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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I have no desire to delay the passing of this measure. Its purpose is merely to extend the operation of a measure to which the Senate agreed. But this Bill lacks one principle which, I think, should be embodied in all Bounty Bills. When we propose to assist the development of the oil resources of the Commonwealth by putting the people's money into the business, we should see that the people are given an interest in the business proportionate to the money, they are asked to invest in it. For every £1 of the people's money put into a private concern, the public should be given a proportionate interest. If in the course of a year we pay bounty to the extent of £50,000 on the production of oil, at the end of the year the books of the company to whom the bounty is paid should show that the people of Australia are entitled to a £50,000 share in the business. When the people's money is invested in a private business, the people should get a return for their investment when that business reaches the profit-making stage. I realize that the Government are anxious to get this measure through, quickly, and there is not time to submit the arguments which I could use in support of my view. I had no desire, however, that the Bill should be allowed to pass without mentioning this matter lest it might subsequently be suggested that I had neglected an opportunity to assert this principle. We would not invest our own money in any private concern without securing an interest in it, and we should be even more careful in this regard when we are dealing with the people's money. In every Bounty Act passed there should be a provision that when the business assisted by the bounty reached the profit-paying stage the public investment in the business, as well as the private investment, should share in the profits. As I know that the Government are anxious to have this Bill passed without delay, I shall not debate the matter further.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from Committee without amendment.

Standing Orders suspended : report adopted .

Bill read a third time.

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