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Wednesday, 23 May 1973
Page: 2568

Dr Forbes (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   Is it in the best interests of public service morale, efficiency and objectivity to table documents such as that written by the then Mr Patrick Shaw.

(2)   Was the document written in the context of a long standing convention that it would not be made public.

(3)   If so, is the tabling of the document to be regarded as a precedent to be followed by himself and his Ministers in the future.

Mr Whitlam - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) The decision to make this document available to members was taken to inform Parliament on an issue of particular public importance and interest. The circumstances were, as I made clear in a reply to a question from the Leader of the Opposition on 9 May, exceptional. (Hansard, pages 1854-1855).

Agricultural Production: Restriction (Question No. 521)

Mir Drummond asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(1)   Was the Minister's reported statement from Paris, relating to restraints on Australian agricultural production, a proper reflection of Government policy.

(2)   If so, what prior notice will be given to farmers of impending cuts in production.

(3)   Will farmers, who are subjected to cuts in production, be allowed to diversify their operations into other forms of production.

(4)   To what extent have State Governments participated in this decision to restrict agricultural production.

(5)   Can the Minister say whether producer organisations are satisfied with this restrictive policy, and to what extent have they been informed and consulted.

(6)   Is it a fact that, regardless of any legislation passed in this or any other Parliament, fruit trees will continue to bear fruit.

(7)   If so, how does the Minister intend to handle this situation, bearing in mind that fruit that is not sold can still be an expense to the orchardist

(8)   As the Paris report made no reference to the finding of new markets for our agricultural products, does the Minister intend to explore this possibility.

Dr Patterson - The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answers to the honourable member's questions:

(1)   I have taken the question to relate to my speech to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Meeting of Agricultural Ministers in Paris on 11 April 1973. I have arranged for the honourable member to be supplied with a copy of this speech. It is the intention of this Government to ensure that, as far as practicable, we match our production with the long term market trends.

(2)   The nature and conditions of Government assistance will be negotiated with industries on the basis of market prospects where this is appropriate.

(3)   Production control is a State Government responsibility.

(4)   See (3) above.

(5)   See (2) above.

(6)   Yes, in-so-far as they are in bearing condition.

(7)   Under the States Grants (Fruitgrowing Reconstruction) Act 1972 funds are made available by the Government to assist landholders without adequate financial resources to remove surplus fruit trees.

(8)   Yes.

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