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Wednesday, 17 July 1946


Mr FROST (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) (Minister for Repatriation) - The Country party defeated the 4s. guarantee.


Mr BOWDEN - The honorable member is making political capital again. I do not blame that government for the measures it took to meet the. prevailing conditions, but it introduced high customs duties and thereby pressed the farmers deeper into the mire, for, on top of producing the wheat that saved the nation's name and solvency, they had to pay high prices for the commodities and equipment that they had to import in order to grow the wheat. It was the inception of that policy that compelled the wheat-farmers to take world parity for their wheat and to pay high Australian costs for the goods they needed. That was the genesis of the farmers' trouble, and no one can gainsay it. '

The. amendment, moved by the honorable member for Indi is not acceptable to the Government because it was moved by a member of the Australian Country party. There is nothing in the amendment that would, cause the farmers to lose anything. On the contrary they would gain. They would be in a better position by having one year in which to sell at prevaling prices, and thereafter the cost of production plus a fair margin of profit. I commend that to the wheatfarmers. I agree with the honorable member for Wimmera that 95 "per cent, of them are satisfied with the proposition contained in the amendment. Any one' would think, from the talk of honorable gentlemen opposite, that we are trying to kill the bill instead of trying to improve it.


Mr FRosT - The honorable member knows that it is a good bill, because the Australian Country party is trying to extend it to last for ten years instead of five.


Mr BOWDEN - It is not good. The Administration proposes to take a part of the farmers' money and then give it back*1 to them in a bad year. Acceptance of the amendment would cost the Government nothing.


Mr Scully - Does not the amendment provide for practically the same thing, a 50 per cent, levy?


Mr BOWDEN - Exactly, but the amendment gives a little more cash at sidings.


Mr Scully - Yes, but the honorable member has mentioned only one season.


Mr BOWDEN - And excluded that season.


Mr Scully - The honorable member is not game to take the risk.


Mr BOWDEN - We are taking the risk for ten years.


Mr Scully - There is the confidence ' trick.


Mr BOWDEN - The Government is taking no risk. We are taking the risk of costs of production rising, a risk that the Minister will not take.







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