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Thursday, 18 July 1946

Mr MOUNTJOY (Swan) .- Although I listened carefully to the speech of the honorable1 member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), I do not know whether or not he supported the amendment. He commenced his speech on one note and ended it on an entirely different one. Going back over the history of the Australian Wheat Board we find, that under Statutory Rule No. 49 of 1916, the board was originally composed of one representative of the Commonwealth Government. 1 two representatives of the wheat-growers, two representatives of marketing pools, three representatives of merchants and one representative of the bulk handling authorities. The two representatives of wheat-growers were not selected from any particular State. I agree with the honor- 1 able member for Forrest (Mr. Lemmon) that the number of representatives on the board might very well be reduced. I agree with the honorable member for Richmond that a smaller board. is likely to be more efficient on the basis that the less talk there is the more work is likely to be done.

Mr McEwen - Have honorable members opposite experienced that in the Labour caucus?

Mr MOUNTJOY - The Australian Country party has but a small caucus and the honorable member is very much afraid that it will become very much smaller in the not distant future. I suggest that in his later discussions with State Ministers the Minister might suggest that the representation of New South Wales and Victoria be reduced to one in each case. The honorable member for Richmond has said, in effect, that if this Parliament is merely to rubber stamp legislation passed by the States, its continuance is not worth while. The honorable member knows very well that the party to which he belongs has done everything in its power to prevent the Commonwealth Parliament from obtaining complete powers to deal with these matters in its own. right. If this Parliament is to be truly national it must have complete national powers. Measures designed for the improvement of our primary industries could be brought before this Parliament, in the first instance instead of only after protracted negotiations with the States. It is significant that the present Government is the first to have given a great deal of attention to. the desirability of consulting wheat-growers as to the re-organization of their industry.

Mr McEwen - That is not so. The Lyons Government established the Australian Agricultural Council for that very purpose.

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