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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Senator ASHLEY (New South WalesPostmasterGeneral) (1:17 AM) . - I corrected Senator McBride's statement because he definitely implied that 5,000 tons of coal had to be sent weekly from Newcastle to the south coast as the result of industrial trouble there.

Senator McBride - I repeat that statement.

Senator ASHLEY - It is incorrect. My denial of that assertion is based on information that I have received from the Chairman of the Commonwealth Coal Commission. The transfer of coal from the northern fields to the South Coast did not begin after the Labour Government took office. -Such deliveries were made early in 1941.

Senator McBride - Exactly.

Senator ASHLEY - It has happened also in the western district. It is not uncommon for coal to be transported to the western district even when all the mines in that locality are working; and 840 tons of coal a week has been carried by rail from the Lithgow district to the south coast during the last twenty years.

Senator McBride - What we did in peace-time has no relation to what we should do in war-time in order to conserve rolling-stock and man-power.

Senator ASHLEY - I took exception to the honorable senator's statement because he was trying to mislead this chamber and the country.

Senator McBride - Nothing of the kind.

Senator ASHLEY - The honorable senator definitely implied that coal had to be railed from Newcastle to Port Kembla because of industrial trouble. That is entirely wrong. The honorable senator knows that his assertion was incorrect. Since Senator McBride apparently was unable to understand the report made to me by the Chairman of the Commonwealth Coal Commission, Mr. Mighell, which I read earlier to-day, I shall read it again for his benefit -

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