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Thursday, 1 December 1938

Mr LAZZARINI (Werriwa) .- I should like to know whether the bounty on radiators _ is to be paid out of the proceeds of the tax on motor, car chassis which was to be devoted to the building of complete cars in Australia.

Sir HENRY Gullett - It certainly should not.

Mr LAZZARINI - I say that it should not. The tax was imposed for the purpose of paying a bounty on complete cars.

Sir Henry Gullett - It was imposed to pay a bounty on motor car engines. The manufacture of other parts was to be assisted by duties.

Mr LAZZARINI - I am sure that the general impression among honorable members, and certainly among motor car users, was that the tax was imposed in order to pay a bounty on the complete car. If the money is. to be dissipated by paying a bounty on a bit of the car here, and another bit there, the Government will be doing something that is dishonest.

Mr Menzies - This bounty will be paid out of Consolidated Revenue.

Mr LAZZARINI - Yes, and the proceeds of the tax on motor car chassis is paid into Consolidated Revenue, and I am sure that the Government will balance the one against the other. This is merely another instance of the practice, s» strongly condemned by the AuditorGeneral, of devoting moneys to one purpose when they were raised for another. 1 regret that the Government proposes to go about this job in a piecemeal way. The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) and the honorable member for Henty (Sir Henry Gullett) have given their blessing to this proposal. A few weeks ago they were damning the Government from Dan to Beersheba because it was not doing enough to promote the manufacture of the whole car. Last week the honorable member for Henty would be satisfied with nothing less than the whole car. Now he is prepared to accept a radiator. In a month's time he will probably be content with a few nuts and bolts. The Government is simply fooling the people. I strongly support the amendment of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and the Government is deserving of severe criticism for having failed to take steps to ensure the manufacture of complete cars in Australia. No one who realizes how dependent is the transport of Australia on . foreign monopolies which supply us with cars and fuel can fail to be alarmed at the situation. If imports from overseas should be interrupted, the whole transport arrangement of the country would be destroyed. It should not be necessary -to wait until March, or any other time in the future, to begin this industry. Neither should it be necessary to go cap in hand to foreign capitalists to induce them to build cars here. The Government could itself begin the building of them to-morrow. It could establish a company for the purpose, keeping for itself a majority of the shares, as it did in the case of the Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited and Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited. If it made a move in that direction the motor firms would very quickly come to heel. The trouble is that this Government seems to concern itself with the affairs pf every country except this one. The matter is urgent, and if the Government allows the country to remain at the mercy of overseas exploiters it will be recreant to its trust, and cannot hope to retain the confidence of the people. Nearly £1,000,000 has already been col lected from the tax on motor chassis, enough to begin paying the bounty on the manufacture of complete cars. As 1 have said, if vested interests will not do the job, then the Government should take the job in hand itself. If it did so, the price of cars would. drop immediately. The cheaper cars could be sold here for £100 each, and the more expensive types at not more than £200. Prices would be halved, just as were the prices of agricultural machinery when we began to manufacture it for ourselves.

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