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Tuesday, 9 April 1946

Mr POLLARD (Ballarat) . . - The amendment proposed by the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) has no application whatever to the bill now before us. In the first place there can be no primary production without the land on which to produce it; in the second place, except in certain circumstances, no power is given to the Commonwealth Parliament or to the Government to resume or own land. If the Government does not own land how can it socialize the means of production?

Sir EARLE Page - Has the honorable member not read the Lands Acquisition Act?

Mr POLLARD - The right honorable gentleman knows quite well that . under the Constitution the Government may resume land only for the purposes of the Postal Department or the Defence Department, but for no other purposes. The sovereign power over land is vested entirely in the respective State governments, except for those specific purposes. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) is clever at endeavouring to side-track people, but his tactics do not succeed with me.

The honorable member for Gippsland (Mi-. Bowden)- said that members of the Australian Country party would be in a happy position if the Government accepted this amendment, because they would be able to assure their farmersupporters and potential supporters, if any, that the amendment would prevent, any possible danger of socialization. Whether or not the amendment is accepted, mem'bers of the Australian Country party- will tell their constituents that if they vote for the Labour party their industries will be socialized.

Mr Bowden - What is the honorable member's objection to the amendment? .

Mr POLLARD - The Labour party is not ashamed of its socialistic objective, and what is more, we have never been ashamed, of it. I do not see any reason why the electors, when. they are ready to accept socialization, even the organized marketing of primary products, should not have the right to do so under the Constitution.' That is a matter not for this Government or the Australian Country party but for the people themselves to determine. The people of Great Britain, New Zealand, and South Africa have that right; only in this fair land are the people denied it. Members of the Australian Country party and their cohorts of the Liberal party formed an alliance in ' Sydney last week, and no doubt that alliance is one of the reasons for the Opposition's violent antagonism to this bill. The Government's proposals give power to the primary producers; they will possess even greater power if they choose socialization in order to defeat the merchants, dealers and vested interests which will vigorously support members of the Opposition at the forthcoming election. But all the fervour which honorable members opposite displayed on previous occasions in favour of allowing primary producers complete freedom, to choose how they shall market their primary products, has disappeared. When I recall the earlier history of the Opposition parties, I reflect almost sadly upon their present fate. I am satisfied that the amendment has no application whatever.

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