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Wednesday, 29 November 1944

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee(Consideration of Administrator's message) :

Motion (by Dr. Evatt) proposed -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a Bill for an act to approve and give effect .to an agreement made between the Commonwealth and the State of Tasmania with respect to the production, for the purposes of defence, of ingot aluminium, and for other purposes.

Mr.ANTHONY (Richmond) [9.40 1. - The motion proposes an appropriation for the establishment of the aluminium industry in Tasmania. There is one matter that should be determined at this stage. The Minister for Supply and Shipping (Mr. Beasley) made his secondreading speech on the 20th September last. On the 29th September, the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) asked him this question -

Will the Minister' for Supply and Shipping make available the report and estimates of experts in connexion with their investigation of the aluminium industry, to which the honorable gentleman referred in his second-reading speech on the Aluminium Industry Bill, so that honorable members may speak with informed minds when the matter next comes up for consideration?

The Minister made this reply -

I shall consider .the request. Honorable members will be able to deal fully with every aspect of the matter when the bill is in committee. All documentation will then be available, and information will be supplied in response to any questions that may be asked.

The honorable gentleman promised that all documentation in connexion with the matter would be made available. This includes especially what has been referred to as the Keast-Hey report, which was made as the result of an investigation by Messrs. Keast and Hey, of the Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia

Limited. Earlier in the evening, I mentioned the name of Mr. W. S. Robinson, who, I understand, was a director of that company. Thus it will be seen that the gentleman who was sent, to America to make investigations, and subsequently reported to the Government, was, in fact, an employee under the direction of Mr. W. S. Robinson. I do not know what he may have said in his report; but it dealt with the establishment of a £3,000,000 industry, and the various costs which it would be necessary for the Government to meet. We are entitled to see that report, especially in view of my earlier statement, as well as the very definite promise of the Minister for Supply and Shipping. I presume that it is a voluminous document, which honorable members would need time to assimilate. Continuation of the committee stage of the bill immediately upon its production would make that action farcical. I therefore request the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) not only to produce' the document but also to report progress until honorable members have had sufficient time to study it.

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