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Thursday, 26 September 1974
Page: 1447

Senator GUILFOYLE (Victoria) - I wish to speak only briefly, following the remarks of my Party colleagues. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control from its inception until the last election, I have been very much involved in its work at all stages, and in particular in the reference made to it by the Senate of the Australian Industry Development Corporation Bill and the National Investment Fund Bill. The work of the Committee was carried out with sincerity, dedication and great purpose. The Bills put forward by the Government on the second occasion reflected much of the evidence and opinions of the people who would be affected by them. This information was gained during the course of the Senate Committee's work. However, there are still some matters which need clarification with regard to these Bills and perhaps that clarification can be obtained only by reflecting upon the Senate Committee's report.

With Bills which are so far reaching as these there had to be an understanding by the Government, by the people and by the Senate as to whether the Bills really were concerned with foreign ownership of Australian resources or whether they were an instrument to transfer to public ownership many of the resources which hitherto were under private ownership. The Committee did a great deal of work to clarify that situation. The extent of the national interest division of the Australian Industry Development Corporation Bill and the purpose of the National Investment Fund Bill were matters which needed the attention of the Senate in its role of reviewing government legislation. I believe that that work is incomplete. I believe that the integrity of honourable senators who are serving on the Committee and who reflect the wishes of all the other honourable senators in this place is at risk if the Committee is to be hindered in its work by the statements from the Government that were quoted in the report this morning.

I think that matters still needing clarification are an express declaration by the Government of its intention with regard to the insurance funds of Australia in the pursuit of the national interest division and the purposes of the National Investment Fund. These are matters on which clarification should be sought from and given by the Government. I hope that the action taken by the Committee this morning will allow the Senate and the Committee to pursue the objectives which they have undertaken. I welcome and congratulate the present Committee on the report which has been presented by the Chairman, Senator McAuliffe.

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