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Thursday, 2 December 1965

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (Hindmarsh) . - I listened very attentively to the address just given by the honorable and learned member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes), but it left me unimpressed. He sought to explain to the Committee why the Government has, without any valid explanation, omitted from the legislation the two important provisions of the Barwick proposals. I refer to proposals 1 and 4 - persistent price cutting at a loss to drive a competitor out of business, and monopolisation. I think I have a more valid explanation of the Government's action than the one just given. I propose to quote from a book just published called " Power in the Liberal Party " by Katherine West. This a well documented book and it can be taken as an authentic publication. The author is the daughter of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Librarian. One can assume that everything that is contained in the book would be well authenticated and could not be fobbed off as material published by somebody who is politically partisan or who wanted to score off the Liberal Party for any party political reason.

I ask the Committee to listen to what the author has to say about the finances of the Liberal Party. Here we can get right to the kernel of what makes the Liberal Party tick, what makes the Liberal Party think and what makes the Liberal Party act. I shall refer to the people who finance the Liberal Party and enable it to continue in existence - it could never live on its politics and it has to rely on those who support it. I want to read this because I am sure that you, Mr. Chairman, will be as interested as I am in the matter I want to deal with. At page 52 of the publication we see -

Members of the Finance Committee have included: Sir Ian Potter, Principal of Ian Potter & Co., Stockbrokers, Melbourne, since 1938;-

Mr Wilson - To which clause is this directed?

Mr Jess - Chair.

Mr Haworth - Chair.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON - Honorable members opposite may interject " Chair '*, but the Chair is quite capable of looking after itself without any help. The Chair, like all honorable members, is looking for a motive to explain why this strange situation has occurred. We are as entitled as a court of law to search for a motive. The motive appears when one reads this book; it is to placate the wealthy financiers behind the Liberal Party. When honorable members hear a little more of the list of names in the book they will begin to understand more readily why the interests mentioned in this book had so much to lose by the earlier legislation which was proposed and so much to gain by the omission of the two important provisions that I have mentioned. If I may say so in passing, one also begins to learn why Sir Garfield Barwick was elevated to the High Court. To continue, Sir Ian Potter is not only principal of the firm of stockbrokers; he is a director of Commercial Union Assurance Co. of Australia Ltd., North British and Mercantile Insurance Co. of Australia Ltd., Email Ltd., Mcllwraith McEacharn Ltd., Bulkships Ltd., Petrochemical Holdings Ltd., Austraiian Petrochemicals Pty. Ltd., and Coco-Cola Bottlers Melbourne Pty. Ltd. Lel me pause there, if I may.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! I think the honorable member might pause considerably. The honorable member for Hindmarsh should remember that when he makes his remarks or comments in regard to an amendment under discussion, the remarks and comments should be relevant to the amendment. The honorable member has been sufficiently long a member in this place to realise exactly what I mean by that.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON - That is a very good point, Sir. The reason that 1 paused was because I was about to make the very point that you, Sir, have made. You want me to say how my remarks now are relevant to the omission of monopolisation. Coca-Cola Bottlers Ltd. is a monopoly. There is no question about that. Everybody knows that. But this monopoly will no longer be affected by the proposed legislation because the prohibition on monopolisation which was included in the Barwick proposals has been left out. Who is the person who directs Coca-Cola Bottlers Ltd. - this monopoly? It is none other than Sir Ian Potter, one of the members of the Liberal Party Finance Committee. In view of your ruling, Sir, if I may move quickly across the many other companies that Sir Ian Potter directs to another member of the Finance Committee, I come to Sir Maurice Nathan who, incidentally, happens to have been Lord Mayor of Melbourne from .1961 to 1963. He is also Chairman and Managing Director of Patersons (Aust.) Ltd., an organisation which, if it is not a monopoly, is veering very close towards the monopoly class. He is also President of the Australian Retail Furnishers Association. The retail furnishing trade is another clear case of monopolisation.

Mr Whitlam - And predatory pricing.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON - And predatory pricer, which is going to be relieved from any obligation under this legislation to comply with requirements which would have been imposed upon it under the earlier proposals. I move now to another gentleman mentioned in the book as being a member of the Finance Committee of the Liberal

Party, lt is none other than Sir George Coles, a director of another giant monopoly which will no longer have to worry about the provisions previously announced because they have been carefully omitted from this Bill. I can well imagine our Prime Minister sitting with Mr. George Coles, Mr. Maurice Nathan and Mr. Potter at the Melbourne Club or the Atheneum Club, or wherever it is these people gather together. They are no longer " misters " of course, because as part of their reward for giving money to the Liberal Party they have become Knights of the Realm. I can imagine Sir Ian Potter, Sir Maurice Nathan and Sir George Coles gathering with the Prime Minister round a little glass of Scotch and the right honorable gentleman saying: "How are things going Maurice? " Sir Maurice would answer: " Oh, not too bad; but we are a bit worried about Barwick's bill to beat monopolies because we are in this right up to our back teeth." The Prime Minister would then say: " That is all right. Leave it to us. I will bring it up at the next meeting of Cabinet. We will see that the monopolies provisions are taken out, so there is no need for you to worry; but keep the money rolling into the Liberal Party's coffers."

I see that you are about to pull me up, Mr. Chairman, but I think I have said enough to make the point that the real issue here is not any airy-fairy argument put forward in clever legalistic form by our honorable and learned friend from Parkes. Let us face it; the real fundamental political reason for cutting these things out is to placate these gentlemen of whom I have mentioned only three.

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