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Thursday, 11 July 1946

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Minister for Immigration and Minister for Information) . - I move -

That the following new sub-clauses be added: - " (4.) Pending the establishment of the Commission, the Minister may exercise any power conferred on the Commission by this Part. "" (5.) Upon the establishment of the Commission, any property which has been acquired by the Minister under this section and is still held by bini shall become the absolute property- of, or be vested in, the Commission, as the case requires.".

The purpose of these proposed new' subclauses, r and the amendments which I have forecast to clauses 4S and 52, is to allow the Minister to enter into an agreement with Amalgamated "Wireless (Australasia) Limited on behalf of the Government providing for the acquisition by the Commonwealth of the company's telecommunication assets. Negotiations are proceeding between the Government and the company in the matter, and it is expected that an agreement will be reached at a reasonably early date. Therefore the proposed amendments to clauses 23, 48 and 52 will enable the Minister to take the necessary steps to acquire the assets mentioned, and later, upon the establishment of the. Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia) to vest such property in that body. In other words, we are not waiting for the commission to be established before we acquire the assets of the company. We are empowering the Minister to acquire those assets before the establishment of the commission.

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