Sunday, 9 June 2013

Our Political Challenge

Citrus Farmers Hung Out to Dry

Our push on selective tariffs will have to play second fiddle - at least for a while. There was a Senate Select committee Inquiry in January 2012. Hansard confirms that there was a ban due to come into effect in April 2013.  This could have made an additional 200,000 tons per annum  (approximately) of oranges to become profitable and allow a very noticeable reduction in Farm Debt. A  projection of  this graph was prepared and was presented at the Senate Inquiry into Citrus in Griffith on 3rd July 2013.

When this web site claimed that a ban on contaminated Brazilian orange concentrate has been reversed both sides of politics loudly advised that there was no reversal of the ban because there was never a ban. The minders of Senator Colbeck John Cobb who claimed this have been proved to be wrong. I am happy to talk to them or to their bosses at any time.

The book 'WHODUNNIT The Last Nail in the Coffin of the Citrus Family Farm' accuses:
1. the multinational company which controls more than 80% of the juice market and most of the beer market in Australia of bribery to reverse the ban
2. Senate members who knew than or now of allowing it to happen of betraying citrus farmers .

that as the future outlook for fruit growing in Australia  - oblivion

A petition is being enthusiastically  signed with the first item calling for an immediate ban on contaminated Brazilian orange concentrate. There are at least six political parties with policies or leanings to saving citrus. They have joined with those signing the petition and have  been trying unsuccessfully  to debate  with Michael McCormack - the National Party member for Riverina. We have invited any one of Warren Truss,  John Cobb, Barnaby Joyce  or Michael McCormack to come to Griffith or else arrange for a video hook up to debate this issue. We are not surprised that not one of them has responded. We are moving towards a Battle Plan to achieve the aim of saving agriculture.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Letter not accepted

A letter not accepted and a member's bill for truth in advertising

Recently a letter to the editor of the "Latrobe Valley Express" was not accepted. While talking to the editor there was an introduction to the farm reporter who was going to follow up on the letter. The reporter was told that an Economics Professor had told  that Australia has no future as a fruit growing country. The reporter said that many people told him that and that he was prepared to accept that.

A few days earlier  wanting to check orange volumes with the Department of Primary Industries the switch girl said that the department was in disarray and it was hard to find a person to talk to after so many had been released. A phone call from a field representative advised that he had received our  plan to save agriculture but said that he admired what  was being tried but said " the Government has been going down their path for so long that there is no turning back."

With professors, editors, reporters and industry representative having feelings like that it shows how difficult it will be to get enough votes to change the direction of both sides of Government. When the web page was being designed the motif was to represent global warming. The message here is that it probably could represent tears - big ones!!

Bob Katter's private member's bill on Truth in Advertising

Bob Katter
Tomorrow I will be introducing laws that will spell out for consumers the potential health hazards of food being brought in from overseas.
The legislation aims to inform consumers by marking all imported fresh produce and processed food products with the label: “WARNING: IMPORTED FOOD. THIS FOOD HAS NOT BEEN GROWN OR PROCESSED UNDER AUSTRALIAN HEALTH AND HYGIENE STANDARDS AND MAY BE INJURIOUS TO YOUR HEALTH”, with penalties of $500,000 for non-compliance.
This private members bill aimed not only to warn consumers of the health risks from food produced overseas, but to influence Australians' purchasing power in favour of our home-grown agricultural and processing industries, which are being decimated by a flood of cheap imports thanks to an uneven regulatory playing field in a globally competitive free market.
When people buy Australian caught or farmed fish, they know exactly what they are getting – a clean, healthy product. But it’s a very different story with imported seafood, such as most of the prawns sold in Australian shops being grown overseas in waters contaminated with sewage.
The critical importance of consumers being warned about where exactly the fish they are eating comes from is brought sharply into focus when you consider that Australia has gone from exporting $200m a year of fisheries products to being net importers of $200m worth of fishery products.
In fruit and vegetables we went from being net exporters of $1000m a year to net importers of $250m a year. And it’s similar with pork.
Meanwhile, our orchardists are being forced to let their fruit rot on the ground and our iconic manufacturing processors are closing down because of the interminably increasing rivers of imported fruit and vegetables - from Brazilian juice concentrates to overseas tinned fruits that the supermarket giants favour in order to expand their private label range at the expense of Aussie businesses, farmers and jobs.
How can the supermarket giants continue to import fruit from other countries while the famers and heroes of our great nation watch their fruit rot?
We have no faith in Australia's biosecurity regime to protect our nation’s agricultural industries from the increased risk of exotic pests and diseases in line with the increasing import approvals precipitated by our governments' free market obsessions.
New Zealand has fire blight and therefore often sprays with streptomycin, which is quite rightly banned in Australia.
But there is currently no warning to Australian consumers, and both sides of Parliament should be ashamed of themselves since both agreed to the apples coming into Australia.
But it was not just apples at stake. No country in the world has to put up with the impossibly restrictive conditions applied to Australian growers. The least we can do is see that consumers get the benefit of such farmer hardship.

Let the consumer be forewarned

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Preferred Political Parties

The protectionist parties are listed with a few comments by accessing Politics on the HOME page.

Three other forward looking politicieans who we have not yet asked to come on side but parhaps we should and soon.

Nick Xenaphon

His respnonses to the back-flip by the Senate committee (seen by going from the HOME page to the button to the blog Why Buy From Our Farmers then to the  5th POST   and then a long way down to Neck Xenaphon February 2012 ) were wonderful and we are seeking his permission to use amny of his quotes in a flyer we are designing.

Tony Windsor

Spent time to get for us a letter from the Minister for Agriculture (seen by selecting Politics on the HOME page)

John Madigan

His web site is an inspiration

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Beware the Apologists


While Geelong takes hit after hit by losses of manufacturing apologists told of how Newcastle and Wollongong are good examples of how Geelong will survive and thrive even if all manufacturing disappears. They tell if huge increaes in Services industries. Lance Endersbee had a contention that when a country has a percntage of Services compared to total GDP exceeds 70% that it represents plotical paralysis. The ratio is down to 20% and signs of political paralysis seem to be all around us.

Refer to "The Weakness of Developed Countries" shown in "Prelude to Missing the Asian Century." The percentage of Manufacturing  of Australian GDP would continue to reduce.

STOP PRESS 23rd May, 2013 TVs Phillip Lasker  quoted the percentage for manufacturing as 8% which he said is the  lowest level since 1910.

If there are enough  apologists to  vote in the same politicians we have now then we could then be planning  for a cycle of Third World (1788 to  1850), Developing Country (1850 to 1938, Developed Country (1938 to 2007), Fairy Land Country (2008 to ?) , Third World, Developing Country, then a long way back to Developed Country (or would we choose to pass on that option?)



There is no Minister for Manufacturing.

There is a Shadow Minister of Innovation, Industry and Science.

Australia used to make things and grow things and export them. We are told that there is a need to transition (the new trendy verb which used to be only a noun) to other more innovative actinvities .
Instead of making and growing things we should be doing things but can we export what we do?

In Australia's glory days the best manufacturers used innovation. Where are we directing our innovation now and where should we direct our innovation in the future? Please advise on Also give at least one example

Wikipedia defines Industry as the production of an economic good or service within an economy. If we need to move away from manufacturing then do we move to production of services? Various people are suggesting the move of manufacturers could be to education and health. Lance Endersbee presented the theory that if manufacturing and agriculture represent too low a percentage of GDP compared to services it represents a government stifled by paralysis.

Science is wonderful but does it represent an opportunity for export?

Monday, 20 May 2013

Target of Political Initiatives

The next target is a Senate Inquiry Committee meeting in Griffith on 3rd July 2013

The main target date is 14th September, 2013

The easier target is for protectionist parties and those with similar saving Australian agriculture, dairying and manufacturing logically sharing preferences to win balance of power in the Senate.

The more difficult target but the target which would attract nation wide attention would be to have the National Party - who have a policy of ever decreasing tariffs -  to be beaten by anyone.

An early target was the visit by the Shadow Minister for Agriculture being in Griffith on 21st May 2013. The Griffith "Area News"  had the heading "
The Senate Inquiry into citrus seemed to be an early indication before the elections. However the end date has been moved much later which is a disappointment.

Current Political Initiatiives

Current Political Initiatives

Prior to the 14th September, 2013 Federal elections it was hoped to get traction from:

1. Visit to Griffith by John Cobb.

We were hoping for a presentation but it will only allow us to try to be offered a microphone for 20 seconds or so.

2. Senate Inquiry into Citrus planned for completion by June.

There are huge delays with a visit Griffith not until early July

Political Achievements

Political Achievements

Tony Windsor arranged for a letter from the Minister for Agriculture

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Political preamble

Go to  a dramatic answer to the problems with agriculture and manufacturing AND the almost inevitable win by a protectionist party in the Federal seat of Riverina.

If Social Media could work the way I want it to this could spread to other electorates. 
The aim is to increase the volume of Australian oranges to healthy Australian juice (not the concentrate mix crap) by 200,000 tons as shown. 

For those who think that this is impossible contact kurriman@hotmail.comtm

The Honerable John Cobb,
Shadow Minister of Agriculture
Visiting Griffith

Dear John,

                  I am living in Victoria at present but when I heard that you would be in Griffith I got quite excited because as someone born in Griffith I do not want it to die. I wrote the following and hoped that someone could present parts of it. When I phoned and found that there would be a microphone handed around I realised that the session would be a non event. This will be going to you, Peter Dutton and Barnaby and also to farmers in Griffith and other palces.

Some months ago I wrote to the ministers and shadow ministers of the Government and the Coalition. An email was also sent to Barnaby Joyce and a wild card – Tony Windsor. The only one to respond was Tony Windsor.

            As a person who has voted Country Party or National Party  all his life I had seen Tony as an  enemy. I had been disappointed that Tony  had helped Julia Gillard into power but whenever he spoke he seemed to make sense. There was another factor. Perhaps the reason there was no response from Coalition members is that I strongly believe that ever reducing tariffs are the main reason for Australia’s demise of citrus, stone fruits, dairying and manufacturing. I still do not know how Tony feels about this but he was prepared to take my selective tariff message to the Minister for Agriculture. Tony’s persistence paid off and a letter  was sent to me and parts of it will be quoted here.  


            We are receiving enthusiastic response to our petition and we are aiming for at least 10,000 signatures

Contaminated Brazilian orange concentrate.

            Item 1 on the petition calls for an immediate ban on the import of contaminated Brazilian orange concentrate. This ban would open up what we calculate to be the opportunity for Australian orange growers to have sales at the right price for up to 200,000 tons of oranges immediately. The Minister for Agriculture implies  that he will not consider a ban. Our question to you and the member for Riverina is whether you would consider a ban knowing that there is so much support for our petition.

The presence  of carbandazim in the concentrate which was banned for use by Australian farmers at least two years ago caused a ban by the United States. There was a ban in Australia but Citrus Australia reported that after lobbying the ban was overturned. Our question to you, to  Citrus Australia and to the member for Riverina is to investigate who lobbied who and were either one or more of the lobbyists a company or companies who are possibly involved with or as members of the very few cartels who are being accused of driving orange farm owners in Brazil off their land.

The Minister of Agriculture seems to have a lot of weasel words implying that the levels of carbendazim are at acceptable health levels. The letter will be made available to as wide an audience as possible.

An additional health concern is the damage caused by citrus greening disease which affects almost every citrus area in the world except Australia, the Mediterranean and parts of California. The Minister for Agriculture accepts that “Trees that are diseased with citrus greening produce bitter, hard, misshapen fruit and die within a few years of being infected.” I produced a flyer showing the mutated fruit and copies will be available in Michael’s Griffith office and at the presentation on Tuesday evening in Griffith. We invite you to advise whether you agree with the assessment of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry who “can find no evidence that any toxin is present in diseased orange fruit.” I wonder whether they enjoyed their trips to Brazil  as they tested the fruit during the first year  while the trees are dying.

Even if you agree that the imported products are at levels accepted by scientists as being within the health limits which they accept on behalf of those who enjoy the juice from 800,000 tons of oranges per annum  there is another question. If only 200,000 tons of Australian oranges are used compared to the 600,000 tons grown overseas would you deny our request that at least a further200,000 tons of the freshest oranges in the world at the right price should be used?

Selective Tariff Protection.

The second item on our petition asks for selective tariff protection to save citrus, stone fruits, dairying and manufacturing. We are so concerned that we have started an amateurish web site to build up our case. It is:

Michael sent me a letter confirming the National’s reasons for wanting to  continue to reduce tariffs even though oranges, stone fruits, dairying and manufacturing are extending their losses at an ever increasing rate as can be seen by graphs which we have and plan to add to our web site.

Currently I am living in Victoria which was a manufacturing power house but that has also been decimated by tariffs. The National member for Gippsland also wrote a letter confirming the policy of the Nationals to move to ever reducing tariffs.

Economic outlook by economists.

            In Victoria apricots, pears and peaches are also being ruined so I sought out an economist. We talked on the phone and disagreed on almost everything. I wrote an open letter to the member – Darren Chester – and made comment about the economist saying that Australia does not have a future as a fruit growing country. The newspaper The Latrobe Valley Express will not print my letter. It is shown in our web site.

            We have been asking for contact with an economist and an email has been sent to the Lowy Institute, So far we have not had a response and now want you and Michael:

Do you believe that Australia has a future in fruit growing? Do you know an economist who can provide an economic backing either one way or another?

Concern for Truth in Advertising.

            Some farmers feel that the limits to truth in advertising for orange juice are a serious problem for the  citrus industry. Tariff protection requires political changes. It would appear that the limits to truth in advertising could  be either resolved on Tuesday evening or else a list of measureable actions could be started on Tuesday.

            The letter from the Minister of Agriculture can be the starting point. It says “The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that all food products sold in Australia are safe and are clearly and accurately labeled so that consumers can make informed choices about the safety and nutritional quality of the food they buy. All food sold in Australia, whether imported or produced domestically, must meet the safety and labeling requirements set out in the Australia New Zealand Standards Code.”

            There is also a long paragraph which looks to me like a lot of bureaucratic  weasel words  including what they feel Australian Made means. Starting from to-morrow I hope that farmers will start to read the letter and decide if they agree with the minister. If they do not they should ask their local member if he agrees with the minister.

            I do not agree with him now and did not agree that the situation was correct a few months ago when I met a nice lady distributing orange juice with Meals  on Wheels.  The carton of orange juice t had a brand name of Westcliff “… a registered name of Aldi..made from local and  imported  juice.. to our stringent quality specifications.”

A recent article in The Land stated that of the orange juice labeled as “Australian made”  or similar contains 70 to 80% Brazilian orange concentrate. This prompted me to send the following questions to Aldi’s quality department:

1.      From which countries are the imported juice sourced? Please prove the data if Brazil is not included.
2.      Is any of the concentrate from orchards affected by greening?
3.      What is the reading for carbenazim?
4.      What reading is there for other toxins?

That was months ago with no response. I ask you or Michael to use your positions to ask Aldi for a response.

If you and the  local member do not agree with the minister  that there is truth in adverting on all Australian products then I suggest that you suggest  that Michael should work with the farmers to determine how the legislation needs to be changed and then each of you can take the changes to Parliament.

Apparent Gouging by Retailers 

            Michael is on record as saying that he is concerned about the big retailer’s effect on citrus  It is suggested that you or Michael should provide the farmers with the legislation which might be aimed at fairness and then have Michael work with the farmers to frame legislation to overcome the problem and then each of you also  present that to Parliament.

Australian Dollar

The dollar is now heading down towards 90 cents which is good for exports. This represents only about 2% or the total so it does not save the citrus industry

The Future of Australia

The treasurer tells us that Australia is the envy of the Developed Countries and has moved up three places to become the12 richest country in the world.  My amateurish graph shows that Australia is the best of an underperforming group. Australia is being left behind by the best of the BRIC countries and also the best of the MIKT countries and even the best of the Third World – Bangladesh is growing at more than double the rate of Australia. One of the MIKT countries – Mexico – could pass Australia and take over the number 12 spot.

            Do you and Michael accept that unless Australia regains strength in agriculture and manufacturing that we will move closer to the up and coming Third World?

Brian Mills

Australian Dollar