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Tuesday, 20 October 1931

Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) .- I do not profess to know much about the tobacco-growing industry, nor do I, being a non-smoker, claim to be an authority on the different kinds of tobacco and cigarettes which are offered for sale. Some time ago representations were made to me by members of the Tobacco Workers Union that a shortage of supplies of the cheaper kinds of cigarettes had led to unemployment or rationing among them. These Australian workers believe in developing the Australian tobacco industry, but they state that Australian leaf is not yet, grown in. sufficient quantities to meet the demand for the cheaper kinds of cigarettes, and that a quantity of the Australian leaf already in stock is affected with blue mould. They ask that the shortage of Australian-grown leaf be met by allowing cheap leaf to be imported from the United States of America for a time, subject to customs regulations, in order that their members may be kept employed. During my recent visit to South Australia, I found that retail tobacconists were forced to ration the sale of the cheaper lines of cigarettes because of a shortage of supplies.

Mr Forde - I think that the rationing applies to pipe and plug tobacco, rather than to cigarettes.

Mr BEASLEY - When I raised this matter on a previous occasion, some honorable members referred to the danger of dumping. The Minister then said that he would ascertain whether the case I had presented to the committee was borne out by facts, and, if so, whether any regulations could be framed to meet the situation. I should be glad to know the result of the inquiry which be promised to set on foot.

Mr Forde - The Tobacco Workers Union is opposed to the suggestion of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Latham).

Mr BEASLEY -I am not supporting the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

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