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Thursday, 11 July 1946

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Minister for Immigration and Minister for Information) . - I move -

That, in sub-clause (1.), the words "entered into between the Commission and the person concerned and approved by the Minister " be left out.

This amendment and the insertion of two additional sub-clauses which I shall propose later are designed for the purpose of allowing the Minister to enter into any agreement with Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited on behalf of the Government providing for the acquisition by the Commonwealth of the company'stelecommunication assets. Negotiations are proceeding between the Government and the company in the matter, and it is expected that agreement will be reached at a reasonably early date. The amendments will, therefore, permit of the Minister taking the necessary steps to acquire the assets mentioned, and later upon the establishment of the commission to vest such property in that body. The amendments are suggested for the purpose of facilitating the taking over of the company's assets prior to the setting up of the commission if it is possible to negotiate an agreement between the Commonwealth and the Government at a time anterior to the setting up of the commission. We have made provision in this respect in other clauses, and later I shall propose consequential amendments. Amendment agreed to.

Amendments (by Mr. Calwell) agreed to -

That, after sub-clause (1.), the following sub-clauses be inserted: - "(1a.) Prior to the establishment of the

Commission, any such agreement shall be made between the Minister and the person concerned and after the establishment of the Commission any such agreement shall be made between the Commission and the person concerned and shall be subject to approval by the Minister. " (iri.) In the following provisions pf this Part, any reference to the Commission shall, pending the establishment of the Commission, be deemed to be a reference to the .Minister.".

That, in sub-clause (0), the words "judge of the Court, sitting as or for the Court ", be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - "Justice of the Court, sitting in open .court ".

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 53 (Determinations of compensation).

Mr.FADDEN (Darling DownsLeader of the Australian Country party) [10.54J. - I again draw attention to the necessity to take into consideration the subsidies that have been paid by the Government to Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited. In of the year ended the 30th June, 1945, the Government paid to the company the sum of £37,950 towards the cost of coastal wireless stations, and in the financial year ended the 30th June, 1946, the sum of £38,000 was paid for the same purpose. Provision for this payment was made in the Estimates of the Postmaster-General's Department. This shows clearly that the Government is subsidizing Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited. That is contrary to the. information that has been given to the committee during the debate that no subsidy had been paid to the company. I draw particular attention to that fact.

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