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Thursday, 26 September 1974
Page: 1449

Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania) (Minister for Agriculture) - I also want to draw attention to the paragraph on page 2 of the statement of the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control to which Senator Steele Hall has referred because therein is contained the essence of the attack on Dr Cairns. I am mainly concerned with what is an attack on my colleague, Dr Cairns. These Bills were deliberately passed over by the Liberal and Country Parties. This is only a device, as Senator Steele Hall has said, to defer it. The real test will come when the Bills come back into this Senate and we vote on them. It may be that improvements to them can be effected in the Committee stages and I think this is the point that Senator Steele Hall was making. I am quite sure that the Government will give any amendments moved proper consideration but how can it do that if the motion for the second reading of the Bills is defeated by an Opposition which does not want this legislation because it seems to think it will hurt some of its friends when in fact that whole purpose of the legislation is to protect Australian industry?

Dr Cairnstook the trouble, with his officers, to find out what were the main recommendations coming forward from that Committee and they were incorporated in the legislation. I do not know what of the other recommendations he did not accept at that stage but the substance of them was incorporated and that is the point that is so important. The report of the Committee states:

It is gratifying to note that the AIDC and NIF Bills 1974 which were introduced in the other place on 8 April drew heavily on the issues raised in evidence during the Committee 's public hearings.

Dr Cairnsand his officers, but he particularly, could not have been fairer or more objective. He certainly did not reject the findings of or the evidence which had been placed before the Committee. It is true that we now have another device before us. What do we want in this country? Do we want to see the Australian Industry Development Corporation enlarged and legislation to that effect put on the statute book? I might say that the Liberal Party-Country Party Opposition did not oppose the legislation in the House of Representatives. Do we want to see a national investment fund to finance the operations of the AIDC or do we not? That is really the question. It is not a matter of whether the Committee has done a good job. I will not debate that aspect of it. But that last question is the real crunch. Senator Missen made a comment about co-operating with the Government. Dr Cairns co-operated with the Committee and used all the information and evidence that was brought before that Committee to bring the Bill up to a form acceptable to this Parliament and which would provide the greatest benefit to the people of this country. I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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