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Thursday, 28 October 1993
Page: 2774

Senator BURNS —by leave—I table the report of the Australian parliamentary delegation to the United States of America, June-July 1993. I seek leave to move a motion and make a short statement.

  Leave granted.

Senator BURNS —I move:

  That the Senate take note of the report.

At the outset we were received as old friends. There was no doubt about the American and Australian respect and affection for each other. We were able to strengthen ties between the two countries further. We certainly put forward in a very forceful way our views about the agricultural subsidy scheme, the export enhancement program, and its effect on Australian agriculture. It is true that not all Americans understand what is happening in regard to the damage to our industry and in terms of the price they pay as taxpayers of that nation. There are a couple of recommendations in the report which are very important and very sensible. One of them states:

The Delegation recommends that the Australian Government commission a detailed study of the costs to American consumers, and to producers in related industries, of the current United States agricultural subsidies and import restrictions on agricultural produce.

The results of the study should be

.made widely known amongst United States Congressional representatives as well as to members of the wider community who are adversely affected by these protectionist agricultural policies;

.used to identify sectors of the United States community with whom strategic partnerships may be fostered to promote alternative agricultural and trade policies that would benefit Australia.

That is a practical way in which we will begin to turn around the unfortunate position we have in regard to our agricultural production and how it suffers because of the policies of the EEC and USA.

  We also looked at the way in which Austrade operated in America. We made a further recommendation which relates to looking at some of the old areas in which Austrade has operated for so many years. Those resources could be better utilised in other areas which have a very promising future—that is, the area of Seattle and on the west coast of America on the Pacific rim. These are a couple of very useful recommendations which should go into the record.

  We had access to some fairly influential people in the US, including the leaders of each of the parties in the Congress and the Senate. We spoke to Vice President Gore who showed a great deal of understanding and knowledge of a number of matters including world population growth, environmental pollution and unemployment, which I believe are three very important issues that concern everybody throughout the world.

  He went further to talk about security which was also of concern to the delegation and our country. He clearly said that the US would continue to be involved in the Pacific as our allies and it would continue to provide its contribution to the security of that area, which is so important to us. He said that all areas of cooperation between our countries were vital and that we must not only continue that but also enhance cooperation and make it stronger.

  In closing, I reiterate that I think it was a very useful visit. I hope that in two years time a similar visit can take place and it can be even more productive than the one that has just concluded.