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Wednesday, 30 November 1960

Mr JEFF BATE (Macarthur) (12:45 PM) . - Recently, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) made an attack on me, and because of that attack, 1 must apologize for detaining the House for a few minutes. Apparently, it is usual to reply to such attacks. The honorable member said that I had made certain statements about the report of the committee which recently inquired into the dairying industry. Apparently, the object of the attack was to obtain from the Government a statement about its intentions in regard to the report. It is clear, Mr. Speaker, that the report of the committee does not involve Executive action. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) has quite clearly and properly stated that the Government is awaiting the views of the leaders of the industry, to be expressed at a conference.

I have stated that I am opposed to the implementation of certain recommendations in the report, and I believe that other supporters of the Government are similarly opposed to them. Opposition to recommendations contained in a report is nothing new. Many reports - notably that of the Constitutional Review Committee - that have come to this Parliament have not been fully implemented. In some cases, the recommendations of committees are not implemented at all. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro is doing something that is quite improper if he is trying to cause anxiety and worry to the dairy farmers. He is doing a disservice to the dairying industry. In making his attack on me-

Mr Killen - Was it vicious?

Mr JEFF BATE - Whether or not ii was intended to be vicious, it was just so much nonsense. The honorable member's comments received a degree of publicity, which helped to allay the fears of those engaged in the industry. He stated that some people, who could be relied upon, would oppose the implementation of certain parts of the report. In other words, people of character, who are trusted by the industry, have said that they will oppose the adoption of some of the recommendations. In saying that, the honorable member did both the industry and me a service. But although he allayed the fears of the industry in that respect, he nevertheless disturbed it considerably. When the industry learned that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro was taking an interest in the matter, the dairy farmers immediately became very worried, because he is a member of a party whose policy really upsets the industry. That is the reason why few, if any, dairy farmers vote for the honorable member.

Let me refer to the features of the policy of the Australian Labour Party which the dairying industry fears. The leader of the Australian, Labour Party has told the people of Australia, including those engaged in the dairying industry, that if elected to office the Labour Party proposes to restore federal land tax, to introduce a capital gains tax and to increase federal death duties. I point out, Mr. Speaker, that because of the increase in farm values, some dairy farmers are in the higher brackets so far as death duties are concerned. Even without the increase of death duties favoured by the Labour Party, in, many cases young men who are working on family farms will be unable to continue to operate the farms after their fathers die. The policy of the Australian Labour Party, if adopted, would destroy the continuity of farm ownership.

The last feature of the Labour policy to which I want to refer is the proposal to increase company tax by ls. 9d. or 2s. in the £1. The effect of such an increase, of course, would be to add to the price of every commodity that those engaged in the dairying industry have to buy, thus leading to a considerable worsening of the position of the industry. The effect of a policy of that kind was seen in the days of the Chifley Government in 1949. At that time, as that policy of that government collapsed, there was a coal strike which completely paralysed Australian industry. There were 500,000 people out of work. There were blackouts and there was loss of income.

The products of the dairying industry could not be sold because the people had lost their purchasing power. That would be the kind of result that the dairying industry would have to experience if it had the bad luck to have the honorable member for Eden-Monaro on the Government side.

Not all of the report is bad. I propose to read paragraph 914, which says -

On the social side the " cow cocky " of yesterday is being replaced by the experienced and cultured dairy farmer.

When the honorable member for Eden Monaro last visited the dairying part of his electorate perhaps there were cow cockies in that area, because it was a long time ago. At the present time, as the report of the committee of inquiry says -

Many young men just through college and with a wide choice of occupations and professions elect to go to agricultural colleges for basic studies that will be of value to them in the dairy industry. Participants in the industry are no longer the subject of " Dad and Dave " jokes in weeklies but are respected citizens with an accepted standing in all communities - many of them possessing homes and amenities of high standards of comfort.

We have been told that the Labour Party in Great Britain and also in this country is representing people who no longer exist. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro represents the cow cocky type, the Dadand.Dave type, which no longer exists. There are now in the industry young men of vigour and of great intelligence who are profiting by the fruits of research, and these, of course, are the people that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro knows not. These are the people who are giving us a great and prosperous dairying industry. These are not the people whom the honorable member seeks to represent in this House, because he represents the old type. He represents the type that we have heard about from honorable members on the other side of the House - the workers. They are the workers that they used to represent when they existed. But to-day, of course, there are no longer people who call themselves workers. There are young executives. There are young men who are well trained, men with very valuable machinery in their charge, men who would be insulted to be called workers and who support the Labour Party as it is now constituted.

So I say that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, who has suddenly returned to the House after a long absence, is completely out of date. He completely misses the point of the moves that are made to try to reform this industry. I resent, on behalf of the dairying industry, any attempt by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to cause panic and concern in that industry. It is an industry that has been developing for more than 100 years. It is a stable industry and a great one, with a very great number of people engaged in it. It is quite capable of carrying out its reforms and of dealing with this report which, after all, is only a report. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro quoted the "Bega District News " and suggested, that it supported him. Let me bring him up to date. The " Bega District News ", which he praises for its accuracy, has now said that this is a mammoth report, with a tremendous amount in it to which consideration can be given. In other words, it kicked the props from underneath the honorable member for EdenMonaro. It gave no grounds for any implication that it was brought up to date by the report that I sent it.

The industry resents any threat to its well-being. It resents the sort of criticism that would damage dairy farmers when they ask for credit.

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