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Tuesday, 8 November 1910

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) - - I should like the Minister to explain why the bounty is to apply as from the 1st July of this year. I do not know whether there has been any understanding come to between the Government and prospective companies, but I think the measure ought not to be retrospective, because the bounty would then be in part a sort of gratuity for work done in the past. I do not think that Parliament ought to assent to that principle. I would remind honorable senators that if the Commonwealth Oil Corporation has made any shale oil in the past it has received something for it. This Bill is intended to encourage the company in their future operations. I should be inclined, in the absence of any explanation, to move that the bounty should be applicable as from 1st January next. As it stands, it will have a retrospective effect.

Senator Chataway - The Commonwealth Oil Corporation may have been storing kerosene at their works for months past.

Senator ST LEDGER - Under the clause, what is really proposed is that that company shall be given a free gift of 2d. on every gallon of kerosene they have produced during the last four months. Ordinarily, the payment of a bounty is made prospective to encourage the production of the subsidized article. But here the proposal is to give this company a gratuity upon their operations during the last four months. I am aware that it is necessary that they should have complied with certain labour conditions, but I do not know of anything to justify this proposal.

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