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Wednesday, 20 May 1970

Dr GUN (Kingston) (12:37 PM) - I should like to make a couple of brief remarks in support of what was said by the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron). What seems to have been overlooked by previous speakers is one word in the first amendment to clause 8 proposed by the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns). I refer to the word 'appropriate*. The amendment reads: . . that the company has made every reasonable attempt to secure assistance at appropriate rates from banking or financial institutions

What exactly is meant by 'appropriate' rates of interest? I suppose that the first thing one does when trying to borrow money is to negotiate the loan at the lowest possible rate of interest. Therefore an interpretation of this expression could be that one would try to obtain assistance at the lowest possible rate of interest. If the honourable member means the lowest rate of interest, why does he not say so? These words would suggest that what is actually meant is that if a company wants to borrow it goes first to a private institution where it might have to pay 10%, but then finds that it can get the money at 8% from the Corporation. To suit the particularly perverse ideology of the honourable member for Lilley the company would have to borrow at the higher rate of interest from the private lending institution. It does not seem to be to be particularly beneficial for Australia that an amendment of that sort should be carried. I think the honourable member for Lilley has done himself credit in moving this amendment.

The honourable member suggested as an alternative that the Corporation should declare a dividend, or something like that. This would mean that the Corporation would be required to tie one hand behind its back when competing with private financing institutions. It seems to me that if we are going to put this handicap on the Corporation we achieve a direct contradiction of the first part of the Clause which says that the Corporation shall act in accordance with sound business principles. If one is going to fight one does not tie one hand behind one's back. 1 am very surprised, Mr Chairman, that you did not rule the honourable member's amendment out of order because it is a complete negation of the original motton. As J said this afternoon, it is a funny thing that the same people who say that Socialist enterprises never work are the ones who are squealing about suffering unfair competition from a Socialist enterprise. If Socialist enterprise is really inefficient they should not have anything to fear. If it is efficient the people of Australia will benefit by it.

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