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Wednesday, 10 June 1970


Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

(1)   What hospital fees are paid by (a) indigenes and (b) expatriates in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

(2)   To what extent do hospital insurance schemes operate in the Territory.


Mr Barnes (MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for External Territories) - The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:

(1)   Separate fees are not charged for indigenes and expatriates.

Hospital accommodation is available only in public and intermediate wards. The fees which apply are as follows:

(A)   Public wards

(i)   ln-patient hospitalisation and attention $2 per admission irrespective of length of stay.

(ii)   Out-patient attention 20 cents a visit.

Public ward charges are made in all major regional and district hospitals. No charges are madeat rural hospitals.

(B)   Intermediate wards

(i)   In-patient hospitalisation and attention where family income is less than $4,000 a year - $3.60 a day including professional attendance, drugs and dressings, and services such as X-ray.

Where family income is $4,000 a year or more hospitalisation rate is $8.40 a day. This rate includes drugs and dressings and nursing attention but does not include other scheduled medical services such as X-ray and surgical attention.

A surcharge of 50% applies where a person is entitled to a benefit under the National Health Act of the Commonwealth. However, as an interim measure, the maximum amount charged for hospitalisation has been fixed at $10.40 a day. These changes will shortly be incorporated in regulations under the Public Hospitals (Charges) Ordinance.

(ii)   Out-patient consultation $1.50 a visit.

(2)   A number of Australian hospital/medical benefit funds operate in Papua and New Guinea. Some employers including the Administration act as agents in the collection and recording of contributions. Refunds are made by cheque from Australia.

Papua and New Guinea: Typists' Efficiency Allowances (Question No. 1064)


Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for

External Territories, upon notice:

What (a) number and (b) percentage of (i) indigene and (ii) expatriate Administration typists qualify for each of the efficiency allowances mentioned in his answer to me (Hansard, 8 May 1970, page 1940).


Mr Barnes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

 


Mr GRASSBY - As I was saying just before the quite pleasant interruption of the sitting, the Deputy Prime Minister has been particularly consistent in his approach to the problems of the wool industry. I was referring to the fact that when he was speaking to a meeting of Federal and Queensland Country Party Ministers and members of parliament at Surfers Paradise in February he hinted very strongly that he would press the Commonwealth Government to help the wool industry, and that was interpreted as a move to seek a cost compensation scheme.

I move from the Deputy Prime Minister to the Minister for Primary Industry who, in an address to the Australian Wool Board advisory committee, took quite a different view - at least an apparently different view. 1 do not want to do him any injustice in this respect. If 1 quote the words he used on that occasion, that might suffice to indicate that there seems to be some difference of view. He said:

Direct subsidies may also be looked upon as mere palliatives which treat the symptoms of the problem but not its cause. 1 move from him to the Prime Minister who, at a Press conference in March, said very definitely that a direct subsidy was not the long term solution to the problems oil the wool industry. So, if we sum up the situation and the background against which this Bill comes to the Parliament, we find that the Prime Minister and the Minister for Primary Industry are at one in being violently against any subsidy for wool, but the Deputy Prime Minister is in favour of it.

But I have nol quite finished the picture. In an answer to a question that I asked in the Parliament the Minister for Primary Industry indicated that he would proceed by administrative measures and not by parliamentary action with the marketing authority. This is regrettable. I understand that the power to do this resides with the Minister, but surely it would have been more desirable to have all of these questions resolved at the one time and in a cohesive and cogent way. If the scheme is to proceed as the Minister has indicated, again there is some regret because there has been very serious questioning of the financial basis of the marketing plan and again most of the questions that have been raised have remained unanswered. This adds to the confusion that exists in the Government at the present time. But perhaps 1 do members of the Government an injustice. Perhaps, in fact, they are merely thinking aloud of what might be done. I hope that the Government comes to a resolution in the interests of this great industry, in the interests of Australia and in the interests of the many growers who are in considerable trouble at the present time.

On the other han(, Mr Speaker, as you have heard tonight from the honourable member for Dawson, who led for the Opposition, we have made quite clear our position as to what we believe can be done to assist the wool industry. The various highlights of the scheme, if I may put it that way, were enunciated. I refer to the statutory authority, the authority to acquire and scientifically to appraise and organise the best selling possible, the reserve price, the fact that unsold wool will be taken over by the authority at flexible prices, and a capital fund backed by the Commonwealth Government and with grower contributions. 1 would hope that this entire new structure that we propose would do more than just those things. 1 would hope that it would give its attention to the fact that, although we are the greatest wool producing nation in the world, we use or process 6% of our own clip and that is all. 1 have talked with the people who are involved in the trade, and they say, with the right sort of climate and with the right sort of encouragement, they could perhaps raise that 6% to 25%. They did not specify over what period, but at least they had their eyes set on doing something more with our own product than is done at the present time. I would hope that not only would farm problems be looked at, as is proposed in the continuing research grants, but that scientific handling would be examined. Marketing, of course, is implicit in our proposal, lt would be drastically re-organised but we would go a step further and have a look at the future of wool processing at all levels in our country.

I think we have made it quite clear that there is reason and cause for our confusion at this time as to why the measure has come in as it has. We examine it and find that the Bill gives greater power to the Federal Government over research and promotional funds which it contributes for these purposes. So it means in effect that the Commonwealth Government will give some additional money and that it will take some additional money, particularly for its own agencies such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. It is a new principle in some ways because the Board previously had the power to make the recommendations on this matter. Now the Government will do it. I think the Minister's words were that the Board would have a meaningful role in determining what would happen to these funds.

Then we come to the other provision in this Bill which gives the Minister the power to select and nominate the Chairman of the Authority. This again is a change. I find it a strange change in a Bill of this nature at this time with all the other great changes that have been projected by the leaders of the Government. I wonder why the change has been made. Does it suggest that Sir William Gunn is leaving the Australian Wool Board or that he is staying, or that it is desirable that this position be re-examined? It would seem to indicate that that is so; otherwise what is the point in making the change at this time? Certainly the one thing I find myself completely in agreement about is the need for more basic research, particularly in relation to wool industry problems. I know that the Bill does create an anomaly. What it does is it says that the Commonwealth agencies in future - that is, the CSIRO and BAE - will be able to be allocated their funds by the Government without relying on the allocations or the direct apportionment of the Wool Board. But, of course, State departments and universities will still have to go through that drill. This seems to me to be drawing a distinction, although I realise the Commonwealth has contributed the funds and the Commonwealth is taking the funds; but it does seem to be a somewhat clumsy way of applying funds for research. Perhaps the Minister in his reply, if he makes one, might explain why this is done in that way.

Certainly in supporting the fact that funds should be made available for research, and more funds are proposed, I would hope not only that consideration might be given to the 2 Commonwealth agencies involved, the State department and the universities, but also that some attention might bc paid to the regional research and extension organisations which have played such a key role in many parts of the country. I might mention some of these organisations. One of them which is not too far from here is the Yass Valley Authority, lt has done some particularly valuable work under its project officer, Mr David V. Walters. The Yass Valley Authority for some years now has been investigating a whole series of problems connected with the farms and wool properties which have been in the Yass Valley for nearly 100 years. There are similar bodies to this one. There is the joint Commonwealth State industry organisation in the Murray Valley, which is called the Murray Research and Extension Committee. There is also the Victorian Irrigation Research and Promo:ion Organisation, which also has a vital interest in the problems of the wool industry. Finally, there is the Irrigation Research and Extension Committee which operates in New South Wales and with which 1 had the honour to be associated for some 12 years. These are bodies that operate at a regional level. The Commonwealth Government agencies are represented on them and participate in their activities. The Stale government agencies are represented on them and the industry organisations themselves are represented on them. They are very close to the needs, particularly of the producers. I hope that perhaps consideration might be given under this measure to using the expertise which those bodies have developed at a regional level by supporting the work that they are doing and perhaps by initialing some new lines of study at that level.

It is undoubted that funds which could be applied to either the Commonwealth or State agencies could flow down to these organisations, but 1 would suggest that a study be made of them because research is necessary at all levels of the industry and in my experience there is no more effective approach to research and extension problems than at the regional level through organisations such as these. 1 would commend the examination of them. In summation, the measure contains, of course, one good point in that it will mean, I hope, additional research work.

On the subject of wool promotion, I think that at this hour and in this debate the whole ramifications of wool promotion are a little large to tackle but I would say that there arc some very grave reservations held about wool promotion, how it should be tackled and how in fact the funds have been applied. Some very grave comments have been made, particularly within the industry, and it would seem to mc that the time is fast approaching for a reassessment of wool promotion generally. 1 know that there are many efficient operatives in the wool industry, but like every major effort that is made in any situation there is a need to reappraise from time to time and 1 think that the time has come for a reappraisal there. All of these things surely hang together or surely should come together because we have been told, as I say, by the leaders of the Government - the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Primary Industry - that the indications are that there are great changes under way. I find it puzzling that we have what I describe as a bit measure coming before us at the present time, but it does give us the opportunity to review these problems and to stress them. I join honourable members on all sides of the Parliament in saying that there is an urgent need for remedial action at the grower level at this time.


Mr Corbett - Who said that?


Mr HUNT - Mr Hawke, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. That statement must come as a shock to honourable members on the other side of the House who in this debate have shown some sympathy for the problems confronting the wool industry in Australia. It does not help the wool grower or the farming community at this time to hear such statements, which I regard as completely irresponsible. Of course, a cost price squeeze is affecting the industry. But the emphasis is on price. Rising costs have been a problem. But the main problem is a price problem.

To demonstrate this point, I point out that the average price for wool in Australia in the year 1963-64 was 58.08c per lb realising a gross value for the clip of Sl,023m. In 1968-69 the price had fallen to 44.76c per lb, realising a gross value for the clip of S832m. So, we received on that occasion $200m less for our clip - for 200 million lb more wool. In the 1 1 months to the end of May 1970 the average price for the season was 38.32c per lb. The average price for the month of May 1969 was 41.09c per lb and the average price for May this year was 32.46c per lb. This demonstrates the price problem. It is the major problem confronting the industry.

Let us look now at the cost side. Costs have affected all the major export industries. We find that costs rose during the 1959-64 period at a reasonable rate of 1.4% per annum. But from 1964 to 1968 costs rose at the rate of nearly 4% per annum. But because of the superphosphate bounty last year the increase in costs to the farming community dropped back to 1.9% per annum. But this does not help every wool grower because so many of our wool growers in the marginal areas and in the pastoral regions do not receive a benefit from the superphosphate bounty.

This picture is an alarming one. I think that the downward price trend since 1963-64- a fall of 42.5% associated with costs having risen by 20% - really shows that the wool industry is in dire trouble. We are back to wool prices that arc lower than the prices in 1948-49. As the honourable member for Dawson so rightly said, the wool industry is an efficient industry. It is an unprotected industry. No other export industry in Australia has been put to the test of increasing its productivity as the wool industry has done. How long it can continue without assistance as an industry standing the strains of all sorts of policies that generate growth I do not know.

The problem has been one not only of a price decline and an increase in costs. Since 1964-65, widespread drought has been experienced throughout Australia. This has led to a record indebtedness of wool growers. The net indebtedness to the major trading banks of farmers generally increased by 71% between 1964 and 1969, wool growers being responsible for nearly 50% of this increased indebtedness to the major trading banks. The net rural indebtedness to major institutional lenders increased from $195m to $l,037m, an increase of 600%, between 1963 and 1969. The gross indebtedness to all lending institutions of the farming community now amounts to $2,000m. Because of this situation, I find it hard to believe that a wool selling plan with a floor price operation being financed by the wool growers themselves as advocated by the honourable member for Dawson could be instituted. In this sort of situation, 1 do not know how our wool growers could rise to this sort of expenditure.

These figures, as 1 said earlier, demonstrate the seriousness and the urgency of the problem facing wool growers, the Government, the economy and, in fact, the whole of Australia. No-one can deny that a great measure of credit is due to the wool industry for having earned $17,000m of foreign exchange since 1949, representing 40% of the total of Australia's export earnings since 1949. which has enabled remarkable growth and development to take place throughout Australia in the manufacturing sector as well as providing jobs and creating an affluence the country has not known before. Wool earnings have provided the foreign exchange which has been necessary to enable secondary industries to import the capital equipment needed to bring about this industrial growth. In spite of the large growth which is expected in our mineral earnings and in the earnings of our manufacturing industries, there will still be a great need for the continuance of a viable wool industry in the future to help maintain our balance of payments situation. Another consideration which has to be taken into account is the fact that vast areas of Australia are unsuited to any other form of rural production. The wool growers in the vast arid areas of western Queensland, western New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia do not have the potential to diversify into other forms of production.

The wool industry is, as has been said, the largest single industry in Australia. It has an estimated capital investment of $8,000m, which equals 85% of the book value of the combined secondary industries in Australia. Perhaps the industry is too capital intensive, because the value of wool production represents only about 5% of all factory production. There are many aspects of the handling and marketing of the products which are antiquated and backward by modern standards. This Bill provides for a substantia] savings potential in this area of costs.

Studies indicate that significant savings are possible in the handling and processing of wool for sale, by the construction of a national scale of fully integrated wool selling complexes such as the one which is being planned at Yennora. At present a bale of wool is handled on an average of 80 to 90 times from the time it leaves the property until the time it is loaded on a ship going overseas. This is not good enough in these days. I understand that a saving of about $4 on each bale of wool could be effected by adopting the modern handling techniques which will be provided under the terms of the Bill. This will represent a saving to the growers of approximately $20m, or more. Nearly all sections of the wool trade recognise the need for the establishment of wool selling centres with modern handling equipment for the joint use by brokers, providing for the speedy movement of wool into the complexes and out on to the ships in order to enable a cutting of costs. The complexes will provide the basis for core testing, the presampling and testing of wool or objective measurement and bulk classing and the selling of larger bulk lines. The Bill will also, as I said earlier, provide the necessary funds to enable the Australian Wool Board to build these complexes and lease them to the brokers.

I support the moves for the establishment of a single selling authority with the necessary powers to administer the marketing and distribution of the entire Australian wool clip. At a mass meeting in Moree on 21st March of the wool growers of New South Wales, which has been the key State over the years so far as the wool marketing controversy is concerned, it was decided to recommend this system of selling to the various primary producer organisations in New South Wales. We have seen great progress in this regard since then. The Australian Wool Industry Conference has adopted this recommendation. I want to make one point clear: In the process of establishing a single selling authority, I would not like to see us cast aside the wool brokers who at the complexes must still act as agents on the growers' behalf. A very good relationship has existed between the brokers and growers over the years. Many brokers have had to assist wool growers financially through their periods of adver sity. I suggest that this authority must appoint a board of management consisting of the best business brains available, whether they be from this country or outside it. They need not necessarily be wool growers, but they must bc men whose business judgment and management have been proved. This board of management must be responsible for the day to day disposal of our wool clip.

It is envisaged that some of our wool will be sold at auction, by negotiation, by tender or at quoted prices. Of course, I have heard it suggested within the circles of the industry organisation that those engaged in the wool industry support the principle, of supply management. But we would need to be careful that we do nol get caught holding back great reserves of wool in Australia and landing ourselves with a stockpiling problem which could have a depressing effect on world wool prices. The whole point is that we must ensure that the growers and the Government adopt the best policy in order to guarantee that the growers get a fairer price for their product. I am told that there is evidence to indicate that the spinners and manufacturers were prepared to pay as much this year as they did last year for wool, but the market fell from 47c to 32c. Yet the price of woollen fabrics and competitive synthetic fabrics has risen. So to me there appears to be no reason for this price drop for wool. We have heard all sorts of excuses for it, such as high overseas interest rates, exchange problems, etc.

Why should our wool growers be subjected to the so-called free auction system, with no reserve and no protection? Why should they be exposed to every economic breeze and blast that blows from one part of the world or the other? Why should they be exposed to speculators, manipulators, pie buyers, and the countless number of middle men and hangers-on? I can assure honourable members that if this practice continues the Australian wool industry is doomed. We need a firm single seller, not 105,000 fragmented wool growers buckling under huge overdrafts and having to take for their wool what they are offered on their sale day. We must put wool growers into the position where they can in fact use their collective strength to negotiate low shipping freight rates and a higher price for their wool. I believe that if world trade wants wool it should be prepared to pay a price consistent with wool's quality and the present day prices of commodities, not the prices that prevailed in 1948-49.

The next important feature of the Bill provides for an increased contribution for wool promotion and research. The Commonwealth's contribution will increase from SI 4m to an average of S27m, thus reducing the wool tax on the growers from 2% to I % of the gross proceeds of their clip. This will save growers SI. 20 per bale. The Minister in his second reading speech indicated that the Government quite rightly will have a greater say in the direction of the expenditure of funds. I believe that some consideration should be given to market research for our wool. I think the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street) made the point that in the past we have spent a lot of money on research into putting more woo! on the sheep and producing more wool per acre, but very little money has been spent on research into getting the wool off the sheep in the most economical way and handling and disposing of the clip.

In conclusion I commend the Bill. I believe this is further evidence of the Government's determination to help the industry and to work wilh the wool industry which has been divided far too long over loo many years, lt is a matter of relief for those grass roots members of the wool industry to find that their leaders are now coming together to try to work out a policy which will be to the general advantage of the wool grower. Since the industry is in this serious economic position it will be necessary for the Government and the industry to work with a sense of urgency to establish a statutory single marketing authority. Some immediate cash assistance or bridging finance will have to be extended to the wool industry to tide it over this difficult period. I think we have lo look at the possibility of assisting the industry with input subsidies such as assistance with freight and local government rating. Unless financial aid and extended loan arrangements are made to the wool growers of Australia I think there will be serious economic repercussions not only to the wool growers but to the country areas and to the nation as a whole. 1 support the Bill.


Mr Anthony - That is not right.


Mr DUTHIE - It is right. The Government made it more difficult for the Japanese to get their cars into Australia. The Minister cannot deny that. Imports of Japanese cars have been rigidly controlled since this decision was made by this Government. At the next wool sale after this decision the price of wool was down by at least 4c a lb because Japan is our biggest buyer. Any government that deliberately or unthinkingly without proper examination levies tariffs on Japanese goods is striking a blow at our wool industry. There is no doubt about that.


Mr DUTHIE - Then tell me why fewer Japanese cars came into Australia after the Government increased the tariff on them. Tell me what this Government did to limit the number of motor cars coming in from Japan. If what it imposed was not a tariff it was still a duty of some kind. The honourable member can call it what he likes. The Australian car manufacturers agreed to what the Government did and went on increasing their production. That point too has to be borne in mind. The growers I have recently talked to in the wool growing districts of Victoria and in my own State blame the slide in wool prices on this event. The Japanese would be prepared to pay more for our wool now but they say: 'Why should we pay more when we can get it at a lower price?'

There is no doubt that some collusion has taken place between buyers. Several years ago, after a minute examination of the reports of 2 royal commissions that inquired into pies, I made a speech and detailed the facts of the collusion that had taken place. I think Mr Justice Cook was the chairman of one of the royal commissions. He estimated how much the growers were losing as a result of pie buying. It is no use saying that this sort of buying is not going on. In many abattoirs one or two butchers are buying for half a dozen or even a dozen butchers. Competition has been gradually stifled and the price that the grower receives has been kept down.

This is happening on a bigger scale, with far more devastating effect, with wool buying because the Japanese are buying in the same way as the Italians and the British are buying. We are hoping that the scheme we have put forward tonight will reduce this wretched collusive buying that is depressing the price which the wool grower receives for his product. Why should a few men benefit at the expense of thousands? There are approximately 100,000 wool growers in Australia. Why should their livelihood be threatened and depressed because a handful of moguls who are called buyers are deliberately agreeing to keep prices down. This makes an absolute farce of auctions.

The time will come when Australia will have for wool a similar stabilisation scheme to that which it has for wheat. The system of selling wool will have to be changed to save the growers from being forced off their land. I have figures from the Minister for Primary Industry and the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) indicating, in one instance, the gradual decline of our rural exports when compared with the gross national product and indicating, in another instance, tariffs and import restrictions on wool and woollen products exported to the United States, and imports and exports to the United States and Japan. I shall inform the House of what these figures reveal. Early in May, I asked the Minister for Primary Industry:

What percentage of the gross national product was represented by the output of rural Industries in each of the years 1929, 1939, 1949, 1959 and 1969?

The answer to the question, in summary, was that in 1928-29 rural industry production, as a percentage of the gross national product, was 21.4%. In the 40 years to 1969 that percentage dropped to 9.3%. I emphasise this. In the space of 40 years rural production as a proportion of the gross national product, fell from 21.4% to the disastrous level of 9.3% last year. The second question I asked was:

What percentage of Australia's export income came from rural exports in each of those years?

The Minister's reply was that in 1928-29 exports of rural origin represented 90% of total exports. That was a fantastic figure. In the 40 years to last year that percentage dropped to 58%. Those 2 sets of figures indicate what is going on in our rural industries in respect of total exports as a percentage of the gross national product. The second series of questions I asked were these:

What is the current rate of import tariff levied by the United States on Australian wool?

The figures are startling. They indicate that today America imposes a duty of 37c per lb on Australian wool. That puts the barrier so high that we cannot get the wool over it, around it or under it. Honourable members opposite will be pleased to know that America is importing some wool. It imported $40m worth last year. I asked the Minister if he was able to say whether the United States imposed import restrictions on Japanese textiles made from Australian wool. His answer was:

The United Slates imposes no discriminatory import restrictions on Japanese textiles made from Australian wool.

The third question was:

What was the value of trade both ways between Australia and America and between Australia and Japan during the years 1968 and 1969?

The answer includes some fantastic figures in which I think the House will be interested. The Minister replied that Australia's total exports to America last year totalled $480m. Greasy wool made up $35m of that total and other wools $l4m. Exports to Japan totalled $822m. Our total imports amounted to $883m. That is 2 to 1 against Australia as far as America is concerned. With Japan it ;s exactly the reverse, with $822m in exports to Japan and $4 14m in imports from Japan in 1969. In view of the way we are being treated by the United States, not only with wool but also with mutton and the barriers they have put up against other commodities, some farmers have written to me and said: 'Why does the Australian Government not boost its trade with the countries that treat us well?' One man who is a Liberal voter named China, the USSR and Japan. He said these were the countries without tariff barriers on our products and he suggested we should boost our trade to these countries when America was prepared to put up these high walls against us. Other honourable members have mentioned the Bill in detail; I do not intend to do that. I think it is a step in the right direction. We give it our wholehearted support and hope the programme it sponsors and the changes it undertakes will be of ultimate benefit to our great wool industry which nets for us $800m a year in export income.


Mr Anthony - We can sit next week too.

Mr CREAN-Nobody on this side is objecting to sitting next week. It is the Government which sets the programme.


Mr CREAN - The Government is not trying to keep to it at all. All it is trying to do is to get through the business this week. There is no commitment for the sessionto end this week. The Government might like tofinish this week. Probably a lot of other people would like us to finish this week. The honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) is to speak next but 1 have no doubt that his cunning contrivance is to have what he says appear in some newspaper that is published on Thursday or Friday.


Mr CREAN - If the honourable member thinks to the contrary then that is fair enough but I am sure in all honesty that that is all he wishes to do. But do honourable members think that the world is taking notice of what we say at 1.25 a.m.? Do they think that we are making a very brilliant spectacle of ourselves by debating at this hour such a fundamental matter as the wool industry? My colleague the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) has made the speech on behalf of our side, but we are not short of speakers. If the Government wants it that waywe will match it speaker for speaker. But itis the Government which wants to have this legislation passed. If all of us have to be here at this hour merely so that the honourable member for Kennedy can have something reported in--


Mr CREAN - The 'Burketown Times', the 'Best of the West', or whatever the newspaper is called. If that is the position, I believe that some of us are entitled to protest about it. If the Government wants to hear a speech about the future of the wool industry, that is fair enough, andI am prepared to make it. I agree that this is the most fundamental industry as far as Australia's export earnings are concerned. We on this side of the House are not denying that. What we are suggesting is that members of the Government parties are not as concerned as they ought to be because the product is still something that the world wants to buy. Apparently people are still buying it at a lesser price despite the fact that all costs are rising.

But that is not the matter that honourable members opposite seem to be raising this evening. They are just trying to score points in a pretty obscure way.If the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) wants to keep this debate going, I point out to him that at the moment the speakers on the list are all from his side but, although honourable members opposite may think that they are making additional points, I have listened for the last hour or so--


Mr CREAN - Mr Deputy Speaker, that is for you to decide.I thought I was talking about the wool industry. The honourable member for Kennedy has decided that what he wants to say is important--


Mr CREAN - And that what I want to say is unimportant.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury


Mr Foster - Toss him out.

Mr DEPUTYSPEAKER-Order! Interjections will cease. The honourable member for Sturt will remain silent.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat and remain silent; otherwise the Chair will take action.

Mr CREAN- If what the honourable member for Kennedy wants to say is so important, does he not think that saying it at this time of night negates to some extent the importance of what he says? If he wants only to fill his local newspaper, that is fair enough. All I am suggesting is that that is not the purpose of a debate in the national Parliament. Surely the purpose of a debate in the national Parliament is to argue, as my friend the honourable member for Kennedy did earlier, the importance of the wool industry. I do not deny the significance of the wool industry. I think anybody would be foolish to do so. But this Bill has to do with research and the promotion of the industry. If my friend, the honourable member for Kennedy, can explain why a product that the world still wants and in relation to which the costs of production have increased is attracting a lower price this year than in previous years I will be interested to hear him. I think this surely is something that concerns all of us. I move:


Mr CREAN - It is all right for the Minister to say that we have suspended the Standing Orders to permit business to bc introduced after 1 1 o'clock, but I am saying that we have had enough of this debate at this stage. I wish to move, in whatever form I have to do it, that the debate be now adjourned. I should have thought that 1 could move that motion. Why cannot I move that the debate be now adjourned?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Ipoint out that under standing order 87 an honourable member who has not spoken to the question or who has the right of reply may move the adjournment of the debate. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports has spoken in the debate. Therefore under standing order 87 he does not have the right to move that the debate be adjourned.


Mr CREAN - May 1 move, as has been suggested by the experts at the table, that I be given leave to continue my remarks tomorrow?


Mr CREAN - Well, this is still the same day in a parliamentary session. Perhaps the sitting could be adjourned, as was done on a previous occasion, and you could start another day. But this is still the same parliamentary day. All I am asking is that I have leave to continue my remarks tomorrow.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is leave granted?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Leave is not granted.


Mr FOSTER (STURT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - 1 rise to a point of order.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)-

Order! The honourable member for Kennedy will resume his seat.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! 1 did not hear the expression. There was a lot of noise in the chamber.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. I said that I did not hear the term, but if it was used in respect of an individual member I would ask for its withdrawal. If it was used generally I would not see th«? need to ask for a withdrawal.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order. When the Deputy Speaker is on his feet the honourable member is supposed to be seated. It has been the long standing practice of this House to recognise that a term referring to a group of members is in order even though it may not be acceptable to one side of the House or the other, but if some unacceptable term is used in relation to a particular member then a withdrawal will be asked for.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! 1 have already said that 1 did not hear the remark. If it was made in reference to a particular person I would ask the honourable member for Kennedy to withdraw.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Oxley will resume his seat. I have already given a ruling on this matter. If any honourable member wishes to dissent from the ruling of the Chair he may do so, but 1 have already given the ruling. I have outlined the procedures of the House in relation to this circumstance. There is not. to my knowledge, any accusation in relation to a particular member. If there is an accusation of hypocrisy in relation to a particular member I ask the honourable member for Kennedy to withdraw it.


Mr KATTER - If I referred to any individual member as a hypocrite I would most certainly withdraw. My impression was that when the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage)-


Mr KATTER - No, not at all. If the honourable member for Chifley called a quorum with the best of good intentions to try to fill his own benches and the result is that they are utterly empty, one would have to conclude that, speaking en masse, this was a fairly hypocritical sort of an operation. But. however, in relation to this Bill-


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - There has been so much noise in the chamber that it has been impossible for me in the Chair to hear everything that has been said. I am trying to listen- to the honourable member for Kennedy. I call the honourable member for Kennedy.


Mr KATTER - In relation to this Bill, 1 would, first of all, like to commend the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) and the Government for bringing forward a Bill which can do nothing but good for an industry which is certainly in trouble at the present time. My comments will be very brief. But for the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) they would have been very much briefer. I want to make one or two points, and, if when I deal with my first point I appear to be parochial, well, my intention is to be utterly parochial. I can say with absolute conviction that the area I represent, the outback area of Kennedy, consists of the most productive-


Mr KATTER - Mr Deputy Speaker,when the people on the other side refer to the 'Burketown News' and galahs and trees and so on, obviously they are only reflecting the comments of their Leader who has said in very clear and precise terms-


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock (LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES) ) - Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat. In regard to the point of order raised by the honourable member a decision has already been made on it. I suggest to honourable members that as the hour is late they should concentrate on the Bill, speak to the Bill and make their remarks relevant to the Bill. There should be no more comments by honourable members which are not relevant to the Bill.


Mr KATTER - I shall do precisely as you say, Mr Deputy Speaker. 1 was saying that if I am parochial I am being so intenttially. The wool producers in my area cannot diversify. The only thing they know and the only thing on which they depend is the production of wool. In addition to the catastrophic drought that has afflicted them more or less for the last 10 years they have a market condition which is, to say the least, calamitous. At the moment very significant moves are afoot which should produce some alleviation of this problem of the price that is being paid for the product. If the Government and the industry leaders do not produce a solution which is going to give a much more encouraging price to the people who are producing wool then all of these operations will be completely and utterly abortive. i must again stress the fact that the people in my area cannot diversify. They are utterly dependent on the price they receive for their product, which is amongst the finest merino wool produced in this country. In addition not only the people who are the actual producers of wool but most of the people in towns of the inland, the central western and the north western parts of Queensland are utterly dependent on the growth and prosperity of this industry. If it is to languish and fade away entirely these people and the industry on which they depend will become something of the past. So I have on my shoulders a very heavy responsibility which I accept with pleasure. The great turning point for the whole of this operation was the meeting in Moree at which the producers were unanimous that they wanted a single selling authority. How that is to be implemented is up to people who are far more conversant with the clinical aspects of the industry than I am. Unless the authority produces a price which gives a reasonable profit to the producers the whole operation will be abortive.

When we discuss this matter we must immediately bring to mind the fact that over the years there has been something drastically wrong with the operations of the industry. Let us face facts and be realistic about them. If on the one hand the primary element of the industry, the producer, is not making a go of it and the secondary and tertiary operations of the industry are showing very considerable profits then there is something drastically wrong.

Mr Deputy Speaker,I do not propose to speak for more than another few minutes. But I would like to read to the House a description which I have received from one of the wool growers in my electorate regarding the technique that he used recently in selling his wool. I will read it without comment. If reads:

A test or pilot sample comprising a clip of Merino Wool in Western Queensland has been handled through a registered wool dealer directly to wool buying organisations from various overseas countries. On this pilot test, the wool dealer paid Wool Tax, Stamp Duty, Sheeps Back into Store Insurance, plus administration charges; total charges amounted to a little over lc per lb, some additional charges were paid at delivery at port of shipment -


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock ) - Order! I consider that what we are seeing tonight constitutes an abuse of Standing Orders. Members are deliberately leaving the chamber and then quorums are being called. 1 appreciate that it is within the province of members to call quorums.

Order! The honourable member for Si George must remain in the chamber. He has been here long enough' to have an understanding of the Standing Orders.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The honourable member for Bendigo has called a quorum. On the calling of a quorum no member is allowed to leave the chamber.


Mr Kennedy - Well, in that case-


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Bendigo will resume his .seat. Ring the bells!


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Dawson will resume his seat.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! If the honourable member for Sydney had listened, he would have appreciated that a quorum has been called. The bells are being rung.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Sydney will resume his scat. [Quorum formed.]


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I call the honourable member for Kennedy.


Mr KATTER - Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I must go back a tittle now. This description reads:

On this pilot test, the wool dealer paid Wool Tax, gamp Duty, Sheeps Back into Store Insurance, plus administration charges; total charges amounted to a tittle over lc per lb, some additional charges were paid at delivery at port of shipment.

If the same clip had been sold in auction, charges from shed to sale through normal channels would have amounted to 4ic per lb.

Price benefits in the above pilot or test sale resulted in considerable price advantages for the producer, as all costs were kept to a minimum. Now. here is a very important point:

Payment was made immediately upon receipt of wool into store, so saving Bank Interest.

Briefly, the wool dealer arranged for the clip to be classed to the specification of the overseas countries, and the samples during shearing were taken and the wool dealer submitted price indications which were (hen substantiated by official weights into store, and confirmation of types through bulk inspection in store at the port of loading. lt would appear therefore (hat this pilot lest was successful in presenting the producers* wool classed and prepared against the requirements of the actual market at that time. lt is felt that wool producers should look at lbc merits of this type of merchandising whilst the industry itself is in a quandary regarding the saving of costs and a better return to the grazier simultaneously allowing our wool markets to receive the actual type of wool they require.

Some statistics were supplied by this wool grower. Usually I do not like quoting statistics, but I shall do so on this occasion in winding up my case. The test clip was classed as follows: Fleece wool, 48.53%; broken, 11.29%; pieces, 27.33%; and bellies, locks and stains, 12.85%. The price averages at the shed are rather interesting in view of the sick market situation at present. Fleece wool was 41.07c per lb; broken was 35.97c per lb; pieces were 25.05c per lb; and bellies, locks and stains were 9.8c per lb. The top price was 56c per lb. Another rather interesting aspect is the fact that the clip represented 184,458 lb net in the grease. I have given these figures to indicate that there are other methods of clearing the Wool from one's property. The stage has been reached in the drought and market stricken area of my electorate where the growers are grasping at any straw in an endeavour to obtain a few extra cents per lb.

The last point 1 wish to make is that there is a -great emergency in this matter. 1 would most earnestly appeal to the committee which has been established to make recommendations to the Minister for Primary Industry and the Government to recognise the fact, as I am sure it does, that a real emergency exists. Admittedly a solution cannot be worked out in a matter of a few days but a real emergency exists because many people, particularly those in my electorate in central Queensland, are hanging on by a very slim thread. I reiterate that many people who live in the communities which are the focal point of the merino wool producing areas are dependent on wool producers for their livelihood. Tomorrow may be too late for many of them. There is a great emergency at present. I would appeal to the committee and to the various producer organisations to recognise this extreme sense of emergency.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock ) - The Standing Orders were not abused by asking for a quorum; they were abused, in my opinion, by most honourable members on one side of the House vacating the chamber, which happened on 3 occasions during the sitting this evening, leaving one or two honourable members sitting in the House on that side of the chamber to call for a quorum. At that stage I said that in my opinion it was an abuse of the Standing Orders to call for a quorum having regard to the circumstances in which such a quorum had been called.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock ) - In regard to the point of order raised by the honourable member for Wills, I point out to the honourable member that there was a previous ruling given From the Chair that a space of time should be allowed between a quorum being formed and another quorum being accepted. I would point out to the honourable member for Wills that I did not give a ruling. I ordered that the bells be. rung for the quorum, as is required, and it was only an observation from the Chair that I made in regard to the action taken relating to the calling for a quorum. I call the honourable member for Canning.


Mr Armitage - Do we not get a speaker on this side? On a point of order, I wish to say that I rose to speak. The last speaker in the debate was from the other side of the House. You, Mr Deputy Speaker, did. not call me; you called another speaker from the other side of the House.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! If the honourable member for Chifley desires to speak on the Bill, I call the honourable member for Chifley.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - I call the honourable member for Canning.


Mr Bryant - Get back on to the Bill.


Mr HALLETT - I am on the Bill. All Australians have benefited from the wool industry over the many years in which the industry has produced wool. Had it nol been for the wool industry the standard of living in this country would be nowhere near as high as it is today. That is an indisputable fact. It does not really worry mc one iota if I have to debate this legislation at 2.5 a.m. What does worry me is the state in which we find the industry.

This Bill makes provision for certain monies to be made available by the Government for research and promotion and takes off some of the burden now being applied to the industry in these two areas. The Government has made possible assistance to these areas to a maximum of $27m a year. When mentioning research and promotion may I say firstly in relation to research that it is noted that a Minister of the Crown in this case will have more say on how these monies will be spent. In fact, I think the Bill spells out as to where these monies will be spent or who will spend them in relation to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. I would perhaps go a little further and say that there should be a closer look not only at who spends their monies but how they are spent. I do not know whether the Minister of the day in fact has in mind the need to study very closely and precisely how the research monies will in fact be spent and where they will be spent. 1 believe that such a study is important.

I would now like to say something about promotion. Of course, we have seen millions of dollars of the wool growers' money as well as other money spent over the years on the promotion of the end product. This promotion, as good and as expensive as it may have been, may have assisted the wool industry in many ways. However, it is quite obvious from the returns now being received and the position the wool growers find themselves in, that from the point of view of economics this promotion has not assisted the wool industry as such. As I have said, promotion cannot be used effectively until such time as the other leg is put in order. I refer here to the marketing leg. However, the establishment of marketing arrangements has been refused by the growers on two occasions since 1951. Altogether, this has not been the fault of the wool growers themselves. They have been confused by outside interests. I would go as far as to say that these interests are not only in Australia but are also overseas interests. Each time a proposition has been put to the wool growers no-one really knows how much money has been spent on propaganda against such organised marketing. However, this has been a tremendous figure. On each occasion the wool growers have been talked out of the proposal and confused. 1 sincerely hope that the latest move by the wool growers will not have the same result as it has had in the past. The wool industry has been asked by tens of thousands of growers all over Australia for a single wool selling authority. We have already seen some lobbying and some pressures which have been brought about to try to upset this scheme. It is an absolute tragedy that the wool industry today should find itself in this position.


Mr HALLETT - The wool belongs lo the industry. The Government is assisting and has been assisting this industry. I do not intend lo be sidetracked by anybody. I have never been sidetracked by anybody who may come in on the side. I say to the wool growers, as I have said in this House before, that I sincerely hope they are not sidetracked. On 2 occasions the Government has offered almost unlimited finance to back the industry, but it was the industry vote - the result of outside pressures - which refused that assistance. This is occurring again. It is not the hour which is important, it is the industry which is important. Perhaps honourable members have not caught up with what is happening at the moment. At the Sydney wool sales this week - on 8th June - a total catalogue of 1 1,000 bales averaged 27c a lb and $88 a bale. Al the previous sales in Sydney a similar catalogue averaged 27c a lb and $86 a bale. That is the position up to date in this industry. It is an impossible position. Therefore this is the most important debate in this country. The hour is not important.

What are we to do about the position? I think the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) said tonight that nothing new would bs said in this debate. That information is something new which has not been said before. What can we do? The industry itself is looking at' this situation. We hope and expect it to come to this Government and to the State governments because the State governments are involved more than is this Government. Any legislation which this Government may pass to bring in a single statutory wool selling authority would not be worth anything unless complementary legislation was passed by the States. To honourable members on the other side of the House who talk about these things I say: 'Do not lose sight of the fact that we have a Constitution in the Commonwealth. We have 6 State constitutions in relation to marketing. This is the province of the States, not of the Commonwealth'. Let us not forget the Constitution. This Government cannot do what it wants to do. Anything it does has to be in line with the Commonwealth Constitution. The States have full power. I say to the industry: 'Do not look only to the Commonwealth; look to the States because they have to pass legislation which is complementary to any legislation which the Commonwealth may pass about marketing'.

When wool has reached this low price in the economic environment we find in the world today I have no hesitation in saying that it cannot be justified. Very serious consideration should be given to not allowing wool to move out of this country at that price. Wool has a place in the world. It is, a wonderful fibre which can demand a price in the world if it is given a chance. It has not been given a chance mainly because of the pressures from outside and from the wool growers themselves. One hundred thousand wool growers have great difficulty in coming to agreement. If one were to put 6 blokes in a room they would have great difficulty in coming to agreement. But 100,000 wool growers scattered all over Australia are subject to organised pressure from outside, from the big cities like Mel-' bourne and Sydney and even from overseas. They are subject also to pressure from newspapers. Of course they become confused. I will not be confused by anybody. I have never been confused.

Australia's wool clip is worth good money. Nobody can bring forward evidence to show that it is not. Not only members of this Parliament but also the Australian people as a whole are concerned about the economics of this industry today because of its importance. The 11,000 bales of wool which averaged 27c a lb at the Sydney sales this week is a fair kind of parcel. If honourable members are not concerned about the wool industry regardless of the hour, I am. We cannot let the present situation in the wool industry continue. It is an impossible situation. It cannot be justified. All the evidence that anybody likes to produce of what has happened over the past 40 years will substantiate what I have said tonight. Nobody can deny that. If honourable members opposite want to debate the matter for several hours at some other time, I am willing to do so.

This Bill also gives power to the Australian Wool Board to raise moneys for expenditure on wool stores. This is part of what we hope will be an improvement in wool marketing. The Bill gives power to the Board to borrow money for the financing of the construction and equipping of certain complexes referred to in the Bill. Of course, over the years very little has been done in this sense in relation to marketing, and it will take some time to organise this side of it. But this should not prevent any moves that may be made to do something about marketing. It has been proved over th : years that something can be done. At present the wool industry has 280 stores which it has had since the last world war.

The Bill gives power to the industry to borrow through the Australian Wool Board money to renovate these buildings if necessary. These buildings have been a tremendous asset to Australia. They have been put in many places. In many cases the sheds cover an area of 1 acre. They were put up as temporary sheds during the Second World War, some are on freehold property and some on leasehold property, and they have brought in considerable revenue since that time. They will play an important part in future marketing. Many years ago there was a fight to retain these stores. What went on at that time is never spoken of today. There were a lot more stores, but 280 were retained because we hoped that wool marketing as we knew it after the last world war would be continued. These stores were retained so they would be available for holding stocks of wool. In fact they belong to the wool industry. I am interested to see that under this Bill these stores are to be renovated and maintained. I have no doubt that in peace or in war, if we are unfortunate enough to be involved in war, these wool stores throughout Australia will be of tremendous benefit.

I make no apology for speaking on this Bill at this hour. The hour does not worry me very much. What is worrying me is the wool industry. Australians, and wool growers in particular, cannot sit around and wait for something to happen, because something will not happen unless we make it happen. There is no evidence in this world that wool is not worth a reasonable price today on world markets. This is not the 1930s, when everything was Hat. The way in which wool is marketed today is the only reason for its low price. There is no evidence to dispute this.

Mr FOSTER(Sturt) [2.19 a.m.|- I desire to enter this debate tonight because the Government has seen fit to keep us here until this ungodly hour of the day, which I suppose is being referred to as Thursday. I have been forced to my feet because of a couple of speeches that have been made by members of the Government. What they purport to govern, I do not know. In whose interests they claim to be acting seems to be .somewhat obscure. We have before the House tonight a Bill which makes provision for the expenditure of a considerable sum of money in the interest, we are told, of the wool grower. Nobody objects to money being used in the industry to promote and protect the interests of the wool growers. But wool growers should be placed in brackets and some attention should bc paid to the interests of the national economy. Nobody on this side of the House wants to see the wool industry run down because everybody on this side of the House recognises the value of the wool industry lo the national economy generally.

In my short rime in this chamber I have become sick and tired of hearing honourable members opposite, particularly Country Party members, continually casting asides at people who live in the cities and suburbs, as if those people were a race apart and foreign to the Commonwealth.

I remind honourable members opposite that the people who bleed the wool growers - the brokers, whether they be Bagot's Executor and Trustee Co. Ltd or Dalgetys and New Zealand Loan Ltd - are reaping huge profits. These should be measured in terms of what the return to the growers ought to be. A percentage is deducted from the take-home pay of the wool growers, if I may use that parlance. So much for the rubbish one hears about this matter. Continually tonight honourable members opposite have interjected - they have almost insulted me tonight with their cross Gre from that side of the House - quietly but not audibly to the occupant of the Chair asking what I know about wool. I think the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) kept muttering something about King William Street. Do not tell me that the banks do not touch the wool growers from time to lime and thai the great financial institutions do not get on their backs from rime to time as a result of the interest rates they charge. Honourable members opposite do not do their best for the people whom they purport lo represent, hut the electors of Victoria most certainly did not give them much support at the recent election. I think they told members of the Country Party where they could go because of their rural policies.

I now deal with an aspect of wool about which I know more than any honourable member opposite, including the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp), who indulged in a great search of the waterfront some years ago in regard to what ought to be done in the transport industry in particular and in industries of the Commonwealth in general. 1 commend him for the fact thai his activity in that narrow field has brought him to the front bench of the Government. The point I make is this: The grower is entitled to a bigger return than he is getting today. He is entitled to a bigger return than the people who purport to represent him have been able to achieve on his behalf. I have not heard one honourable member opposite say thai the grower ought to be entitled to many more dollars per bale. The honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) referred to the small amount that growers were getting per hale. This is so despite containerisation, unitisation and mechanisation. Honourable mem- bers opposite have gone out into the industry, met the people whom they say they represent and told them their just rights. Honourable members opposite have been a tremendous failure.


Mr FOSTER - How do I know? I can tell you this much: The container vessels and unitised vessels that are putting into our ports today are carting 30% more wool than conventional ships carted. The look of stunned silence on the faces of honourable members opposite indicates their absolute ignorance.

Mr SPEAKER-Order!Honourable members who have spoken in the debate will cease interjecting. I suggest to the honourable member for Sturt that he direct his remarks to the Chair.


Mr FOSTER - You can go to the Parliamentary Library and pick out these facts if you want to. I said in my. first speech in this House that I had addressed a gathering of farmers on one occasion in the electorate of the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) and I had told them in very blunt fashion that it was time they., got off their posteriors and helped themselves. They are regarded by the Country Party like the farmer regards the strainer post in the top paddock. He put it there or grandfather put it there and it is taken for granted, and that is how the people whom the Country Party is supposed to represent have taken that Party until a few weeks ago in Victoria. I say seriously on behalf of the wool growers today that there stand for the taking the 100,000 wool growers who honourable members opposite say cannot make up their minds. They have not been given any leadership. Honourable members opposite have not gone to the wool growers and told them that their wool is handled on only a very few occasions compared with the number of times it used to be handled a few years ago. The ships today take sufficient in deck cargo to meet the whole of the costs. Their holds could take 30% more wool, and the grower is paying.

If we were to take all the dirt and foreign matter out of wool tomorrow and we could effect a better system of baling and high density dumping of wool whereby we could get 3 times as much into a ship's hold the farmer would still be paying his high freight rates because honourable members opposite have tied themselves to a system of what the traffic will bear. This gives a tremendous return to the shipowners. They started as pirates in the 17th century and the Government permits them to continue to be pirates. Make no error about this. I say it seriously though some of my colleagues may burst into mirth. If you took all the dirt and all the impurities out of wool they would still get more than their share of the cake. Why is it that honourable members opposite do not tell this to the people they represent? They had a golden opportunity with the advent of containerisation and they will rue the day that they ever supported it because studies have been made since that will be very convincing to those who want to read them. These studies show that in fact the unitised ship is a darned sight more efficient and more economical, measured in terms of the types of ships that are required to transport our produce abroad, than the heavy capital outlay that has been wasted and squandered on this project of containerisation. The Government followed Westerman; it followed a previous head of the Department. It will wish in due course that it had not done that.

In regard to other aspects, what is being done about high density? The Government is permitting a concentration in wool dumping centres which will mean that the broker will continue to get more than his fair share of the product. The grower has little say. The Country Party has denied him a say by its lack of leadership. It is no good honourable members from that Party sitting in this chamber and thinking they will cure the ills of the wool industry by patting themselves on the back, kidding themselves and conning the wool grower into thinking they are working like hell for him when they are again laying a foundation for the industry as they did for the wheat industry. It is no good saying, as the honourable member for Canning said a short time ago, that there is power in the Bill to resurrect all sorts of wool stores and wool complexes and build all sorts of wool villages. We will only have a situation similar to that in regard to wheat where we have a string of silos right across the country instead of sales of wheat. The only difference is that wheat today is almost an unsaleable rural product, but wool is not. Honourable members opposite have allowed, a system of collusion at buying level to be created and to grow and fester within the wool industry over a number of years and they have stood idly by and let this happen because they have tied themselves - and have ignored the people they represent - to a wool selling system that has been grossly abused by the buyers. No honourable member in this chamber can deny that; 1 challenge anyone to deny it. Honourable members opposite can call any meeting of wool growers they like and I will be prepared to go along and put up an argument against any argument they put up that this has not been done. They can say that I know nothing about wool, but perhaps I know a little more about it than they think. lt is of no use for members ot the Country Party to say that they will cure the ills of the industry by erecting buildings with thousands and thousands of cubic feet of storage capacity. The old style of single bundling of wool for transport from shed to shed and from rail truck to rail truck has gone. I wonder whether members nl the Country Party have ever worked out how many times wool used to be shifted from the area adjacent to Central Station in Sydney down to the wharves? Have you ever made a calculation, on behalf of the wool growers that you claim you represent, of how many times wool is carried? Have you ever appreciated that wool used to be loaded at the hourly rate - then considered to be a good rate - of 100 bales, on a Commonwealth average? The figures today show a loading rate 3 times as fast through unitisation alone. Wool cargoes are nor loaded into the hold at the rate of 6 or X bales at a time. Hundreds of bales are loaded in half an hour.

Did you ever pay attention to the offer made in 1967 or 1968 to the wool grower.-, by the Russian shipping line that was prepared to operate from Australia? The Russians were prepared to carry our wool to Continental and United Kingdom markets at a rate reduced by 15%. But what happened? It was quite an interesting exercise. Nobody wanted to play ball with the Communists. I am not having a shot at the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony), just because he appeared with men from Russia on a television programme last night. If we can sell our goods vo Russia in our national interest, well and good. We should trade with any country in the world, so long as it is in our national interest. There should be no argument on that score. Honourable members opposite have tied the Government to the Conference Line. Two or three years ago the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) went overseas with S40m in a black bag to lake the pressure off the Australian .shippers. I do not know whether that money went into a Swiss bank, but the fact is that the pressure has not been shifted from the Australian shippers. Nobody should quarrel with that statement.

The Russians offered competition to the Conference Line. What then happened? An attempt was made by the Conference Line through its stevedores to prevent the Russian shipping line from getting agencies, services, wharf facilities, stevedore handling equipment, and so on. The Russians approached a prominent stevedoring company in Sydney, lt expressed some alarm that its brother stevedores might jack up if it co-operated with the Russians. The union had something to say about that. In the end those shocking people, the Russians, were admitted into the exalted hall of fame of the shipping conference and were guaranteed a percentage of space for cargo being moved from Australia to the Continental and United Kingdom markets. They still retain that position.

The Minister for Trade and Industry ought to be asking himself whether it would be worth while to take a serious journey overseas in an endeavour again to interest the eastern European countries in shipping the wool of Australian growers. It is the wool of the growers and not of the brokers or shipowners. The growers should be entitled to a say in how it is handled. They should not be told claptrap about the Conference Line and the type of thing we heard yesterday from the Minister for Trade and Industry when answering a question of the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grasshy). I suggest to honourable members opposite that they read the Minister's answer in Hansard and analyse it on the basis of benefits to the national interest and benefits to wool growers.

Another interesting feature of the exercise involving the Russian shipping line to which

I have referred was a noble gesture of the Conference Line and its interests scattered throughout Australia. It said that if any shipper, in the early stages of the offer by the Russians, dared to ship with them - and the Russians could not carry all the clip - a surcharge of 30% would be charged by the Conference Line on the balance of any wool that could not be carried by the Russians. Did I hear the honourable member for Kennedy interject 'Highway robbery'? It is more than that.

Mr SPEAKER-Order!The honourable member for Kennedy will cease interjecting.


Mr FOSTER - As a result of the situation which prevails today within a very short space of time there will be 170 conventional ships going off the United KingdomAustralia run. They will .enter the tramp service of the seaways of the world. They are not the old decrepit vessels which one might see depicted as tramps on a television programme. They are vessels that have high capacities for the transport of wool. They would represent a saving in shipping costs and other undisclosed costs of at least 25%. Is not this worth pursuing in the interests of the wool grower instead of standing here and talking about making available $27m for research purposes? There ought to be research within the industry to improve the clip. We can make it better in a number of areas, in regard to classification, dumping and what have you. Nobody will argue about that at all. What we on this side of the House point out to the Government is that it is not curing the ills of the industry and it is riot doing anything for the grower. I repeat this for about the 16th time; if I stood here and repeated it for 2 hours it would still be very hard to get the message across to honourable members opposite. However, I do not want honourable members to accept my contribution just as one that is taking up the time of this House at this late hour. I am serious in my suggestion that a number of very important avenues ought to be explored and they should be explored in the interests of woo] growers.

As to high density dumps, consideration should be given to the suggestion that all of these should not necessarily be in the one centralised area, because this is not in the best interests of the industry. There is not one aspect of the handling of wool that has not improved to such an extent that all of the growers area should receive benefits. In addition to that, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is continuing to improve even upon the high density bale. If the Government is to continue to tie Australia to the Conference Line, and if Australia has an interest in a container vessel operating between here and the United States, between here and the United Kingdom and between here and Japan we should have some say in regard to the freight rates we pay. Honourable members can check in the library on our freight bill but those who have been here many more years than I should be able to remember it, particularly those honourable members who have been here as many years as I have been here for months or weeks.

I ask honourable members to have a look at the tremendous bill that this country has had to meet for transportation of its products. If they do they will then wonder why they have sat so complacently in their seats in this place for so long. The Government has said that it would not go for a national line overseas. I put it as simply as this: If we on this side of the House said tomorrow we will not permit any farmer or rural producer to own his own means of transporting his livestock and the goods which he produces; he is not to own a truck at all', honourable members opposite would rightfully condemn us for that attitude. But at the same time the Government denies this country the same thing as far as the transportation of its products is concerned. As to a question asked in relation to the New Zealand shipment of apples and pears, if I may leave the Bill for a moment-

Mr SPEAKER-Order!I suggest to the honourable member that although the Minister dealt in his second reading speech with marketing, modern business techniques and other matters relating to the wool industry, any further reference to shipping outside the context of the wool industry would be out of order, unless the honourable member makes only passing reference to it.


Mr FOSTER - Thank you, Mr Speaker; I desire to make only a passing reference, to sustain the points I have already made, to what has happened in regard to the ship* ment of certain rural products from New

Zealand. That country went outside the Conference Line and as a result it was able to sell the balance of its crop. Fears have been expressed by Government supporters that if the Australian shipper were to insist on availing himself of lower freight rates that might be available to him he would be doing himself a disservice. Some honourable members opposite have said that he would be at risk because the conference lines would gang up. The honourable member for Canning even suggested that the growers should adopt a more militant attitude and should refuse to sell their wool. I do not accept that that would achieve anything of great value.

The honourable member said that the industry was confused and remained confused, that much money was being spent on propaganda and that the wool growers had been talked out of many a proposition that had been designed to assist them, as a result of which many a good scheme had been upset. He said that the wool belongs to the industry. I strongly disagree with the suggestion that the wool belongs to the industry if the honourable member includes in the term 'industry' the brokers, the financiers and the ship owners. So far as I am concerned the wool belongs to the growers. Today too small a percentage of the return from wool is finding its way back into the farming community, because of which the farming community is depressed and its purchasing power is extremely reduced. In addition business interests within the farming community are also affected. The chain reaction of this influence is widespread and others throughout the community begin to suffer. That is what we on this side of the House are concerned about. We do not attempt to draw up a policy which will sidetrack the wool grower, as was suggested by the honourable member for Canning. He said that the wool grower had been sidetracked and had been kept in absolute ignorance, which I suppose is another way of saying that he has been sidetracked.

No honourable member in this place will deny that the Australian wool clip is not saleable. The thing that should concern all of us, irrespective of the Party to which we belong, is the fact that the country is not getting a fair return for wool. While the country is not getting a fair return from wool it follows that the grower is getting something less than a fair return for his product. That should be of concern to all honourable members. It is no earthly good members of the Country Party continuing throughout the length and breadth of Australia to tell the rural community that it is in dire straits or that the wool industry should do this or that about its problems. Members of this Parliament on the opposite side have the responsibility and the capability - or should have the capability - to solve some areas of the problem. They must recognise in their more honest moments that if they conscientiously represent the rural community they are in a far better position to remove some of the unfair burdens that those in the rural community are now expected to carry.

If honourable members opposite get the type of reaction which we saw recently in Victoria and which is about to happen in South Australia in the next month it may spur them into some activity in regard to some of the matters I have raised here tonight. In that event honourable members opposite will realise that they have an important role to play in the short time for which they continue to occupy the Treasury benches throughout this country. As a last ditch stand honourable members on the Government side might give some serious thought to this matter and take some serious action in the last few months that they are in office in order to help the people they represent in this chamber. They should do that rather than hurl abuse at honourable members on this side of the House and at urban dwellers. I would hate to see a division between the rural community in Australia on the one hand and the urban and city community on the other. It might manifest itself to the extent that the urban and city dwellers believe, perhaps falsely, that they are being asked to carry a failing wool industry. 1 come to my final point. Honourable members on the Government side have accused members of the Opposition of using propaganda in the wool industry. If we had wanted to use propaganda in the industry relating to the attitude of honourable members on the Government side of the House, then in our political leaflets circulated last October there would have been something aimed at whipping up the urban and city dwellers, antagonising them against country interests. But not one honourable member opposite can say that we adopted this tactic.


Mr FOSTER - That is correct. 1 thank the honourable member for his interjection. The fact is that the Government has been somewhat dishonest in its attitude to wool, whether it be on the sheep's- back or shorn. The Government has wrongly accused the Opposition of inciting the trade union movement over the export of merino rams. In my office in Adelaide I have letters about this subject even from people 1 do nor know. They have written to me asking that I do all in my power to ensure that the merinos remain in this country and that the attitude of the Labor Party on this question remains as it is. One of these letters is from a gentleman by the name of Killen but 1 do not think it is from the Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen).

Government supporters are wrong in believing that they can solve their problems by casting innuendoes about people on this side of the House and suggesting that merely by waving the magic wand in front of the Australian Council of Trade Unions the ban on the movement of merino ramswill be lifted and all will be well. There are different attitudes prevailing about the ACTU ban. The fact is that the original appeal to the trade union movement came from certain wool growing interests. Certain wool growers were alarmed at the undemocratic manner in which the ban on the export of merinos was lifted at the suggestion of the Minister who said in this place that that was what the wool industry required. If the Government believes that there is a right to dissent it must realise that today there is a dissenting group within the wool industry. Government supporters will not overcome the problem by standing in this place at question time and hurling abuse and innuendoes at honourable members on this side. Government supporters will have to pull their socks up and do their hair much better if they are to achieve their desired aim. The Government should arrange a proper democratic debate on this matter. So far it has dodged such a debate.

Members of the Government have a serious role to play in regard to the wool industry. They must do not only what is in the interests of the Country Party and Liberal Party and those people in Australia who still support them. They must not create a clash within the community. They must do what is in the best interests of the national economy.

MrKELLY (Wakefield) L2.49 a.m.]Mr Speaker, I have often told you that South Australia is indeed a . remarkable State. ] think you could see confirmation of that opinion tonight after listening to the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster), ft is true that the wool industry is in trouble. I do not want to keep people up at night telling them that. The question is: What should we try to do about it? a quite frequently suggested panacea is that we should subsidise it or give it cost compensation. I am glad to see that no one on either side of the House has seriously advanced that suggestion in this debate. 1 did not hear the Australian Labor Party policy in the detail that I would have liked, hut I do not think members of that Party put it forward. For those who do so, it is worth remembering that a subsidy of 5c per lb of wool would cost the exchequer SI 00m and that 75% of it would go to 25% of the growers. That is the arithmetic that we have to keep in mind.

The Government is helping and is helping in another way. That is the way that is mentioned in this Bill. An amount of $27m is going into research and promotion. This may be looked upon by some people as a generous contribution, as indeed it is; but it is worth while to get these matters into focus or into proportion. 1 remember a long while ago - in 1963 - doing a rather careful measurement of the consumer subsidy that I large paper company was receiving at that stage, namely, $14m a year. I say quite definitely that I believe that the chemical industry in Australia is receiving a consumer subsidy of at least $100m a year. So we would be justified in saying that the $27m that the wool industry is receiving in this form is a proper return for having carried a large section of the economy on its back for some time.

Another point that I was glad to hear the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr

Hunt) mention particularly is that subsidies on inputs into the industry are never as serious or as dangerous as subsidies on the output. The Government, with its superphosphate subsidy, its nitrogenous fertiliser subsidy and its taxation subsidies, is helping in the right way. But there arc other things that we could do. I agree with the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) that it is our duty, as Government backbenchers and, indeed, as members of the House,- to point out to the Government ways in which we believe the industry can be helped without hurting it.

I believe that it is time we started to have a careful look at the effect of helping the tobacco industry in the way we do. It is commonly said - I do not know whether it is true, but I have heard it said on many occasions by many people from overseas as well as in Australia - that one of the reasons, perhaps the chief reason, why we cannot achieve the abolition of the duty on imports of our wool into the United States of America is our determination to assist the Australian tobacco industry, lt is worth pointing out that we support the Australian tobacco industry at the rate of $400 for every acre of tobacco grown. If we were not determined to have this Australian tobacco industry - I am not saying that we should not be - maybe we could pay people $300 an acre not to grow tobacco if that would help us to get our wool into the United States without duty.

However, there are other matters. I was interested to hear the honourable member for Sturt mention the shipping problem. We could do a great deal more in the field of shipping. Just to give 1 example, I have often heard it said - I believe that it is true . - that the wool industry carries a proportion of the freight on Tasmanian apples. If the Tasmanian apple growers have to be helped, in my view it is not proper that they should be helped by the wool growers. I am not saying that the Tasmanian apple growers should not be helped; but I repeat that it is not the function of the Australian wool growers - to help them in the urgent crisis in which the wool industry finds itself today.

It is true that we can do more - I believe that we will be able to in the future as we streamline our handling procedures - in the bulk handling of wool in tankers. One of the real problems of the industry is that the wool has to be loaded in certain ways, marked and dumped, some at Antwerp, some at London and so on, and that certain wool comes out of certain places. This increases freight costs gravely. When we become more confident about core testing we should be able to handle it in other ways. These are the main problems of the industry to which I think we should direct our attention.

I congratulate the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street) who took part in the debate on this matter and mentioned particularly this question of restructuring. Restructuring' is becoming the fashionable word, the in phrase, to use nowadays when talking about rural industries. It has an air of erudition about it which is attractive. It is worth remembering that it presents fundamental problems in deciding how big is an economic unit. It is easy enough to make speeches about it but it is very difficult to decide what will be an economic unit. In the end the decision should not be made by the Government. It must be made by a bank, a development bank or an institution, but not by the Government. No government should ever tell a farmer what his economic unit is. If the Government said: This is the way to make money on a property of this size* the Government then would be held to ransom when things went wrong. It is a fundamental fact that any government which tells an industry to produce more - wheat, for example - always runs into difficulties in the end. The decision has to be made by someone but not by the Government. I want the House to realise that there will be resolutions urging the Government to tell the industry what to do, but the Government should never do it. (Quorum formed.)

The other part of the restructuring problem that 1 think we should examine briefly is how it will be financed. 1 suggest the establishment of a rural loans insurance corporation. Such a corporation, development bank or whatever it might be would give us the kind of flexibility that is needed to finance the inevitable reconstruction. The most important point is that we need for the wool industry, and indeed for all rural industries, a rural industries board, an equivalent of the Tariff Board, to advise the Government on what action it should take in relation to rural industries. The Tariff

Board was instituted many years ago because the Government had to have some shelter from having to take decisions as to what duties ought to be placed on particular goods produced in particular districts. A government does need public evidence on industry problems and then a public report on which it can take the political decision. Indeed, a government needs the economic answers and it then lakes the political decisions. One of our problems iri the rural industries is that we have done too many things that are uneconomic. One of the reasons why we have done the wrong thing is that we have not received clear public economic advice. I urge the Government to have a careful look at a rural industries board so that we shall receive public economic advice on which it may then take political decisions.

The other matter that 1 want to mention briefly is the acquisition scheme. J was surprised to hear the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) - if 1 heard him correctly - say when putting forward Labor policy on wool that the Labor Party did not recommend a referendum on the acquisition scheme. 1 find it almost impossible to believe, that the Labor Party would come out and say that it was going to take the growers' wool and would sell it in a certain way without asking them. ] hope that I misheard the honourable member, 1 would like, by way of interjection, to hear now from Labor Party supporters whether they propose to take the grower's wool from him without asking him whether he wants it or not.


Mr KELLY - I am glad to hear it, because it would have sat rather queerly on the Labor Part)', having demanded previously a referendum on the export of merino rams.


Mr KELLY - 1 think a referendum on that would be quite out of place. The rams happen to belong to the people who grow them and there are only a few of those people. I quite agree, and I think honourable members all agree, that the export of merino rams would be no disad vantage to the Australian wool market but would free the channels of world trade and give to a few people in other countries the .kind of blood that they need. To pretend that we in Australia have an option on the fine wool of the world is ridiculous. 1 have seen Rambouillet sheep and Russian merino sheep in Nepal and India that have as fine a wool as any sheep we have in Australia. 1 want to conclude by making a few remarks as a member of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Advisory Council. i notice that in the Bill there is to be a change in the method of financing CSIRO research into wool. I would like to congratulate the Government on the step it has taken, lt is a step that needed to be taken; it is a wise step. I would like to pay a tribute to the quality of CSIRO research and the direction it has taken up till now. I would agree, however, with the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street! that we need a different emphasis on research in the future, particularly on getting the wool off, as he says. A lot of effort has gone into packing more wool on to the sheep, but it is now very important that we spend a lot more effort in getting the wool off. i am glad that the honourable member for Corangamite mentioned it, and I think it is something we ought to concentrate on from the research side.


Mr SPEAKER


Mr BRYANT - Surely I can answer the relevant point.


Mr SPEAKER - The matter is quite irrelevant.


Mr BRYANT - I move:

That the debate be now adjourned.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member has spoken in the debate.


Mr BRYANT - When was that? Can ] not move that the debate be adjourned?


Mr SPEAKER - No, not when you have spoken in the debate.


Mr BRYANT - Can I ask for leave to continue my remarks?


Mr SPEAKER - No. It is too late. Mr Barnard - I will move that the debate be adjourned.


Mr SPEAKER - I have already called the honourable member for Mitchell.


Mr SPEAKER - Order!I have not called the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.I have called the honourable member for Mitchell.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! You did not even give me an opportunity to finish. I said that I have called the honourable mem-, ber for Mitchell. I have not called the Deputy Leader of the Opposition at any stage during the course of this debate. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition rises I will call him.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! MightI say this: Before an honourable member can move that the debate be adjourned he must get the call in the course of the debate. I have called the honourable member for Wills in the debate. In accordance with practice I now call the honourable member for Mitchell. If when the honourable member for Mitchell is finished I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has the right to move.


Mr SPEAKER - No; I am sorry. I called the honourable member for Mitchell then.


Mr SPEAKER - They have not moved the adjournment of the debate. This is different from the closure of a debate or a motion that a member be not heard.


Mr Barnard - I rise to a point of order.


Mr IRWIN - I completed my .remarks in 12 minutes, Mr Speaker.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no valid point of order.


Mr Hayden - You could move for the amendment to be effective from January 1971.


Dr PATTERSON - In view of what has happened in the Senate I ask the Leader of the House (Mr Snedden) for his opinion on this matter. I also would like to know whether in fact this is only a machinery measure and whether the amendment would be accepted at a later stage.


Dr Patterson - You do agree, I take it, that the Government is of the opinion that it should be the Parliament and not the Governor-General?


Mr SNEDDEN - No. With a number of statutory offices I can understand the strength of the argument that it should be Parliament. I do not think that argument would be resisted. But with a number of other offices which are created by statute I think it is unnecessary for Parliament to make a provision in this way. What I do not accept is that all offices created under statute ought to have their remuneration provided by Parliament. 1 think there are many places in which it ought clearly to be done by prescription. It is a matter of determining the level at which Parliament ought to provide it and the level at which it ought to be done by prescription. That is the formula I will be seeking during the recess.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.







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