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Wednesday, 7 December 1960

Mr OSBORNE (Evans) (Minister for Air) . - in reply - I thank the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) and other honorable members on both sides of the House who have given support to the bill.

Mr Uren - At least members on this side of the House know something about the bill.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable members will behave himself or he will be put out of the chamber.

Mr OSBORNE - I wish to say three things only: First, the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) really did not represent the Government's position correctly when he said it was our intention to restrict the production of sulphuric acid from our own raw materials. That is not the case at all. The bounty was introduced originally at a time when it was believed, for good reason, that imported brimstone would definitely be in short supply. That proved not to be the case and the Government decided, in May last, that in view of the extra costs involved in using pyrites and other Australian materials, economic reasons no longer justified the continuation of past policy. But the Government clearly recognized that it had obligations to the producers of sulphuric acid from Australian materials, because they had incurred liabilities in responding to the Government's policy, and it decided that these obligations should be honoured. So payment of the bounty is being continued to those producers. We are not restricting production.

Similarly, the suggestion made by the honorable member for Lalor and another member of the Opposition that the payment of the bounty should be widened to cover future producers clearly mistakes the Government's policy. It would be contrary to the Government's policy. The only other thing I want to do is to deny the suggestion made by the honorable member for Braddon (Mr. Davies) that the bill is being forced through the House hi the dying hours of the session. That cannot be sustained. I introduced these bills into the House last week. The Tariff Board reports were tabled and this debate, as we have good reason to know, has been quite unrestricted. The honorable member said that the Mount Lyell company should be given opportunity to consider all these matters. That complaint overlooks the fact that that company was represented at the Tariff Board hearing and knew the Government's policy under which the board was conducting the hearing. The company had every opportunity to state its views there.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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