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Thursday, 31 March 1966


Mr JONES (Newcastle) .- Mr. Deputy Speaker,I wish to bring to the attention of the House some of the unethical practices being carried on by some very snide organisations that set out deliberately to rob unsuspecting members of the public. At the present time operating in Newcastle is a company called the Manchester Style Knitwear Company. It is selling knitting machines for £95 and providing to the unsuspecting members of the public who purchase these machines alleged agreements cum contracts that are not worth the paper they are printed on. In reality, this company is not giving these people anything whatsoever. In this way, it fools the people into purchasing these knitting machines at £95 each.

This company is not the only one operating in this field. I understand that in the Sydney area and the Wollongong area there are two similar companies to the one in Newcastle. These organisations are: Bristol Style Knitwear Co. of Darlinghurst, Double Dee Knitwear Co. of Rose Bay and Manchester Style Knitwear Co. of Willoughby. As I have said already, the branch office of the latter firm at Newcastle is situated at 456 Hunter Street, in the Mercantile Mutual Building which, I understand, is an off-shoot of, and closely associated with, the Chamber of Manufactures. I will deal with this aspect of the matter in a moment or two.

The unsavoury part about these contracts cum agreements which the company enters into with its purchasers is that these agreements or contracts which come with the sewing machines which are sold for £95 each are absolutely valueless. I would like to read a letter from Double Dee Knitwear Co. to a very reputable retailing firm in Newcastle which sells machines of this type. I do not want to name the firm because it could cause some confusion and bring it into disrepute, but I can vouch personally for the owner of it. He is a man I have known for the past 20 to 25 years. This is what the Double Dee Knitwear Co. wrote -

Thank you for your prompt reply to our inquiry regarding knitting machines.

We would be interested in purchasing the Girotex for £10.0.0, the Texilia, which is now discontinued, for £5.0.0, and the single bed Japanese machine for £3.0.0 also, making a total of £20.0.0. However, as a bulk lot we are prepared to pay £25.0.0 for the three. Unfortunately, the Passap is of no use without the parts.

Looking forward to an early reply to our offer,

Yours faithfully, David Dowe Double Dee Knitwear.

The machines the company is selling for £95 are useless, secondhand, traded in, obsolete machines which it is buying for £5 or £10. Unfortunately people in the community who do not understand the crooked business that is being transacted fall for what they believe to be a legal and binding contract which promises them, over a 24 month period, an average of 60 oz. of wool per week with which to make garments which will be purchased and paid for by this company at the rate of 2s. an ounce. Unfortunately, people take the view: "That will give us a return of £6 a week for 104 weeks. In the first 16 weeks that we operate we will be able to recoup our outlay of £95 on the machine and the rest of the time we will be making a profit. We will be able to make a profit of £529 in two years." The catch is that this company is dealing with many other people. I had a look at the way these crooks operate in Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong. Certain people have received approximately 15 oz. of wool in two weeks. One lady who had received 15 oz. in two weeks told me that she completed two garments and returned them personally to the office of the company, although the company had promised to call and collect the finished garments each week. Although she took the garments into the office she had not received 2s. per ounce for the 15 oz. of wool she made up into garments. This is how these people are operating in the community. It is most unfortunate that nothing can be done legally to prosecute them and have them gaoled. Prosecution alone is not good enough. There is only one thing to do with such people and that is to put them in the place where they belong, with other crooks in the community - prison.

I bring this matter forward, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in the hope that some action will be taken as a result of what I have said about these people operating in the community. They are Mr. David Dowe, a crook; Mr. Giersch, another crook; and Mr. Paul Makin, another crook. The last is no relation whatsoever to the former honorable member for Bonython, Mr. Norman Makin, an ex-Speaker of this Parliament. It will be deplorable if these people are allowed to continue to operate in the present manner. It is most unfortunate if nothing can be done to prosecute them and to put them into prison - the place where they really belong. When I went to the office of the Manchester Style Knitwear Co. last Monday to try to discover something about this matter I found a bare office with an old table, an old typewriter and a few cardigans hanging around the wall. I spoke to the girl in the office and while I was standing in the passageway awaiting an opportunity to have a talk to these people, about 10 incoming telephone calls were dealt with. The girl gave the same cock and bull yarn to every inquirer. She said: " I am sorry, madam " or " 1 am sorry, Sir, that we cannot supply the wool to you. We are so busy; we have so many orders. We have sold so many machines that we cannot supply the wool. We cannot keep the supplies up, but you can rest assured that we will average the 60 oz. per week over the next two years ". This is the type of reply that the unfortunate people who have purchased these machines are getting over the telephone in response to their inquiries.

One of the things that annoys me is that reputedly respectable newspapers accept advertisements from these people and reputedly respectable business houses provide them with accommodation. In the latter respect I refer to the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Co. Ltd. This company is, I believe, closely associated with the Chamber of Manufactures. It should know that the people operating the fraud to which I have referred are crooks of the worst and lowest type. They are robbing people who can ill afford to spend £95 on the purchase of one of these machines. What is the security officer of the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Co. Ltd. doing? Why has he not gone to the manager of his company and said, in effect: " I do not know whether you are aware of it or not, but you have a tenant in this building who is a crook, a firm which is selling machines to people for £95 each. The machines are secondhand rubbish for which the firm has paid £5 or £10 each. The machine that the lady whom I mentioned purchased was valued at only £39 brand new.

Not only should the knitwear companies be strongly condemned for the way they are conducting their businesses, but likewise the newspapers, insurance companies and other people who allow them space and accommodation to enable them to transact their crooked business must accept some degree of responsibility. These companies are operating in bank chambers and insurance buildings and because of this some people believe that there must be something good about them. Why should newspapers allow these companies to advertise in their journals? Why should banks and insurance companies allow them to occupy accommodation in premises of allegedly reputable organisations? I strongly condemn the management of the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Co. Ltd. for not investigating the bona fides of these people and obtaining references as to their standards.

Mr.Deputy SPEAKER (Mr. Lucock).Order! The honorable member's time has expired.







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