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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2213

Senator MAUNSELL (QUEENSLAND) -My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Did the Government frown upon multinational companies and foreign capital before and after it came to office in 1972? Has the Government now conceded that overseas capital is essential to give stimulus to business investment? If so, what encouragement is the Government giving to those overseas investors who have invested in Australia, some over many years, and who since the advent of this Government have been disadvantaged because of the Government's previous policy?

Senator MURPHY -I am surprised that the honourable senator would ask me such a question. He sat on the same committee as I did- the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control. Before this Government was elected to office a report was prepared by that Committee. As I recall it, except for some general reservation which was made, the Committee came up with the unanimous report dealing with the specifics of the whole question. I think the honourable senator ought to recall what was said by that Committee. It will show that his attitude to this question is quite wrong. The Government's attitude to multi-national corporations is to treat them in such a way that we will get whatever benefits might flow from their operations and to avoid the difficulties that have arisen, whether in Australia or in other countries, from the operations of the multi-nationals. To speak of them as if they were a particular species of insect, according to whether one is for or against them, or to say that there is some hostility is an absurdity. Multi-national corporations play an enormous part in the economic life of the world. Their operations must be regarded in that way. One cannot brush them off and say that they are either good or bad. It would be quite absurd to treat these enormous corporations which so much affect the life of us all in that way.

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