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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - I trust that Senator Lynch will not persist in his effort to remove this duty.. While I agree with him in many of the arguments he has submitted, I think there is a possibility of his action being misconstrued. The duty is of very little benefit to the wheatgrowers of the Commonwealth, and I do not think it has ever been imposed. It has been pointed out that when there was a scarcity of wheat the duty was valueless, because it was either ignored or temporarily removed. The facts and figures given by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) as to what happened last year is a good illustration of what could have been done for the fawners if proper steps had been taken. If 'the Australian farmers insisted on sending their wheat overseas and selling it at the world's .parity of 14s. 6d. per bushel instead of accepting the Australian price of 7s. 8d. per bushel, the Australian consumers would have realized that they had been obtaining supplies at a . lower rate than any other people in the world. Similar circumstances may arise in the future, and if the fanners are well organized and are able to, take advantage of the overseas price, through the medium of co-operative concerns or Government Pools, they will be able to secure world's parity, and the consumers individually or collectively will have to pay, in addition to the cost of the wheat, the extra freight, to bring it back to Australia. That may occur during drought periods such as those referred to by the Minister, and I trust, in order to prevent wheat being dumped into Australia, from black-labour countries - I do not think it at all likely - that this safeguard will be allowed to remain.

Senator Cox - There are large areas of good country in 'Syria, where wheat equal to that produced in Australia can be grown.

Senator DE LARGIE - They may be able to produce wheat in Mesopotamia, but up to the present we have not had any practical demonstration of that country's possibilities. As the duty is not likely to do any harm - it has not done any good - I trust that Senator Lynch will not persist in his request.

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