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Thursday, 18 July 1946


Mr ADERMANN (Maranoa) .- I stand for grower-control of the marketing of primary products. The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr.

Scully) has given an assurance that a majority of the members of the board will be growers directly interested in the industry. Let us compare this proposal with the marketing legislation in force in Queensland. There, the growers have the right by vote to establish an organization for the marketing of their products. That is very different from the proposal in this bill under which the real power will rest with the Minister, not 'with the elected representatives of the growers. In Queensland, there is no ministerial control over the marketing boards. The Minister has power to approve or otherwise of the payment of fees and expenses to members, and there is no objection to that. In every instance, the' boards in Queensland function as business authorities, making decisions for which they are responsible, and putting those .decisions into effect. There is a government representative on each board, who -is an employee of the Department of Agriculture. - Because of his association with other boards, he brings with him knowledge that is of use. Sometimes, the Government representative is instructed by the Minister how to vote, and he votes according to his instructions. His vote may not be in conformity with the vote of the. majority, and the will of the majority prevails. I oppose the amendment because it means that if members of the board are not good boys they will have to take orders from the Minister. We remember that the present Minister for Commerce and Agriculture overrode the decision of the Australian Wheat Board to send all surplus wheat to Britain and other countries in need of it and ordered that 50,000 bushels be used for making biscuits to feed racing dogs.

Speaking on the stabilization proposal for 1938, the present Minister for Commerce and Agriculture said that he had yet to see successful business administration by any organization under government control. The difference between the Queensland marketing system and that proposed in this bill is the difference, between grower control. and government, control. I am against ministerial domination in matters of policy. I believe that the elected representatives of the growers will have enough ability and sense of responsibility to administer the scheme properly. I do not oppose the powers which it is proposed to grant the board under clause 10. The board must have wide powers. The elected representatives of the wheat-growers should administer the affairs of the board without let or hindrance. The regulations governing the wheat industry issued by the Minister in the past have operated very unfairly against growers in Queensland who have been unanimous in their opposition to them. As the result of the restrictive policy of the Government, one-half" of the wheat consumed in Queensland was brought into that State from the southern States at a minimum price of 5s. 7d. a bushel, and as local growers could have supplied the local market at as low a price as 4s. Id. a bushel, the Queensland wheat industry suffered losses amounting to millions of pounds. The board should be composed of representatives of the growers who have had practical experience in the industry and have the interests of the growers at heart. They should have unfettered control. I oppose the amendment.







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