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Wednesday, 2 November 1921


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) '. -The subject* raised by Senator Foster is interesting. That goes without saying, 6ut I submit that it is so highly technical that few members of this Chamber would care to dogmatize regarding it. I take it that the honorable senator's purpose was to direct attention to the steady development of internal combustion engines with a view to suggesting that they should be employed by the Commonwealth Government in substitution' for the steamdriven engines in use at the present time. If that be so, I can only say that I will see that the statement made by him this afternoon' is placed before the technical advisers of the Government. I have no doubt that the advisers of the Government are keeping themselves well posted on the subject, but I think the statement made by the honorable senator is of such an important character that I am entitled to ask them to consider it in all its detail's. It is impossible, certainly for me, to venture ail opinion on the subject. There are innumerable factors which we have to balance one against another - original cost, space occupied to the detriment of cargo, cost of fuel supplies, and the matter of efficiency. Whatever may be the prices of fuel oil to-day, the indications seem to be that they are going to harden. That appears to be the tendency. A cablegram received the other day from the American oil people, who are not without influence in determining the price of oil in Australia, stated that it had been decided to raise the selling price of oil. This was an announcement of a further increase in price when we were reasonably entitled' to expect a decrease^ I admit that it is not competent for me to- approach, the subject with any profit to myself or to this Chamber. All that I oan do with any advantage is to furnish a copy of the honorable senator's statement to those whose responsibility it is to advise the Government.







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