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Thursday, 10 October 1985
Page: 1031

Senator JESSOP(8.29) —I rise to speak briefly on the Export Market Development Grants Amendment Bill. I would like to support, first of all, what my colleague Senator Michael Baume said about the inadequacy and adverse effects of this Bill, in particular with respect to the wine industry. Senator Baume made a quite good contribution to this debate and pointed out the adverse effects that this Bill would have. As a South Australian, one who comes from a State which produces the majority of wine in Australia, I believe it is important for me to emphasise that this significant industry in South Australia has suffered repeatedly from actions, particularly, of the Labor Governments. I recall in the Whitlam years when the brandy excise was introduced. That devastated the wine industry as much as any other action that was taken. The removal of section 31A, for example, from the Income Tax Assessment Act caused wine makers to suffer. I believe that Senator Michael Baume mentioned the fact that quality wines, particularly red wine, have suffered as a result of that. I think that it is very important for this Government and future governments to consider the reinstatement of section 31A, which would enable better quality red wines to be offered to the consumers of Australia.

Senator Michael Baume also mentioned the dumping on the Australian market of foreign wines which are of inferior quality. This has caused the Australian wine industry some consternation. Apart from that, the fringe benefits legislation that is contemplated will also affect the wine industry in Australia. So the industry's problems are being compounded by this piece of legislation. South Australia produces some of the best wines in the world and some of our wine makers are successfully penetrating world markets. This is due to the way in which they were given assistance under successive Fraser governments.

One of the worst things that the present Government has done was to remove the export incentive scheme. Wherever I go, I am told by those in industries that are anxious to export commodities that removal of this scheme has had an adverse effect on their export capacity and potential. Just this morning I heard reference on a radio news session to Australian companies exporting to the Asian area. This area is the potential market for Australia. In order for Australia to recover from what it has become-I regard it as having become a Third World country with respect to the rest of the international scene-we have to increase our export markets. A comment was made on the radio this morning that there are many export companies which, because of the wholesale taxes that have been applied or will be applied in the future by this Government, will go to the wall and that the Asian market in particular will suffer.

When we contemplate the disastrous position Australia is in at the moment with respect to its public borrowings, it is really quite incredible that any impediment should be placed in the way of export companies that want to increase our export income. Last year the Budget reflected a requirement to pay something like $5.6 billion in order to service the interest on public borrowings. This year that amount has increased to something of the order of $6.7 billion. It is very important that we encourage our export industries and I do not think this measure will help them at all.

Mention has been made of the tourist industry, and that is another significant growth industry that will be seriously disadvantaged by the measure that we are contemplating at present. However there is another clause of the Bill that I find quite incredible. Clause 9 proposes to insert a new section into the principal Act. As originally proposed, this section was to be headed `Proscribed countries' and stated:

10. (1) The Minister may, by determination in writing published in the Gazette, declare a foreign country specified in the determination to be, or to have been, with effect from and including a day specified in the determination (which may be a day before the day of commencment of this section), a proscribed country and, upon the publication of the determination in the Gazette, that country shall be taken to be, or to have been and to be, as the case requires, for the purposes of this section, a proscribed country during the period to which that determination relates.

(2) Where the Minister makes a determination under sub-section (1) in relation to a foreign country, the Minister may, in that determination, or in another determination in writing published in the Gazette, declare that expenditure of a specified kind incurred during the period to which the first-mentioned determination relates, being expenditure that relates, directly or indirectly, to trade with that country, is not, withstanding any other provision of this Act, eligible expenditure for the purposes of this Act, but the Minister shall not make such a declaration in respect of expenditure the liability to pay which arose under an agreement or arrangement entered into before the day with effect from which that country became a proscribed country.

These two proposed sub-sections would have given considerable flexibility to the Minister. I cannot see any purpose in their being changed at all. In the amended Bill now before the Senate the heading has been changed to `Determinations in relation to the Republic of South Africa'. The proposed new section in this Bill goes on to enshrine reference to the Republic of South Africa. In the original proposed new section 10 headed `Proscribed Countries', South Africa could have been dealt with in any case. It seems to me that the proposal in the Bill now before us is a vindictive measure attacking South Africa for specific purposes. That country could have been dealt with in the original proposed new section, if the Government chose to be so vindictive.

I wonder what the Government's action would be with respect to Russia, for example, which for the past five years has been spending millions of dollars systematically slaughtering thousands of Afghanistan citizens. I could mention that from time to time it brutally invades neighbouring countries, killing millions of people and transporting even more to infamous gulags. The European and Asian countries where this has happened are too numerous to mention, but Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been treated in a very extraordinary and inhumane way by Russia. Why did the Government need to alter those two sub-sections in a very discriminating way?

Let us look at our trade with the Republic of South Africa. South Africa is twenty-second on our list of countries to which we export and is twenty-fifth among countries from which we import. Of more importance, in a situation of deteriorating balance of payments, is our favourable balance of trade with that country over the years from 1981-82 to 1983-84 has been increasing. The balance of trade with South Africa in our favour is quite considerable and could be improved. The Government with its vindictive attitude is saying: `We don't worry about trade with other countries. We can afford to wipe off $150m or a couple of hundred million dollars worth of trade with that country'.

I heard Senator Jones say yesterday that whites are killing blacks in South Africa. He is obviously not informed on the situation in that country because the majority of black people being killed in South Africa are being killed by black people. That is the truth of the matter. If the honourable senator had been a bit sensible he would have realised that that is the case.

Senator Aulich —We would not know because we do not get free trips.

Senator JESSOP —If my dear friend wants a free trip, I am sure that could be arranged. Many people on his side of the chamber have had free trips to the Eastern bloc countries. I am sure that that is a very commendable thing for them to do because they go over there and learn a little more about the incredible supression that the citizens of the communist countries are subject to. If they had the opportunity to go to other states in Africa as I have-

Senator Lewis —They can go to Libya and Saudi Arabia.

Senator JESSOP —Exactly. Colonel Gadaffi is an incredibly humane person. The honourable senator can go to Libya and examine his attitude to human rights. I am sure that would be an education for the honourable senator. Honourable senators should go to Africa, as I have done on one or two occasions. Prior to going to South Africa I went to black African states and I assure the honourable senator opposite that there are problems-

Senator Aulich —I found when I went to South Africa that I had to pay my own way.

Senator JESSOP —The honourable senator can do what he likes. I will pay my own way too. A lot of his colleagues do not.

Senator Chipp —Settle down, fellows.

Senator JESSOP —I thank Senator Chipp for walking in and taking an interest in this debate. I am sure we appreciate that. If honourable senators go to black African states they will find that apartheid exists in every black African state which they visit. It is an apartheid of a different character. It is a question of black tribe versus black tribe. There is no question of one vote one value in those countries either.

Senator Aulich —It does not indulge in systematic economic exploitation.

Senator JESSOP —My dear friend refers to economic exploitation. He is ignorant of the black states in that very important country. I am not talking about South Africa. Black Africa is a very significant part of the world, and I am afraid that a lot of ignorance is associated with it. I doubt very much whether the African continent has ever been discussed in the Australian Labor Party Executive as a concept, as a continent of importance to Australia. It certainly was not discussed when the Fraser Government was in power. The question of Africa was disregarded. But I assure honourable senators that the one vote one value ideal that is put forward by the Labor Party is an impossibility in any African state. In African states such as Tanzania there is an elitist voting system. The military people and the elite in Libya have the vote. The majority of the people have no vote at all. They have to do what they are told. Most of those states are unitary states, or military dictatorships, and to hell with the peasants and the general population; their rulers could not care less about them.

South Africa is a different matter. Trading with South Africa is important, not only with respect to the revenue that we derive from it, but also--

Senator Aulich —That is very important.

Senator JESSOP —The honourable senator does not know what he is talking about so he should go and have a look for himself.

Senator Aulich —I have been there.

Senator JESSOP —Has he? Well, he has not taken much notice otherwise he would have been--

Senator Aulich —As I said, I paid my own way there.

Senator JESSOP —I am glad of that. Obviously, he is a wealthy person. Let us examine the situation in South Africa. That country spends no less than $517m a year on supporting northern black African states that require international aid. It readily provides that aid. The ethnic situation in South Africa mean that 13 or 14 different ethnic groups have to be accommodated. Nobody seems to have any regard for the progress that that country is trying to make in the face of international criticism. We are all opposed to apartheid but we pay no respect to that country for eliminating apartheid in sport. That has happened. We can talk to any sportsman who goes there and he will tell us that. No regard is had for the fact that that country has come to grips with at last-I must say that I was impatient about that-the pass laws and the system of group areas that we all abhor. No credit is given to the fact that the immorality Act is in the process of being abandoned and other progressive moves are in train. How far do the South Africans have to go before they are at least recognised as trying to respond to the criticisms and the lies that have been promulgated in this House? Yesterday Senator Jones accused white people of killing blacks. That was very extravagant and a stupid statement to make. To entomb the South African Government in this Bill is a disgrace. I just cannot follow it or support it.

The coalition parties oppose trade sanctions on South Africa. This is the thin edge of the wedge. Do honourable senators opposite know why we oppose trade sanctions? We do so because sanctions against South Africa will inevitably mean disinvestment. I suppose the effect of that does not enter their tiny minds. Three quarters of a million black South Africans are employed by multinational companies. I do not think the small-minded Labor Party senators have regard for the influence that those multinational companies have had in improving the quality of life of the black people they employ, or the influence that they had on the establishment--

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Haines) —Order, Senator Jessop.

Senator JESSOP —I am talking about trade and I will now talk about trade unions. It is largely the influence of these countries trading with South Africa that has been responsible for the establishment of trade unions. A tremendous amount of pressure has been exerted on the South African Government by those countries. This was acknowledged, of course, by Chief Buthelezi, who you would say is an Uncle Tom.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Jessop will direct his remarks through the chair.

Senator JESSOP —Chief Buthelezi is very interested in trading with Australia. I believe that the measure incarcerated in this Bill will affect trade between Australia and South Africa. That will affect the jobs of 750,000 black South Africans and 1.5 million black foreigners who are working in that country. Chief Buthelezi is very concerned about that, being the leader of six million Zulus, the largest ethnic group within that unfortunate country.

Senator Aulich —Unfortunate for whom?

Senator JESSOP —By African standards, South Africans are very fortunate. If what the honourable senator says is true and having regard to the trading advantage that we have had with that country over the years, which is referred to in this Bill, why did at least 80,000 black people from the north crash the borders to get into South Africa? Why did they do so if it is such a bad place in which to live? If honourable senators had any brains or any sense they would appreciate that. However, let us look at trade.

Senator Jones —Madam Acting Deputy President, I raise a point of order. I believe that Senator Jessop is getting away from the terms of the Bill. I ask that he address his remarks to the legislation before the chamber.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Haines) —Order! There is no point of order. Senator Jessop, I must say that I have been somewhat amazed at the patience exercised by honourable senators on my right. I ask you to consider the fact that we are debating the Export Market Development Grants Amendment Bill 1985 and to address your remarks to that topic.

Senator JESSOP —Thank you for your guidance, Madam Acting Deputy President. I think the quietness on the part of honourable senators on your right may be because they have guilty consciences and they realise that what I am saying is from a position of knowledge rather than stupidity. I will return to the Bill. I think the Minister for Finance (Senator Walsh), who is at the table-he is one of the few members of the front bench who have a knowledge of natural resources and the resources development of this country-has paid a tremendous amount of attention to these areas and has made some very sensible speeches about them which I totally endorse. I am sure that the Minister would be concerned that the stainless steel industry in Australia will be affected considerably if we cut off our trade with South Africa because we buy no less than 1,000 tonnes of chrome-one company alone-for the stainless steel industry of Australia, which enables us to be competitive on the world market. If we could not get chrome from South Africa, in the spirit of this piece of legislation, I believe that the stainless steel industry would become uncompetitive and our export income would languish as a result.

Senator Aulich —A blood and chrome foreign policy.

Senator JESSOP —I think there may be occasions in the future when the honourable senator will live to regret that statement. I am opposed to the stupidity of this legislation. Flexibility was provided in the original Act. There is no need to remove section 10, which gave the Minister the ability to identify proscribed countries and to enable him, through the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, to make announce- ments in that respect. I object to the discrimination against one country in this measure. I believe there are elements in the Bill that we are discussing that will be detrimental to the export industries of our country.