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Wednesday, 17 April 1985
Page: 1164

Senator BOSWELL(5.18) —I congratulate the Australian Dairy Corporation on its 1983-84 annual report. I look at a little bit of television and its advertising with Peter Russell-Clarke and its promotions on cheese and butter are certainly great. I believe that they have an impact on the market forces. What we are seeing in the dairy industry at the moment is the demise of another great primary industry of Australia. It is under attack by the Government of this country. As we have seen, the sugar industry has been neglected.

Senator Grimes —Oh, for heavens sake!

Senator BOSWELL —The sugar industry has been neglected. During the last election the Government promised an underwriting scheme, but it has not been forthcoming.

Senator Collard —The 1983 election.

Senator BOSWELL —And the previous election too. Three days after the last Victorian election the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Kerin, rejected an Australian dairy marketing plan that had the support of every State Government and every State dairy industry and put up a plan of his own. That was done three days after the State election. It is another indication of how Mr Kerin has misled the primary industry. He has done so in regard to the meat inspection levy, the sugar industry, and now to the dairy industry. I suppose what the Government is trying to do is get involved in the free market forces of Australia. I advise the Labor Government to stick to socialism. It is something it knows a little bit about.

Senator Grimes —A free market in the dairy industry?

Senator BOSWELL —That is what the Labor Government is trying to do. It is trying to free up the market in the dairy industry and does not understand the implications. The dairy industry is not a free market industry. It has to compete with heavily subsidised countries, such as the European Economic Community and other countries. Even the American industry is heavily subsidised, yet the Government expects the Australian dairy industry to stand up in a free market when every other market that is competing against it is heavily subsidised.

Senator Grimes —You sound like a socialist to me.

Senator BOSWELL —I reject that remark out of hand. I am certainly not a socialist, but I do not agree that the dairy industry should be put in a situation where it will be torn down. Over the past 20 years the number of dairy farmers has fallen from 49,000 to 19,700.

Senator Grimes —Do you think we should promote more?

Senator BOSWELL —No, but it has always been my experience that people such as Senator Grimes have not had to go out there and build up a farm. They do not know the love these people have for their land. The Government is pushing 5,000 or 6,000 more dairy farmers off the land.

Senator Grimes —I can milk a cow better than you can, I can tell you.

Senator BOSWELL —You probably can at that. The Australian Dairy Industry Conference, realising the problems of the industry, has put forward a plan involving a steady reduction to 5.3 billion litres a year. The figure has come down, and the Conference has agreed that it will put in its own plan to reduce production to that level.

Senator Grimes —You oppose that, do you?

Senator BOSWELL —No, I do not oppose it, but that is what the dairy industry is putting up. It is the Government that is opposing it and it wants to cut that level.