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Wednesday, 23 November 1927

Mr CHARLTON - Surely the honorable member has the right to speak on any matter relative to science and industry.

The CHAIRMAN - It is not permissible for the honorable member to discuss in detail a subject covered by a motion of which notice has been given, but he may refer, in passing, to the subject dealt with in the motion.

Mr Makin - On a point of order, I desire to draw the attention of the Chairman to the fact that, during this debate, constant references have been made to certain anticipated legislation, such as the Income Tax Assessment Bill, the Export Guarantee Bill, Land Tax Assessment and Migration. If it is competent for honorable members to discuss those subjects, which are included as government business on the notice-paper, I respectfully submit that the honorable member for East Sydney is in order in dealing with the matter on which he desires to express his views.

The CHAIRMAN - There is nothing analagous between the two. The measures to which the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) refer are not before the chamber. Had they been, it would not have been competent for any honorable member to discuss them. The honorable member said that, during the course of this debate, certain honorable members had referred to impending legislation. Any honorable member is quite in order in making passing reference to such a subject, but he would not be in order if he discussed it in detail. That is the point which I raised in connexion with the remarks of the honorable member for East Sydney.

Mr WEST - Dr. Tillyard indicated that the prevalence of insect pests is of greater magnitude than is suspected by the majority of the people of Australia. He advocated that a central body should be inaugurated to cope with the menace. I consider that I know something about the matter, having put myself into communication with every university professor worthy of attention, and having circulated pamphlets to numerous persons and newspapers. I have suggested that this Government should set aside, in the Federal Capital Territory, an area of 20 square miles, to be dedicated to scientific research, wherein experiments would be conducted dealing with the diseases to which our cattle, sheep, goats, plants, soil, and other food-producing media are subject. I ask the Government to take this matter into serious consideration. It would be a fine thing if these 20 square miles of land could be dedicated to the memory of the man who for so many years did so much for humanity in general, and wheat growers in particular, in this very district, to prove the value of certain types of land for wheat cultivation. His wife still lives in the Territory. I had a motion on our businesspaper on the 9th of May respecting this subject, and the Duke of York paid me the compliment, before he left Australia, of drawing attention to the great need that existed for- concentrating upon the problems of production in this country. We propose to establish within a few hundred yards of this building a museum of Australian zoology, the nucleus of which has been presented to the country by Dr. MacKenzie. Such an institution would be ah invaluable adjunct to my proposed research institute. State Governments are not able to do anything along the lines that I am suggesting because of their financial embarrassment,. The Melbourne University asked the Victorian Premier (Mr. Hogan), the other day, to increase its grant from £40,000 to £112,000 per annum; but he politely replied that he could not do so. Even the Sydney University cannot obtain all the money it requires for research purposes. Some research work has been done in the laboratories of private enterprise. I had to assist to instal atmospheric burners and other apparatus in the laboratory of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in O'Connell-street, Sydney, and even to-day the soil in every new area that is proposed to be put under sugar cane is tested there to ascertain what kind of fertilizer it needs, and periodically the sugar cane from all the areas from which the company draws its supplies is tested to determine whether it has a sufficient sugar content. If this* was necessary for the company it is more so for the nation. Recently an amount of £126,000 was raised by public subscription in New South. Wales for the purpose of cancer research. I contributed my mite to the total, for I believe that research work is greatly needed in this as well as in other directions. If we can do anything to increase the size and quality of our flocks and herds, the productivity of our poultry, and the fertility of our land, we should do it. I was informed not long since by an inspector who regularly visits the dairying districts on the south coast of New South Wales that it would pay the dairymen there handsomely to replace their herds with only half the number of quality cattle, for under present conditions they were feeding stock which must always be incapable of giving a decent return for the money invested in them. It would be of immense advantage to Australia if the land in every new area that is opened up for development were tested to determine the crops for which it is most suitable. Had we made an investigation along these lines before we settled our soldiers- on the land and dealt with this matter as an economic question we should have given many of them a far better opportunity to make good. My proposal is that £1,000,000 should be invested for the purpose of establishing this federal institute for national research,, and that one of the States should pay interest en the amount at h\ per cent. That in 33 years would total £1,850,000, and the capital would remain intact. This interest would be used in perpetuity for the purposes of the institute. The Rockhampton Institute in Great Britain has tested more than 1,000 different classesof soil.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member's time has expired.

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