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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Senator FRASER (Western Australia) (Minister for External Territories) . - I have yet to learn that an amendment of this regulation would assist the people of Victoria to ascertain for themselves whether beef displayed for sale in butchers' shops was Werribee beef. In view of the statements which Senator Gibson has made concerning infestation arising from the consumption of Werribee beef, I was rather surprised that he asked the Senate to amend the regulation in order to enable purchasers to distinguish Werribee beef from other beef. First, I should like to know how such beef could be so marked after delivery to butchers. Secondly, if the beef is so inimical to health as Senator Gibson contends, why should we allow it to be marketed at all? If it is so dangerous, its distribution should be prohibited entirely. However, it appears that the honorable senator, despite his objections, would be satisfied so long as the beef is marked Werribee beef before it has been placed on the market. I cannot follow his logic.

It is not correct to say that the people of Australia have condemned this regu lation. Prior to its promulgation, protests against the ban were received by the Victorian Government from all parts of that State. The State Government did not yield to those protests simply because of the pressure brought to bear on it by the Graziers Association, which opposed the lifting of the ban. Knowing that this matter was to be raised in the Senate, I took the trouble some days ago to acquaint myself with the facts. I find that not only the people of Victoria, but also a large majority of the butchers in Melbourne, desire the ban to be lifted. I have just been handed the following telegram -

The Housewives Association in Victoria wholeheartedly support the lifting of the ban on the sale of Werribee beef.

Senator Gibson - Of course they would.

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