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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 1947

Senator Jessop asked the Minister representing the Minister for Minerals and Energy, upon notice:

(   1 ) Is it a fact that the Minister for Minerals and Energy, in interfering with South Australia's industrial development is placing greater store on Australian equity, rather than expertise associated with the proposed petro-chemical works at Redcliffs, undoubtedly to the detriment of that State 's interests.

(2)   Has the Government approached the Dow Chemical consortium and the Imperial Chemical IndustriesAlcoaMitsubishi consortium to see whether they are prepared to invite Australian investment in those companies; if not, will the Minister follow this course.

(3)   Did Ampol Petroleum Ltd indicate to the Premier of South Australia, Mr D. Dunstan, a few weeks ago, that it was not contemplating partnership in the venture and that C.S.R., the other company concerned, has shown very little interest; if so, does this suggest that the Minister has exerted some influence on Ampol Australia Ltd to reconsider its attitude to this project.

Senator Wriedt (TASMANIA) (Minister for Primary Industry) - The Minister for Minerals and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) The Minister rejects the description of his exercising his responsibilities as interference detrimental to South Australia. He places great store on both Australian equity, in accordance with the Party's platform, and on expertise.

(2)   and (3 ) As he said in answer to a question without notice on 8 November, has had advice from the Premier that the Imperial Chemical Industries-Alcoa-Mitsubishi consortium would be chosen, and associated with it, he understood, would be C.S.R. Ltd and Ampol Petroleum Ltd. This will give 5 1 per cent Australian equity.

National Aboriginal Consultative Committee

Senator Cavanagh - On 8 November 1973, Senator Bonner asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs the following question, without notice:

My question is directed to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Why have candidates for the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee election on 24 November not been informed whether their nominations have been accepted? Will candidates be permitted to solicit funds from political parties, organisations and/or individuals to assist them in the financing of their campaigns? When will candidates be informed of the actual method of marking ballot papers, thus enabling them to prepare how to vote material?

The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The need to advise candidates in the forthcoming National Aboriginal Consultative Committee elections that their nominations have been accepted was overlooked. Telegrams have now been sent to all persons who lodged nominations, including those whose nominations failed to comply with the conditions and which have therefore not been accepted. 1 93 candidates are standing for election.

Candidates are free to seek financial or other support to assist their campaigns from whichever sources they choose.

Information on voting procedures, in the form of posters, press statements and written instructions, is now being given wide distribution to enrollers, candidates, state co-ordinators, Aboriginal voluntary organisations and to individuals who request such information. Distribution of ballot papers commenced on Monday 12 November.

The election will begin on Saturday 17 November with roving ballot boxes. Static polling booths will be open on Saturday 24 November and the election will end on Saturday 1 December.

Doctors' Fees

Senator Murphy - On Tuesday 23 October 1973, Senator Young directed a question to me on whether doctors' fees might come within the general concept of price control. He repeated this question on 7 November and 14 November. I undertook to answer as soon as possible.

Although Senator Young's question was put in the context of a decision of the Supreme Court of South Australia that doctors' fees in that State were subject to price control under the South Australian Prices Act, the tenor of his question was clearly directed in more general terms to the forthcoming referendum on Commonwealth Legislative power over prices. It will be recalled that I adverted to this matter in the debate on the Constitutional Alteration (Prices) Bill on 26 September last. The particular passage to which I am referring is on page 894 of Hansard. I there drew attention to the distinction between a contract of service, which encompasses regular employment and wages, and a contract for services, which encompasses a temporary short term arrangement for the provision of a specific service.

There is some legal opinion that the word prices' is capable of extending to both classes of contracts, but my view is that it does not do so and that it only covers contracts for specific services rendered. The payment made for a particular service can without straining language be described as the price of that service, but in my view it would be a misuse of the ordinary connotations of the word 'prices' to extend it to the remuneration for regular employment which is normally and more properly called ' wages '.

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