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Tuesday, 7 December 1993
Page: 4066


Senator SHERRY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy) (10.00 p.m.) —In concluding this debate for the government, I would like to respond to a number of points. The government in a Christmas spirit—frankly, I think Senator Ian Macdonald might have been indulging in something more than that tonight judging by his contribution—

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Colston)—Order!


Senator SHERRY —The government, in Christmas spirit, went out of its way to adjourn the industrial relations debate tonight in consideration of the fact that the amendments had not been circulated. Then Senator Ian Macdonald came in and gave us a diatribe about industrial relations tax measures but did not deal with the issues contained in this legislation which is before the Senate. No wonder we will be sitting here late at night next week when we hear contributions like that.

  Senator Macdonald will have an opportunity to speak on the industrial relations legislation either later on tonight or on another day. So when he comes down here, he should take into consideration the goodwill that the government has offered in respect of the debate, and also probably the concern that some of his own colleagues have when he makes ridiculous contributions such as the one he has just made. The only successful grasp of policy that he has been able to—


Senator Brownhill —Mr Acting Deputy President, I raise a point of order. It was not a ridiculous contribution that Senator Ian Macdonald made. He made a very learned and considered contribution.


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —What is your point of order?


Senator Brownhill —The point of order is that I think Senator Sherry has maligned my colleague Senator Ian Macdonald by saying that he did not make a good contribution to the debate.


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —That is no point of order.


Senator SHERRY —I was about to make the point that the only successful grasp of policy that Senator Ian Macdonald has got across during his time in this chamber is called `How to bash the Australian Democrats'. He ought to grow up.

  Let us return to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Amendment Bill. I want to respond to an issue that was raised by Senator Lees concerning the Geographical Indications Committee and the process that that committee will follow when determining the boundaries for names. She raised some concerns on this issue. The provisions within the legislation provide for the committee to publish some interim determinations on the boundaries issue. There will then be 28 days for people who do not agree with the determinations to complain to the committee. The committee will further consider the complaints, if there are any, and then publish its final determination. Those final determinations may be subject to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. I believe that that process does cover the concerns outlined by Senator Lees.

  I would like to thank the rest of the members of the opposition, with the exception of Senator Ian Macdonald, for their contribution to the debate. While their speeches did range far and wide they were generally relevant to the future of the wine industry. It was good to hear their contributions.   Senator Calvert informed us about his experiences in the French wine industry and the contribution that the Australian industry is making to that industry. He quite rightly drew our attention to the fact that whilst we are leading the world in many areas of technology in the wine industry, we have to pay significant regard to the competition that we face from such countries as South Africa, New Zealand and Chile. We need to ensure that we keep that competitive edge.

  Senator Calvert touched on a critical issue, not just in wine industry policy but in agricultural policy in general, when he quite rightly criticised not only the attitude of the French and the way in which they operate and control their wine industry. He quite aptly drew the Senate's attention to the fact that the winery he visited was centred in a 16th century house and a 11th century barn. That typifies the French agricultural industry and all it represents. If the French cannot modernise and adapt to modern techniques, they are about adopting high tariff walls to keep the rest of the world out, and in particular Australian producers.

  This legislation, as other senators have indicated, is significant because it indicates the maturity of the Australian wine industry. It will be able to stand on its own two feet. It will be able to enter into Europe under its own name brands, which will be a very significant advance, with a minimum of bureaucratic restraint by the Europeans, and particularly the French.

  A number of dates are contained in this legislation. By 31 December this year the bill provides for the phasing out of some names such as beaujolais, cava, frascati, sancerre, St Emilion and a number of others. By 31 December 1997 it provides for the phasing out of chianti, hock, madeira and malaga. If I may make a correction to a comment that I think Senator Brownhill made, there are no agreed dates to this point in time for the phasing out of the use of a number of other names such as burgundy, chablis, and champagne. We do not have agreed dates on the phase-out of those particular names.

  In concluding the debate, I thank the opposition, the Democrats and, I assume, the Greens for their support. Senator Calvert pointed out that I bear the name `sherry'. It is of Spanish-Irish origin, and has its origins in the Jerez region of Spain. The only trepidation and concern I have is what will replace the name `sherry' when it is phased out sometime after 1997.

  This legislation enjoys the unanimous support of the Senate. It is a hallmark of the coming of age of the Australian wine industry. It is a great industry. Whilst we might argue, depending on which particular state or region we come from, about how good our particular wine is—obviously, coming from Tasmania I have a particular view about Tasmanian wine being at least equal to the rest of the wine in Australia—there is one point of agreement that I would hope we will end on: that is, that Australian wine is the best in the world.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.

  Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.