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Wednesday, 19 September 1973
Page: 1251

Mr KELLY (Wakefield) - When this debate began I had considerable sympathy for the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby) because he would not be the first Minister who, acting for another Minister, has picked up a Bill with whose contents he was not fully au fait. I would be the first to admit that I made mistakes in my time as a Minister. I would have thought more of the Minister if on this occasion he had admitted quite frankly that he had an unfortunate conjunction of circumstances. Firstly, when he introduced the Bill he said that the money raised would be used for meat inspection, but we now find that it is to be used for brucellosis testing as well. But as I say, everybody makes mistakes, and I think that If the Minister for Immigration had admitted on this occasion that he had made a mistake we all would have thought more of him.

What I think was his fault has been compounded now that we have had a clear exposition by the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair) followed by the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street), who said that the difficulty is that under this Bill a payment will be made for something which we now find is different from the original purpose of the Bill. But allowing for that, the charge will be levied on the figure for estimated exports. Whoever pretends that he can get those figures right, as the honourable member for Corangamite says, is kidding himself. Indeed, what would happen if we had a complete change-about in the Australian scene? Even the Minister for Immigration would not pretend that he has any influence in this matter. We would have a complete alteration in, the amount of funds collected. I think it is. completely proper that there should be a trust fund into which moneys collected could be paid so they will be used for the intended purpose. We have no complaint that the industry is paying for tuberculosis and brucellosis eradication. We want to make certain that the money raised will be used for that purpose.

I always think it is a silly thing that governments of whatever complexion will not admit they have made little mistakes. On this occasion a little mistake has been made in detail in some respects and ought to be recognised by the Government. Earlier in the life of this Parliament an honourable member opposite stated that the Government would not behave as if it received directions from on high; that if it made a mistake it would recognise it. This process of forming a trust account is quite a common process. All we seek to do is to ensure that the money that is collected is used for the purpose for which it is collected and is kept for that purpose. In offering friendly, fatherly advice to the Minister for Immigration I say that, if he would recognise, firstly that he made a mistake when he introduced the Bill and, secondly, that the formation of a trust fund is the common way of ensuring that moneys are used for the purpose for which they are intended, we all would think more of him. I repeat that I started off with some sympathy for him. It is now gradually evaporating. I am now seeing him more as a scarlet-breasted budgie bouncing around on a bough. I hope he would see the opportunity to redeem himself not only in our eyes but in the industry's eyes by accepting the very sensible and responsible amendment moved by the honourable member for New England.

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