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Thursday, 18 October 1973
Page: 2345

Dr J F CAIRNS - As everyone knows, their shareholders have no influence at all over them. They are run by professional managers in the interests of the corporations, and very often they are run in the interests of the corporations very well indeed.

Mr McMahon - They are mutual funds.

Dr J F CAIRNS - Those are deceptive words. These corporations show no participation by the citizens of this country in their operations. They are run by professionals - competently run - as large business organisations.

Mr Lynch - Do you want to put a squeeze on them, or something?

Dr J F CAIRNS - We believe that in this field there ought to be a little competition with these enormous corporations which have such complete control over such a vast amount of funds. That is not free enterprise. It is not private enterprise. But that is what honourable gentlemen opposite stand for. I am afraid that they are the spokesmen for large monopolistic organisations that are the very antithesis of the principle of liberalism.

There is no purpose, in this Bill or by this Government, of introducing any kind of an alternative; but we believe that the people of Australia through this Parliament should have a little more say in what is going on in the allocation of resources. In relation to these particular funds, where does the money go? It goes predominantly into building up the urban centres, building up skyscrapers - those massive structures of steel and concrete that are being built long ahead of the need. Thousands of square feet of office space that has been made available is not being used and is not likely to be used. It is well beyond the need. Yet, in the housing sector, for which members of the Opposition say they have some sympathy, and do have some sympathy, but which in practice they will not do the things necessary to shift resources into-

Mr McMahon - But you are going to cut it down.

Dr J F CAIRNS - We are not.

Mr McMahon - The Treasurer said you are; and you will increase interest rates.

Dr J F CAIRNS - For a long time the right honourable gentleman supervised a Treasury that gave him exactly the same advice as it has given to us, which advice he accepted time and again.

Mr McMahon - What was that?

Dr J F CAIRNS - The argument that if there is surplus liquidity or surplus money in the community one way of getting it back is to increase the interest rate. I have heard the right honourable gentleman, when he was on this side of the House, time and again put forward that argument. It is insincere on his part now, merely because he finds himself in Opposition, to begin questioning something that he has accepted throughout the whole of his life since he first began to study economics at the University of Sydney some 35 years ago. I know how well the right honourable gentleman, who was Prime Minister of this country-

Mr McMahon - The Minister has his dates wrong. It was 25 years ago.

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