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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2686

MACQUARIE NETWORK WEEKLY BROADCASST BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE RT HON WILLIAM MCMAHON CH MP - FOREIGN TAKEOVERS - UNEMPLOYMENT - 5 OCTOBER 1972 - INTERVIEWER: PAUL LYNCH

Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 05/10/1972

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 2686

EMBARGO NOT FOR PUBLI TIL 6.30 PM ( EST)
PRIME MINISTER
1ACQUARIE NETWORK WEEKLY BROADCAST
BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE RT. HON.
WILLIAJ Mc1AHON, CH, MP.
FOREIGN TAKEOVERS
UNEMPLOYMENT 5 OCTOBER 1972
Interviewer: Paul Lynch
Q. Prime Minister, last week you spoke to us about your
plans to control foreign takeovers. What has happened in
the week since then?
PM: Immediately after I madethe statement, I gave directions
to my Department to prepare a bill relating to the creation
of an independent authority to vet takeover proposals for
Australian companies. The bill has been completed now, and
I put the final touches on it yesterday with the technical
experts, nd I very much hope I will be able to introduce
it into the House in the coming week. In other words, the
newspaper reports that you have read that the bill won't be
put on the table of the House are wrong. And what we will
do is to have this independent authority that will have
guidelines set down, and unless it can be proved that the
takeover is in the public interest, then a recommendation
can be made by the independent authority, submitted to the
Government and it is up to the Government to make up its
mind what it will do. But it will be an independent authority
with people outside the Government analysing the facts and
making reoresentations to the Government about them.
Q. Prime Minister, have you received any representations
from foreign interests at all about your proposals to affect
the way they can invest in Australia since you first announced
this last week?
PM: No, I have not had any. But I have read comments in
the newspapers a. nd those comments seem to indicate that they
were accepted by the internatimalcorporations. In any event,
it doesn't matter whether they are accepted or not. The
simole fact is that they are going into law. We are going
to protect Australia's interests. / 2

-2-
Q. Prime Mlinister, when would you hope that this au4Jaarity
could be set up and--could pass on foreign -takeove-s-nd also
inflow of capital investment?-
PM: Very soon, but the time factor is not of a great amount
of importance for thase reasons that I did say in my statement
to the House that we would have an interim authority
comprised of civil servants within the Commonwealth Government,
and they will act in the same way as the independent authority
will act when it is created. So already we have got the
Departmental authorities working. They can make recommondations
either to me or to the Cabinet and we will decide what
action should be taken either to prevent or to permit
foreign takeovers. All in all, it is going to be a very
difficult project for the so-called international conglomerates
to get their hands on Australian companies. They will have to
submit very strict proof that it is in Australia's national
interest to permit it to happen.
Q. Do you consider this in any sense interim legislation,
or do you feel that it is so tight and so clear-cut that it
will make future guidelines under any government for foreign
takeover p,. roposals?
PM: At least it is the outline of what my Government will
follow in the future. We may refine it a bit but the essentials
are there. what a government of a Jifferent texture would
do I don't ' know, but they will find it very difficult to
get away from our decisions. And in any event, I believe we
will be there to administer it.
Q. Turning to another matter, Prime Minister unemployment.
In a matter of a few days, the September unemployment figures
will come out. There has been a certain amount of discontent
in the Press and elsewhere about the fact that the previous
set of unemployment figures showed higher unemployment. Do
you have anything to say about that?
PM: Well, there are two things that have to be said. The
first one is, without any doubt at all) that there was a
reduction in unemployment in the month before last. In fact,
there was a drop of about 4,500. But we also have what I
regard as a somewhat complicated system called seasonally
adjusted figures. Now those seasonally adjusted ficures
over-emphasise the degree of unemPoloyment and even the
Government Statistician warns whenever he issues the figures
that they must not be taken as definitive. They are only
there for the purpose of scientific analysis and they must
not take the place of scientific analysis, and if you do, you
are bound to be wrong. So that puts the matter in perspective.
There will be, I believe, and I have talked to my colleague,
the Minister for Labour and National Service about this, there
will be a quite substantial reduction in unemployment for the
month of September and that will be published quite soon. It
will be, I believe, a bigger reduction than normally takes place.
I am looking forward with a little bit of anxiety but
nonetheless with, I believe, a great deal of confidence that
' when the figures come out, even those who want to misrepresent
them will be hard pittto to do so.
Q. Prime Minister, thank you very much.

Transcript 2686