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Thursday, 5 December 1946

Mr Spender r asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

1.   How many unionists in each State are at present out of work (a) as the a result of strikes and (6) as a result of lock-outs?

2.   How many unionists were involved in disputes in 1945-40 (<;,) as a result of strikes and (b) as a result of lock-outs?

Mr Holloway - The answers to the honorable members questions are as follows : -

Neither the Commonwealth Statistician nor my department keeps records from which it would be possible to distinguish unionists from other workers involved in industrial disputes. During 1943-46 figures from the Commonwealth Statistician indicate that a total of 327,288 workers, unionists and others, were involved in industrial disputes. In regard to the cun-ent position it. is impossible to obtain strictly accurate figures. In particular, no reliable information is obtainable in respect of coal-mining which is, therefore, excluded from the following table. This table shows, as at 30th November, the number of workers out of work as a result of strikes and lockouts, so far as the numbers cun be ascertained by my department.

Upholsterers' Tacks.

Mr Dedman n. - On the 27th November, the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Sheehy) asked a question concerning the shortage of upholsterers' tacks in South Australia.

The Minister for Supply and Shipping has supplied the following information : -

There has been a temporary cessation of production in the factories of the two Australian makers of tacks. One manufacturer, British United Shoe Machinery Co. of Australia Pty. Ltd., Victoria, which normally supplies the boot trade and, to a lesser extent, the motor vehicle body manufacturers, has sufficient stocks of tack plate on hand to permit normal production when same resumes. The other manufacturer, Sidney Cooke Pty. Ltd., is without stocks of plate, but has a substantial shipment in transit, which should be available when production operations resume. To alleviate the present shortage, the Government has arranged for the release of 4i tons through the trade. Care will be taken for an equitable proportion of this surplus stock to be available to South Australian furniture manufacturers.

Building Materials: Shortage in Queensland.

Mr Chifley - On the 27th November, the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) asked a question in relation to supplies of galvanized-iron in Queensland and asked if no other proposals to meet the position existed, would endeavours be made to arrange a road transport system, subsidized or otherwise to enable building materials to be delivered in Queensland.

The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

Approximately 3,400 tons of galvanized-iron will leave Newcastle by ship for Queensland this week. These shipments will clear up everything offering for Queensland at the present time.

The supply position of galvanized-iron is unsatisfactory, primarily because of the inability of the producing company to obtain sufficient man-power to work existing plant to full capacity. There has also been a considerable increase in the usage of steel sheets which are produced on the same mill for industries which grew up in Australia during the war period, and which it is necessary to maintain in production as the goode being produced are no longer procurable from overseas.

The full quantity of galvanized-iron produced is distributed to the States on an equitable basis having regard to the pre-war distribution and any special developments which may have taken place since. Once the quantity is available to the States the distribution within the States is entirely a responsibility of the State Government concerned.

The 'Department of Transport and the Director of Shipping are constantly in touch with the New South Wales Department of Railways in an endeavour to expedite the despatch of building materials to Queensland. 1 assure the honorable member that everything possible is being done to achieve this end.

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