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Tuesday, 1 May 1984
Page: 1423


Senator MACKLIN(9.51) —I seek leave to move the Australian Democrats amendments to the Dried Fruits Levy Amendment Bill and the Apple and Pear Levy Amendment Bill together as they are related.

Leave granted.


Senator MACKLIN —In respect of the Dried Fruits Levy Amendent Bill, I move:

Page 1, clause 3, before paragraph (1) (a), insert the following paragraph:

(aa) by inserting after 'apricots' in the definition of 'dried tree fruits', the words 'dried apples,'.

In respect of the Apple and Pear Levy Amendment Bill, I move:

Page 2, clause 4, proposed new sub-section 7 (3A), line 4, after 'in respect of ', insert 'apples or'.

In his second reading speech the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin) said that the purpose of the Apple and Pear Levy Amendment Bill was to correct certain anomalies relating to the imposition of an apple and pear levy under the Apple and Pear Levy Act 1976. The Australian Democrats have supported the second reading of the Bill. I must admit, however, that we are puzzled by the statement of the Minister in his second reading speech when he said:

It is not proposed to exempt fresh apples delivered for drying from the apple and pear levy and dried apples, unlike dried pears, are not defined as dried tree fruit under the Dried Fruits Levy Act 1971.

The extraordinary thing about this is that the Government should go to the trouble of actually fixing the levy rates proposed for pears and then presenting this extremely feeble excuse for not fixing up the levy for apples. I think that if we apply a bit of ordinary lateral thinking to this-presumably an exercise that could be undertaken by almost anybody-it can be seen that if we cannot exempt fresh apples delivered for drying because apples are not defined as dried tree fruits under the relevant Act we then define apples as dried tree fruit under the Act. That is precisely what our amendment proposes to do. It so happens that the Government brought an amending Bill in for both Acts at the same time. The amendment I have moved to the Apple and Pear Levy Amendment Bill reads:

Page 2, clause 4, proposed new sub-section 7 (3A), line 4, after 'in respect of ', insert 'apples or'.

It would then read 'apples or pears'. The amendment to the Dried Fruits Levy Amendment Bill reads:

Page 1, clause 3, before paragraph (1) (a), insert the following paragraph:

(aa) by inserting after 'apricots' in the definition of 'dried tree fruits', the words 'dried apples,'.

The definition would now read:

Dried tree fruits means dried apricots, dried pears, dried nectarines, dried plums or dried apples.

I would be happy if the Minister for Resources and Energy (Senator Walsh) could explain why in fact dried apples are not dried tree fruits. It may be that apples grow elsewhere than on trees. I am unaware of that. I have asked extensively of experts in this area; they assure me that apples do indeed grow on trees. It seems to the Democrats appropriate that we ought to define them in this way rather than engage in the rather silly excuse that is used in the Minister's second reading speech.