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Tuesday, 21 May 1957


Mr POLLARD (Lalor) .- The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has moved an amendment to clause 12 to provide for representation of the Australian Primary Producers Union. The measure already provides that there shall be two members to represent the Australian Wool Growers Council and two members to represent the Australian Wool, and Meat Producers Federation. I point that out particularly for the information of the honorable member for Lawson (Mr. Failes), who, in opposing the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Wilmot, worked himself almost into a state of hysteria when he said that whereas trade unions imposed levies, there would be no compulsory levies under this particular measure. The fact is that members of this research committee will have very great powers indeed. Subject to the approval of the Minister, as is provided for in another clause, they may spend money on all manner of things. If the honorable member for Lawson looks at clause 5 of the bill he will find that a fund, to be known as the Wool Research Trust Fund, is to be established, and that this fund will be a trust fund for purposes of section 62 of the Audit Act 1901-1955.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! I told the honorable member for Lawson that the committee has already passed those clauses.


Mr POLLARD - It is essential that I refer to the fact that, as this committee has certain functions to carry out, the representation of primary producers should be fairly extensive. I will endeavour to obey your ruling, Mr. Chairman, but I want to connect two things. This committee will have extensive functions and if the honorable member for Lawson looks at clause 5 he will find that a tax is to be levied which will be provided for in another bill. That tax will be anything from 2s. to 5s. a bale, and it will be levied on every wool-grower in Australia, whether he is a member of the wool-growers' organizations represented on the research committee or not. What has happened, quite clearly, is that representatives of certain wool-growers' organizations have gone to the Government and said, " Our organizations favour a contribution of so much to a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the industry ". But thousands of men who are not members of any primary producers' organization will also be required under the associated tax measure to pay so much per bale, so much per bag and so much per fadge. They are to be compulsorily levied because some organization, which calls itself a primary producers' organization, says they should be levied. They have no option in a free country to resist the levy. It is placed upon them without their consent. The honorable member for Lawson says there are no compulsory levies connected with this measure. He speaks in complete ignorance-


Mr Failes - I rise to order. I listened quietly to the honorable member until he said I spoke in complete ignorance. I never said there was no compulsory levy associated with this legislation.


The CHAIRMAN - That is not a point of order. I asked the honorable member for Lawson not to develop that line of argument, and I ask the honorable member for Lalor not to develop it.


Mr POLLARD - I was only making a passing reference because mention has been made of a compulsory levy on unionists.


The CHAIRMAN - I ask you not to develop that.


Mr POLLARD - I leave that; but this levy will apply to every wool-grower. Under the circumstances I suggest that it is not unreasonable for the honorable member for Lawson to agree to the amendment of the honorable member for Wilmot. Agreement to this amendment will un doubtedly bring into representation on the proposed committee a far greater number of wool-growers than will be represented if the clause is accepted as it stands. I am optimistic that honorable members on all sides of the chamber will support the amendment. After all, honorable members on this side are not seeking amendment of the clause to enable appointment of a representative of a trade union; we are asking for better representation of primary producers through one of their own organizations, and our proposition is eminently reasonable.


Mr Failes - I wish to make a personal explanation. I claim that I have been misrepresented by the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard). He declared that I said that a compulsory levy was being made on wool-growers. In my remarks I referred to the fact that there is no compulsory levy on wool-growers to support the Australian Country party, as alleged by the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly). I made no reference at all to a compulsory levy in the bill.







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