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Thursday, 2 December 1971
Page: 3993

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) - I had intended this morning to deal wilh just 2 questions that I had asked in the House and enlarge on them. However, on picking up today's issue of the Melbourne Sun' 1 read the headlines in large letters: Biscuits, cakes to rise 10 per cent. Pie is safe*. The humble pie is safe. The article states:

Cakes, biscuits and most pastry goods will be up to 10 per cent dearer in Victoria in the new year.

From yesterday, the price of wheat went up, lifting the cost of flour by $4 a ton.

From reading this article it would appear that because the price of wheat has been increased by $4 a ton, the price of cakes, etc., will have to be increased by 10 per cent. Further on in the article, in small type, reference is made to one or two other alleged reasons why the price of cakes, etc., will have to be increased. It states:

And a wage rise in November went through the whole gamut.

What I point out, and what 1 grieve about in this grievance day debate, is that the heading and the sub-heading, which are in rather large print, to this article place the whole blame for the increase in the price of cakes, etc., on primary industry. This is quite wrong. 1 wish that the Melbourne Press would give more publicity to what members of the Australian Country Party and other members who represent country areas in this House say regarding primary industry. On a number of occasions I have found that something I have advocated in this House, which was for the benefit of rural areas and not in any way for the benefit of the other areas - the city interests - has not had a chance of receiving publicity in the metropolitan Press.

Because my time is very limited, I move on very quickly to deal with a question which 1 asked the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) on 14th September last. It was as follows:

Does he recall that last night in the House I advocated that all rural telephone subscribers bc granted the privilege of local call charge, where at present it does not apply . . .' - (Quorum formed.) It is easy to see that the honourable member for Hindmarsh is not in sympathy with the case I am putting on behalf of primary industry and not city interests. As he represents interests in the city electorate of Hindmarsh in South Australia, he is on the side of those who support the conglomeration of population in metropolitan areas. When I referred to city interests one could see from the look on his face that he was infuriated, so he rose and called for a quorum in order to stop me from speaking further. I shall continue to quote the question which 1 asked the Postmaster-General. It continued:

.   . to their nearest centre where medical and general facilities are available . . . Does he know that this would give them only a fraction of the privilege now enjoyed by city subscribers in regard to telephonic communication?

I then asked the Postmaster-General whether he would look into the matter. He said that in some cases a distance of 100 miles would be involved. But the longer the distance the more urgent it is for people to obtain medical assistance from the nearest town. Therefore, it is not too much to ask that calls which are made to the nearest town in which a doctor is situated should be charged at the local call rates and not trunk line rates. I believe that this is one of the things that should be done. We are asking to have all sorts of concessions regarding telephone services in order to provide the same sort of service throughout Australia. Perhaps this is a good thing, but the question to which 1 have referred is urgent. If this privilege of being able to call a doctor at the local call charge were extended to rural areas it would give people in isolated areas a feeling of some security. I am not referring to people in areas such as the area in the city of Adelaide in which the honourable member for Hindmarsh lives. Dear rae, if his telephone was not working he would have to walk only a few hundred yards down the street to a public telephone. He has the audacity to try to stop me from putting this case for the country districts and for the country residents of Victoria and Australia.

The other matter I want to raise in the few moments I have left relates to a question which I asked the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) regarding the appointment of 3 efficient and accredited salesmen of high integrity to move around the world selling our goods. They could take samples of our products with them if necessary. It was pointed out that our trade posts are doing this job. But we want some liaison between them. No business undertaking in Australia would last very long if it did not have efficient and accredited salesmen of high integrity. What is right for big business or small business is also right for the nation. I believe that if we had a man travelling around the world he would be able to find out what markets were available for Australian goods. He could carry small samples of our products, if he wished, to show to people overseas. He could get the trade posts working together instead of in isolation.

The fact that we have men at these trade posts does not mean that they are good salesmen. I have often complained that many of these men have been appointed because of their academic qualifications. When I refer to efficient and accredited salesmen, I am referring to men who know Australia, the products we sell and the quality of those products, and who could speak on them. They could call meetings in various areas to demonstrate the products and to make sales. I think that this should be done. Of course, the Minister in replying to my question - and I have asked a similar question on two or three occasions - said that the trade posts have very efficient people who are doing a wonderful job. In the final part of his answer he said:

It is a job for business itself to go out and try to sell, given all the support, help and advice that can be given from the Trade Commissioner Service.

We know that the Trade Commissioner Service provides valuable assistance to businessmen who are trying to sell their goods. But the position would be improved if the Government appointed representatives to sell our goods overseas. They could get all the information from the trade posts, put it together and then come to the conclusion that in certain countries there was a market for wool, wheat, dried fruits or the many other products which we send overseas. He could go directly to those countries in which there were likely buyers for some of our products. One of these 3 salesmen - if it was desired, only one would need to be appointed in the beginning - could go directly to a likely country, meet the representatives of the country and endeavour to make sales. How long does it take trade posts to realise that there is a market in some country? Perhaps there is no trade post in that country. Therefore a lot of time is lost. We have to take efficient and prompt action if we are to sell our goods. I believe that there are markets which we should exploit in the way I have mentioned. I also believe that we could make many sales which would be to the benefit not only of primary producers - I suppose we would be selling mainly primary products, although we could also sell secondary industry products - but also of the Commonwealth of Australia generally.

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