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Wednesday, 24 July 1946


Mr HUTCHINSON (Deakin) (12:34 PM) . - I move -

That the following new sub-clause be added: - " (2.) Section sixteen of the principal act is further amended, by adding at the end thereof the following sub-section: - (2.) The powers conferred on the board by paragraph (e) of the last preceeding sub-section shall not be exercised after the Thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and forty-nine.' ".

This relates to the powers to be conferred on the new board, quite apart from those conferred on the original board. The new powers permit the Commonwealth Government, at the direction of the Minister, to purchase any meat, meat product or edible offal; to sell any meat, meat product or edible offal; or to manage and control all matters connected with the handling, storage, protection, treatment, transfer and shipment of any meat, meat product or edible offal purchased by the Commonwealth. The reason for giving such powers to the board is that to-day we have government purchase. So far as I can see, government purchase will continue until 1948, when the present arrangement between the United Kingdom and Australia will be terminated. A departmental officer is now in Great Britain negotiating as to meat contracts and prices, and I hope that, as a result, meat export prices will be increased.' Does the Minister intend that the present purchasing arrangement shall continue after 1948? The Government could establish a trade organization, and if that is its intention I should like to know of it. Ministers have a certain political philosophy at the back of their minds, and I. should like to know whether they intend to socialize the meat industry, in whole or in part. If the Government intends merely that -the powers to be conferred under the bill shall continue until 1948 I have no objection to the measure, but why not limit those powers to the period desired? Any form of State enterprise which acts as an assistant to private enterprise will be supported by the Opposition, but any. measure which aims at subjecting the individual to the whims of the State will be strenuously opposed.







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