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Thursday, 8 March 1928

Mr GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The price to-day would be down to 2s. 6d. a bushel but for the existence of MacRobertson's factories.

Senator REID - It is generally admitted that as Mr. MacRobertson's factories require large quantities of glucose, his business activities have distinctly benefited the maize-growers of the Commonwealth. Last year, as has been stated, the market conditions were abnormal. Owing to the drought in Queensland there was a keen demand for maize for the hand-feeding of stock. Naturally the maize-growers when they had a chance took full advantage of it. No one can blame them for obtaining the highest possible prices for their produce. The pastoralists were hard hit by the drought, and the maize-growers benefited through the increased demand, for their product. Senator Ogden no doubt has in mind the interests of a lolly factory established in Tasmania, which I understand has to obtain its glucose from Mr. MacRobertson, its chief competitor in the Australian market. Does the honorable senator suggest that Mr. MacRobertson is charging too high a price for the glucose?

Senator OGDEN - His competitors say that he does not supply glucose at a fair price.

Senator REID - Mr. MacRobertson conducts his business in a way that should command our highest respect. From small beginnings he has built up an enormous industry, and he deserves all the -success that he has achieved in this country. If the British preference duty on glucose were reduced to 9s., the Australian industry would be destroyed, and indirectly Australian maize-growers would suffer.'

Senator Elliott - Can the honorable senator say what is the average price for maize?

Senator REID - The market fluctuates considerably. If Senator Ogden's request were agreed to, and if another place reduced the duties, there would not be the same demand for maize, and growers would suffer.

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