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Tuesday, 19 November 1974
Page: 2472

Senator PRIMMER (VICTORIA) - Has the Minister for Agriculture seen reports of the farmers' meeting, attended by fewer than 100 people, in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon? If so, does such a small response indicate that earlier rallies of farmers in Victoria may have been motivated by the Liberal Party, the Australian Country Party and the League of Rights and were not in fact gatherings of farmers with genuine grievances towards the Australian Government?

Senator Chaney - Mr President,I take a point of order. The Standing Orders provide that questions should not ask for an expression of opinion. It seems to me that that is no more than could be offered in response to this question.

The PRESIDENT - Senator Wriedtis entitled to reply to the question in his own way.

Senator WRIEDT -I did see the result of the meeting called in Melbourne on Sunday, as I think most people did, and I also saw the photographs of empty benches at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. As has been indicated by the honourable senator's question, I think this is indicative of the fact that unless the elements referred to in the question can organise themselves sufficiently to drag people to meetings of this nature, obviously there is no spontaneous support for them. I think that the average primary producer in Victoria would have rejected overwhelmingly the concept and the so-called complaints that were to be aired, and to some degree were aired, by the speakers at that gathering. It was a fair indication of just how dissatisfied are the primary producers of Victoria. Obviously they are satisfied with the Government's policies. If they were not, they certainly would have turned up.

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