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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1722


Senator MACKLIN(9.32) —The amendments moved by Senator Collard certainly have the support of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation. However, we do not propose to support the amendments for the following reasons: The original proposition of the Government was to provide that the Chairman of the Australian Wheat Board, the President of the National Farmers Federation and five wheat growers nominated by the Australian Wheat- growers Federation shall be on the Australian Wheat Board Selection Committee. Undoubtedly those five wheat growers will be chosen by the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation on a geographical basis. Undoubtedly one person from each State will be selected. Therefore, it seems to me that within the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation itself the intent of the amendments moved by Senator Collard will be achieved if the Federation wishes to achieve it.

I think it is inappropriate to use the legislation to overcome internal problems of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation. We all know there are difficulties between the States. That is something that is likely to continue not just in this industry but in every industry. In some ways the interests of the wheat growers in different States diverge in significant ways, depending on a variety of factors, and hence within the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation there are some considerable differences in view. I think, however, that Senator Collard's proposal would not necessarily achieve the results he would hope for in a more effective way than the current organisation would do.

As I see it in practical terms, when the Australian Wheat Board Selection Committee meets, the nominee put forward for Queensland by the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation undoubtedly would have the major say in choosing the person to represent Queensland on the Board. I think it is decidedly unlikely that the representatives from the other States would seek to appoint a person from Queensland different from that chosen by the Queensland grain growers. That is likely to be so for each other State. Hence the proposition that Senator Collard is suggesting is useful is already covered by the legislation and it really depends on the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation to achieve it. The structure would enable the Federation to achieve it if it wishes to do so.