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Thursday, 2 December 1971
Page: 4000

Mr BRYANT (Wills) - There are 2 matters that I want to place before the House for both of which honourable members should have both an individual and collective concern. The first one concerns the operations of American companies in this nation and some of the by-products that flow from their operations. I want to mention 2 companies. One is Delhi International Oil Corporation and the other is Santos, which is also associated with oil exploration and the laying of a pipeline from the gas fields in South Australia to Adelaide. I want to mention the result of the operations of these companies. Until recently the principal management of these companies was in the hands of Australians. Most of us would consider that that was a very desirable situation. But one of the situations that have developed as a result of some of our immigration policies is that a man can come here from America, take up a position in Australia with one of these companies and replace Australians. This is a matter in relation to which I hope the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes) will give me an answer but I understand that such a person can receive tax free benefits for 4 years. I am not certain of this but this is the understanding that I have of the situation.

In this case the Australian who has been replaced is a master of business administrate with a good record in public employment and private employment. Suddenly, a few weeks ago he was advised that as from such-and-such a date his position with Delhi would no longer exist. He then went to the other company Santos, and he has just been advised by that company that his position will no longer exist after a certain time. As I understand it there is no suggestion that the person involved is not a highly competent, highly qualified and respected Australian who can get good references from anybody. The facts of life are that a takeover by the Americans means that they also take over the management. One of the differences between, say, British management and American management in many of these matters is that the British enter into a partnership at this level with Australians - I presume they do so in other countries - but with the Americans it is a total takeover.

I am concerned that our immigration policy allows a person to come here in this situation, to replace a highly skilled Australian and to obtain special benefits in taxation and other things. I believe it is to the disadvantage of Australians, to the disadvantage of Australian industry and I suppose to the disadvantage of the Australian Treasury. I hope that the Minister will look into this matter. The company principally concerned in this is Delhi international Oil Corporation. The person who has come here and taken over the job - I quote this from a newspaper; 1 am not moving into private areas - is Mr R. R. Marmor, who has been appointed to the newly created Adelaide-based position of project development manager for Delhi International Oil Corporation. Before moving to Australia he was vice-president of Texas International Petroleum Corporation. The position that had been held by an Australian, a man whom I have known for a long while, was abolished. A new position was created for Mr Marmor, and another highly skilled Australian is now on the labour market. I believe that ought not to be tolerated. I suppose I am a bit of a free-wheeler on the question of migration. My inclination is to place as few restrictions as possible upon anybody who comes here. But in these cases the people are not only coming here but are also receiving special benefits.

I want to raise another matter because I know perfectly well that there will be no opportunity to do so at some other time. I have received a letter from a Mr Archer in New Guinea. He has written to me because a desperate situation has occurred on Wuvulu Island in the Wewak area of New Guinea. Mr Archer says:

The place is situated some 140 miles north of Wewak - an isolated island inhabited by some 500 odd Micronesian people - light skinned and straight-haired - very good and intelligent people whom I have known over the years.

He has been in the Territory for over 40 years.

Recently this island- of some 3.200 acres- has been sold by one absentee owner . . . to a newly, formed company - registered in Port Moresby- called Wuvulu Holdings Pty Ltd. It is supposed to be of Sydney businessmen mainly but, in reality we are told, is camouflage for some American money (more absentee owners). Of this 3,200 acres, some 2,800 acres is freehold land (under coconut palms) - and this area has been sold to the Wuvulu Holdings company - which leaves the natives with under 300 acres which consists of 2 areas at the extreme western end of the island. With a growing population this is not sufficient for their needs, and they require more land to enable them to spread out - have more garden areas and space to build good villages. Their numbers are increasing a lot now and with the sale taking place it was the duty of the Administration here to see that provision was made for them to have more land - by, purchase and with the help of the Development Bank. But, despite many representations by myself and others - and with much correspondence on their files - the Administration chose to ignore this need. They affirm thai the new owners had to comply with certain conditions for the betterment and future welfare of the natives but these benefits have not been defined and, in this remote area, may never com: lo anything. The company has appointed Burns Philp and Co. (Sydney) to act as their agents, we hear, and they, have never considered the welfare of natives - other than the work to be obtained from native labour. These natives are a quiet and shy people - much afraid of authority as vested in the Kiaps - and could easily be pressured into agreeing with what is noi in their best interests . . .

Now, Sir, this new company proposes to build cabins ... on the island for well to do tourists to use. lt was published some time ago that it was to be an island paradise.

An airstrip is about completed now . . .

I believe that this is a serious abdication of our responsibility to the people of Papua New Guinea. This is a small island of 3,000-odd acres. We should have purchased the lot. It should have been made inalienable as far as local people are concerned. The result is that nine-tenths of the island is going into non-native hands. The people are going to feel the squeeze. There is going to be a continual flow of tourists into the area. The Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) ought to have the agreement rescinded. The land should be bought for the native people. We ought to place a stopper immediately upon any further alienation and transfer of leasehold land in Papua New Guinea to anybody other than the people of Papua New Guinea themselves.

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