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Thursday, 27 June 1946

Mr DEDMAN - I was drawing attention to the fact that one of the outstanding reasons for the war that has just terminated was the necessity to establish a new social order. I pointed out that, if that new social order was to be established, an increased production of coal was essential. The workers in this industry have probably come to the conclusion that unless something be done for them as a class, quite apart from the rest of the community, the new social order will be established at their expense more than by the efforts of any other section. For that reason, I believe that the workers in this industry are justified in .their determination to ensure that there shall be a new order in their industry. This is' neither the -time nor the place fo'r me to deal with certain proposals which the Government has in hand for this industry. It is' impossible for the Commonwealth Government to act on its own. It has not the power to implement recommendations in the Davidson report, even if it wished to do so; and I do not know whether or- not it does. Neither those nor the nationalization of the industry need be discussed, because the .Commonwealth Government has not the power to effect such purposes. But I believe that the plans which the Government has in mind, and which have been discussed with representatives of the coal-miners and the Government of New South Wales - which has certain constitutional powers in the matter - will ensure that, for the first time in many years, the workers in this industry can be assured that in the very near future there will he some reform of the industry in which they have to spend their lives. I also believe, that when the majority of the workers in this industry realize that - and the point is being reached at which it can be said that the majority do realize it - there will bc greater continuity of effort, and production will more nearly approximate our requirements. Yet I fail to see how, in present circumstances and with the number of mines now operating, sufficient coal could be produced to ensure full employment throughout Australia, even if every man in this industry worked full time oh the job and there were no stoppages on any account. It is, therefore, essential that, in addition to anything which the Commonwealth Government is doing, the State governments should open lip neW mines and develop open-cut mining. The Government of New South "Wales is already working towards that policy. In such action, rather than in attempts to obtain continuous production, lies our best hope for the future.

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