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Wednesday, 14 March 1973
Page: 544

Mr CHIPP (HOTHAM, VICTORIA) - I ask the Minister for Overseas Trade a question about the terrifying concept of a Cairns bank. I refer to the Minister's reported statement that where the Government considers that some activity is in the national interest the Government will direct the Australian Industry Development Corporation to assist it - presumably whether or not the industry wants, needs or asks for assistance. Because of the enormous implications that such naked socialism would have for the whole structure of Australian society, will the Minister make a full statement in the House of the Government's intentions on this matter and on other matters, instead of honourable members and industry leaders having to read of them in leaks from members of the Economic Sub-Committee of Cabinet published in the financial Press?

Dr F CAIRNS (LALOR, VICTORIA) (Minister for Overseas Trade) - Now we know how the honourable gentleman used to perform in the secret enclaves of his Party when discussing the McEwen bank which, of course, is the bank which we are now developing. The hon ourable member may be terrified by the publication in which he read that headline, but I am not. The development of the Australian Industry Development Corporation will meet the prescriptions not only of those who have been very successful and efficient in charge of it but also of the various industry advisory councils and boards set up by the previous Government for the purpose of giving advice on questions such as this. The thing that intrigues me about the advice that has come from those industrial quarters on this matter is that the advice leading to our amendments had been given to the previous Government for at least 4 or 5 years. I refer to advice from industry groups. The fear of close cooperation between government and industry which the right honourable gentleman - I should say 'the honourable gentleman' because he did not quite make the right - now calls naked socialism is something that he must have derived from his previous portfolio; obviously he has not derived it from his work as shadow Minister in the. fields of overseas trade and secondary industry. I assure him that the amendments to the AIDC legislation will be brought in with full responsibility to air sections of the community and will make the Corporation into a most effective instrument to serve the interests of the Australian nation.

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