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Tuesday, 6 December 1927

Senator REID (Queensland) .- I wish to inform Senator Findley, who seems to be prejudiced against the Development and Migration Commission, that this year I met its members in North Queensland, where they were conducting investigations into the possibilities of the district in which Southern Europeans are employed, and concerning which some honorable senators opposite have made such a lot of noise. If in expending a portion of the £34,000,000 advanced by the Imperial authorities the commission can succeed in settling British migrants on some of the land in North Queensland, there will then be little room for the Southern Europeans who, we are told, are coming to Australia in such large numbers. The members of the commission visited the Atherton Tableland, where there is land superior to that found in any other part of Australia. They also visited Cloncurry, a;nd investigated the country down the Flinders and further out. If they are to study the possibilities of rural development, they must necessarily travel. I think the commission is to be congratulated upon endeavouring to get an intimate knowledge of Australia. If Senator Findley and others who are complaining were to travel the Commonwealth, they would understand what is required better than they can by remaining in the particular States which they represent. If they did that they would not then talk the nonsense they do.

Senator Findley - I was born in Australia and have travelled extensively throughout the Commonwealth.

Senator REID - Most of the honorable senator's time has been spent in Melbourne. As the commission is responsible to Parliament, we shall have an opportunity to consider the schemes which it recommends. The Minister (Senator Pearce) said that the schemes already approved by the commission will involve the expenditure of considerably over £4,000,000, which should- surely be of advantage to Australia. Had this body not been in existence, possibly that amount would not have been advanced and development would have been retarded to that extent. I cannot understand why some honorable senators condemn the work of the commission as they do. The honorable senator who is its principal opponent in this chamber may be regarded as a " Melbourne Australian " - one who knows only his own State. The proposed vote is large, but in comparison with the work which is being undertaken, I do not think it can be considered excessive. I am prepared to support the commission, as I believe it will eventually be of inestimable benefit to the Commonwealth, in materially assisting its development.

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