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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5486


Senator COOK (Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Shipping and Aviation Support) (3.10 a.m.) —Onions are, for the purposes of this levy, costed only in so far as the export of onions is concerned, not the domestic consumption of onions. But potatoes are costed for the total production. The explanation, I am advised, is that it is not possible to calculate the production—


Senator Reid —It doesn't make sense to you, does it?


Senator COOK —I want to be precise because I divine there is a bit of temperature rising in the chamber.


Senator Archer —I will give you a half-hour adjournment.


Senator COOK —I do not need a half-hour adjournment. I want to check each of my words with the advisers so that the record is correct. The advice I have is that it is not possible to levy domestic onions.


Senator Reid —Why not?


Senator Archer —Why potatoes and not onions?


Senator COOK —The advice is that there is no existing mechanism in place to do it.


Senator Reid —So onions are that huge amount extra. It is really ridiculous.


Senator COOK —My further advice is that onions are export sensitive. It is not the domestic end of the onion market that needs the survey, it is the export end.


Senator Archer —Can we adjourn for half an hour?


Senator COOK —No, we cannot. We must deal with the legislation now. I have provided the Committee with an explanation.