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Wednesday, 17 May 1939

Mr MENZIES (Kooyong) (Prime Minister) . - by leave - I am making a short statement in regard to the manufacture of motor cars, because in the various discussions that have taken place, it has turned out to he necessary that the general principles in the Government's mind on this matter should be plainly set out. I therefore desire to set them out in the following terms : -

(1)   The Commonwealth Government has definitely decided that motor vehicle engines and chassis are to be manufactured in Australia and that there should be no undue delay in establishing the industry.

(2)   Defence preparedness, industrial expansion, conservation of overseas funds, immigration, employment and utilization of Australian raw materials are among the principal reasons underlying this decision.

(3)   The Commonwealth Government is not able to grant a manufacturing monopoly to any single company.

(4)   The Commonwealth Government desires that any company formed to undertake manufacture should be Australian in character and policy.

(5)   The Commonwealth Government considers it essential that the prices of motor vehicles to be manufactured in Australia must be reasonable and the public interest in this respect will be protected.

The Commonwealth Government has not made any decision as to what its desires would be on the subject of the proportion of the capital of any company formed which should be Australian subscribed. Proposals which are under consideration embrace the following: -

(i)   A company with all Australian capital.

(ii)   A company with Australian capital in combination with capital subscribed by an overseas motor vehicle manufacturing organization - the respective proportions to be determined at a later date.

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