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Thursday, 8 December 1938

Mr CURTIN - I ask the Prime Minister : Is it a fact that he gave to me and to the House an undertaking that this Parliament would not be called upon to deal with legislation imposing an excise tax on flour until the States had passed legislation fixing the price of bread ? Having regard to the fact that it appears that in one State the bread delivered to the majority of the consumers is not subjected to price fixation, - does he regard the fixing of the price of bread sold over the counter in ' any State as adequate compliance with the whole spirit of the agreement made between the State Premiers and the Commonwealth Government, that the States would fix the maximum price which should be charged to consumers of bread?

Mr LYONS - First of all, I do not think I gave an assurance that the flour tax legislation would not be introduced into this House until the price of bread was fixed. When the matter was discussed by the conference of Commonwealth and State representatives, tie proposition agreed upon was that the prices of bread and flour would be fixed and that the Commonwealth would bring down legislation imposing an excise tax on flour.

Mr Scullin - Does not the act provide that the Commonwealth shall withhold payments unless the price of bread is fixed?

Mr LYONS - The point raised by the Leader of the Opposition is worthy of consideration. I shall look into the matter and furnish him with a reply by letter.

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