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Wednesday, 27 March 1968

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The Bill before the House is to amend the original legislation. This Bill is treated by the Government as a formal amendment. The Chair has been very tolerant but I suggest to the honourable member that he confine himself to the provisions of the Bill itself.

Mr PETERS - With all due deference to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, I have read the particular sections of the original legislation which are to be amended by this Bill. Section 146 of the Act deals with the issue of licences and the schedules in connection with that section deal with the amounts of royalties to be paid. You will see that the last sub-section of section 146 includes the question of royalties payable overseas.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! Secion 146 of the Act is not before the House. Clause 4 of the Bill relates to an amendment of section 146 of the Act by omitting the figures '43' and inserting in their stead the figures '44'. The Bill is strictly a formal one and it does not justify a wide excursion into royalties. The Chair has been very tolerant and I suggest to the honourable member that he confine his remarks to the Bill.

Mr PETERS - I express great appreciation of your guidance on this matter. I admit that I was led a bit astray by the previous speaker from this side of the House, the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor). I thought that if I confined my remarks to a much smaller area then he traversed that 1 would be in order. Not being in order I still suggest to the Minister for National Development that he should see that, as a result of any amendments to the Act, the Australian Government receives in every form - in the form of taxation upon investors in Esso or in the Broken Hill Company - its proper share of the results of the drilling activities.

The only point I want to make is this: The Government of the United States of America has not assisted the Esso company in any way whatsoever to set up its operations in Bass Strait and to carry out its explorations. The Australian Government has done so. Why, then, should the biggest share of the cake, in the form of taxation upon dividends, go to the American Government and not to the Australian Government?

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee

The Bill.

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