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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 969

Senator BAUME - My question which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security relates to the question asked earlier by Senator Lawrie. Is the Australian Government, through the Australian Industry Development Corporation, a substantial shareholder in Escor Insurance, a British insurance company? Is Caravan and General Finance Ltd, the company holding a 35 per cent interest in Oak Insurance, a wholly or partly-owned subsidiary of Escor Insurance? If so, will the Government review the situation where it appears to be indirectly associated with what seems to be a dubious insurance proposition which could prove disastrous for many Australians?

Senator WHEELDON - I do not have the information as to whether the Australian Industry Development Corporation has a holding in Escor or whether in turn Escor has a holding in Caravan and General which in turn has a holding in Oak Insurance. I shall obtain this information for the Senate. The only comment I would make at this stage is that although there has been criticism of the Oak Insurance company I would think it would be rather premature at this stage to condemn it as being a dishonest or fraudulent operation or indeed something which ought to be under suspicion. All that one really knows of the matter is that the claims perhaps at first sight seem a little extravagant and that some criticisms have been made by the Melbourne 'Age'. But I would not want it to be taken that either I or the Government is setting out to condemn the company. I shall obtain the information which is being sought by Senator Baume.

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