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Thursday, 22 October 1964

Senator MURPHY (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the long established efficient Australian industries are passing into foreign ownership and control? Does our balance of trade depend on capital inflow to purchase such industries? Has the Government any plans to get any of these industries back into Australian hands or is it content to allow them to remain under foreign control for ever? Lastly, has the Government paid any heed to the warnings on this matter which have been given, not only by the Australian Labour Party, but also by leaders in Australian industry and by the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia himself?

Senator PALTRIDGE - Senator Murphyhas completely overlooked one aspect of this matter and it is this: If an established company in Australia is purchased by an overseas company, allowing Australian participation or not, then such purchase is effected only because those who sell the company - the vendors - are prepared to sell it. Senator Murphy's question raises a further point which is dear to the heart of the Australian Labour Party: It would impose some restraints upon the people who own property in this country to dispose of such property as they wish. The honorable senator overlooks another factor. If these sales do occur, one certain consequence is that the capital which is paid to the vendor company is then made available in Australia for further capital investment by that vendor company. Thus the opportunity is given for a secondary expansion of the economy.

As to the question concerning the attitude of the Deputy Prime Minister, I have answered very many questions on this matter in the Senate and elsewhere and I say what I have said so frequently before on this matter: It is quite impossible in my view to lay down a general rule that is applicable to every one of these negotiations. Each and every one of them has different factors. Each and every one of them must be judged on its individual merits.

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