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Thursday, 28 May 1942

Rc Cutting Wheat Guarantee from 3s. lOd. f.o.r. to ' 1 am directed by the executive of my asso ciation to strongly protest against such action. Hansard shows that Sir Earle Page announced when putting the bill through Parliament that 140.000,000 bushels would be paid for at 3s. lOd. f.o.t., and that " facilities would be provided for marketing the surplus ". You stated you would honour the previous Government's undertaking.

We are aware that a joint meeting, over a year ago, carried a certain resolution, but the matter was taken up straight away with Sir Earle Page and a definite assurance was given " that up to the full quota would be paid for at ' the guaranteed price ', and if * surplus was produced on the licensed area it would be sold when possible and proceeds paid to the farmers ".

Mr. Murphyand Mr. CuIIen are both aware of the fact that Sir Earle refused to make any pronouncement departing in any way from the full guarantee provided by the act.

If you were to spread the money involved in the guarantee over 130,000,000 bushels, it would be taking 1 3.000,000 bushels of farmers' wheat, probably worth over £1,500,000, for nothing; in the debate, nor since, did the previous Government make such a proposal. Sir Earle Page's assurance was definitely to the contrary.

Even at the full guarantee, farmers will be nearly £7,000,000 short of the 1930-40 returns with 1940 a wash-out.

The Opposition suggests, as indeed the motion states, that this resolution be sent to the House of Representatives for its concurrence, and I hope that tie Minister will agree to that course. I suggest that it would be foolish to argue that certain things were intended, or that certain things should have been done, because since the original proposals were put forward, the international situation has altered considerably by the entry of Japan into the war. I conclude by summarizing my comments, which are set out in the motion before the Chair. It reads -

1.   That, in the opinion of the Senate, having in mind the difficulties confronting the wheatgrowers of Australia., particularly as the result of increased production costs and the effect of the war on flour and wheat exports, the Commonwealth Government should immediately authorize the Australian Wheat Board -

(a)   to make further immediate payments of amounts estimated to be due to fanners for wheat delivered to peols numbered 2. 3 and 4 ;

(b)   to limit charges on wheat in the No. 5 pool to an amount not exceeding 9½d. per bushel; and

(c)   to pay to farmers the guaranteed price, on the basis of bagged wheat at 3s.10d. per bushel f.o.b., for all wheat delivered into the No. 5 pool.

2.   That this resolution be transmitted to the House of Representatives requesting its concurrence therein.

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