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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN ("Western Australia) . - Senator Pearce has put into my mouth reflections upon the skill of Australian workmen which I certainly did not intend, and I do not think my words conveyed any such meaning to the average intelligence. I suppose the Minister was busy attending to some other matter at the time, because if he had heard me correctly he could not have insinuated, in the nasty way he did, that I was casting reflections upon Australian workmen. I probably know more about the Australian man as a man, when one comes right up against him, than the Minister does, and certainly I know more about his capacity for work and fighting too, in comparison with men from any other part of the world, than any other senator does. I stand second to none in my appreciation of the Australian, and I emphatically refute the Minister's insinuation in this regard. Wire rope, before it is exported to Australia, is subjected to a very severe test, not only by the manufacturers, but also by the British Board of Trade. I have several certificates issued by that Board in respect to importations into Western Australia. Furthermore, the mines regulations in Western Australia enforce the application of very severe tests before the mining inspectors will permit any to be used in a mine. Even if this rope is made in Australia, it will have to meet the requirements of the mining inspectors of the various States. In a letter to me the general manager of the Associated Gold Mines of Western Australia says -

Although the cost of the ropes is an exceedingly important matter to us, it is still of greater importance that the material should be of the exact grade of steel, and the ropes of the exact construction to meet the conditions underwhich they work. The requirements of the Mines Department are also very exacting, and we refer you to the mines regulations.

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