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Thursday, 29 October 1931

Mr YATES (Adelaide) .- The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Penton) says that this bounty will be paid to every wheat-grower; in other words, it it a wheat dole, purely and simply. It is a rule of thumb measure. The honorable member says that it is the best wo can evolve, but I contend that the money could be distributed on a more scientific basis. It is my desire to help anybody who is down and out, but I contend that there are many wheat-farmers who are satisfactorily situated, and who would not accept this dole if the position were properly explained to then]. In the case of the maternity allowance, before a woman can obtain it she has to answer a series of very personal questions, and prove that she is entitled to it. A similar state of affairs applies to a claimant for the old-age pension. Yet when it comes to the distribution of this wheat bounty, no questions are asked. Rich and poor alike are to receive it. There is no basis of equity in the matter. What insuperable difficulty stands in the way of ascertaining the condition of a man on the land? Already he has to give comprehensive information in his income tax return, which discloses his position pretty exhaustively.

Mr Hill - There is no difficulty about that. They are all broke.

Mr YATES - I know that they are not ail broke. I know that the honorable member could buy more honorable members in this chamber than could buy him out. Yet he will vote for this measure and accept the 4£d. per bushel on the wheat that he produces ! I know that there are good agricultural holdings in my State, whose occupants have never looked back. The Government has no right to distribute this money indiscriminately. The degrading part of it is that this measure does not embody the wishes of the Government, which is dependent upon the dictates of another place, and upon the banks. After all its tribulations when endeavouring to evolve a satisfactory scheme to assist our farmers, this is the result. It is a disgrace that the Government should bend the knee to the forces that now dictate its policy.

I ask that, as an equitable offset . to this measure, the Government should provide something for our 400,000 unemployed, many of whom have been out of work for two or three years. They have no hope for the future, no prospects of a good season. They have lost all. To those 400,000 unfortunates the Government is making available £250,000! At the same time the Prime Minister intends to ask the manufacturers to stimulate their businesses and provide employment. Already their warehouses are chock-full of commodities for which there are no buyers. We are indeed in a deplorable position. I do not blame the Government for it. It is attributable to another place and to the banks. Heaven alone knows how they will face the position when the general community, knows the facts. The tragic thing is that the Government is going to borrow this money and pay interest upon it. Posterity is to be burdened to help, in many cases, those who do not need help ! Many of them will receive the dole and participate in the distribution of interest on. the money to be borrowed. 1 have risen to make my position clear. I am not like some honorable members who first decried the hill, and then expressed their intention of voting for it. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Parkhill) and the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley) must accept their share of the responsibility. It is the party to which they . belong that is dictating the terms upon which this Government is able to retain office.

We are told that South Australia has turned the corner. The adoption of the Premiers plan by that State is supposed to have achieved wonderful results. But what do we find ? Official figures show that the income of South Australia for the month of September was approximately £500,000, and the expenditure about £990,000. Of that expenditure, £444,465 represented interest on the public debt. If the interest were deducted from the amount of expenditure, the budget of that State would be balanced, and there would be a substantial surplus-. Whatever the season, good, bad, or indifferent, the interest on borrowed money must be paid, some of it to opulent farmers who are to receive assistance under this bill.

Mr Thompson - They offered to lend their money,- and the Government accepted it.

Mr YATES - That is so. This bill provides for the same thing to be continued. Some time ago the Government introduced a bill to provide for a fiduciary note issue, of which £6,000,000 was to be earmarked for the assistance of wheat-growers. Why does it not proceed along those lines now? Why does it go to the private money lenders for the money, and involve the country in further trouble? The reason is that it has not the courage to put up a fight.

Mr Theodore - Is the honorable member the only one possessing courage? The Government is not foolish enough to do what he would do.

Mr YATES - The Government has been foolish long enough. The Treasurer (Mr. Theodore) has " tangoed", stood on one leg, on his head; in fact, no one knows where he stands in regard to the politics of this country. The Government should have put up a fight eighteen months ago, but it was afraid to do so, and now Parliament is forced to, accept this measure. I shall support it because it will help needy farmers, notwithstanding that, in helping them, the interestmonger will gain.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee :

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 -

In this act unless the contrary intention appears - "Wheat" means wheat produced in Australia during the period commencing on the 1st day of October, 1931, and ending on the 31st day of March, 1932.

Amendment (by Mr. Parker Moloney) agreed to-

That the word " produced " be omitted with a view to insert inlieu thereof the word " harvested ".

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 - (1.) Bounty under this act shall be payable on the production of wheat which has, since the first day of October, 1931, and prior to the commencement of this act, been sold or delivered for sale . . . (2.) For thepurposes of this act wheat shall be deemed to have been delivered for sale if it is delivered by a grower to a flourmiller, wheat merchant or co-operative organization for storage until such time asthe grower decides to sell the wheat.

Amendments (by Mr. Parker Moloney) agreed to -

That the word " since ", sub-clause 1. be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "on and after";

That all the words after the word " storage ", sub-clause (2), bo omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "pending sale ".

Clause, as amended, agreed to-

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 - (l.) Bounty shall be payable in the prescribed manner to the grower of the wheat. (2.) In the case of wheat produced by share-farmers, the bounty payable in respect of the wheat shall be apportioned hetween the share-farmers in such manner as is prescribed.

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