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Wednesday, 31 October 1956

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) . - The Opposition, very naturally and very properly does not offer any objection to a bill of this kind. We want to preserve Australian industries. If we have any criticism of the Government, it is that the Government does not preserve Australian industries sufficiently, and is not as active as it might be in fields other than that of imports from other countries intended to be covered by this legislation. I believe that this bill will be of some benefit. The Government does not indicate against whom it is aimed, but it says that it is intended to help the industries of Australia.

I should like the Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) to give consideration to a few other industries that have been affected by imports, and possibly by the Government's credit restriction policy, because in a number of industries that have existed in Australia for up to 40 years many men are now being dismissed, for reasons best known to the directors of the companies concerned. The firm of H. V. McKay Massey Harris Proprietary Limited in Melbourne has dismissed, or intends to dismiss, 900 men. This is a very serious matter. I do not know what is the cause of these dismissals, but I should certainly like the Minister to have a look at this matter. I know that aircraft production does not come within the Minister's province, but I would ask him also to consider that section of industry when he is deciding on methods of preserving Australian industry generally.

As I have said, the Opposition offers no objection to the legislation and will facilitate its passage. Now that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) benignly nods to me, I should like him to identify his efforts with those of the Minister for Air, who represents the Minister for Customs and Excise in this chamber, in ensuring that quite a number of Australian industries that are seriously threatened for reasons other than those that this bill is designed to circumvent, will also be protected.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

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