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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4383

Mr HALLETT (CANNING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that egg producers throughout Australia have requested that legislation be introduced to control production? It is also a fact that the Victorian Government has refused to accept the recommendations of the producers? Can the Minister advise the House of the present position and can he also say. when the State representatives will be called together with the object of resolving the position?

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - The answer to the first 2 parts of the honourable member's question is yes. The answer to the third part is that State Government Ministers other than the Victorian Minister have asked that an early meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council be convened to consider possible ways in which restraint on egg production can be imposed within the States. However, the Victorian Government believes that at this stage the matter is not one on which it is prepared to take legislative action in any way, and consequently has asked that the meeting be deferred until the normal time for the next meeting which is February 1972. The matter is listed for discussion then and I hope that growers in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia will take note of the difficulties which face all sections of the industry and bring pressure to bear on the Victorian Government so that at the time of the meeting of the Agricultural Council adequate consideration can be given to some way of restraining excess production. There is no doubt that of all the primary industries, there are few in a more critical financial plight than the egg producing sector of the poultry industry. It is regrettable that there is no' way in which the Commonwealth Government can take action in an area where the particular responsibility is within the sovereign control of the States. i: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS ' Mr BEAZLEY- I address a question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I ask the Minister whether consideration has been given to suggesting the calling of either a Commonwealth Prime Ministers conference or a Commonwealth Foreign Ministers conference, perhaps in Ottawa in view of the acceptability of Pierre Trudeau to both sides, to offer mediation in the war between India and Pakistan. ::i Mr N. H. BOWEN- There has been some discussion of Commonwealth initiative and Mr Arnold Smith in London has been communicating with Commonwealth [ countries. The difficulty here is that it is the general assessment of most of the leading Commonwealth countries that any approach of that type at the present time would be less than effective. This would be largely a matter of judgment. It has not been overlooked. I can assure the honourable member that it is currently under discussion but none of the Commonwealth countries wants simply to do something which is a mere gesture and would be entirely abortive. They are therefore closely studying the matter.

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