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Friday, 4 November 1938

Mr Forde e asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   When was the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation established ?

2.   Who are the owners of the company?

3.   How much foreign capital is in it?

4.   When were the orders given for 40 machines, when will they be delivered, and at what price per machine?

5.   Is it a fact that when delivered they willbe out of date and practically useless?

6.   What steps is the Government taking to prevent the formation in Australia of an annulment ring of the nature of those which have such a pernicious influence in foreign countries?

Mr Thorby - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Proprietary limited was registered on the 17th October, 1936.

2.   Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, Broken Hill Smelters Proprietary Limited, Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand, Orient Steamship Company, Electrolytic Zinc Company and General-Motors-Holdens Limited.

3.   The articles of association of the Aircraft Corporation provide that its management must be purely British and not subject, directly or indirectly, to foreign control or influence ; but special provision is made in the articles whereby the holding of General Motors-Holdens is limited to not more than 10 per cent. of the total capital issue. In addition, such articles do not permit the transfer of shares to foreign subjects or corporations.

4.   After preliminary negotiations as to type of aircraft and price, the corporation was authorized in January, 1038, to proceed with the manufacture of 40 "Wirraway" aircraft. Delivery of the first aircraft is expected in January, 1939, and the balance will follow at regular intervals spread over the following six months. The contract price will be £8.098 per aircraft.

5.   No.

6.   For stores other than munitions, the tender system is employed almost exclusively and supplies obtained by competitive public tender. The main source of supply of munitions is the government factories. It would, however, be necessary in time of emergency to augment that source of supply, and the Government has, therefore, approved of the attachment of annexes to certain State railway workshops and selected civil firms. In all cases, adequate control exists to prevent the abuses suggested by the honorable member.

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