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Tuesday, 5 July 1949

Mr SPENDER (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether discussions have taken place between himself and the AttorneyGeneral of New South Wales with a view to having efficient legislation to control union funds passed by either the Commonwealth or the New South Wales Parliament. If there is any doubt at all about the constitutionality of the act recently passed by this Parliament, will the Attorney-General discuss with the State authorities the passing of complementary legislation so that, with measures on the statute-books of both Parliaments, there will be no possibility of a successful challenge?

Dr EVATT - There has been no discussion on that precise point; but I appreciate the importance which the honorable member's suggestion would have should any legal difficulties arise. I do not think that I can say any more about the matter at present.

Mr HOLT - The Prime Minister mentioned recently that the Government waa examining the possibility of importing coal from abroad, and had made certain inquiries. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether he has received any reply to those inquiries, and if so, whether he can say what quantity of coal can he made available for purchase by Australia, and how soon it can be brought to this country?

Mr CHIFLEY - What I said was that the Government had already sponsored the importation of quantities of coal for the Government of Victoria. Without Commonwealth sponsorship, the Indian Government will not make an allocation of coal to this country. I understand that Victoria is making every endeavour to charter sufficient shipping to import 150,000 tons of coal. The Premier of South Australia has asked for Commonwealth sponsorship for the importation of coal from the United Kingdom to enable concentrates to be carried from Broken Hill to Port Pirie. An import licence is, of course, not necessary. I understand that a quantity of coal can be obtained by South Australia for that purpose. The Commonwealth has not yet been informed of what quantities of coal will be available for importation to Australia or what shipping can be obtained for the purpose. Inquiries have been instituted.

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