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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 3075


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman has moved for the suspension of Standing Orders. That does not entitle him to cover the whole of the reasons for the debate. I suggest that he confine himself to the motion, which is that Standing Orders be suspended.


Mr GRASSBY - Thank you very much for your guidance, Mr Speaker. I have been most careful, in fact, to deal only with the reasons for the motion.


Mr SPEAKER - Just not careful enough.


Mr GRASSBY - Care is a great challenge always. There is a very urgent reason why the House should agree to the suspension of Standing Orders. The situation is that new evidence has been presented by the industry, and unless we agree to this motion honourable members will not have an opportunity to debate the position at all. There has been further support in the industry for the abolition of the tax, as appears from the terms of the motion. However, I quote also in support of my motion the motion that still appears on the notice paper under the name of the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles). I should like to quote this motion to the House. Honourable members will be well aware that the honourable member for Angas on 25th November moved:

That Parliament abolish wine excise because (a) the grape grower section of the industry is bearing, and is likely to bear, the main burden of the tax, (b) it has caused damage through being the most important factor in a strong downturn in sales and (c) it is largely self-defeating.

The background to the motion for the suspension of Standing Orders this morning is that I and my colleagues moved the suspension of Standing Orders at that time to enable the House to debate the motion moved by the honourable member for Angas which was vital to the industry. I am sorry to say that the honourable member for Angas voted against our motion. I tried again and he had a remorse of conscience and fled the chamber. I am delighted to see that he is in the chamber this morning.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I do not think that the attitude of the honourable member for Angas has any relation to the reason why there should be a suspension of Standing Orders.


Mr GRASSBY - I am trying to help him, Mr Speaker.


Mr SPEAKER -I think that the honourable member for Angas is capable of looking after himself. The honourable gentleman will keep to the motion before the House.


Mr GRASSBY - As I said, the Parliament shortly will go into a winter recess of 2i months. New evidence has come before us and every segment of the industry has been unanimous in desiring this debate.

The other point that supports very strongly the carrying of the motion I have moved this morning is the fact that the Grant report is one of a series of 6 reports. Actually, this is the Government's report on its 2 previous reports, which I would say is quite a feat of dexterity on the part of the Government. However, the main point is that the report which has been completed and which is in the hands of the Minister has not been released. We are going into the wilderness for 2i months. We may or may not see this report. We may or may not have an opportunity to examine it and to challenge its conclusions, if any. I stress that we do not even know what is in the report. It is absolutely vital that the Parliament as a whole has an opportunity to hear from the Government at this eleventh hour what it intends to do about the report on which the Government has hung the whole o. its policy. On several occasions recently, the Government has indicated that perhaps the wine excise could be reduced by half. I am just trying to point to the-


Mr SPEAKER -Order! In spite of my warning, the honourable member for Riverina has not taken any heed. If he is not very careful he will not be able to continue because I will deal with him. I suggest that the honourable member keeps strictly to the motion.


Mr GRASSBY - I am trying very hard to do just that. I am trying to point out that if we do not suspend Standing Orders this morning the report to which I have referred will not come before the Parliament at a very vital period. This is the crux of my motion to suspend Standing Orders this morning. It is the only opportunity we have to bring the report before the Parliament. If this is not done now, we will have to wait 2i months and all sorts of things will be happening. It will be a vital time for the wine industry. This has been stated by the federal leader of the industry. It also would give us an opportunity in the Parliament to test the statement by the Leader of the industry that both the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) and the Minister for Primary Industry have made misleading statements. Surely the Ministers must be concerned that they have been challenged on their statements on this matter. 1 am saying to them quite frankly this morning that we would like to clear up the great doubts which exist as to the intention of the Government. We would very much like to examine in depth the statements to which I have referred only in passing. We have not had this opportunity and, as you very rightly pointed out, Mr Speaker, we do not have in the narrow confines of this debate the opportunity to test the statement of Mr Penfold Hyland that the 2 Ministers have been misleading and deceiving on this issue. I think that it is in the interests of the industry and of all the people concerned that we have this opportunity to clear up the situation and to establish it precisely. [ referred in the first instance to the reasons why we should do it now. I appeal to the Government supporters to agree to a suspension of Standing Orders and I appeal to the honourable members - there are 11 of them - who represent wine grape growers to find some courage on this issue, stand with us and have the debate. We are not asking those honourable members to bring down the Government but simply to suspend Standing Orders. I put it forward in a most reasonable way so that we can clear up very serious doubts which exist at this time about a most important industry.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! Will the honourable member for Riverina submit his motion in writing. Is the motion seconded?







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