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Thursday, 21 September 1972
Page: 1111

Senator PRIMMER (VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that the present escalating prices being received for wool are conditioned hy a shortage of wool in world pipelines, a swing away from synthetics to some extent and back to wool, manipulators and futures marketeers on the world wool buying scene and the impending Federal election? Is it a fact that a statutory marketing authority for wool would tend to iron out the severe peaks and troughs in wool prices which have been part of the wool industry's tradition?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - 1 cannot remember the order of what the honourable senator said. 1 spoke a little while ago of a fall of about 7 per cent in the production of wool in Australia. There also has been a fall in some other producing countries. As to the amount of wool in the pipeline, I believe that the Australian Wool Commission has taken up the slack to a certain extent, and, because of that situation, speculation has now gone out of the wool industry and the profits of the speculators are drifting back and perhaps tending to produce higher prices in the industry. I do not accept the honourable senator's remarks about the election. This is said every time this subject is raised. At the time of commencement of the operations of the Commission back in 1970, prices increased during October and November but decreased after the election. Everyone said this happened because the Government was holding an election. That is utter nonsense. Supply and demand on the world market determines the price of wool and I cannot see that an election would have any effect on wool prices. Possibly the only effect would be in the stock exchanges. If I have not provided other information that the honourable senator sought I shall pick it up later.

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