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Wednesday, 22 October 1997
Page: 9492

Mr WAKELIN(1.57 p.m.) —I rise to speak on the Farm Household Support Amendment (Restart and Exceptional Circumstances) Bill 1997 . There are striking comparisons between this bill and the experiences in the late 1980s in the region of the Eyre Peninsula, in the electorate of Grey, when the then state and federal Labor governments were bringing forward some fairly radical policies for the farm sector. It was a time when interest rates were between 18 and 20 per cent and the then Minister for Finance, Senator Walsh, had abolished the income equalisation deposits scheme. It was a time of low world commodity prices and when the drought aid measures were withdrawn by the Bannon state government and the Hawke federal government. The comparisons between those experiences and this bill are very stark. I also note that these circumstances followed on from the mid-1980s assets test which applied to farmers in a very harsh way—at a time when we had the trifecta of low commodity prices, 18 to 20 per cent interest rates and a very long-standing drought on the Eyre Peninsula.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! It being 2 p.m., the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 101A. The debate may be resumed at a later hour and the member for Grey will have leave to continue his remarks at that time.