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Retaliation of meat rejected

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A suggestion that Australia should retaliate against American demands on meat inspection was rejected in the House

of Representatives by the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr. Anthony.

He said it was up to responsible people to ensure that

Australia continued to have access to the American market.

Mr. Anthony was replying to Mr. Duthie (Lab., Tas.) who asked

whether, in view of the disastrous effects on meat exporting and

processing works of what amounted to gross American interference

in an Australian export industry, the Government would consider a boycott on selected American imports as legitimate retaliation.

Mr. -Anthony said "1 have heard of some stupid ideas, but very few exceed that one.

"We have a very good market for our beef -- one which is the basis of the whole prosperity of this rural industry which is

one of the few rural industries at the moment which are going through buoyant conditions,

"If we did not have access to that market I would hate to

think what the circumstances of the meat industry in Australia

would be, in relation not only to beef but to all other types of meat in this country.

"There is a problem of maintaining inspection standards but

I would like any member of this House to name another country that has done a better job in upgrading its abattoirs and its

inspection service and maintaining access to the United States market than Australia.

"I saw figures showing that in 1968 approximately 800 foreign

abattoirs were removed from the -American list. Australia lost 20. Some countries were completely delisted.

"Australia is still exporting approximately 50 per cent of

the meat that is imported for the American market.

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"It is up to responsible people in this Government to

ensure that we continue to have access to that market.

rile will only have it provided we can meet the hygiene standards that are required by the American Government.

If it can be shown by American inspectors that there are

deficiencies in our works and that they do not reach the

standards required of them, then we have to do something about


"If these people find these deficiencies we should not squeal

too much about i-t because, if it can be proved that there are

deficiencies, we will not win the argument.

Answering a question by Mr. McIver (Tab., Vie.), who asked

if he was aware of dissatisfaction and threats of resignation

by Australian inspectors due to the Government bringing

inspectors from New Zealand, Mr. Anthony said the New Zealand

inspectors were brought to Australia to allow Australian

inspectors to take their recreation leave.

He said: "For a period our inspectors used very strong

language because we made this arrangement.

"At one stage they did not want the New Zealand inspectors

at all.

"If inspectors had not been brought from New Zealand,

meatworks would have had to close down completely, and workers

would have been dismissed.

"Producers would not have been able to sell their meat, and

prices would have collapsed.

"There has to be a little bit of sense, reason and compromise

by all parties."


1st October, 1970