Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 28 March 1946

I direct particular attention to the first paragraph of the. circular, which reads -

For some months past, acting on the advice of the Wheat Allocation Committee, representative of Federal and State Departments of Agriculture, instructions have been clearly given to all concerned . . .

The State Superintendent, acting on the advice of his technical officers, issued a very stern warning to everybody who had been using wheat for the purpose of making dog biscuits, that if they continued this practice it was likely that their supplies of wheat would be cut off. In a time of acute shortage like the present, it was a practice which the State Superintendent refused to countenance. Doubtless he had the support of the Australian Wheat Board. Those orders should be enforced, and not be subject to external interference. I want the House to note particularly the date of the circular - the 11th February, 1946. The order was enforced, and no wheat was supplied to dog. biscuit manufacturers for the purpose of making dog biscuits, up to the 4th March, 1946. In the interval, something must have happened. Very strong representations must have been made to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) to induce him to act as he did. Had the Minister been in the chamber, I would have put it to him that during that period he must have met representatives of the dog biscuit manufacturers,and that the outcome of the meeting was a circular issued by the same State Superintendent, Colonel G. A. H. Holborow, to millers, which read -

AUSTRALIAN WHEAT BOARD.

16-1 8 O'Connell-street,

Sydney, 4th March,1946.

Circular to Millers No. H.8/46. Dog Biscuits.

Dear Sirs,

With reference to Circular H.4/46 we have now to advise that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has made available 50,000 bushels of wheat for the manufacture of dog biscuits from 1st March to the end of the present ration period.

The price of the wheat will be 4s.11d. per bushel Sydney bulk basis and is not to be confused with the allocations made for feeding priority livestock.

The wheat will be allotted on a percentage basis of the quantity used by millers for dog biscuit-meal between 1st March and 30th November, 1944. If you. are interested in this trade, please fill in replies to questions hereunder and return by first mail. As the allocations must be made as quickly as possible replies must reach this office by Friday 8th inst. otherwise they must be excluded.

Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) G. A. H. Holborow,

State Superintendent.

Honorable members should contrast that circular with the first circular, which stated that wheat supplies would be cut off from millers if they used wheat for the purpose of making dog biscuits - which, I understand, are largely used for the feeding of racing greyhounds. In his circular of the 11th February, the State Superintendent said -

Acting on the advice of the Wheat Allocation Committee, representative of Federal and State Departments of Agriculture, instructions have been clearly given . . .

Only three weeks later, he had to issue another circular, in which he said -

We have now to advise that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has made available 50,000 bushels of wheat for the manufacture of dog biscuits from 1st March to the end of the present ration period.

No mention was made in that circular of the Wheat Allocation Committee which is representative of the State and Commonwealth Departments of Agriculture. Apparently, the Minister had completely overriden his technical advisers in having made this quantity of wheat available for the purpose of making biscuits for racing greyhounds. Unless he had unimpeachable justification for doing so, the Minister should not have overriden the Australian Wheat Board, which had the support of its technical advisers. Had he been here, I would have asked him what justification he had for overriding his tenhnical advisers. I point out to honorable members that 50,000 bushels is not a mere bagatelle, but is equivalent to 1,000 tons of flour and 300 tons of pollard and bran. This latter, if fed to poultry, would result' in the production of many thousand dozen eggs, which could be used to feed starving people overseas ; and the 1,000 tons of flour, if placed on the Indian market, would have a very good effect. I also direct attention to the price at which this generous Minister graciously offered the farmers' wheat to the owners of racing greyhounds. The circular stated -

The price of the wheat will be 4s.11d. per bushel, Sydney bulk basis.

On the 27th March, I asked this question, upon notice -

What price or prices are at present being charged by the Australian Wheat Board f.o.b. for wheat for export, or for the manufacture of flour for export, bagged basis?

The reply of this generous Minister was that the export price was 10s. 4£d. a bushel, trucks port basis. This means that the wheat-farmer, through the generosity of the Minister, has made a compulsory gift to the dog biscuit manufacturers of approximately £12,500. What representations were -made to the Minister which caused him to divert this quantity of wheat? By whom, were they made? What claims did the dog biscuit manufacturers advance which could be considered superior to those that I have mentioned, namely, those of the hungry people of Great Britain and the starving millions of India ? These 'charges are- so grave that they demand the fullest reply from the Minister. It is essential that he shall reply on the facts as I have stated them. No other course is open to me than to charge him with having placed racing greyhounds before the starving humans of Great Britain and Europe. If this is the sort of administration for which the Department of Commerce and Agriculture is responsible, the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) should investigate the matter.







Suggest corrections