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Thursday, 4 May 1939

Mr LANE (Barton) .- The discussion on this subject will prove interesting, particularly to the consumers of bread. Reference has been made to the advantage to be gained by establishing a compulsory wheat pool. Year after year bounties amounting to millions of pounds have been made available to wheatgrowers. The honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Nock) endeavoured to make us believe that the man who produced the largest quantity of wheat when it was 2s. a bushel was the greatest loser, but he omitted to say the amount of benefit he derived when wheat was 4s. or 5s. a bushel.

Mr Badman - How often does that occur ?

Mr LANE - There have been many occasions when wheat has been at that price and farmers have benefited materially. Recently I met a farmer from the Moree district who informed me that there were no poor wheat-growers in that district.

Mr Anthony - What area does he own?

Mr LANE - In the Moree district more wheat is produced an acre than in any other wheat-growing district, and if

South. Australian farmers who are 'complaining transferred their activities to the Moree district, we would not hear so much wailing. I have frequently mentioned that no one would object if the wheat bounty were paid to those in needy circumstances; but we know that in many instances it is collected by rich farmers who do not need it. I have heard of a rich wheatgrower who said that he would be able to send his wife on a trip to England on the wheat bounty he received. Even if some farmers do incur a loss when wheat is below 2s. a bushel, they usually have a very substantial banking account which had been accumulated when prices were much higher. For every two years of adverse seasons, they have three years of plenty which enables them to make up their losses. I believe that it was the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) who objected to the production of margarine, because it interferes with the sale of butter.

Mr Collins - Is the Honorable member on the side of the wheat-growers or of the poultry-raisers?

Mr LANE - The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Collins) does not know on which side he is to-day. For nearly seven years I have heard the honorable member for Riverina say that the primary producers are carrying the nation's burdens. It is only right to say that they are carrying a portion, but the secondary industries are also shouldering their" share of national responsibility.

Debate interrupted under Standing Order No. 257b.

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