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Tuesday, 9 May 1961


Minister for Health to withdraw that statement.

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I withdraw it in deference to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Let me say that we are all quite used to the honorable gentleman exaggerating very much when he speaks. In fact, his closing remarks were a supreme example of how much one can distort and exaggerate. Let me say to him that actions speak louder than words and that no government in the history of the Commonwealth has done more for the dairying industry than has this one. No government has provided more finance, in fact no government has provided anything like as much finance to support the dairying industry. No government has made such comprehensive arrangements to assist the dairying industry, and no government has done more to promote the welfare of the dairying industry in the whole history of the Commonwealth.

It was not this Government that acted to increase quotas of margarine. But it was the Labour Government of New South Wales which increased margarine quotas very largely, indeed far ahead of what any other government in Australia did; and the Government which granted the second greatest increase in the margarine quota in order to allow margarine to compete directly with butter was the Labour Government of Queensland. It was a body headed by a Labour appointee that fixed the price of cream in New South Wales at 7s. 6d. a pint with the result that consumption of cream in that State sank to something like one-quarter of the average consumption per head in the rest of Australia.

Mr Pollard - It was your Government which put the price of butter up by 6d. per lb.

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - No, it was not. Those were the actions of Labour governments, not of a Liberal government. But it was the action of a Liberal government which provided and continues to provide a very extensive scheme of milk for school children.

Mr Turnbull - The Country Party was in that; it was not the Liberal Party alone.

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I accept the correction. Of course, the Liberal and Country parties work together. Those are the actions of this Government. They are not the actions of a government which is determined to do something to damage the dairying industry. What utter nonsense. The whole history of recent years is to the contrary. Does the honorable member really mean it when he talks about withdrawing this pamphlet?

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Of course he does!

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The honorable member says, " Of course he does! " Implicit in that, of course, is the philosophy that when a government department makes a statement and it is considered to be commercially inconvenient, or perhaps politically inconvenient, it should be suppressed.

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Nonsense.

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - That is implicit in what the honorable member says. Among my responsibilities is the National Health and Medical Research Council, and implicit in what the honorable member says is that if that body makes a statement which a government or a commercial interest may find a little inconvenient, the Government should suppress it. Does he follow that political philosophy, because that is exactly what it means?

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No, and I resent your distortion of what I said.

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - Does he mean that if a scientist, or the scientific section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, makes a statement in such circumstances it is to be suppressed? That is absolutely implicit in what he says and is quite obviously the philosophy of the party of which he is a member.

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But this is not a scientific statement; it is a statement by the Government.

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - Don't try to wriggle your way out of it. That is implicit in what the honorable member has said. I think I have said enough to show that what the honorable member has done to-night, to use the words which he just used by way of interjection during my speech, has been to distort the whole thing, to exaggerate the facts. We know why he is doing this. He is not doing it because he thinks it will help the dairying industry. No one will accuse the honorable member of being sincere in that. What he is really trying to do is to jump on the political bandwagon; and the record of his party in promoting the interests of the dairying industry is so lamentable that his whole speech is ludicrous.

Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) put -

That the question be now put.

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