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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 2103

Mr ROBINSON (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Assistant Minister assisting the Postmaster-General) - I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether the Government's trade policy with Mainland China has proved to be highly successful, despite attempts by the Leader of the Opposition and the honourable members for Dawson and Riverina to interfere. Have Australian commercial negotiators made record sales to mainland China, not only of wheat but also of sugar and steel? Are many Australian exporters continuing a highly effective series of missions to Mainland China on behalf of Australian industry, with excellent future prospects?

Mr ANTHONY - I think I have answered this question adequately in the last few days and have revealed that our performance has been very satisfactory, especially in relation to other countries. During the 1960s, of course, Australia was amongst the first 5 major traders with the People's Republic of China. We were one of the largest sellers, if not the largest seller, of wheat to that country. Only when a number of issues came to bear, such as the People's Republic having a greater capacity to produce more wheat and possibly the policital interference and embarrassment that the Opposition caused, were we prevented from being able to make satisfactory arrangements with that country.

Mr Beazley - And the embarrassment your own television performance caused.

Mr ANTHONY - I hear the honourable member for Fremantle interjecting. He says that my own performance was the cause of a lack of sales. I take up the challenge on what I said at that performance - that I did have principles and that I was not prepared to sell my soul- (Opposition members interjecting)

Mr SPEAKER -Order! On 3 occasions

Mr Uren - The Country Party-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Reid will cease talking while the Speaker is on his feet. On 3 occasions this morning there has been what I call undue mirth and display of hilarity.

Mr Buchanan - Larrikinism.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! If the honourable gentleman interjects again I will name him. I have stated that no member shall interject while the Speaker is on his feet. It is very seldom that I rise, but this morning I feel that it is time that, some firmer action be taken to stop this hilarity in the House. I see I have the concurrence of several honourable members. On the next occasion an honourable member interjects I shall not hesitate to name him.

Mr ANTHONY - I said on television that I was not prepared to sell my soul for trade to any country, and I still stand by that. I think anybody with a little dignity and respect would do the same. I am sure the Chinese would do the same also. The honourable member for Dawson, in his usual courageous way, brought a censure motion against me in this House whilst I was out of the country and tried to accuse me and the Government for the failure to make a sale to the People's Republic. He knows full well, particularly after his own personal visit to China, that this had nothing at all to do with it. He has not had the dignity or the decency to make an apology because of it. It is about time the Australian people and his own Party realised that this is a man who is prepared to capitalise on any political situation. He does not show much loyalty to the wheat industry, other agricultural industries, his own Party or his own Leader.

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