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Wednesday, 21 October 1931

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - The bill does not seem to please some honorable members representing country districts. The honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Hill) has said that it will be absolutely useless. If that is so, the Minister should withdraw it, because this £3,000,000 could be used in relieving unemployment. There are in, this country 460,000 people unemployed. They are not living on farms.

Mr Hill - They are living on the dole, and the farmer is getting nothing.

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not know of any farmer who is living on the dole. The farmers of this country are not in the same plight as the men in the cities and industrial areas. The farmer can live on his farm. He has cows, fowls, and other things with which to keep himself from starving. The men in the cities have not that advantage.

Mr Hill - We know that the honorsable member has no sympathy with the

Tman on the land.

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not wish to belittle the man on the land, but the honorable member is always whining about the position of the farmers. It is strange that this money can be found for the farmers while no provision is being made to relieve unemployment. This is oneaided legislation. The banks say that they cannot provide money to employ people on public works. No man need starve on the land, if he has any energy. A farmer can. always support himself and his family. The honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Hill) has asked that this money shall be paid on wheat exported, so that the farmers may put in last year's surplus, and receive a bounty on that, also.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The bill specifically provides against that.

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am glad of it. The people of the country as a whole must find the interest on the £3,000,000 which is to be paid to the farmers. When is this borrowing going to cease? This £3,000,000 will not be spent on reproductive work. I desire the Government to raise money to be spent on reproductive public works, which will pay interest. The Government proposes to make a gift of £3,000,000 to the farmers at the expense of the rest of the community. The Minister for Markets must have great influence with the Commonwealth Bank authorities if he can obtain from them money for the farmers, when none is forthcoming for public works. I compliment him on his success.

Mr Marks - The honorable member will admit that public works are not reproductive, while money given to the farmers will be.

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I should not favour spending money at the present time on any works which were not reproductive. The farmers' representatives stated some time ago that, if the farmers could ge 3s. a bushel for. their wheat, they would be satisfied. The market price is now very nearly 3s. a bushel, and they want a guarantee of 3s. 6d. If the price rose to 3s. 6d., I have no doubt that they would want a guarantee of 4s. I protest against one class of the community receiving favorable treatment* when other deserving sections are denied relief. Until the unemployment problem is solved, we shall not find a way out of our difficulties. Prosperity can be restored only by the production of wealth. The country will not be helped by paying a bounty of 6d. a bushel to the wheat-farmers. That will help only a small section of the com- 'munity. I shall not oppose the. passing of this bill, but I hope that the Government will insist that money be found for relieving unemployment, as well as for assisting the farmers.

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