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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) . - We can best test the statement made by Senator Pratten by allowing the item to remain as it stands, and leaving it to the local manufacturers of whom he speaks to prove that they are really producing an explosive as good as that put on the market by any other manufacturer.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - The local product has passed the British Government test.

Senator HENDERSON - That is all very well, but we could have no better test than that applied by the miners themselves. As Senator Gardiner has said, the safety of the miners depends upon the quality of the blasting material used by them. The composition of an explosive must be such that, in the first place, only the element used to. explode it will explode it, and, in the next place, that it will not ignite the inflammable 'element known as gas. The blasting powder used in. Australia to-day, particularly in our coal mines, has been shown again and again to be absolutely free from any dangerous defect of that kind.

Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow - Where is it manufactured?

Senator HENDERSON - I do not care where it is manufactured; my only consideration is that our miners shall be supplied with the best and safest explosives.

Senator de Largie - Safety is the first consideration.

Senator HENDERSON - Quite so. I ' speak from personal experience. I have used tons of blasting powder of every description, and know that there are a thousand and one ways in which the lives of miners might be endangered by the use of inferior explosives. In years gone by strikes took place in practically every mine throughout the country owing to inferior explosives being served out to the men. No one discovers sooner than, a miner the inferiority of an explosive.

Senator de Largie - And, quick as they are, the discovery sometimes is made too late.

Senator HENDERSON - If the discovery is made in any of the ways mentioned by Senator Gardiner, it is too late. Certain imported explosives have been used in- our mines for years, and have been shown to be beyond all doubt absolutely safe. I therefore urge that we allow the item to remain as it stands. When .the company engaged in the manufacture of explosives in Australia has proved that its product is as safe and as well suited to do the service daily required of explosives in our mine's as is the imported article, I venture to say that the miner will have no prejudice whatever against the Australian explosive.

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