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Wednesday, 6 November 1985
Page: 1654

Senator ARCHER —My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has the Government studied the revised rural income prediction of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics for 1985-86 that shows a decline of 26 per cent on the figure for 1984-85? Does the Government believe that farmers can once again cover such a disastrous decline simply with greater efficiency?

Senator BUTTON —I have not studied the document in question. I will refer the question to the Minister for Primary Industry and try to give Senator Archer an answer as soon as possible. Of course, the question has certain implications. The major implication is that the burden of decline in rural incomes is entirely within the control of the Australian Government or governments.

Senator Michael Baume —You take credit for making it rain.

Senator BUTTON —That is a view which I do not share, and I am sure Senator Archer would not share, although Senator Michael Baume, who is uttering some inane interjections, might take that view himself.

Senator Michael Baume —Mr Hawke is taking all the credit for it raining.

Senator BUTTON —I will refer the question to the Minister for Primary Industry. I am sure that when he provides an answer it will be much more relevant than some of the interjections that have come from this totally pathetic Opposition which contributes to the debate in that way.