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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 1678

Senator WATSON(4.39) —As one of the spokesmen for small business in this place, I am surprised at the attitude taken by Senator Jack Evans of the Australian Democrats. I think that what Australia needs, what small business needs, and what industry in non-metropolitan areas needs, is a recognition of social conscience in regard to economic deliberations. All too often we have seen the Industries Assistance Commission operating on hypothetical and idealistic assumptions. The result has been the closure around Australia of industries that would otherwise be viable. It disturbs me somewhat to find the Democrats, who have always taken on the attitude of trying to assist and protect industry throughout Australia, taking this attitude. They are the protectors of industry. I think that Senator Rae has a point.

Senator Macklin —Which attitude?

Senator WATSON —The attitude of not widening the role of the Industries Assistance Commission. Senator Evans is saying that he is not prepared to widen it because it should be a different body; he would support it if it were a different body. I support the comments made by my colleague Senator Rae.