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Thursday, 18 July 1946

Mr SCULLY (Gwydir) (Minister for Commerce and Agriculture) . -I am not prepared to accept the amendment. Sub-clause 3 provides -

The qualifications for and the method of, election asa representative of the wheatgrowers of any State and the conditions upon which such members shall hold office, shallbe as prescribed.

I agree with the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) that three years seems a reasonable period. The term of office will be fixed after further consultation with the States, which are to be partly responsible for the control of the board. The Ministers of Agriculture agreed to the principle contained in the bill at the last meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council. I should have no objection to the term being three years, but I do not want it to be stated specifically". The clauses of the hill were considered seriatim by the Australian Agricultural Council} and were agreed to. I am sure that in no circumstances would a Minister exercising control over the Austraiian Wheat Board do anything diametrically opposed to the wishes of the wheat industry. So difficulty has been "experienced in connexion with the present Australian Wheat Board, which was constituted on similar lines, the legislative provision being " the members of the board shall be elected by a ballot of registered growers of the Commonwealth ". That is a definite safeguard. There is no necessity to specify a period of office. The bill as drafted will leave a certain degree of discretion with the Ministers of Agriculture of the States and the Commonwealth.

Mr.ABBOTT (New England) [2.31 J. - Whatever may be the mode of election, even if it be carried out by State bodies, it must be uniform throughout the Commonwealth. ' There should not be one method in one State and a different method in another State.

Mr Scully - There will be uniformity; the bill so provides.

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