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New York: address the Prime Minister, Mr John Gorton at the American-Australian association Luncheon

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29 MAY 1968


I propose to talk to you, you'll be glad to hear, for quite a long time and even if it means that you have to forgo the chance of making a couple of million dollars because there's a few more minutes away from your offices, I hope you'll forgive me because what I'm going to talk about

is not the chance of making a couple more but a couple of hundred more in regard to my own country.

I, Sir, am not of course a diplomat. But you are very kind to mention two things--one, New York, and the other, an American wife, whom I married some time ago, I won't say quite how long ago. Now I would have known whatever day of the week it was when I arrived in New

York, because the first day on which I arrived here quite a long time ago is still vivid in my memory. We got off a boat on the way back from England to Australia, and being both students and being students, being impecunious, I think we had about twenty-five cents between us when we got on the wharf and we had to get up to Bangor, Maine. And some man came up to us and

said: "I run a bus service to Bangor, Maine. Would you like a ticket?" I said: "Yes. But we can't pay for it. " And he said: "Never mind, never mind, just take a ticket, get on the bus and when you get there, get it from your family and pay for it. " And this is what happened. And

I don't believe this would happen anywhere else in the world. And what's more we paid him.

And although I personally male no claim whatever towards diplomacy, I think, Sir, that not only my wife, but my wife's family can claim this, because as you say, she was born in Massachusetts, but her mother who was married to a banker at the time, you will be glad to hear,

had the prescience to leave Cuba - in order to come back to Massachusetts in order that she could be born on American soil. If she hadn't left Cuba and been born in Cuba itself, I am not quite sure what you would have been able to say at this luncheon.

But what I really want to say, what I hope you will feel I have conveyed by the time I have finished talking to you, comes to my mind from little Johnny who sort of raised his hand and said, "I don't mind going to heaven but I do not want to go with this mob. " Well, I

am not suggesting that anyone should go to heaven but I really think from the point of view of those in this room, who I suppose can mobilise more capital resources than any similar group of people gathered together anywhere, just leave heaven aside for a moment and come to Australia,

that is where from the point of view of investment I should have thought second best choice lay and after all who wants first choice while they are still alive.



And I think you know this. We-set up a record not so long ago in Australia, I think a week or two ago--a world record--it was nothing to do with sports of any kind, or swimming or tennis or any of these other occupations for which we have become known (whether by amateur or professional tennis players I would not know because it is very difficult

to tell the difference) but at least by which we have become known. And you held that record before we established it, because you once laid--at least so I am told by my statisticians- -2. 88 miles of railway in one day of eleven hours. Well, the new record gentlemen is 4. 35 miles of railway in twelve hours. You can work it out on a slide rule but it is still much better than 2.88 in eleven, and that was laid in the developing country in Western Australia to carry iron ore from illimitable reserves to put into ships to

be taken aboard to be fabricated--until such time as it is not put into ships to be taken abroad to be fabricated; but fabricated in Australia, which is a time that will come and which I hope some of you will be interested in helping.

Horace Greeley, I think it was--at the time of, or just before, the war between the states--had a word of advice to American men and you will remember it: "Go west, young man, "--in 1886 or 1884 whenever it was, --but it was advice that was good because young men went west and

the young men developed this virgin country. And they and their descendants built in it that which has made it, I think .probably the greatest financial and material power in the world today. Well, I have got the same kind of advice ► Keep going west, do not stop in California- -go across where there is the

opportunity to develop in my own country to the benefit of my own countrymen, to the benefit of those who invest, and as I believe and will endeavour to say later, to the benefit of humanity as a whole- -another great material capacity to contribute to the wellbeing of the peoples of the world.

But when you get there, of course--when you get to Australia as so many of you already have done--it is not just "go west" to the great wildernesses where the iron ore comes from (and from the point of view of those who have capital to invest I should think that Hamersley and such• ventures as that could almost be described in the words of Omar Khayyam,

"Wilderness is paradise enow"). But go north, if you wish to where bauxite lies, to where Mt. Isa is already established, to where unknown minerals are yet to be found or go south to develop under the sea--between Victoria and Tasmania these vast new oil deposits which have been discovered-

or the vast new natural gas deposits which have been discovered, and which will within a comparatively short time not only bring into the kitchen of every housewife in Australia an easier and cheaper way of running everyday life but will bring to industry and easier and cheaper method of production.

Almost anywhere you look I believe, in this nation, there are boundless opportunities for investment and boundless requirements for that investment. I do not mean that we do not take part in this ourselves--we do. I think that some ninety per cent of the investment funds that are used in Australia come from our own resources now, but the other ten per cent- -the marginal ten per cent, is what is going to decide the speed of

growth. And the speed of ,growth in an uncertain world in transition is fairly essential not only for us but for you because we think the same way and want the same kind of lives for not only ourselves but other peoples in the world. I do not think I need to labour this point. I know that so .many of you who have already been there-- I have met you as you passed--have

said: "I have been to Australia; I am interested in Australia; I have got investments in Australia. " But it is a message which even when preaching to the . converted one ought to repeat and repeat and repeat.



Have you ever seen a picture of a rocket taking off to put into orbit some scientific contraption that is going to go round and round the world when it gets far enough away? I am sure you have. And have you seen that at the beginning that rocket seems slowly to lift off the launching pad and then to gain speed and to gain speed until it is reaching a trajectory speed which will take it out of the pull of the earth's gravity.

I think we have lifted off the launching pad with our own help and with your help. But it is going to be necessary that the geometrical progression of that speed of lifting should be kept up so that in the next decade, or two decades, there will be able to be called into being in my country through

my country's efforts and your help--something which will not only redress the balance of the old but which will be able jointly to contribute to developing that area contiguous to us but important to us both, where, what is it?--a third of the world's population live--in Asia.

Because, by that. joint kind of contribution, it will be possible to lift the living standards of the people in that area and therefore the demands for goods of people in that area. And, therefore = -if we care to put it on the basis of self-interest--therefore, a demand fo± production from your

country and from mine. I do not put . it purely on that basis of self-interest because I think that in this way there will be provided to those people an opportunity for the sort of life you and I want them to have and a defence against the sort of life that our most significant ideological enemies would

wish to draft them into.

But I do believe that this can best be achieved by a continuance of the co-operation which we have so far had. I think it has been mutually satisfactory but I would say this--while we want capital and while we have for the reasons I have given--a joint responsibility and requirement that

that capital should be invested--we also as an Australian nation want that capital to be provided in a way that gives to Australians a share in the products of that capital investment. Or- -to spell it out a little bit more clearly (I told you I was no diplomat)--if debenture capital .is to be raised for growth then we would like it to be raised abroad rather than on the

Australian market. But we would prefer joint enterprises- -partnership enterprises--in which joint risks are taken and joint rewards--when success is achieved--come to both countries. In other words the opportunity, Sir, for equity participation with you in the growth of our own nation.

You are, I am sure, familiar with the words "The dead heart of Australia". Some of you may have seen it. It is, from the point of view as a casual observer "dead". Yet there has just been discovered underneath it artesian water of as yet unknown quantity which may transform that land or part of it in the way in which your far west was transformed, by various dams and irrigation schemes which at one time were.. regarded as dreams. I see no limit to what can be achieved. I hope you see no limit

either. I hope that as hard-headed businessmen--which I am told you are--that you vet prospects throughout the world that you look at parts of the world which are stable, that you look at opportunities provided, that you

look at profits that can be achieved, that you look not only at profits that can be achieved but at the proportion of what is made by investment which can be used for the people of the country in which you invest. And I am sure if you do this you will continue in increasing, in an increasing way,

to do what you have so far done to our great benefit and to yours.

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We do have sometimes in our own country, from various sections, suggestions that overseas capital flowing in for this kind of development is equivalent to selling a piece of a farm each year. I do not believe that this is true. I think rather the parallel is this. What one is doing each year is borrowing money in order to make the farm

more productive and paying the interest on the money borrowed and keeping the extra profits oneself. And this, Sir, - - if it is happening as I believe it is- - is good business both for lender and investor and the country whom you help.

We have, Sir, not a bad record in the last ten to twelve years. We have increased our population from approximately nine to twelve million, We have had an economic rate of growth of between five and five and a half per cent per year. We have- -as I have told you--been

providing some ninety per cent of the investment funds from our own resources; And if I sound to you as I.say.this as though I am bragging, it is because I am bragging, and because T think we have something to brag about. But it will be necessary ' if we are (as quickly as we should) to reach a stature in the world, to play the part we should in conjunction

with you--it will be necessary for this to continue and to be accelerated.

The brains to assess the chances are here--and the opportunity to bring together in this kind of association the brains to judge- -the capacity to provide- -reasons I thank you for having given me the opportunity to speak to this representative gathering today.

Thank you.