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Wednesday, 20 November 1974
Page: 2566

Senator JESSOP - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Overseas Trade and the Treasurer. Does he recall that I directed to him during the week before the Deputy Prime Minister's latest overseas trip a question relating to his reported intention to seek overseas investment in Australia, which appeared to be a reversal of Government policy? Does the Minister remember telling me that Dr Cairns was not going overseas for this purpose? As Dr Cairns on a radio program referred to the interest of American investment in Australia, can the Minister now give details of the type of investment the Government has in mind and the amount of capital that the Deputy Prime Minister has attracted or hopes to attract from foreign sources to Australia? Finally, if the Government is still interested in encouraging Australians to invest in Australian enterprises, will the Minister ask the Treasurer to abandon the proposed tax on unearned income and re-create the incentives necessary for Australian taxpayers to assist in the development of this country?

Senator WRIEDT - I did answer a question which Senator Jessop asked a week or a fortnight ago. I said then that Dr Cairns was not going overseas for the purpose of discussing those matters which the honourable senator has just talked about, and that was quite true. Dr Cairns went overseas to attend a conference in the Caribbean area, as I indicated at the time, and was going through New York and Washington on the way home, as I also said at the time, and that is exactly what he did. I understand he had discussions on financial matters in the United States. I have no doubt that the discussions he had were based on telling any potential American investors of the advantages of investment in Australia on terms and conditions which the Australian Government is prepared to accept and which have always been the policy of this Government. There has never been any desire or intention to prevent overseas investment in this country in the last 2 years. Certainly we have been more selective. We have guarded Australia's interests a lot more effectively than our predecessors did, and we will continue to do so. If there is any further information Dr Cairns is at liberty to give on his actual discussions in

New York and Washington I will have it conveyed to the honourable senator.

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