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Wednesday, 7 December 1938

Mr HOLLOWAY (Melbourne Ports) (1:11 AM) . - I am glad that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) has drawn attention to the one-sided character of this measure. Many people are becoming restive because of the bounties and relief from taxation granted constantly to one section only. I remind the Country party that honorable members of the Opposition have consistently voted for measures designed to afford relief to the primary producers, but honorable members of the Country party generally do not reciprocate when asked to safeguard the interests of the poorer sections of the community. During the last five years, many measures providing for relief from taxation and enabling the farming class to escape tax have been passed. Regarding almost, every article used by the man on the land, honorable members of the

Country party are constantly asking for reductions of duties. They have gone through the tariff and the sales tax schedules with a fine-toothed comb to see how much relief they can get on practically every implement used by the farmer. This week, honorable members of that party were urged to devise means of assisting necessitous wheat-growers without imposing a tax on flour, which honorable members of the Opposition pointed out would inevitably increase the price of bread by at least Id. a 2-lb. loaf; but all that we got from those honorable members were misleading speeches. Almost with tears in their eyes, they attempted to convince the House that the excise tax on flour would have no effect, on the price of bread.

Mr Thompson - What has that to do with this bill?

Mr HOLLOWAY - I am trying to show how one-sided this measure is. I am getting tired of voting to help the section represented by honorable members of the Country party. Those honorable members knew perfectly well that the inevitable result of the flour tax would be an increase of the price of bread. I have never voted against measures designed to assist the man on the land, but the time. has como when it is necessary to apply a means test to this section. During the last five years, the wheatgrowers h'ave received bounties amounting to millions of pounds, although many of the growers should not have received any financial assistance. Wealthy farmers are working land which has been handed down for several generations. They have not paid high prices for their land, yet they have been accepting bounties which they have not needed. There appears to be no end to the demands of the Country party, not because of the merits of its claims, but because it holds the balance of power in this Parliament. It takes advantage of its political power to exact many perquisites.

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