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Tuesday, 6 December 1938

Mr CURTIN (Fremantle) .- I think it would have been fitting if the Assistant Minister had told us how much money it is contemplated will be raised by the imposition of this tax, and if he had also given to us an indication of the various heads of expenditure in connexion with publicity upon which the money is to be expended. I quite agree with the idea that a wider knowledge among the Australian people of the advantage of a greater consumption of apples and pears would make unnecessary these burdens which we are imposing upon the people in order to dispose of the surplus unconsumed in Australia in a market already very difficult to exploit, the world market.

Mr Thompson - It is expected that the tax will yield approximately £10,000.

Mr CURTIN - The honorable gentleman should give us some particulars as to how it is proposed to expend that money. Is the discretion of the board to be left unfettered? Has not the board to report to the Minister in connexion with, and the Minister to approve of, proposed expenditure ?

Mr Thompson - Yes.

Mr CURTIN - Where is that provided?

Mr Thompson - In the Apple and Pear Organization Bill.

Mr CURTIN - I take it that the Department of Commerce is answerable for the right use of this money ?

Mr Thompson - That is so.

Mr CURTIN - Therefore, at any time we consider that the money is not being wisely used, or that it is being badly used, we can hold the Government to account for it.

Mr Thompson - The accounts of the board are subject to audit by the AuditorGeneral.

Mr CURTIN - That only means that a check is imposed in order to ensure that the money is being paid to the persons to whom it is properly clue. What I am concerned about are the publicity methods used - whether the Minister will authorize the expenditure of this money on radio broadcasts, hoardings, or the issue of pamphlets. It seems to me that £10,000 is a fairly reasonable budget for an advertising campaign. From my experience of such campaigns it should be possible to pay the advertising costs of a general election for that amount.

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