my department. This question is one of the manyproblems connected with reconstruction and must be considered in relation to the general problem of planning for the post-war period. Following the successful termination of the war the Labour Government proposes, not a return to things as they were prior to the outbreak of hostilities, but to the establishment of a new economic order where the first duty of the Government will be the care for the welfare of the people. A properly organized plan of national developmental works financed through the instrumentality of the Commonwealth Bank, will ensure fulltime productive employment at decent wage rates under good working conditions for every citizen. Detailed plans of the reconstruction programme will be made available as soon as practicable.

3.   Approximately 6,000, two-thirds of whom are already employed.

4.   It is not proposed that compulsion should be exercised in moving women from their present employment. However, where such women lose their employment through restriction or rationalization of industry, regulation 15 of the Man Power Regulations will become operative and they will be placed in suitable employment by the Director-General of Man Power.

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