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Thursday, 30 June 1949

Mr RYAN (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - Can the Prime Minister say how many of the miners who are employed on the coal-fields voted at the recent meetings that were held to discuss the present coal strike? Of those who voted, how many recorded votes in favour of the strike? Was the voting by a show of hands or by ballot? If it was by ballot, was the ballot secret or open?

Mr CHIFLEY - Over 20,000 members of trade unions represented on the Combined Mining Unions Council were entitled to vote at the stop-work meetings that were held recently in the coal-fields. I understand from press reports that 8,000 men voted in favour of the strike and that 500 voted against it. The great majority of those who were eligible to vote did not in fact do so. I understand that the voting was by a show of hands and not by a secret ballot. It was as a result of that vote that the Combined Mining Unions Council, on which the miners' federation and other trade unions are represented, made the decision to call a general strike in the coal-fields.

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