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Wednesday, 9 November 1938


Mr Beasley y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   If it is considered by the Government and by the Minister concerned (Senator A. J. McLachlan) 'hat it was improper for him to hold a mini!-. .'Hal office in the present Government at the same time as he was holding a position as a director of a company trading with the department over which he presided when the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. George Lawson) asked his question, was it equally improper over the long period of years that this Minister has held the position of Postmaster-General ?

2.   Apart from any question of proof of wrong-doing, but on the grounds of impropriety, what constitutional position arises in respect of this Minister's actions and decisions over the period of years these circumstances lui vo prevailed?

3.   What is the position of the Government and the Minister concerned in the event of any action being taken by some authority outside the Parliament?


Mr Lyons - I refer the honorable member to the statement made by me on this subject to-day.


Mr Watkins (NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES) s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   What is the total value of contracts given to the Hume Pipe Company (Australia) Limited by the Postmaster-General'3 Department while Senator A. J. McLachlan occupied the positions of chairman of directors of Hume Pipe Company (Australia) Limited, and Postmaster-General of the Commonwealth?

2.   Were any contracts entered into during the same period between the PostmasterGeneral's Department and Hume Far East Limited, or Hume Steel Limited, of which companies Senator A. J. McLachlan is a director: if so. what was the amount in each case?

3.   What members of the present Cabinet continue in be directors of companies in Australia? If any, what is the name of the company in each case?


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

1.   £17,!)2(>.

2.   Yes, contracts were let with Hume Steel Company to thu value of £1,501. Material similar to that supplied under Hume Pipe (Australia) Limited contracts was purchased to the total value of £72.387. of which the combined Hume Pipe nml Hume Steel companies' orders amounted to £10.487.

3.   I refer the honorable member to the statement made by me on this subject to-day.

H yPowerProd uc e r Gas.


Mr Price e asked the Minister in charge of Scientific and Industrial Research, uponnotice -

1.   Has the Government, through the medium of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, made exhaustive inquiries into thu question of by-power-producer gas production?

2.   Tr" so. with what results?

3.   If not. will the Government do so?


Mr CASEY (CORIO, VICTORIA) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1   . The question of the use of compressed gas in motor vehicles was investigated and reported upon by the Newnes Investigation Committee and producer gas is one of the subjects to be investigated by the Standing Committee on Liquid Fuels recently appointed by the Government. A copy of the report of the Newnes Investigation Committee will bo made available to the honorable member. 2 and 3. See reply to 1.







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