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Tuesday, 3 December 1974
Page: 3000


Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -My question is addressed to the Minister for Agriculture. Does he believe that consultation means give and take by both sides after worthwhile consideration of the issues involved? Is it not true that the wheat and wool industries have been denied such consultation? Why has the Minister not related the first payment for the 1974-75 wheat crop to the world market prices and costs to the growers in the manner that retailers are relating bread prices to their higher costs? Why has the Minister threatened to withdraw the 250c per kilo floor price for the wool industry after 1 July 1975 unless the Australian Wool Industry Conference agrees to the restructuring of the membership of the Australian Wool Corporation?


Senator WRIEDT - I am quite sure in my own mind that Senator Drake-Brockman does not even believe the question that he has just asked, and that in his own mind he does not even believe it is the truth. I suppose if anything would cause one to have reason to be difficult at question time when giving answers it is that sort of question. I realise that Senator Drake-Brockman might have commitments to his Party but I know him to be a reasonably honest person. I say again that in his own mind he does not even believe what he has just asked me to be the truth.

Senator Sir MagnusCormack- I raise a point of order. The Minister must not reflect upon a senator. He has clearly reflected upon Senator Drake-Brockman by describing him as a reasonably honest man. All honourable senators know that he is an honest man.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I entirely agree with the honorable senator's comments, but the Minister will answer as he sees fit.


Senator WRIEDT -I did not want to reflect on Senator Drake-Brockman but it is unfortunate, I think, that the question was asked in the manner in which it was. Anyway, in the broad context of the question it is incorrect to say that there has been a lack of consultation between this Government and the wool and wheat industries. No industry organisation has had more consultation with the present Government than the Australian Wheat Growers Federation. I would be surprised to hear any member of the executive of that body say that the position has been otherwise. Insofar as the wool industry is concerned, there has not been the same need for consultations as there was with the wheat industry during the negotiations on stabilisation schemes, but they have been adequate and I have always been prepared to listen to propositions that have been put to the Government. In respect of the first advance payment to wheat growers, I said last week that this matter had been given full consideration. I gave what I thought to be a fully detailed answer 3 weeks ago to Senator Young and I do not propose to bore the Senate by repeating the same figures again.







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