Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 2436

Senator COTTON (New South Wales) - Clause 25 deals with the question of temporary assistance. The Opposition has circulated a series of amendments which flow from and are dependent upon the amendment to clause 25 which I shall now move so that the record will be clear. I move:

Leave out the clause, insert the following clause- 25 (1). There shall be a Temporary Assistance Authority, comprising not more than three persons, appointed by the Governor-General on a full-time or on a part-time basis as appropriate.

(2)   Members of the Temporary Assistance Authority shall hold office under such terms and conditions as the GovernorGeneral determines.'.

I will proceed now to discuss that new clause 25.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN Order ! Has this amendment been circulated?

Senator COTTON (New South Wales) The amendment has been circulated. I should mention that this matter was debated fairly thoroughly in the House of Representatives. The view of the Liberal Party in the Senate is the same as that held by Liberal Party supporters in the House of Representatives, namely, that it is much wiser for the Temporary Assistance Authority to be separated from rather than be included in the Industries Assistance Commission itself for the various reasons expressed in the House of Representatives and to which I shall try to advert briefly here. But dependent upon the proposed new clause 25 being inserted, there has been circulated a number of consequential amendments to clauses 26, 27,28, 29, 30 and 31. Clause 25 is the important clause; it is the operative clause. Once the amendment relating to clause 25 is disposed of, the others will fall into line.

I know that there are people who hold wide and differing views on this subject of a Temporary Assistance Authority. Even some of my own friends do not hold the views that I hold, but that does not mean that they are necessarily correct. I want to advert to one or two matters in relation to this clause, and they flow from the report which we are really discussing because this legislation is based upon that report. I refer to the report of Sir John Crawford who begins to deal with this question of temporary assistance on page 46 of his report. In paragraph 78 under the heading 'Temporary Assistance' he states:

Some domestic industries will encounter sudden and unexpected difficulties from time to time, due say to drought, in the case of primary industries, or damaging competition from imports, in the case of secondary industries. These short term emergencies will often result in requests for temporary assistance, from the industries affected.

That is a very important observation. But it is no less important to read the section of the report in which Sir John Crawford summarises his main conclusions. These are recounted on page 94 of the report. In paragraph 160 Sir John Crawford— I deal with these things briefly—state s the general purposes which he sees as being valid to the establishment of the Industries Assistance Commission. In that paragraph Sir John Crawford states:

I have summarised briefly below the main conclusions of my report, without restating them in detail and without explaining again the reasons behind them.

Reasons for establishing the Commission

It can assist the Government to develop co-ordinated policies for improving resource allocation

It can provide advice on those policies which is disinterested

It can facilitate public scrutiny for those policies

Guidelines for the Commission

The Commission should only advise the Government; it should not have executive or administrative responsibilities to the Government

It should be provided with a broad policy framework, which should be consistent with the long term goals of national economic and social policy.

There we have some very important observations. Let me return to page 46 of the report where Sir John Crawford talks about domestic industries encountering sudden and unexpected difficulties due, say, to drought in the case of primary industries. There are other difficulties to be contemplated in primary industries, such as perhaps from time to time a sudden flood of imports damaging the home market and underntining it. I can think of one such occasion when at one stage the Australian fat lamb market looked as though it would be flooded with New Zealand lambs coming in at a price which was well below the Australian producers' production costs. There was really no device available by which to give immediate relief to that industry. From time to time comments have been made in the Senate about the dried pea industry and the frozen vegetable industry. Primary industry is likely to encounter the need for unexpected and sudden help as a result of difficulties caused byunrestricted low priced imports, some of which are dumped, just as secondary industry is so affected and has been affected.

What we are dealing with here is the economic viability of established industries, both primary and secondary, the security of employment for those people engaged in those industries, and the What we are dealing with here is the economic viability of established industries, both primary and secondary, the security of employment for those people engaged in those industries, and the need very often for urgent and quick actionsomething that has to happen perhaps within the space of a few weeks—i n order to get those involved in a situation in which they do not have to go out of business. I think one would be well advised to look at the previous arrangement that safeguarded this position, namely, the existence of the Temporary Assistance Authority which operated separately. Cases of urgent need were referred to it by the Government. The Authority dealt with those cases. A report was made back to the Government and the Government then decided whether to pick up the case. If it decided to do so, it assisted the industry concerned immediately.

In the new scheme we have a broadening of the base. Instead of just manufacturing industries being assisted, assistance is now to be extended to primary industry and also to some sections of the transport and service industries. These industries will stand in need of the same urgent examination of an application for relief in order to safeguard employment, the viability of the industry, and all those things. The valid comment that Sir John Crawford makes in his report is that the Commission should only advise the Government; it should not have executive or administrative responsibilities to the Government. The Temporary Assistance Authority, in my view—

Consideration interrupted.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN Order ! It being 7 p.m., in conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:

That the Temporary Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Temporary Chairman having reported accordingly)

Suggest corrections