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Tuesday, 18 September 1973
Page: 1208

The CHAIRMAN - I suggest that the honourable member should return to the clause which is under consideration.

Mr SINCLAIR - The question before us is that the word 'lc' should be the operative payment for the levy applicable to meet export charges.

The CHAIRMAN - It is not at this stage.

Mr SINCLAIR - It is, Mr Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN - You have not moved your amendment.

Mr SINCLAIR - I have. I moved it in the first words I uttered when I stood to my feet. I am sorry if the noise in this chamber was excessive but the first words I moved covered the full clause of the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN - You said: 'The question I will be moving'.

Mr SINCLAIR - Accordingly, I am saying that this Parliament cannot be denied an explanation by the Minister at the proper time, at the introduction of the measure, telling this Parliament the reason for the increase.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member is not in order in debating the manner in which the second reading debate was con ducted. That is what he is doing at the moment and has been doing ever since he started his speech.

Mr SINCLAIR - Mr Chairman,perhaps I should draw your attention to the text of my amendment which is that the words '1.6 cents' twice occurring should be substituted by the words '1 cent'. The reason for the change is that there has been no explanation to the Parliament of the increase from lc to 1.6c-

The CHAIRMAN - Order! If the honourable gentleman will recall, he was talking about the manner in which the second reading speech was presented by the Minister, which is not the clause before the Committee. I do not want to interrupt the Committee stage of the Bill but I think that the clause should be debated.

Mr SINCLAIR - Mr Chairman,with great respect, the reason for the amendment is that we have not been given an explanation of the 1.6c. This is a Budget Bill. It implements an undertaking by the Treasurer that a charge would be levied to cover meat inspection charges - a charge which would be at the rate of lc per lb. That we accept. The Bill does not provide for a lc per lb levy; it provides for a 1.6c per lb levy. This Parliament must be told at the proper place and the proper time if there are significant policy decisions. A significant policy decision is the increase in the meat export levy, an increase of 0.6c per lb which as I explained at an earlier stage of the debate, will yield $16m-odd over the next 33 months on the projection of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics of meat to be exported over the period. It will yield that additional SI 6m above the cost that one can assess at present rates of expenditure of meat inspection services.

It is not acceptable that that additional impost be placed on the meat exporters without an explanation at the proper time and the proper place. It is for that reason that this amendment has been moved. The Opposition believes that this is the only way in which we can register with the Prime Minister, the Minister for Immigration and the Treasurer, our concern that the place in which policy statements should be made is the Parliament. If policy statements are not made in the Parliament we will use every available parliamentary procedure to ensure that the original undertakings in accordance with those given to this House are implemented. It is for that reason that I have moved the amendment standing in my name.

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