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Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 1884

Senator GIETZELT asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:

Is the Treasurer aware of the attempts by United Kingdom monopoly groups to take over a major Melbourne retail firm, if so, (a) does the Treasurer acknowledge that almost daily the financial columns of the Press report similar takeover bids by United States and United Kingdom combines, and that Australia is fast reaching the stage where most of our own indigenous companies will be swallowed by foreign groups, (b) is this sort of overseas capital inflationary, and (c) has the Government given any consideration to enacting legislation which will protect the Australian interest in' companies threatened by overseas takeover bids.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - The Acting Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Recent Press reports indicate that the Great Universal Stores Limited of the United Kingdom and Canada has made a takeover offer for Patersons (Australia) Limited.

On the Government's instructions, the Treasury has in hand the preparation of an in-depth study of overseas investment in Australia. The purpose of the study is to provide the basis for an assessment of the role of overseas investment in the Australian economy, and for a full and objective examination of both benefits and costs. As the Prime Minister pointed out in the House on 22nd February, when completed the study will be a proper vehicle by which the Parliament can debate the issue, including the matters raised in points (a), (b) and (c) of this question, and come to sensible conclusions.

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