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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I desire to voice the opinion of the great mass of people who are not in any way organized, and who are compelled to use maize as a fodder for their stock, particularly when other corn is not available. It is not very often (hat I fall back upon the returned soldier in support of my argument; but I may direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that Mr. Ashford, who was at one time Minister for Lands in New South Wales, and who has played a very important part in the Wheat Pool and " other things'," did a great deal in the direction of establishing returned soldiers on poultry farms.

Senator Cox - Fowls are not fed on maize.

Senator GARDINER - There is no better winter food for fowls than corn.

Senator Russell - I think there is a possibility of a compromise.

Senator GARDINER - It is about time, because surely we are not going to impose an additional duty in the interests of persons utilizing land in Victoria for maize-growing when it is more suitable for the production of cabbages. The land in the Darling Downs, the northern rivers, and the Tumut districts produces excellent maize, and much superior to that raised on . the' inferior soil in the State of Victoria, where the climate is totally unsuitable for ¬ęthe production of this commodity. Those who are not banded together in companies and combines should be protected ; and I am considering more particularly the poor unfortunate teamsters, who have to feed their horses well if they are to derive a satisfactory return from the business in which they are engaged.

Senator Crawford - All the carriers in Queensland are members of the Australian Workers Union.

Senator GARDINER - That is another striking instance of the intelligence of the Queensland people.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - The honorable senator represents the biggest combine in Australia - the Australian Workers Union.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - Order! Honorable senators must not discuss the Australian Workers Union, but the item before the Committee.

Senator GARDINER - The South African maize cannot compete with that produced in Australia.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - Then why do we import so much of it ?

Senator GARDINER - It has been imported in times of drought to feed sheep that otherwise would have starved. The pastoralists have on frequent occasions been compelled to rely upon a supply of maize to keep their stock alive; and without an adequate supply, thousands of sheep would have starved.

Senator Cox - Can the honorable senator tell us how maize is grown in South Africa ?

Senator GARDINER - I shall leave that- to the honorable senator, who, with his extensive knowledge concerning a country he has visited, may be. able to explain the process more accurately. Surely a duty of 50 .per cent, is sufficiently high. I have seen good maize sold in New South . Wales at 2s. per bushel.

Senator Crawford - It would- not pay the grower at that price. -Senator GARDINER. - I do not know whether it paid the grower or not ; but I believe that the present price is about 5s. per bushel. The Australian-grown maize is far superior to that produced in South Africa, and, in view of all the circumstances, I trust the Committee will .not agree to increase- what is already a high rate, and thus place an additional burden upon the consumers.

Senator RUSSELL(Victoria- VicePresident of the Executive Council) ;,[10.35"J. - I have listened to the strong representations which have been made by honorable senators, and if Senator Guthrie is prepared to amend his request to make the general Tariff 3s. per cental, instead of 3s. 6d., I shall be agreeable.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - I am prepared to adopt the Minister's suggestion.

Request, by leave, amended accordingly..

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