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Tuesday, 23 July 1946

Mr FROST - The honorable member would not like that to happen?

Mr McEWEN - No; and I shall endeavour to explain why. I favour the principle of this measure - I have said that many times - but I do not favour wheat-growers to-day being deprived of their realizations in order to aid other wheat-growers ten years hence. A scheme should be devised - and I do not propose to attempt to go into its mathematical intricacies - which would enable continued levying upon current wheat production and disbursement of the proceeds after they have been held in the stabilization fund for a period of years, provided always that the stabilization fund was maintained at as high a level as was considered necessary. In short, if there is to be a prolonged period of high prices - and that does not require imaginative thinking, because after World War I. we had at least eleven years of high prices - the Government should devise a scheme that would ensure that moneys contributed to the fund should not be held in the fund for a longer period than five years. I envisage a continuous stream of money going into and out of the fund.

Mr Scully - That is a matter upon which I am in agreement with the honorable member.

Mr McEWEN - I am glad to have that assurance. Even if the Minister insists upon forcing the. measure through the House in its present form, he should still be prepared at any time to reconsider the equity of the plan and see whether it is not possible to devise, as I have suggested an actuarially sound scheme which will ensure that any aid given to wheat-growers out of the stabilization fund shall be met from levies imposed' in comparatively recent years and not from levies made ten or twelve years earlier upon a completely different set of wheat-growers. This is the point which the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) sought to submit to the House in his amendment which, unfortunately, was ruled out of order.

Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member is not in order in discussing an amendment which has been ruled out of order.

Mr McEWEN - The honorable member for Bendigo had wished to test the opinion of the House on this matter, and as it is not possible to do so in the terms of his amendment, I intend to endeavour to arrive at the same result by a different procedural device. I propose to move an amendment which, if carried, will have the effect of deferring the second reading of this measure for six months. My purpose is to enable the House to record an instruction to the Government that during that six months it should recast the measure in such a manner as (a) to exclude the 1945-46 crop for the reasons that I have given; (b) to make provision for the charge to be levied for ten years instead of five, as the bill proposes; (c) to enable the Government to incorporate in the measure the provisions outlined in the latter part of the amendment of the honorable member for Bendigo for recording the names of the individual growers levied and the amount of levy; and (d) to enable the Government to devise an actuarially sound scheme that will in the contingency mentioned by the honorable member for Bendigo permit of the return to the growers of all or a part of the levies they paid.I accordingly move -

That the word " now " be left out with a view to add at the end of the motion the following words: - "this day six months".

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