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John Kerin Comments On Leadership Changes In the Coalition

This is an audio clip of John Kerin joking about leadership changes in the coalition parties.

Kerin was the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy in the Hawke government.

He remarks came in Question Time on the day the Liberal Party replaced John Howard with their former leader, Andrew Peacock, and the National Party replaced Ian Sinclair with Charles Blunt.

  • Listen to John Kerin (33s)

Hansard transcript of extract from Question Time, May 9, 1989.

Mr BEDDALL —My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy. Can he inform the House what steps the Government is taking to support improvement in the skills of our exporters?

Mr KERIN —Much of the emphasis in the micro-economic reform area has been on the big ticket items such as transportation and labour market improvements. But it should not be forgotten that in an economy exposed so much to exports, as ours is, we need skilled private enterprise to undertake these export activities. The Government has made great strides in improving the attitudes of Australian businesses and the public to the need for competitive exports. Trade dependence is the present and future scenario for Australia. The Government has made progress not only through exercising leadership and, of course, setting the right macro-economic parameters, but also through a number of small programs targeted to areas of specific problem. Earlier in the piece we set up the innovative agricultural marketing program and through it we are providing assistance for the development of new export products and markets. I recently met with the administrators of that scheme who estimate that with the expenditure so far they have actually encouraged something like an additional $600m worth of exports.

We are also playing a significant part in improving the skills of managers and entrepreneurs working with firms engaged in exports. We have set up a marketing skills program-again a very small program, but one which provides grants to education and training institutions to run special programs for Australian exporters. At a recent meeting with the program’s coordinating committee as well as some of the successful grant recipients, I heard something of the potential for improved performance, particularly with respect to our dairy and horticultural industries.

Particular effort is also being directed by the Government to agricultural cooperatives, which are a significant factor in farm production and which are now becoming major players with our country’s agribusiness exporters and companies. We are encouraging cooperatives through policy work on some of the traditional problem areas for these organisations, such as retained earnings and complementary State legislation, as well as through specific assistance for marketing skills. There is a possibility later this year of Australia hosting a major conference and trade exhibition for cooperatives from the whole of the Asia-Pacific region.

I also place particular emphasis on the work being done by the Minister for Trade Negotiations in respect of Austrade, which has a number of specific strategies relating to our rural exports. I believe that we are getting better at using our overseas networks and passing the necessary information back to Australian grass roots producers. I do not support the New South Wales Farmers Association’s call for the immediate abolition of Austrade.

The final point I would like to make for the honourable member is that through the–

Mr Nehl —About time.

Mr KERIN —I am trying to be quick. I am so choked up with emotion about the right honourable member for New England that I am having difficulty getting through today.

Mr Nehl —Come on; get on with it.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Cowper will cease interjecting.

Mr KERIN —Thank you for your protection, Mr Acting Speaker; I really need it. I point out that through the Primary and Allied Industries Council, which I chair, we have also been able to get a lot more emphasis at the entrepreneur level with respect to exports and improving our export performance. The people opposite might not think that exports count, but we do.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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