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Thursday, 7 May 1987
Page: 2866


Mr IAN CAMERON(9.24) —The members of the Australian Labor Party have been fleecing the people of Australia and the farmers of this country ever since they were elected. They are all suffering from wool blindness and it is time they were wigged and ringed, the lot of them. I do not know what to say about the female members. But I assure honourable members that we in the National Party of Australia will not support clauses 41 and 42 of this legislation because we support the employment of all people on merit. We do not believe that people should be discriminated in favour of because they happen to be crippled, coloured females. That is the system we have in Australia under the woolly lot of Labor supporters on the Government side of the House. They are a disgraceful lot. If they think that we will support the entire legislation, they have another think coming. There is no way that we will allow the Australian Labor Party to introduce this equal opportunity, affirmative action type nonsense in every Bill that relates to statutory authorities. It is absolute nonsense.

I love women; there is nothing wrong with them. But I do not believe that there is any reason why we should discriminate in favour of women or in favour of coloured people or crippled people-the people that the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Brumby) talks about. Surely we have progressed far enough that we do not have to discriminate in favour of these people. The Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) said in the House the other day that 58 per cent of the work force are women. For God's sake, how many more do we need in the work force? They comprise over half of the work force now. How many more do we need? There will be no one left at home to look after the kids. I say to the honourable member for Bendigo that it was Labor that withdrew Federal funding for kindergartens. Yet he has the audacity to criticise the National Party for talking about kindergartens. It was a Labor government which withdrew Federal funding for pre-schools and it was left to the States to fund them. Government members are the ones who hate women and young kids.

I turn to the contents of the legislation, which is to do with the wool industry. I hope that all of the nice girls-members of parliament-in the House are wearing their best wool dresses.


Ms Fatin —Mr Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. I suggest that I am a member of parliament, an honourable member of this House. I may be a nice girl--


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! There is no point of order.


Mr IAN CAMERON —I am pleased to see that equal opportunity applies in this House. I notice that most of them are wearing wool. I see that all the fine members of parliament are wearing their good wool suits tonight, including me. I am also wearing a wool tie. Honourable members should keep buying them.

I would like to support the great stud industry of this country. There are many studs in my electorate, the great electorate of Maranoa. I refer to Welltower stud at Goondiwindi and Mount Abundance and Crockentie at Roma. A good friend of mine, Russell Dowling, is chairman of the Queensland Merino Stud Sheepbreeders Association. Of course, they are doing an excellent job in lifting the standard and quality of wool throughout this nation. Australia is again riding on the sheep's back, and so it ought to be. At long last we have seen a recovery in the wool industry. Those of us who live in the western inland areas of Australia hope that this will continue.


Mr Cobb —You have to keep the cost down.


Mr IAN CAMERON —We have to suffer all of these new taxes. As soon as a person makes a quid today, this Labor Government rips it off him. There is a capital gains tax. One must now pay in order to milk a cow on farms. That is how lousy the Government is. Owners must pay tax on workers' accommodation so that men will work on their stations. The honourable member for Leichhardt (Mr Gayler) is grinning. All the people in his electorate are paying extra taxes. We heard today that Mount Isa Mines has a fringe benefits tax bill of $5m.


Mr Gayler —What about Noosa?


Mr IAN CAMERON —There is nothing wrong with Noosa. Members who get knocked up in this place can go there and have a rest. One thing about Noosa is that a person does not need to wear wool clothing there, unfortunately. Many fine personalities who live in Maranoa have done a wonderful job for the wool industry, including Sir William Gunn, who is a resident of the Goondiwindi district. Sir William has done a fantastic job. He has been proven correct over the years. For many years he advocated the sort of floor price system that has been operating in the wool industry for the past 20 years. He has done an excellent job to try to stabilise the industry, which has allowed many growers to remain in the industry. After a long struggle they are now starting to reap the rewards of their labours. Unfortunately, because of the fall of the grain market, we will see a movement of people, such as wheat farmers, into the wool industry. We must be mindful of the fact that if we produce too much wool, we will have problems of overproduction.

One of the reasons for the upturn in the market is the trend back to natural fabrics from synthetics. The Russians have bought more wool, for which we are very grateful. The Chinese have freed up their markets in terms of primary products and manufactured goods. I would like the Australian Labor Party to take note of what the Chinese Communist Party is doing. It is doing the complete reverse of what this Government is doing. This Government keeps introducing regulations, including the ridiculous limit on the weight that a person can lift. The regulations have got so bad that one will not be able to lift one's grandchildren or a bag of fertiliser. Ten people will be needed to lift a bale of wool on to a truck. That is how pathetic the Government has become in introducing legislation to impose weight limits. Of course, we do not support such proposals.

The Wool Council of Australia has been closely involved with the Government in the development of the legislation. The National Party supports pretty well all of the legislation except those clauses dealing with equal opportunity of employment. I point out to people in the electorate of Maranoa who are listening to the debate tonight that it is not the industry that is being burdened with the equal opportunity clause; it is the Australian Wool Corporation. The Government controls the Corporation and it is using this Bill to force an extra burden on the Corporation. In the long run, the taxpayers will pay for the burden of going along the track of not employing people on the basis of merit. We are reaching the stage with equal employment legislation when we will be forced to employ the unemployed. That is the absurd position we shall soon reach, and it is high time this stopped. We in the National Party will not support absurd legislation such as that which the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin) has introduced to the House.

The Wool Marketing Bill provides that a director of the Corporation may be appointed as a chief executive officer. There will be nine directors, or eight in the case of a full time chairperson. They will be chosen by the Wool Council. The Corporation will be setting and announcing the minimum market indicator reserve price and reserve prices for wool types. The Wool Council will consult with the Corporation on the allocation of the wool tax. The legislation allows a maximum tax of 10 per cent of wool growers' gross income, 2 1/2 per cent of which is for market support. That has been the central component of holding up the stockpile, which has been up to two million bales. We have been able to reduce that to under half a million bales. As the market improves, the stockpile is sold off. The industry is lucky in that wool can survive in a bale for years on end. So it is able to be stored. Two and half per cent of the value of the wool will go to promotion. The industry is one of the leaders throughout the world. As honourable members all know, the woolmark symbol as the integrated symbol of the wool industry has been a roaring success and is recognised throughout the world. The industry has done a fantastic job. The International Wool Secretariat has done a brilliant job in promoting wool and this is one of the reasons why the prices have taken off. A quarter of a per cent will go to research and development. This provides for the Corporation to borrow up to 50 per cent of its net assets without ministerial consent. A commercial auditor will be appointed by the Corporation to audit the books. This is a good thing. We need to have some sort of commercialism in these statutory organisations to make sure that they are kept on the straight and narrow. A separate Australian Wool Stores Board of Management will be established. The corporate plan of the Corporation will last for five years and the annual report will be presented to this Parliament. The Bill will introduce new arrangements for quality assurance. I think it is important for me tonight to tell the wool growers of Australia, particularly those people who are wool classing, that they will be forced to register. This is one aspect of the Bill that I am not happy about. But if it will help to improve the quality of the product, I guess it is one of the measures that we have to go along with. All wool classers will have to be registered to sell their wool through the Wool Corporation.

The Corporation is allowed to acquire samples from wool testing houses to establish the ownership of wool which is found to have excessive levels of pesticide. Of course this is the greenie element coming in. It is concerned about pesticides. I will tell honourable members that there is nothing worse than seeing a flyblown sheep wandering around the place. I can tell honour- able members that they suffer. If farmers cannot use pesticides, where does that leave them? Can they not kill a few blowflies with a bit of pesticide or a bit of the old oil? What is wrong with these blokes? This Bill will encourage and facilitate the training of shearers. Where is Mick Young? He is an old shearer. He ought to be in the House tonight listening to us debating the Wool Marketing Bill. He ought to be able to contribute to it, but he is not here. The industry has done a fantastic job in training shearers, particularly in the electorate of Maranoa. We have had many shearing schools going, and of course this is good for the industry. The Bill provides for the withdrawal from auction of wool which does not meet the industry standard. We believe that this is an excellent provision to support.

I know that many other speakers who support the industry are still to speak. I have much pleasure in supporting most of the Bill but I am very keen to oppose clauses 41 and 42.

Motion (by Mr Cunningham) put:

That the question be now put.