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Thursday, 19 November 1959

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) .- We are indebted to the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) for a history of the canned fruits industry and for certain other facts which are appreciated. I do not agree with everything that he said. The purpose of one of these bills is to impose a levy on apricots, peaches and pears accepted by canners. Another of the bills is a machinery measure which is designed to provide the machinery necessary for the collection of the charge imposed by the Canning-Fruit Charge Bill. The main object of the third bill is to establish the Australian Canned Fruit Sales Promotion Committee and to vest it with authority to utilize funds to be derived from a levy to be imposed on fruits supplied for canning. The purpose of the fourth bill is to provide for the appointment to the Australian Canned Fruits Board of a representative of the growers of canning apricots, peaches and pears. All the bills are designed to work together and it is natural that we should debate them together.

Regarding the appointment of a growers' representative on the Australian Canned Fruits Board, the Australian Country Party and I, as a member of that party, have always advocated that the growers should have such representation. It has been pointed out by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) that the bill gives effect to the proposal of the Australian Canning Fruitgrowers Association, the central organization of growers of canning apricots, peaches and pears, the members of which are said to account for about 95 per cent, of the production of these fruits used in canning. If they produce 95 per cent, of these fruits, surely they are entitled to representation. We appreciate this proposal and we shall support it. I understand that the Opposition, too, will support it.

The Canning-Fruit Charge (Administration) Bill is designed to provide the machinery necessary for the collection of the charge imposed by the Canning-Fruit Charge Bill. It is unnecessary for me to deal with this machinery measure, particularly as the honorable member for Bendigo has covered most of the ground.

I think it is envisaged that an annual fund of about £50,000 will be made available to the Australian Canned Fruit Sales Promotion Committee to enlarge in a rational manner the promotion work already being undertaken. I should like to compliment the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) on the great work that he has done in the promotion of the sale of canned fruits overseas. We have read about it and we have seen motion pictures and they are very impressive. The electorate of the Minister for Trade includes the Goulburn Valley, the centre of which is Shepparton which produces a large proportion of our canned fruit. The Minister, therefore, is in very close touch with the industry and, knowing it so well, has done everything in his power to promote sales overseas.

I think it is very necessary that our trade representatives should study the buying methods of Asian countries. When I was in Malaya I found that there was some confusion over labelling. An instance was the Rosella brand. A young Chinese came to me and pointed to some Rosella tins of fruit that were on sale at a certain store at Malacca. He said, "Tinned parrot." He thought it was tinned parrot because the tin had a bird on it. We know the Rosella brand, but some people in Asian countries think that the tins contain parrot. Presumably all those things are taken into consideration by the Department of Trade, but I believe that they are not receiving as much attention as they were some years ago. If that is so, the matter needs to be looked into.

These bills are greatly appreciated by the Country Party. When we come to the committee stage I will have something else to say on the Australian Canned Fruits Board. The honorable member for Bendigo claims that the employees should be given a voice on the Australian Canned Fruits Board. But suppose I said to the honorable member, " Why not give the growers a voice in the trade union?" How would he react to that?

A lot of these workers are seasonal workers. As the honorable member for Bendigo said, they come along to pick the fruit when it is ripe. Then they go away to some other area to pick dried fruits or to do other seasonal work. It would be very difficult to give them representation as fruit pickers. It might not be so hard in the case of cannery employees, but a large percentage of the men who work in the canning fruit industry, apart from the canneries themselves, are seasonal workers. It would be very hard to give them representation. I believe that the appropriate place for their representation is in the trade union. The honorable member for Bendigo, as a successful union advocate, knows that the trade union is a vital body and that that is where the workers' representation should be. The growers are not asking for representation in the unions. Therefore I think it is not in the best interests of all .concerned that workers should have representation on a canning fruit industry body.

I understand that the honorable member for Bendigo also said that the workers should have representation on the Australian Canned Fruit Sales Promotion Committee. Of course, the money for the work of this committee will be contributed by the growers. They are not asking the workers in the industry to pay the levy. The honorable member's proposition has been brought up previously in relation to other industries and the same reply as I am giving now has been given. The honorable member for Bendigo said that this is nothing new. Of course it is not. It has been brought up before by way of proposed amendments to other primary industry legislation and has been rejected. I hope that the Minister will reject it again to-night.

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