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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 3681

Mr COLLARD - Is the Minister for Minerals and Energy aware of proposals currently advanced in Western Australia to trade off to foreign powers Western Australia's mineral and energy resources in return for a surrender of Australia's national sovereignty? Has the Minister any details of the proposal? Can he assure the House that he will resist any attempts to lessen Australian equity in Australian resources and also any attempts to make Australia a foreign-occupied territory?

Mr CONNOR - The subject matter to which the honourable member for Kalgoorlie has referred is contained in the text of a television interview in August last in which Sir Charles Court participated. He discussed with certain university gentlemen the desirability of secession by Western Australia. While paying lip service to the integrity of Australia as a nation, he persistently advanced the concept of a trade-off of Australia's mineral resources in return for some hypothetical defence gains. In Western Australia there is emerging a pressure group whose spiritual home is Rhodesia. It is an authoritarian group whose loyalties are, firstly, to its own pocket and not to Australia and its national sovereignty and integrity. I know of no more disgraceful arguments than those which were advanced on that occasion.

If honourable members want to have a real look at Western Australia and the extent to which foreign investment is in control there, I refer them to the history of the former Liberal Administration. Honourable members will find that there was only a IS per cent Australian equity in the natural gas of the North West Shelf. I ask honourable members to examine the position, with the notable exception of Mount Newman, in relation to the ownership of iron ore. I ask honourable members to go right through the whole list, the whole gamut, of mineral development in Western Australia. They will find planning at the bottom of the list this same junta whose loyalties, I repeat, are to its pocket and not to Australia. Those people will be held in contempt by all good Australians. We will ensure that by implementing Labor Party policies on foreign investment in minerals, and doing it in conjunction with the Western Australian Labor Government, there will be no further incursions into Australia's national heritage in respect of mineral development and, above all, we will ensure that in Australia which is unique in history - we are one people with a common tongue, a common culture and a common parliamentary tradition, in possession of a whole continent - we will develop our birthright for the benefit of Australians as a whole and not for this particular group.

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