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Thursday, 28 November 1935


Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - in reply - I waa glad to hear the statements made by many honorable senators in this debate, particularly those of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings). I recognize that he is in a peculiar position. He cannot oppose this measure because he has to pay due regard to the electorate, and he cannot support it, because by so doing he would admit that this Government has done something good; he would be very loth to make that concession. But, placed in such a dilemma, he elects to sit on the latter horn and cover it with a cushion by saying that he can rejoice in the measure because this Government is in favour of certain planks of his party's platform, and because the measure reveals that private enterprise in this industry has broken down. I point out that so far as this bill is concerned any interference with private enterprise is limited to the provisions, which the Commonwealth may exercise under its powers over exports, to deal with the condition in which fruit shall be exported.


Senator Collings - Private enterprise cannot be trusted to export the goods in proper condition.


Senator BRENNAN - There is no other agency to control exports except the Commonwealth. Therefore it is the only power which can prescribe the nature of the goods to be exported. Senator Allan MacDonald referred to the inspection of exports. This is carried out by State officers on behalf of the Commonwealth and, so far as the Commonwealth is concerned, is based on exactly the same principles as the inspection of all other articles the export of which is controlled by the Commonwealth. The States have, in some respects, wider powers of ins;ection than the Commonwealth, because their officers can inspect fruit all the way from the tree to the wharf. The Commonwealth takes what precautions it can to ensure that fruit and any other primary commodity shipped is despatched in a condition which meets the requirements of the law; but as it is impossible for an inspection to be made of every orange, every pound of butter, or every egg, the Commonwealth is limited to this extent in the methods of inspection which it has instituted. .Senator Payne asked what was the export season for the citrus industry. This last3 from April to November, the fruit arriving in London from May up to December. Very little arrives in London in May or June ; the greater part arrives there from late in June up to December. For the information of honorable senators I have had details of the prices compiled. The market in the United Kingdom was not so good this year as it was last year, but this year Australian fruit realized better prices relatively to the general market levels, than last year. Although the general market prices this year were less than they were last year; the prices realized by Australian fruit were as high as those we secured last year. . That point should be considered in conjunction with some remarks I made in moving the second reading of the bill, when possibly I may have conveyed a wrong impression.







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