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Wednesday, 13 May 1970

Mr McEWEN - The honourable gentleman seems to base his question on the premise that a wool marketing scheme has been decided upon. That is not so. It has never been said that a scheme has been decided upon. The growers themselves through their own organisations have indicated a single principle, which I referred to yesterday. They want a single marketing authority. With the concurrence of all the wool organisations and the approval of the Government, the Chairman of the Australian Wool Board has appointed a very broadly based and very skilled committee to make further studies and to submit a succession of reports containing advice both to the industry and to the Government. We are awaiting, as I think the industry is awaiting, the first of these reports which is expected to be released within two or three weeks or something like that. What is regarded as the voice of the wool industry has been taken to be the voice of the wool growers organisations and all the great wool growers organisations have voted overwhelmingly, if not unanimously, in favour of this principle of a single marketing authority. The great wool growers as well as the small wool growers are represented on these organisations, but the great wool growers have never argued in all my experince of the wool industry that they should be entitled to a weighted voice, notwithstanding that some growers have produced very much more wool than others.

My first experience of a proposed wool marketing organisation was the suggestion of a reserve price plan, which came forward in 1950. The organisation at that time was the Australian Woolgrowers Council, lt has since been transformed into the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council. It proposed the basis upon which the opinion of members of the wool industry should be taken. Its proposal was that any man who owned 200 sheep or produced 5 bales of wool should be entitled to a vole equal to that of any other wool grower no matter how great he might be.

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