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Wednesday, 1 October 1958

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) .- This bill sets out to approve the agreement made between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Dominion of New Zealand in relation to the rights which they hold jointly in regard to the exploitation of the phosphate deposits on Christmas Island. The agreement, as the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) said when introducing the measure, is attached to the bill.

The agreement which this legislation proposes to ratify will replace one made in 1949. The alteration is necessary, I understand, because sovereignty over Christmas Island has been transferred from the United Kingdom to the Commonwealth of Australia. I remember the legislation which was enacted by this Parliament approving the transfer from the United Kingdom of sovereign rights over this territory some little time ago. I believe that the new agreement comes into operation from to-day.

The authority which this bill will confer upon the Commonwealth will enable us to have a guarantee that for the next 40 years phosphate from this island will be available to help agriculture and other industries in Australia. Because there is all benefit in the bill and nothing detrimental will occur to the Commonwealth because of its passage, we approve of the bill and wish it a speedy passage.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

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