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Wednesday, 29 November 1944

Dr EVATT (Barton) (Attorney-General and Minister for. External Affairs) . - This matter was raised by the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) last night. At the time, the only reports I knew of were the Charles report and the report of the Copper and Bauxite Committee. I find now that a report was also obtained from Messrs. Keast and Hey, whose services were placed at the disposal of the Government by the company concerned. I do not object to those reports being examinedby honorable members, but I do not want the passage of the bill to be delayed.

Mr Menzies - In other words, the reports are not to influence our judgment. We are to read them after the bill has been passed.

Dr EVATT - I have given the substance of the main report, and a promise was given that it would be made available in the committee stage. I should like to make as much progress as possible with the bill to-night. I suggest that perhaps one clause might be postponed until later, and in the meantime honorable members could examine the reports. I can make available to honorable members the Charles report which was obtained in 1941, and a summary of the Copper and Bauxite Committee's report. I have not seen the Keast-Hey report, but I am informed by the secretary of the department that it is a short one. As an undertaking to produce the reports was given by my colleague, I shall honour it.

Mr Anthony - Ido not object to the machinery clausesof the bill being passed, but the other parts ought to be postponed.

Dr EVATT - I suggest that we might postpone clause 4, which provides for the approval of the agreement.

Mr Archie Cameron - The vital clause is that which provides for an appropriation of money.

Mr Abbott - Both clause 4 and clause 10 might well be postponed.

Dr EVATT - I am prepared to agree to that.

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