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Wednesday, 19 September 1973
Page: 1252

Mr DUTHIE (Wilmot) - 'Is it not marvellous how righteous honourable members become when they find themselves in Opposition? It is absolutely amazing. Since the present Opposition started sitting on the Opposition benches haloes have been forming over the heads of each one of them as the months have gone by.

Mr Kelly - What have you done with yours, Gil? You used to have it on.

Mr DUTHIE - I put mine away in my hip pocket. I am amazed at the attitude adopted by members of the Opposition who were members of the former Government. They talk about mistakes. I sat in this Parliament in Opposition for 23 years. I listened to their mistakes over and over again. These errors do slip into legislation; I will admit that. I will admit that this piece of legislation should have spelt out in more detail the matter in dispute. Let us be quite frank about this matter. The provision with respect to brucellosis assistance should have been spelt out in the legislation. I suggested yesterday that this error if it is an error, or omission if it is an omission, should be remedied in the Bill when it is transmitted to the Senate so that what is proposed is made quite clear. Let us be frank on this point: The nation will not fall to pieces if we state our own mind on this matter.

I wish to take up another matter now and it concerns the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair), the last Minister for Primary Industry in the former Government, who is sitting at the table. He dealt with the Department of Primary Industry for many years. I hope that he did so on a most straightforward and honest basis. In the Parliament yesterday and today he has said more or less that the figures given to us by that Department are inaccurate. That was an astounding statement for an ex-Minister to make with respect to a department that he must have trusted day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year to give him information.

Mr Sinclair - I still ask questions.

Mr DUTHIE - Yes, when the honourable member was on this side of the chamber-

Mr Sinclair - My very word I did.

Mr DUTHIE - I was sorry that the honourable member did not, before he made his statement, have an interview with the representative of the Department who is here today. I looked at the figures yesterday; I studied them. There is no ambiguity in those figures at all. They show that $74m will be raised by this levy over a 3-year period - virtually 33 months, as the crow flies. This will meet an expenditure in the same period of $74m. No profit is made after stamps, etc., are paid for. There is no profit at all in this deal. Yet honourable members opposite had the nerve to rise here yesterday and to say that a profit of approximately $30m according to one honourable member, $18m according to another, would result from the provisions of this Bill. If we could make deals like that, we would never need to budget for a deficit. But I definitely say that the Government will not be raising its money and its profits in that way.

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