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Monday, 14 October 1991
Page: 1889

Mr HICKS(10.50 p.m.) —- For some time people have been particularly concerned about food lines coming into Australia which are incorrectly labelled or, if they are correctly labelled, have print so small on the labels that people cannot read them easily. This is particularly so with generic brands of canned fruit. When housewives or their husbands buy canned fruit at a supermarket, they do not know where it is made but they assume it is made in Australia. When they get home and read the small print on the cans they find that the fruit has probably been canned anywhere else but in Australia.

Recently, this type of concern was brought to my attention by a lady who bought a handbag in a shop. The brand name on the handbag was that of a world famous boutique with an `i' added to the end of the name. One would think that that would immediately make the bag come under suspicion. However, the label said, `All Australian leather handbag'. The cost of the handbag was $165. I am not an expert on handbags, but it was not one I would write home about. She took the bag home. The first time she used it she happened to look inside--keep in mind that the label said `All Australian leather handbag'--and saw a smaller label which said, `All Australian leather handbag. Crafted in India'. Whether `crafted in India' means made in India, I am not sure; nor am I sure what `crafted' means. I would suggest that to all intents and purposes the handbag was made in India, possibly the leather came from India and the only thing done in Australia was that it was sold here.

I see nothing wrong in bringing manufactured items into Australia, provided they are labelled correctly. If a person buys a handbag which says `All Australian leather handbag', it should be an Australian leather handbag. I made a few more inquiries by speaking to my office staff. They told me of one case where a person in a duty free shop saw the labels saying `Made in Korea' being cut off little koalas so that the koalas could be sold to Japanese tourists.

Another lady told me that she had bought a car mat because it was made in Australia. The only thing made in Australia was the plastic bag it was in. When the bag was opened up, the car mat label showed it was made in Taiwan or somewhere else. We should be doing something about this misleading labelling.

Many people want to help Australia by buying Australian. As I said before, we have nothing against people importing goods, but these goods should be correctly labelled. Goods made in India, Hong Kong, Singapore or anywhere else should have the country of origin shown very clearly on the goods, and koalas in particular made overseas should be branded as Korean made or Singapore made, but certainly not as being made in Australia.