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Wednesday, 20 May 1970

Mr IRWIN (Mitchell) - The debate on this clause gives me the opportunity to speak, which I did not have in the second reading debate. I want to state now that the functions of this Corporation are not desirable and that, if ever a redundant, unnecessary and unwarranted Bill was brought before this chamber, this is that Bill. We have heard a lot of fairy floss spoken in regard to this matter. Dealing with the matter broadly and with the functions of borrower and lender, let me say that this Corporation, if it was functioning-

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Chairman, I take a point of order. In the Committee stage the debate should be kept strictly to the clause under discussion. An honourable member should not be permitted to complain that he was unable to speak during the second reading stage and then proceed to make a second reading speech now.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock)Order! I point out to the honourable member for Hindmarsh that clause 6, which we are now discussing, relates to the functions of the Corporation. This affords a fairly wide sphere of discussion. The amendment also enables a discussion in fairly general terms. As long as an honourable member keeps within the limits of the clause and the amendment he will be in order.

Mr IRWIN - I am dealing with the function of the proposed Corporation. Had I been able to speak during the second reading I would have discussed this matter more fully. The aims of the Corporation are most estimable, but I question its functions. Anyone with meagre experience would know that the organisations proposed to be assisted would never have the opportunity of being assisted by any recognised lending authority. For this reason it is probable that the Corporation will lose much money. The expense involved in enabling the Corporation to fulfil its functions will be tremendous. There is nothing in the functions of the Corporation that the Australian Resources Development Bank could not do, and do much better, because of the vast experience and training of the people associated with it. It seems to me that by establishing the proposed organisation we will have another redundant Public Service organisation which will cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to finance. Anyone who thinks that the Corporation will be able to borrow money for its stated purposes and functions is indulging in wishful thinking and has had no knowledge of the handling and borrowing of money.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8.

(1)   In providing assistance in relation to a particular company, or in relation to companies engaged or proposing to engage in a particular industry, the Corporation shall pursue a policy directed to securing, to the greatest extent that is practicable, participation by Australian residents in the ownership of the capital, and in the control, of that company or of the companies engaged or proposing to engage in that industry. (2.) In the performance of its functions the Corporation shall act in accordance with sound business principles and the Corporation shall not provide assistance in relation to a particular company unless it is satisfied that the company will operate in an efficient manner and on a profitable basis. (3.) The Corporation -

(a)   shall not provide assistance to a company except al the request, or with the consent, of that company;

(b)   shall not provide assistance to a company by subscribing for shares in that company except al the request, or with the consent, of that company: and

(c)   shall endeavour, so far as practicable, to avoid becoming or remaining in a position where it is able to control or manage the affairs of a company to which it provides assistance. (6.) The exercise of any powers by the Corporalion is not invalid, and shall not be called in question, by reason of any failure of the Corporation to comply with any of its obligations under this section.

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