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Thursday, 8 March 1928

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- Senator Carrollhas suggested that the manufacturers of products of which maize is the raw material are in a position to dictate prices to the maizegrowers. Unless he can produce evidence in support of that statement I propose to vote for the item.

Senator Thompson - The maizegrowers dictated to the sheep-growers of Queensland last year, during the drought, the price they should pay for their maize.

Senator ELLIOTT - Only a small proportion of the maize crop is manufactured into glucose. It is, therefore, impossible for Mr. MacRobertson to control the price of maize. Seeing that the manufacturers of glucose do not control the maize market, it is idle to say that they are taking advantage of their position to starve the maize-growers. In supporting this duty we shall be assisting the maize-growers of Australia.

Senator Carroll - My argument was advanced in refutation of the Minister's statement that by assisting secondary industries, we are helping the primary producers.

Senator ELLIOTT - We are bringing additional competitors into the market. That should tend to raise the price of maize.

Senator Kingsmill - What is the average price of maize?

Senator ELLIOTT - According to the statements of Queensland senators it would appear that in times of drought it is about 9s. a bushel.

Mr GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In 1920-21 the average price of maize was 6s. 6d. per bushel; in 1921-22, 5s. 2d. per bushel; in 1922-23, 6s.1d. per bushel; and in 1923- 24, 5s.1d. per bushel.

Senator ELLIOTT - By encouraging competition, we shall assist the maizegrowers. If the whole of our glucose requirements were manufactured in Australia, there would be a greater market for maize, which would, therefore, realize better prices, but if a large proportion of our maize crops is exported lower prices must be accepted.

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