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Thursday, 17 November 1927


Senator McLACHLAN (South Australia) (Honorary Minister) . - I listened with a good deal of interest to the dissertation of the honorable senator on the gold-mining industry, its importance to Australia, and the effect which it has upon migration and the penetration of the continent. It is apparently intended that the amendment, which seeks to empower the savings bank to advance money to encourage gold-mining in Australia, shall be made to paragraph(d) of proposed section 35 w. It would be exceedingly dangerous to insert such a provision in this bill. The directors of the Commonwealth Bank are trustees for those who have deposited their savings in the Commonwealth Savings Bank. Much as we appreciate what the gold-mining industry has done for Australia, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that if the savings bank were to advance money for this purpose, and failed to recover it, its depositors would be the losers. That is not the kind of security that appeals to the trustees of a savings bank. The Government has already taken steps to assist the gold-mining industry, on a scale and in a manner that may prove more beneficial than this. I ask honorable senators to pause before they agree to this proposal. It would be a breach of trust on the part of the directors if they were to advance money in the form of a bounty. I fail to see in what way this could possibly benefit the industry. In view of the possible ill-effect UPOn depositors aud the credit of the bank, I ask the mover of the amendment not to press it.







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