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Friday, 19 July 1946

Mr LANGTRY (Riverina) .- I had not intended to speak on this bill in the committee stage, but. after listening to the hypocritical speeches of honorable members apposite, and after comparing their speeches with their actions in the past, I cannot remain silent. The wheat-growers must wonder how such men ever came to be elected to this Parliament as representatives of rural interests. Honorable members' opposite are careful not to tell the sad story of the depression. I saw photographs published in the Melbourne newspapers of farmers leaving their properties in the Wimmera with all their goods and chattels piled on a truck. Honorable members opposite did nothing for the wheat-farmers then, and now they aretrying to destroy a bill which . promises them security for at least five years, and perhaps longer. Honorable members opposite do not tell us that in New South Wales, during the depression, 2,000 farmers were receiving help under the Wheat-growers Relief Act. They were, in fact, on the dole. At that time, four members of the Australian Country party held office in the government of the day. They do not tell us of the many suicides that took place among farmers because the government, which included members of the Australian Country party, refused to help them. They do not tell us that pigs were sold in the Wagga saleyards at ls. a dozen, the price of a dozen -bananas. They do not tell us of the plight of the dairy-farmers during the depression. Members of the Australian Country party are certainly no credit to this Parliament. They have no desire to help those whom they are supposed to represent, and now their only ambition is to mislead the people and to destroy this hill. They have been doing the same sort of thing for the last 25 years. The honorable member' for Wannon (Mr. McLeod) read an extract from an article in the Melbourne Herald which showed that a world shortage of wheat could be turned into a world surplus in two years; yet honorable members opposite say that they can predict the price of wheat foi- five years ahead. Neither can they, nor any one else, predict the price for five weeks. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) and the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) held portfolios in previous governments, but they never did anything to help the. farmers. On the other hand, those on this side who represent the rural constituencies can he given 100 per cent, marks for their sincerity in endeavouring to assist the man on the laud. The so-called Australian Country party has never been a country party at all, and never will be. Its members are nothing but rank hypocrites of the worst kind I have met during the whole of my career.

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