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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4465


That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the debate on the statement of the Minister for Primary Industry relating to the Merino Export Embargo being continued.

When this ban was first proposed to this House in November 1929 by the Scullin Government, the fullest opportunity was given to all sides of the House to debate the issue and to decide whether or not the ban should be imposed. The fact is - and I was present on that occasion - that the issue was debated by members on all sides of the House and there was complete agreement in the Parliament from the Liberal Party, the Country Party and the Labor Party, which was then in government.

Mr Grassby - Unanimous.

Mr ALLAN FRASER (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, the House was unanimous that this ban should be imposed. Therefore the only view that can be taken of that debate in the House of

Representatives, the only decision that has ever been enabled to be taken on the issue in the House, was a unanimous decision in favour of this ban in the interests of the Australian nation. If we are not allowed tonight to debate this matter the will of the House, on the only occasion it was ever expressed, is being thwarted. This is the very important reason, Mr Deputy Speaker, why 1 have moved that the Standing Orders be suspended to enable this most important matter to be debated.

It is all very well for the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) to rise in his place, make a series of misleading statements and then have his lieutenant move the adjournment of the debate. Because of the vital interest of the Australian people in this matter, an opportunity should be given for the facts to be stated. The Minister will not deny that the Australian Wool Industry Conference does not speak for all Australian wool growers on (his matter. As the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) said there are many thousands of wool growers, many of them small growers, who are opposed to the relaxation of the ban.

As further evidence that this matter should be debated now in the Parliament I report to you, Sir, that I have taken part in many public debates in the electorate of Eden-Monaro and in the adjoining electorate of Hume against advocates of the relaxation of the ban and never on even one occasion have those largely attended meetings of wool growers agreed that the ban should be relaxed. On the contrary, on most occasions the vote of the wool growers at these meetings against the relaxation of the ban has been overwhelming.

Mr Deputy Speaker,it is for these reason* that it is most important that the matte! be debated. I want particularly to refer to the Minister's aspersion on the trade union movement of this country.

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