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Friday, 22 August 1941

Senator AYLETT (Tasmania) . - On the 9th July, last, I addressed the following questions to the Minister for Supply and Development (Senator McLeay) : -

1.   Is it a fact-

(a)   that the great International Aluminium Combine known in

America as Alcoa has been indicted by the Government of America(or subversive action in that by keeping the production of aluminium low and the profits high it has prevented aluminium from being made in adequate quantities for munitions of war?

(b)   that some of the directors are now released on bail pending further hearings? and

(c)   that Mr. Ickes, on behalf of the Roosevelt Administration has declared that Alcoa was the most perfect monopoly ever devised by man?

2.   If so, will the Minister ask the Commonwealth representative in America to furnish immediately particulars of this indictment and a summary of the evidence for the information of the Government?

3.   Is it a fact that the Aluminium Company of Canada, which is a subsidiary of Alcoa, is one of the principal shareholders of the Australian Aluminium Company?

4.   If so, will the Government take steps to prevent the great International Aluminium Trust either directly or through its subsidiaries from obtaining a stranglehold on the infant Australian aluminium industry?

The replies which were posted to me when the Senate was not in session, are as follows : -

1.   It is general ly known that investigations are being made in America concerning the company mentioned, and that such references to the investigations have recently been published in the press.

2.   Yes.

3.   I understand that the Aluminium Union of Canada holds one-third of the shares in the Australian Aluminium Company.

4.   Yes.

Referring to the second question, I should like the Minister to inform the Senate whether he has been able to ascertain from the Commonwealth representative in the United States of America any further information on this matter. If he has, will he enlighten the Senate as to its nature? I have a considerable quantity of information in my possession regarding the history of the international aluminium combine known in America as Alcoa, but I do not desire to use it in advance of any particulars which the Minister may be able to furnish. If he has not yet obtained such information, I shall reserve, for the present, the details in my possession as to how the Australian Aluminium Company is interwoven with the great aluminium trust of America, which, until quite recently, was supplying every nation, whether friend or foe, with aluminium.

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