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Govt. 'gives emotional radicals a platform' on chemical inquiry



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P A R L IA M E N T A R Y U b S A R v M IC A H

GOVT. "GIVES EMOTIONAL RADICALS A PLATFORM" ON CHEMICAL INQUIRY,

The Federal Government has allowed an unnecessary Senate select committee inquiry into the chemical industry that will provide "a platform for emotional radicals," the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Austin Lewis, said today.

Senator Lewis said that the Government·should have at least deferred the inquiry until after it received the report of the Australian Science and Technology Council into Chemical Residues in Agricultural Products.

"The Senate inquiry will provide a platform for emotional radicals who wish to attack the chemical industry, particularly the multi-nationals," said Senator Lewis.

Senator Lewis said the Government's decision in allowing the inquiry proposed by the Democrats showed "the deviousness of this Government and its capacity for political expediency at the expense of commonsense and the primary producers of Australia."

Senator Lewis said the Opposition Parties totally opposed the inquiry which had "the potential to cause great harm to Australia’s hard-earned reputation as a world leader in the production of clean agricultural products.

"The Opposition supported the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Bill, 1988 which purported to provide proper safeguards but would not support the expensive and scaremongering inquiry proposed by the Democrats. .

"We are concerned that there will be further delays in clearing and registering chemical products that could severely harm local chemical industries. . ’

"The worst bottlenecks appear to be the Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee of the National Health and Medical Council which is under-resourced so that it is in as big a mess as the rest of the Health Minister's department."

(Senator Lewis was talkcommenting on the Senate decision on November 2, 1988 to establish a Select Committee of Inquiry into Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals in Australia. The motion to establish the committee was supported by Government and Australian

Democrat Senators and opposed by Liberal and National Party Senators.)

Further information: Peter Coster (062) 77 3205 (03) 267 1303

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