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Friday, 21 November 1941

Mr Morgan n asked the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -

Will he give early consideration to the request made several months ago by the Bankstown Municipal Council for the release of a diesel caterpillar tractor urgently required by the council and agreed to be purchased by it through Waugh and Josephson?

Mr Beasley - This matter concerns the Minister for Munitions, who has furnished the following information: -

Representations have been made to the appropriate authorities and advice has been received that the equipment has been shipped from America. " Daily Telegraph "film.

Mr Forde e. - Yesterday the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) asked me the following question, without notice: -

Has the attention of the Deputy Prime Minister been drawn to the fact that a film is being shown in Sydney theatres advertising the Daily Telegraph in which Commonwealth Ministers are portrayed being interviewed by Daily Telegraph, pressmen, and in which it is implied that exclusive interviews are given to that newspaper? Was thisfilm made with the full knowledge of the Ministers that it was to be for this purpose, and is the impression correct that exclusive interviews are given to that newspaper?

In reply I inform the honorable member that following inquiries which were in train prior to his question, the management of the Daily Telegraph has agreed to withdraw the motion picture from exhibition. The Prime Minister and the Ministers concerned entirely dissociate themselves from any impression which might be conveyed by the motion picture that exclusive interviews are given to a representative of the Daily Telegraph.

Power Alcohol.

Mr Beasley y. - On the 19th November the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) asked me, without notice, whether it was a fact that, as reported in the press, the price of second-grade power alcohol in Melbourne had risen from1s.1d. to 5s. a gallon, and whether this spirit should not be brought under the control of the Government, both in regard to the price and the rationing of supplies. I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that this statement apparently refers to small quantities' of methylated spirits intended for industrial use which may have found their way into use as a motor spirit. The manufacturers, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, have declined to sell methylated spirits for motor fuel, and have requested the cooperation of retailers to this end, because by producing power alcohol which is controlled as to price and rationing the production of methylated spirits will be sufficient only to meet the needs of industrial users. With the recent excise duty of1s. 6d. a gallon the price of methylated spirits is now about 3s. 9d. a gallon. If it is established that any appreciable quantities of methylated spirit are being used as a motor spirit the Government will consider action either to forbid its use in this way or to fix the price and to bring it within the scope of petrol rationing.


Mr Morgan n asked the Minister for

Defence Co-ordination, upon notice -

1.   Who comprised the personnel of the former Central Inventions Board?

2.   Will he table the reports and recommendations of Sir David Rivett and Sir George Julius which led up to the abolition of the Board?

3.   Have any persons with expert knowledge been engaged to guide service Ministers in their deliberations as to the future handling of Australian inventions?

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

1.   Captain L. A. W. Spooner, O.B.E., R.A.N., representing Department of the Navy; Colonel L. E. S. Barker, M.C., Director of Artillery, representing the Department of the Army; Flying-Officer S. R. Bell, Royal Australian Air Force, representing the Department of Air; A. Mealand, M.I.Mech.E., Mem.A.S.M.E, representing Department of Munitions; Sir George Julius, B.Sc, B.E., representing Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

2.   I shall be glad to make available to the honorable member the official file regarding this matter.

3.   When the War Cabinet decided that the Central Inventions Board should be abolished and that the responsibility for dealing with inventions should revert to the Service Departments and the Department of Munitions, in respect of inventions relating to their own departments, it also requested the respective Ministers to examine the methods of dealing with inventions within their departments, to ensure that they are adequately considered from both the scientific and the service aspects. The ministerial investigations are at present being made, but the existing machinery in the Service Departments to advise on inventions is as follows: -

Navy and Air.- Proposals relating to inventions are dealt with by the officers of the appropriate technical branch.

Army.- The Master-General of the Ordnance is, in general, responsible for all matters relating to inventions andhis staff comprises officers with technical qualifications. There is in each military district a district inventions board, the constitution of which has been laid down as follows: -

One artillery officer serving full time; One engineer officer serving full time; Two persons who may not be officers of the Forces but who possess qualifications equivalent to a university degree in engineering or science.

In addition, it is customary, where necessary, to enlist the help of the technical experts of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and of the universities, as well as other appropriate authorities, in connexion with the examination of inventions.

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