Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 27 April 1972
Page: 1383

Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - It may be useful to the Senate if, as an interested party, I make some observations on this matter. Since the reference to the Committee was approved I have helped the Committee as much as possible. Both departments involved have given assistance with advice and by making available officials whom we thought would be beneficial to the Committee. We have awaited the result of the inquiry with considerable interest. We have regarded the Committee's work as being valuable, and we still believe that. It seems to me that the present slight problem can be overcome by the commonsense and goodwill of this joint gathering in a common exercise, I find Senator Murphy's proposal acceptable. I am not getting excited about it. I have confidence in the wisdom, common sense and judgment of honourable senators engaged in this exercise. 1 am sure that they will take all the necessary steps to find out what they believe they should find out and then report back to the Senate by 11th May. If necessary the Committee can ask for an extension of time and possibly a change in the terms of reference. That could well be a useful course. I am content to leave it to the Committee, with Senator Murphy's motion in the forefront of its aim, to use its commonsense and judgment. I will accept what the Committee does and I will await with interest the presentation of its report.

I think I should make a passing observation in regard to paragraph 1 (d) of the Committee's terms of reference. I think it should be made clear that although the transaction referred to is obviously the takeover offer, an application by TNT for permission to acquire a shareholding amounting to approximately 23 per cent in Ansett Transport Industries is still before me as Acting Postmaster-General. Should Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd wish to

13071/72-3' - 1541

proceed with this transaction under the Broadcasting and Television Act it is subject to my approval. As required by the Act I have asked the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to report to me on this matter. The Board has advised me that it will be some time before its investigations are completed having regard to the complication introduced by the substantial shareholdings held in TNT by nominee companies and also because of the very substantial trading in shares of both companies which is reported to have taken place in recent weeks. As an honourable senator as well as a responsible Minister I totally agree with the view taken by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) and I accept Senator Murphy's amendment which, in effect, leaves the terms of reference as they are. They are quite wide. It is left to the judgment of the Chairman and my colleagues on the Committee to come back on I1 th May and say: 'We have found out the following things: We report to you accordingly. We believe we should now stop. We believe we should have longer. We believe that we may require a change in our terms of reference'. Lel the matter wait until then.

Suggest corrections