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Thursday, 18 July 1946

Mr McLEOD (Wannon) .- The opposition to this clause voiced by honorable members opposite proves clearly that they wish to destroy the wheat stabilization plan as a whole. The amendment merely seeks to embody in the bill a fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy. Honorable members opposite cannot explain away their change of attitude in this matter merely by saying that a' similar provision was inserted in Statutory Rule 96 of 1939 to cover special war-time conditions. As a matter of fact that enactment was brought into operation before the outbreak of war. Do honorable members opposite fear that the Minister will abuse the powers proposed to be vested in him ? To quote an extreme case, the members of the board may decide to export so much wheat from this country as to leave the population short of this staple food. Would not the Minister then be justified in exercising his power of direction? Too frequently honorable members opposite complain about the vesting of too much authority in boards and commissions established by the Government.

Do they now believe that the board controlling this great commodity should be unfettered and that Parliament should be ignored? That the. object of honorable members opposite is to destroy the planwas freely admitted to-night by the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull). I advise the leader of his party to have a quiet talk with him so that he may restrain- himself from making such frank statements in the future. Honorable members opposite have clearly demonstrated that they are opposed to the continuance of democratic control and parliamentary responsibility.

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