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Wednesday, 24 July 1946

Mr ABBOTT (New England) (12:42 PM) . - I support the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson). The honorable member for Calare (Mr. Breen), who does not lack frankness, gave interesting reasons why the Government has introduced this bill. He said that the purpose of the legislation, was- stabilization, and that a principle is written into the measure for the purpose of putting a floor in the meat market.' Most people do not object to floors in houses, but some of us object to a government fixing a low ceiling price for meat, so that the producer will not get for his product the price that he deserves. It is interesting to note that the honorable member for Calare advanced an entirely different reason for the introduction of this bill from that given by the Minister (Mr. Scully) in his second-reading speech. The Minister said that the purpose of the measure is to provide for the reconstitution of the Australian Meat Board, and to grant to the board additional powers necessary to enable it to carry out work in relation to the long-term purchase agreement covering meat export entered into between the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The. Minister did not say anything about the principles referred to by the honorable" member for Calare. Perhaps he spoke on different lines in caucus, and the honorable member for Calare has. been guided by what the Minister said there. That is what is worrying the honorable member for Deakin and other honorable members.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.What has happened in caucus is not under discussion by the committee.

Mr ABBOTT - Is this legislation intended to implement a long-term agreement between the United Kingdom and Australia for three years, or is it intended under the cloak of that agreement to do something entirely different? If so, let the Minister say so ; if not, let him deny it. I suggest that room should be left for the exploitation of markets in places other than the United Kingdom. The greatness of Great Britain and of the United States of America was established upon the principle that the trade followed the flag. In other words, traders found their own markets by their own initiative. There is in the United States of America at the present time a market for our lamb, and that, market should be exploited. However, there will be little, opportunity for this if the export trade is to be " cribbed, cabined and confined " by a scheme of indefinite duration.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 15 to 18 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

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