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Tuesday, 8 March 1932

Mr THOMPSON - That is nonsense!

Mr LYONS - The honorable member is not prepared to look at the facts in a reasonable way. I have heard him protest against the granting of a protection of 30 per cent, to some secondary industries. In one case, apparently, 30 per cent, is top great, while in another 300 per cent, is too little.

I have a vivid recollection, as have some of the senior members of this Parliament, of a difficulty that arose during and immediately after the war in connexion with the production of hops in Tasmania. During the war an embargo was placed upon the importation of hops, and, gradually, the hop-growers secured complete control of the situation. They eventually formed themselves into what was practically a combine, with the result that, the price of hops rose steadily until it reached 7s. 6d. per lb. In those days everything went well, and the industry was in a wonderful position. Everybody who had a spare patch of suitable ground put it under hops, just as to-day everybody who has a few acres of suitable land puts it under tobacco. In the hopgrowing industry the time soon came when we were faced with a ridiculous position. The stores everywhere around Hobart were stacked full of hops, some of it three seasons old. It was impossible to find a market for it. The hop industry in- those days was in a desperate condition, and the Assistant Treasurer (Air. Bruce) and the Leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page) must very well remember the plea that I and others made on behalf of the unfortunate hop-growers for government assistance. The honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) probably knows better than any other member of this House how desperate the plight of those people was.

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