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Thursday, 14 October 1971
Page: 2432

Dr PATTERSON (Dawson) - I think the easiest way to deal with the Bill in Committee is to take it as a whole rather than clause by clause. When I first looked at this Bill I had intended to move a series of amendments but I find that these would have been superfluous in terms of the amendment moved to the motion for the second reading of the Bill. I take this opportunity to congratulate the draftsmen and the officers of the Department of Primary Industry concerned with the drafting of the Bill. It is one of the most difficult Bills to come before this Parliament for a long time as regards interpretation of clauses and there seems little doubt that it must have caused the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) and others some problems in drafting because of the tremendous complexities in the Bill with respect to registration, the rate of deficiency payments and the peculiar definitions involved. I compliment those officers who are responsible for it.

I have no doubt that when the Bill becomes law there will be problems because of its complexity, particularly with regard to deficiency payments, excluded wools and the Schedules in relation to private selling arrangements. But taken by and large the Bill is an excellent piece of drafting. The first clause about which I seek clarification is clause 4 which is the definition clause. The definition of producer reads in part: . . the person who owns the wool immediately after it is shorn;

I can only assume that this means that any person who has a security, equity, lien, mortgage or whatever it might be on the wool is in fact, under the definition, the legal producer of the wool. In other words, if a company has a first lien on wool sales, under this definition that company is the producer. This is also set out in clause 9. I dealt with this point at some length during the debate on the second reading and said that in fact in a large number of cases the producer would not see any of the subsidy. It will in fact, go straight to those companies to which the producer owes money.

I have a question relating to PAP wool and the wool referred to in sub-clauses 6 (3.) and 6 (4.). How does this clause work in relation to inferior wools? Who actually will take the responsibility for the appraisal and identification of inferior wools and the responsibility for selling them? In relation to clause 6(3.), what is to stop a private buyer from recirculating the wool? The deficiency payment is paid on the sale but under the private system what safeguards has the Commonwealth to stop wool which is the subject of private transactions from being illegally resold, in other words, from circulating all the time, still reciving a subsidy? How do we stop this? It seems to be that clause 6 (S.) will be difficult to administer because some of the butchers I know are pretty good Ned Kellys. I would like to know how the Department will police some of these butcher friends that I have in north western Queensland and to prove that they have held sheep for less than 3 months. If they have held them for more than 3 months they are entitled to the subsidy and I think we will find that all of the people who buy sheep for slaughter, particularly around Cloncurry and other places will have had those sheep for 3 months.

Clause 9 relates to the producer of wool, the point on which I first questioned the Minister. Under the definition the producer of the wool is in fact the person who owns the wool and the owner of the wool can be a person who has a mortgage or a first lien on the wool sold. These are the important points that I wish to raise. 1 have many more but I do not want to take up the time of the Committee; I think I can get most of the answers from the Department. I thank the Minister for the assistance that his officers have given me. The only other point that I have relates to clause 7 which deals with excluded inferior wools. I find this clause a little diifficult to understand. I think that the Government would have had a much better Bill if it had included all wools. I think the Minister has defeated the purpose of the original objective. Originally it was intended to take out the burry wools and surely the objective was to reduce the production of these inferior wools. Without doubt some type of pressure has been put on the Minister or the Government and these burry wools are now included. I can see little point in including these other wools - the crutchings, the bellies, .the pieces and so forth - because they all will be produced anyhow. I do not see what the Minister is really achieving except a hell of a headache for himself and his Department in trying to administer this scheme. In my opinion he would have done far better if he had included the lot.

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