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Wednesday, 27 March 1968

Mr McMAHON - The figure of $320m applied to unremitted profits and to dividend payments made to all countries, not merely to the United States of America. I gave the figures, although I cannot remember them at the moment, of the amounts of money earned by Australian companies and therefore retained in Australia.

As to the second part of the honourable member's question, there is still a substantial quantity of unremitted profits retained in Australia by overseas concerns. Whilst these are in our balance of payments figures they are retained here and they permit the growth of this country. Unless those profits had been retained, our rate of development, our capacity to absorb migrants and our capacity to provide opportunities for increased employment would not have been on the scale that they are today.

As to the last part of the honourable member's question, I think it is unrealistic. If overseas companies do invest here they must be entitled to send home at least a part of the profits and at least part of the dividends earned by them. I cannot see any common sense in arguing whether, if the amounts were retained in full, what contribution they would make to solving Australia's balance of payments problem.

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