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Friday, 3 August 1906


Mr SPEAKER - If the honorable member desires to make a personal explanation, he may do so when the honorable member for Bass has finished his speech.


Mr STORRER - The honorable member unfortunately thinks only of his own State. He forgets that the climate of Australia varies so much that the conditions of the Commonwealth are suitable for the production of almost any crop, if the proper situation is chosen. The" honorable member said that we were going to rob the wheat-growers in order to encourage the growth of other products. I am in favour of encouraging persons to come to the Commonwealth, and to engage in the production of any commodities which can be grown here with advantage. By adopting this policy, we shall confer great benefit upon the wheat-growers, be cause the greater our population the more wheat will be required for home consumption. It will be to the advantage of our wheat-growers if they can dispose of the whole of their product, locally instead of being obliged to sell it in competition with growers abroad. We should do well ' if we could settle a large number of white men upon the cultivable land of the Northern Territory. We should then have a number of defenders upon whom we could call in time of emergency to repel any attempt at invasion on our northern shores. It seems to me that that is the best kind of provision we could make for the defence of Australia. The honorable member for the Grampians stated that we should aim at growing products suitable for outside markets, rather than direct our energies to meeting our own requirements in the manner contemplated by the Bill. I entirely disagree with the honorable member. The greater the extent to which we produce what we require the more wealthy we shall become, because we shall keep in the country the money that now has to be sent to parts beyond the seas. A great deal has been said during this debate with reference to the desirability of establishing a Bureau of Agriculture. I had some remarks to offer on this subject when the motion of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo was submitted some time ago. I think that we have rather neglected our duty in failing to deal practically with this matter.. My view is thai it would be -a good thing for the Commonwealth to establish a Bureau of Agriculture, and to issue a publication suitable for farmers all over the Commonwealth, which would supersede the agricultural journals now published by the States Governments. It would be very interesting, for instance, for Tasmanian farmers to be able to read information relating to the doings of agriculturists in Queensland and vice versa. An agricultural journal issued bv the Commonwealth would be very much more useful than any State publication of a similar character. .1 think that we have, to some extent, overlooked the importance of this matter, and I trust that the Government will take steps at an early date to establish a bureau which will enable the States Governments to dispense with their present Departments of Agriculture. I am not quite clear as to the effect of clause 4. It appears to me that the bounty could be paid to any persons who had anything to do with the production of an article.

For instance, it would appear that the bounty might be claimed by a man who ground coffee of Australian growth. I know that there is a difficulty in the matter, and, although, as was pointed out by the honorable member for Moira, the producer may obtain an indirect benefit, the bonus is not actually paid to him, and I think that we should aim at handing over the money to the producer direct.







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