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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr McMAHON - The honorable gentleman has posed four separate questions. I cannot remember the position in 1949, when his government was ignominiously thrown out of office because it had lost the confidence of the Australian people.

Mr Ward - Do not be spiteful!

Mr McMAHON - The honorable member has asked questions and he had better be given the answer. His government was thrown out of office and the figures at each succeeding election have shown that the confidence of the Australian people in Labour and its leaders has continued to degenerate. I do not remember the 1949 wheat figures, but I do know that wheat is selling well to-day and that the price is the equivalent of, or slightly more than, the cost of production. It was feared that unduly high stocks might build up, but I am glad to be able to say that we now hope they will be reduced by the end of next season to about 40,000.000 bushels, which is a fairly satisfactory level for Australia The present difficulty in sellin" eggs is not wholly assosiated with the problem of costs. It is rather associated with the fact that European countries, particularly the United Kingdom, are also producing eggs and that within the last three months the United Kingdom has become an exporter. So it is a question of overproduction in other parts of the world rather than, fundamentally, one of costs in this country, although they are of great importance. This is an important problem, as the honorable gentleman knows, and I take ii very seriously because it concerns Australian primary producers. I do give him my assurance that, with the State Ministers for Agriculture, we are watching the problem and will do what we can to help find a solution.

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