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Transcript of Ian McLachlan MP

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Transcript o f Ian McLacMan MP Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce 'AM' 24 September 1992

While John Hewson says that Japanese investors like Toyota need to see the Fightback! package before making pronouncements on future investment Dr Hewson's colleague, the Shadow Minister for Industry, Ian McLachlan, has taken the debate a step further this morning. Mr McLachlan says that so far Australians have had to rely on Paul Keating's interpretation of the Japanese position. Michael O'Reagan began by asking Ian McLachlan if the reported remarks of Dr Toyoda mean that a Coalition victory would lead to the loss of Japanese investment in the car industry. -

McLachlan - Certainly not. And I can't imagine that Mr Keating put the Coalition's position in regard to its policies in the right light. And of course there's no doubt that the car companies will be as well or better off under our policy and cars will be cheaper. And that's been verified by a meeting I've had with the car industry in this State last night.

O'Reagan - And yet surely the comments of the Toyota Chair, Dr Toyoda, are fairly unequivocal when he says that Toyota's investment plans are predicated on current Government policy persisting into the next century.

McLachlan - Yes, or better no doubt. And there is absolutely no doubt that if you change the industrial relations policies towards the sorts of arrangements that Toyota have in other parts of the world where in fact of course they have their own industrial arrangements inside their own plants, that will be better for them.

O'Reagan - But just on that issue, I mean Dr Hewson is talking about the creation of an investment climate in Australia, and yet here we have a possible outcome of the Coalition's Fightback! policy that would result in the loss of possibly 4,000 jobs in Victoria.

McLachlan - Well I don't agree, and aren't we talking about Mr Keating's interpretation of the remarks made by Dr Toyoda.

O'Reagan - But there are those remarks by Dr Toyoda as a base line, that he's saying th at Toyota would review its investment decision concerning Australia.

McLachlan - Yes but one quoted remark from Dr Toyoda. So far what I've read in the paper is an interpretation by somebody else and in most cases I think it's by Mr Keating. So I can only say to you that under our policy, both Toyota and the car companies would be in a more competitive position and cars will be cheaper for Australians, which I would have thought would create a better investment climate,

not only for car companies, but for other investors as well.



O'Reagan - How does that square with a decision by a major international car producer that they would re-consider investing in Australia if there is a change to the car tariff policy.

McLachlan - Well that quotation, as I say, is an interpretation by somebody else. Now I think what we've got to consider, and they will consider, and we may have to explain it to them, is whether they will be better off under us or better off under Mr Keating. Now the car companies and their employees have lost mightily in the last two years, in fact is it 12,000 or 13,000 people have gone out of that industry in the last couple of years.

O'Reagan - So are you saying Mr McLachlan that to reiterate Dr Hewson's point that basically if the Japanese better understood Fightback! they wouldn't be adopting the position they seem to be.

McLachlan - Absolutely and I don't expect Mr Keating would have interpreted it very well for us.

O'Reagan - Do you agree though that there is a significant perception now that the implementation of the 5 per cent tariff policy included in Fightback! would mean a loss of jobs in Australia.

McLachlan - Well I believe that's been a public relations effort that has been put about by some people. But I do believe as we've found in the last week or few days that a lot of people are starting to understand, as I reiterate, was the position in the industry meeting that I had last night, that people would not be worse off under our position at 5 per cent because of all the tax cuts that those businesses will be allowed. And not only that of course, by the change to the industrial relations arrangements. You need to understand that the Toyota company all over the world has different industrial relations, many of them that are much better, much freer, and much more individual than they are in this country. So to the extent th at Dr Toyoda is talking about improvements and certainty, then he can be absolutely certain that the arrangement will be better under us than any that have pertained up until now under the Labor Party.

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