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Wednesday, 21 July 1920

Mr HAY (New England) .- -I approach the subject covered by this Bill with all the seriousness it involves. We must realize the bearing that science or knowledge will have on our future undertakings, because if knowledge is not applied to production, which alone, we are told, can enable us to meet our obligations, there will not be much prospect of our solving the grave situation confronting us. I do not care whether the word "science," which seems to terrify a great many people, is applied. I prefer the words " better methods." Australia is twenty-five years behind those countries which have applied science to their undertakings. As a poet has said -

Eye to eye all order festers;

All things here are out of joint,

Science movesbut slowly, slowly,

Creeping on from point to point.

Those who seek to apply knowledge to our undertakings we at first doubt, then tolerate, and then accept. However, as it is applied in Australia to-day, the process is too slow. We can only make this a great country and fill its great spaces by the application of knowledge, thus magnifying our undertakings which alone will serve to attract the population we need. No country in the world is better provided with the gifts of nature. No country is more dependent on what nature has given, and does less for itself. For many years I have had the great privilege, and, at the same time, the great responsibility - for there is no greater responsibility than the sacred task of dealing with human nature - of having undermy keeping, at it were, as many as 400 tenant farmers, 95 per cent. of whom I eventually made their own freeholders. To-day they are the most prosperous men in New South Wales. This result was achieved because for years I have been successful in my endeavour to get them to apply the very best knowledge and the most up-to-date methods to their undertakings. I was associated with many of these men from the very beginning of things - the clearing of the land, the fencing and housing, the financing, and so on to the end, until the tenant farmer became a prosperous freeholder. Twenty years ago I visited Denmark in order to ascertain the methods adopted there which made those engaged in primary production a prosperous people, and I had their methods applied by those whom I was controlling. Thus it was that I was the first person in New South Wales to apply the methods adopted in Denmark in the manufacture of dairy products. I introduced the system of pasteurization. The knowledge gained in this way was not confined to our tenants alone. All who could might enter; none were denied the privilege of the knowledge we gave them. As a result of the application of this knowledge our farmers were able to get for their produce £5 per ton more on the local market and £10 "more in London, and had that principle of knowledge been applied universally in the State of New South Wales, the dairy section of our producers would not have lost about £5,000,000, which, according to Mr. Knibbs' statistics of production, would about represent the difference between the price realized and what would have been gained by them had science been applied to their efforts. After many years of endeavour to have science applied to industry, it is a matter of sorrow for me to note the indifference of our people towards the adoption of better methods. I shall give a little instance of my effort to have science applied to production. The late David Berry, of the South Coast in New South Wales, in his will bequeathed the sum of £100,000 for a hospital in the district in which he lived. But the area benefiting by the bequest was so circumscribed that the income from the trust was more than the local conditions could absorb, and in order that the district should benefit in another direction, I, as trustee for the bequest, had a Bill passed through the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1906. While providing in the Bill for those who were sick and dying, I thought it right that the surplus income should be applied to those who were to be the future producers of our country. I believe it is the only instance - at any rate, in New South Wales - whereby a will has ever been altered by an Act of Parliament. The Bill provided that the income not required for hospital purposes should be used for technical and agricultural colleges, and for the promotion of agricultural and veterinary science.

The primary producers of Australia suffer more than any others, as they have to contend with pests, blights, and bugs, as they are called in America; but they suffer more from legislation. The men engaged in producing should not be placed on the same basis as those employed in the ordinary affairs of ' life. They have to pay taxation on all . they require, and, in addition, are heavily taxed on the implements used in production.The farmers of Australia mustnot be regarded asindividualswhowork merely to produce cheapfood for those who require it. The farmer of the future must stand on his dignity and seek knowledge, which is the greatestasset of all. Aperson may losehismoneybut he never loses knowledge. The children of those engaged in primary undertakings, particularlyin a small way,do not acquire the information that the children of the industrialists . in the city acquire. TheartisansinMelbourne,orinany other largecentre,cansendtheir children, from, the State, schools to the highest seat of learning ; but the children ofthe men on the land have to submit to conditions which do not permit them to obtain that instruction which is absolutelynecessary for their future success. Unless he isa prosperous settler, whichisnotoften the case,hischildrenhavenot theprivilegesof attending the large educational institutions , in the cities that are open to the children of city workers. The natural resultis that, when the average boy reachestheage when he begins to think for himself, he realizes that his prospects in the cities are brighter. Thechildren of settlers drifttowardsthe populous centres, and the parents follow tolook after them.

At presentthereareonlythree classes ofsettlerswhocanliveonthelandand prosper, andthese comprise - the manwith special knowledge, the one who inherits his property free of debt, and the one with a large family, who is prepared to stay on his holding and work fornothing. These are the people,to whom we are looking to relieve us from our present position. Are we going to shirk our responsibilities tothem?

Thisisoneofthemostimportant measuresthathaseverbeenpresentedto theFederalParliament,andwhenthe measureisinCommitteeitismy intentiontomovecertainamendments.Itrust the Governmentarepreparedtoaccept reasonablesuggestionsforits improvement,sothatitmayleavethisChamber withthehallmark,ofapprovalofthe Australianpeople.Ifwearenotvery careful it will be emasculated from the outset. The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) referred to thecostthat would be incurred, and to thefactthatiftheBillbecamelaw,it wouldbeduplicatingtheworkofthe States.Itdoesnotmeanduplication,and thecostisamerebagatelleifourobjec- tiveisgained.Wecanobtainwhatis often called efficiency atalowprice, but that is undesirable.

Two yearsagoIhadthepleasureand privilegeofvisitingthe Wisconsin University, intheUnitedStatesofAmerica, to inquire into the methods adopted there for equipping those engaged in primary production. Twenty-fiveyears ago America was approachingthe situation of declining production, that Australia is in to-day. It is anundeniable fact - it is notcaused- by the war; but the fact remains that, the producers of Australia are growing staleon the job. Twenty-five yearsagoMr.J.J. Hill, a great American philanthropist, discoveredthat Americanproductionwasdecreasing andheroused that country by the bald statement that, if she did not pay more attention to her primary undertaking's, the day was not far distant when the American people would go to bed hungry. This statement roused the nation into activity.We cannot close our eyes to the fact thatwe are approachinga similar crisis, but nothing is being done bylegislation to encourage production. The, Bill initspresent form is a bowelless measure.When I visited theWisconsin University, I inquired into the best methods of, stimulating production and of making the work of those engaged in. theindustry attractive.The activities foreshadowed in the Bill should not come into conflict with undertakings by agricultural colleges of the States. I believe it is the intention and desire,of the Government to provide for co-operation with the different States, and to harmonize their work in every direction. I have had the opportunity of discussing this question with men associated with our agricultural colleges, and from my conversations with competent authorities I have gatheredthat they would; hail a measure such as this with delight.Ifthe Government arenot prepared to confer with Stateeducational authoritiesthe measure is doomed to failure.I do not think, however, that I will joinforceswiththe honorable mem- ber for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) unless heispreparedtochangehisviews.In theStateofWisconsin,whichisnota verylargeone, seventy University specially selected graduates- men who had done a four years course at the University - are located in different parts of the State intheinterestsofproduction . They are paid, not only by the farmers inthe different sections over which , theyoperate, but, there is also an. appropriation from Stateand Federal funds for the purpose. They each receive an annualremunerationof£400andare provided with automobiles. To defray , theannual expenditurethefarmers contribute£200, the State authorities £100, and the Federal Government , £100. The difficulty we experience, in Australia isthat men who are engaged toperform similar work are only half qualified, and the ordinary man knows by experience more than the man so circumstanced. That is onereason why scientific methods have not' been adopted. The graduates employed in the State of Wisconsin commence with the soil and advising the proper methods of cultivation. They also recommend as toselection of seed, methods of harvesting, transport, and marketing. The intrusion of these officers was resented at first, butlater there was an outcry when they were not on the job. In the sameStatenoless than fifty women, who have taken a two years' course in domestic economy, are employed to visit thehouses and schoolsto teach the children how to bakebread, cook a joint, cut out a dress,preservefruit and vegetables, and how toprevent wastage.The greatest economyisthe prevention of wastage, of which there ismore in this country than,in manyother countries.

Mr Tudor - Domestic economy is taught, in, theschools to which the honorable memberrefers.

Mr HAY - Of course it is. Our application of science to industry must notbe limited to agriculturalcolleges ; it must go on to the very roots of education. We must take the children at the impressionable age and teach them nature study andall other things that are necessary.

Mr.Mahony. - What about Jersey cows ? Are they given a university education ?

Mr HAY - I have spent a considerable amount of time in endeavouring to induce farmers toapplybusinessprinciplesto theirindustry,andwhenaddressinga meeting ononeoccassionIendeavouredto stressapointbysaying,"Therearecows that pay and cows that do not pay." A storekeeper in the audience interjected. " I know all about the cows that do not pay." I ask leave to continue my remarks at the next sitting.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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