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Tuesday, 14 May 1985
Page: 1906

Senator MACKLIN(5.11) —by leave-I move:

(1) Page 2, clause 3, proposed new paragraph 15 (1) (b), leave out '4', insert '5'.

(2) Page 2, clause 3, proposed new paragraph 15 (1) (d), leave out '4', insert '3'.

I have circulated those amendments to the Australian Dried Fruits Corporation Amendment Bill. The essential point is that the Government has decided, for some reason still shrouded in mystery, to increase the number of members on the Australian Dried Fruits Corporation Board from eight to 10. In doing so it has taken away the grower majority. As I indicated during the debate on the fishing legislation, the Australian Democrats policy is to support grower majority on commodity boards. Hence I have moved the two amendments to increase the number of members representing producers from four to five and to reduce the other members appointed by the Minister for Primary Industry from four to three. This will restore the grower majority and leave the Corporation with 10 members-a number which the Government, for some reason, wishes to have.

The reasons for retaining grower majorities on such corporations have been rehearsed on innumerable occasions in this place. I do not believe that in a situation in which the efforts of such a corporation largely are funded by the growers themselves, the direction of their funds and the control of the direction of their industry ought to be taken out of their hands and put in the hands of the Government. Let us be clear that this would not mean control of the industry from this chamber or the other place-we could argue about the effects of that-but essentially would mean bureaucratic control of the industry. I do not believe that would achieve the types of objectives that the Government wishes in any more effective way than the current arrangement. Indeed, I believe that having grower control is the best safeguard for directing the industry towards a prosperous future because it would be controlled by the very people who have a permanent and continuing stake in the health of their own industry.