Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

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Temporary Protection …

(... nooo! This is not about CDA installing condom-vending machines …. Of course everyone brought their own … and just in case, occasionally somebody else’s …

23 July, 1971   PRESS RELEASE B1157

TEMPORARY PROTECTION

CATHODE RAY TUBE DISPLAY/ENTRY TERMINALS

(Statement by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry, the Rt. Hon . J. D. Anthony)

The Minister for Trade and Industry, the Rt. Hon. J.D. Anthony, today released the report of the Special Advisory Authority dealing with Cathode Ray Tube Display Terminals. .

Mr. Anthony said that he had accepted the recommendation of the Special Advisory Authority that urgent action be taken to protect the manufacture of these goods by means of a temporary additional duty of 25% ad valorem. This duty will be additional to the existing rates of 7½% General and Free Preferential which apply to these goods.

The Minister had also accepted the S.A.A.'S recommendations that types of terminals not manufactured in Australia should be subject to by-law admission. Mr. Anthony explained that the temporary duty which would operate from 26 July, 1971 would not apply to either goods in transit on 9 June 1971, provided they were entered for home consumption on or before 30 June, 1971.

Mr. Anthony stated' .that the S.A.A. had found that the production of C.R.T. terminals was an established industry which in its early period was operating successfully. However, because of the lack of adequate protection the industry had become unable to compete against imports.

The S.A.A. reported that it was evident that imports of terminals were increasing and that prices being charged by suppliers were decreasing. The S.A.A. found that the Australian industry was already in a difficult position and if urgent action was not taken to afford some protection to the industry it was likely to suffer serious harm . The S.A.A. had therefore· recommended a temporary additional duty of 25% to apply to CRT terminals irrespective of whether they are imported separately or imported as part of a computer.

Mr. Anthony commented that there had apparently been some misconception that the computer industry as such had been referred to the S.A.A. This is not so. The reference to the S.A.A. covered only Cathode Ray Tube Terminals which represent only part of the peripheral equipment normally used with computers. The question of the long term protective needs of Cathode Ray Tube Terminals had also been referred to the Tariff Board at the time the reference had been sent to the S.A.A. The temporary protection now  applied was holding action pending the Government's decision on receipt of the Tariff Board's report.

Copies of the Special Advisory Authority's report may be purchased from Government Bookshops in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne and from Collectors of Customs in all States.

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Anthony’s release was followed by a NOTICE OF INTENTION TO PROPOSE CUSTOMS TARIFF ALTERATION issued by DONALD LESLIE CHIPP, Minister of State for Customs and Excise, then followed by the SS.A.A.’S eport of around 18 pages

… During the course of my inquiry on this subject discussions were held with a representative of Information Electronics Limited, the Australian manufacturer of the goods in question. Discussions were also held with representatives of Kevin J . Cremen and Associates Pty. Ltd., Sperry Rand Australia Limited Univac Division, IBM Australia Limited, Honeywell Pty. Limited, Hawker Siddeley Electronics Limited, International Computers (Australia) Pty. Limited, Datronics Pty. Ltd., Control Data Australia Pty. Limited, Hewlett Packard Australia Pty. Ltd., Olivetti Australia Pty. Ltd., Australian General Electric Limited, Qantas Airways Limited, Australian National Airlines Commission and Ansett Airlines of Australia”.

“Written submissions were received from Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd. and the Embassy of the United States of America.

“This inquiry arose from an application by Information Electronics Limited. This company which was established in June 1968 obtained its first substantial contract for the supply of CRT terminals in July 1969. This was successfully completed and the company has since obtained a number of other contracts and some other relatively minor work. It has taken steps to diversify production but its main item of production is still CRT terminals. A

“Amalgamated Wireless is already in production of similar goods and expects to commence production of CRT terminals within a few months. There are other Australian companies with an interest in producing these goods, but it is believed that they have not yet commenced manufacture in Australia.

“Information Electronics asked that a temporary additional duty of 40% be imposed on all CRT terminals covered by the reference irrespective of whether they are imported as part of a computer or whether they are imported separately … The application for protective duties was supported by Amalgamated Wireless”

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The report put the total imports of CRTs in the financial year 1969-70 at $41 million and for ten months of 1970-71 at $39.5 million. There was no mention of Control Data in the report other than the reference to “discussion” and one point where the spokesman  for IEL suggested graphic interactive terminals “of which Control Data Corporation’s model 1700 digigraphic terminal is an example” could not be commercially manufactured in Australia  and should be admitted free of the proposed tariff.

Possibly John O’Neil might remember CDA’s submission - although the manufacturing plants at Cheltenham-Moorabbin were in full swing producing RIOT’s for VicTAB, there was no CRT component (they came late with the design for CRISP), but there may have been plans in place for a logical diversification.  

The first contract for IEL mentioned as successfully completed was a $375,000 order for display terminals to be supplied to VicTAB’s Telephone Betting auditorium, replacing the original mechanical Plessey keyboards and printers.  

The tariff seems to have had the desired effect - The Australian noted in September, 1971, three months after the levy was imposed the Information Electronics won another $375,000 contract from VicTAB, “$200,000 less than the lowest overseas bid”).

Just how long the “temporary” protection lasted is uncertain.

IEL were noted early in 1973 as again approaching the Tariff Board for protective measure, but their application was rejected, the Board in turn criticising the company’s lack of efficiency and cost control following losses of around $480,000 and $184,000 in the two previous years.


And while on the subject of TAB’s. few will be aware that Doug Anthony was the driving force behind the establishment of the A.C.T. TAB.

Anthony was Federal Minister of the Interior in 1964 - a moderately important Cabinet position, but one which meant he effectively governed the Australian Capital Territory - the catalyst for the foundation of the A.C.T. TAB was largely a move by the Queanbeyan City Council to establish an agency of the soon-to-be introduced New South Wales TAB just a couple of kilometres from the Territory's border.

Concerned with the potential loss of dollars (oops, pounds) from the Territory, Anthony pushed through legislation which saw three agencies open in August, although for the first few weeks only to accept telephone betting account applications, the first day of actually betting not until a mid-week Victorian country (Cranbourne) meeting on 2 September.

Because of the relatively small population (combined with the irregularity of local race meetings), the Territory administration in March struck agreements with their Victorian and New South Wales counterparts (and later Queensland) enabling the Canberra pools held on interstate meetings to be included with those on-course in the relative state (the same approach was adopted in later years by the Tasmanian TAB).

The other interesting aspect of the introduction of the A.C.T. TAB was that because of the smallness of the local racing club, it could never underwrite the set-up cost of the new Board, and the Canberra establishment was financed by a major trading bank.

The new TAB operated with a deficit in its first two years after a statutory distribution to the local racing club - Anthony claimed in 1966 the reason for the loss was the commissions retained by the State Treasuries of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland totalling $18,400, while it was also noted that Victoria retained a further $9,570 from "fractional" dividends (i.e. in all states, the “true” dividend was rounded down to the nearest sixpence, late five cents - if the application of the basic formula resulted in a “true” dividend of say, $2.78, Percy the Punter received $2.75, the State Governments pocketed the rest).

“Mickey-Mouse” this may seem, but estimates both at the time and even today suggest that “fractions” and unclaimed dividends add at least two per cent to the standard statutory deduction - I think now 14 per cent on Win and Place betting (plus the two per cent cake “icing” which is never specifically mentioned either in legislation of the general press)