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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 1814

The PRESIDENT - Order!

Senator O'BYRNE - Was thrown out of the place.

The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator O'Byrne, you cannot refer to what has happened in another place.

Senator O'BYRNE - Mr Speakerin trying to deal with the situation said: 'I hope another Prime Minister does not come here as a visitor this year'.

The PRESIDENT - Order! You may not refer to a debate current in another place.

Senator O'BYRNE - I would like to draw attention to the situation. We are all under strain. Some of us, like Senator Wright, are getting old. Some like to keep themselves in the limelight like the old stag at bay. They like to make a point when they can, and the opportunity for them to make a point does not come very often. It is now exactly 11 o'clock, the time that the Senate would normally adjourn. Nothing has been gained because Senator Wright raised another matter- the apple industry in Tasmania. The apple industry would be indicative of the same decline that there has been in his lifetime. He lived in an earlier age of private enterprise and exploitation. He spoke of the decline in the number of orchardists from 1,400 to 800 and to 600. Some of his colleagues in the south of Tasmania, such as the Jones organisation, IXL, used the Tasmanian orchardists while it suited them to do so. They then transferred their capital to South Africa, used cheap labour and found all the ways to penetrate the European market. There are no other markets for Tasmanian applies in Europe now.

Senator Wrightspeaks of the awful shipping and transport situation. He has had a fixation about transport and wharfies over the last 20 years. He hates wharfies and unionists. I wonder what sustains him, he hates so many people. I thought Senator Wright would be a man who would love people, but he hates so many people that I wonder that it does not consume him. The marketing authorities in Tasmania have been very lax. They were agents. They were in-off merchants, 2.5 per centers, commission people. They have seen the industry go down and have done nothing to improve it. I was in the United States of America a couple of years ago and on the west coast they were saying: 'If only we could get Tasmanian apples. We could absorb the lot here'. But when I returned and mentioned this I was told: 'There is no direct shipping'. The Tasmanian marketing people were still trying to sell them on the Continent. All the movement was towards the European Common Market, but those countries were coming together in an economic bloc and did not want outsiders to come in because they could get things from South Africa and other countries cheaper than they could from the other side of the world. This is the world that Senator Wright is still living in- the past. We have to live in the present and we have to realise that there must be a new approach to the marketing of our apples in Tasmania. We have to find markets in our own country. Even in Tasmania one cannot get a decent apple. These parasites who have been living on the backs of the Tasmanian orchardists for generations would not even allow decent apples to go to the shops for tourists to buy. We get the specks, the seconds, the cast-offs in our own shops in Tasmania.

Senator Devitt - The windfalls.

Senator O'BYRNE - That is right, the windfalls. We bought them in our own shops. This is the way in which the industry has been exploited. No wonder the number of orchardists has fallen from 1,400 to 800 and to 600. Senator Wright now is blaming us for not keeping them going. He and I for the last 25 years have been concerned about the same thing, the small fruit industry- the magnificent tasty black currants, the red currants, the raspberries, the strawberries, the gooseberries, magnificent Tasmanian fruit. There is none now because H. Jones and Company Pty Ltd monopolised them and when it suited the company all the trees were grubbed out. It did not suit the monopolists. It has been obvious that these people are going out of business, and what annoys me is that Senator Wright now comes along and wants to blame the Government for it. I do not think that the present situation is our fault. It is as much the fault of Senator Wright because his Party was in Government for 23 years and he was a Minister of the Crown for a period. He was a man of influence and a man of substance in the community -

Senator Wright - I achieved a stabilisation scheme for those growers, which your Minister for Primary Industry said was the most generous scheme for primary producers in the Commonwealth.

Senator O'BYRNE - I will give the honourable senator a good mark for that. First class. Very good. An honourable senator suggests Senator Wright deserves an O.B.E. I suggest he should be Sir Reginald Wright. I think it is really time the Senate adjourned.

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