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Tuesday, 11 May 1965

Senator PALTRIDGE - I have seen a Press report of a statement attributed to Mr. Court. One part of that report states that Mr. Court has received a communication from American financial sources which might be prepared to undertake the financing of the Ord River scheme. In the report I have read there is no indication of the extent of the finance which might be made available by the American group, nor is there an indication of the particular works which might be undertaken. It is not stated whether assistance will extend to the entire £30 million needed for the scheme. According to the report I read, Mr. Court intends to discuss this proposal with the Premier, Mr. Brand. The proposal has not yet been forwarded to the Commonwealth Government. Indeed, while it is in this stage, there must be some doubt whether it ever will be presented to the Commonwealth Government. If the report is correct, I express surprise that Mr. Court has commented publicly on a matter he intends to discuss with the Premier prior to discussing it with the Premier, because it is a policy issue of such great importance.

The report states that Mr. Court referred repeatedly to the defence value of the Ord River scheme and that he claimed that he has from an overseas source an anonymous report which supports his comments in this respect. If Mr. Court is correctly reported, all that I want to say about his statement is that although I would listen to him by the hour while he talked about company finance or commercial finance and related matters, I would not undertake to give him so much time when he spoke about questions of defence.

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