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Friday, 4 November 1938

Mr POLLARD (Ballarat) .- I oppose the amendment. I regret that during the course of the discussion of this clause there has been so much talk about Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia. I believe that the discussion of this clause should have been confined solely to the question as to whether it is framed in such a way as to ensure that just quotas are allocated to the respective States. That, after all, is the fundamental point at issue. The board is to be composed of representatives of fruit growers from every State, but some States are to enjoy greater representation than others. For instance, Tasmania is to have four representatives, compared with two for Victoria, one for New South Wales, and one for Queensland. We must remember that all of the men appointed to the board will be conversant with the industry in all its ramifications in every State of the Commonwealth. They will be broadminded, reasonable men, prepared to give and take, and not influenced by State jealousies, State rights and the other side issues which have been drawn into this debate. In the circumstances, I feel that we reflect upon the intelligence of those who will be elected to the board when we suggest that a rigid rule as to how the quotas shall be allocated should be laid down. Considering all these factors, I believe that the Assistant Minister for Commerce (Mr. Archie Cameron) should adhere to the clause as originally drafted. Paragraph b of subclause 1 provides that the board may determine, on a basis applied uniformly throughout the Commonwealth, the quantity of apples and pears harvested in any State in that, year which may be exported from the Commonwealth.

Mr Francis - I support that.

Mr POLLARD - It is a very simple and logical outline to the board as to what it shall do. When we examine the clause we find that there is a stressing of the word "uniform", to see that there shall be no victimization of one' State as opposed to another, and to ensure that the board shall make a fair allocation of the export market available after considering all the factors placed before it, factors with which we in this chamber cannot possibly be conversant. If the amendment moved by the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost) were accepted, the clause would then read -

The board may -

(b)   determine, upon a basis of immediate previous three years average shipments to United Kingdom markets or continental markets, or both, the quantity of apples and pears harvested in any State in that year which may be exported from the Commonweal th .

The board itself would then have no alternative but to base the allocation of its quotas on the three previous years' exports of the respective States. When it came to a practical application of the clause, if it were amended as suggested, it would be found to be impossible.

Mr Frost - It has been done voluntarily on that basis in the past, and no difficulty has been experienced.

Mr POLLARD - If the amendment were agreed to, it might be found to operate to the detriment of the Tasmanian growers.

Mr Blain - Not at all.

Mr POLLARD - The honorable member for Franklin says that no difficulty has been experienced in the past. I have a very vivid recollection that when the Cattle Compensation Act was introduced into the Victorian Parliament, people representing a certain portion of the cattle-raisers in Victoria objected to it on the ground that if it were passedthey would have to pay stamp duty in respect of certain sales of their cattle. They had never lost any cattle, and, therefore, they questioned whether they should be brought in. Within twelve months, however, these very people experienced an outbreak of pleuro-pneumonia amongst their cattle, which practically eliminated the whole of the herds in their territory. It is wrong to attempt tolay down any hard and fast rule to deal with an industry, the vicissitudes of which are affected so greatly by pests, acts of God, climate and the demands of local markets. It may be that on a particular occasion Tasmania may produce a very large proportion of the home-consumption market, and it might become necessary for the board to take that factor into consideration when allocating export quotas for the ensuing years. In these circumstances, I oppose the amendment and urge upon the Assistant Minister for Commerce the desirability of adhering to the clause as originally drafted.

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