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Thursday, 2 May 1957

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) .- In the short time at my disposal I wish to deal with several subjects. First, I want to make some remarks regarding the inconsistency of broadcasting regulations. Every one knows that if a broadcaster were to announce the starting prices at a race meeting before the end of the last race, he would run the risk of being banned from broadcasting in Australia. However, I have heard on numerous occasions announcers who broadcast boxing and wrestling bouts make special mention of the -number of bouts won by competitors from the red corner or the white corner. In addition, when football scores are being given in metropolitan areas, special mention is made of the highest and lowest scores of the day. Why is special mention made of these details, which appear to be unimportant?

Mr Bird - They are very important.

Mr TURNBULL - The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) says that they are very important. I want to know why they are very important. I ask the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Davidson) to ascertain whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission and broadcasting stations are in this way giving vital assistance to illegal betting.

I shall now deal with a matter that has arisen recently in the dried fruits industry. On 18th April last, the "Sunraysia Daily" of Mildura published the following item -

Dried fruit-growers are paying 6d. sales tax on every dozen hot cross buns they buy to-day, because, they contain dried fruit.

There is no sales tax on dried fruits, but when the fruit goes into bread or buns it is taxable.

The sales tax on buns baked in Mildura to-day will bring the Government £100.

The buns retail at 3s. 9d. a dozen, including tax. The value of the fruit is less than the amount charged in tax.

Bakers worked throughout the night to fill orders for 4,000 dozen buns, and they used more than half a ton of dried fruits.

Bread and dried fruits are not taxable, but a raisin loaf or a hot cross bun is subject to sales tax at the rate of 121 per cent. During budget debates, honorable members make long speeches about what should be done, but every one knows that no government since federation, having made its financial and other commitments at that stage, has ever changed them as the result of budget debates. If one wants something to be done under the budget, the time to raise the matter is now. I have returned to my electorate during a budget session and have been asked, " How will the vote go? What will happen? " I have sat in this House in Opposition and I now sit behind the Government; and I know how the vote on the budget will go, and every one else knows. Therefore, the budget debate is the greatest farce we have in this country, because a current budget will never alter the legislation. The time to get the Government to do something to change its methods is now or during the supply debate that will take place shortly. When the budget is before us, it will be too late. We hear of pensioners leaving Melbourne to come to Canberra to interview the Government about a rise in pensions. Labour members meet them in certain places and after talking to them say, " Good-bye and good luck ", but every Labour member knows that those people have not a dog's chance of getting anything done, because the Government, whether it be Labour, Liberal or Country party, has already entered into its commitments. I contend that the 12* per cent, tax on dried fruit which is put into a bread loaf should be abolished.

Mr Ward - The honorable member is -supporting a government that has continued that tax.

Mr TURNBULL - 1 am supporting the Government, but I am not so narrowminded as not to put forward a case contrary to Government policy when I consider that I am justified in doing so. When the honorable member for East Sydney was sitting on the Government side as a Minister I put up a case on housing. I mentioned a family living in a tent near Geelong and said that when Christmas-time came they had to move out of the tent they occupied because the man who had loaned the tent to them wanted it for his holidays. I received no support from the honorable member for East Sydney on that occasion. Although I support this Government, I do not think that everything it does is right, but the honorable member for East Sydney thought that everything done by the Government of which he was a member was right. If that was not his opinion, he was prepared to stifle his conscience. He sat there and did nothing when I brought up the vital subject of housing. 1 ask the Government to look into this matter of the 121 per cent, tax on dried fruit used in a fruit loaf. There is no tax on dried fruit or on plain bread, but when the two are amalgamated a tax is imposed. Why should that be done?

In the brief time that remains I wish to deal with another subject. The American consumption of fruit juices has increased from 0.6 lb. a head per annum, before the war, to more than 7 lb. a head per annum now. It is stated, on reliable authority, that Australian imports of pure and aerated fruit juices have increased, but exports have declined in recent years. Is the Government contemplating some means of fostering the development of the fruit juice industry in Australia, especially regarding exports? I should like the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. McMahon) to confer with the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) and examine the effect of the 12i per cent, tax on fruit juices containing up to 25 per cent, of Australian fruit juices, with a view to abolishing that tax.

Naturally, in the very short time now at my disposal, I cannot go into all the matters that I wish to raise. There is one vital subject that I shall have to deal with on a future occasion. I am always glad to see the honorable member for East Sydney here. He is always on the wrong track and I can point out where he has been most inconsistent in his political actions during the eleven years that I have been a member of this House. When he states a case, he states it just to please himself and the party that he represents, irrespective of its effect on the Australian community.

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