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Wednesday, 21 August 1985
Page: 59


Senator COLLARD (Leader of the National Party of Australia)(10.44) —I was drawn into this debate by some of the comments made by the Government and the Australian Democrats. I agree in general with the remarks that Senator Gietzelt made. Having been a Whip in this place, I understand them fully, but there are times when something of great importance to the community needs to be raised above the level that is indicated on the order of business sheet. It is not the whim of an individual senator but the wish of the whole Opposition, reacting to the confusion and concern within the community, that this matter be raised and debated, as has been indicated.

Yesterday Senator Georges said that he wanted to make a statement on this matter. It is because of what Senator Georges said in the public arena as Chairman of the Select Committee on Animal Welfare that there is confusion and concern in the community. To allay that concern I think this matter should be debated, and the sooner the better. The live sheep trade is very important. Indeed, our rural exports generally are very important. The rural industry is suffering from many things, including overseas market dumping and all the rest of it. We do not want to canvass that here now but the live sheep trade is one aspect of rural industry that is working, that is providing income and that is providing not only for the exporters but also for this country. Mr Deputy President, I believe that this matter should be raised and debated so that the concern and confusion that exists in the community because of the statements of the Chairman of this Committee can be put to rest.