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Wednesday, 30 November 1938

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Nairn (PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Order! The honorable member must relate his remarks to the matter before the Chair.

Mr CURTIN - Yes, Mr. Nairn. The f.o.b. price of wheat will affect the rate of the excise which is to be charged on each ton of flour that is consumed within Australia, and that will relate to the price of bread. I suggest that as the Governor-General in Council will, under the amendment moved by the Minister for Commerce, appoint five persons to this committee, instead of three, because the Minister wants five to deal with the great amount of work that the committee will have to undertake, he should agree that one of the extra men should represent the consumers.

Mr Menzies - The consumers of what? Of bread?

Mr CURTIN - Yes. The AttorneyGeneral is a man of legal acumen, but he is also a man of common sense, andhe knows thatthe Governor-General in

Council will be able to select a man who will represent the consumers of bread generally just as easily as he will be able to select a man to represent the commercial community. I realize that we all represent the consumers of bread. What I suggest is that a man could be selected to represent the people generally. I do not restrict the Governor-General in Council in his choice by saying that he should appoint a representative from a panel submitted by the housewives' associations, or some other bodies. I leave it to the discretion of the Government to justify the person it selects to represent the people generally. He should not be a miller, a wheat-grower, a baker or a departmental official, but an impartial person who could truthfully claim to represent the people. If the Government could not find one person who could do that there would be something radically wrong with its general competence. If the Minister for Commerce will not accept my suggestion, I shall move it as a subsequent amendment. In the meantime, I agree to the increase of the number of the persons on the committee from 3 to 5.

Sir EARLE PAGE - I shall agree to the honorable member's further amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment (by Mr. Curtin) agreed to -

That after the word " members ", sub-clause 2, the words " one of whom shall be a representative of the consumers " be inserted.

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