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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator CRAWFORD (Queensland) . - -I regret that . Senator Lynch should have mentioned my name so frequently, and in "such an offensive manner. I have, done no whining with respect to the industries of Queensland or of any other State. I have a public duty to perform, and I endeavour to do so in as manly a fashion as Senator Lynch. When I consider it necessary I speak, and shall continue to speak, regardless of Senator Lynch's sensitive feelings. It is true that there is a number of protected industries in Australia, and it is equally true that there are some which do not directly benefit from Protection. Those countries which depend entirely upon primary production are much poorer than others which have a number of important secondary industries, such as there are in Australia. If we had had to import all those commodities which we have produced under a policy of Protection during the last few years, we would have created a position in regard to exchange which would have made Australia one of the poorest countries in the world to-day. As for the hard-working wheat-growers, I doubt whether they toil any harder than men engaged in other branches of agriculture. Upon the whole, the agriculturist, no matter what may be the commodity he is producing, is among the hardest of all workers. I have no desire to minimize the value of the wheat or the pastoral industry; but the prosperity of Australia cannot be maintained, nor can a very large population be supported, upon primary industries alone. N'o industry in the past few years has received the same consideration from the Government as wheat-growing. It is not long since the Federal Parliament passed- a Bill to provide for a loan of £500,000 to wheatgrowers in Western Australia in connexion with a scheme which the State

Government and Parliament would not support.

Senator Lynch - The loan is to be repaid with interest.

Senator CRAWFORD - I did not raise my voice against the proposition, but the security was such that the Western Australian Government would not incur any liability in connexion with it. The statement of the Minister (Senator Russell) should receive every consideration. The strides made in the production of wheat in Manchuria have been remarkable. Members of this Parliament were informed not long ago by a gentleman well acquainted with the East that Manchuria had a population of something like 30,000,000, but that it was capable of supporting 250,000,000. I understand that in Manchuria and Siberia, just as in Russia-in-Europe, there are enormous wheat areas. Australian farmers may find in those countries such strong competitors that there will not be the same overseas market for Australian wheat as hitherto. The reminder may impress on honorable senators how necessary it is that other industries should be established - industries which will support a. large population, so that the home market may become ever more valuable. We do not know what is before us in regard to prices ruling in overseas markets for wheat or any other primary products. I would not have risen if it had not been for the personal allusions of Senator Lynoh concerning my alleged whining attitude in regard to certain industries which I desire to see adequately protected.

Senator Gardiner - How would the honorable senator describe his attitude in words other than those used by Senator Lynch ?

Senator CRAWFORD -The honorable senator or any other honorable senator can apply to my attitude whatever description he prefers, but I resent being referred to in such a manner. It is difficult to overcome certain prejudices, but so far as the wheat-growing industry in Western Australia is concerned, I trust that Senator Lynch and others who are engaged in wheat production in that Stat© will'-* experience better times than they have had during recent years. I can assure Senator Lynch that we would have been pleased to have seen him in his place in the Senate when the measure to which I have referred was under discussion instead of looking after his interests in Western Australia.

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