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Wednesday, 28 November 1973
Page: 2182

Senator McLAREN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. I understand that the Minister has announced the result of the merino ram export referendum in which growers overwhelmingly opposed the export of any merino rams. Can the Minister indicate whether it is true that the questions posed at the referendum were deliberately designed to achieve a 'no' vote? Is it also true to assume, as has been done by the Leader of the Country Party, that the result of the referendum cannot be regarded as indicative of the feelings of growers as only 47 per cent of those enrolled actually voted?

Senator WRIEDT -The result of the referendum shows that a little less than half of the wool growers eligible to vote availed themselves of the opportunity to vote, but of those who voted it was quite clear that a clear majority- 58 per cent- were opposed to the export of any merino rams. I think it is a quite clear decision. I am surprised that the Leader of the Country Party should argue the particular line that this referendum does not reflect the decision of the wool growing industry. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, I think the Country Party governs in Queensland with 1 7 or 1 8 per cent of the vote, which I assume Mr Anthony would argue is an indication of the rights of Queenslanders to have a Country Party Government. The fact is that the decision on the export of merino rams is a clear one, and it is one by which the Government will abide.

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