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Thursday, 17 November 1938

Mr Green ;Green asked the Prime Minister. upon notice -

1.   What is the number of shares held in the Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited, and what is the number of shares held by the Commonwealth Government?

2.   What was (a) , the amount of money advanced by the Government at the time of the agreement, (b) the agreed value of the assets provided by the company, and (c) the cash provided by the company, if any?

3.   If plant was provided by the company, how were the main items made up and what was the tabulated value of each item?

Mr Lyons - The information is being obtained and will be made available at as early a date as possible.

Mr Ward d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

1.   Has Mr. C. C. Brebner, solicitor, of Adelaide, been retained by the PostmasterGeneral's Department in South Australia, to attend to the legal work of the department?

2.   If so, what is the retainer which he receives and for what period has he been appointed?

3.   Is Mr. Brebner a partner in the firm of solicitors of which Mr. S. W. Jeffries, the Attorney-General of South Australia, is a senior partner?

4.   Could the work upon which Mr. Brebner has been engaged have been attended to by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department?

Mr Archie Cameron - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   No.

2.   See answer to No. 1.

3.   Yes.

4.   For over 30 years the firm of which Messrs Brebner and Jeffries are now members has been acting as Adelaide agents of the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor. The original style of the firm was Fisher and Culross (afterwards Fisher and Powers) and over twenty years ago it amalgamated with the firm of Ward and Jeffries and carried on business under the style -of Fisher, Ward, Powers and Jeffries. In 1933, Mr. Brebner became a partner of the firm and the present style of the firm is Fisher, Powers, Jeffries and Brebner. When Mr. Jeffries became State AttorneyGeneral in 1933, it was arranged that any cases in which the State or any State authority is in litigation with the Commonwealth would be handled by some other firm of solicitors. It would not be possible for the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department to do the legal work done for the Commonwealth in South Australia by the firm in question without the creation of a branch of the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor's Office in that State. This course is not considered to be justified at the present time.

Mr Mulcahy y asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   In what legal costs was the Commonwealth involved as the result of the proceedings arising from the detention of Japanese luggers?

2.   What were . the total damages awarded against the Commonwealth?

3.   Is the officer who was in charge of the patrol vesselLarrakia still in the service of the Commonwealth; if so, in what capacity?

4.   Who was responsible for the instructions that the Japanese luggers should be detained?

5.   In what capacity docs that person still occupy a Commonwealth position?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable members' questions are as follows : -

1.   £2,630 8s.6d. (to the 31st October, 1938).

2.   £8,000 (damages and legal costs).

3.   Captain C. T. G. Haultain who was in charge of the Larrakia at the time of the arrest of two of the luggers is now in charge of the Commonwealth Customs patrol vessel Vigilant. Captain L. C. Parnell was in charge of the Larrakia on the occasion of 'the arrest of a. further lugger. He is still employed in the Northern Territory patrol service as master of the patrol launch Kuro. 4 and 5. Section1 9a a of the Aboriginals Ordinance 1912-1937, of the Northern Territory provides, inter alia, that any vessel found within the territorial waters adjacent to an aboriginal reserve shall bo forfeited to the King, unless the entry to such territorial waters was authorized or was necessary for the . protection of , life. A protector of aboriginals or a police officer is empowered to board any vessel within the territorial waters adjacent to an aboriginal reserve and to seize and take into his custody any such vessel and any goods thereon which he has reasonable grounds to believe arc forfeited to the King. The section also lays down the course open to the owner of any seized vessel to secure its release. Both Captain Haultain and Captain Parnell are Protectors of Aboriginals and police officers and action for the seizure of the luggers was taken by them in accordance with the authority given them under section 19aa of the Aboriginals Ordinance.

Experiments with Living Animals.

Mr Blackburn n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -

How many living animals have been subjected to experimentation at the Commonwealth Scrum Laboratory, Melbourne, in each of the last five years?

Mr Archie Cameron - The information is being obtained.

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