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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) (12:22 PM) .- The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury) has stated that conditions have changed in connexion with the Snowy Mountains scheme since the scheme was inaugurated. He produced no evidence to support that assertion. He merely said that a change had taken place. To date, £163,000,000 of Commonwealth money has been spent and about £253,000,000 has been committed. The scheme has to be completed. Sir William Hudson is the man to see the job through as he has been associated with it from the beginning. The Opposition supports his re-appointment to enable that to be done. Whether he is to direct the southern half or any other portion, it will all be part of the one scheme. The generation of electricity and the use of the water for irrigation works after the electricity has been generated are all part of the one scheme. Three States are involved in this activity.

Recently, the Premier of South Australia came to Canberra and the Commonwealth was threatened with High Court writs. Sir William Hudson is the man to advise the Government on all aspects of engineering and, 1 suggest, on legal aspects of the scheme. I have an idea that the honorable member for Wentworth was speaking, first as a State-righter and secondly as a person who wants to hand this scheme over to private enterprise - to the Dusseldorps and the rest so that they can make a profit out of it, too. Perhaps he has some other hidden objection to a great scheme which is a monument to socialism. I do not know what his motives are. The Government is right in doing what it wants to do. The Opposition believes in always supporting the Government when it is right. We are only sorry that the Government affords us so few opportunities for supporting it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

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