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Wednesday, 5 May 1920

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .- The Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook): has courteously supplied me with an advance copy of the Bill, the provisions- of which I am not allowed to discuss at thisjuncture. I understand, however, that! the original measure provided for aifc overdraft of £500,000 to meet the position* which arose in consequence of the shortage of the sugar crop in Queensland, and! the necessity of purchasing supplies overseas, and that the proposal is to increasethe amount to £1,000,000. I was glad toreceive answers to questions I submitted! to the Minister for Trade and Custom*. (Mr. Greene) - who I regret is absent ort account of ill-health - to the effect that 70,100 tons of sugar, purchased in Java* and Fiji, was landed in Australia at ai cost of less than 3d. per lb. There could! not have been a loss on account of thos* purchases.

Mr Jackson - Where was that for?'

Mr TUDOR - I have not the answersto my questions before me, as I did not anticipate the introduction of this measure at this juncture, but the information! is already in Hansard. From the answers given by the Minister for Trade and? Customs, honorable members will see that 60,000 tons was purchased at £21 per ton, and that the freight on two consignmentswas, in one case, 34s. per ton, and in the other slightly less, whilst the differencein exchange was 12s. 6d. per cent, and! 15s. per cent, respectively. The freight, insurance, and exchange on the whole consignment worked out at less than £3 per ton, and all the costs incurred did nob amount to more than 3d. per lb. landed! in Australia.

Mr Riley - How long is it since the sugar was purchased?

Mr TUDOR - Between the end of July of last year and the 29th February of this year.

Mr Richard Foster - The end of February last year.

Mr TUDOR - No; between the beginning of July and the 29th of February of this year. I do not intend to debate the general question at this stagey but if there is to be an additional overdraft, I suppose we shall) have -to honour it. I believe the Minister has stated that this amount will be sufficient to see ns through, but in my opinion less money should have been required. By the time the Bill comes on for discussion I will have had an opportunity of looking up my questions, and the answers of the Minister for Trade and Customs, and will then be able to verify the figures 1 have already given.

Question resolved in . the affirmative.

Resolution reported.

Standing orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

That Sir Joseph Cook and Mr. Laird . Smith do prepare and bring in a Bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Sir Joseph Cook and read a first time.

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