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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 269

Mr Grassby asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(1)   Is Australia the only country in the arid and semi-arid zones without a wheat variety bred for irrigation farming.

(2)   Has there been developed at the Wheat Research institute, Wagga, New South Wales, a wheat variety know as 7147 which has yielded in excess of 100 bushels per acre under irrigation in trials carried out to date.

(3)   If so, has foundation seed of this variety been released to all mainland States and to several overseas countries.

(4)   If seed has been released overseas, will those countries which have secured these supplies of foundation seed of this highly promising variety be in a position to successfully compete against our own producers with our own Australianbred wheat unless we ensure that we ourselves have adequate supplies of seed.

(5)   Has all available seed of this variety been planted for seed increase this year pending quality testing and evaluation so that immediate advantage can be obtained if quality standards are met.

(6)   If not, will he act urgently to ensure maximum seed increase this year by maximum plantings in optimum situations.

Mr Sinclair (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Australia has wheat varieties bred for irrigation farming.

(2)   A variety known as 7147 which was bred at the Wheat Research Institute, Wagga, has been grown in small plot trials and where these were irrigated, the yield approached 100 bushels per acre.

(3)   Foundation seed of variety 7147 has been made available on request to wheat breeders in other Australian States. Small quantities have also been forwarded to wheat breeders in overseas countries.

(4)   The performance of this selection under Australian conditions is not a necessary indication of the way it will show up in a foreign environment. In any case it would be some years before overseas recipients were in a position to have supplies available for bulk sowings.

(5)   Extensive plantings have been made this year for field and quality evaluation. Adequate seed should be available for sowings in 1973 by registered seed wheat growers.

(6)   Covered by answer to (5) above.

French Nuclear Tests (Question No. 5973)

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for

Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Has he obtained the text of the remarks by Monsieur Pierre Messmer in Noumea on 27th May 1972 concerning Australia's attitude to the French nuclear tests this year. (Hansard, 30th May 1972).

(2)   Has Australia made representations concerning these remarks to the French or any other government.

(3)   With which countries has Australia discussed protests against the tests and which countries are known to have made protests. (Hansard, 7th September 1971, page 877 and 2nd December 1971, page 4123).

(4)   What were the terms of Australia's and their protests.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honourable member's questions is as follows:

(1)   and (2) I have seen the text of Monsieur Messmer's remarks as reported by the news media. Steps have been taken both in Canberra and in Paris to draw the attention of the French Government to the fact that, if these reports are correct, Monsieur Messmer's statement is a misrepresentation of the Australian Government's position towards the conduct of French Pacific nuclear tests. The Australian Government has on numerous occasions in the past clearly stated its opposition to such tests to the French Government both through public statements and through the delivery of official protest notes. As recently as 29th March 1972 a note was presented to the French Ambassador in Canberra, and on the same day the Minister for Foreign Affairs issued a statement referring to the note and emphasising the Government's opposition to the French Government's intention to resume Pacific atmospheric testing this year.

(3)   (a) Although the Government has conducted discussions with certain regional countries concerning joint protests, those exchanges were of a confidential Government-to-Government nature, and must be respected as such,

(b)   This year, the following countries are known to have protested to the French Government over the conduct of atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific:


New Zealand





(4)   The terms of the Australian protest note were announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on 29th March 1972. The protest:

(a)   recalled the Government's past opposition to French Pacific testing;

(b)   reaffirmed our interest as a party to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, of 1963, in seeing that Treaty universally applied and supported;

(c)   reiterated our community of interest with the nations and peoples of the Pacific and emphasised the deep concern of the people of this region at the intention of the French Government to resume atmospheric tests there.

In conclusion the note repeated the Australian Government's opposition to the conduct of these tests.

It would be inappropriate for the Australian Government to disclose the terras of protests lodged by other nations, in those cases when such terms were known to the Australian Government.

Returned Services League's Pension Plan (Question No. 3711)

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for

Repatriation, upon notice:

Why has the estimated cost of extending hospital, medical and pharmaceutical benefits to all returned ex-servicemen of the Boer War and World War I, as proposed by the Returned Services League, risen in a single year from $4m to $7.04m (Hansard, 6th May 1970, page 1764, and 28th April 1971, page 2213).

Mr Holten (INDI, VICTORIA) (Minister for Repatriation) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The estimated cost of $4m given on 6th May 1970 was based on an assumption that only about two-thirds of those who would become eligible would seek treatment through Repatriation facilities. In 1971 it was decided to assume that all those who would become eligible would avail themselves of this form of Government assistance and, consequently, the estimated cost at that time was given as $7.04m.

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