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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I thank Senator Pearce for his suggestion. I see clearly the point made by him, and, with the permission of the Committee, will amend my request accordingly.

Request, by leave, amended accordingly. 5

Senator Sir THOMASGLASGOW (Queensland) [6.10]. - In reference to the remarks made by Senator Gardiner1 and Senator Henderson, I should like to emphasize the point that neither I nor any other honorable senator would favour the protection - of an industry if by doing so we would endanger human life. The greater portion of the explosives used in our mines to-day are manufactured by Nobel Limited, of Glasgow. The company which has established the industry here is a branch of that corporation, and must have the advantage of the experience and knowledge gained in the Glasgow factory, so it is unreasonable to suggest that its explosive is inferior to that produced in Scotland. We have heard this same complaint of inferiority with respect to every new brand of explosive placed on the market since the introduction of nitro-glycerine compounds. When nitro-glycerine was first introduced, the miners complained that its use in the mines gave them a headache. As a matter of fact, every nitro-glycerine explosive compound, and particularly dynamite, has that effect. We have had this same bogy trotted out in connexion with every new explosive.

Senator Henderson - Many of the new explosives put on the local market have soon dropped out.

Senator Sir THOMASGLASGOW.They have been forced out of the market by competition! Every new brand of explosive is met with the same objection on the part of the miners, who are encouraged by the old-established firms to make it. The Australian branch of Nobel Limited, of Glasgow, has the advantage of the knowledge and experience gained by the parent company, and it is reasonable to assume that it can produce as good an article as is made in the Glasgow factory. This complaint of inferiority on the part of locally-made explosives is only a red herring drawn across the track . I have had a fairly wide experience in the handling of explosives, such as blasting gelatine and gelatine dynamite used in metalliferous mining. Explosives brought here from a distance and stored for any length of time in a hot climate deteriorate. The gelatine exudes through the wrapper, and the explosive then becomes dangerous. That risk would be avoided by the use of locally-made explosives. Surely it is an advantage to have in the Commonwealth a factory that can supply explosives as required, and so render it unnecessary to store them for any length of time.

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