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Thursday, 8 October 1936


Senator BROWN (Queensland) . - The ever-recurring payment of bounties demonstrates the tragic incompetence of the Government. The Assistant Minister (Senator Brennan) stated that the Government does not propose to continue to pay the bounty to orangegrowers unless the industry becomes properly organized. Who is responsible for the lack of organization? Why is the industry not controlled as it should be? What efforts have been made by the Government in the direction of lifting the embargo upon the importation of Australian citrus fruits into New Zealand? The Labour Government now in office in that dominion is anxious to overcome many of the difficulties with which New Zealand has been confronted for some time, and I am sure that the people there would welcome the opportunity to purchase Australian oranges. The Commonwealth Government should make an earnest attempt to increase the purchasing power of the Australian people so that larger quantities of fresh fruit could be consumed. According to a statement published a few days ago, approximately 30,000 persons in New South Wales are still on the dole, and consequently cannot purchase the fruit which is so essential to health. The Minister for Health (Mr. Hughes) was informed by a deputation that 618,000 persons in New South Wales had applied to hospitals in that State for medical assistance, and that in many instances their condition was due to malnutrition. As large quantities of oranges are mown in Australia, supplies should be available to the people at reasonable prices. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) is right in continually focusing the attention of the people upon this important problem. I read a statement the other day in the organ published by the supporters of the Douglas Credit system to the effect that if every person in Australia ate an apple a day, the whole production of Australian orchards would be absorbed, and I suppose the same could bc said in respect of oranges. If larger quantities of this essential fruit were available to the community many of the diseases which now exist would be eliminated. We support the bill and had an amendment been moved to increase the bounty to be paid to the growers of apples and pears I should have voted for it. I am in favour of the bill and trust that the Government will do all in its power to increase the purchasing power of the people so that oranges and other essential commodities can be obtained more readily.







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