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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 1929

Senator SCOTT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer to a statement by the Deputy Prime Minister that the Government could withdraw the 5 per cent deposit restriction on overseas investment in Australian industry. I ask the Leader of the Government whether the Prime Minister- in fact the entire Labor Ministry- have alleged for the past 2 or 3 years that the former Government had sold out Australia to foreign investors? Does the foreshadowed withdrawal of the deposit restriction make hollow these allegations and prove that overseas investment appears essential if Australia's resources potential is to be fully realised? Does the Labor Government now demonstrate that it agrees with the Liberal Party and Country Party philosophy and will encourage overseas investment?

Senator MURPHY -No. I do not agree with the proposition put by the honourable senator. I think there is a certain amount of agreement between the Party in government and those opposite. I recall being on the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control which was chaired by Senator Withers who is now Leader of the Opposition. There was a good degree of concordance between various viewpoints. I think, subject to some general reservation, we were able to present a unanimous report. There are points of agreement, therefore, between all the parties represented here. But in general I think it would be conceded that the existing government has taken a stronger and more vigorous attitude towards the development of Australian control of our industrial resources. It is doing that in the light of world changes in order to cope with the inflow of capital into Australia and the inflationary situation. I think it is wrong to suggest that because there may be some projected change in the Government's application of the policy at any particular time, it has therefore either changed its general attitude or it has been wrong in what it has done in the past.

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