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Tuesday, 18 May 1920

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) .- If the new clause were inserted in the Bill, it would most effectively reduce to nothing the agreement entered' into between the Government and the AngloPersian Oil Company, and open wide the opportunity to the Standard Oil Corporation, the Shell Group, and other companies to operate here while not bound by any of the conditions by which the Anglo-Persian Oil Company undertake to refine oil for the Commonwealth. It would make the Territories of the Commonwealth the spoil of the great concerns that bold a monopoly here to-day. No attempt is made by the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Mcwilliams) to harness any outsider to the 'conditions under which the Commonwealth is endeavouring to safeguard the operations of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. All the trouble the Government have taken to insure the supply of oil to Australia in the hour of emergency will be put in jeopardy. At the very foundation of the agreement is the recognition of the fact that the hour of danger may arrive when the whole of the Pacific may be in turmoil. If the two great contending Powers bordering the Pacific to-day come into conflict, we may be cut off from the rest of the world, and the mobility of our Fleet reduced , to naught. We would look in vam for a supply of oil from one of the great competitors in the struggle, and assuredly we would be drawn into the maelstrom of war, because these two great contending forces which are to-day more or' less our Allies, would, certainly require our foodstuffs and our raw material, and as soon as either secured supplies from us, those very supplies would be declared contraband by the other. In such circumstances, we should look in vain for supplies of oil from any other source. This agreement is an honest endeavour to provide supplies of oil within the Commonwealth or our Territories for the hour that may arise, and the company with whom we are making it is good enough for Great Britain. I repeat that the proposal of the honorable member fm Franklin would render valueless all the trouble the Government have taken to safeguard Australia from the need to depend on foreign competitors for supplies of oil.

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