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Thursday, 19 August 1920

Mr LAVELLE (Calare) .- I have much pleasure in seconding and supporting the very reasonable amendment proposed by the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony). I think that every member of the Committee is bound to support it. Honorable members should realize the necessity of giving the producers an effective voice in this matter. It has been said that the representatives of the primary producers agreed to this course of action, but I maintain that that is not the case. I know that there are two so-called farmers' organizations in Australia - the Primary Producers Union, which represents a very small section of the farmers, and the Farmers and Settlers Association, which represents a very small section of the farmers, a fairly large section of graziers, and a very large section of commission agents. I know, also, that 95 per cent. of the farmers of Australia do not belong to either of these organizations. That being so, no man can honestly say that the primary producers were represented at the conferences composed of delegates from either of the organizations referred to. In order to get the views of the men most concerned, we should , do what was done in connexion with the Wool Pool and the Wheat Pool. We should take a referendum, asking the butter producers to vote upon the agreement. If they uphold it there can be no cavil against it, but if they determine to turn the proposal down and to have nothing to do with this Bill, as I feel sure they will, the only thing to be done will be to drop the measure, and so prevent the robbery of the butter producers, which I feel sure will occur if it becomes law.

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