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Thursday, 4 June 1970

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock - Order! The remarks of the honourable member for Hindmarsh are not relevant to the Bill. Nobody will be laughing his head off and nobody will be listening. The honourable member has been in this House long enough to know what is relevant to a Bill and what is not.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Sir, I want to congratulate your colleague, the honourable member for Moore (Mr Maisey) on a very excellent contribution. I was deeply touched by some of the remarks he made about the plight of the farmers in Western Australia and how he was able to prove beyond all doubt that the farmers in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria have been sacrificed to give to the farmers of New South Wales and Queensland, where the Country Party has deeper interests than it has in the other 3 States, a special advantage over those in the other 3 States. He was able to expose the Country Party and the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) in a way that nobody else has ever succeeded in doing before in this place. Even the Labor Party has not succeeded to the extent to which the honourable member for Moore, who is a member of the Country Party, was able to succeed today. This is easily understood because he is in a position to hear their conversations and what goes on behind the scenes. Tonight we heard from him a most excellent addressin which he exposed the Country Party, much to the ill content of his colleagues and to the great delight of the members of the Liberal Party. Sir, forgive me for saying that once again, but I did notice it. So it went on.

I was very impressed by one point he made, that the wealthy wheat growing companies in Australia, which are able to produce enormous quantities of wheat because of the tremendous holdings they have, are virtually not affected by the quota system. I was impressed by how he was able to prove that the quota system is really knocking the small farmers, of whom there are so many, and that the big wheat growing interests, small in number but very powerful within the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation and within the Australian Country Party, have been able to force the spread of quota reductions over the whole industry so that the little man, the man whose capacity to grow wheat even if he were given the right to grow all he could, would not give him a handsome income, has now been forced to reduce the capacity of his farm.

Mr Holten - That is up to the State governments.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Minister for Repatriation says that is up to the State governments. It is very funny how the Country Party here always blames the State governments for anything that goes wrong. Yet the fact remains that no matter how much the Minister might like to shift the blame on to the State governments it is the Commonwealth Government that is in control of overseas marketing, not the State governments. The Commonwealth Government is the one responsible for setting up commercial attaches and trade attaches in other countries which may become potential buyers of our wheat. But what has it done?

The best potential market is China and when China is unable to get wheat elsewhere she comes to us for it. Wc sell it to her, but we never set out to try to get markets in China. We wait until China comes to us, and for a good number of years China did come to us and helped to get us out of our difficulties. When other countries which had surplus wheat to sell - Canada and France are examples - they could see the great value of the Chinese market to their wheat industries and they set up de facto diplomatic relations with that Communist country. They had a distinct advantage over us. Let mc tell the Parliament this: The Chinese know more about our wheat surpluses than we know about its wheat needs. I pause a while to let that sink in. This is because we have no diplomatic relations established with Communist China and therefore no opportunities to set up commercial or trade attaches in Peking as the other countries have done. When those other countries are trying to discover what Chinese wheat needs will be they get out and get the sales before we even discover that China is buying wheat.

Mr Anthony - We are the biggest seller to China.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I thought that the Minister did not believe in supplying Communist countries with wheat and wool. How does he know but that the wheat he now so proudly sends to Communist China may not be used to feed the Red hordes as they march down towards us? The Government cannot have it both ways. What alternative has the poor wheat farmer now that the Government has cut his quota? I am talking about the small wheat farmers. They are the ones nearest and dearest to my heart - the small wheat farmers of whom there are so many. I am not interested in the big wheat farmer at all; he can look after himself. What are we going to do for the poor little man who, together with his family, works from daylight to dark and gets little more than the basic wage for himself and his family when all is said and done? What can he do now? Can he produce butter in order to supplement his income as a consequence of losing his quota of wheat? Of course not, because there is a surplus of butter. The Government has not bothered to find a market for our butter and we have a surplus of it and the small wheat farmer cannot go in for butter production. Can he go in for wool? Of course not! The Country Party now admits that wool production is a dismal failure and that wool is reaching an all time low because of the cartel buying system of the Japanese and other wool buyers. The Government is doing nothing to attempt to deal with the pie buying system in the wool industry, and it has no intention of doing anything about it. Members opposite cry crocodile tears about the poor old wheat farmer and the poor old wool farmer, but they take no action.

On my way home the other morning I was driving through Balranald and I turned on my radio to listen to the news session. J was listening to the Deniliquin station and when I got sick of listening to that I turned to the Shepparton station but got the same announcement - an angry deputation of Edenhope farmers had just visited the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) and the only advice he could give them, according to the radio broadcast, was to walk off their farms-

Mr Anthony - It was me they quoted, and it was quite inaccurate.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -It was the

Minister for Primary Industry. The only advice the Minister could give, according to the radio-

Mr Anthony - It was inaccurate.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The radio does not tell lies. I listened to the radio hour after hour with regular monotony. I got tired of it.

Mr Anthony - It must have been the ABC.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -It was not; it was the local commercial station from Shepparton and the commercial station from Deniliquin. Every hour, during the news broadcast, they said that the Minister received an angry deputation of farmers from Edenhope and that the only advice that he could give them concerning their problems over wheat production was: 'Walk off your farms and go on social services'.

Mr Anthony - That is completely inaccurate.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -It was said over the radio station and the Minister has not denied it publicly.

Mr Anthony - I have.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Well I have noi seen it.

Mr Anthony - I will send you a copy of it.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - All right. Apparently they cannot even get social services so what are they to do? Should they look around and try to get into the poultry business?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock - Order! I would suggest to the honourable member for Hindmarsh, as I mentioned to him earlier, that he has been in this House long enough to know what is relevant to a Bill under discussion in the House. Many of the subjects that he has been covering lately are completely wide of the Bill and I would ask him to come back to it.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - 1 thank you for your guidance, Sir, but I was following some of the points made by previous speakers. 1 was impressed by the remarkable speech made by the honourable member for Moore. He set mc thinking. 1 am glad to say that he was heard in silence without interruption by anybody. I thought he made an excellent contribution. As a consequence of what is happening in the great wheat industry of ours, it is no wonder that the farmers are crying out for a new kind of political representation. This is why the Country Party is beating the pants off the Liberals in South Australia, lt will not be long before the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) will be exercising his right under the Liberal-Country League rules to sit in the Country Party corner in order to hold his seat because at the rate the Country Party is improving its vote in South Australia this is precisely what will happen very soon.

The poor old farmer becomes the butt of everybody's greed and avarice and he is helpless lo defend himself. He has no effective voice in the Parliament 01her than through the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), the honourable and very learned member for Riverina (Mr Grassby), the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) and myself, who. occasionally put his case. There is nobody on the Government side to speak up for the farmers and so they are helpless and hopeless. They have nol a political voice inside the Government and they are crying out for somebody else who will put their case for them. Is it any wonder that they are going broke? Petrol - a commodity that is vital now that the horse has gone from the industry - kerosense and diesel fuel prices have reached astronomical heights and rich overseas oil cartels have become fabulously rich.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order!I will ask the honourable member for Hindmarsh to resume his seat if he keeps getting away from the subject matter that the House is discussing. I have suggested on three of four occasions that the honourable member should keep to the matter under discussion. 1 do not intend to do it again. If the honourable member transgresses again J will direct him to resume his seat.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Deputy Speaker,you have hurt my feelings. I will sit down.

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