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Wednesday, 10 November 1976
Page: 2586


Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(   1 ) What is the estimated cost to the Federal and various State Governments of the underwriting of skim milk powder for the 1973-76 season, and what will be the estimated cost in the 1 976-77 season, if continued to the end of the season.

(2)   What is the estimated cost to the Federal Government of the recently announced underwriting for butter and cheese, if it is continued to the end of the season.


Mr Sinclair - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) and (2) Based on the latest advice from the Australian Dairy Corporation the total estimated cost to the Governments of the underwriting of the equalisation value for skim milk powder ex 1975-76 season's production at $300 per tonne could range from $7.5m to $9.1m. However, on current expectations there is no likelihood of the underwriting pool being finalised before 30 June 1977. The agreement between the Commonwealth and the States to underwrite skim milk powder and casein from 1 July 1 976 relates only to a six month period ending 31 December 1976. Because of the number of variables which have to be taken into account, it is not possible at this stage to give a reliable estimate of the commitment for Governments on skim milk powder for this period.

A similar position obtains in regard to the Commonwealth Government's commitment to underwrite the equalisation values for butter and cheese for the six months period ending 31 December 1976.

The general question of underwriting dairy products was raised at the Australian Agricultural Council meeting on 8 October 1976, within the context of the Council's consideration of the Industries Assistance Commission report on dairy industry marketing arrangements. Both the Commonwealth and State Governments are well aware that the present underwriting arrangements apply only to the period ending 31 December 1976, but at this stage no decision has been taken as to what arrangements should apply from 1 January 1977.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Question No. 1310)


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   What is the date on which Australia signed the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(   2 ) On what date did the Covenent enter into force.

(3)   Can he say whether Canada, which has a similar constitutional background to that which operates in Australia, ratified the Covenant on 19 May 1976; if so, why has Australia failed to ratify the Covenant.


Mr Peacock (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   1 8 December 1972.

(2)   23 March 1976.

(3)   Canada acceded to the Covenant on 19 May 1976.

Most of the standards in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights concern state laws and practices as well as federal and territorial laws and practices. The question of whether Australia should ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights raises not only legal issues but also fundamental political issues in so far as the Australian States will need to co-operate with the Commonwealth Government to make it possible for Australia to ratify that Covenant and enable it to meet its international obligations under the Covenant. The Government is seeking to resolve these issues.







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