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Wednesday, 3 August 1921

Senator COX (New . South Wales) . - I have heard it stated here today that bananas are grown in the northern part of New South Wales by 'Chinese. I was there the other day, and found a large number of returned soldiers engaged in the industry. They have been encouraged to go on to land which is rather expensive - in fact, any land on the northern rivers is that- and it will be a great pity if we cannot help these young fellows who are endeavouring to make a living there. That district is just below the Queensland border. It is only in certain aspects that bananas can be grown, and as we have" put a number of returned soldiers on to the land there to grow bananas, we have a right to protect them. We ought to leave the duty as it is.

Senator Drake-Brockman - What about the young soldiers who have gone on to the land in Western Australia, and want to buy bananas for food?

SenatorCOX. - If Western Australia is the wonderful country that our honorable friends from that State make out, as part of their land is in the same latitude as northern New South Wales and Queensland, why do not their young men go up into those out-of-the-way parts and plant bananas, and see whether they will grow?

Senator de Largie - Because we have not the same climatic conditions.

Senator COX - I have been told that bananas are being grown in Western Australia. Honorable senators from that State do not know their own country.

Senator de Largie - Scarcely any are being grown there.

Senator COX - I do not profess to know Western Australia, and I did not bring the subject up. Our men have been game enough to pay a big price for land in northern New South Wales in order to attempt to establish the banana industry. Why do not men in Western Australia go up into the same latitudes in their State and make the experiment?

Senator de Largie - The banana cannot be grown without moisture. That is our defect in Western Australia.

Senator COX - Is there no rain on the coast of Western Australia?

Senator de Largie - Not sufficient, and not at the right season.

Senator COX - Then I am sorry for Western Australia. At any rate, let us produce bananas where we can. We have the land, and we have the men who are willing to go on to the land and attempt to grow bananas. I urge the Committee to help these young fellows to establish themselves.

Senator GARDINER (New South

Wales) [4.5.3] - I was surprised to hear Senator Cox say that Chinese are not engaged in the banana trade in the Tweed River district. Let me make myself clear on the question of Chinese. When they are allowed to come into this country I want to see them engaged in the most profitable occupation that they can engage in. I have no ill-will to any race once it has permission to associate with us. If I said that the Chinese had the monopoly of the vegetable trade in New South Wales, some one would probably indignantly deny it, on the ground that white men are growing vegetables, but the fact would remain. Their peculiar traits make the Chinese most efficient in that kind of work, and I can assure Senator Cox, not only that numbers of them are engaged in the banana trade on the Tweed River, but that in the Hay-street markets in Sydney Chinese control and handle the whole business. This is not a question of one State against another. In fact, in speaking against the duty on bananas I am speaking against my own State, because I represent the banana-growers of New South Wales as well as any one else here does.

Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow - Yes, but you are a Free Trader.

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