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Tuesday, 4 May 1920

Mr JOWETT (GRAMPIANS, VICTORIA) - At the proper time, and with due notice, I shall be prepared to " survey mankind from China to Peru," and, if necessary, to deluge the Chamber with statistics; but my concern now is with what is happening in Australia, where there is no excuse for this centralization. If the natural advantages of the seaport towns are not counterbalanced in some way such as I have suggested, they may eventually attract to themselves almost the whole of the population of the country.

Sir Robert Best - Is not Portland a seaport town, but also a country town?

Mr Bell - In Tasmania there are twelve or thirteen towns which can be so designated.

Mr JOWETT - It is within the province of honorable members to make exceptions in favour of such places as Warrnambool and Portland and others they may see fit to include.

Mr Mathews - Does not the honorable member think by giving notice of a further amendment he will kill the whole project?

Mr JOWETT - I do not think so. Every honorable member is exceedingly anxious to re-establish country towns in their former position of importance, and to do everything possible to provide adequate employment and remuneration for people who live in country districts and country towns.

Mr Mathews - I think the honorable member is -endeavouring to save the Government.

Mr JOWETT - The honorable member is .most ungenerous in suggesting any ulterior motive on my part. My object is not to save the Government or the position of any honorable member of the House. My purpose is to save the country districts and the country towns from the process of gradual extinction, and to assist soldiers living in country districts to form cooperative establishments. Soldiers who live in the cities would probably find it advantageous to move their abodes to very salubrious and agreeable country towns for the purpose of securing the same advantage. If the alternative amendment of the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) is defeated, 1 shall move my amendment.

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