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Wednesday, 14 October 1970

Mr McEWEN - The record of the Government shows that there has been a very adequate protection of Australian industry during its period of office, for 14 years of which I have been the responsible Minister. There can be no evidence more incapable of contradiction than the sheer growth of Australian industry over that period and the base of investment and of employment that has been provided over that period. That reflects the policy of the

Government and it is a policy which the Government having pursued in the past will pursue in the future.

It is not for me to try to reconcile a statement of mine with whatever the Chairman of the Tariff Board might have been reported as having said, but I have no trouble in again stating that, if an Australian industry has been assessed as economic and efficient by the Tariff Board and by the Government and has been accorded an appropriate protective duty, it would seem to me to be completely ridiculous that one could discover it to be inefficient the next day, not because there had been any alteration whatever to the industry itself but because imports were offered to us from some low cost country. Such imports could be from a country where wages are tow or a centrally controlled economy country - a Communist country - where there is no basis of assessing costs of production but where it is not uncommon for goods to be offered for sale for no other reason than to earn foreign exchange. Australian industry is entitled to be protected if it is efficient in our own environment. If it is efficient in our own environment it is entitled to be protected in the future as it has been in the past and I have no doubt it will enjoy that protection.

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