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Tuesday, 3 April 1973
Page: 973


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury (RYAN, QUEENSLAND) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -

 


Mr KEATING - The table shows that in 1941 the gold reserves in the United States totalled $22.8 billion and that they declined to $13.1 billion in 1967. Rickenbacker said:

No statistician could ask for a cleaner trend line. Simply laying a pencil along the plotted numbers, you can foresee that the United States will be devoid of gold within twenty years.

But the end came sooner than they believed it would. He went on to say:

The accelerated accumulation of dollar claims in their hands

That is, bankers - will lead much sooner to the show down over the ability of the United States to meet its obligations.

That was written in 1968 but it was well known long before that. Yet the. previous Government never worried about the other losses to this country.


Mr Connor - Protecting their powerful friends.


Mr KEATING - That is right. It never worried about the other losses. Our national shipping freight bill is greater than the income generated by the export of wheat, our second largest export. The miserable royalties we received in Western Australia last year are shown in the Treasury White Paper on foreign investment which was prepared by the last Government in 1972. It showed that in Western Australia our royalties from the export of $480m worth of produce was a miserable $22m. We can look at the contract commodity prices and see where we are Hogging our iron ore at well below world parity prices and the formation of cost companies and all sorts of tax minimisation schemes. The Commissioner of Taxation said in his report to the Committee on Overseas Investment in Australia that it is almost impossible now to assess multi-national corporations for tax because the profit shifting devices are so sophisticated that they cannot levy tax upon them. The previous Government never did anything to try to generate income from the sources yet now as the Opposition it talks about the money lost through a revaluation of the Australian dollar.

Whom is it protecting? It is protecting companies that are basically foreign dominated and I will give the House some details of them. For instance, in Hamersley Holdings Pty Limited 54 per cent of the shares are held by Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd and 34 per cent are held by the Kaiser Steel Corporation of the United States. In the Mount Golds- worthy mines Consolidated Goldfields Australia Ltd holds 33 per cent, the Cyprus Mines Corporation holds 33 per cent and Utah Development Co. holds 33 per cent. At Mount Newman the Dampier Mining Co. Ltd holds 30 per cent of the shareholding and Pillars Iron Ltd holds 30 per cent. All of them are foreign companies. This situation could have been avoided had the previous Government insisted on investment priorities whereby Australian funds would be diverted into extractive industries in Australia. We could have had Australian management insisting on payment in Australian dollars and none of the problems which we have faced with currency realignments would have taken place.

The previous Government had no record in relation to changes in currency. The Leader of the Country Party and the then Leader of the Liberal Party wrangled for days over the previous revaluation of 10 per cent, and the decisions of the then Treasurer and the Treasury were overlooked. The only consideration was that the Country Party was getting funds for its election campaign from its mates in the mining industry who had to be protected. The fact that Australian industries were being purchased at rock bottom prices on the stock exchange by a massive capital inflow never came into it. The fact that we had a rate of inflation of about 8 per cent which had to be considered as a result of this foreign investment never came into it either. But when this Government made a decision to revalue the Australian dollar and stop the purchase of our industries at basement prices we get all the whining in the world.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order!The honourable member's time has expired.







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