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Friday, 22 May 1936

Senator E B JOHNSTON (Western Australia) . - I join with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) in protesting against the usual rush of business at the. end of the session. We should sit for another week and do the work properly, instead of passing bills without having any opportunity to peruse them. I was glad to hear the Leader of the Government (Senator Pearce) refer to the oil areas which are being prospected in Western Australia and Northern Australia. Dr. Woolnough, one of the most prominent oil experts in Australia, has reported that the Kimberley, Gascoyne and Wooramel districts of Western Australia offer the best prospects of any in the Commonwealth for the discovery of petroleum. I welcome the bill, and I hope that a fair portion of the money being appropriated for the search for petroleum will be devoted to the prospecting of those areas.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for External Affairs) [7.52]. - in reply - Power alcohol is at present free of excise. The Commonwealth fuel adviser, Mr. L. J. Rogers, however, has advised that there is less prospect of the successful development of the power alcohol industry than of the processes connected with the extraction of oil from shale and coal. Sir David Rivett is leaving for Great Britain next Tuesday to investigate various methods in operation there for the production of oil from coal and shale, and to inquire into the processes now being used in Great Britain and Europe for the production of power alcohol.

Senator Arkins - With a view to establishing the industry in Australia?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.He will report as to whether power alcohol could be economically produced in Australia.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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