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Thursday, 22 August 1985
Page: 135

Senator MACKLIN(10.24) —The history of this Bill goes back to last year when there was a general discussion of the marketing of wheat in Australia. The Government introduced into the House of Representatives the Wheat Marketing Amendment Bill which involved the restructuring of the Australian Wheat Board. In discussions that I had with the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin), after Mr McVeigh, the Opposition spokesperson on primary industry, indicated that the Opposition would support the Bill, I indicated that we were unwilling to give our support on the basis that the Australian Wheat Board was going to be restructured in such a way as to take away the grower majority. Subsequent to those discussions, the Minister moved amendments to his own Bill in the House of Representatives to defer the consideration to a time that I in fact had put to him-that is, towards the end of this year-to provide for discussions between the Minister and the industry itself.

So I cannot agree with Senator Collard that there had not been any discussions with the industry. There were quite extensive discussions with the industry when the Bill was introduced. He said that the Government maintained the line it had maintained last year, and refused to budge. When the Bill came into the Senate the Opposition parties and the Australian Democrats refused to accept the grower majority being taken away. I think this amendment is a fairly good example of lateral thinking whereby everybody's face is saved. In fact, four experts will be appointed, as the Government wished, and there will be a grower majority, as the Opposition and the Australian Democrats were looking for. It is a way out of the problem which I think members of the Australian Wheat Growers Federation are very happy with. Certainly in my discussions with them they have expressed that feeling. We are happy to support this amendment and hope that this might augur well for other Bills about which there has been disagreement-presumably, the Dairy Industry Stabilization Levy Amendment Bill. I look forward to some lateral thinking with regard to that.