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Thursday, 29 October 1964

Senator PALTRIDGE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) .- With all the good will in the world, I am sure that Senator Ormonde cannot reasonably expect me to answer during a debate on the Estimates what is fundamentally a question on policy. The honorable senator has directed attention to a number of difficulties which arise not only in the coal industry but also in other fuel industries. He has suggested, in the broad, that all fuels should come under some form of Commonwealth control. Without enlarging upon the possible desirability of such control and without discussing such important matters as the constitutional aspects of the problem, I have only to mention the problem to indicate that it would be quite impossible to embark upon what the honorable senator might regard as being a satisfactory answer. He has mentioned that Senator Sir William Spooner, as a former Minister for National

Development, seemed to be moving towards a certain objective. AH I can say is that Senator Sir William Spooner did make certain policy statements from time to time in relation to fuel and 1 have no doubt that, when appropriate opportunities present themselves, Mr. Fairbairn, the present Minister for National Development, will make similar policy statements on behalf of the Government about fuels generally.

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