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Wednesday, 10 May 1961

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I offer no objection to the proposal. I hope that when the motion is carried the Government will proceed with the preparation of plans for the erection of the building which the Public Works Committee has recommended. It is very important to Australia's future, and to her security, that we should help scientific education in every way possible. It is important to the economy and to the health of the community that all the experiments which the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is undertaking should be encouraged and assisted in every way possible.

I only mention in passing that I have read in recent times that some people are thinking that the C.S.I.R.O. should be abolished and all the scientists, all the technologists, all the great research scholars and other brilliant men engaged in the work which the organization undertakes should be employed in the State universities. It is suggested that the C.S.I.R.O. should be dissolved and that the Commonwealth should pay the State universities the amount which is now expended on the organization. It is suggested that if this were done the work of the universities would go ahead and that the work would be done better than it is done by this Commonwealth instrumentality to-day. I do not agree with that, nor do I believe that any member of this Parliament agrees with it. The C.S.I.R.O. is doing very great work for Australia and I suppose every honorable member of this Parliament regrets that we have not done more to assist it, that we have not built more buildings wherever they are required around Australia for its work. I do not know how long the provision of this new chemical physics laboratory has been delayed, but I have the feeling that perhaps it should have been built a few years ago. Now that we have reached the stage at which Parliament can give approval for the work, I hope the Government will not dally and that it will include this proposal which the Minister has sponsored in next year's Estimates. The sooner this work is undertaken, the better it will be for all the people of Australia. I commend the proposal.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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