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Thursday, 2 November 1967

Mr BUCHANAN (McMillan) (12:27 PM) - Mr Chairman, at the risk of being thought a little too verbose tonight, I would like to say that so many things being said by Opposition members and also by the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) are so ludicrous that somebody ought to emphasise that fact. The honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) has said that in Bass Strait there is a supply of natural gas that will last for 300 years. This is just some newspaper man's dream. I have talked to Victorian Government authorities and I know that the extent of the resources is still being proved. However, this evening we do not want to go into that sort of thing. What I rose to say is that if steel is sold at the same price in all the capital cities, the honourable member for Mackellar, if he thinks that this is proper, should have argued that we ought to have one price for everything throughout Australia. This would be marvellous. It would be wonderful. We would have instant decentralisation. Our telephone calls would cost the same everywhere. There is such a thing as a differential in costs between one place and another. Surely anyone who has taken any interest in the natural gas resources that have been discovered would know that the well head, not the city gate, is the negotiating point. It is quite ludicrous to make a comparison between the oil industry and the steel industry, which happens to lend itself to a policy of averaging transport costs. The oil industry is based on entirely different conditions. The principle that the honourable member for Mackellar has advanced is completely opposed to practice all over the world.

Question put:

That the amendment (Mr Connor's) be agreed to.

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