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Thursday, 4 July 1946
Page: 2227

Mr FRANCIS (Moreton) .- Especially, as a Queenslander, I am utterly dismayed by the attitude of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) and his deputy (Mr. Forde) towards the calamitous strike that is paralysing Queensland industry. They have neither condemned the strike nor undertaken to support the Premier of Queensland, Mr. Hanlon, in his efforts to end it. The last two speakers on the Government side, like Pontius Pilate, have washed their hands of the matter and left it entirely to Mr. Hanlon. They have let Queensland down. That is not the way to settle strikes. The Commonwealth Government must take the responsibility for the industrial lawlessness that has broken out in Queensland, because its policy of appeasement of the industrial outlaws of this country breeds strikes. The Communists, who control the trade unions, work brazenly in fomenting industrial trouble, because they know perfectly well that this Government is so supine that it will do nothing to check them. Why, since December last year, this Government has stood by futilely while the " mercy " ships needed to take food and medical supplies to Java for the relief of the European and other former prisoners of the Japanese have been tied to the wharves. That is bad enough, but, in Queensland, a strike is raging that is the worst in the history of the State and, without doubt, one of the worst in the history of Australia. The deplorable failure of the Government to stand up to its responsibilities in industrial matters - to-day the Prime Minister would not even condemn the strikers - has led us to a pretty pass. I concede that a conference of the Labour party in Sydney did indulge in a bit of sham fighting against the Communists when it carried a resolution dissociating the party from them, but actions speak louder than words, and action by this Government against the industrial lawbreakers, not only in Queensland, but generally in Australia, has been singularly lacking. Consequently the Queensland dispute has been growing in inten sity for four solid .months. Production has dwindled to almost nothing. The situation in Australia contrasts gravely with that in Great Britain where production is exceeding even the wildest expectations of the most optimistic of its Ministers. I direct the attention of honorable members to the following confirmation 'of that in this morning's press : -

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