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Friday, 7 May 1920

Mr RICHARD FOSTER (Wakefield) . - I desire to congratulate the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Prowse) on the tone and temper of his speech. My only regret is that the mover of the motion (Mr. Hill) did not adopt the same attitude. Honorable members are aware that I have followed up this question as seriously and as steadily as any man either inside or outside this Parliament. I have devoted a good deal of my time and energy to the duty of travelling about the country to correct false impressions, and to rebut the shocking statements that have been made to the farmers from time to time about the conduct of the Wheat Pool. I feel it my duty as one who, like the honorable member for Swan, has interested himself in this matter for the last thirty-five years, to say something in defence of the Australian Wheat Board. More especially is it necessary that I should do so in view of the impressions that have been created by some of the statements to which we have listened this morning. It should never be forgotten that the Australian Wheat Board deals only with the financial, the selling, side of the scheme, and is in no way responsible for the handling of the wheat in the different wheatgrowing States. The Australian Wheat Board from beginning to end, having regard to the unparalleled conditions that have obtained throughout the war, has done excellent work, and has placed the wheat-growers of Australia under an obligation to it for the way in which it has handled their product. Many misleading statements were made, particularly in Victoria, concerning the operations of the Pool.

Mr Fenton - That is wrong.

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