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Tuesday, 29 October 1974
Page: 2022

Senator WALSH (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -Has the Minister for Agriculture seen a report of an assertion in the House of Representatives by the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party that Senator Wriedt should be replaced as Minister for Agriculture because of his alleged lack of sympathy and understanding of agricultural problems? Has he also seen a statement by Mr Sinclair that during the election campaign an agricultural chemical company was asked to contribute funds to the Australian Labor Party's campaign, with the implication that if a donation was not forthcoming then, to quote Mr Sinclair, some ill might befall that company's continued participation in the agricultural community'? Are these statements true, and have any farmer leaders supported Mr Sinclair in his call for replacement of the present Minister for Agriculture?

Senator WRIEDT -Not that I know of as yet. I did see Mr Sinclair's statement which, I think, was made last week. I suppose it is the type of statement made by people who have not the backbone to say it publicly but say it inside the Parliament. This matter was raised by Mr Sinclair during the campaign. Certain allegations were made which I answered publicly in full and I think to the satisfaction of anybody who had any interest in this matter. But he now extends it under parliamentary privilege and talks about pressure or coercion or something of that nature, almost implying that a threat had been used against the company concerned. That is a lie. I have taken the trouble to check with the company. It has no desire to have its name mentioned publicly and I understand that, although it was stated publicly at the time as anybody can check back to discover. The company has indicated to me that there is no truth whatever in the allegation and that if Mr Sinclair would care to contact the company concerned- he knows which company it is-he would be given a fitting reply by that company to the assertion he has made.

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