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Thursday, 14 October 1971
Page: 2415


Order! There is no substance in the point of order.

Mr IRWIN - I was battling against time. Sit down, you mean contemptible thing.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Deputy Speaker, T think the honourable member called me a dirty, miserable beast and 1 ask that he withdraw that statement.

Mr IRWIN - 1 withdraw it. Any buyer of wool may, on the initiative of an authorised person appointed by the Minister, be subjected to a search of all books and records. This is an unacceptable intrusion into the affairs of any company. I had to rush my speech, Mr Deputy Speaker, to get it through. I dislike the attitude of the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron).

Such an authorised person, who would probably be an officer of the Commission, can become aware of all the most confidential trading details of any wool buyer or merchant. This will cause the greatest hostility among buyers and again is an affront to those who determine whether wool is sold. Is it the intention of the Act to provide autocratic means to compel buyers to give confidential trading information to the Minister so that the Commission will become, quite improperly, aware of the price limits of the buying houses and particularly of the merchants? I want it distinctly understood that I am in favour of assisting the wool industry to the utmost, even in the first instance up to S500m, but I want the money utilised intelligently to the greatest benefit of the industry and those engaged therein. There cannot be any protest against what I propose, because secondary industry over the years has been subsidised many times the $500m that I have referred to and at the expense and cost of primary industries. However, what we are doing is not in the best interests of the wool industry. I suggest the withdrawal of the Bill before the House. The International Wool Secretariat, the Australian Wool Board and the Australian Wool Industry Conference should be wound up forthwith. The Australian Wool Commission should be the sole authority and its charter altered. The Government's action may be well intentioned, but it is misplaced. The people who will benefit most from the support price plan in the short term are opposed to the provisions of the Bill and are convinced that the implementation of such provisions will mean the eventual elimination of the wool industry. They would prefer to work to a long range plan to build up a strong viable wool industry adapted to totally different conditions and conceptions from those of the past.

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