Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 28 November 1973
Page: 3978

Mr WHAN (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct a question to the

Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Do the results of the recent referendum on the export of merino rams provide support for the historic position of the Australian Labor Party on this matter? Was the vote a representative decision of woolgrowers? Do the results raise questions in relation to the representative nature of the Australian Wool Industry Conference?

Dr PATTERSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Northern Development) - It is quite obvious that the majority decision of rank and file wool growers made in the recent referendum or. the question of the embargo on the export of merino rams and semen to countries other than New Zealand was a serious rebuff for the Australian Country Party. The lesson to be learned by the Country Party is this: Its members should pay more attention to the rank and file wool grower than to the large, rich vested interests of wool growing concerns and the large stud breeders. The point has consistently been made that the .Australian Wool Industry Conference is the parliament of the wool growers. This is the second occasion now on a highly controversial issue when the decision of the AWIC has been reversed by the rank and file wool growers. The first occasion concerned the reserve price plan. I think that the Country Party would argue that because fewer than SO per cent voted it is not true representation. But anybody who has a look at the facts behind this issue will see that the Country Party can thank its lucky stars that the others did not vote, because if they were supporters of the Country Party they would have been there in droves to have a shot at this Government. If they had voted it would have made an even greater majority in favour of the embargo.

It will be interesting to hear what the Country Party will say now. If its members are consistent they should issue a Press statement saying that the great majority of those who supported the embargo are nothing but hillbillies and galahs. That is what the Country Party members called us. Yet the rank and file wool growers have completely overthrown the Country Party policy and have supported the Australian Labor Party on this matter. The Government respects these hillbillies, as honourable members opposite may call them. It respects their decision and it will enforce the embargo, which has been Labor Party policy for so many years.

Suggest corrections