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Thursday, 1 August 1946

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) (2:12 AM) . - When declining to accept the amendment, the Minister referred only to coal and coke.

Mr Dedman - No; I referred also to the derivatives.

Mr ANTHONY - The , honorable gentleman mentioned gas and coke. If he included the derivatives, he should inform honorable members what he has in mind. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) stated that the number of derivatives of coal is considerable. Not long ago, an exhibition of the byproducts and derivatives of coal was arranged in the King's Hall. Among the articles were beautiful materials and . textiles of all descriptions. Nylon stockings and sulphate of ammonia are derivatives of coal. Does the Minister propose that sulphate of ammonia, a product of the gas companies, which is used extensively as a fertilizer, shall be conti oiled by the coal board? Honorable members should be informed exactly what kind of articles-, the bill will cover. The Government and its supporters have appealed to the Opposition for its assistance in the passing of this measure, but if the Minister in charge of the bill rejects amendments which are clearly the right of the Opposition to move, and refuses to give the information asked for-

Mr Dedman - I have given the information.

Mr ANTHONY - The . Minister has given a point-blank refusal to accept the amendment. If it is the intention of the Government to control products other than coal, the Minister should let us know what those products are. As no derivatives of coal were included in the legislation which conferred powers on the Coal Commissioner, I should like to know' the reason for altering the definition in this bill. I do not know that the Government has at any time expressed its intention to take control of other industries, such as the iron and steel industry, under this bill, but I may be doing it an injustice if I express the view that it has no intention to do so. The Government may not mean to deal with any products other than coa] and coke under this bill, but knowing the socialistic tendencies of the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman), I cannot be sure what he has in his mind. Therefore we must take all steps possible to have the definition made perfectly clear.

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