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Thursday, 27 June 1946

Mr LAZZARINI (Werriwa) (Minister for Works and Housing) .- There is an old saying, "figures do not lie, but liars can figure". The Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) is adept in juggling figures to suit his own purposes. I know something about Hie coal industry, having represented coal-miners in this Parliament for over 25 years.

Mr McEWEN (INDI, VICTORIA) - Far too long!

Mr LAZZARINI - The electors of Werriwa do not agree with the honorable member. Honorable members opposite and those who sent them here have no regard for the conditions of employment under which the miners are forced to work. They provoke the miners in every way by insults and criticisms founded on a complete and wilful misunderstanding of their problems. The disputes in the coal-mining industry are not of today's making; we are but reaping to-day the crop of evils that has been accumulating in Australia ever since coal-mining was started in this' country, and accu-moisting in Great Britain and Europe for over 100 years. As a former Labour man, the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) should know something about the problems of this industry. At one stage in his career, when he was engaged in a struggle on behalf of the mine-workers, the then Premier of New South Wales - I believe it was Mr. Wade - threatened that he would put him in leg-irons. Amongst the miners on the south coast of New South Wales there is a very grave fear of the effects of dust. So great is this fear that when the present generation of miners dies out there will be nobody to work the mines. Every time they go down the shafts the miners take their lives in their hands.

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