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Wednesday, 8 December 1976
Page: 3495

Mr JACOBI (Hawker) - I rise to support the amendment. I want to draw the attention of the Attorney-General (Mr Ellicott) to the question of what, I suppose, could be termed the validation of uranium prices. This matter is crucial to this legislation, particularly if directors and public officials and companies are to be extended immunity from the claim made that persons who are not United States nationals or residents or persons carrying on a business in the United States, are subject to those laws by reason only of some economic effect of their conduct. I put 2 simple questions to the Attorney. Does he agree that the one way in which blanket immunity can be extended to those people is through a government marketing authority? He would have to agree with that, as it would circumvent United States law. I turn to the second question. I get very annoyed with people who have hangups about cliches. He should do a little more homework and not merely say that the Opposition 's policy is socialistic. The AttorneyGeneral should have taken a little more trouble to try to understand our policy. I raised this matter earlier. On 10 November an article appeared in the Australian Financial Review, which stated:

Potential Australian uranium producers are lobbying the Federal Government to move to frustrate the US Administration's attempts to ensure a free international market for uranium.

I assume from the remarks of the AttorneyGeneral that he believes that Mr Mackay is a socialist. No doubt Mr Mackay will be pleased to hear that. The article continues:

The managing director of EZ . . . Mr G. A. Mackay, has written to the Minister for National Resources .. . raising the possibility of an Australian uranium marketing authority supervised by the government, a move which would effectively protect local uranium producers from US anti-trust moves.

It states further:

The U.S. Administration is anxious to avoid the formation of producer cartels that can fix prices and market shares for uranium on an OPEC model.

It also states:

However, Mr Mackay 's letter to Mr Anthony provides an answer to . . . Jacobi 's question.

The letter alerts Mr Anthony-

It is a pity he did not read that on 10 November- to the U.S. Justice Department's investigation of uranium producers and he also recommends that the marketing be undertaken by a government backed agency which would help protect Australian companies from U.S. laws.

Whether the cliche is nationalisation or socialism, it is obvious that the uranium producers in Australia regard the formulation of a national policy as sound, and I continue to press it. If the Government wants maximum blanket protection given to companies in the resources sector of this country, the way in which we can afford them the immunity that they deserve is by establishing a government marketing authority. I again ask the Attorney-General to refer this matter back to his Cabinet colleagues for serious consideration.

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