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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1926

Mr KEATING (Blaxland) - The debate on this Bill was interrupted by the introduction into the House of the paper on foreign investment in Australia presented by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and then the reply to it by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). I now take up the debate again.

The long title of the Bill is: 'A Bill for an Act to approve the Borrowing by the Commonwealth of Moneys to be made available to Qantas Airways Limited, and for purposes connected therewith'. That means that it is a Bill giving authority to borrow $25m to finance the purchase of a jumbo 747 aircraft from the Boeing Aircraft Corporation of the United States for Qantas Airways Limited. To the motion for the second reading of the Bill the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) has moved the following amendment:

That all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: 'this House is of the opinion that the passage of this Bill should be delayed until (1) firm arrangements are made for substantial coproduction procedures for imported aircraft, (2) a select committee is appointed to inquire into and report upon the effectiveness of Qantas management and (3) the terms of the loan agreement are set forth in a schedule to the Bill'.

I want to address my remarks to the first section of the amendment, namely, that the Bill be delayed until firm arrangements are made for substantial co-production procedures for imported aircraft. By that we mean that over the years the Australian

Government has borrowed on behalf of Australian airlines - Qantas, TAA, Ansett or other airlines - vast sums of money for the procurement of aircraft. Our own aircraft industry is in a terrible position and massive retrenchments are envisaged at Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Ltd, the Sydney section of the industry, and at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation works in Melbourne, because insufficient work load is available to maintain a viable industry. That is an indictment of this Government for its lack of planning in the defence, area. It illustrates specifically its lack of resolution to guarantee that overseas aircraft manufacturers from which Australian airlines have bought aircraft are forced to meet at least some of the cost of those aircraft through offset orders; in other words, some of the cost of the aircraft purchased ought to have been offset by manufactures, by the Australian aircraft industry. I have a summary table of imports into Australia of aircraft and associated equipment compiled by the Legislative Research Service from information supplied by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. I ask for leave to have the table incorporated in Hansard.

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