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Thursday, 8 March 1973
Page: 411

Mr BONNETT (Herbert) - The Opposition has been aware that the Government intended to set up a committee of inquiry into a national rehabilitation and compensation scheme for Australia and has had the opportunity to read the terms of reference and the composition of the inquiry. The Government has the right to establish an inquiry. The Opposition does not contest that right and, in fact, stands ready to consider objectively any recommendations which flow from the inquiry. However the Opposition makes it clear that whatever social and equity benefits the inquiry may be directed to achieve, the Opposition will not be prepared to accept a back door method of nationalisation of insurance companies in Australia. The insurance institutions in Australia have served Australia and Australians well and should continue to do so. In the first answer he gave to a question in this House in the new Parliament, the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) acknowledged without qualification that he is bound by the Platform, Constitution and Rules' of the Australian Labor Party as adopted in Launceston in 1971. I direct attention to paragraph 3 of chapter V of that publication. It is headed 'Economic Planning' and states:

With the object of achieving Labor's socialist objectives, establish or extend public enterprise, where appropriate by nationalisation, particularly in the fields of banking, consumer finance, insurance, marketing. .

The Opposition will not stand by and see the insurance companies of Australia nationalised by any indirect method in the name of social equity. Social equity can be achieved without the destruction of the insurance system upon which millions of Australian policy holders rely. The Opposition looks forward with a great deal of interest to the report of the committee of inquiry.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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