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Thursday, 17 November 1938

Mr BLACKBURN (Bourke) (12:38 PM) . - The amendment moved by the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard) differs from that moved by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and disposed of previously by the committee in that, whereas the honorable member for East Sydney proposed to compel the board to undertake a monopoly of insurance, the honorable member for Ballarat first of all desires to leave the board free to make up ite own mind as to whether or not it should undertake this business, and secondly, requires the consent of the Minister before it can undertake the business. A sub-clause further provides that, if the Minister thinks fit and the board so recommends, the board may be given a monopoly of the business. The effect of the first sub-clause of the proposed new clause is that the board may enter into the business, but it does not give the board a monopoly of the business. The operation of the remaining sub-clauses is contingent upon the board, first, after considering the matter, recommending to the Minister that it should he allowed to have exclusively the business of insuring its own cargoes and secondly, that the Minister gives his consent. That leaves the board free to undertake the business if it is likely to be profitable in the interests of the people whose cargoes are to be entrusted to it. The Minister may, however, withhold his consent to, or may approve of, the recommendation. If it is regarded by boththe board and. the Minister that the board should insure its own cargoes, the board should be quite free to do so, and if the Minister or the board thinks that the board should have a monopoly of the business, the Minister should be free to grant the board that monopoly. That is the whole scope of the amendment. It seems that, from every point of view, the clause is unobjectionable. Any objection to the proposal that the board should be free to enter this domain of business seems to be animated by the spirit that such business should be reserved for the private insurance companies, which should have the whole field reserved to them, and that any time a new risk is created, that risk should be reserved for the private insurance companies without any concern for the interests of the persons whose cargoes are being carried.

Question put -

That the new clause, proposed to be inserted. (Mr. Pollard's amendment), be so inserted.

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