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Thursday, 7 July 1949

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct a question to the Prime Minister concerning the huge advertisements about the coal strike that have appeared under his authority in every newspaper in Australia and also concerning the report that hundreds of thousands of leaflets are to be scattered over the coal-fields. What is the purpose of those advertisements? Are they designed, first, to inform the public of the merits of the strike; and, secondly, to try to persuade the miners to return -to work ? If they are intended to persuade the miners to resume work, what machinery does the Prime Minister suggest should be used in order to ;give effect to the wishes of moderates amongst them who may desire to go back to work? If a sufficient number of miners should wish to return to work, does the Prime Minister suggest that they disobey their union executive and return to the pits, or will he, before the Parliament goes into recess, establish machinery which will provide for the holding of a secret ballot to enable them to determine the issue?

Mr CHIFLEY - The advertisements that have been inserted above my name "in newspapers -throughout .Australia have been authorized by the Government for the purpose of enabling the people, and particularly the miners and other workers associated with the coal-mining industry, to learn the facts of the present industrial dispute and with the further purpose, if the facts are appreciated by the mineworkers, of inducing them to see the reason and logic of accepting arbitration and returning to work. The advertisements are designed to make it completely clear that the policy of the Government, which is the policy of the Parliament and of the majority of the people, is to support arbitration and to show that arbitration is the only means by which the miners can expect to secure consideration and rectification of their grievances.

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