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Thursday, 9 May 1957

Mr McMAHON - This Government has, of course, very carefully watched the reports of climatic conditions throughout Australia, and it constantly keeps under observation the prospects for the future, particularly in order to ascertain whether it can do anything, within its limited constitutional powers, to help if help is needed.I think I should say that this Government has shown more consideration for the interests of primary producers than was ever shown by the Government that preceded it in office. Climatic conditions vary considerably throughout Australia. I have been informed that the New South Wales Government, and Mr. Graham, the Minister for Agriculture, in particular, are very greatly interested in overcoming the problem of moving stock from probable drought areas to districts where feed is somewhat more abundant. So far, Mr. Graham has not communicated with me about the problem. I personally think that he and the New South Wales Government are able to handle it themselves. If the honorable member for Blaxland feels that Mr. Graham is unable to deal with the matter, it might be wise for him to convey that opinion to the New South Wales Premier. This Government will always stand ready to help, if it thinks that there is a real need for help, but it would be wise for us to recognize the constitutional functions of the State governments, because, unless we have an orderly system of federal government, we cannot govern this great country of ours satisfactorily. The Commonwealth is watching the position with great sympathy. If it so happens that the New South Wales Government thinks that help is needed, it will, I am certain, make appropriate representations to the Commonwealth.

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