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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2736


Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 07/12/1972

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2736

7 December 19
Considerable controversy has arisen recently over
Government action on the question of tariff assistance for the
Australian electronics industry, regarding particularly the
introduction of colour television to Australia.
The Prime Minister, Mr. Whitlam, today forwarded two
references to the Tariff Board one covering the question of
assistance for colour television receivers and components and
the other a review reference covering electronic and electrical
goods under the tariff boards current review programme.
The decision was made after consultation with Labour's
nominated Minister for Trade Dr. Cairns, the head of the Trade
Department, Mr. D. H. McKay, and the Chairman of the Tariff Board,
Mr. A. Rattigan. Mr. Whitlam said that the reference on colour television
requests the Board to have regard to the Government's desire that
the manufacture or assembly of colour picture tubes in Australia
should not be encouraged at this stage.
The Government has taken this decision because advice
indicated that local production of colour tubes would be a
costly operation and would undoubtedly increase substantially
the level of protection which might be required. This decision
by the Governme.. L' will also assist manufacturers in their
preliminary plWhniig. Mr. Whitlam added that the Board had
been asked to pr.: if-e an early report, preferably by 30 June
1973 but no later than 30 September 1973.
As well a. asking the Board whether assistance should
be accorded the pr,. uction of colour television receivers, Mr.
Whitlam said that the Board has also been asked for advice of
what rates of duty or other assistance arrangements would be
needed to sustai. n in Australia the manufacture of colour
television receivers with low, medium and high content.
Dr. Cairns said after the meeting that the review
reference covered a very wide range of electronic and electrical
goods, These included electronic components, electronic
consumer product, telecommunications equipment, computers and
automatic data processing equipment, arc welding equipment,
electric motors and other industrial electrical equipment. / 2

Dr. Cairns said he was pleased that the question of
colour television had been referred promptly to the Tariff Board
for early enquiry and report.
This step would enable the Board and the Government
to be aware of the views of all interested parties, including
manufacturers, television broadcasters and consumers.
Dr. Cairns said he was sure that the Board's advice
would be of great assistance to the Government when the time
comes for it to weigh up the benefits and costs of assisting
the local manufacture of colour T. V. receivers.
Dr. Cairns said Australia had a well-established
electronics industry which for many years had been engaged in the
manufacture of components, consumer products ( such as monochrome
television receivers) and telecommunications and defence equipment.
The industry employs about 30,000 people and has funds employed
approximating $ 2830 million.
The advent of colour television presented both a
challenge and a great opportunity to the industry.

Transcript 2736