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Friday, 20 July 1917

Mr LIVINGSTON (Barker) .- I thoroughly agree with the Prime Minister that it is our duty to do everything in our power to keep our stores of wheat in perfect order. It is quite certain that if this is not done the right honorable gentleman will not be able to make another deal of the kind with the British Government. In my opinion, the transaction has helped Britain, and has helped the farmers of Australia; indeed, I do not know what we should have done if the money had not been brought into the country at the time it was. Under the circumstances, the Prime Minister is deserving of the thanks and help of every man in trying to protect the wheat, which means not only the food of our own people, but of our boys over the water. Next year, if we have a dry season, we may run short, and we know that in the olden days the rulers always took good care of the food of the community. For many years to come Russia will not be able to grow the wheat that she has in the past; indeed, if that country goes on as at present, she will soon have neither wheat nor people.

The Prime Minister has a good grasp of the question. He pointed out that wheat is much more difficult to keep in some parts of Australia than in others; and in that he is perfectly correct. We ought at once to get to work on the erection of sheds, whetherthey be called "silos" or by any other name, because they will always be useful. Cement can be made cheaply in every State of the Commonwealth, and can be used for both sides and roofs, obviating entirely the use of iron. I was greatly struck at observing the process of bulk handling in Canada. I do not think we could adopt the Canadian system here at once, owing to the nature of our coast-line; but in Canada, at Minneapolis, I saw great trains laden with wheat pass through a huge mill, where 16,000 bags of flour were turned out every day, untouched by the hand of man in its manufacture. If we cannot handle the wheat in bulk, we ought to make sure that our stores are kept in proper order; and if the Prime Minister sees that this is done, and proceeds, generally, on broad liberal lines, he will have the support of the whole people. Let us get our wheat away, and paid for, if possible, for unless we bring money into the country we shall inevit ably become very poor. I shall be pleased to support the Government in this work in every way in my power.

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