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Tuesday, 29 April 1980
Page: 1885

Senator WALSH (Western Australia) -by leave- I claim to have been misrepresented. In answering a question from me today, Senator Carrick claimed that we- the Australian Labor Party, which obviously includes me- sneer at every Government measure which assists farmers. That is a gross misrepresentation of our position. I have been very critical of the tax measures announced by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) on 14 April, ostensibly as drought relief.

Senator Peter Baume - Mr President,was Senator Carrick 's statement directed specifically to Senator Walsh, or to a party? I submit that if it was directed to a party then it is not appropriate for Senator Walsh to make a personal explanation.

Senator Grimes - On the point of order, Mr President, I distinctly remember Senator Carrick saying that members of the Labor Party sneer. Senator Walsh and I are members of the Labor Party and I believe that Senator Walsh has every right to claim in this case to have been misrepresented.

The PRESIDENT -Misrepresentations should be of a nature that can be objected to on a personal basis but, if you claim that it is a personal reflection on you, or -

Senator WALSH - I do, Mr President. It was in answer to a question from me. Senator Carrick said that members of the Labor Party sneer at every Government measure which assists farmers. That is not true. I have been very critical of the taxation measures announced, ostensibly as drought relief measures, by the Prime Minister on 14 April. I have been critical of hem on several grounds: Firstly, as across-the-board measures, they apply to drought-affected areas and non-drought affected areas alike; secondly, like all taxation deductions, they provide the greatest benefits for those people with the highest incomes and, in this instance, they will provide huge handouts to farmers not affected by drought who have large off-farm incomes, generally known as Pitt Street farmers. For example, for -

Senator Peter Baume - I take a point of order. Senator Walsh is now debating the issue and is going far beyond a personal explanation.

The PRESIDENT - You must not debate the matter, Senator Walsh. It is a matter of explaining where you were misrepresented, and that is all.

Senator WALSH - That is what I am trying to do, Mr President. I am explaining why we have opposed the measures, which are not the reasons stated by Senator Carrick. The degree of this huge handout to people with off-farm incomes is apparent by the fact that 90 per cent of the investment in some circumstances will be paid for by the taxpayer. It is a 90 per cent handout to people with incomes of $50,000 who are not affected by drought.

Senator Peter Baume - I rise to take a point of order. It is based on the same ground as my earlier point of order.

The PRESIDENT - Order! A point of order has been raised. You must not continue in that vein. You are debating, Senator Walsh. I call Senator McLaren.

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