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Thursday, 7 July 1949


Mr BEALE - It is well that the Parliament and the people should know how members of the Opposition feel about this matter. The Minister for External Territories had every opportunity to state his side of the case. Members of the Opposition were glad that he had that opportunity. He has been vindicated, and he had every right to comment on the report of the royal commissioner. It would have been most improper to deny the Minister every opportunity to state his case to the House. But, in the course of his speech, the Minister went further-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member is not entitled to refer at this stage to that debate.

Mr BEALE - I merely desire to say that the Minister smeared other people.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The Chair will ask the honorable member to resume his seat if he continues along those lines. He is not in order in referring now to the previous debate.

Mr BEALE - I come now to the second ground on which I oppose the motion. I am absolutely opposed to the adjournment of the House for five or six weeks during the present crisis. We do not know whether supplementary legislation may be required in relation to the coal strike, and other possible events. Men have been sent to gaol for contempt of court, and we have yet to ascertain how the community will react to that. It is wrong and dangerous for the Parliament to adjourn at the present time. I have a strong suspicion that there is some funny business going on about the coal strike. We had a hint of it when the

Prime Minister was replying to a question that had been asked by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang). The right honorable gentleman said that he had indicated to the Coal Industry Tribunal, Mr. Gallagher, that if he decided to grant the coalminers a 35hour working week, or long service leave, the Australian Government would ensure that the necessary money would be provided to meet the cost. I interjected at the time that a wink was as good as a nod. The Prime Minister has declared that the Government stands for arbitration, that the men must submit their claims to the proper industrial tribunal, and that the Government will uphold the law, but I am beginning to wonder whether the Government will make an inflexible stand. Something peculiar may be happening behind the scenes, and, if it is, the Parliament should be in session to keep an eye on the situation. Honorable members should have the opportunity to voice their views and their criticisms in this forum, if necessary, on behalf of the people of Australia. The Prime Minister has airily taken full responsibility for having an important debate adjourned. Honorable members should not be satisfied with that position.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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