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Tuesday, 21 May 1957

Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- I rise to answer briefly the malicious and unwarranted attacks made by the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) and the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) on the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie). I was amazed at their attitude and at the cavalier manner in which the Minister dealt with this amendment. It has been moved by a man who was reared on a wheat farm and lived among hazards which are quite comparable with those experienced by members of the Australian Country party. The honorable member for Wilmot is a representative of a rural constituency.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The qualifications of the honorable member for Wilmot are not under discussion.

Mr DALY - In all deference, Mr. Chairman, two members on the other side of the chamber have cast aspersions on the capacity of the honorable member for Wilmot to move this amendment and on his experience and background. They have also referred to the background of a former Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. On occasions, I have had this kind of criticism levelled at me and, therefore, I am resentful, as is the honorable member for Wilmot, that his background has been dealt with instead of the substance of the amendment. Will the Minister for Social Services go forth among the people and put forward the views he has1 expressed to-day in regard to the Australian Primary Producers Union? Will he go forward and substantiate his views at a meeting of that organization or will he, as he has done in this Parliament, continue to support the representatives of the people who put money into the coffers of the Australian Country party and the organization to which he belongs, irrespective of the claims of other organizations which have been put forward by honorable members on this side? This amendment has been moved in all sincerity. It has been put forward by the honorable member for Wilmot in an endeavour to give justice to a section of the rural community. We on this side of the chamber are not concerned whether the Australian Primary Producers Union and the wealthy pastoral interests which support it supply funds to the Australian Country party. We are concerned to see that the representatives are the best available, the most impartial and the ones who can make this measure successful.

The honorable member for Mallee had the temerity to suggest that Opposition members should not move amendments if we know they will be defeated. It is easily seen that, like other Australian Country party members, his only connexion with the land and his only interest has been selling sheep or cattle in the auctioneering business. He has no practical knowledge of the matters now under discussion. Through the years, the Labour party has had to give expression to views which should be supported by members of the Australian Country party. When we study the record of members of the Australian Country party, we find that not more than 2 per cent, of them represent any practical rural interest. The Australian Country party has among its members a collection of accountants, doctors, auctioneers and motor mechanics.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member will come back to the clause or I shall order him to resume his seat.

Mr DALY - I just wished to make that passing reference. Having a knowledge of your affiliation with the Australian Country party, Mr. Chairman, and whilst not doubting your impartiality-

The CHAIRMAN - Order!

Mr DALY - I return to the amendment moved by the honorable member for Wilmot. It should be supported. I hope that members of the Australian Country party realize that the Minister was in error in giving the lead he did on this occasion. I ask for leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; progress reported.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.

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