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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 1827

Senator LILLICO (TASMANIA) - Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware of a recent Tariff Board report consequent on a matter that was referred to the Board, namely, whether the inclusion of 6 secondary industry products in Schedule A of the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement would be detrimental to Australian industry? Is he aware that this has been done on previous occasions and the Board has recommended that the items be not included? In view of the indifference of the previous Government, and of this one to date, to damage done to primary industry by excessive imports, will consideration be given to designating some appropriate body to assess damage, when appealed to, and to recommend appropriate action?

Senator MURPHY - If I heard the honourable senator rightly, he castigated the previous Government for its indifference- he now nods -to primary industry, and in particular the damage done to it by the previous Government neglecting to be concerned with excessive imports. I am pleased to have such a firm declaration by the honourable senator who is, of course, an Opposition senator and is in a close position to observe what he says was the indifference of his own Government to the problems of primary industry.

The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Murphy, you are beginning to debate the question.

Senator MURPHY - I assure the honourable senator that the present Government- in particular the Minister for Primary Industry- is not indifferent but keeps a careful watch on all matters concerning primary industry and that I, as Minister for Customs and Excise concerned with imports, also do. I will look into the matter which has been raised by the honourable senator. I am sure that, with his efforts and ours, we will be able to overcome the damage which was done by the previous Government to the interests of primary industry.

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