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Friday, 29 March 1946

Mr ABBOTT (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In view of my statement in the House last night relative to the over-ruling of the Australian Wheat Board's instructions by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture in ordering the release of 50,000 bushels of wheat for the manufacture of dog biscuits, will the Prime Minister explain what is meant by the term " producer control " of these commodity boards, a term frequently used by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture when indicating the policy of the Government in connexion with the marketing of primary products? Will the right honorable gentleman ascertain from his colleague whether it is the general practice of the latter to ignore boards established for the marketing of primary products, and to issue directions over their heads disposing of producers' commodities at prices lower than can be obtained elsewhere, as was done with producers' wheat valued at 10s. 4ld. a bushel for export which was made available to the manufacturers of dog biscuits at 4s. lid. a bushel? - Mr. CHIFLEY. - Last night I undertook to ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture to let me have a report in respect of charges made by the honorable member and the honorable member for Indi. That will be done ; but at present, the Minister is absent from Canberra attending a conference of primary producers. I take it that producer control is a general term meaning that commodity boards will be controlled by the producers themselves. I do not hesitate to join in a discussion with regard to the distribution of wheat and the quantities set aside for stock feed and export. Last year 70,000,000 bushels of wheat was allotted for stock feed, and in respect of the purchase price of that wheat the primary producer was subsidized. Apparently, the honorable member forgets that point.

Mr Abbott - I did not try to " ringin " the dogs.

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