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Thursday, 26 July 1906

Mr JOHNSON -They say the conditions are the same.

Mr SPENCE - Never mind what an\.body sayS. We are here to make this as good a contract as we can.

Mr. (McCay.- :The honorable member contemplates the clause being operative to take over the ships for commercial purposes. " Mr. SPENCE.- I say that if the clause as not so worded as to give the Government power to take over the ships for commercial purposes, the Government should certainly see that it is framed in such a way that that can. be done. I look upon this provision as supplying a weapon in the hands of the Government for controlling the shipping company and to prevent them acting unreasonably towards Australian producers.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In other words, to take the ships over for socialistic purposes.

Mr SPENCE - Not necessarily. I do not think that it would be wise for the Government to buy out the company. In in\ opinion, it would be far better that we should build our own ships.

Mr Wilson - Should we build them in Australia?

Mr SPENCE - If the honorable member pleases; but I do not think that they could be built at Mort's Dock yet. My view is that the provision will enable us to prevent Australian producers from being fleeced, and that without it we should be at the mercy qf a shipping combine over which we can exercise no control whatever. I cannot understand the attitude of the Opposition in desiring to so limit the scope of the provision that the boats could only be taken over in the event of some one declaring war upon us. What I desire is that we should be prepared for a declaration of war by the shipping companies themselves.

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