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Friday, 4 November 1938

Mr PATERSON (Gippsland) .- I favour the amendment proposed by the

Assistant Minister for Commerce (Mr. Archie Cameron) because it covers a wider field than the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost). I rose to speak mainly to reply to the outburst of the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) who made a characteristic speech in which I think he threw reason to the winds. The honorable gentleman said that the strong should help the weak. That is a laudable sentiment with which we all agree, but does he realize, in respect of the apple and pear industry, that it is those States which are so often otherwise described as " strong " States that are the weak States? If the honorable gentleman wishes to apply his principle, insofar as the apple and pear industry is concerned, he should be willing to see that Tasmania, which is the strong State, assists, to some degree, the weaker States.

Mr Frost - Is the honorable member trying to weaken the position of Tasmania?

Mr PATERSON - I am not. Apparently the honorable member's view is that, because Tasmania to-day exports something like 63 per cent, of the total quantity exported from Australia, step3 should he taken to ensure that it will always enjoy 63 per cent, of the market. It seems to me that the proposal of the honorable member is absolutely cast-iron in its rigidity. If, owing to climatic conditions, a drop occurred in the production of some other State, or even of Tasmania itself, the effects of the adoption of this proposal would be felt for at least a generation. I do not know whether the honorable member appreciates that point. Under the averaging system which was in vogue in respect of Commonwealth income tax, the effects of a violent drop or of a large increase in one year disappeared at the end of five years. That would not be so in this case; the effects would be felt for a hundred years. I suppose that, theoretically, they would continue to infinity. If, in a bad year, as the result of the averaging system, the volume of exports was reduced, the quantity exported in the following year would be affected, and that would go on ad infinitum. Greater elasti city is necessary than is provided by the proposal of the honorable member. The proposal of the Assistant Minister is elastic, because it takes into consideration all other factors in addition to the quantities exported in the preceding three years. Whatever market is available overseas in a particular season, and in whatever degree it is necessary for Australia, in the interests of the apple and pear industry, to reduce its export quota, that market and reduction should be fairly shared by every part of Australia. Legislation on those lines would be Australian legislation, while the legislation which the honorable member would have us adopt seems rather Tasmanian than Australian legislation. Undoubtedly the proposal of the Assistant Minister is much more Australian in outlook than is that of the honorable member for Franklin.

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