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Wednesday, 17 October 1973
Page: 2236


Mr FULTON (LEICHHARDT, QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Minister for Services and Property. Does he see any merit in yesterday's statement by the Leader of the Australian Country Party that moneys paid to political parties and to individual politicians by foreign multi-national corporations should be treated as a tax deduction? Has he heard reports that foreign corporations are paying large sums of money to the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Country Party as well as to individual members of those parties because of their willingness to transfer Australia's mineral and energy resources to those foreign interests? If so, does the statement of the Leader of the Country Party amount to a proposal that the people of Australia should be required indirectly to finance the election campaigns of politicians who are firmly committed to a policy which will result in the further erosion of Australian control of Australian resources?


Mr SPEAKER -Order! This question is in order only if it relates to the Minister's portfolio. If it does not relate to the Minister's portfolio, it is out of order. But, in regard to a statement made by the Leader of the Country Party-


Mr Fulton - I thought the Minister was in charge of electoral matters.


Mr SPEAKER - That is all right; the relevant parts of the question relate to the Minister's portfolio.


Mr DALY (GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Services and Property) - I thank you for your wise ruling, Mr Speaker. I am in charge of the matter referred to in a section of the question asked by the honourable member for Leichhardt. In regard to the taxation concessions mentioned by the Leader of the Country Party, I would say to the honourable member for Leichhardt that there is no merit at all in giving taxation concessions to foreign multi-national corporations which donate to political campaign funds, as they have no right to provide finance for the defeat of a popularly elected government in another country. Not only will no tax deductions be provided to foreign based multi-national corporations; they will also be prohibited from contributing to campaign funds unless they have a large Australian content. I have seen a report that huge donations totalling more than Sim-


Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. My point of order is that we are anxious to debate this matter and we are unwilling to see the honourable gentleman hide behind an answer to a question instead of making a statement in the House so that we can debate it


Mr SPEAKER - Order) There is no point of order involved.


Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, you have often ruled and, if I may say so, correctly ruled, that if a Minister comes in with a prepared answer he should be prepared to make it as a statement. That is what I ask for; we want to debate this matter now.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no point of order involved.


Mr DALY - The Leader of the Opposition interjected and said we should bring the matter on for debate. The Government - and its decision has been endorsed by the Party today - has decided to bring down legislation to provide for public disclosures of all political funds and I assure the honourable member that he will get adequate time to consider the legislation and debate it and I hope that he will support it.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - What about those unions which contribute to Labor Party campaign funds? Why do you not tell us about them?


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member for Griffith has been interjecting and gnashing his teeth for the last 5 minutes. If he does not remain quiet I will have to deal with him.


Mr DALY - I am disturbed at reports that over Sim of foreign money has gone into Liberal-Country Party funds. The Leader of the Opposition has said that he will take funds from anywhere, as long as there are no strings attached. But the strings are obvious in the Liberal Party's policy to sell Australia's national resources. It is true that the statement of the right honourable Leader of the Australian Country Party seeking taxation deductions for donations by foreign multi-national corporations would amount to subsidising the control and disposal of Australian resources, and naturally the Government will have no part of this whatever. I further state that it is probably true to say that most political parties have skeletons in their cupboards, but some skeletons are bigger than others, notably those concerned with providing the Sim. This is an opportunity for those parties to bury those skeletons. From here on, after the legislation is introduced, a new era will be started in Australian politics, removing from candidates and organisations the insinuations that there can be a Spiro Agnew or another Watergate in Australia.


Mr Chipp - I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Is it within the Standing Orders for the Minister to tell to this Parliament a blatant lie, as he just did?


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I think honourable gentlemen know that I am pretty good but I am not so good as to know what actually occurs in regard to outside matters. I am here to try to interpret the Standing Orders to the best of my ability.







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