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Thursday, 4 April 1968

Mr PETERS (Scullin) -I will not detain the House for long. I believe that the Government has taken a particularly wise action in investigating the dumping of Japanese cars in Australia. When the businessmen of a trading nation - not just individuals, not even the vast majority of them, but all of them - are willing to conspire, as was stated in the Senate, in order to evade the customs laws of this country in connection with motor cars, they will do so in connection with every other manufactured article that they can put on the Australian market. We need to protect this country against the dumping practices of the Japanese not just in regard to one item, namely, motor cars.

The right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) pointed out that a gentleman named Mr Nara came to this country to attend a businessmen's seminar in Sydney. We were informed by articles in the Press that he was not an insignificant businessman, not an unrepresentative businessman, but one of the most outstanding and most wealthy businessmen in Japan. He said that the labour cost of Australian manufactures was21/2 to 3 times that of Japanese manufactures. He went on to say: 'Therefore we can manufacture goods in Japan much more cheaply than you can manufacture them here in Australia. It is an axiom of business that the people who can manufacture most cheaply should get the market and the others should concentrate on that department of life in which they can manufacture cheaply. In Australia you can produce more cheaply than Japan in the field of some primary products. Therefore you should concentrate on those.' Japan says that we should concentrate on primary production to the total exclusion of manufactures. As the right honourable member for Melbourne said, that means that Australia should become the cabbage garden for Japan. As the cabbage garden, we could not employ vast numbers of people or absorb the vast increase in thenumber of people coming to this country, because fewer people are employed in Australian rural industries today than were employed in them in 1939. If we accent the advice of these leaders of Japaneseindustry we destroy our chances ofbecoming a great nation; we destroy our chances of raising the standard of living, of maintaining our standard of living or of keepingemployed the people we have in this country today.

Therefore, together with the Deputy Prime Minister, I repudiate that idea in connection with Australia. But I say that if we give to the people who have thoseideas the right to establish within this country their own industry - that is, to have total control of manufacturing industries in thiscountry by buying into Australia industrial concerns until they dominate them - what: will they do? They will put into operation their philosophy. They will say: 'You shall become the cabbage garden. We will buy in merely to destroy your industries. We shall transfer the manufacture of goods, from Australia to Japan so that we can produce them there at one-third the labour cost or less than the cost that operates in Australia'. This of course must not be done if this nation is to develop and is to become prosperous. It must not be done if we are to absorb more people and maintain the standard of living that has been built up. Only since this country has had the protection of tariff walls has it been possible tobuild up secondary industry.

Debate (on motion by Mr Erwin) adjourned.

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