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Thursday, 29 September 1955

Mr CLYDE CAMERON - I wish that the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Davis) would moderate his voice. It is like a foghorn.

I want to refer now to the far more important matter of the so-called supergrade petrol that is being sold in Australia for 4d. a gallon more than the ordinary petrol, the price of which is controlled. I want the Government, if it will take sufficient interest in this important matter, to examine the octane content of so-called super-grade petrol to ascertain what advantage it has over ordinary petrol. Further, I want the Government to tell honorable members the octane value of the controlled petrol when super-grade petrol was introduced, and whether it is taking any action to ensure that that value is being maintained. From personal experience I know that super-grade petrol-

Mr Lawrence - Did the honorable member drink a gallon of it?

Mr CLYDE CAMERON - The honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Lawrence) is becoming, more like a fascist every day. He seems to be trying to outdo the honorable member for Deakin, and is, perhaps, jealous of the fact that I described that honorable member as having a foghorn voice. There is very little, if any, difference between ordinary and super-grade petrol, though the latter is 4d. a gallon dearer. I have a motor car and I find that the mileage, using super-grade petrol, is about one mile a gallon lower than it is when ordinary price-controlled petrol is used. I want to know whether a secret agreement has been reached between some one and the oil companies of Australia to work a " swiftie " over the community by allowing those companies, as a result of a high pressure advertising campaign, to introduce what is called super petrol at an uncontrolled price that is 4d. a gallon higher than that of ordinary petrol when, in fact, it is no better. Within a very short space of time - if it has not already occurred - the octane value of thecontrolled petrol is likely to diminish gradually so that there will then be a real difference betwen the quality of that petrol and that of the petrol sold at the uncontrolled price. We know that the oil companies of Australia exert a powerful influence upon this Government. We remember only too well how the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), though holding the office of Attorney-General, actually went into court and defended the interests of the oil companies before a royal commission into the petrol industry. I am not accusing the Prime Minister of anything, but I want an assurance from some one who is capable of giving the facts, that the right honorable gentleman is not still working in the interests of the oil companies, as he did in the case that I have cited.

Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) agreed to-

That the question be now put.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

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