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Thursday, 19 August 1920


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I see no reason to modify anything I said last evening with regard to the Bill. So far as I can see, it is a Bill to limit the price of butter sold overseas, and not a Bill to ratify an agreement in the true sense of the word. We must, therefore, look at it from the point of view of its effect, which is that no producer will be able to send butter out of this country except through this Pool. This means that the producers will not get a price in excess of 2403. per cwt. ; and if, during the period that this agreement lasts, the world's parity for butter goes up to, say, 300s., that will represent a loss of 60s. per cwt. to the dairy people of this country.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Suppose it goes the other way.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not likely to go the other way; I cannot conceive of that for a moment, seeing that the price is on the upward grade. Of course, if it does go the other way, it will work to the advantage of the primary producer; but we can say, with a great deal of certainty, that it will not.

I am quite consistent in the attitude I am taking in regard to the Bill because I objected to the agreements made on behalf of the primary producer in the case of wool and wheat. I cannot understand honorable members who claim to be a Country party having so little to say against transactions of this kind.


Mr ROBERT COOK (INDI, VICTORIA) - This is not a sale by the Government, but by the producers themselves, who ought to be anxious to ratify it.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I deny that the producers, or the men engaged in the industry, know very much about the sale. Last evening I gave the names of some people concerned, including that of Mr. J. W. Sandford, chairman of directors of J. W. Sandford and Company, merchandise and produce auctioneers, dairy machinery and refrigerating engineers, of Grenfell-street, Adelaide, Port Adelaide, and Mount Gambier.


Mr Hill - Does he not own one of the biggest butter factories in South Australia?


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Even if he owned all South Australia, he is the managing director of this company, the interest of which he is there to watch and advance. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. Robert Cook) told us a little while ago that he himself is chairman of a number of co-operative societies, and he ought to know that Mr. Sandford would cast him and all his cooperative concerns into the Murray if he had his way. I venture to say that the honorable member was sent here to oppose such gentlemen as this Mr. Sandford, whom we now find supposedly representing the interests of the primary producers of this country but, in reality, is the representative of the middlemen. The interests of the company to which I have referred are diametrically opposed to chose of every man whose butter Wl j go into this Pool.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - Does the honorable member complain that 2s. 3d. per lb. is not enough for the Australian worker to pay for hia butter?


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We are not discussing that aspect of the question.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - But that is the question.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not ; we are talking about the price that the butter-makers of Australia will get overseas; and I emphasize the point that if the world's parity should exceed 240s., and go to 3003., they will be losing 60s. per cwt. - Mr. Marr. - If we do not ratify this agreement, will it not have the effect of at once lowering the price of butter?


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not see that at all. However, I can only say that, notwithstanding what the honorable member for Indi says, he was sent here to oppose such men as Mr. Sandford, and those associated with him, as middlemen. The members of the Country party cannot support this measure without the impression being created on their constituents that they have "slipped" since last election.. The Minister for Trade and Customs has admitted that there are four middlemen on this Committee. The party to which I belong regard the middleman as the natural enemy of the primary producers, and we cannot support any agreement in which such gentlemen are interested. I wish the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) had, been here last night when I exhibited a cartoon from the Bulletin, showing the Country party, in the form of a toy lamb, being led along by the Prime Minister, while the Treasurer regarded them with a happy look. The cartoon somewhat flatters the Treasurer, and I think he ought to see it. One honorable member of the Country part" said that he supports the Bill because it assures a higher price for butter than the producers previously obtained. That same argument was used when the price of wool was fixed at ls. 3½d., but that was not the point then, and it is not the point now. Although that price for the wool was higher than the previous price, there w.ere producers in other parts of the world receiving three or four times as much.


Mr Fleming - The genuine woolgrowers were all satisfied.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I challenge that statement every time. I represent as many wool-growers as does the honorable member, and I do not know any who were satisfied. Then, in regard to the agreement with the Colonial Combing and Spinning Company, even the Central Wool Committee objected to it.


Mr Fleming - After themselves making it !


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not concerned about who made the agreement; I am speaking of the general bulk of the growers, and showing that even the Central Committee objects. If the Central Committee did agree to the arrangement, it only further supports my argument that it did not represent the matured opinion of the producers of the country. If high profits were made by this company, and they are now burdensome to anybody, they ought to go to the men on the land, who had all the worry and trouble of production.

Mr.- RobertCook. - I understood the Prime Minister to say that 80 per cent, of the profits would go to the woolgrower.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Prime Minister did not say any such thing; he said definitely that the profits belonged to the Government.


Mr Austin Chapman - I understand there is a similar arrangement to be made in reference to butter if the price goes up.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have heard it hinted that if the world's parity goes beyond 240s.; the producers will get the benefit, and I should like to know whether that is true. The fact is, that if the world's parity does go higher-


Mr Austin Chapman - Of course it will !


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I agree that all the indications are in that direction, and if it does go higher it will represent so much loss to the producers if some arrangement is not made.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Has the honorable member any objection to the Australian consumer paying the export parity whenever the. export price goes up?


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That has nothing to do with the matter.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Will you do me the courtesy of answering the question ?


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We are dealing with the exportable surplus of our butter, and not with the industry as it concerns the consumers of Australia. I am consistent in my attitude because I have raised previously my voice against the contracts entered into by the Prime Minister for the sales of wool and wheat. The ex-Treasurer (Mr. Watt) went to England, to use his own words, to pick up the lost ends of the wool tangle, and my impression is that he discovered so much about the wool tangle that we shall get some interesting revelations when he returns. I venture to say that the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) does not wish to meet his excolleague, and that a little game of hideandseek will be played. The Prime Minister intends to leave for Geneva shortly, and probably he will pass the ex-Treasurer on his way out to Australia. Having known the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Watt) in both State and Federal politics, I am confident that all the cards in connexion with the sales of produce overseas are not on the table ; he has " a lot up his .sleeve," and we shall find out a great deal more in regard to those sales when he returns to Australia.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I hope the honorable member is not forgetting that the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Watt) was the man who made the last wool sale on behalf of Australia.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was stated, but later I saw a denial of it by the Prime Minister.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - I challenge the honorable member to find' any such denial by the Prime Minister.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I remind the Minister of the time when the Prime Minister stated that the last wool sale agreement h=4 been made behind his bacs, and that if he had been in Australia he would not have agreed to it. Later the Prime Minister said that he alone was responsible for the sale.


Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - That is not a denial that the wool was sold by Mr. Watt.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The statement that the wool was sold by Mr. Watt was subsequently denied by the Prime Minister.


Mr Austin Chapman - There will be "something doing" when the exTreasurer returns. .


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am convinced of that because I know him. but the evil day is to be postponed by the Prime Minister as long as possible.


Mr Hill - Would the honorable member place an embargo on the export of the Prime Minister pending the arrival of the ex-Treasurer?


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I would. I have been asked if I would deport him altogether. My answer is " Not without trial," much as I would like to see him deported. I move -

That all the words after the word " now " be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "withdrawn for the purpose of its recasting and immediate reintroduction with suitable provisions to insure that the butter producers of Australia will be guaranteed a return for their exportable surplus butter of a price which shall not be less than the world's parity for butter during the period in which such exportable surplus is disposed of."







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