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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1613


Mr JACOBI (HAWKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I address my question to the Prime Minister. Are multi-national corporations a target of investigation by United Nations committees set up at the instigation of developing countries which are alarmed by the sway that multi-national corporations exercise over their economies? Did the Prime Minister at the Ottawa Conference of Commonwealth heads of government support the establishment within the Commonwealth Secretariat of a group which would, among other things, examine the roles played by multinational corporations? As Canada and Australia face an appalling density of foreign control in both the petro-refining and mining sectors of 74 per cent, 65 per cent, 80 per cent and 62 per cent respectively, and as the efforts of bothcountriesthroughtheirrespectivecor- porations - the Australian Industry Development Corporation and the Canadian Development Corporation - are attempts to break the power of multi-national corporations--


Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable gentleman will ask his question.


Mr Viner - Give a bit more information.


Mr JACOBI - Be a little patient. Will the Prime Minister inform the House, firstly, whether the secretariat group has yet been set up; secondly, whether he will exchange information with the Canadian Government with a view to formulating multilaterial policies aimed at ensuring that multi-national corporations act in the best interests of both countries, and thirdly, what progress the United Nations committee is making in its consideration of these matters and what part is Australia playing in that consideration?


Mr WHITLAM - The United Nations has established a committee to study multinational corporations, and such a committee group is also being established within the Commonwealth Secretariat following the discussions which I initiated at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting at Ottawa in August. Consultations and exchanges of information have already taken place with Canada, whose experience of control of its industries and resources by multi-national corporations is similar in nature to Australia's experience but in fact greater in degree. Naturally this mutually beneficial exchange of information will continue. The United Nations committee has commenced its meetings. Australia will participate in the work of the committee and we will be represented on it by Sir Ronald Walker, the distinguished economist who has for many years past represented Australia as Ambassador to France and more recently to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. .The Government will follow the work of both the Commonwealth Secretariat group and the United Nations committee with great interest and attention.







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