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Thursday, 11 October 1956


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I rule that the honorable member is in order. He is making merely a passing reference.


Mr WHITLAM - The honorable member's interest in the affairs of the Department of Primary Industry is confined to dried fruits, which, the Minister for Primary Industry has said, is a matter for the States.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -

Order! I think the honorable member should come to the point.


Mr WHITLAM - The Department of Primary Industry was responsible for the Australian Whaling Commission. The Minister for Primary Industry is the one to whom questions about that commission were directed. He presented this report, and this is the first opportunity we have had to discuss it. In it is set out a comparison between the financial operations of the Australian Whaling Commission and of the company that obtained its assets, during the years when they operated concurrently. Their operations were conducted in the same area, and they worked on the same quota of whales. The comparison, therefore, is complete. During the years of their rival operations the publicly owned corporation made an operating profit of £1,163,657, while the privately owned company made only £844,592 profit. The publicly owned corporation allowed depreciation of £292,689, as against £1 10,058 allowed by the private company.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - The honorable member should not labour this point.


Mr Hasluck - I rise to order. 1 do not disagree with the ruling that you gave earlier, Mr. Temporary Chairman, but the honorable member is speaking, now, solely about the operations of the Australian Whaling Commission, and the item before the committee, to which he attempts to link his remarks, is Part 5 of the Estimates of the Department of Primary Industry. Although Part 5 includes a number of items under that department, they are a particular series of items, and they do not include anything having relation to the Australian Whaling Commission.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I have already told the honorable member he may make passing reference, but he is labouring the point, and I must ask him to come nearer to the items being considered by the committee.'


Mr WHITLAM - My last sentence on this subject is this-


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - lt will have to be brief!


Mr WHITLAM - It will, indeed. The publicly owned whaling corporation repaid to the Treasury during those years £850,000, and the private company paid in dividends £2 1 6,000. The interest paid to the Treasury by the former was £126,025 and the tax paid by the latter was £160,303.

I now refer to the specific items relating to the Whaling Commission. Honorable members will recall that the profits from the sale of the Whaling Commission were to be devoted to a Fisheries Development Trust

Account. Last year the disposal of the assets brought in £672,624. The trust fund got £125,000 of that-


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -

Order! I cannot allow the honorable member to discuss that subject further.


Mr WHITLAM - The other item that I wished to discuss in relation to the Department of Primary Industry was egg production.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN

Order! I cannot allow the honorable member to proceed along those lines either. The expenditure is incidental.


Mr WHITLAM - In all seriousness, and with great respect to the Chair, let me say that the Minister for Primary Industry is responsible for the affairs of the Australian Egg Board. He presents, though somewhat belatedly, the annual reports of that board, and Mr. Speaker allows honorable members to ask questions of him concerning its operations.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I cannot allow the honorable member to proceed along those lines. That matter should have been dealt with when the main departmental estimates were before the committee. This is an incidental provision.







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