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Thursday, 24 March 1927

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) .- I do not desire to delay the passage of the bill, neither do I rise to oppose the principle embodied in it; but when I heard the Minister say that the proceeds of a certain levy were to be used to advertise Australian apples and pears overseas, I could not help thinking seriously that the best market for the Australiangrown fruit is the Australian market. With all due deference to those engaged in this all-important industry, I venture to say that they would be in a better position if they were properly organized, and a levy was imposed for the purposeof advertising in this country. We know that the best fruits are grown in Australia. If the people of the Commonwealth could be educated to the manifold advantages of fruit as food or medicine, all the fruit grown in Australia would be consumed locally. Mr. Clapp, the Chief Commissioner of Railways in Victoria, has done much to increase the consump- tion of fruit. As a matter of fact within the last few months there has been an apparent shortage of oranges and lemons. Mr. Clapp has succeeded in demonstrating to the people of Melbourne that the juices of fruits are the best to drink, and during the recent hot spell large numbers of men and women could be seen waiting their turn at the kiosk at Flinders-street station to be supplied with the juice of oranges or lemons. The people of Melbourne have been convinced that drinks made of the juices of these fruits are more wholesome than others, winch, while more costly, are not so good for the system. It is said that an apple a day will keep the doctor away. What is to prevent the apple-growers in Australia spending a few thousands of pounds in order to educate the people of Australia to increase their consumption of fruit? How much money is spent on advertising certain nostrums sold here ? Thousands of pounds are spent in advertising chewing-gum. What would the consumption of chewing gum he if it were not for the 'amount spent on advertising ? How many boxes of pills that are supposed to be a panacea for all ills would be sold if it were not for the large sums spent on publicity work bv those interested in these nostrums? The Minister has stated that many growers have found it unprofitable to send their apples overseas. We have been informed that they received 15s. a case for some of their consignments in 1925. I expect that freight and other charges have to be deducted from that figure.

Senator Crawford - That was not" the net price which the growers received.

Senator FINDLEY - We know quite well that it was not the net price. If honorable senators take into consideration the charges that had to be incurred in connexion with the! shipment of those apples they will realize that the net price was not very great. During the recent industrial trouble in England, Australian apples were sold for as low as 8s. a case. The growers receive a much better return from the sale of their apples in the Australian market.

Senator Elliott - The local market will not absorb the whole of the output.

Senator FINDLEY - It would if the fruit were properly advertised and marketed. It would be an easy matter to convince the people of Australia that it would be to the advantage of their health if they ate more fruit and vegetables thar are at present consumed. Scientific and medical men say that a diet of fruit is better than medicine. Our concern is to assist the growers of apples to dispose of their crops.

Senator Crawford - Our immediate concern is to pass the bill.

Senator FINDLEY - According to a statement that the Minister made, the passage of the bill would place the growers upon a better footing. I am endeavouring to show that the advantage which they would derive would be much more substantial if they utilized to a greater extent the Australian market. There would then be no necessity for a bill of this nature. I am as anxious as anybody to assist the orchardists. My reason for speaking on this matter is to make suggestions whereby the man on the land may be assisted. The best way is for the growers to exhaust the possibilities of the Australian market before exporting any of their product overseas.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee:

Clauses 1 to 5 agreed to.

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