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Thursday, 29 October 1970

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Deputy Prime Minister) - The calculations of the Department of Trade and Industry from sterling to Australian currency of the amount of the levy - in this case it is a straight out duty - which the British Government has announced it proposes to impose on Australian mutton and lamb is, I am advised, fractionally more than 3c Australia a lb. It is my belief that I stated that amount in my statement to the House. If I am wrong I invite anyone to contradict me, but I think I stated that amount. So I think that the honourable gentleman takes his policy from the front page of the 'Australian Financial Review'. This is how it is brought in.

I told the House that ! had heard of these proposals late on Monday, when they were given to me on a confidential basis by the office of the British High Commission here and, having been given them on a confidential basis, I could not reveal them. When the British High Commission furnished me with the text of the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I then, at the very first opportunity, came into the House and stated the attitude of the

British Government on this matter. 1 am touched by the concern of the Leader of the Opposition for Australian rural industries, as revealed in his question.

Last night the Leader of the Opposition made his very full and very considered policy speech, describing the attitude of the Australian Labor Party to all the problems of Australia at the momment. His speech included these words:

Our 2 greatest rural industries - wool and wheat - have suffered disastrously from this lack of leadership.

That is the policy of the Labor Party as enunciated in the full, considered policy statement of the Leader of the Opposition, and not another syllable in the whole policy speech of the Leader of the Opposition deals with the rural industries. Of course, there is not a syllable in it of constructive suggestion. It is just a backhanded slap at the Government and the Australian Country Party.

Mr Cohen - Mr Speaker. I raise a point of order. Has this any relevance at all to the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition?

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