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Tuesday, 10 October 1972
Page: 2237

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Last week the Prime Minister took great pains to refute the allegation that the legislation on foreign takeovers would not be introduced this session, even to the extent of saying that he himself had put the finishing touches on it with the technical experts and hoped to bring in the Bill this week. I ask the right honourable gentleman whether the foreign takeovers legislation will be brought in and, if not, what sanctions will there be against such takeovers.

Mr McMAHON - I did make the statement mentioned by the honourable gentleman and I made a correction about it as soon as I had the opportunity to do so amongst the media that had published it. The position can be stated very clearly and accurately in this way. I have had 4 measures under consideration relating to somewhat similar subjects together with the urban and rural-

Mr Whitlam - Regional.

Mr McMAHON - The urban and regional development authority. The measures that I have been looking at are these. First of all the measure relating to restrictive practices; the second relating to monopolies, both domestic and international; and the third one relating to foreign takeovers, which was mentioned in the statement I made in the House.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - And the fourth one?

Mr McMAHON - I have already mentioned the fourth one, with a little bit of help from the Leader of the Opposition. The first 2 measures that I have mentioned will be placed on the table of the Senate today. They will not be passed into law because we believe that people should be given the opportunity to study them and to make recommendations to the Government should they think that desirable. The very important legislation in relation to urban and regional development has in fact been approved by me. I had the final draft approved on Wednesday and I will be introducing that legislation into the House. It was this Bill to which I should have referred.

As to the third piece of legislation, which relates to foreign takeovers, I have already agreed to the terms of reference for and the organisation of the Government authority which is to vet and control, as far as practicable, foreign takeovers. It is already working and I believe it has a considerable amount of authority and can work over a pretty wide area. I did receive advice that it would be difficult to introduce a permanent measure covering the whole gamut or range of takeovers. It was because of the advice given to me late on Thursday or Friday evening that I decided that I would make a statement. Yesterday I had further discussions with my colleague the Attorney-General who has assured me - and his advice is the same as my own - that not only would it be wise but he believes there is a reasonable prospect that we will be able to introduce a measure supplementary to the administrative arrangements that are made. I have given instructions that the Parliamentary Counsel, with whom I have already discussed the matter, and other senior officers do all in their power to have a Bill prepared. As soon as that Bill is prepared and is looked at by my colleagues and myself I will make a further statement to the House.

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