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Thursday, 17 August 1972
Page: 206

Senator LITTLE (Victoria) - I shall be brief in my comments on this Bill, although under different circumstances I would have spoken at greater length. I think it is desirable to bring this legislation up to date. I have studied the debate that took place in another place on the Bill. It would appear that there was a complete uniformity there when it came to passing this measure. A new factor has been introduced into the circumstances and events surrounding this legislation since it was debated in another place. I refer to the fact that the opinion of the Associated Chamber of Manufactures of Australia and the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures on the legislation has been circulated among members of the Parliament.

I should have thought that one aspect of the second reading speech of . the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) which would have merited particular consideration, as indeed it has, is his statement that a recent examination has shown that there has not been quite the advantage taken of the assistance granted in this direction that had been expected and that it appeared as though there had not been the co-operation forthcoming from the manufacturers that had been hoped for with the original legislation. It would indeed be bad if the new legislation started off in direct conflict with the views of the Chamber of Manufactures, which has apparently asked for certain things to be done.

It appears from the research I have undertaken into this legislation that its provisions will not apply in the manner in which it was first thought they would. My investigations also revealed that if portion of the new legislation were to be implemented on the old basis of determining things, the financing of the scheme could get completely out of hand in favour of the manufacturers. In view of what I have heard Mr Hawke say about the Chamber of Manufactures, I am quite sure that the Australian Labor Party would not be in favour of that.

It would appear that the new legislation stands or falls on its own and that it could not be taken apart and made to contain a part of the old and a part of the new as the design of the new legislation would not fit in with the old legislation. The Australian Democratic Labor Party sees no difficulty in passing this legislation as it stands. If some of the fears of the manufacturers are found to be valid on application of the legislation there will be nothing to prevent it being amended at that point of time to meet the circumstances. The alternative to that would be to postpone the legislation, which would lead to great injustices to those who have been encouraged to set forward on a programme of development and research and have undertaken contractual obligations at quite a deal of expense which could, in the case of the smaller firms, require progressive payments to keep them functioning in this direction. That would not be possible if this legislation were to be set aside for an extended period.

The Democratic Labour Party has never felt that the right thing to do would be to send this legislation to a standing committee of the Senate for its examination as that would, in our experience, involve a lengthier procedure. We feel that this legislation is warranted and that, for the reasons I have outlined, any postponement of the legislation would react more unfavourably against the smaller manufacturers than it would be to advantage of the others. This is a co-operative piece of legislation which is designed to assist anybody who is interested in expanding an Australian industry and wants to promote something. There would be no difficulty at some date in the future in amending the legislation if there were particular difficulties that were frustrating the reasons for which this legislation was passed. For those reasons, we support the Bill as it is.

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