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Wednesday, 10 May 1972
Page: 1548

Senator HANNAN (Victoria) - I want to astound Senator Poyser by supporting his speech to the Senate tonight Perhaps it would be more accurate if I said I support carefully selected extracts from his speech. I also received a letter from the Renold chain people but I did not wait to bring the matter up in the Senate in a debate on the motion for the adjournment. I have referred it already to the relevant Minister and have had an acknowledgment from his Department. The matter is under consideration. It is true, as Senator Poyser said, that this industry is of vital significance to Benalla. The town is partly dependent upon it industrially. Benalla is one of those thriving north-eastern towns which Victoria has produced as a model for the rest of Australia. It would be a great pity if this important decentralised industry were to fade for lack of tariff protection. It is my hope that, partly as a result of what Senator Poyser has said and my own modest contribution, the matter will be attended to speedily. '

I was diverted slightly by what Senator McLaren said. He should know, if he has been attending to affairs of state, that the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) returned to Australia only on Monday night and to Canberra on Tuesday. He has been conducting a trade mission in South America. It would not surprise me at all if he had attempted to find a market for Renold's chains in South America. I express great personal regret that this matter has had to be dealt with on the basis of partisan party politics. y*ou, Mr President, well know that in respect of matters of high national significance we on this side eschew party politics. After listening to the drivelling nonsense uttered by my friend Senator McLaren it is very difficult to believe that the honourable senator from South Australia has a genuine interest in the welfare of this north eastern Victorian town.

Senator McLaren - I was born in Victoria. I lived there until 1950. ..

Senator HANNAN - Well, Victoria has had to bear a lot of crosses but it has been relieved of that one. To return to a serious note before concluding my speech, the matters raised by Senator Poyser are worthy of serious and sober consideration by all honourable senators, not only those representing Victoria. All parties contain in their platform the doctrine of decentralisation. We have appropriate machinery to arrange action in cases of emergency to prevent the collapse of such a significant industry. I have no doubt that the Deputy Prime Minister will show the same alacrity, diligence and ability in handling this emergency as he has shown in dealing with many other things, such as the wool problems facing the nation and other matters allied to rural development. I do not want to be side-tracked by interjections, Mr President, and to go on and outline the magnificent recovery made in so many sections of our rural industries as a result of this Government's encouragement and assistance. I do not want to detain the Senate for an hour or two while I run through the very lengthy catalogue of successful Government endeavours to restore this basic part of Australia's national industry. I close by expressing the hope that quick emergency action will be taken to save the industry.

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