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Wednesday, 30 October 1974
Page: 2116

Senator MAUNSELL (QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Minister for Agriculture. Did the Prime Minister claim yesterday that no government had done more for farmers than his Government has done? Did he also state that his Government had replaced concessions and subsidies with much more valuable benefits? Can the Minister outline any measures taken by this Government which are more beneficial than the concessions estimated at $500m which were withdrawn? What has the Government done to alleviate the impact of increased levies and charges and the cost of production increases resulting from the Government's disastrous financial policy?

Senator WRIEDT -Mr President,may I ask how long I can take? The Prime Minister did make statements along these lines, and they are quite accurate. He made the point, as he has done on many occasions in the past and as I have done on many occasions in the past and I will do again, that if ever a Party misled the farmers of this country down the years it was the Australian Country Party. The only things it has ever done have been done with the thought of winning votes. That Party has not thought about what might happen to agriculture in this country in the future. This Government has changed that course. This Government was the first to reduce tariffs along the lines asked for by the farming community. It was the one that had the courage to put a floor price into the wool industry.

Honourable senators opposite talk about the taxation concessions which they allege have been taken away by this Government. When the last election was being held the test was whether the Opposition was prepared to reinstitute the taxation concessions which we had taken away and it was not prepared to undertake to reintroduce one single taxation concession. The Opposition said that it would send the matter of the phosphate bounty to the Industries Assistance Commission, but when the Industries Assistance Commission report came back and the Opposition did not agree with it, the Opposition did not say then that it would stop the phosphate bounty. These are the sorts of questions which will be asked and answered too before the next election. The fact of the matter is that this Government has done more for the rural community than has any other government in the history of this country. That is why today the future for agriculture looks better than it has ever looked in the past.

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