Federal leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, has proposed a private member’s bill to keep Australia strong and to retain jobs in Australia.
The bill is co-sponsored by Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan AO and federal leader of Katter’s Australia Party and Member for Kennedy Bob Katter.
The bill is to investigate measures which can be taken to provide support for Australia’s rural and manufacturing industries and to provide immediate assistance in the fastest possible time to Australians in need following natural disasters such as drought, bushfires and floods.
Mr Palmer said he and the joint sponsors of the bill would bring the country together by establishing the Australia Fund.
“The purpose of the bill is to establish a parliamentary committee to investigate introducing an Australia Fund,” Mr Palmer said.
“The Australia Fund would support the reconstruction of Australian manufacturing industries in times of crisis such as SPC, Toyota, Holden and Ford pulling out of Australia. It would also help Australians when affected by natural disasters such as bush fires, floods and drought. The Australia Fund would look at factors like the world financial crises or unfair market intervention or manipulation and ensure Australians were not disadvantaged.”
Mr Palmer said the committee would also investigate measures to decentralise the Australian population to establish a better and more productive economy.
He said it was envisaged the fund could provide emergency and on-going relief based on assessments of applicable industries or businesses.
“Australians need quick and efficient support at times of natural disaster, this is a time when we need the necessary funds in an efficient manner,” Mr Palmer said.
“In this way, the fund will save jobs, enable businesses to continue operations to earn revenue, employ workers and pay taxes, rather than be prematurely wound-up which happens all too readily today.
“It would keep Australian business more economically viable and internationally competitive,’’ Mr Palmer said.
Investigations into establishing the fund would include hearings in capital cities and major rural centres, specifically examining the impact of on-going drought and world market price fluctuations for primary producers.
Mr Palmer said the committee would also review existing bankruptcy and insolvency laws with the aim of introducing legislation to assist companies to trade through difficult times rather than be closed down.
“Existing tax laws relating to bankruptcy would also be reviewed with the possible introduction of the equivalent of the US Chapter 11 provisions being investigated,’’ he said.
Mr Palmer said if the bill was successful, a detailed report of findings and recommendations would be tabled before Parliament by administrative support to the committee.