On Section 4, on the Second Reading the Minister explained to the House that the purpose of the measure was to enable the company to carry out certain investigations regarding the possibility of manufacturing certain chemicals here. I was rather dubious about the proposal because of the record of this company and the promises that were made by the Minister when this company was set up. The Minister stated definitely that the company would produce industrial alcohol at 1/9 per gallon. So far as I know, they never were able at any time to produce alcohol at less than 3/6 a gallon; recently, in fact, the price of industrial alcohol has risen to 7/6 a gallon. When we remember that industrial alcohol has only two-thirds the propulsion power of petrol and that petrol can be bought at 8.9d. per gallon, we can draw our own conclusions. In the extension of powers the Minister suggested that one particular chemical was contemplated which might be produced here, namely, sulphate of ammonia. The Minister has made no attempt to convince the House as to the possibilities of producing sulphate of ammonia here at an economic price. I am concerned with the proposal from the agricultural point of view. Any man who has any experience of agriculture realises the very narrow margin that accrues to the primary producer if we are to have an exportable surplus and if we are to export that surplus in competition with countries able to produce under more favourable conditions and who can get the raw material necessary for production much more cheaply than a similar article produced here. A higher price than the price of the imported article would be a serious handicap. I am not opposed to producing sulphate of ammonia here if it can be produced at a comparable price.
I am vigorously opposed to any project which will increase the price of raw material to the agriculturist. We discussed this matter before and the Minister quibbled with me in relation to the tariff on superphosphates. I did not advert on that occasion to how carefully he put in Great Britain at that discussion; subsequently I looked at the report on the importation of superphosphates from Great Britain and I discovered that we have never imported phosphates from Great Britain. In the past I have imported large quantities of Belgian phosphate myself, equal to the best manufactured here or in Great Britain. The Minister misrepresented me when he said that I was opposed to the manufacture of superphosphate here. Before ever his tariff was put on superphosphate was manufactured here in competition with Belgian superphosphate. I remember after the last war when continental superphosphate was allowed in here the home manufacturers had to sit up and do their job; in a year or two they were able to sell in competition with continental imports. The Minister's quibbling is not to his credit. I looked up, too, the customs list and on page 96 of the 1938 Customs and Excise Tariff List, reference No. 245, "superphosphate, ground mineral phosphates and compound manures ad valorem 20 per cent.", and then there is a preferential "United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, free."