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Thursday, 5 December 1935

Senator MILLEN (Tasmania) - I have listened most attentively to the debate throughout the day, and the position, so far as I can understand it, is that the industry is being carried on efficiently The cane is being grown and cut under the most economical conditions, and the mills are well equipped and satisfactorily conducted. I do not think that any honorable senator disputes that. Moreover, I do not think that any one in this chamber wishes to do anything to injure the industry. We are, however, living under artificial conditions, because at present many industries are benefited or their activities influenced in one way or another by the imposition of customs duties, import and export quotas, embargoes, and so on. Senator Duncan-Hughes, who discussed this subject from a different angle has not denied any of the statements made by those who favour a renewal of the agreement. He said that the present condition is due to the artificial conditions under which the industry is conducted, and no one who has spoken since has challenged the accuracy of his statement. Senator Allan MacDonald endeavoured to prove the correctness of the honorable senator's logic. He said that when in the north he discussed the position with a Scot and suggested the scaling down of the price by½d. per lb., he induced in Scotia's son a condition akin to collapse. Such a suggestion to a wheat-grower would only cause him to question the mentality of the speaker. He would know that it would be impossible for parliamentarians to do this because the price depends upon world parity. While the sugar industry is carried on under such artificial conditions those connected with it will be living in continual dread. I do not think that such conditions should continue. It is unreasonable to extend the agreement for five years. No one can say what the general world position will be in that time. I intend to oppose the bill, because I do not think that a renewal of the agreement for such a lengthy period is fair to the consumers, or to those engaged in the industry.

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