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Friday, 4 November 1938


Mr BLAIN (Northern Territory) . - I support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost). Although it may seem strange that one coming from 12 degrees south latitude should support an amendment moved by an honorable member coming from 45 degrees south, I claim to have some knowledge of the apple industry, having been engaged in apple growing in the Darling Ranges, particularly the Dunn's Seedling, Northern Spy, Sturmer, Rokewood and Jonathan varieties. As a former grower I know what the red spider menace is to the apple industry. To avoid it apple growers always graft their apples on to Northern Spy stock. I hope that I may be able to graft some of my sentiments on to the Country party which will result in the members of that party supporting the amendment moved by the honorable member for Franklin. Tasmania should be looked upon as one of the weaker States, and it is for the strong to support the weak, just as it is for the greater States in the south to support the far north. The positions of Tasmania and the Northern Territory are, in this respect, analogous. The further north one goes from the richly endowed areas around Yass and Young in New South Wales, the more one gets into areas of one-crop production. Let us go north from these richly-endowed areas. We find that when we arrive at the Queensland border, just over the Darling Downs, where the production of wheat cuts out, we immediately reach areas in which only one crop is produced. Northern Queensland produces mainly sugar. Production in the Northern Territory is even more limited. Let us go to the extreme south and it will be found that Tasmania and the Northern Territory have something in common; because the southern state, although it produces no wheat and raises few cattle, it is richly endowed for the growing of apples as its basic industry. Because it is practically a one-crop State I support up to the hilt any proposal which will enable it to develop the fruit-growing industry that it has pioneered to the greatest possible degree. I am very much surprised, in fact I am almost disgusted, to think that members of the 'Country party, and even senior members of that party, see fit to oppose this amendment. 1 thought that the Country party stood for the sectionalizing of this continent into areas most suitable for the growing of a particular crop. Where particular areas are richly endowed for the production of a particular primary product, such as is Mildura for the production of currants, every effort should be made to develop them. I am most surprised that the Assistant Minister for Commerce (Mr. Archie Cameron) and an ex-Minister of this Government - I refer to the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) - should be so unmindful of their duty as country representatives as to oppose the amendment moved by the honorable member for Franklin. I draw an analogy between the far north and the far south. It is only proper that the weak should expect help from the strong, and those parts of the Commonwealth which possess unlimited resources have a right to expect assistance from the States more fortunately situated. I am surprised at the opposition which has developed to this amendment from members of the Country party. I feel sure that if the public were aware of the position, they would feel disposed to wipe the Country party off the political landscape.







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