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Thursday, 5 December 1935

Senator SAMPSON (Tasmania) . Like many other southerners, I was for some years under a misapprehension regarding the production of sugar in Australia. About ten years ago I made an extended visit to northern Queensland, where I inspected a good deal of the country on which sugar is produced. I visited a number of the mills and met many of the cane-growers and their children. Propaganda in. opposition to the industry has been almost continuously directed to us since I was first elected to this chamber nine years ago, but I am quite convinced that a great deal of it defeats its own purpose. In many instances it contains inaccuracies and statements which are grossly exaggerated. I shall support the bill, because the industry must have some security. Those opposed to its maintenance have never offered constructive criticism, and if effect were given to the policy which they support it would mean ruin to thousands of good Australians settled in the north. During the Great War I had the honour and privilege of serving with Queenslanders - I was never with men from my own State. I found these Queenslanders fine Australians, and better soldiers no one could wish to meet. I visited Queensland last year - two years ago I travelled as far north as Cairns - and I was particularly impressed with the health and virility of the children. I have lived in Africa, and I have been in other tropical countries, but I have never seen finer youngsters than those whom I met in northern Queensland. Apparently the children in northern Queensland do not wilt owing to the effect of the intense heat like the children in other tropical countries; the men and women in that part are magnificent specimens. On that account, and also because of the necessity for populating this country, the sugar industry is well worth while. I strongly deprecate the amount of unfair and unjust propaganda against the sugar' industry which has been flooding the Southern States, and particularly Tasmania, and also the attitude adopted by certain sections of the press towards this agreement. Much of this unreasonably antagonistic literature is not even based on facts. I refer particularly to a pamphlet which I received recently, copies of which, I think, were sent to every municipality in Tasmania. It emanated from Victoria but was written by a South Australian; and it was a most amazing document by reason of the number of inaccuracies that it contained. Unfortunately many readers would not be aware of the facts, but anybody conversant with the position would at once recognize the information to be a wilful distortion of the position. The sugar-growers of Queensland, in having to combat propaganda of this character, have my sympathy.

Senator Duncan-Hughes - The author of that pamphlet at least made his statement openly.

Senator SAMPSON - I am not concerned with that aspect. I know that I could analyze a number of his assertions and prove that they had no regard for the truth. I support the bill.

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