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Thursday, 19 August 1920

Mr ROBERT COOK (INDI, VICTORIA) .- I rise to oppose the amendment. For the past nine months we have had meeting after meeting on this question, and conferences have been held throughout the length and breadth of Australia. Delegates have attended those conferences from all parts of the Commonwealth. We had two or three such conferences here in Melbourne, and delegates were selected to represent the butter producers.

Mr.Parker Moloney. - Who selected the delegates?

Mr ROBERT COOK (INDI, VICTORIA) - The cooperative companies, which have associated with them the whole of the butter producers of Australia. Those who are not in the co-operative companies are in the proprietary companies, and they made their selection. We met in conference, and I venture to say that no measure which has been passed through this House has received more careful consideration than has the Bill now before us. It has the backing of all honest, legitimate butter producers throughout the States. We have in Victoria an association, of which I am chairman, controlling eighty-three co-operative butter factories. We have a council of thirteen members the whole of whom, with one exception, unanimously favoured the scheme. We are acting in concert with the producers in the other States. I want tomake it abundantly clear that this measure is not being rushed through in the interestsof a few proprietary people in the industry. Honorable members of the Labour party have indulged in a lot of tomfoolery which will appear in Hansard. They wish to lead the public to believe that we have been the lambs of the proprietary people, and that members of the Country party have no knowledge of the butter industry. Before the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) could address the House on this question he had to make interjections and inquiries all round. He obtained information from the honorable member forWimmera (Mr. Stewart) and others, and then proceeded to make a magnificent speech concerning something of which he really knew nothing.. That is characteristic of honorable members opposite. I am familiar with everydetail of the dairying industry, and I am certain that with the exception of the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton) not one member of the Opposition has truly spoken his mind.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. Robert Cook) has practically accused every honorable member of this party of lying. He says that not one of us has truly spoken his mind.- I ask that that insulting observation be withdrawn, and that the honorable member apologize to the Committee for having made it.

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